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Cao Cao (c. 155-220 CE) was a military dictator in ancient China during the end of the Han dynasty. Something more than a mere warlord, Cao Cao supported a puppet emperor and governed a large area of northern China. His attempts to unify China ultimately failed, but he did found the large state of Wei and introduced various administrative changes including a new social ranking system and land reforms. Cao Cao's ruthless objective of recapturing the lost glory of the Han empire, his manipulation of the imperial court and association with unsavoury political intrigues have resulted in an ambiguous reputation which has darkened ever since his portrayal as the villain of the popular 14th-century CE epic the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Early Life & Family
The early life and biographical details of Cao Cao are sketchy and disputed, facts being difficult to separate from legend. Cao Cao was born in c. 155 CE, the son of Lady Ding and Cao Song, who was himself the adopted son of Cao Teng, an influential and powerful eunuch at the Han court. The association with the eunuchs, who pulled the strings of imperial politics behind the scenes, was, no doubt, one of the reasons for Cao Cao's meteoric rise. Cao Cao may also have been adopted, possibly from the Xiabou, an aristocratic family group in the Pei district, modern Boxian. Cao Cao had many children of his own, the most famous being his sons Cao Pi and Cao Zhi.
Cao Cao famously put down the Yellow Turban rebellion in the second half of the 2nd century CE.
Yellow Turban Rebellion
Cao Cao's first role of note was as Commandant and police chief at Luoyang, the capital, during the 170s CE. He early-on established a reputation for being a stickler with the law and was not afraid to challenge the rich and powerful. He came to wider prominence when he famously put down the Yellow Turban rebellion in the second half of the 2nd century CE. The rebellion was so called because the protagonists wore a turban whose colour represented earth, an element they hoped would put out the fire which was the element selected by the Han. A religious movement, the Yellow Turban cult probably derived from Tibet and was closely associated with Taoism. Its popularity was helped by the promotion of aid to the poor and criticism of the discrimination against women and the lower classes, which was rife in Chinese society. The cult eventually turned into a major military rebellion, which was rather ironic considering its leader Zhang Jue preached the objective of a Great Peace.
Strong in eastern China, the rebels, nevertheless, coordinated a series of uprisings across China in 184 CE which attacked the offices of local government. The whole of the country was split into pockets held by rebels, warlords, or regional governors still loyal to the state. The confusion, constant warring, and deprivation of the Chinese people were summarised in a poem attributed to Cao Cao, who, like many leaders of the period, had a serious literary bent.
My armour has been worn so long that lice breed in it,
Myriad lineages have perished.
White bones exposed in the fields,
For a thousand li not even a cock is heard.
Only one out of a hundred survives,
Thinking of it rends my entrails.
The rebellion was brutally quashed by an army sent by Cao Cao, and Zhang Jue was killed or executed. The movement did rumble on under new leadership in eastern Sichuan province but was finally stamped out in 215 CE, again by a Cao Cao-sent force.
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An unfortunate consequence of the rebellion was that several local warlords had been backed to raise their own armies and deal with the Yellow Turbans in their area. When the rebels were dealt with, these armies often clashed with each other and there followed a sustained period of civil war during which Luoyang was sacked in 189 CE.
Cao Cao, after several setbacks, eventually established himself as the powerful governor of Yan province by 196 CE. He made his headquarters at Xu in Yingchuan (Henan province). Cao Cao would eventually become the most powerful of the Chinese warlords, particularly following his victory over rival warlord Yuan Shao at the battle of Guandu in 199-200 CE. Cao Cao took on a series of impressive titles in his role as the most powerful man at court: Marquis, Director of Retainers and then Excellency of Works. By 205 CE he was able to take the reigns of government, with the emperor left in place merely as a token gesture to past tradition. Choosing Ye as his capital, Cao Cao took many of the emperor's previous privileges for himself and adopted the titles of chengxiang or Imperial Chancellor in 208 CE and Duke of Wei in 213 CE. In 216 CE he went a step further and declared himself the King of Wei, as his state was now known. The year before the former warlord had made one of his daughters empress, completing his stranglehold on power.
Cao Cao's Reforms
Cao Cao, although having conquered the Yellow River valley, the Wuhuan in the northeast (207 CE), and now holding much of northern China, struggled to control all of the former Han territories. Large areas under the jurisdiction of rival warlords still remained. His attempts to unify a greater area of China met with spectacular failure in the form of a resounding defeat at the battle of Red Cliffs in the Yangtze Valley in 208 CE. Disease and unfamiliarity with both local geography and southern fighting techniques may have combined to frustrate Cao Cao's empire-building ambitions. The victor that day was the young warlord Sun Quan who would later become the emperor of the rival Wu state.
In order to consolidate the lands he did control, Cao Cao embarked on a series of administrative reforms which were designed to reinforce the centralisation of Chinese government and ensure the tentacles of the state were far-reaching and unchallenged. One of the features of the reforms was to curb excessive state expenditure. For this reason, there were laws passed which, for example, forbade the use of costly jade funerary shrouds.
