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Archive for November, 2012

THE INNER BEAUTY OF WOMEN

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 30, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Which can be more alluring than just physical beauty.

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

I want to speak for a moment on the beauty of women. No, I’m not a cosmetologist, dermatologist, hair dresser, or fashion coordinator, just an ordinary heterosexual with a fondness for the opposite sex. I always knew there were differences between boys and girls, but this didn’t become obvious to me until I entered junior high school whereupon I noticed the girls were beginning to apply cosmetics, change their hair, and wear more fashionable clothes. I guess this marked the beginning of our mating rituals as the boys began to sit up and take notice.

It has been my observation over the years that women depend mostly on physical attractiveness to lure a mate. This is why millions, if not billions of dollars, are spent on beauty products for hair, skin, nails, eyes, lips, legs, even the scent of a women. Let us also not forget the enormity of the fashion industry which includes not just clothes, but shoes and hats as well. It is obviously a gigantic business. Some women are naturally beautiful, and know it. Others have to work at it.

I wonder though if women are too dependent on physical appearance and overlook the allure of a personality. Over the years I have met many women who may have lacked looks, but are incredibly sensual just from their personality alone. They may have a good sense of humor, an ease about them, a confidence, or something simply feminine. I guess they just feel comfortable in their own skin and know how to make others feel likewise. Perhaps this is the “feminine mystique” I’ve been hearing about all these years. I have seen women who know how to light up a room with nothing more than a smile and a gentle wave of their hand, yet are considered frumpy otherwise. Men gravitate to such women naturally as they are more approachable as opposed to a beauty with an incredible figure, simply because they know how to carry a conversation and make the people around them feel at ease.

Some people think such things as sex and cooking are part of the allure of women, and I suspect there are many men who think this way. As for me, such things are nothing more than the icing on the cake. Any relationship based on this alone is doomed from the outset.

Instead of spending tons of money on the physical aspects, I wish they would spend a little on cultivating a personality, something that can put men at ease, even be disarmingly flirtatious. Most men can be intimidated by a ravishing beauty, thereby considering them untouchable. After they have summoned up the courage to talk to such a woman, they are crestfallen when they find there is nothing behind the facade. Instead, they would rather be able to enjoy the woman’s company, but if the lights are on and nobody is home, the encounter will be brief. I’m certainly not suggesting the woman be submissive to the male. In fact, I find that rather unappealing. The women who possesses a wit, a warm heart, an openness about them, a sense of humor, and confidence about themselves in spite of some physical defect can be much more interesting and stimulating than a glamour queen.

I guess what I’m describing is the “inner beauty” of a woman, which can be incredibly alluring, and I presume it is essentially no different for how women consider men. However, for those people who lack both an outer and inner beauty, I pray they’re good in the kitchen or bedroom. Either that, or they begin to frequent a salon, gym or a voice coach. Otherwise they are going to remain rather lonely for a long time.

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:  WELCOME TO DECEMBER – Tis the season for “Bah” and Humbug”!

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

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

THE DISPARITY BETWEEN CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 28, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Do young people know the difference between the two?

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

I was recently invited to give a talk at a business conference designed to help high school seniors in our county who have an interest in pursuing a business career. Specifically, I was assigned two sessions to describe what the young person should expect as they make the transition into adult life which was based in large part on my book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force.”

I wore a suit and tie for the occasion to express my credibility and out of respect for my audience, even though none were older than eighteen years of age. This was going to be an unusual talk for me as I normally address adults, not youth. Because of this, I wanted to know a little about my audience. So, using a show of hands, I inquired where the students were from, such as their high schools, but I also flippantly asked how many were capitalists and, conversely, if there were any socialists present. I received a lot of blank stares on both accounts. This caused me to deviate from my planned program and deliver a mini-dissertation describing the differences. I contended in order to be successful in business, the students would be wise to know what each meant.

Interestingly, some were brainwashed into believing capitalism was evil and simply represented another form of greed. I contend greed is a human emotion, and can be equally applied under either system. Therefore, capitalism is not greed, it is a celebration of the individual’s right to try and succeed. Whereas capitalism focuses on the rights of the individual, socialism concentrates on the rights of the group overall.

I explained, under capitalism the individual has the right to try his/her hand at anything they are so inclined, thereby representing freedom. They simply have the right to try, nothing more, nothing less. If they are lucky, they may succeed, but they also run the risk of failure. Failure is an inherent and important part of the system. There are no guarantees for success. This is why risk is important, to force the individual to work harder and smarter to avoid defeat. As such, capitalism encourages entrepreneurship (innovation and invention). If the person is successful, they are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labor. If they are not, they must suffer defeat. This should force the person to redouble his/her efforts and try again which, of course, is evolution in action.

