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Archive for August, 2012

EXPLAINING THE “QUEEN CITY”

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 31, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– On the banks of the Ohio River: Cincinnati, the “Queen.”

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Prior to moving to the Tampa Bay area of Florida, I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 17 years. During this period, I went to high school, graduated from college, and we started our business which we subsequently moved to Florida. Quite often I am asked to describe what life is like in the “Queen City,” representing the city’s nickname (“Queen City to the West” to be precise). I have lived in quite a few locations throughout the country, not to mention visiting many more, but Cincinnati was a unique experience that is difficult to describe; instead, you have an intuitive feeling that is difficult to articulate. Such is Cincinnati. There is just something “different” about it. It is certainly not like Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Akron, or any other city in Ohio. It is unique. For example, most cities have their airport near the downtown area; Cincinnati’s is across the river in Kentucky, not Ohio. The airport designation “CVG” doesn’t mean “Cincinnati Vicinity G???”, but “Covington” instead (Kentucky) thereby representing an interesting political chapter in Cincinnati’s history.

The city rests on the northern shores of the Ohio River in the Southwest corner of Ohio, adjoining Kentucky and Indiana making up the “Tri-State” area. It was settled in the late 1700’s, and it was a frontier town that made good. So good, it quickly became the crossroads of America, where settlers traveled through on their way to the western frontier. The city prospered so much in the early days, the federal government seriously considered moving the capitol there after the British burned Washington during the War of 1812, thereby eliminating the potential of attack by the sea. This, of course, never transpired but Cincinnati continued to grow nevertheless. By 1870 it represented the mean center of U.S. population. Today, the Queen City is strategically located within a 700 mile radius of two-thirds of the industrial wealth of Canada and the United States, making it an ideal locale for conducting business.

The city has a strong German heritage based on immigrants settling there and setting up shop. Breweries grew, shipping and manufacturing proliferated, and for a long time was called “Porkopolis” because of the pork processing plants there. Even to this day, Cincinnati’s strong work ethic, food, and general attitudes can be attributed to its German roots.

Seven hills surround the city making up a valley that traps pollutants and humidity, and explains why it has evolved into a “Sinus Gulch” where the inhabitants suffer from an annoying nasal “Sniff” heard throughout the day. During the summer, the weather can be stifling; in the winter, the valley can retain the cold. Spring and Autumn are perhaps the two most scenic and enjoyable seasons.

Cincinnati has a unique sight, sound, smell, and even taste to it. From an architecture perspective, the city has everything from massive mansions made of brick and hidden away in country settings, to simple turn-of-the century wooden structures with steep roofs and front porches that dominate the neighborhoods. Television is rather unique, or at least was a few years ago. Considerable television innovations originated from the Queen City and, for a long time, local talent dominated the channels with homespun humor and a blend of bluegrass and midwest music. Natives fondly remember people like Bob Braun, Paul Dixon, Bob Shreve, Glenn Ryle, and “The Cool Ghoul.” However, celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Jerry Springer, Doris Day, Roy Rogers, and the Clooney family all started here as well. Alas, the locals eventually gave way to national programming and the Cincinnati character faded from television screens. Fortunately, local radio stations still feature homegrown personalities.

Over the years Cincinnati has had many breweries due to its German heritage. One by one, they were all pushed aside by national brewers. Names like Burger, Hudepohl, Schoenling, and Wiedemannn slowly faded away. In terms of food, Cincinnatians enjoy their restaurants. Since there are no real glamor places to relax locally, particularly in winter, there isn’t much to do but tuck away the groceries. In addition to having some of the finest restaurants in the country, the fare is based on its “Porkopolis” past, featuring a variety of sausages, ribs, and a breakfast meat called “Goetta” which is similar to Philadelphia Scrapple, but made with pinhead oats instead. Cincinnati chili is also unique. Do not expect a bowl of hot spicy meat. Instead, it is served on a bed of spaghetti, with a layer of onions, a layer of kidney beans, and topped with a bed of grated American cheese.

Even driving around town is strangely different in Cincinnati. Instead of a cut-throat rush hour in the morning, Cincinnatians seem to just quietly go about their business in the morning and possess an intuitive understanding of every twist, turn, and back alley to be navigated in the city. It is also common to see motorists stop to give aid to other motorists in trouble.