Other measures included the introduction of a nine-level ranking system for court officials (jiupin zhongzheng), a system which lasted right through several later dynasties. This is not to say that there were any significant changes in the recruitment process, though, as Cao Cao continued the tradition of selecting ministers and officials based on who they knew, what their standing was in the local community, and where they came from rather than pure talent. Designed to exploit the official's local contacts and knowledge, the system only ended up favouring those with the right connections who could jump several steps in the nine-rung ladder of promotion.
Cao Cao resettled peasants left homeless on to abandoned lands reclaimed by the state.
Another policy of Cao Cao's was designed to break up traditional regional loyalties and fill up the state coffers. This involved allowing the resettlement of peasants left homeless on to abandoned lands reclaimed by the state after war had ravaged the area. The peasants and defeated rebels similarly resettled became paying tenants and thus a useful source of income for the state without the middleman of a local tax collector.
Death & Legacy
Cao Cao died in 220 CE but his second son, Cao Pi, would go on to outdo his father. Forcing the last Han emperor to abdicate, he then founded the Wei dynasty (221-265 CE). Calling himself Emperor Wen, he also became an accomplished and pioneering poet and literary critic. Cao Cao was, meanwhile, given the posthumous title of Emperor Wu of Wei, but his goal of a unified China would not be realised for another three centuries. The life of Cao Cao was recorded in his own book, Apologia, written in 210-211 CE and one of the earliest autobiographies from ancient China.
Cao Cao's life is also the subject of a celebrated novel from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi), where he is the deliciously Machiavellian villain of the piece. Operas, too, cast him as a villain, with actors portraying the dictator usually wearing a snarling white mask with sinister eyebrows. More recently, the military leader has become the subject of several popular television series and computer games. Again indicative of the dubious reputation of the dictator, his name lives on in the Chinese expression “Speak of Cao Cao and he appears” which is broadly equivalent to “Speak of the devil” in English.
Cao Cao's Tomb
Interest in Cao Cao was further piqued in 2008 CE by Chinese archaeologists claiming they had discovered his tomb. Excavated near Xigaoxue in Henan province, the tomb consists of two main chambers connected by an arched doorway and covers 750 square metres (8,000 square feet). Unfortunately, the tomb had already been looted and its connection with Cao Cao has been difficult to ascertain with certainty. The tentative link is based on three stones inscribed with “Wu of Wei”, one discovered some distance from the tomb itself, one which may have been removed from the tomb, and a third found by archaeologists in the tomb itself and describing several bronze weapons as belonging to Wu of Wei. However, the absence of corroborating evidence, coupled with past cases of the Chinese state making similar premature claims for important historical figures, has led to archaeologists and historians outside China (and some academics inside it) to dispute the claim that it is the dictator's tomb. The tomb does seem to belong to the right place and period, and an important person was certainly interred there. Time and further study may well tell if the tomb at Xigaoxue is indeed the final resting place of Cao Cao, one of ancient China's most enigmatic figures.
Cao Cao Could Not Hide Forever: Remains Finally Confirmed As Chinese Warlord
Archaeologists in China are convinced they have found the tomb and remains of Cao Cao, a famous Chinese warlord who rose to great power in the final years of the Eastern Han Dynasty 1,800 years ago. Cao Cao made a careful plan before his death to keep his final resting place a secret – 72 coffins were carried to 72 separate burial sites on the day of his funeral. But it seems it wasn’t enough to keep the location of his real tomb a secret forever.
According to the South China Morning Post , archaeologists discovered the ruins of an enormous mausoleum complex with two constructions, an underground tunnel, and the remains of an adult male in his sixties and two women inside. Although the tomb was first found in 2009 and excavations took place from 2016 to 2017, the initial claim was met by scepticism . However, confirmation of the find has now officially been made public after the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology concluded that the remains almost certainly belonged to Cao Cao.
Experts also believe that adult male remains found in the smaller of the two constructions belong to Cao Cao’s first son, Cao Ang.
The site of the large mausoleum complex believed to hold the remains of Cao Cao and his first son. Credit: 163.com
Every organization has its beginnings, its history, and its purpose. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists was no exception. Although its origin was somewhat unusual, it eventually came to fruition. The seed was planted in 1947 at a graduate orthodontic course offered by the Dental Faculty of the University of Toronto. The mentor was Dr. Robert H.W. Strang, M.D., D.D.S., a famous American orthodontist, teacher, and the author of an excellent “Text-Book of Orthodontia”. Dr. Strang studied with Dr. Edward Hartley Angle at the Angle School of Orthodontia in 1906 and admired this brilliant teacher, who is often referred to as the father of modern orthodontics.
