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Archive for September, 2013

WHY IS MY PERSONAL COMPUTER SLOWING DOWN?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 30, 2013

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– Some simple tips to speed up your machine.

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

This narrative is primarily aimed at PC novices, people who have a rudimentary knowledge of how the computer runs and are frustrated as to why it seems to slow down for them. You know the type; people who are prone to cursing at their computer. They are also easy prey to be conned by specialists who want to tune their computers at exorbitant rates. First, understand this, the average life of a computer in business is one year. Home computers though can last a little longer depending on treatment, typically three to five years at most. This is a prime example of “Parkinson’s Law” as applied to computer technology.

The biggest problem though is you, the user, who is putting a lot of junk on your computer, both knowingly and unwittingly. If you are downloading software to your computer, either through the Internet or by CD, you are introducing several new files to your computer. If you are accessing the Internet with a web browser, such as MS Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox, you are downloading files to your computer. And if you read e-mails from family, friends, or strangers, you are downloading files, all of which are scattered around on the hard drive of your computer. Sometimes vendors secretly place “cookies” on your computer which are files usually used for devilish purposes, such as monitoring what you are looking at on your computer or some other marketing trick. Even worse, spam and bugs may be introduced which is intended to either drive you crazy or hack into your private identity. This is why I’m a big believer of installing security software on the computer as a precursor to doing anything else. If you do not have such software, you are leaving yourself open to attack and theft.

One major rule you should live by: If you do not know the person sending you something on the Internet, DO NOT OPEN IT! If it seems to be too good true, it is! In all likelihood, it is some sort of spam aimed at disrupting your life, stealing your identity or e-mail address book, or setting you up to deposit money into a bank in Nigeria. Just let it go and delete the e-mail and its attachments.

Files are typically scattered around your computer and, despite the speed of your machine, may take time to assemble and load for your use. From time to time it pays to clean this up and, fortunately, there are some basic tools under MS Windows to help you in this regard:

1. Disk Cleanup
Go to Start -> “All Programs” -> “Accessories” -> “System Tools” -> “Disk Cleanup”
This will cleanup several files for you and free up some space. You should run this utility periodically.

Another program, “Disk Defragmenter”, is also available:
Go to Start -> “All Programs” -> “Accessories” -> “System Tools” -> “Disk Defragmenter”
However, you will rarely have to use it. Only turn to this utility if you are truly stuck. It will try to correct damaged files as well as reorganizing the hard drive for more efficient use. It typically runs for a long period of time. As such, I suggest you run it overnight.

2. Downloads
Go to Start -> “Documents” -> “Downloads” (under “Favorites”)
This will list the files you have downloaded to your machine, either intentionally or not. You may delete the files here, but be careful, this is a favorite hideout for spam files.

3. Security software – If you’ve got security software, such as Norton or McAfee, such tools usually have features which allows you to scan your hard drive for bad files and eliminate them. It may take awhile to perform, but it is worth it.

You will inevitably hear the expression “Cache memory” which is an area on your computer where files are processed. This is particularly useful for web browsers. For every web page you access with a browser, it is stored on your computer, either in the cache or elsewhere on your computer. Over time, these files can build up and become cumbersome to process. Consequently, it is necessary to clean out the files using your web browser:

1. MS Internet Explorer (v10.0.9 plus earlier versions)
Select “Tools” from the action bar -> select “Temporary Internet files and website files” (and anything else you think pertinent).

2. Firefox (v23.0.1)
History -> Clear Recent History (particularly select, “Browsing & Download History,” “Cookies,” and “Cache.”)
For earlier versions of Firefox, you may find it under “Tools.”

3. Google Chrome (v28.0 and earlier versions)
Go to the Settings (the three little horizontal bars to the right of the web address line).
Select “Settings” -> “Show advanced settings” (at the bottom of the screen) -> Under “Privacy” select “Clear browsing data” -> On the panel, select “Clear browsing history,” and “Empty the cache” (and anything else you think pertinent).

BACKUP

Regardless of your proficiency with the computer, I encourage you to backup important files in the event your computer is damaged or crashes. I cannot stress this enough. There is an ample number of software packages for such purpose, as well as those offered on the Internet. These basically take a copy of your files and moves them to another physical computer on the Internet. You can also do this yourself using an external hard drive or even a flash drive.