What this all adds up to is a strong sense of neighborhood in Cincinnati which took me a long time to figure out. At first it seems elitist in nature. The citizens genuinely love their hometown, particularly their sports teams (e.g, the Reds and Bengals), local celebrities, and hometown boys and girls that make good on the national stage. It’s no small wonder many people grow up and never leave Cincinnati, nor understand why people want to leave. It’s very introverted in this regard. Should you move to the area, as we did many years ago, you must adapt to the culture for it will certainly not adapt to you.

Not surprising, Cincinnati is conservative in both its thinking and politics. They simply do not like to change. This has hurt them on more than one occasion, particularly the downtown area which has lost considerable business over the years to Northern Kentucky. When I return to my old neighborhood there, it is like time has stood still; nothing of substance has changed. I know where everything is and all of the names of the families. Although I’ve been gone for over a quarter of a century now, it is like I never left. Although it may take an act of God to implement a change to Cincinnati, such as a new building, road or restaurant, the citizens remarkably embrace it. On the one hand, Cincinnatians give the appearance of being “stick in the muds,” but on the other they are some rather creative innovators and inventors. In addition to television and radio, Cincinnati is home to massive jet engines, consumer products, machine tools, banks and insurance companies, and some rather impressive computer technology. Their strong and determined work ethic, coupled with a competitive imagination, and strategic location in the country to conduct business, makes Cincinnati a stable work environment.

As an aside, it is relatively easy to recognize a person from the Queen City. They will say “Please?” instead of “I beg your pardon?” or “Huh?” I haven’t heard this specific idiom used anywhere else in this context. Also, true native Cincinnatians tend to say “CincinnatAH” as opposed to “CincinnatEE.” It’s a dead giveaway as to their roots. “Sniff”.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
WASTING YOUR WRITE-IN VOTE – Now is not the time to be foolish with your vote.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

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Posted in Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

THE FACTS ABOUT: IMMIGRATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 29, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Don’t trust the media, here’s how to look it up yourself.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

This is the fourth installment of my series regarding how to research the facts about America in order to make an intelligent voting decision in the fall (my first three installments discussed Unemployment, the Economy, and Taxes). Basically, this is a recognition the press and politicians cannot be trusted to present the facts fairly or without spin to the public. The intent, therefore, is to provide voters with the best available tools to discover the truth for themselves.

Illegal immigration is an important campaign issue. Americans are apprehensive about immigrants coming into the country unabated, thereby taking jobs away from legal citizens and capitalizing on benefits paid for by American taxpayers. Further, there is a legitimate concern about illegal immigrants voting in the upcoming election which has sparked a controversy over voter registration.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (see below) there are 13 million illegals currently in the country (others put it higher) costing U.S. taxpayers an average amount of $1,117 per household. Don’t take my word for it though, or the media’s for that matter, but check it out yourself.

As with all government agencies, there is a plethora of information available to you which can be difficult to navigate through. The place to start though is:

U.S. BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, under the U.S. Department of Commerce.
CENSUS: FOREIGN BORN POPULATION – report
CENSUS: FOREIGN BORN POPULATION – data for use in spreadsheets and data bases.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) – is a far reaching organization which closely monitors immigration for security purposes.
DHS IMMIGRATION STATISTICS
DHS YEARBOOK OF IMMIGRATION STATISTICS – reports and data files

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (ICE), under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
ICE REMOVAL STATISTICS – removal of illegal aliens.

U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES – provides information on laws, regulations and interpretations controlling immigration

FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM (FAIR) – nonprofit organization seeking to reform immigration laws.
FAIR REPORT: “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers”

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION STATISTICS – discusses the cost of illegal immigration

MPI DATA HUB – migration facts, stats and maps

IMMIGRATION COUNTERS – interesting numbers that roll before your eyes.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES – listing voter identification requirements

As I said in my other installments, don’t wait for the media or politicians to make up your mind for you. Look it up yourself.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
EXPLAINING THE “QUEEN CITY” – On the banks of the Ohio River: Cincinnati, the “Queen.”