Several Canadian orthodontists were enroled in this program of unquestionable educational substance. The fellowship engendered amongst the Canadians during this Strang Course had great significance for the orthodontists practising today. The relevance is aptly phrased in the words of the eminent Canadian orthodontist, Dr. Jack Abra from Winnipeg:
“The course lasted about a week or ten days with sessions all day and each evening. It was our practice to have dinner together so by the end of the course we were all good friends, most of us not having met before. When the course ended with a final dinner, the Canadians decided to have a reunion the following year at the American Association of Orthodontists’ (A.A.O.) meeting in Columbus, Ohio”.
“At the next meeting in Columbus in 1948, Dr. Rayburn McIntyre of Calgary in his inimitable manner played host with the assistance of his charming wife, Sibil. As I remember, there were about ten of us present. During our very enthusiastic discussions, it was decided that an association of Canadian orthodontists was desirable. We finally agreed that each of us would contact every orthodontist in Canada that we knew and urge him or her to attend the next American Association of Orthodontists’ meeting to be held in New York.”
As planned, 14 Canadian orthodontists assembled at the next A.A.O. meeting in New York with the thoughts of forming a Canadian association uppermost in their minds. Minutes of this meeting were taken and entitled, “Minutes of a meeting of a group of Canadian orthodontists held on May 4, 1949 in the Commodore Hotel, New York”. Those present were Drs. Abra and Brownlee (Winnipeg), Drs. S.S. Crouch, Culbert, Halderson, Shultis, and Lesco (Toronto), Drs. Dixon and Hamilton (Ottawa), Dr. Foster (Hamilton), Dr. Johns (Kingston), Dr. McIntyre (Calgary), Dr. Quigley (Edmonton), and Dr. Geoffrion (Montreal).
Dr. R.R. McIntyre acted as temporary chairman and opened the meeting with a frank discussion as to the desire and advisability of forming an association of Canadian orthodontists and the feasibility of being affiliated with the Canadian Dental Association (C.D.A.). A decision was made to form an association of Canadian orthodontists and to hold an annual meeting concurrent with the meeting of the A.A.O., a practice that was continued until 1959. The benefits of this arrangement would be numerous. The A.A.O. was very large with literally thousands of members. The scientific programs at their conventions were exceptional with outstanding presenters. All of the latest advances in clinical knowledge and techniques were usually discussed. The exhibitors displayed all the latest in equipment and technology. Last but not least, attendance at these meetings would provide an opportunity for the Canadian orthodontists to discuss professional ideas and problems with their American colleagues.
At the first meeting of this infant orthodontic association, Dr. McIntyre was elected President pro tem and Dr. Dixon, Secretary pro tem. A committee of four (Drs. McIntyre, Dixon, Fisk, and Franklin) was appointed by the Chairman to draft a constitution and by-laws for the next meeting in Chicago in 1950. A second committee was struck, comprised of the President, Secretary, Dr. Brownlee, and Dr. Geoffrion to investigate plans of the various provinces relating to orthodontics health plans.
And so, after a gestation period of 12 months, the fledgling association of Canadian orthodontists was born on May 4, 1949 in the Commodore Hotel, New York. Fourteen Canadian orthodontists witnessed this great event. In retrospect, it seems paradoxical that the idea of a Canadian Association of Orthodontists was conceived, nurtured and bore fruition in a foreign country.
It was evident from the discussions at the very beginning that the orthodontists were concerned about the proposed “Federal Health Scheme” which was on the agenda of the Federal Liberal government. Secretary Dixon picked up this theme in his first letter to all Canadian orthodontists, no doubt to pique their interest and concern as well get their attention. To quote from the Secretary’s letter:
“In view of the current likelihood of some form of a National Health Scheme and the probability of some amount of Government control over private practices, we, as orthodontists decided we could best represent our interest in any discussions with the authorities if we had some type of organization which spoke for all of us.”
Another interesting paragraph in this letter read as follows:
“We would appreciate if you would reply to this letter, signifying your desire to join or not to join. The temporary fee of ONE DOLLAR is now payable, if not already paid.”
The first financial report reveals that 35 orthodontists paid their dollar to join. This charter group have subsequently been recognized by the Canadian Association of Orthodontists as “Founding Members” and were made Honourary Members of the Association in 1982. One might ask the question how this group of charter members received their specialty training. By this time in the evolution of the specialty of orthodontics, and indeed since the turn of the century, orthodontists in Canada and the U.S. were dentists who received special training on orthodontic diagnosis and clinical techniques in one or more ways. Some attended private proprietary schools, such as the Angle School of Orthodontics or the Dewey School of Orthodontia in the U.S. A few enrolled in graduate orthodontic programs in university dental schools as were offered at Columbia University in New York and Northwestern University in Chicago, to name a few. Alternatively, the majority spent one or more years training under the tutelage of an experienced orthodontist–known as preceptorship training.
It is of interest to note that the American Association of Orthodontists was organized in 1901 in St. Louis with a charter membership of ten men who were physically present at the organizing meeting. Today, the A.A.O. has a membership of several thousand orthodontists.