To encourage entrepreneurship, our founding fathers took steps to safeguard the intellectual property of the individual. This specifically includes Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, wherein the powers of Congress are defined. It states, in part, “The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”. This led to such institutions as the Patent and Copyright offices which were specifically designed to safeguard an individual’s intellectual property. As early as 1790, the first patent and copyright were approved. At the time, safeguarding intellectual property in this manner was rare to the rest of the world. By promoting the entrepreneurial rights of the individual, our forefathers were embracing capitalism.

As mentioned, the focus in Socialism in on the group, not the individual. Here, the rights of the many take precedence over the individual. Because of this, personal initiative is discouraged and the individual cannot endeavor to do better than the next person, and failure is prohibited; the group will always bail you out. There is no notion of assuming risk and being held personally accountable for your actions. All compensation is equitable among workers with no rewards for outstanding achievement or penalties for inferior workmanship. Intellectual property belongs to the group, not the individual. Consequently, this approach discourages entrepreneurship and tends to promote apathy.

The Achilles’ heel of Socialism is the belief that everyone is equal and, as such, should be treated and compensated on an equitable basis. On the surface, this sounds like a fair and noble notion. The assumption though is that everyone works at the same level of effort and expertise which, of course, is simply not so. Restraining the individual from achieving higher levels of workmanship or striving for higher goals is unnatural and discourages the worker.

To summarize:

CAPITALISM SOCIALISM
FOCUS The rights of the individual; the right to “try”; requires freedom. The rights of the group; collective decision making; regulations restrain the individual.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP Yes, encourages risk; enjoys fruits of labor; individual assumes personal responsibility; promotes evolution. No, discourages risk; individual cannot fail; encourages apathy, discourages change; unnatural.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Yes, belongs to the individual. No, property belongs to the group.

 

Before closing, I encouraged the students to become familiar with the works of author Ayn Rand, particularly “The Fountainhead” (1943) and “Atlas Shrugged” (1957). Rand’s work touted the need for individual achievement and capitalism, and saw them as two intertwined concepts.

In business, we have to be mindful of encouraging individual achievement and teamwork equally. We realize our team is as good as its weakest player, hence the need to encourage workers to strive harder for perfection. However, there will always be those people who will rise above others and it certainly wouldn’t make sense to impede their growth.

“But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made–before it can be looted or mooched–made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.” – Ayn Rand

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 INNER BEAUTY OF WOMEN – Which can be more alluring than just physical beauty.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

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

MAKING BOOK ON YOUR INVESTMENTS

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 26, 2012

BRYCE ON ECONOMICS

– Some fundamental lessons on managing your portfolio.

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

Let me preface my remarks by saying I am certainly no expert in terms of financial planning, just an ordinary Joe who, like most of you, is trying to make ends meet and put some money away for a rainy day. As a rule, I generally do not trust financial planners. I’ve heard a lot of bad financial advice over the years and I am wary as a result. I look at most of them as car salesmen from the 1970’s when they wore polyester pants, white shoes and white belts. However, there are some good ones out there which can be typically found through word of mouth, certainly not those silly commercials on television.

The term “investment” sounds more like something connected with fashion as opposed to finances. Obviously, it refers to the purchase of an item or asset in the hope it will generate income or appreciate in value, but years ago it meant the act of laying siege to something with military force, which seems to be a more suitable description of my finances. One of the first lessons I learned over the years about investing was:

“If you are relying totally on your own expertise to make investment decisions, then you likely have a fool for a client.” If we were all experts, we wouldn’t all be working (and I certainly wouldn’t be writing these columns).

We all worry about our financial future. Some people do well, but I suspect most of us are in the dark as to what to invest in. There is, of course, the stock market, bonds, annuities, precious metals, gems, real estate, etc. You can even invest in commercial prison systems if you are so inclined. Certificates of Deposits and Money Market Funds used to be considered solid investments years ago, but I don’t think too many people gamble on them anymore. That’s just the point, it is a crap shoot as there are so many areas to invest in and enough variables to boggle the mind. It should come as no small surprise when people get caught up in a Ponzi scheme; this is when greed supersedes common sense. Consequently, we make some bad decisions along the way. This leads me to my next observation:

“There are no guarantees for success.” Even if the company or investment seems fine on the surface, there are many other external influences affecting it, such as a market dragging it down, changing governmental regulations, inflation, or the monetary exchange rate. This brings up my next point:

“You have to watch your money at all times.”