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

PROVOCATION & THE OWS TAMPA

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 27, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Tampa welcomes Occupy Wall Street to the RNC.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The 2012 riot season officially opens today, aka “Occupy the Republican National Convention” here in Tampa,
but before I go into this, let me preface my remarks by recounting a recent incident which happened to me on Facebook. As you probably know, I typically do not joust with my editorial antagonists. If they want to discuss things calmly and respectfully, I’m happy to oblige them, but this never seems to happen. Instead, they use venomous attack tactics in an attempt to provoke some form of response from me. I learned a long time ago to turn the other cheek but on one recent occasion, I was provoked into an argument where I eventually called my opponent a “clod.” In hindsight, I am embarrassed by my slip and now understand what Rush Limbaugh went through when he had a slip of the tongue a few months back. Basically, we both lost our cool and lowered ourselves to the level of our opponents. The temptation was simply too great to overcome and we slipped, embarrassingly. I then realized my acid tongued adversary was capitalizing on my venue to try to discredit me. Consequently, I removed his comments and blocked him from further discourse.

The tactics of the left are simple: attack anything that moves. Attack even if your argument is irrational or baseless. Attack to generate attention from the main street media. Attack as a diversionary tactic; to distract the public from other more pertinent subjects. And attack to provoke a response from your opponents. Arguing with them is pointless as their minds are already on lockdown. By succumbing to their attacks and engaging them, you inevitably play by their rules and their objectives are met. It is therefore important the anticipated provocations of the Occupy the RNC be met with appropriate resistance. If the police can get them to respect the law, if the media gives them minimal coverage, and if we all simply ignore their convoluted protests, their impact will be defused. However, if the Occupiers clash with police or the local citizenry, and riots ensue, it could become extremely ugly.

There are already indications the Occupy RNC group’s plans are designed to provoke a response. For example, their first march, entitled “March for our Lives” is scheduled for 3-5:30pm, just in time for the prime time news networks. According to their web site, “This is a March of the Homeless, the Poor, the Unemployed and Supporters to call for a STOP TO ALL FORECLOSURES, STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION OF THE POOR AND HOMELESS, HOUSING AND FOOD ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!!” Interestingly, they openly admit they do not have a permit to march, yet plan on proceeding anyway. Translation: a face-off with the police is in the offing. Later this evening, there will be a “Roving Radical Dance Party” which will undoubtedly represent mayhem in downtown Tampa. Downtown businesses are bracing for the worst.

The emphasis appears to be aimed at the Republicans, not the Democrats. Even though the Occupy Wall Street official web site claims protests are planned for both Tampa and Charlotte, it is obvious the GOP is being targeted as there is little on their web sites to describe the “March on the Democrats,” as opposed to a ton of material aimed at the Republicans. One could conclude that despite their claims of neutrality, these self-proclaimed anarchists have become an organ of the Democratic Party. I find this particularly disturbing since it was the policies of the current administration that is causing a lot of their problems.

My only concern about the Occupiers protest in Tampa is that a “clod” will start a riot, begin looting stores, throw a Molotov cocktail, or pull the trigger on a gun. I honestly hope this doesn’t happen but if it does, I know force will be met with force, both by the police and possibly by the citizenry. If the Occupiers start something, I am confident others will finish it. Frankly, I do not like sitting on a powder keg that could conceivably become the next “shot heard around the world.”

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
THE FACTS ABOUT: IMMIGRATION – Don’t trust the media, here’s how to look it up yourself.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 24, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– Beware of hatchery fed trout.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have been fortunate over the years to fish in a variety of locations throughout the country. You may remember me discussing my passion in “Fly Fishing at St. Timothy’s.” The last few years though I have primarily been concentrating on the streams in the picturesque mountains of western North Carolina or as it is better known down south as the “Florida Riviera.” While northern tourists come to Florida during the winter, Floridians tend to gravitate to the Carolinas and Tennessee for their getaways.

Unlike Florida which is an extremely flat state, North Carolinians build their homes in mountainous terrain that only a billy goat can navigate. Instead of placing their houses on level terra firma, the locals have a propensity for building them in the most awkward places possible. Driveways have steep inclines with twists and turns that would probably stump Harry Houdini. Despite this, during the summer months the foliage is in full bloom, a variety of butterflies start their mating ritual, soft breezes blow through wooden front porches, and the melodic sound of nearby mountain streams can be heard just about everywhere.