In the following year, 24 Canadian orthodontists gathered for the second official meeting of their association in the Edgewater Beach Hotel, Chicago on May 7. An important business agenda was presented at this meeting. One of the first points of discussion was whether the Canadian orthodontists wanted to have a separate association or be under the umbrella of the Canadian Dental Association which was the national dental organization. Finally in their wisdom, they decided to approach the C.D.A. and request the formation of Sections for dentists in the C.D.A. who limit their practice to one of the various specialties and more specifically the formation of an Orthodontic Section.
A constitution was presented to the meeting by Dr. G. Franklin and approved after minor changes. Presently, many of the Canadian orthodontists were members of the American Association of Orthodontists. Some were concerned that membership in the new Canadian association would jeopardize their membership in the U.S. association. Dr. McIntyre, the President, read a letter from the President of the American Association of Orthodontists confirming that there would be no conflict between the two Societies and Canadians would still hold membership in the A.A.O. and the constituent societies. In the past, the A.A.O. had been very generous to Canadians and had extended full membership privileges to them. The Canadian orthodontists were very happy to know that there would be no change in this friendly relationship.
Another subject of great interest and discussion was the policy of the Federal Government regarding the imminent National Health Plan and the likelihood of some type of state dentistry in Canada. The Federal Minister of Health had advised the Canadian Dental Association that the medical phase of the plan would be in operation in three years and the dental phase one year later. It is anticipated that the Canadian Dental Association will be requesting help and guidance form the different specialty groups as to their role in a health plan. One would wonder how much contribution the Canadian orthodontists could make. In 1950, there were only 55 orthodontists in the Dominion of which 35 were paid up members. Nevertheless, the attending Canadian orthodontists at the meeting passed a resolution that they would be willing to cooperate with the C.D.A. in the development of a plan of treatment for the indigent children and sent a copy of the resolution to the Board of Governors of the C.D.A.
The next order of business at this meeting was the presentation of an “in Memorium” resolution to honour the memory of Dr. George W. Grieve. Dr. Grieve made an outstanding contribution to the science and practice of orthodontics. He was a very creative thinker and a brilliant clinical orthodontist and brought considerable honour and recognition to Canada. He was one of the first orthodontists along with Dr. Charles Tweed of Tucson who considered the judicious extraction of dental units as necessary for the successful treatment and post-treatment retention of certain types of malocclusions.
In addition, another resolution was passed to establish “The George W. Grieve Lectureship in honour of our distinguished confrere”. Both resolutions related to Dr. Grieve were accepted by the C.D.A.
In July of 1950, the C.D.A. approved the formation of the “Orthodontic Section of the Canadian Dental Association” which now replaced the name “Canadian Orthodontic Association”. The Orthodontic Section would have its own constitution, elect its own officers, operate autonomously and be responsible for its own debts. Its members would be comprised of Canadian orthodontists in good standing. There were definitely benefits for the Canadian orthodontist under this arrangement with the C.D.A. As a small independent association, they would have little clout in political or national matters. As a section, they would have input into the C.D.A. who could speak for them in matters of provincial and national interest.
From the beginning, the orthodontic association established a cooperative attitude with the C.D.A. and expressed a willingness to accept its responsibilities in the dental health plans of provincial and national importance of which there are many.
The orthodontic section grew from 35 members in 1949 to 107 in 1962. A significant change was made to the constitution this year. The name of the orthodontic section was changed. The name “Orthodontic Section of the Canadian Dental Association” was changed to the “Canadian Society of Orthodontists”.
The Canadian Society of Orthodontists is the national body representing all the orthodontists of Canada and consequently has the responsibility of ensuring that all of its members have adequate training. In 1962, contemporary opinion was that a satisfactory training for orthodontists could only be obtained through Graduate Courses in Orthodontics in Dental Schools approved by the Council on Dental Education of the Canadian Dental Association. One of the optional requirements for membership, namely, preceptorship training, was no longer tenable. Accordingly, in 1965 the constitution was amended and all references to preceptor training were deleted. The following eligibility for active members was substituted, as follows:
“A person who is in the exclusive practice of Orthodontics and hence does not engage in any type of practice other than traditionally associated with the practice of Orthodontics, and who is a member in good standing of his local, provincial and national dental organization may be elected to active membership in this Society provided the applicant has been five years in the exclusive practice of Orthodontics including a successfully completed orthodontic course in an approved dental school recognized by the Canadian Dental Association with a certificate or graduate degree to that effect”.
Who is he?
Cao Cao was born in 155CE in Qiao county, Han Empire. His father Cao Song was a foster son of Cao Teng, one of the favoured eunuchs of Emperor Huan. It is said that Cao Song’s original family name was Xiahou. This makes Cao Cao related to two of his most trusted generals, Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan. His family was closely intertwined with politics, and Cao Cao studied hard, maturing into a powerfully cunning and shrewd statesman in his own right.