Most people at home have just a handful of files requiring backup:

* Picture files (JPG).
* Letters and other documents.
* Financial software.
* E-mail address books
* E-mail messages
* Web browser bookmarks or “Favorites”

For most people this can be accommodated by a simple flash drive. However, if you also have audio and video files, you may need something bigger. Whatever you select, I encourage you to have a game plan in place. I have seen far too many people lose files on their computers over the years. Even if you did nothing but copy and paste key folders and files to a flash drive (using your “Computer” from the Start menu), you’ll be way ahead.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  LET’S GET REAL ABOUT BIGOTRY – Bigotry exists and it isn’t going away any time soon.

LAST TIME:  GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE – Does anybody go to jail anymore?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Computers, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 27, 2013

BRYCE ON IMPRISONMENT

– Does anybody go to jail anymore?

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

Last month, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the start of a new program allowing people arrested for minor drug offenses to be released as opposed to being locked up in jail.(1) This is not surprising as the AG has been a proponent of pre-release programs for quite some time (click HERE) and is encouraging county and municipal jails to follow suit. In a nutshell, the program is intended to minimize or eliminate jail time as proponents argue the cost of incarceration has skyrocketed. Instead of locking up a suspect, they are released under their own recognizance. This has produced mixed results. True, the jail saves money, but there are also countless stories of people failing to appear at trial or committing additional crimes while awaiting trial. Even people with lengthy and questionable rap sheets are being allowed out, all under the rationale of reducing jail costs. This obviously does not bode well for the safety of our communities.

As mentioned, county and municipal jails are starting to follow suit, particularly here in Florida. To illustrate, I am aware of a county jail where the lock-up rate has fallen dramatically. Just a couple of years ago, the county averaged 200-300 lockups every day. Now that number is down to a paltry 25, all because the Sheriff needs to meet his budget. 200-300 may be a lot, but 25 seems way too few. This means a lot of people are evading incarceration, many with a long laundry list of prior arrests. They may be evading jail, but they are also returning to the communities they are menacing.

Sadly, the citizenry is unaware of this problem. When a person is arrested, it is naturally assumed they are going to jail. The reality is, they are probably not. As long as AG Holder and our sheriffs continue to distribute “Get Out of Jail, Free” cards, you have to wonder about the safety of our neighborhoods and the priorities of our law enforcement officials. If the money is not going to incarcerate offenders, one can only wonder where it is going. It would seem now is a great time to turn to crime, a sort of national moratorium on capturing the bad guys.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE – Does anybody go to jail anymore?

LAST TIME:  WHY IS MY PERSONAL COMPUTER SLOWING DOWN? – Some simple tips to speed up your machine.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

SECURING OUR SOUTHWEST BORDER

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 25, 2013

BRYCE ON IMMIGRATION

– Who are we trying to keep out?

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

As immigration has been in the Congressional spotlight lately, I decided to do a little research on our southwest border which extends 1,954 miles across four states; California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, only 652 miles have been fenced, just a third of the overall border. True, the general terrain is not the most hospitable and we have border agents patrolling, but it is a porous border where immigrants attempt to illegally enter our country on a daily basis. In 2012, the Border Patrol caught 356,000 trying to cross illegally from the south. Obviously this does not include those who allude border agents which may be just as high, if not higher. I’m not sure the average American taxpayer understands this.

There is the general public impression the U.S. Border Patrol lacks resources. In fact, there have been major increases over the years, particularly in the areas of:

Staffing:
1993 – 4,028
2012 – 21,394 (+531%)

Staffing in the Southwest Border Sector:
1993 – 3,444
2012 – 18,516 (+537%)

Budget:
1990 – $0.262B
2012 – $3.500B (+1346%)

Illegal Immigration:
1992 – 3.4M
2011 – 11.5M (+338%)

In other words, the resources have outpaced the number of illegal immigrants. Like the failed War on Poverty, this suggests another area where the federal government tries to conquer problems by simply throwing money at it, and without much success.

The government states there are three components to the 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan: Information, Integration and Rapid Response. The plan includes two goals: Secure America’s Borders, and; Strengthen the Border Patrol.