As a child, my mother opened a Passbook Savings account for me in order to teach me thrift and the need for saving money. I basically learned to put my money in the account and forget about it. When a bank statement came in, I was giddy with the idea of earning interest. It was simple, it was predictable, and I didn’t have to worry about it. However, due to the many types of investments available today and the rules associated with them, following your portfolio can turn into a full time job, which most of us cannot afford to do.

Over the years, I have learned a few other harsh realities:

“If you hear of a new stock or investment opportunity, it’s already too late to capitalize on it.” Others are already in on the ground floor and they will be the ones profiting, certainly not you.

“The moment you purchase a stock, you can count on it declining immediately.” Investments are somewhat Newtonesque in nature and rarely violate the laws of gravity when you purchase them initially.

“The moment you sell your stock, it will either immediately soar to new heights, split, or both.” You are dumbfounded by this as you held the stock for several years and it did nothing during this time.

Some would say I have a defeatist attitude about investments. Frankly, I think I am more pragmatic than most and recognize investments for what they are: legalized gambling. Just as in a casino, the only people who truly understand the odds are those who control the game. The rest of us are just little guys placing simple $5 chips on the Pass Line.

I wonder what my Passbook Savings Account would be worth today had I not cashed out years ago? Probably a small fortune. The last lesson of investing should be rather obvious: “Hindsight is always 20/20.”

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 DISPARITY BETWEEN CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM – Do young people know the difference between the two?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Economics, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

WHAT ARE WE GIVING THANKS TO?

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 20, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– What kind of grace do you give at turkey time?

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

One of the reasons I enjoy Thanksgiving is because it is one of the few holidays where we do not have to exchange gifts. We simply get together with family and friends and enjoy the company. Maybe we’ll watch a parade on television or perhaps some football, but it’s the communal experience which I enjoy the most. For some reason, the preparation of the meal is less of a chore and more of a pleasure, probably because we realize it is designed for many people on a special day.

We’re all familiar with the origins of Thanksgiving, that the Pilgrims at Plymouth were thankful to celebrate the harvest at the end of the season. Actually, Thanksgiving traces its roots back to the 1500’s in England. It’s an old custom, and a good one as we would be remiss if we didn’t periodically take time to be thankful for the blessings we have received, be they few or many.

As a child, I was thankful simply to have the clan assemble, which was a rarity as the family was spread out across the country. We would have the meal at my grandmother’s house in Buffalo, New York, and I can distinctly remember the aromatic smells emanating from the kitchen which seemed heavenly. I would get the opportunity to talk with my grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Everyone was in good spirits and helped as required. Occasionally, a squabble would erupt between family members over some innocuous subject which was quickly quelled and forgotten. If my great-grandfather was in high spirits, he would bring out his fiddle and play a tune from a distant era, much to everyone’s approval. It was interesting to watch the family dynamics, even at an early age. From time to time, I would sneak into the kitchen to check on progress and steal a nibble of something before getting caught. The room was awash in activity; relish trays being garnished with radishes, green onions, celery, and olives; salads being prepared along with appetizer trays consisting of a variety of dips and delicacies; in addition to the turkey and stuffing, there were mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pearl onions, beets, cranberries, crescent rolls, and at least three different pies for dessert. As a kid, the room was a magical tapestry of smells and delights. It still seems this way to me many years later.

As I got older and moved up the family hierarchy, I learned to assume more responsibility in the preparation of the meal, such as dressing the bird and carving the meat. When we were finally called to the table, we all knew this was a special meal for a special occasion. To me, the Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without grace. As a child, it was always considered an honor to be selected to say the grace before the meal, which should be done with tact and presentation. A lot of kids tend to avoid the limelight of saying grace, but we considered it an essential part of the meal, hence an honor to deliver it on such an auspicious occasion.

As an adult, when I am asked to give the grace, I try to convey the fundamental things that truly affect us, such as:

* That we are thankful of all of the blessings we have, large or small; that we have a roof over our head in these perilous economic times; that we are in good health and remember those who are not.

* That we are thankful to live in a great country, even though we are cognizant it is certainly not perfect. We are thankful for the freedoms we enjoy as defined by the U.S. Constitution.

* That we are thankful for the people who protect and defend our nation; we pray they be protected from harms way.