Cao Cao has seen emperors fall and tyrants rise, he has witnessed power grasped by the undeserving, and it is this world of chaos through which he plots a path to order. Regarded as a strategic genius, Cao Cao pursues victory at any cost, and ensures that the ends always justify the means. Though some call him ruthless, he is nevertheless mindful and considerate, maintaining agricultural garrisons to protect both his supplies and his people during troubled times.
Ingenious and merciless, he’s known as the Puppet Master and has no qualms in controlling others to fulfill his aspirations. He is a leader who dedicates himself to his ambitions and possesses a unique mindset. Caring little for status or hidebound tradition, he judges men solely on their achievements and skill, and his companions respect him for this reason. Gainsaying his reputation for ruthlessness, he looks out for his followers and treats them with generosity. Despite their rivalry, Cao Cao and Liu Bei are very similar in this regard they are both supported and trusted by the people.
Did Cao Cao say that? In what context? Is it fictional?
Who was Cao Cao? Cao Cao was the last prime minister of the Han Dynasty and usually remembered as the king of Wei, one of China's Three Kingdoms. After his death, his son toppled the Xian Emperor and established the Wei dynasty.
Why do I seriously doubt the quote? I do not know the source. I've read the whole Romance of Three Kingdoms and I do not remember him saying this.
Searching the web only shows that he supposedly said this but not the source.
I want to know more context.
Council for Airport Opportunity (CAO) is a nonprofit trade association created in 1972 in collaboration with airline companies, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Mayor’s Offices of the City of Newark, and City of New York, and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The mission of CAO is to identify and address the critical employment needs of the communities surrounding the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan airports, while at the same time responding to the hiring needs of the airport tenants and the aviation industry.
The aviation industry is responsible for over 700,000 jobs in the NY/NJ region. CAO is a bridge between individuals seeking employment in the industry and employers seeking qualified, motivated talent. Since it’s founding, CAO has placed over 65,000 local residents in aviation jobs, with no cost to the employee or employer.
CAO offers free services to our many different constituents — the residents of the localities surrounding the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan airports, businesses/employers in the aviation industry, and community partner organizations.
CAO does more than just place people in jobs. CAO’s range of services includes job training programs for unemployed individuals, summer employment opportunities for young people, hosting the Senior Community Service Employment program to train mature workers, ongoing customer service training for job seekers, and hospitality and food handling training to over 10,000 residents of the communities surrounding the metropolitan area airports. In addition, CAO New Jersey is certified to operate an Online Performance Assessment Test Center, in addition to a seasonal temporary staffing entity called Academy Staffers.
CAO is easily accessible with offices in downtown Jamaica, New York, Corona, New York, Far Rockaway, New York and Newark, New Jersey. On-site career centers operate at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport where specialized training, small group seminars, and interview sessions can be conducted.
Boundaries Are Made To Be Broken
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"Number seven, gentlemen, number seven," she calls out, trying to be heard over the din of voices and music. It is a November night at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel and Aylin Ozgener-Sherman of CAO International Inc. is handing out the company's signature cigars at the Cigar Aficionado Big Smoke. She appears at ease, but Ozgener-Sherman is anything but relaxed.
"I think I work harder for him than I would anywhere else. I have to keep on my toes constantly because I would feel very guilty if I slacked off," she says, as she hands a CAO Gold Robusto to a cigar aficionado with a No. 7 ticket. "It is a joy to work with him. I don't want to give him an ego, but he is a genius. He is an incredible entrepreneur. I go to him for as much advice as possible. I've learned how to work with people from him."
The "him" is her father, Cano (pronounced JOHN-no) Aret Ozgener, the founder of CAO, a Nashville-based company that is known in the tobacco industry for its cigars, meerschaum pipes and handcrafted humidors. The 26-year-old Ozgener-Sherman is the national sales manager for the company, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.Cano Ozgener's home office is a testament to his Turkish background and his company's history: handwoven Turkish carpets grace the floors, and glass and wood cabinets display his collection of vintage meerschaum pipes. Seated behind his seventeenth-century French desk, Ozgener leans forward, steeples his fingers and discusses the past three decades and the close working rapport that he has with his two children, Aylin and Murat, his 28-year-old son, who is CAO's national marketing manager and a stand-up comic in Los Angeles.
"I am very happy that my children are working in this," Ozgener says, "[However,] I would not suggest to anybody that they take their daughter or son and make them work for them. It is the wrong thing to do. In our case, it is working because of the chemistry. I employed Aylin because she can do the job. The fact that she is in the family made it better. The same thing [goes] for Murat."
It is obvious that the Ozgeners share a special bond. They constantly tease one another and laugh with each other, especially when Murat imitates his father. But don't be misled by the carefree attitude: when it comes to the company, the trio is serious.
"Business is business CAO is my business. It is another one of my children," Ozgener says. "We don't feature any product that has problems. I am not after numbers. We don't have stockholders to satisfy, so that takes a lot of pressure off. An important thing is longevity and CAO has shown that. It is really important to a consumer and tobacconist. But it takes time and money."