The plan primarily addresses terrorism and the movement of narcotics; for example, Objective 1.1 states, “Prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States between the POEs through improved and focused intelligence-driven operations, as well as operational integration, planning, and execution with law enforcement partners.” Interestingly, there is virtually nothing included in the plan specifically addressing illegal immigrants, just terrorists and drug smugglers. On the cover of their web page, they boldly proclaim, “The priority mission of the Border Patrol is preventing terrorists and terrorists’ weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, from entering the United States.” Although one would believe the Border Patrol’s prime responsibility is preventing illegal entries, their strategic plan and web site suggests an entirely different focus.

The public tends to believe the Border Patrol lacks funding to protect our borders, and that it is focused on stopping illegal immigration. This leads me to believe we may have three problems: first, we are being misled by our government (again); second, the Border Patrol has its priorities wrong, and; third, it is being poorly managed (or all three). It’s interesting what you find when you do a little research, and a little scarey I may add.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE – Does anybody go to jail anymore?

LAST TIME:  A SIMPLER TIME – Were the good old days really better?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

A SIMPLER TIME

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 23, 2013

BRYCE ON CHANGE

– Were the good old days really better?

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

As we grow older, we tend to get aggravated by the complexities of the world and yearn for simpler times. You suddenly recognize the complications caused by technology, overcrowding, government bureaucracy, and changes in moral values, thereby causing you to fondly think back to less stressful times, particularly in childhood. I happened to mention this to some of my older friends recently who began to reminisce about the simpler times they experienced growing up. Their descriptions make for an interesting tapestry of images:

At home it was not uncommon to have two newspapers delivered daily, a morning paper and another for the evening. Yes, back then people would read habitually as they wanted to know what was going on in the world and, believe it or not, actually trusted the press. You would also listen to the radio routinely and use your imagination. When television came along, there would be just three channels representing the major networks and possibly a fourth channel for a local independent which feature classic monster movies on Saturday nights hosted by such people as the “Cool Ghoul.” Somehow the programming seemed better as we enjoyed the golden age of television which included comedies, dramas (particularly Westerns and detective series), talk shows, soap operas, and variety shows. Only the cream of the crop made it to the television screen, and, No, there were no reality shows. Remote controls were a rarity. If you wanted to change the channel, you had to get out of your chair to do so. Not surprising, you became a devotee of a single network. Instead of cable we strapped bizarre looking antennas to chimneys and grounded them in fear of lightning strikes.

Party phones were common in many households whereby two or more parties shared a line, thereby saving costs. It wasn’t uncommon to pick up the phone and hear your neighbor talking with someone else. If this happened, common courtesy dictated you hang up quietly as opposed to listening in.

Only the very rich had remote controls to open garage doors. Most people had to get out of their car to open the door, or dispatch their children to do so.

If your neighbor needed help, you didn’t think twice to lend a helping hand, be it to shovel snow, cut their grass, run an errand for them, lend your car, deliver a meal, or help any way you could. Everyone instinctively watched out for each other and you could keep the front door unlocked.

Kids kept busy by cutting grass, raking, sweeping, and other chores around the house. For entertainment they would play baseball, fishing, swimming or outdoor games like tag, hide and seek, Red Rover, Dodge Ball, Johnny on the Pony (aka Buck Buck), etc. You also built a lot of forts to hide in and plot skullduggery. In the winter you would skate, sled, make snow forts, and a snowball fight was always imminent. You would also collect and trade baseball cards, shoot marbles, and play with yo-yos, tops, Super Balls, even Hula Hoops. Only if it rained, were you allowed to stay inside. If you were really lucky, you went to a double feature on a Saturday afternoon.

Sundays were used to bring the family together. After church you would go to either the home of your grandparents or that of an aunt or uncle, where you enjoyed a large dinner. You might also go to a nearby park where you could barbecue. Such festivities would be concluded late in the afternoon so people could get home to watch Disney, Lassie, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, or Ed Sullivan.

As to humor, it seemed everyone knew how to tell a joke and, No, they were not always politically correct. Kids told knock-knock jokes and puns. Parents gravitated to burlesque or vaudeville type of jokes. Groucho Marx would make you think, Jack Benny’s “cheap” persona was always good for a laugh, and “Uncle Miltie” and the “Great One” ruled the airwaves in the early days of television.