* That we are thankful that we are all together for this bountiful meal, and to remember those who preceded us as well as those yet to come.

I think the Thanksgiving Prayer written by Samuel F. Pugh covers several of my concerns:

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

Then again, as a Scotsman, I may turn to “The Selkirk Grace”:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Just don’t expect me to pipe in a turkey stuffed with haggis.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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:  MAKING BOOK ON YOUR INVESTMENTS – Some fundamental lessons on managing your portfolio.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

THE VILIFICATION OF THE TEA PARTY

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 19, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– How and why the term “Teabagger” is used.

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

Whenever I write a political column that is conservative in nature, I am often accused by my liberal readers of being a “filthy Teabagger.” I have found this expression to be rather amusing. They might also compare me to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, FOX News, etc., all of which are designed to suggest we are fanatically evil and bent on distorting the truth. I have my own views on these entities which I have shared in my columns over the years, some things I like, some things I do not. However, I cannot dismiss them out of hand when I compare them to the liberal media who spins their own doctrine.

Although I am not a member of the Tea Party, I have met many of them over the last few years. Frankly, I have found them to be articulate in their concerns, and nothing more than conscientious citizens. Not once have I heard one of them utter a racial expletive, call for the assassination of anyone, or any other gruesome activity. They are simply unhappy with the course the country is taking. Their beliefs can be condensed into three simple points:

* That the government should abide by the U.S. Constitution, thereby guaranteeing our freedoms and liberty.

* That big government and over regulation inhibits business and, as such, should be reduced.

* That the government has a fiduciary responsibility to operate within its means, meaning to operate within a balanced budget.

There may be other minor considerations, but these three points represent their principal concerns. They also want their government representatives to subscribe to these rules and have been very instrumental in getting people elected who share their views. Further, they see government officials as servants of the people, not the other way around. Frankly, I have a difficult time refuting their arguments which is why I am occasionally accused of being a “filthy Teabagger.”

I find this expression interesting as it is intended to vilify people thereby sabotaging their arguments. By their baseless accusations, liberals and the media have cleverly clouded the public’s perception of the Tea Party, and turned “Teabagger” into a dirty icon resulting in a Pavlovian response.

Interestingly, the media teaches the public it is okay to ridicule, criticize and condemn the Right. Not surprising, attacking the Left is considered off-limits. As a small example, if the Republicans were in charge of the White House now, the press would unmercifully attack them for Benghazi, the Budget, the Economy, and the many gaffs of the Vice President. Needless to say, this hasn’t happened. The hypocrisy of the media is overwhelming, yet the public seems unconcerned.

Whereas the Tea Party is unfairly vilified, the left has carte blanche to openly attack conservative candidates and celebrity supporters on social media using vicious discourse, e.g., Stacey Dash. Yet, the media never seems to take them to task over this. Again, hypocrisy in action.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with the word “Teabagger,” but treat it more as a compliment as opposed to a condemnation. Maybe instead of being offended, we should simply say “Thank you.” Being polite usually confuses the left. As an aside, I am actually quite “clean”, which is more than what I can say about a lot of my liberal opponents.

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:  WHAT ARE WE GIVING THANKS TO? – What kind of grace do you give at turkey time?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 19 Comments »

THE WISDOM OF DOBIE GILLIS

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 16, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A subtle yet simple suggestion for improving life.

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

As a kid, a favorite television show of mine was “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963. It also appeared in syndication many years afterwards. I’m not sure many adults followed it at the time, but the kids became addicted to it as it was one of the few shows examining the trials and tribulations of a teenager transitioning into adulthood. Dobie (played by Dwayne Hickman) would usually open the show next to a statue of Rodin’s “The Thinker” where he would give a monologue to the television audience pondering a specific aspect of life. Although it was intended to be a comedy, Dobie questioned such things as family relationships, attracting the opposite sex, money, education, ethics; questions we all ask ourselves particularly at a young age. Even though it was done with humor, there was usually a profound message to each episode, at least to Dobie, which is why youth gravitated to the show. As an aside, I particularly enjoyed Dobie’s father, Herbert T. Gillis (played by Frank Faylen), a cantankerous, hard-working WW2 vet who owned a local grocery store. We could all relate to the family dynamics in the Gillis household.

Not long ago, I was pleased to discover the show was played on an “oldies” cable channel but in the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, I was able to DVR it, and watch it at my leisure. There was one episode which I found particularly interesting, “Names My Mother Called Me,” where Dobie is invited to meet a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who inspired his unusual first name, Dr. D.W. Klein, whose character was based on Albert Einstein, the great physicist. Today’s generation would compare him to British physicist Stephen Hawking.

In this particular episode, Dr. Klein wants to retire and pursue other interests. As Dr. Klein has greatly influenced how people think and view the world around them, the press is hounding him for one final statement regarding the meaning of life. A press conference is arranged, but prior to attending it, Dr. Klein calls for a meeting with Dobie Gillis (of all people), who is surprised by the invitation. As it turns out, Dobie’s mother (played by Florida Friebus) knew Dr. Klein many years ago and asked his permission to use his first name. Dr. Klein was flattered by the request and, consequently, quietly watched Dobie grow up from afar. This, of course, surprises Dobie, but he wonders how he can help the doctor:

KLEIN: “I spent a lifetime trying to make the world a better place to live in, but what is the world except the people who live in it? And what are the people who live in it except a lot of individuals, like you.”

DOBIE: “Dr. Klein, you’ve done a wonderful job of making the world a better place to live.”

KLEIN: “Is it much of a place to live in right now?”

DOBIE: “Well…”

KLEIN: “The truth.”

DOBIE: “It’s miserable.”

KLEIN: “You bet it is, and part of the reason is that people like me who try to improve life have been too busy to live it and learn what it’s all about.”

KLEIN: “Dobie, at the age when you were dancing with Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld), I was locked in a laboratory working out a theory that only a few eggheads like me even cared about. While I was standing by observing, you were living, you were part of life, I was outside it. Now tell me, which of us is in a better position to give advice on what the world needs?”

DOBIE: “Me? Oh, no…”

KLEIN: “You, yes, that’s why I’m going back to fundamentals, to the basic primitive things. I’ve got to try to learn the things you already know. And that’s the advice I want from you Dobie: What does the world really want from life?”

DOBIE: “Oh, come on Dr. Klein, what does a kid like me know about that?”

KLEIN: “Plenty, because you lived life. Now speak up Dobie, don’t be a prima donna.”

DOBIE: “Well, I guess I want what everybody wants, happiness.”

KLEIN: “What is happiness?”

DOBIE: “Honestly, Dr. Klein…”

KLEIN: “Don’t poke along Dobie, get to the point.”

DOBIE: “Well, one part of happiness is having a girl.”

KLEIN: “A girl? Well, a girl, of course.”

DOBIE: “And friends, people you care about, people who care about you.”

KLEIN: “Yes, that we know.”

DOBIE: “Well, everybody wants a chance for an education, so they can learn how to make a living, and they want some time to enjoy themselves after they’re through working so they can make that living mean something. And, of course, they want peace, or else none of the rest of it means anything.”

KLEIN: “Peace? Well we’ve all tried; how would you go about achieving that Dobie?”

DOBIE: “Well, for openers, I’d try to make people more polite.”

KLEIN: “Well, I’m all for that, but how do you think politeness would bring about peace?”

DOBIE: “Oh, sure it would! Well, I don’t mean polite only on the surface like taking your hat off on elevators or using the right fork. I mean polite inside, in your heart, an honest respect for the other guy’s feelings and opinions, even if you don’t agree with him.”

KLEIN: “Ah-ha, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask, yet it’s everything isn’t it?”

DOBIE: “They need one more thing, one more thing, time to dream about better days, about a fine new world.”

KLEIN: “That’s a heck of a fine dream.”

DOBIE: “It’s a heck of a necessary dream, because, well, we’ve got to dream before we can plan.”

KLEIN: “Indeed, you do. Dobie, those people out there, they’re waiting for some final word from me, some memorable message.”

DOBIE: “They sure are. They made me promise to get it to them.”

KLEIN: “So you will.”

DOBIE: “Yes sir. I’ll get a pencil and write it down.”

KLEIN: “No Dobie, you’re going to give them the message, your own message.”

DOBIE: “Me? Oh no, come on now Doctor…”

KLEIN: “You, of course; Dobie, you’re the hope of the world, you and millions of others like you. Young enough to dream, young enough to make those dreams come true. Now go Dobie, give them the message they’re waiting for. I’m going to sneak out the back door; crowds bug me.”

DOBIE: “But I can’t speak for you.”