It was those ingredients, as well as dedication and hard work, that catapulted CAO from a small-town player in the tobacco business to a global company, distributing products from Canada to Malaysia.
"It is critical for us to have long-range views and to remain strong in the industry," says Aylin. "We haven't been around like Davidoff and some of the other companies have. It is your product and you are trying to get people to try it that is why we work so hard on PR and promotions."
Ozgener's interest in tobacco began on the banks of the Bosphorus. Born on January 19, 1937, Ozgener was raised in his birthplace of Istanbul, Turkey, by his Armenian parents. His father was a jeweler, his mother a homemaker. He studied at a Jesuit French grammar school before being accepted into the American-run Roberts College in Istanbul, from which he received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1960.
As a student in Turkey, Ozgener enjoyed smoking pipes, especially those made from meerschaum, a white, clay-like magnesium silicate. But it wasn't until he came to the States to study mechanical engineering in 1961 as a Columbia University graduate student that he enjoyed the pleasures of a cigar. He and his friends would go to the movies in New York's Times Square, but first they would stop at a tobacconist to pick up cigars. "Of course, they were Cuban cigars, pre-embargo Cubans," recalls Ozgener. "At that point we took the cigars and went to the theater and smoked our cigars while watching the movies. Nobody objected. Things have changed so much since that time."
In 1961, he met a fellow Columbia student and Turkish immigrant, Esen Sever. They fell in love and married in New York City three years later.
After receiving his master's degree in 1962, Ozgener worked for two years as an assistant to Columbia engineering professor Theodore Baumeister, who was a cigar and pipe smoker. While cowriting a mechanical engineering handbook, Baumeister and his young apprentice would savor cigars. Ozgener began to love the aroma and flavor of the tobacco.
Graduating from Columbia in 1964 with a professional engineering degree, Ozgener was recruited by DuPont to work in the firm's Kinston, North Carolina, plant. It was during his stint in the textile division at the age of 27 that he came across some imperfect Turkish meerschaum pipes. In his spare time, he decided to use his engineering abilities to improve the pipes.
"I was not happy with the quality of Turkish meerschaum. The tobacconists were not happy with them. So I used to take the meerschaums and change the stems, make modifications and work with the carvers to improve them," Ozgener says. "One day, Chauncey Dean Jr. [of Beehive Tobacconist] in Wilmington, Delaware, asked me where I got the meerschaum, that he had never seen such quality, and I told him that I had modified them. So he ordered a dozen or two from me. Then he introduced me to Bill Fader [owner of Fader's tobacconist in Baltimore and now executive director of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America (RTDA)] and Bill Martin [the late owner of W. Curtis Draper tobacconist in Washington, D.C.], and that was how CAO was formed." The two tobacco veterans helped him make contacts in the industry and sell his products.
Ozgener kept his engineering job as he built his company. He worked constantly his vacations from DuPont were spent attending tobacco conventions, which left little time to relax with his wife and two young children. Finally, in 1977, he left his engineering position to devote more attention to his growing business and to spend more time with his family. The tobacco business was slow then, but he doesn't regret his decision. "I couldn't handle both of them at the same time. At the time the pipe business was still a small business and I was making a beautiful salary at DuPont," he says. "Then in 1980, the tobacco business started to decline. We were not really making money. We went into a dormant situation. Then we just waited for the market to come back again."
In the meantime, the cigar industry came back with a bang. To capitalize on the increasing popularity of cigars in the early 1990s and because he believed a market for quality humidors existed, Ozgener launched his own line. In 1992, he purchased several dozen nineteenth-century wooden jewelry and writing boxes at an antiques convention and converted them into humidors, lining them with Spanish cedar and installing his own state-of-the-art humidification system. The humidors were an instant hit at the RTDA convention.
Because well-maintained antique boxes were rare and expensive, Ozgener began to create humidors from scratch. Employing Nashville-based artisans Todd Boyce and Lanie Gannon, Ozgener introduced his Boyce and Lanie humidor collections in 1993 and 1997, respectively.
"My commitment [with the humidors] was to bring up artisans who live in this country," he says. "I didn't want to go to another country, because these people [here] need employment and if my generation doesn't provide that for them, then who will?"
In 1993, Ozgener entered the cigar market. After learning the art of cigar making from books, people in the industry and trade shows, Ozgener enlisted the help of Honduran cigarmaker Nestor Plasencia and Nicaraguan tobacco grower Carlos Toraño. The trio worked for more than two years developing and modifying a cigar that would bear the CAO initials. The company introduced its Honduran cigar line to tobacco retailers at the RTDA convention in 1995.
"I was one of the first people to go to Honduras [for cigars]. Everybody was trying to [set up] production [in] the Dominican Republic and there were really good rollers in Honduras," Ozgener says. "We were getting samples from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic and we were testing these on what I call my 'young Turks,' people between the ages of 25 and 40. The cigar movement is generated by the young people, therefore, I wanted to make a cigar that was acceptable to them. We tried different cigars we modified them and we found that the taste of the cigar from Honduras was the one that everybody agreed on."