The focal point of the neighborhood was the corner store where you would purchase items for the household, be it food or sundries. If they didn’t have it, they could order it for you. They were the precursors of today’s convenience stores, only better. Proprietors were well known and respected in the neighborhood. It wasn’t uncommon for customers to stop in simply to chat and gossip about what was going on in the community. Before air conditioning, such stores had ceiling fans to circulate the air, wooden floors, and the front door was screened with a retracting spring to keep it closed. When it swung shut it made a distinctive snapping sound. Old cash registers were behind the counter, built of brass and had brilliant designs etched into them. When a sale was made, a small bell would ring and the cash drawer would pop open. Items purchased at the corner store were often done so “on credit.” The proprietor would keep tab of everything and at the end of the month you were expected to “settle up.” The store smelled heavenly of fresh ground coffee, bead, and there was a pickle barrel with a delicious brine.

For kids, stores offered “penny candy” which was an array of sweets consisting of such delicacies as rock candy, paper strips with dots, root beer barrels, fireballs, licorice, gum drops, pixie sticks, etc. For a mere dime you would have more than enough sweets to satisfy you. Soft drink machines came as horizontal chests, not “uprights”, where you would slide a glass bottle by its neck across an inside track and into the dispenser where you deposited your coins. I never saw a fat kid, probably because we either ran everywhere or rode bicycles which represented freedom. We would drive our bikes for miles, either to school, the store, a fishing spot, a camp site, a baseball field, or wherever. As kids, we would camp out, cook over a camp fire, and cleaned up afterwards. We also carried swimming suits with us in case we found an inviting pond or stream to jump into. A rope swing into the water was heavenly. Occasionally we would experience an accident, but you learned to take your medicine. Crying was natural but if you did so too long, you were a “spazz.”

Many items were delivered to your home. The milk man would deliver glass bottles to galvanized metal boxes by the kitchen door. If they sat there for awhile, you could watch the cream rise to the top. Bread was delivered, as were eggs, butter and cheese. The ice man would deliver large chunks to keep your “ice box” cold (not refrigerator). Coal was delivered through chutes going into the furnace room of your basement. It was normally the responsibility of the children to keep the furnace stoked during winter time. A popcorn man would make the rounds, selling bags for pennies. Ice cream was sold likewise. The fish man would also visit regularly, usually announcing his presence with a cowbell or some other audio attraction. There was also a person to sharpen knives and cutlery. The Fuller Brush man visited your home with a wide variety of brushes for sale, and Avon called frequently. Peddlers also went door-to-door selling medicines, salves, spices, concentrated flavors for cooking, and just about anything else. In other words, the vendors came to the customer, just the antithesis of today. And before trucks, there were pushcarts and horse drawn wagons.

Libraries played an important role in society where reading was stressed. They too traveled to the public in mobile libraries. Children were encouraged by parents to read. Before bedtime parents would read classics to their offspring like “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Moby Dick,” and the Dr. Seuss classics. Kids have a natural attraction to story telling, and it was a great way to wind up the day.

To get to school, you either walked, rode a bike, took a bus, or went in a carpool. Walking offered you freedom to take your time, talk to your friend, and investigate every shortcut. Yes, it seemed like we walked for miles, but it wasn’t really that bad. If you took the bus, you could make last minute adjustments to your homework or prep for a test. Taking your bike was the most fun as you were proud to show off your bike and, No, you didn’t have to lock your bike with a chain. In Connecticut, we participated in a carpool where the mothers took turns driving the kids to school and pick them up afterwards.

Most kids took a brown bag to school for lunch which included sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, and some fruit. Lunch boxes were a luxury. During my time, you longed for a lunch box featuring Davy Crockett, the Lone Ranger, or Superman. Inside would be a thermos filled with either hot soup or a cold drink. You paid pennies for milk. Cafeteria lunches were also available, which were both delicious and inexpensive (as cheap as a dime). Personally, I loved the meatloaf the Polish women made at my Chicago Junior High School.

Kids would go to school equipped with a pencil box which included fresh pencils, erasers, a ruler and a sharpener. Before ball point pens there were fountain pens. At your desk was a bottle where you would draw the ink into the pen. This was later replaced by pens with ink cartridges. No matter what you did though, you would somehow find a way to get ink on your shirt pocket. And just about everyone had a box of Crayola crayons.

You would go to school well dressed and properly groomed. Boys wore collared shirts, slacks and street shoes were the norm. T-shirts, blue jeans, shorts, and sneakers were verboten. Girls wore dresses or skirts with blouses. You were sent home if the dress was too short or looked inappropriate. Likewise, hair had to be cut to specific lengths (off the collar), and facial hair was not allowed.