KLEIN: “Says who? What they want from me, I can no longer give them. You can; you can give them hope. Now go on son. And son, speak up, now don’t mumble, I’m counting on you.”
As implausible a scenario as this episode represents, that a scientific genius would seek the advice of a young adult, it does offer a simple yet profound message, that the world would be a better place if we just treated ourselves with a little love and respect. It may sound corny, but there is nothing wrong with what Dobie is proposing. If you read the dialog closely, you discover the characters considered the world a mess, as well as their socialization skills and discourse at the time, something we have all been feeling lately. I was pleasantly surprised by the show’s message and was startled by the parallel between now and back then (51 years ago).

A little politeness, eh? I’m not sure that will play any better in the 21st century than it did in the 20th. I can only hope.

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 VILIFICATION OF THE TEA PARTY – How and why the term “Teabagger” is used.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Family, Life, Social Issues, Society | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

THE INFORMATION CURTAIN

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 14, 2012

BRYCE ON THE MEDIA

– What can be done about the media’s stranglehold on the news?

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

Winston Churchill is credited for coining the expression “The Iron Curtain” to describe the separation of communist countries in Europe following World War II. In essence, the former Soviet Union built a wall around eastern Europe and kept its citizens in the dark. For many years, eastern Europeans secretly tuned into the Voice of America to find out what was really going on in the world which was in stark contrast to the Soviet propaganda machine. The Iron Curtain wasn’t raised until 1991 when the Cold War finally came to an end. Similarly, there was a “Bamboo Curtain” surrounding Communist China to keep the Western World out. Both curtains represent an approach to keep the citizenship in line, and propaganda was an inherent part of manipulating the masses.

Today we have an “Information Curtain” that is essentially no different than the Soviet system, yet much more sophisticated in terms of controlling the people through the dissemination of truthful facts. So much so, an incestuous relationship now exists between government and the press, which, in theory, is supposed to be independent but is now nothing more than an arm of the government with considerable swagger to dictate legislation and elect officials at all levels of government.

The Information Curtain dictates what news and information is to be released to the public, and how it is to be presented (“spin”). The media’s stranglehold of news is such that trust in the media continues to decline with the result being a public totally ignorant of the facts despite the availability of easy to use technology to access information. Frankly, more and more people have stopped reading newspapers, and watching the news on television simply because they no longer trust the media. As evidence, consider a September 21, 2012 poll by Gallup, entitled “U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High.” In it, Gallup contends “Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.”

Should the media be interested in restoring its credibility, a major cleanup is in order. First, consider the “Journalist’s Creed,” a code of ethics written around 1906 by Walter Williams shortly after founding the Missouri School of Journalism. His intent was to devise something similar to the Hippocratic Oath as taken by physicians swearing to practice medicine ethically and honestly. The Creed reads:

“I believe in the profession of Journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best-and best deserves success-fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.”

In theory, all journalists are to adhere to this code, yet I personally do not believe there is anyone following this pledge anymore, and I suspect a lot of Americans would agree with me. So what can be done to restore the integrity of the media, or to lift “The Information Curtain”? First, like any profession, how about revoking a license to practice news? Since other craftsmen and professionals must periodically update their certification to practice their craft, why not the media? And, No, they should not police themselves. An independent body should handle such certifications, and certainly not the government.

Consumers could also boycott the media, but that has never proven effective in modern times. Instead, it would seem to make more sense to institute a certification system with a board to review reported violations of the code of ethics and sanction penalties for violations. Just about every other profession has such a system, why not the media? Maybe then we could learn to trust the media again and finally lift “The Information Curtain.”

Then again, maybe they are not interested in restoring their integrity. After all, the money and control is probably better under the current system.

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 WISDOM OF DOBIE GILLIS – A subtle yet simple suggestion for improving life.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Media, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

DETECTING SYSTEM DEFICIENCIES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 12, 2012

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– It’s actually not too difficult to spot weaknesses in your systems.

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

Our company has been conducting Systems Audits for a number of years, and by this, I do not mean analyzing computer hardware and software but, rather, the information systems used throughout a corporation, such as a manufacturing system, a finance system, a billing system, etc. It’s actually not too difficult to find deficiencies in a system. If you’ve done it as long as we have, it becomes rather routine. We’ve encountered systems that couldn’t accommodate foreign languages and local nuances, systems that were difficult to port across different computing environments, and systems that were plain and simply awkward to understand and use (“user nasty” as opposed to “user friendly”).

