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Archive for December, 2008

SOME NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2009

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 30, 2008

Well, I guess it’s time for “Out with the old, in with the new,” which means making some New Year’s resolutions. A lot of people use this time to dedicate themselves to losing weight, saving some money, or whatever. As for me, I’ve come up with a list of ten items I would like to implement:

10. To help someone who is truly needy. Not someone who won’t get off their lazy ass, but someone who has had a string of bad luck and genuinely needs some help.

9. To place a bet in Las Vegas as to how many hours it will take between the time when Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 (“Vienna”) is released, and the first bug and virus appears.

8. To watch the passing of the baton from Jay Leno to Conan O’Brien to Jimmy Fallon, none of whom will live up to Johnny Carson’s legacy.

7. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of statehood for Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the premiere of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone.” And to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny (we’re going to be pinching a lot of them this year).

6. To completely tune out the major news stations and newspapers, and get my news exclusively through the Internet. The news will still be somewhat biased, but at least I’ll be able to control what I want to read or hear.

5. To practice less tolerance, e.g., to accept less crap, hold people to their promises, call a spade a spade, and be less politically correct.

4. To ignore the government when it says the economy is on the rebound, and not to panic as we slip into a depression.

3. To hide as much money and ammunition as possible.

2. Not to get into any more arguments with clods on the Internet, regardless of their political party, religious belief, or job function (particularly programmers).

1. Wear black on January 20th, a day of national mourning.

I figure if I can do all of this, I should be able to make it to 2010.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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WHAT’S WRONG WITH A LITTLE DISCIPLINE?

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 26, 2008

Caroline Haynes is my new hero. A lot of you may be saying “Who the heck is Caroline Haynes?”, particularly those of you outside of the United Kingdom, but Ms. Haynes is a school principal who recently caught the attention of the press when she started to implement strict discipline in the classroom. I’ve never had the pleasure of actually meeting Ms. Haynes, but I have been doing a lot of reading about her recently. She is with the Tendring Technology College in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK, a secondary school which, when translated to the American equivalent, is a private school for children ages 11-19.

What makes her story interesting is that she adopted a zero-tolerance policy on student discipline at her school under the premise that bad behavior effects the culture of learning. She is quoted as saying, “It stands to reason that a lax policy on discipline will result in increased bad behaviour.”

Whereas government policy encourages more tolerance in terms of youth discipline, Ms. Haynes has adopted an opposing policy that has resulted in 478 suspensions in one year at a school with 1,880 pupils (25%). Currently, she is averaging two suspensions every day for bad behavior. Swearing at teachers, classroom disruptions, drugs, fighting, and bad attitudes are simply not tolerated. Her tactics may sound somewhat radical in a permissive society, but you cannot deny her results. Since cracking down on discipline, student passing rates jumped from 48% to 74%, a substantial increase. Ms. Haynes said, “Our policy immediately bore fruit. Exam results have soared. I’m very proud.”

For full test results at Tendring, click HERE.

Now, instead of adversarial relationships and tension in the classroom, students are free to concentrate on their studies and are improving noticeably. Now for the kicker; I’m told students like the discipline and prefer it over chaos. This is consistent with what I have been saying that people tend to thrive in a structured environment that is well organized and leadership is strong, whether it is in school or in business. It eliminates distractions thereby allowing people to focus and be more productive. Further, it brings consistency to work products and promotes craftsmanship. People not only need a little discipline, they actually prefer operating in such a manner which improves communications and gives them a sense of direction.

You have heard me say we need some real heroes these days, people to be emulated. Well, Ms. Haynes is one that gets my vote. In an age where discipline is spurned, she offers tangible proof of the benefits that can be derived from a little law and order in our daily lives.

For more information on Ms. Haynes, see the following TELEGRAPH story, or THE INDEPENDENT story.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life | 1 Comment »

PERSONAL HYGIENE

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 23, 2008

I recently had a strange experience in a restaurant over lunch. While sitting at the counter, an older gentleman came in and sat down next to me. On the surface he looked pleasant, but suddenly I was overcome by the strong pungent scent of his body odor, something that smelled like a cross between an open sewer and a dead carcass on the Serengeti (I wondered if vultures were circling overhead). His hair was slicked back and he was shaved, but I don’t think he had taken a bath in quite some time. I used to know guys who believed a little body odor was a “manly” thing that attracted the ladies. However, the only thing this guy at the counter attracted was flies. The smell was so overpowering that I had to move to a table on the other side of the restaurant, much to the bewilderment of the man I was escaping from.

I don’t understand why people deliberately avoid good personal hygiene. I know it seems rather insignificant, but it sure can be irritating to the other people you come in contact with. This is true for both men and women, but I think it is predominantly men who are the greatest offenders of personal hygiene, and not just older men, but younger men as well. I certainly hope this isn’t a new fashion trend (I must have missed the memo). Actually there is no real excuse for poor personal hygiene. The last time I looked, a bar of soap was still pretty cheap.

I never was a fan of unkempt hair either, particularly in the workplace, but that doesn’t bother me half as much as a guy who has long hair growing out of his ears or nose. Actually, I think nose/ear hair is one of the Lord’s favorite practical jokes he ever pulled on us.

Fingernails is another one to watch for. I don’t know what is more gross, excessively long nails, ragged nails from biting them, or just plain dirty. Then of course there are the people who constantly pick at themselves, be it their nose, ears, eyebrows, or seat, not to mention those who belch and fart. If you’ve got to do it, please do it in private. If I wanted a show like that, I would go down to see the monkeys at the zoo.

Personal hygiene is an important part of our appearance which defines who we are to the people around us. Actually, it’s a sign of respect for others and represents a form of discipline which some people abhor. There are those people who are very cognizant of their image and cultivate it accordingly, but there are also a lot of people who unknowingly operate in the dark. Then there are those who deliberately ignore the status quo in order to attract attention to themselves. You have to feel sorry for this last group as they use personal hygiene to differentiate themselves as opposed to their intellect.

Just as a tip though, if you start to notice people starting to avoid you or moving away from you to the other end of the restaurant, perhaps it is time to invest in a bar of soap.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

PRESIDENTIAL LEGACIES

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 19, 2008

We’re coming down to the closing days of the Bush administration and I find it interesting how he has been portrayed as a political pariah. All presidents have some political baggage they have to take home with them as they leave office, but I find it interesting that the public tends to remember only the bad things and not the good things the President has done. To illustrate, consider the legacy of the last few presidents and how they will undoubtedly be remembered by historians, both pro and con:

Lyndon Johnson –
Negative: Will primarily be remembered for escalating the Viet Nam War.
Positive: But he will also be remembered for his “Great Society” legislation which is still with us today.

Richard Nixon –
Negative: Of course, Watergate is the first image conjured up by anyone discussing Nixon.
Positive: Opened relations with China and started an era of détente with the Soviet Union.

Gerald Ford –
Negative: Portrayed as a bumbler by the media, and his pardon of Richard Nixon didn’t sit well with them either.
Positive: Although he was in office for only a short period of time, he was able to restore decency and honor to the presidency.

Jimmy Carter –
Negative: Iran is indelibly associated with Carter, including the fall of the Shah, the rise of the Ayotallah, the hostages, and the botched rescue attempt. Iran ultimately cost Carter the White House.
Positive: Helping to negotiate the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. He also started the Department of Energy and encouraged energy conservation.

Ronald Reagan –
Negative: The Iran-Contra affair was like an annoying gnat that wouldn’t go away.
Positive: Will be better remembered for the demise of the Soviet Union, the introduction of “Reaganomics” and an era of prosperity.

George H.W. Bush –
Negative: “Read my lips” cost him dearly, but it was the recession that ultimately did him in.
Positive: Won the first Persian Gulf War, he presided over the end of the Cold War (and the fall of the Berlin Wall), and introduced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Bill Clinton –
Negative: Impeached, Somalia, Whitewater controversy, Sexual misconduct, etc.
Positive: Presided over a peacetime economic expansion and the first balanced budget in many years.

George W. Bush –
Negative: Will long be criticized for the current financial crisis and ending the military presence in Iraq.
Positive: He stepped up to the plate when called upon for the War on Terror and forced the terrorists into retreat. He formed an international coalition and conquered Iraq. He also put the “Axis of Evil” on notice that the United States was not to be trifled with. And his tax cuts will be emulated by future presidents.

Except for Reagan and Clinton, all of the presidents listed here will be remembered for the negatives and not the positives. As to Reagan, the Iran-Contra affair was considered small potatoes when compared to his other accomplishments. Clinton on the other hand represents a strange conundrum; even though his administration was always at the forefront of controversy, he ended his term of office with high approval ratings. Whereas his antics would normally be considered political poison for anyone else, Clinton somehow came out of it smelling like a rose and is still held in high regard by the Democrats.

In contrast to Clinton, President Bush is not embraced by anyone, including his own political party. It disturbs me that Bush is portrayed as a bumbling uneducated schmuck while “Slick Willie” is seen as a saint. Wow, talk about having our moral values mixed up.

Nobody else will say it, so I will: Thank you President Bush for your many years of service to our country. Were you perfect? No, but neither will your successors be as they will undoubtedly screw-up somehow along the way. For some reason the media and American public seems to forget that we elect human-beings to the office of the President, not Gods.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

CRUD

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 16, 2008

I find it interesting the amount of general crud we collect during our lives. Actually, its rather substantial. We fill up rooms, closets, attics, basements, and garages with a lot of debris, most of which could be disposed of, but we keep it primarily for three reasons: because you never know when someone might need it (which is rare, if ever), it has sentimental value, or we just plain forget about it. This happens both at our homes and at the workplace. At the office though we tend to shove crud in and on desks, put it on the wall, or pile it in the corner.

This brings up an important point: crud is magnetic. The moment we decide to save something, more of the same is collected and stored with it. Business cards are a perfect example of this. People like to exchange business cards as part of introductions or to hawk their products or services. Have you ever noticed that the number of business cards you save never decreases? We’re afraid we’ll need a person’s number some day, so we tend to keep everything. Rarely do we sort through them and file them properly (or encode their contents to an address book). In fact, if you were to go through the stack of business cards you have in your desk, at least 50% could be thrown away. Go ahead, try it.

There is a lot of flotsam and jetsam we like to collect other than business cards though. As a computer man I tend to look at inputs, outputs, and files. For everything my family brings into the house, I am looking for what goes out in the garbage. If there isn’t that much trash, I know the crud magnets are at work. This is why it is important now and then to do a little spring cleaning, whereby you purge the crud you have been collecting. If it is something that is truly worth keeping, file it properly. If not, dispose of it as quickly as possible before more crud collects with it.

Consider this, at some point everything in your house will end up being thrown away. Even if you pass something down to your heirs, someone will eventually say, “Why on Earth are we keeping this crud?” and will throw it away. If you have ever had to cleanup after a departed loved one, you know exactly what I mean. You go through all their momentos and keepsakes, which were precious to them, but you scratch your head and ask, “What in the hell did they want this for?”

If you look around your neighborhood and consider that everything must ultimately end up in the garbage dump, you’ve got to ask how and where we are going to dispose of everything. The enormity of the crud we collect is truly mind boggling. So much so, that it makes a Pack Rat look like it’s lazy.

Try to remember this as the holiday season approaches and you’re about to be hit with a new wave of crud.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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