The streams themselves are shaded with cool, clear mountain water providing refuge for our adversary, the rainbow trout. In a way, they remind me of the streams in Connecticut where I grew up and would swim, fish, and make rock dams in the streams. The water was crystal clear and the cool waters felt delicious on a hot day. The rocks in the stream can be treacherous, so you are always mindful of wearing appropriate boots or water shoes to avoid slipping. In my case, I have some old mountain boots I like to wear with wool socks to keep me warm. They have served me well over the past twenty years, but this time I found they tended to weigh me down as I trudged in and out of streams. Frankly, I felt like I was wearing ten pound wingtips. I think it’s finally time to trade up to something lighter and more comfortable.

Some fly fishermen consider the sport an art form. As for me, I am there to fish, not to paint. True, I love to be out in the wild with my rod and reel, a good cigar, and no phones, but I tend to be more pragmatic about it. Fly fishing requires you to become a traveling salesman. If the customer doesn’t like your product, you have to either keep moving along and knock on another door or change the product on display. In less than sixty seconds I can determine if the fishing spot holds any potential. If it doesn’t, I move along or change my fly. Others can take what seems like an eternity to make up their mind; they may be persistent but rarely are they rewarded.

Although I have had success in the mountains in the past, on a recent visit I came up empty. So much so, I started to believe the North Carolina fish hatcheries had somehow trained the fish to ignore flies and, in a way, I was right. My friends and I heard the state hatcheries department had released some trout upstream from us and we eventually stumbled upon a half dozen of them in the clear waters. We then set about catching them as quietly as possible. One by one, we gently floated our flies just a few inches above their heads. They evidently were not impressed and ignored our advances. We then tried a variety of different flies, but to no avail. Becoming desperate, we started to try other methods to catch them, including spinners, plugs, a hook and worm, even a piece of beef jerky. Time and again, the result was the same: Nada. I would have even tried a small piece of Spam had it been available but I am certain it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, they just let it pass indifferently under their noses.

Later that evening, we came upon a native whom we explained our dilemma to. He was not surprised by our failure and even seemed to relish in our frustration. He then went on to explain how the state feeds the hatchlings which consisted of small pellets containing a tiny white grub or worm that emerges upon hitting the water. Frankly, we didn’t stand a chance. It was like stalking our prey with filet mignon when they had been weaned on Captain Crunch. Fortunately, we changed tactics and moved elsewhere, but it took us awhile to improve our disposition.

For three days, I clomped around the streams of western North Carolina, wearing clunky footwear and a fishing vest loaded with enough gear to equip a small RV. I am my own worst enemy in this regard. Between the slippery rocks in the stream, heavy equipment, and a growing case of arthritis, I discovered I was no longer as spry as I once was. Now and then, I would just stop and enjoy the calming and therapeutic effect of the cool waters which refreshed me. It was only on the last day of my trip did I shed myself of the gear, the ancient boots, and began to enjoy fishing again. “Simplify” was my mantra for the day which produced beneficial results. Instead of worrying about hatchery-fed fish, I concentrated on the basics. Like Willy Loman, I just knocked on a lot of doors and kept moving along enjoying the great outdoors.

North Carolina is a wonderful place to fish, you just have to be a little smarter than your adversary.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
PROVOCATION & THE OWS TAMPA – Tampa welcomes Occupy Wall Street to the RNC.


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life, Sports, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

THE FACTS ABOUT: TAXES

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 22, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Don’t trust the media, here’s how to look it up yourself.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

This is the third installment of my series regarding how to research the facts about America in order to make an intelligent voting decision in the fall (my first two installments discussed Unemployment and the Economy). Basically, this is a recognition the press and politicians cannot be trusted to present the facts fairly or without spin to the public. The intent, therefore, is to provide voters with the best available tools to discover the truth for themselves.

This particular section will concentrate on taxes, particularly income taxes which, of course, falls under the jurisdiction of…

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, under the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Tax Stats – self explanatory.
Basic Tables: Returns Filed and Sources of Income (in MS Excell format)

THE FEDERATION OF TAX ADMINISTRATORS (FTA) – governed by an eighteen-member Board of Trustees composed of tax administrators representing all regions of the country. The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service is an ex-officio board member.
FTA STATE TAX DATA – excellent summary tables, revenues, and other surveys.

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO) – nonpartisan analysis for the U.S. Congress
CBO TAXES
CBO “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009” – good summary and graphs

NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION (NTU) – America’s independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.
NTU Who Pays Income Taxes?
NTU – In Your State
NTU – News and Issues (on all taxes)

TAX POLICY CENTER (a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution)
TAX FACTS

U.S. GOVERNMENT REVENUE – a compilation of data by Christopher Chantrill
Income Tax History

SALES TAX INSTITUTE – includes state rates

CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICES (CSR) – reports for the taxpayers
CRS REPORT – REDUCING THE BUDGET DEFICIT, POLICY ISSUES – discusses the cutting of taxes

Most of the data presented by the government is difficult to wade through and digest, almost by design. Is it perhaps because they do not want us to know it? As I said in my other installments, don’t wait for the media or politicians to make up your mind for you. Look it up yourself.

“Taxation without representation is tyranny.” – James Otis, Jr. (around 1761)

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA – Beware of hatchery fed trout.


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

SHAPETH UP AND GETITH THINE ACT TOGETHER

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 20, 2012

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Some tricks of the trade for being productive.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

My friends and colleagues often ask me how I am able to produce so much in so little time. Although I am flattered by such compliments, it’s really not much of a secret which I attribute to the following areas (in no particular order):

* A strong sense of organization and prioritization which has been ingrained in me over the years during my professional development. Basically, I had good mentors who taught me what was right and what was wrong, what was important and what was not, and how to best spend my time and how to avoid wasting it. This included being sensitive to schedules and commitments, particularly those of customers. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe that a person’s word should be his bond. My company has now been in business for 41 years and in all of that time we have never failed to meet a customer commitment. This is something I am particularly proud of.

* Training and experience. Although I have a college degree, I recognize I am far from being perfect, and smart enough to learn from my mistakes as well as others. I network, I listen, I learn, and I believe we’re never too old to learn a new trick. As such, I am a firm believer in continuous improvement and set aside time to stay abreast of industry developments. I guess what I’m saying is that you have to exert yourself and exercise some intellectual curiosity as opposed to sitting like a vegetable and hoping someone will spoonfeed you. They won’t.

* Use of standard and reusable methodologies. I recognize the value of uniformity and standardization in work effort and understand its impact on productivity. I am also not a big believer in reinventing the wheel with each project. If something has been tried and proven, I will use it unabashedly, regardless if it is old or out of fashion. I am more interested in results. This also means I am a student of history in my field and have noted successes as well as failures.

* Competency in the use of technology. I am sure my early indoctrination in computing has materially assisted me in my work effort over the years. In particular, one thing technology taught me was the concept of multitasking; not just what I do on the computer, but also how I work in general. More importantly, I do not fear technology and am always looking for new ways for it to assist me. Make no mistake though, I have been burned on more than one occasion by new technology, particularly in the use of beta-releases. Consequently, I am less likely to migrate to something new until it has proven itself as a viable alternative. In other words, I have to trust the technology before I make it a normal part of my operations.

* Avoiding complicated solutions. I tend to believe the best solutions are simple ones. Some people have the curious habit of making life more complicated than what is really necessary. As for me, I have always sought pragmatic solutions as opposed to wallowing in technical detail. True, there may be situations where there are many elements to be addressed by a single problem. In this event, controls have to be enacted to manage complexity, but in all my years in this industry, I have never encountered a technical problem that couldn’t be conquered with a little imagination, some concentrated effort, and a lot of good old-fashioned management.

* Caring about what you produce; which I consider to be of paramount importance. If you do not have the determination or dedication to see something through to its successful completion, no amount of technology will expedite the assignment. To me, your work is a reflection of your character and how you will be judged by others. Interestingly, some people do not make this connection and put forth little effort. Caring about your work makes you more resourceful than others as you are concerned with doing whatever is necessary to get the job done. Ultimately, your work is a reflection of your value system which will become obvious to your coworkers and your boss.