When we begin an audit, we’re not so much interested in the programming languages used and other issues pertaining to technology. These may be mildly interesting, but we’re more interested in the business problem to be solved and the parts of the organization served. In particular, there are three areas we concentrate on:

1. Documentation – as used in recording design specifications and as an operations manual. As a design tool, there should be sufficient documentation to describe the system architecture and its various components, e.g., inputs, outputs, and files. Unfortunately, this is an area which is typically neglected, if not abandoned altogether. There should be no excuse for this as there have been a multitude of documentation aids available (both graphics and text) for over 35 years, not to mention simple paper and pencil (anybody remember plastic templates?). There is simply no excuse for operating without such tools. It is impossible to maintain your systems without adequate documentation and, consequently, the systems will need to be replaced in its entirety in a short period of time (two to three years at most). Further, “firefighting” becomes the normal mode of operation in the Information Technology department.

From an operations perspective, there should be sufficient documentation to provide instruction in how to use the system, such as administrative procedures, samples of inputs and outputs, and operations considerations, such as backup and recovery. Unfortunately, this is an area that is also neglected. Even simple help text is often omitted or inconsistently applied. Without sufficient instructional materials, the system will be underutilized at best.

2. Lack of data integration – the only way systems communicate internally or externally with other systems is through shared data. Failure to design systems without such integration means it is possible for different systems to produce different calculations, such as inconsistent sales figures. It also leads to…

3. Data redundancy – which is common within most companies today. Although data dictionaries and Data Base Management Systems (DBMS) were deliberately designed to help prevent data redundancy and promote data integration, it is easy to create redundancy if one is so inclined. This is what happens when a DBMS is used as nothing more than a data access method as opposed to what the tool was designed for (sharing).

To determine if any data redundancy exists, we begin by searching on some key data elements as used by the company, such as Customer Number, Product Number, Part Number, Employee Number, etc. These are high profile data elements which will lead to the identification of duplicates, inconsistent data definitions (e.g., length, Validation rules, etc.), and locate data dependencies (those elements bound to the key item). From this, we can quickly determine the number of duplicate data assignments and if systems are sharing data. As an aside, I have yet to find an organization with only one definition for Customer Number.

If a company is inputting the same data element multiple times, there is no guarantee they are doing it in the same manner. If the data is inconsistent, how can we trust the information about such things as Customers, Products, Parts, Employees, etc.? The point is, we cannot which leads to considerable headaches within any company.

If data is assigned redundantly, it means there is also redundant work effort, if for no other reason than to input the duplicate data elements.

By studying these three variables (documentation, data integration, and data redundancy) we can find most of the problems with any information system. Try it yourself. If you encounter these variables, you probably do not trust the information you receive from your systems, your end-users likely have an adversarial relationship with the Information Technology department, and your development staff lacks uniform discipline and organization.

As I said, after you’ve examined a few systems over the years, it becomes rather easy to spot problems.

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 INFORMATION CURTAIN – What can be done about the media’s stranglehold on the news?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Software, Systems, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

FINDING A MATE

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 9, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Dating and matchmaking as another casualty of technology.

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

I’ve been married to the same lovely lady for over 30 years now and if something were to happen to us, I don’t think I would ever re-marry. Been there, done that. Not everyone shares my view though and desperately needs to be attached to someone. My wife and I originally met in high school, one of about five couples from our class who married their sweetheart. Others found their mate in college, others at work, or in the locale where they lived. During the 1970’s, it was common to cruise the discos in search of love or whatever. In a way, it was reminiscent of SNL’s The Festrunk Brothers (Czech Brothers) routine. There certainly was a lot of polyester back then. Disco though had a short life, thank God, and the bar scene was the predominant means to meet the opposite sex. This lifestyle could be rather expensive and lead to alcoholism and other problems, but it was what it was.

Today it’s much different. People rarely socialize in group settings, dancing has diminished greatly, and people are stuck staring at their computer screens or texting on their smart phones. The bar scene is still active but not like it once was. For years, there were “Personal” columns in the newspapers for lonely people to find others. In order to save a nickle or two, a shorthand was used in the personals to describe people and their interests, such as: SWM, DWF, BMF, etc. The “personals” are still around of course, but the predominant means now is to seek companionship through social media on the Internet. Instead of writing and waiting for personals to appear in print, Internet dating services are the venue du jour. This is another example of how we are sacrificing socialization for speed and efficiency. People seem to prefer the Internet for their matchmaking as they can read the background and qualifications of a person, and see their photo. It also provides some pretty impressive sorting features in order to assemble a list of potential candidates.