When it came time to manufacture the cigars, Ozgener says, "I went with Plasencia because he had the production [capability] at the time and he had a good organization. He had the correct vision for us."
In 1996, CAO introduced its Nicaraguan cigar line. The CAO Gold Robusto, made at Plasencia's Estelí, Nicaragua, factory, has scored highly in Cigar Aficionado ratings (it received an 89 in the August 1997 issue). While some experts have judged the Gold to be superior to his Honduran line, Ozgener vehemently opposes any such distinction. "The fact that it is called 'Gold' doesn't mean that the Nicaraguan is better than the Honduran," he says. "The tastes are different. It is like if you have espresso and a regular American coffee. To me both of [the cigar blends] are my cigars, are my children, and it is like comparing one child to another."
Comparing is something that Ozgener doesn't like to do, especially with his children. While their father speaks about CAO's history, Murat and Aylin sit attentively, cracking jokes or contributing to the conversation from time to time. When asked if there is any competition between them or if their father compares them to each other, both emphatically deny any friction.
"He [Murat] works part-time for CAO and part-time at comedy and I have a greater role in the office," Aylin says.
"It is really refreshing to work with your father when you are 2,000 miles away," Murat quips. In a more serious vein, he adds, "I am a little removed from the office so I am a little more independent. But whenever he or Aylin come out to Los Angeles, I always take them around so that people get to see what we are all about. We are not about egos, we are not about showing off. We are just trying to be who we are and do something that represents the product the best we can."
From an early age, Murat and Aylin helped their father in his business. As they watched their favorite television programs, the two youngsters attached stems or CAO stickers to pipes. When they were older, their father took them to visit the meerschaum carvers to observe them at their craft. They learned how a tobacco business operated, which would help them when they joined their father's company.
"When I started working full time in 1996, I helped mainly in sales and I helped with shipping--whatever needed to be done," Aylin says. "In a small company that is growing, you really have to play a part in many different categories. I grew to love the industry--the cigars and the people. I love working with retailers and distributors. It is good because you are mixing business with pleasure."
"I got into the business basically to pay off a debt on a car I totaled," Murat says, half-joking. "When it came time for me to go to college, I wanted to be an actor. The school that I wanted to go to was USC, in Los Angeles, because that is where the film industry is. They accepted me as one of 25 auditionees out of 500. I was out there and going through my training. I finished and then my father asked me, 'Why don't you go visit Gus' Smoke Shop' [in Sherman Oaks, California]? And the owner of Gus' would say, 'Cano, what are you doing sending me this guy in shorts who would rather be surfing?'"
But there has been no time to surf. The business has grown tremendously in the past five years. Today, CAO employs 15 people in its Nashville office. Approxi-mately 50 people craft humidors in Tennessee and almost 300 people make meerschaum pipes in Eskisehii, Turkey, for CAO. Cigars are the biggest chunk of the company's business, at 50 percent, with humidors at 40 percent and pipes at 10 percent.
Cano hopes to expand the enterprise even more. "We are optimistic and expect our cigar business to grow 30 to 100 percent [in the next two years]," he says. "I am an aggressive person. I prefer to double it and I think it is possible. There is some resistance to humidors because there are so many good, quality humidors out there and, of course, humidors don't burn, so you have a finite [market for] them. But there is a potential in growth for both meerschaum and briar pipes."
The Ozgeners would eventu-ally like to distribute their own brand of pipe tobacco. But for now, they are concentrating their energies on a 30th anniversary cigar, to be unveiled at the RTDA convention this August in Nashville. They won't say too much about the brand except that it will be a full-bodied limited-production cigar.
"We are considering a few factories at this point," Ozgener says. "There are a number of factories that can make good cigars. It has a high-quality wrapper and an interesting binder and filler. To me, puros [cigars made from the tobacco of a single country] are not important. My purity comes from the best flavors. If I can find a wrapper from Cameroon, and I am not saying that it is from Cameroon, and combine it with Nicaraguan filler and Honduran binder, then it is OK. What I am after is exceptional-quality tobacco, and that is why I have been working very hard the last few months."
CAO has also been working hard at public relations and promotions. Its PR campaign has been so successful that CAO humidors have appeared in such movies as Silent Fall and The American President, and one of its meerschaum pipes was used in The Freshman. The company's cigars were featured at high-profile events such as Fox Sports' parties for the 1997 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the 1998 NHL Hockey All-Star Game. In addition, CAO crafted custom-made humidors expressly for the 1997 National Basketball Association champion Chicago Bulls.