Bottom-line, my productivity is based on my sense of organization and discipline I learned at home, in school and in the workplace. Fortunately, I believe I had some very good teachers along the way. The one thing I have learned is that you make money when you are organized and waste money when you aren’t.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
THE FACTS ABOUT: TAXES – Don’t trust the media, here’s how to look it up yourself.


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 17, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– The joy and benefits of a little cooperation.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Every now and then I take an elderly friend home from my Masonic lodge (I’ll pick them up as well). If they need help getting into the house, I do so. If I am just dropping them off, I make sure they get inside the front door before I leave. For friends who are away from home on vacation or business, I check their houses at night to make sure everything is alright. If they ask me, I pick up their newspapers in the driveway as well as the mail. If they need to be dropped off at the airport or picked up, I’m glad to oblige. On a few occasions I have mowed the lawns for my neighbors when it got too long and someone failed to cut it. Every now and then I am called upon to help move something heavy at a neighbor’s house or assist in some awkward task, such as helping my neighbor get her gravely ill husband back into bed after he had fallen out. All of these acts are appreciated and not taken for granted by my acquaintances. I certainly do not expect any recognition or compensation for this other than they reciprocate in kind. However, most respond by remembering to buy me a good cigar which I certainly appreciate. I do not consider this an imposition as they are good friends and neighbors.

I am not sure where I learned to be a good neighbor, probably from emulating my parents who did likewise over the years. As I was growing up in the various communities throughout the United States there was always a sense of community, that you kept an eye out for your neighbor and helped out where needed. During the Great Snow of Chicago in 1967, the roads were clogged with snow. Adults and kids helped clear driveways, and checked on neighbors to make sure they were alright. Some would take sleds and trudge to the grocery stores to pick up basic food supplies, not just for themselves but many others as well. Everything closed down during that storm, including schools, businesses, transportation, etc. I have never seen anything quite like it since. This resulted in some of the best block parties as the neighbors were determined to socialize as opposed to being trapped in their houses.

Disasters, such as tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding, seem to bring out both the best and worst in us in this country. Sure there are those who loot and take advantage of emergency services unnecessarily, but most of us seem to be more than willing to lend a helping hand in the face of disaster, be it in distributing food and supplies, fixing a roof, using a chainsaw, clearing debris, offering transportation services, helping people find shelters, tending to pets, donating clothing, or whatever. How we respond is truly admirable. Such response represents our compassion for humanity.

I only wonder why it takes a disaster to behave this way and why we are not like this the rest of the year. Many people today believe volunteerism is for chumps and won’t extend the most basic courtesies to their neighbors, be it nothing more than a simple greeting. I fear though, common courtesy is no longer common, nor is it being taught by parents. I do it, not because of my parents or anyone else. I just realized it is the right thing to do, and believe it or not, it is not costly or painful. I certainly do not feel like a “chump” when I volunteer my services, and feel sorry for those who do not as they will never realize the benefits of cooperation.

As I write this, I am reminded of the old Frank Capra movie, “Meet John Doe,” starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, where a grassroots movement is started to promote good citizenship. A John Doe philosophy then spreads like wildfire across the nation, and clubs sprang up to promote the concept of being a good neighbor. It may sound naive, but maybe we need some more John Doe Clubs to again learn to “Be a better neighbor.”

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
SHAPETH UP AND GETITH THINE ACT TOGETHER – Some tricks of the trade for being productive.


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

THE FACTS ABOUT: THE ECONOMY

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 15, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Don’t trust the media, here’s how to look it up yourself.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

This is the second installment of my series regarding how to research the facts about America in order to make an intelligent voting decision in the fall (my first section discussed Unemployment). Basically, this is a recognition the press and politicians cannot be trusted to present the facts fairly or without spin to the public. The intent, therefore, is to provide voters with the best available tools to discover the truth for themselves.

The national economy is a rather large and complex issue. Even respected economists argue over what is good or bad. There are many dimensions to it: Gross Domestic Product (which measures our output), exports, manufacturing, the Consumer Price Index (which gauges inflation), the federal debt and deficit, government spending, and more. Consequently, there is no single graph to accurately depict the state of the economy. However, the responsibility for assembling data for the government falls primarily upon the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The links provided herein are the same ones the press and politicians use to accumulate data.

BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS (BEA)

There is a ton of data to wade through here and the site is not the most user-friendly to navigate, but with a little patience, and the following links, there is no need to be intimidated.

BEA BLOG – a simple blog used to distribute news. There is a “Follow” button which provides you with an e-mail notification whenever the blog is updated. I suggest you use it.

BEA NEWS RELEASES includes more news, along with contact information for inquiries.

BEA U.S. ECONOMY AT A GLANCE – handy economic summaries including graphs.

BEA NATIONAL INCOME AND PRODUCT ACCOUNTS TABLE – an extensive listing of data for viewing or downloading. (Be sure to see “Table 1.1.1. Percent Change From Preceding Period in Real Gross Domestic Product”)

BEA INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN GOODS AND SERVICES – summarizes imports and exports.

BEA CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) – monthly data used to compute inflation.

BEA MANUFACTURING – an extensive listing of reports and data pertaining to the manufacturing sector.

As useful as the Bureau of Economic Analysis is, it can be overwhelming to the average person. Fortunately, there are other handy resources available on the Internet:

GOVERNMENT REVENUE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Christopher Chantrill’s compilation of government data which is perhaps easier to wade through.

Be sure to see his CHART WIZARD which is handy for analyzing data, either specific reports or do-it-yourself.

GOVERNMENT DEBT – is similar to “Government Revenue” with reports and tools for producing graphs.

GOVERNMENT DEFICIT – a subset of “Government Debt.”

DEBT AND DEFICIT HISTORY – also a subset of “Government Debt” – includes important historical insight about this subject.

SPENDING – another subset of “Government Debt” and includes additional historical background.

EXPORTS – from the “CIA FactBook,” a ranking of the chief exporters in the world. That’s right, it is the CIA’s job to monitor such activity (go figure).

INFLATION – provided by Capital Professional Services, LLC. – tracks the inflation rate since January 2000.

CONSTRUCTION – from the National Association for Home Builders – includes considerable statistics.

EXISTING HOME SALES – from the National Association for Realtors who is responsible for such reporting.

PRIME INTEREST RATE – Forget trying to find anything useful at the Fed’s web site, here is the latest rate.

And in case you need a simple snapshot of what is going on in total, there is the U.S. DEBT CLOCK.

Yes, our economy is a large and complicated behemoth which can intimidate the best of economists. Such data resources are extremely useful for telling us where we’ve been, but not necessarily where we are going. I find it rather amusing that despite the intelligence of our economists and the sophisticated computer software available today, we still cannot accurately predict what it will do next.

As I said in my first installment, don’t wait for the media or politicians to make up your mind for you. Look it up yourself.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
THE GOOD NEIGHBOR – The joy and benefits of a little cooperation.


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

PERSONALITY TYPES

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 13, 2012

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Of the four types, which one best describes you?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

You will undoubtedly encounter many different types of personalities in the work place, each with their own unique blend of nuances. But there are four basic types of personalities from which they are based, which is commonly referred to as A, B, C, and D. Although volumes have been written on such personality traits, here is a synopsis:

Type “A” Personality – Is a highly independent and driven personality, typically representing the leaders in business. They are blunt, competitive, no-nonsense types who like to get to the point. They are also strong entrepreneurial spirits (risk takers). As such, they embrace change and are always looking for practical solutions for solving problems.

Type “B” Personality – Represents highly extroverted people who love the spotlight. Because of this, they are very entertaining and possess strong charisma (everyone likes to be around them). Small wonder these people are sales and marketing types. They thrive on entertaining people and are easily hurt if they cannot sway someone (such as “bombing” on stage).

Type “C” Personality – The antithesis of Type “B”; they are introverted detailists as represented by such people as accountants, programmers, and engineers. They may have trouble communicating to other people, but are a whirlwind when it comes to crunching numbers or writing program code. They tend to be very cautious and reserved, and will not venture into something until after all the facts have been checked out.

Type “D” Personality – Is best characterized as those people who resist any form of change and prefer the tedium of routine, such as in clerical assignments. They are not adventurous, resist responsibility and prefer to be told what to do.

It is not uncommon to find people with a blend of personalities, particularly A-B and C-D, but these basic personality types explain why some people work well together and others do not. For example Type-A clashes with Type-D simply because one is more adventurous than the other, and Type-B clashes with Type-C as one exhibits an extroverted personality and the other is introverted. Conversely, Type-A works well with Type-B, and Type-C works well with Type-D.

The leveling factor between these different personality types is Common Courtesy which will be the subject of another article.

Note: A lot of this is explained in my book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force.”

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
THE FACTS ABOUT: THE ECONOMY – Don’t trust the media, here’s how to look it up yourself.


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

SEX EDUCATION, THEN AND NOW

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 10, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– Are we truly any smarter today?

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

I wonder how much of sex education is learned through television, the Internet, and movies these days? Probably more than we know. As a result, I suspect parents spend considerably less time discussing it with their children than my generation. Back in my day, sex was a subject few people openly discussed, but I’m sure they were just as preoccupied with it. Even though “Playboy” was coming into vogue, nobody discussed such things as erectile dysfunction, social diseases, or openly joked about human sexual anatomy as they do today on prime time. Bawdy jokes were told privately or in Las Vegas. Even tampon ads in magazines were considered risque. The movie “Goldfinger” broke a lot of ground in raising sexual awareness though. Everyone knew what “Pussy Galore” meant, and still chuckle about it to this day.

My father gave me “The Talk” about the birds and the bees somewhere around fifth grade and he treated it rather seriously and matter-of-factly. Prior to this, I hadn’t given it much thought and was thereby surprised about the facts of life, particularly with the opposite sex. This was all reinforced a couple of years later when I was in Junior High School in Chicago. We were bused to the school on a Saturday morning, where the boys and girls were separated and listened to lectures on sex and watched an educational film. Interestingly, before the movie, the boys and girls joked around on the bus and sat together. However, on the trip home, the boys sat on one side of the bus, and the girls on the other; not a word was spoken by anyone. I presume the session had the desired effect the school administrators were looking for.

Following the class, our P.E. teachers would also provide some talks and film strips on sex education. I suspect the films were shown to the GI’s in WW2 as they looked rather old and warned of the dangers of Syphilis and Gonorrhea. Afterwards, we all started to watch our scalps to make sure clumps of hair wouldn’t fall out. It was also at this age when young men start wearing jock straps in gym class. There was an instance where a new kid came to our school and joined our class. In addition to the jock strap, his mother insisted he wear a condom. This really puzzled us. We all knew what the condom was for but were at a loss as to why she insisted on him wearing it in gym. Nobody sat next to him while we were changing.

During high school I played football and would naturally get quite dirty and sweaty. We all took showers afterwards and nobody thought twice about it. One of my teammates eventually became the Athletic Director at the school. When I went back to visit him years later, he gave me a tour of the old locker room where I noticed the shower room was shrunk in half. When I asked him about it, he told me nobody takes showers after a game or practice anymore as the kids have become rather “Homophobic.” I just rolled my eyes and said, “Idiots.”

Despite the absence of the active sexual climate in the media back then, we all got the message, be it from our parents, our school, or amongst ourselves, but I’m not sure it is like that anymore. I know of companies today where managers have to counsel young employees about their sex lives. The biggest danger seems to be they are misinformed about what they are doing, and are incredibly naive about birth control and social diseases. It seems odd a manager has to discuss such affairs with a worker but it is inevitable as many moms and dads have abdicated their parental duties in this regard. I suspect the same is true in the military where sergeants have to give advice, such as, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, keep it zipped.”

Today we may be more sexually active in the media, but our young people appear to be ignorant of the basics when it comes to sex education, just the antithesis of my day. Now there are more sexually transmitted diseases, and we all want to be at the top of our game in sexual performance, at least that is what television tells us. I’m not sure which generation is more correctly “adjusted” to sex, but I sure loved that “Pussy Galore” gag.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
PERSONALITY TYPES – Of the four types, which one best describes you?


Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch and throughout the Internet.

Posted in humor, Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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