If you are on the dating scene, you know there is now an extensive list of dating sites available to you. The big guns seem to be:

Match.com

eHarmony

Perfect Match

Plenty of Fish

Interestingly, newer sites have been introduced based on your religious inclination, for example:

Christian Mingle

JDate – Jewish singles

Single Muslims

Even ethnic dating sites are now available:

Black Singles

Latino Singles

Asian Singles

And there is one tailored to seniors as well:

Senior People Meet

There are so many dating sites now, you can find one for just about any religion, ethnic background, or city and state. However, I struck out when I searched for Lithuanian singles who are with the Salvation Army. I guess there are still limitations.

I have met subscribers to these on-line dating services who tell me these venues are “snake pits” (their words) where people want to live in Fantasy Land. There seems to be a lot of people who want to travel to Europe, walk on the beach, drive around in luxury cars, eat at fine restaurants, or sip wine on the back of a yacht. They want someone else to pay for it of course. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of fiscal responsibility.

Then there is “Speed Dating,” a relatively new concept where men and women circulate in an organized manner whereby they are given a few scant minutes to meet and quickly determine if they find someone suitable for dating. I guess this was inevitable for a technology induced go-go world. We used to do something similar when we went dancing years ago. It wasn’t quite as structured as “Speed Dating,” but I think it was a lot more fun.

In bygone times, if you were single, your choices were either the bar scene, neighborhood parties, church groups, work, or you would have a friend or relative on the lookout for a suitable match for you. I’m not saying this worked any better than today, but I suspect it was more interesting. Today there are professional matchmakers who earn a rather handsome amount of money by teaming people up.

Despite all of the technological advancements we have made, dating and matchmaking is still a rough sport. People of both sexes agonize on finding the right man or woman. Even with these slick Internet based dating services, it remains difficult to find a suitable match. Rarely does the person live up to their photo or description on the dating site. What I find particularly comical about all this though is after a couple has finally secured a date, they go to a restaurant, sit down, order their drinks and meal, then spend the rest of the evening checking their text messages.

God how I miss the 20th century.

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:  DETECTING SYSTEM DEFICIENCIES – It’s actually not too difficult to spot weaknesses in your systems.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Life, Marriage, Society | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

GRIDLOCK!

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 7, 2012

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The country votes for two more years of government stagnation, maybe longer.

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

Not knowing how the presidential election was going to turn out, I wrote two separate articles depending on the outcome, one if President Obama won the election, and one if Governor Romney had won. Now that we know the outcome, we can proceed.

By a narrow margin, Barack Obama retained his job as president of the United States. It was certainly NOT a mandate, but rather a simple plurality. Nonetheless, it is still his job to perform and we can only hope he can somehow reduce the unemployment rate, balance the budget, and cut the federal debt. Regardless of what you thought of Mr. Obama before the election, it is up to him to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Whether he is able to do so is questionable as the country will continue to spiral downward thanks to the gridlock between the Congress and the Oval Office.

Unlike President Clinton, who was able to work with a Republican Congress, it is more likely the president and the GOP will remain at loggerheads, at least until the next Congressional election in two years. If the last two years are any measure, the country will increase the federal debt, unemployment will remain high, and the direction of the country will continue to spiral out of control.

The Republicans will have to go back to the drawing board in order to retake the White House. No matter how they spun it, Mitt Romney was more of a moderate than a conservative. John McCain was essentially no different in 2008. Now, with Mr. Obama firmly in charge of the White House, I believe the next GOP contender to emerge will be a true conservative. If the government stagnates, as I suspect it will, the Tea Party will likely grow and flourish over the next two years and will no longer back down from senior Republicans who are moderate in nature. The conservative movement will become more robust and take control of both houses of Congress in 2014. After that, the White House in 2016.

Four years ago, I wrote a column on “Presidential Legacies.” In it, I publicly thanked President Bush for his service to the country. I was ridiculed for doing so, but I was unapologetic and remain so to this day. Interestingly, Mr. Obama’s legacy will not be his policies or actions (some would say “inactions”), but for re-awakening the conservative movement in this country. It’s an interesting dichotomy whereby the more President Obama wins, the greater his opposition grows. Conversely, if he loses, the conservatives weaken. Consider this, had Barack Obama lost in 2008 it is highly unlikely the Tea Party would have ever surfaced, and the Democrats wouldn’t have lost the House of Representatives in 2010.

Let’s just hope I’m wrong and that the country will work out its differences. You’ll excuse me if I do not hold my breath.

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:  FINDING A MATE – Dating and matchmaking as another casualty of technology.
Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 25 Comments »

 
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