"It was a joint idea [between Bulls management, ring manufacturer Jostens and CAO]. This was the first time that the championship ring was offered in a humidor," Ozgener says. "One of my ideas was to make humidors with team logos on them. [Jostens] said, 'Let's have samples [of humidors] and we'll see about something.' They presented the idea to the Bulls [and they accepted] and then we worked with the ring manufacturer and the Chicago Bulls organization. We even put cigars in the humidors for the team."
CAO promotes its products in other ways as well, but not always with unanimous approval. The company received some flak for its controversial ad campaign, which features cigar-smoking semi-nude or all-nude women models, hands and legs strategically placed. While some people in the business don't like the campaign, Cano Ozgener defends it.
"We wanted to be on the cutting edge," he explains. "I gave him [David Ravandi, the ad designer] free opportunity. He came out with the first version of the advertisement and I showed it around the office, and almost everybody didn't like it. Aylin hated it and my wife threatened me with a divorce. Only two people liked it: Murat and me. We went with that ad. And we got unsolicited remarks like 'Your ad is beautiful.' When that happened, it was an eye opener."
Though CAO may push the boundaries with its advertising, it will never compromise its integrity, says Aylin. "We have stringent quality controls," she says. "We have been in the humidor business for about seven years now, and if you look at a humidor we made in the beginning versus now, it's a real difference. And the cigars, too. From our first batch until now there is a definite improvement."
The commitment to quality has made CAO a success, accor-ding to Cano. Now 61, he looks back on his life with pride and a sense of accomplishment. "To be able to do something that you like as a business is great. I have my son and daughter working with me and young people working for us, so I am contributing something to the younger generation and I am contributing something to this country also."
His children share their father's sentiments. "We have always believed in supporting people," Aylin says. "Even at those times when sales were downhill and the tobacco industry was in need of something to help boost it, he would still support the carvers. He never put anybody out of business and did not fire anybody. That is something that I respect and something that I learned: not to get into something just to make more money, but to help the same people that have helped you."
Murat adds: "When I go and try to push products, it almost isn't about making money, it is about wanting to continue this thing that my father started. When I talk about my father and how he started this company, I feel a degree of pride. Some people say, 'It is cool that you feel this way about your father.' I am proud of what he started and I want it to be strong. It is great when you have that sort of feeling and a sort of reciprocal feeling, too, in a family business."
Cao Cao was born in a remote village in a mountain in China to a traditional family of farmers. One day after getting lost in the mountain while playing with his friends, he encountered a monster he heard about in stories. Faced with death, he summoned the True Longinus for the first time and slew the monster. Half a year later he would meet Sun Wukong who would reveal his ancestor Cao Cao to him. After being sold by his parents to strange men, he ran away from home but was chased down by men wielding weapons, human traffickers and wild animals.
A few years on the run, he left China for another country and would learn how to use True Longinus and come to know it is a Longinus and one of the Holy Relics. He abandoned his birth name for the name of the hero "Cao Cao". Returning home, he learned of his parents' death due to a huge amount of debt in money and left thereafter to form the Hero Faction, becoming acquainted with Indra through Sun at some point.
Cao Cao was one of the greatest generals of the late Han dynasty in China
Cao Cao, often known as Mengde, was one of the greatest generals of the late Han dynasty in China.
As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei, and was posthumously honored as “Emperor Wu of Wei”.
Cao Cao appeals to the powerful warlords of the Han.
Cao Cao was born in the state of Qiao in 155 CE. He was the son of Cao Song, a foster son of Cao Teng, who in turn was one of the favorite eunuchs of Emperor Huan.
Cao was initially a minor garrison commander and rose to prominence as a general when he suppressed the Yellow Turban Rebellion, which threatened the last years of Han rule.
Cao Cao cites a poem before the Battle of Red Cliffs, portrait at the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing. Photo Credit
A Qing Dynasty illustration showing a victory over Cao Cao for Lu Bu and his army.
According to China Highlights, during his long political career, he helped to defeat the Yellow Turban rebellion, gained power in Wei, defeated a powerful army with a much smaller force, gained control of the dynastic court, lost the legendary Battle of Red Cliffs, and promoted policies to help his territory to prosper.
Fresco of a tomb in Luoyang dated to the Cao Wei period (220-265 AD), showing seated men wearing Hanfu silk robes. Photo Credit
Known as an illustrious poet, Cao Cao wrote a list of poetry anthologies. His poems were deeply influenced by the Yuefu Poem pattern while being more creative in content.
Therefore, his poems, as well as those of his two talented poet sons Cao Pi and Cao Zhi, began a new style of Jian An literature.
A mask of Cao Cao in Chinese opera.
While historical records indicate Cao Cao was a brilliant ruler, he was represented as a cunning and deceitful man in Chinese opera, where his character is given exaggerated facial makeup to reflect his treacherous personality.
Statue of Cao Cao in Wuhan. Photo Credit
Cao Cao died in Luoyang at the age of 65, having failed to unify China under his rule. His eldest surviving son, Cao Pi, succeeded him. Within a year, Cao Pi proclaimed himself the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei.