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THE CHARM OF A RAINY DAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 1, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– The idea is to relax, right?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

NOTE: The following is an excerpt from my book, “Tim’s Senior Moments,” a great gift idea for parents this holiday season.

rainyRecently, we were supposed to have a rainy day on a Saturday here in Tampa Bay. Not just a little rain, but according to forecasters, a real soaker with thunderstorms lasting all day. Such precipitation is unusual for Florida. Sure, we have our share of hurricanes, but not your basic rainy day as experienced by northerners. Usually, it rains for about an hour before clearing up and the sun shines though.

I was really looking forward to the day as I wanted to catch up on some sleep and do some minor odds and ends around the house, maybe even read a book if I was lucky. As a child growing up in the north, I relished such days as we stayed inside and played cards or held marathon Monopoly sessions.

I heard thunder in the distance before sunrise, causing me to snuggle down further into bed instead of getting up, retrieving the newspaper, and having breakfast. The bacon and eggs could wait, my sleep couldn’t. I had found the perfect spot and burrowed in deeper. An hour went by, then two; the thunder dissipated in the distance, but still no rain. So far, the weather forecasters were batting zero.

I slowly got up, and went for the paper. Outside, it was quiet with no sign of moisture. In fact, it looked like it was going to be a nice day. After breakfast, I performed a little cleanup and prepared myself for the day as it seemed obvious this was going to be a regular day. So much for my sleep and relaxation.

I then went to the supermarket and did the grocery shopping for the week. It’s kind of nice going to the store early in the morning before the other patrons descend on it like a pack of locust. The shelves were amply stocked and few people were clogging the aisles. I finished the shopping in no time at all. Still, there was no sign of precipitation.

After dropping off the groceries at home, I decided to fill the car with gas and have it washed, usually a sure way to entice the rain gods. Again, nothing happened.

I returned home and seeing overcast but no menacing clouds, I decided to mow the lawn, another good way to attract rain, kind of like performing a rain dance. Alas, nothing happened. After edging, trimming, mowing and blowing, I was finally done and ready to relax. However, I first needed a shower as I had become sweaty and dirty.

So, what should I do for the remainder of the day? Go shoot some trap? Perhaps throw a fishing line off a pier or just go down to the beach. Or maybe hit a bucket of golf balls? I figured I would get in my newly cleaned car and just go and see where it took me. But just as the garage door opened…BOOM! The skies opened up and we were deluged with rain. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

So, what to do? I was clean, my chores were done and I was ready to have some fun, but now what? Before you could say, “Hurricane Elena,” I found myself in bed under the covers, which is where I wanted to be seven hours earlier.

I thought, “ah, finally!” And I again snuggled down for a much deserved nap. But just before I lost consciousness, I heard the rain stop, sunshine began to come through the window, and the birds began to chirp again outside. It was then that I made a solemn oath never to listen to weather forecasters again. They lie.

First published: May 6, 2016

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016, 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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THANKSGIVING & THE LOVES OF OUR LIVES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 23, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Celebrating the many loves in our lives.

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thanks2Thanksgiving is a favorite of mine and I have written about it on numerous occasions (see below). It’s more than just the food, it’s about being around friends and family. It’s the telling of a joke or story, a fond memory, and a glass of cheer. All of this reflects on the love we have for those who surround us, to wit –

THE LOVES OF OUR LIVES

Throughout our lives we touch a lot of people.

Before you are born, you are the twinkle in your father’s eye.

When you are born, you warm your grandmothers’ hearts.

When you are a toddler, you are the apple of your mother’s eye.

When you are in grade school, you become the buddy of your grandfathers.

You form bonds with family and friends that often lasts a lifetime.

When you play well in a game, you are celebrated by your teammates.

As you enter your clumsy teenage years, you are the scourge of your parents,

But when you graduate from school, you are their pride.

As a young adult, you finally meet the love of your life.

When you marry, your mother is delighted but your father shed’s a tear.

When you have children of your own, your friends and family rejoice.

When you succeed at work, you are the toast of your business associates.

As you retire, you surround yourself with old friends and reminisce.

And when you are gone, you reside in the recesses of our loved ones’ memories, all of whom you have touched.

Each person touches many lives, not only receiving love but passing it on to others as well.

And when we gather around the Thanksgiving table, let us give thanks for the blessings we have and the love we share.

Happy Thanksgiving.

My other columns on Thanksgiving:

* Tim’s 2017 Thanksgiving Grace (Huffington Post, 11/22/2017)

* How not to cook a Thanksgiving Dinner (11/23/2016)

* A Thanksgiving Moment (11/27/2013)

* What are we giving Thanks to? (11/20/2012)

First published: November 26, 2019

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART I

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 16, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A personal look at what goes on during such a fight.

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tbliver1I’ve got cancer; Stage 2 liver cancer to be precise. I’ve been sitting on this piece of news for some time now and have only shared it with family and close personal friends as I didn’t want to be awash in sympathy cards and notes through social media; I still don’t want to hear it. I’m going to beat this devil, which is probably what every person diagnosed with some form of cancer says, but I think I have a good medical team in place and I am optimistic. I am therefore writing this to let people know what it is like to go through this process, what goes through a patient’s head, and hopefully help someone along the way.

Years ago, I wrote a column titled, “Cancer, the Big Kahuna” of diseases which described the various forms of the disease. Since then, I have lost a lot of friends to the many forms of it, e.g., pancreatic, lung, brain, and more. Each had a unique experience in their battle with it. I realize there is no super-cure for cancer, but we have still made considerable progress during my lifetime. As of this writing, I am in my 67th year on this planet and there is still a lot I want to do with my life, but I am now mindful I have a problem and will watch the clock carefully.

What triggered all this was a routine review of my blood by my primary care physician who informed me my platelet count was falling. According to the National Cancer Institute, “a platelet is a tiny, disc-shaped piece of cell that is found in the blood and spleen. Platelets are pieces of very large cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. They help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding and to help wounds heal. Having too many or too few platelets or having platelets that don’t work as they should can cause problems. Checking the number of platelets in the blood may help diagnose certain diseases or conditions.”

To check on this, I was turned over to a specialist who ordered a biopsy of my bone marrow as produced from my hip. As it turned out, I was producing a lot of good blood, but something was eating up the platelets. This resulted in a series of tests, including an MRI, CTscan, and another biopsy on my liver. After all this, I was called in to speak to the doctor who broke “the news” to me. He was all business and “matter-of-fact” in his demeanor, and I appreciated his brutal honesty and professionalism, even though this wasn’t the news I hoped to hear. I learned a long time ago in business of the necessity of not sugar-coating anything of a serious nature. Political correctness be damned.

As I drove home, “the news” started to sink in and I found myself in a Twilight Zone or fog, wondering how the hell I got cancer. It was a very odd feeling, particularly since I feel pretty healthy right now.

There was no real history of cancer in my family, other than my maternal grandmother who fought and lost to cervical cancer, but neither my mother or father had any trace of the disease. I was asked if I had any exposure to Hepatitis C or a dirty needle; none to my knowledge. I was also asked if I used excessive alcohol; I said “No” as I consider myself a social drinker. The only other possibility was that I had become rather heavy years ago which may have created a “fatty liver” which would lead to cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer. For those of you who remember, I threw off considerable weight some time ago. I also stopped drinking a few weeks ago after hearing “the news,” which is helping me to lose weight.

Another thing I thought about while traveling home was Mickey Mantle, the legendary New York Yankee slugger who I revered as a kid. In 1995 he succumbed to an aggressive case of liver cancer. The doctors tried to give him a donor liver to solve the problem, but this didn’t occur. This too passed through my mind. Something else, for five years I was the primary caregiver for both my wife and mother who lost their battles to COPD. I find it rather ironic that I am now the patient and not the caregiver, something I never thought would happen.

The first thing I did when I got home was to “circle the wagons.” I reviewed the results with my former primary care physician who retired a couple of years ago and lives nearby. He read through the documentation carefully and clarified a few things my doctor had mentioned to me. I also reviewed it with a friend who is a retired Oncologist. He too confirmed the findings of my Doctor. I consider myself to be fortunate to have two friends from the medical community who could coach me accordingly.

As mentioned, I notified family and friends about my condition which surprised just about everyone. I asked them to keep this quiet while I tried to sort out what to do. One was a breast cancer survivor who fought her battle just a couple of years ago, so she was particularly sympathetic with my plight. My immediate family was very supportive, but I am determined not to let this have an adverse effect on their lives.

As some of you may know, I lost my wife almost two years ago. Recently though, a lady friend has entered my life who also fought and beat breast cancer about five years ago. She has been a tower of strength to lean on and I appreciate her candor on the subject. This group represents my safety net which I think is natural for humans to create as we want as much advice as possible

One of the first tasks I performed after learning of “the news” was to have my will and related estate paperwork updated. I had not reviewed the documents since we left Cincinnati in 1985. As good as it was, it still needed some updating which a local attorney handled promptly. He also helped me prepare a Power of Attorney, and a living will. This is something I should have been more mindful of, but finally put it to bed.

Following the initial shock, I then underwent a battery of tests and visited specialists who confirmed my diagnosis and discussed various treatments. The tests revealed the tumors were localized in the liver and not spreading. I also discovered how liver cancer is treated is not quite the same as with other forms of the disease. For example, chemotherapy is not applicable in this case. A liver transplant is one option, but I was told mine should be handled differently. In addition, surgery could be used to cut out the tumors and the liver can grow back. Unfortunately, in my situation, there would be a lot to cut out and my liver would never recover. The final treatment, and the one I will be undergoing, is to go in with vascular surgery and cut the blood vessels in the liver feeding the tumors, thereby killing them. So, the lesson learned here was: keep an open mind and consider all options. My doctor friends, as mentioned earlier, agreed this was the right road for me to take.

It is unlikely the surgeon would get 100% of everything on the first pass, so I might have to undergo the same treatment a second (or third) time until it has all been eradicated.

So, how do I feel about all this prior to embarking on my therapy? At first I was a bit in shock. As I said, physically I feel fine right now which caused me to disbelieve I have a problem. Then you ask yourself, “Why me?” Once you get past this stage you start focusing on the problem with a clearer head. More than anything, I appreciate the professionalism of my medical team. This has given me a sense of confidence and optimism.

Am I scared? I suppose I should be, but I have lived a good life, have seen a lot of the world, met a lot of people, and I’m proud of my family. Instead of being scared though, I have been preparing myself mentally as if I was going into a football game much like when I was a young man. I am not so much concerned facing a formidable opponent and getting hurt, but I am now focused on beating my enemy on his home turf. I realize pain will be part of the game, but I believe I can take it. Frankly, I like my odds of winning.

One last thing I’ve noticed since my diagnosis. The next day, I went to a local family-style restaurant I frequent and ordered my meal. Across the room in a booth, an argument erupted between a husband and wife. From what I gathered, it had something to do with simply keeping the house clean. It turned rather loud and nasty with a few choice expletives thrown in for good measure. To me, it seemed blown out of proportion. I just looked on in disbelief at the rage over something rather innocuous as cleaning a house. It was then that I realized we as humans tend to worry about the wrong things.

Now on to the next stage: implementation, which will occur shortly.

Remember this: all of this was triggered by a simple and routine blood test.

Again, please no sympathy cards or notes. A little prayer wouldn’t hurt though.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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JOE BIDEN’S COAT TAILS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 9, 2021

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Bad news for the Democrats as we approach the 2022 mid-terms.

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The recent election on November 2nd was a small, off-year contest. Yet, it was a major victory for Republicans and gives us a sense of what to expect in 2022 and 2024. During the election, the key Virginia positions went to the Republicans, including the governor’s mansion, and it appears the State House is reverting back to GOP control. This news is significant as Virginia was a highly contested state, one which the Democrats were determined to control. Other contests included several House seats which switched back to Republican control, and Minneapolis voters rejected the notion of replacing the police with a public safety department, something Democrats have been fighting for. However, Virginia alone has put the Democrats and their News Media into a panic mode.

All of this adds up to several things:

First, Americans are rejecting the liberal agenda of the Democrats, and prefer common sense solutions and smaller government. In Virginia, the key was school curriculum and the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT). This resulted in vocal school board meetings and President Biden labeling concerned parents as “Domestic Terrorists,” something that enraged the parents. Beyond this, Virginia became a referendum on the national priorities of the President and the Democrats.

The timing of the Democrats couldn’t be worse. After being elected with 81 million votes, which was touted as the most ever cast for a presidential candidate, Biden’s popularity shrunk radically in just nine short months to a 36% approval rating according to Zogby. Quinnipiac University has him at 38%, while Gallup and NBC have him at 42%, which is also low. Further, more than two-thirds of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, including half of the Democrats. Rasmussen supports this by claiming only 29% think the country is headed in the right direction. All of this is an indictment of President Biden’s policies and the liberal agenda embraced by the Democrats.

During the Virginia race, President Biden, VP Kamala Harris, and former President Obama, campaigned vigorously, all for naught. Instead of concentrating on the Virginia school problem, they opted instead to draw a parallel between former President Trump and Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, hoping they could touch on the anger issues of the 2020 election. Interestingly, it did not, and in the end, it cost former Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe the election.

This means President Biden has no coat tails for Democrats to ride on as we approach the critical 2022 mid-term election, which will likely put the Congress back in Republican hands. In other words, his endorsement would mean the kiss of death to Democrats running for office, and they will find themselves alone, fighting for re-election. To take it further, I cannot imagine President Biden running for re-election in 2024, and there is nobody on the horizon to replace him, certainly not Vice President Harris.

Frankly, Democrats should be unnerved by the results of the 2021 election as it foretells the future. The Democrats simply went too far, too fast in pushing their agenda. Between inflation and the economy, illegal immigration, energy, and foreign affairs, the Biden administration has not enjoyed any success by any stretch of the imagination, and Americans are pushing back in the voting booth. Consider this, GOP candidate Youngkin was at a 10 point deficit just a couple of months ago, yet he hung on, rallied the state and won handily as governor. Basically, he has carved a template for other Republicans to follow in 2022.

Yes, this is how unhappy Americans are with the Democrat agenda and President Joe Biden.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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SEND IN THE MILITARY…

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 2, 2021

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– …to fix our supply-chain problems.

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We’re hearing a lot about a massive supply chain problem whereby we do not have enough port workers and truck drivers to unload and ship materials throughout the country. Imports are radically up, and exports lag woefully behind, a telltale sign of problems with trade and the economy. Experts claim this supply chain problem will have an adverse effect on our upcoming holiday shopping season. To compensate, the Biden Administration proudly announced a deal to keep certain ports open around the clock, but the fact remains there are worker shortages.

Let’s be clear, under normal circumstances we would have enough longshoremen and truck drivers to maintain the supply chain, but these are unusual times. To illustrate, inflation is up, and as Bloomberg reports, “It now costs as much as $25,000 to import a 40-foot container from Asia, up from less than $2,000 two years ago.” The fact fuel has spiraled upwards since the beginning of the year also adds to the cost of living.

Nonetheless, we now have bottlenecks at our ports to accept imports, (with empty ships leaving with our exports), and we have an immediate need for manpower. The most obvious remedy is to use the military for both unloading ships and trucking. Some might argue this is a waste of military talent. Not really, as they have been doing such tasks for a long time. Nor is it without precedent.

I find it interesting most Americans have already forgotten President Ronald Reagan’s problem with FAA air-traffic controllers back in 1981. As a quick history lesson, this occurred just seven months into Reagan’s first term. At the time, the Professional Air-Traffic Controllers Association (PATCO) had gone on strike over wanting federal pay increases and a shorter work week. Almost immediately, this caused pandemonium in commercial flight schedules with many delays and cancellations. This brought the country to the brink of closing down air transportation.

Angered, President Reagan warned the members of PATCO to return to work or face termination. The union defiantly resisted, thereby causing Reagan to fire over 11,000 air-traffic controllers. Further, these people became ineligible to be re-hired. Now, without air-traffic controllers, the President called on the military to replace the union until new controllers could be found. It was a slow process, which affected business worldwide, but proved to be an effective means to solve the problem. Flights resumed and the country returned to normal.

This is precisely the type of action we need today. We may not have a defiant union to deal with, but we do have an immediate crunch-problem in terms of workers. If the Biden Administration is serious about fixing the problem, bringing in the military on an interim basis is a no-brainer. Think about it; what is the point of opening up our ports 24/7 if we lack the manpower to unload the ships and truck the merchandise? That is like buying a gun without any bullets; it’s totally useless.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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WHO IS RUNNING THE SHOW?

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 26, 2021

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Obviously not President Biden.

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It is not much of a secret that President Biden’s approval ratings are tanking. His policies on the economy, immigration, and foreign affairs has led to his decline. In front of the press, he shows all of the signs of an old man in his dotage, e.g., lost, confused, lethargic, etc. His cognitive ability is now in question, as reflected in a recent Pew Research Poll (9/23/2021) whereby 56% of those surveyed thought the President was NOT mentally sharp. Even the foreign press openly questions his ability as leader of the free world, such as the Australian media (click HERE for another video).

All of this makes you wonder, who is really running the government? Personally, I believe it is a group of young administrators, fresh out of college, who possess a zeal for the liberal agenda.

Having junior people run things is actually not uncommon. To illustrate, in the medical field, particularly hospitals, doctors and nurses spend an inordinate amount of time inputting data into computers as opposed to treating patients. This means they spend less time practicing medicine, and more time fulfilling government mandated bureaucracy. So, who spends most of the time caring for patients? The junior people who do not have the knowledge and experience of the doctors and nurses. Because they are not burdened with the minutia as prescribed by government, they become the primary care workers by default, which is a bit unsettling when you think about it. The same is true in any business or government institution, particularly something as large as the United States.

The White House is primarily run by the Executive Office of the President (EOP), as created by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. The office has traditionally been home to the President’s closest advisors and run by the President’s Chief of Staff who is currently Ron Klain, an attorney, a loyal Democrat consultant, and a former lobbyist. Prior to his current assignment, he had been Chief of Staff for Al Gore and Joe Biden (under Obama). He also actively worked as a senior advisor to Biden’s presidential campaign. All of this means he is well connected to the Democrat machine and helped recruit the remaining office employees, of which there are approximately 1,800 with an annual budget of $714 million.

The EOP staff likely includes two types of people: retreads from the Obama administration who carry forward the former president’s policies, and; new zealous young prople advancing the liberal agenda. I believe it is this group, the EOP staff, who is driving the country and making the hard decisions.

The President’s senior EOP advisors work in the West Wing of the White House. The remainder are housed in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, just a stone’s throw away from the Oval Office.

Also keep in mind the EOP has counterparts in the Congress where there are approximately 13,500 staffers, of which in both chambers there are…

7,405 – Democrat staffers
6,148 – Republican staffers
13,553 – Total

The average age of a Congressional staffer is between 32-33 years. As in the medical analogy mentioned earlier, it is these people who perform the legwork and heavy lifting for the Congressmen and Senators who are busy campaigning, attending committee meetings, traveling, talking to constituents, lobbyists, and the news media.

Between the EOP and the Congressional staffers, it is these young people who are running the show in Washington. Such people historically did the busy work for their bosses, thereby allowing them to concentrate on big picture items. However, based on the President’s apparent lack of mental acuity, it appears someone is propping him up and making the decisions for him, most likely Chief-of-Staff Ron Klain and the EOP. They are likely getting input from former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State John Kerry, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, representing the liberal agenda.

The fact President Biden cannot seem to stand on his own two feet without committing some gaffes is disheartening and cause for concern. In a way, it is reminiscent of a Star Trek episode, “Patterns of Force,” whereby a weak and aging world leader becomes a puppet as his staff works behind the scenes to implement their agenda, not his. The comparison is uncanny.

To me, all of this means it is time to call a Constitutional Convention whereby our governing rules can be reexamined and amended accordingly. This would take important decisions out of the hands of the Congress and put them in a specially appointed delegation with members from each state. Such a Congress has not been held since 1787 (over 200 years). Think about it, this would be an opportunity to reform our electoral process, introduce term limits to eliminate the concept of lifetime politicians, lobbyist reform, and more. If you are waiting for the Congress to make such changes, don’t hold your breath. It will never happen, and more people will arise to the presidency as puppets.

For more information on a Constitutional Congress, see Article V of the Constitution.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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TEACHING SELF-INITIATIVE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 21, 2021

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Where have the inquiring minds gone?

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I have an old friend who has become a well recognized illustrator and now teaches illustration for an art school in the northeast. I am certain you have seen his work over the years in a variety of magazines and books. As an illustrator, he is used to working alone quietly in his studio. As a teacher though, he has to work with a lot of college-aged kids who often tests his patience.

Knowing my background in human behavior in the business world, he calls me now and then to lament about the attitudes of his students. Remarkably, his comments are not any different than what I hear from managers in the business world. Specifically, he complains his students show no sign of personal initiative to learn, solve problems, and try new things, but rather want to be spoon-fed by the teaching staff. They have trouble innovating, adapting, and overcoming hurdles. True, they need to listen to the teachers, but there are few willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. This is perhaps my friend’s biggest challenge, to motivate them to think on their own, something all illustrators and artists must do in order to survive. If the student is unwilling to show initiative, he/she will likely fail not just the course, but professionally as well.

The same is true in business. We are looking for people who exhibit “self-initiative,” something few young people seem to have anymore. For our consulting company, when we hired a young person, we would say something like, “Look, you’re a grown-up now; you’re suppose to be a professional. In this company, we believe in self-supervision. As a small company, we do not have time to supervise you 24/7. We’ll train you accordingly, but we have no time for holding your hand. If we have to hold your hand, we cannot use you.” We were very up-front about this. The young people either sank or swam after hearing this. Most appreciated the fact we were treating them like professionals. We quickly parted company with those who didn’t, and found a replacement rather quickly. At least we didn’t waste too much time on those who couldn’t assimilate into our corporate culture.

This attitude of developing a dependency on another is a byproduct of two things: parental coddling, and micromanagement, whereby nobody is allowed to do anything without the personal approval of the boss. Basically, they are saying, “Don’t think, I know what is best, just do as I say.” This inhibits the initiative of the employee, hinders loyalty, and slows progress. Workers must be able to voice their opinion on work assignments.

We have always found it more effective to “manage from the bottom-up,” meaning the boss should develop the required skills of his people to perform the work, create a productive work environment, give precise instructions for job assignments, and get out of their way. The staff should routinely report to the manager on progress. Other than that, the manager should stay out of the way unless a problem occurs effecting schedules and budgets.

This “managing from the bottom-up” approach has proven very effective over the years as it encourages more management and less supervision, which is the antithesis of micromanagement. Some workers resist the concept simply because they do not want to be held accountable for their actions and prefer to be told what to do, thereby eluding responsibility.

This, of course, leads us back to my friend’s problem with his students. What is needed is to state his position at the start of the term; i.e., “Look, you’re a grown-up now; hopefully, you’re going to be a professional soon. In this school, we believe in self-supervision. We do not have time to supervise you 24/7. We’ll train you accordingly, but we have no time for holding your hand. If we have to hold your hand, you will likely fail this course.”

One other thing I would suggest to my friend, as well as others; provide time for the students/workers to meet and work through problems as a collective group, preferably a short meeting at the start of the day. Let the students/workers each discuss their problems and solicit suggestions and critiques from their peers. Teachers and managers should participate as moderators only. Let the workers do the talking and force them to find the way to solve problems.

Such meetings improve the socialization skills of the people and helps to create an esprit de corps, thereby simplifying the lives of teachers and managers.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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GLIMMERS OF HOPE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 19, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Finding the true human spirit on the Internet.

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The spirit of the country has changed since the 20th century, and not necessarily for the better. Gallup tells us Americans continue to believe our morality is in decline. The country is politically polarized, our discourse is visceral, common courtesy has become uncommon, and our social skills are diminishing. It is hard to remain optimistic under such conditions, but I recently witnessed some glimmers of hope in the human spirit which shows promise.

I have been a fan of YouTube for a long time, and it is my go-to channel I stream on both my computer and TV. I find just about everything I want on it, including news, sports, music, entertainment, classic movies, and a plethora of odd-ball videos on a variety of subjects. It is here where I find both the harsh realities of the world as well as the glimmers of hope.

The videos I will list herein may not win any award, but they are some interesting segments which you will not find in the news media today. To them, it is as if such acts of kindness do not exist, but in reality, they do. However, you have to hunt to find them. What follows are some heart-warming clips which demonstrate humans do not have to be crass, vulgar or unkind all of the time; that there are still people with good hearts and well meaning intentions. There are obviously many more of these videos on the Internet, but you should think of this as a starter kit.

* Lending a Helping Hand – a series of clips showing humans going out of their way to rescue animals, and the thankfulness of the rescued. True, people can be cruel and ignore others in distress, but this first clip shows what animals can teach us about ourselves.

* Simple acts of kindness – Yes, we are capable of helping others, even those we do not know.

* Mowing Lawns – this is a favorite of mine, representing another random act of kindness. This shows a man mowing and cleaning up a yard for free. It may not be the most exciting to watch, but it is from the heart. Anyone who has mowed a lawn will relate to it. As an aside, there are several such videos on YouTube.

* Lending a helping hand – much like the lawn mowing video, a church comes to the aid of a stroke victim by expanding his driveway and adding a wheelchair ramp to his house.

* Empathy – a boy and a three-legged dog teaches the concept of empathy.

* Expressions of True Love – shows how dogs react to their owners returning home.

* More expressions of True Love – an outpouring of love when soldiers return home. It is always a pleasure to watch.

* Inspiration – A pep talk from a kid which encourages people to lead a better life.

* Signs of respect – as expressed by athletes.

* Common Courtesy – as conveyed by a television station in Detroit, Michigan.

* Citizenship/patriotism – another favorite of mine showing a group of people taking the naturalization oath to become citizens of the United States. The looks on their faces at the end are priceless.

* The Young Crooner – A young man, Sal Valentinetti, wows the crowd on America’s Got Talent with his charm and his voice singing a Sinatra classic. His story and music is heart-warming.

Such videos are important as they teach by example, and hopefully, people will emulate them. They also reveal we are not all jaded and evil, but possess compassion, empathy, charity, kindness, and respect. Seniors in this country like to talk about the “good old days” when there was more courtesy and spirit of cooperation. Such virtues are not as visible today, thanks to the news media and changing social mores, but fortunately there still seems to be some deep-seeded respect for the human spirit. We can learn a lot about ourselves from these videos, as well as the many others on the Internet. It may be wise to watch these “glimmers of hope” now, before someone removes them later.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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BUILDING TEAM MORALE THROUGH LEADERSHIP

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 14, 2021

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– How a classic World War II movie teaches the basic lessons of leadership.

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In the movie, “Twelve O’Clock High,” actor Gregory Peck plays the role of a World War II Brigadier General charged with taking command of an American B-17 bombing group stationed in Britain, and suffering from a bad case of “hard luck.” To make matters worse, the men of the group hold a fondness for Peck’s predecessor, yet were prone to making mistakes and missing targets. As a result, the group experiences heavy losses and morale worsens. As Peck takes command he makes it clear to his group he doesn’t accept the concept of “hard luck,” that the men should stop feeling sorry for themselves, and they need to build their confidence.

Remarkably, this movie represents a text book description of leadership. So much so, for many years it was considered mandatory viewing in the Officer Candidate Schools in the military as part of their curriculum on leadership. It is also something managers should observe in business, even today.

Due to the nature of the war at that moment (1942), Peck has no time to coddle his young flyers and realizes they have to mature quickly. If his bombing group folds, others could potentially do likewise which could impact the outcome of the war. So, he explains this to the group and why it is necessary for them to take on a professional attitude. Recognizing the discipline and work involved, the young soldiers resist Peck at first, but eventually succumbs after realizing Peck’s refusal to compromise.

Peck finds it necessary to replace elements of his management team, specifically his #2 man, the Air Exec. Interestingly, Peck selects a man who, at first, shows contempt for Peck, but recognizing the flyer’s impeccable credentials, he promotes him, a decision he doesn’t regret as he realizes the job was more important than his personal feelings.

Next, Peck halts all bombing runs so he can hold practice missions to determine the skills of his crews, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, Peck weeds out the weaklings of the group and puts them in a separate dead-beat team labeled the “Leper Colony,” where they are forced to turn things around.

From the outset, in order to change the psychological dynamics of the group, Peck recognizes he must instill a sense of pride and confidence in his men; that they are not “hard luck” misfits, but professional soldiers who can get the job done with an esprit de corps.

Aside from being an interesting tale about World War II, “Twelve O’Clock High” is a worthwhile management read teaching several lessons:

1. A manager should try to earn the respect of his workers, not their love. Any manager who tries to win a popularity contest is courting disaster. In the movie, the demise of Peck’s predecessor could be traced back to his close attachment to his men. Instead of looking at problems objectively, his mind was clouded by too much empathy for his men. Managers must walk a fine line between jocularity and discipline. Too much familiarity breeds contempt for the manager, and too much discipline can make life unbearable for workers. In Peck’s case, his men initially exhibit slovenly behavior. To curb it, he deliberately intimidates his men to teach them such behavior was unacceptable and discipline would be enforced.

2. A manager should design his department in such a way as it can function without him. Basically, a manager’s task is to do himself out of a job. By doing so, he is displacing the management responsibility on a group of people as opposed to just one. This is a clever way to communicate to workers this is the will of the group, not just one person. If it becomes dependent on just one person, the whole group will fail if the manager fails.

3. Open the lines of communications. The manager must effectively communicate the necessity of a task to his workers, along with its urgency. Only then will they put forth the proper amount of effort it deserves. In the film, Peck gives his men the shock treatment by telling them they are in a “shooting war” and there is no time to coddle them, plus he believes in their abilities. Beyond this, Peck develops a rapport with a young Lieutenant who acts as a spokesman for the flyers. He does this in order to get a pulse of what his young men are thinking.

4. There is no such thing as “hard luck.” The morale of the bomb group plummets under Peck’s predecessor. As much as they liked their Colonel, they felt sorry for themselves, and lacked confidence in their ability to do anything correctly. Such an attitude can be very demoralizing and contagious thereby causing workers to make more mistakes than necessary. A change of attitude is warranted, which leads to the next point…

5. Managers need to build self esteem in their workers, thereby fueling their confidence and building pride in workmanship. The message, “There is dignity in all forms of work,” must come across loud and clear. Sometimes it is beneficial for management to pay special attention to his workers who should respond positively to such attention. Somehow the manager needs to communicate how important or challenging the work is. This means investing such things as time, money, clothes, changing the surroundings, or improving the technology to perform the work. Such token gestures are noticed by workers who appreciate the recognition of management and respond accordingly. With rare exception, workers rise to the occasion when faced with new and exciting challenges, as opposed to tedious and repetitive tasks.

6. Managers must encourage workers to strive for perfection, but realize they may never achieve it. A program of continued practice helps to identify minor flaws in workmanship which can be corrected. In the movie, Peck orders several practice bombing runs to correct weaknesses in targeting and flying in formation. Such practices also raise the awareness of workers to think about their work product and the processes involved with producing it.

7. It is easier to lead workers if they trust you. Quite simply, workers are more likely to follow you if they have confidence in your abilities and decision making skills. This means managers must demonstrate they know what they are doing. Talk is cheap, action is more visible to workers. As such, managers need to go the extra mile further to earn the confidence of their workers. Immoral behavior is not tolerated. If workers suspect the manager is a liar, cheat, or does not support them, they will quickly turn on him.

8. Develop a skills inventory. In the picture, Peck reviews the dossiers of all of the members of the group, studying their strengths and weaknesses. From this, he makes decisions as to assigning people to their area of expertise. In the corporate world, skill inventories are used to track the talents and experiences of workers, along with their level of proficiency. Such a tool is invaluable for selecting people to suitable assignments, not to mention identifying the need for additional training.

9. Identify your weakest workers and encourage them to perform better. Peck assigns a B-17 as the “Leper Colony” where all of the dead-beats of the group are placed. Such recognition encourages them to try harder. In this day of political correctness though, it is unlikely Peck’s tactics would be used. However, it is necessary to somehow put a spotlight on workers who are not performing to their fullest potential. Today, Employee Evaluations are used to document worker strengths and weaknesses, which is normally reviewed between the manager and worker in a one-on-one basis.

10. Get some wins under your belt to build confidence. In the movie, Peck’s group bombs a target that others couldn’t. For their efforts, they were awarded accommodations for distinguished service. This helps build their confidence. This also explains why sports teams have preseason schedules to not only judge the ability of players, but to instill confidence. The same is true in business where it is wise to start small before tackling major assignments. Mentors and coaches should be nearby to offer advice.

11. As manager, articulate your objectives, their urgency, your plan of attack, then lead your workers into battle. Today, it shouldn’t be so much about micromanagement which can stifle worker creativity and initiative. Instead, the manager should establish the right working conditions (corporate culture), provide them with the best training, tools and techniques available, empower them, and turn them loose.

It’s amazing what workers can do with a little leadership, such as conquering the skies over Nazi Germany.

First published: April 7, 2014

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014, 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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LIVING BEHIND FACADE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 12, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why do we hide behind things?

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I was recently in North Carolina on a little fishing getaway and stayed with an old friend I’ve known since High School. He lived toward the middle of the state, out in the country, and adjoining a massive lake. It was one of those areas in the country where you either had a nice, massive house and property, like my friend, or a mobile home with a small farm surrounding you. I’m not going to pass judgement on which home was better as we do what we can to survive, but I observed both types of properties lived behind some form of facade, and this got me thinking.

Some homes lived behind a plethora of flotsam and jetsam, while others were more orderly, yet I suspect most of it was facade. Ultimately, it represented the image people wanted to express, either “I don’t care anymore” or “Welcome.” It was here when I realized how dependant people are on facade.

We all use some form of facade to our advantage, such as cosmetics to hide a blemish, hair styles, personal hygiene, tattoos and body piercings, clothing and fashion, decor, automobile types, jewelry, even political correctness. All of this is geared to transmit certain messages to others telling them what kind of people we are, and what our interests happen to be. By doing so, it speaks volumes of our values and morality, e.g., what we deem to be important and what we do not.

We’re all trying to convey an image of some kind, particularly when we are young. Is it the true us? Hardly. It is how we want people to perceive us. Facade hides our flaws and imperfections. Perhaps the best way to think of it as a deflector shield, thereby telling the public what we want them to know about us, and what we do not.

Behind facade is the naked truth, something we’re trying to conceal for one reason or another. We do this because we fear honesty and it may reveal a weakness about us to the world. As Jack Nicholson said, “You can’t handle the truth!”

We also see signs of facade on social media where it is having a negative impact on teens, particularly girls, who are falsely replicating themselves as other popular students in their school or celebrities, and it is far from reality. Such false identities greatly impact the ego, particularly if it is detected by others nearby who publicize the falsehood. Then there is the matter of dating sites on the web; talk about facade! Both men and women retouch photos and write glorius descriptions of themselves in the hope of securing a date.

All of this implies people tend to suffer from an inferiority complex; that we do not want others to know the naked truth about us as we consider it embarrassing. Whereas we tend to be consumed with facade at an early age as we try to build careers, but as we grow older we tend to become less concerned with facade because we become less consumed by what people think.

Just remember, a coat of paint works just as well on rotten wood as it does on good wood. What will we find when we peel back the paint on you?

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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