The school day would begin with the pledge of allegiance to the flag and a patriotic song. Some schools also followed this with a nondenominational prayer. To be selected to the school’s Safety Patrol was considered an honor, as well as to raise the flag in the morning and strike the colors at the end of the day.

Classes included reading, writing, and arithmetic, with a lot of penmanship thrown in for good measure. You had to memorize the preambles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, if not more. Both American and World history were stressed, as well as civics. We also took speech classes, Earth Science, and learned the various branches of mathematics, not to mention typing.

In High School you were offered the opportunity to learn new skills in Wood Shop, Metal Shop or Mechanical Drawing. In such shops you built a variety of things, particularly a wide array of book shelves and bird houses. In the drawing class, you learned to master t-squares, compasses, and my personal favorite, the French curve.

Everyone knew not to fight in school as you could expect corporal punishment with a paddle. Instead, if somebody had a beef with another, you arranged to meet off campus and duke it out. At the end of the fight, when both boys were exhausted, they shook hands and consoled each other. Whatever they had been fighting over had been forgotten.

Teachers and parents were allowed to bring home-baked goods to school, such as donuts, pies, and cakes. Nothing was brought in from the store. During Halloween you would receive regular sized candy bars, popcorn balls, and candied apples. There was no such thing as “fun size.” I still remember Mrs. Derdarian’s fabulous caramel apples on a stick.

Time seemed to crawl along at a snail’s pace. You couldn’t wait for the bell to ring to go back outside. Today it seems time moves at a much faster pace and we are required to multitask everything. I wonder if we have forgotten to relax.

There was a genuine respect for the law. When a police officer asked you to move along, you did so as you trusted his judgment. There was no thought of talking back to him. He was your friend and you knew him by name, as he knew yours as well as your parents. He knew who the good kids were, as well as the trouble makers.

In business, you were expected to work hard regardless of your job, and put forth your best effort to produce quality work products, and take on a professional attitude. Instead of working at odds with your co-workers and boss, you tried to get along and work together. As in school, you dressed neatly and bathed regularly. You were charged to use your head and find a way to get the job done. And the customer was always right.

This is not so much about nostalgia as it is about how society seems to have made life more complicated than it needs to be. The world depicted herein is how many of us like to remember yesteryear. As a kid, you learned to innovate, adapt, and be resourceful. You also learned life was full of consequences, for every action there was a reaction. The emphasis back then was to work and play outdoors, be it summer or winter, but the kids today stay indoors hooked to their technology and now possess a sense of entitlement. They cannot possibly relate to the world of yesteryear where you were adventurous and took responsibility for your actions. Government at all levels has evolved into an incredible bureaucracy with a mind-boggling number of laws, rules and regulations aimed at stifling business and frustrating ambition. And our morality has shifted to the point where a person’s word is no longer their bond and we are suspicious of the motives of others.

So, were things really simpler in the good old days? Our predecessors probably asked the same question years ago. With every new technology comes another level of complexity which youth can more readily adapt to than their elders. Although technology may simplify some things, it complicates others. While today’s computers and smart phones have enhanced communications and expedited administrative tasks, people have developed an addiction which seems to have altered their personalities, interpersonal relationships and priorities. There is even a lack of concern regarding current events, and our youth has no interest in news.

As we grow older the differences between then and now becomes more apparent, but it is too late to change it back, you must go forward. I have also learned you do not truly appreciate the simplicity of the past until you’ve survived into the future. If you have no knowledge of the past, you have nothing to compare the present to and no appreciation of simpler times. To today’s youth, these are the good old days. Anything before is lost on them. They may be proficient in social media and computer games, but they will never appreciate the sheer joy of capturing a firefly, whittling, building a campfire, reading a book, or running a “pickle.” It’s the little things that make life enjoyable, not its complexities. The older generation may not be as proficient in the use of technology, but they didn’t suffer from all of today’s anxieties, allergies, obsessions and disorders either. Back then, there was no such thing as OCD, PTSD, BDD, bulimia, Prozac or Cialis. Instead, we had such things as Scouting, 4H, dime stores, Tarzan, J.C. Higgins, Louisville Sluggers, the YMCA, and God.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SECURING OUR SOUTHWEST BORDER – Who are we trying to keep out?

LAST TIME:  360 DEGREES – The benefit of looking at the company from a bird’s eye view.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Social Issues, Society | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

360 DEGREES

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 20, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– The benefit of looking at the company from a bird’s eye view.

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

My company has been doing business in Japan since the mid-1970’s. We have enjoyed the experience and have marveled at how Japanese businessmen act and think. For example, it is very important for the Japanese to reach a group consensus on major decisions (an inherent part of the concept of Theory Z). By doing so, they solicit the input from all of the workers before making a decision (a bottom-up type of approach). As an American, I found this to be radically different than the western world’s top-down micromanagement approach. The Japanese approach may make for a longer sales cycle, but it simplifies implementation (after all, everyone has agreed to the decision).

As the Japanese work through a problem they tend to look at it from every angle or as they refer to it as thinking in “360 degrees.” This is a much wider perspective than what you typically find in western companies. Whereas the Japanese tend to think in terms of 360 Degrees, Americans tend to suffer from tunnel-vision, meaning they become overly concerned with a single piece of the puzzle. Maybe this is because the western world is somewhat territorial in nature. We become so obsessed with our piece of the pie we tend to overlook the entire dish.

I think a lot of this has to do with our conditioning. Whereas the Japanese are taught at an early age the importance of teamwork and cooperation, Americans are taught to be individualistic and competitive. No wonder Japanese think of the bigger picture while Americans tend to build and fight over their little fifedoms.

Over the years I have learned that larger and more complex projects require teamwork, communications and cooperation. Maybe it is because of our natural aversion to cooperate, and not to think in terms of 360 degrees, that we have difficulty conquering anything of substance in this country anymore. This may be a major factor why we no longer think big and are content doing small things.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A SIMPLER TIME – Were the good old days really better?

LAST TIME:  THE PROBLEM WITH SHEEPLE – The amalgamation of “sheep” and “people” (and our society).

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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THE PROBLEM WITH SHEEPLE

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 18, 2013

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– The amalgamation of “sheep” and “people” (and our society).

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I find our changing vernacular particularly amusing. Our ever changing lexicon of the English language is influenced by such things as technology, political correctness, other languages, and, of course, changes in society. One word that has particularly piqued my interest is “Sheeple” which alludes to the herd-like behavior of people. It’s a word that has slowly come to prominence in recent years and makes a valid point.

There is perhaps no better illustration of the “Sheeple” phenomenon than by political activist Mark Dice of San Diego who has produced a series of “Candid Camera”-like videos whereby he solicits signatures for various phony petitions from Californians, just to see if people truly understand what they are signing. These videos are all available on YouTube. Perhaps his most chilling petitions include:

Mandatory Euthanasia for Senior Citizens Under Obamacare

Repeal the Bill of Rights

Confiscate Guns From Tea Party Supporters and Repeal the Second Amendment

Dice simply presents himself as an average Joe and explains the purpose of his petition. In most cases, people sign the petitions with few questions (if any). Occasionally, someone challenges Dice on the authenticity of the petition, to which he congratulates the person for seeing through his ruse.

I know California is “different,” but I suspect Dice would get the same result in just about any other state. When you watch his videos, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. As for me, I was scared. Far too many people accepted Dice’s deceptions without question. As a viewer, your initial inclination is to slap the sheeple and tell them to “Wake Up!” Beyond this, it left me with three conclusions: first, people do not like to engage their brains, therefore; second, people can be easily deceived, and; third, people prefer having others do the thinking for them. Consequently, they will do as they are told. As a result, the power of the media and government should be rather obvious. Through their spin, the public is programmed how to think and instructed as to what is right and wrong, thereby affecting not only our politics, but our morality as well.

Consider for example, the City of Seattle, Washington where it was recently announced terms such as “citizens” and “brown bags” were now considered politically incorrect. It was claimed “citizens” would offend illegal immigrants, and “brown bags” had racial overtones. While the rest of the country laughed at Seattle, the city itself was deadly serious about it. I’ll be curious to see if the sheeple of Seattle will accept these flagrantly idiotic ideas by the PC police. If the government and media are in cahoots, I’m confident they will all fall into line accordingly.

So, is “sheeple” a legitimate concept? I’m afraid so. People tend to behave like lemmings who will unwittingly walk off a cliff to their death. This is why it is necessary to become proficient in “Herd Management,” particularly as we approach the mid-term elections in 2014. The programming of people is well under way. I only hope those who blindly signed Dice’s petitions are ineligible to vote. Unfortunately they are and will likely vote for something idiotic like mandatory euthanasia for senior citizens, repealing the Bill of Rights, or a repeal of the Second Amendment. And you wonder why I am an advocate for voter certification.

What is the problem with sheeple? There is simply too many of them out there, they vote, and they will do whatever they are programmed to do. Be afraid, be very afraid.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  360 DEGREES – The benefit of looking at the company from a bird’s eye view.

LAST TIME:  NARCISSISM ON THE HIGHWAY – The problem is not with our highways, it is the people driving on them.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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NARCISSISM ON THE HIGHWAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 16, 2013

BRYCE ON DRIVING

– The problem is not with our highways, it is the people driving on them.

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I recently experienced a near accident on US19, a major artery traversing Pinellas County vertically. As I was approaching a left turn lane, a young man in an SUV suddenly darted out of the travel lane and was about to broadside me. I immediately laid on my horn and took evasive measures which caused me to momentarily cross the dividing curb and then back into the left lane and ahead of the other automobile. Fortunately, I possess good reaction time and I survived unscathed. I was mad at the offender but kept my cool and stayed in my car as no damage had been done.

Following this, I started to think about all of the laws, rules, and regulations associated with driving. First, to obtain a license, we have to be properly trained which typically begins in High School and concludes with a driver’s test, usually written and behind the wheel. Then there is the billions of dollars we spend every year by the federal and state departments of transportation. Construction of our highways, both large or small, have to be designed in accordance with precise specifications. Following this, lines have to be painted on the roadway, and a variety of street signs, sensors, traffic lights and cameras added. We also have law enforcement personnel trained in driving ordinances. Automobiles are also manufactured in accordance with precise safety specifications. When you consider all of this, you have to wonder why we have any traffic accidents whatsoever.

Maybe it’s the unwritten rules of the road causing the problems. For example, if there is inclement weather which we may have trouble traveling in, the obvious solution is to turn on your headlights so other motorists can see you. If really bad, pull off the road and wait for the weather to subside, but many people do not. We should also pull over if we become tired and begin to fall asleep, but some people will not. If we are experiencing car trouble, such as a flat tire or radiator troubles, we should also pull over, but some people keep truckin’ for some unfathomable reason. Then there is the problem with telephone calls and texting which, of course, distracts drivers regardless of how good they believe themselves to be.

In other words, most traffic accidents are caused by human error. Think about it. If everyone simply paid attention and followed the rules of the road as clearly marked on the highway, there should be no accidents, except those involving acts of God. As humans though we tend to only be concerned with our own personal needs as opposed to others, such as drinking coffee while we drive, shaving or applying makeup, reading a newspaper while in traffic, texting and talking. I tend to believe most Americans use their automobiles more as a lavatory or kitchen as opposed to what it was designed for. As an aside, German automotive engineers were baffled by our obsession for cup holders. They rightly believed drivers should be focused on driving, not drinking coffee.

The real problem is the narcissistic behavior exhibited by a lot of drivers. This is where people drive as if there is nobody else on the road, just themselves. They exhibit no courtesy, turn in and out of traffic at their own whim, and refuse to conform to the rules of the road, just whatever pleases them. In my near accident, the other driver didn’t consider anyone around him, least of all me. He just wanted to cross lanes and get into my left turning lane. Despite my honking on the horn, the other driver was un-phased.

There is talk the roadways of the future will be electronic thereby requiring less human involvement in the actual driving of the vehicle. Instead, passengers will program their destination into their “smart car” which will then transport them to their destination in the most expeditious route possible, or perhaps the most scenic. As for me, I will miss driving as I rather enjoy it, as I suspect many others do as well, but such is the price for narcissistic drivers.

Mark Twain is alleged to have said, “Man is really the most interesting jackass there is,” and I see no evidence to refute him.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE PROBLEM WITH SHEEPLE – The amalgamation of “sheep” and “people” (and our society).

LAST TIME:  OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION – How children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Automotive, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 13, 2013

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY & SOCIETY

– How early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society.

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It’s no secret, our use of personal technology has turned into an addiction. To me, it is no different than a drug. You may remember the 2010 “The World Unplugged” project whereby 1,000 college students in ten countries on five continents were asked to go without technology for 24 hours. The results of the study revealed the depths of their addiction. Some recent notices though, suggests it is going to get even worse.

A new study by ZACT, a smartphone provider, reveals a quarter of children ages two and under now have a smartphone, as do children ages three to five. As the study reveals, the penetration goes deeper as the child grows older; 39% of children ages 6-9 have a smartphone, 56% for ages 10-13, and 66% for ages 14-17. I might understand older children needing one, but a 25% penetration of the two year old age group is bewildering. And once they get hooked, they are likely addicted forever. Taking it a step further, there is a significant movement afoot in this country to teach computer programming in elementary school, thereby solidifying the addiction. Frankly, I would rather see students taking more classes in speech and English, but I am a creature of the 20th century who understands the importance of building human relations.

Smartphone addiction is also changing our lifestyles. To illustrate, a venture capitalist in San Francisco recently suggested movie theaters should be altered to allow moviegoers to actively use their smartphones as opposed to turning them off; see, “Would you go to a Wi-Fi-connected, lights-on movie theater?” It is his contention that technology savvy people would rather use their smartphones during the performance to reference such things as cast members, credits, rate the movie, and carry on a dialog with other people in the theater regarding the movie, not to mention perform a little work on the side. If this comes to fruition, look for movie producers to capitalize on this by offering a movie that interacts with local smartphones, such as supplying trivia about the movie, giving clues as to how the plot will progress, or maybe allow the patrons to guess “who done it.”

Then there was the story in the “Huffington Post” where a respected professor and education researcher suggests that teaching spelling and grammar should be de-emphasized as smartphones now perform this function using “autocorrect.” One may argue student math skills have slipped thanks in large part to a plethora of available calculators. Now, the same phenomenon may occur to English thanks to our dependency on the smartphone.

Two things are disturbing about these recent reports, how early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society in the long run. The more technology takes over the basic processing functions of our brain, the more we become dependent on it. Do we really need to multitask as we watch a movie? Do children really need to learn technology as opposed to mastering language and socialization skills? It seems to me the human spirit is being programmed and I’m not sure we are going to like the end result.

To understand how programmed you are, try “The World Unplugged” experiment and abstain from using technology for at least 24 hours. If you develop a nagging feeling for checking your smartphone or computer, in medical circles this is commonly referred to as an “addiction.”

For more, information, see: “Is Personal Technology a Drug?”

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  NARCISSISM ON THE HIGHWAY – The problem is not with our highways, it is the people driving on them.

LAST TIME:  THE MEANING OF “THIS TOWN” (Book Review) – The incestuous relationships existing in Washington, DC.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Social Issues, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

THE MEANING OF “THIS TOWN” (Book Review)

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 11, 2013

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The incestuous relationships existing in Washington, DC.

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Perhaps a more apt title for author Mark Leibovich’s new book, “This Town,” would be “Mad Money,” as he makes it clear our nation’s capitol is about money and power and little else. While the rest of the country suffered through the recession, Washington’s unemployment rate was one of the lowest in the country and the city became a money-making engine for its residents, which is unusual for a town without any major industry (aside from politics and press). Leibovich is the Chief National Correspondent for “The New York Times Magazine.” Although I was initially suspicious of the author’s intentions, he has actually done the country a great service by spelling out what is wrong with politics in the capitol.

From a journalist’s perspective, Leibovich reveals the true culture of DC, where an incestuous relationship exists between Government, Journalists, and Lobbyists. All scratch each other’s backs in order to climb their respective totem polls and grab as much money as possible along the way. He paints a picture of unadulterated collusion. He makes it clear Washington exists not to solve the problems of the country but to line the pockets of the residents there. From this perspective, we shouldn’t be surprised other than how widespread the problem really is. Whether you are a government official, lobbyist, or a member of the press, it’s about making money and control of the system. All three parties require love to stroke their ego, lots of it, and sees themselves as celebrities on the same level as Hollywood (or higher) which explains why they get along so well. They are so consumed by climbing the tree of power, they have lost sight of why they were sent to Washington.

Publicity and the press play a vital role in Washington, not so much to represent the nation’s interests but those of government officials who spend more time on re-election as opposed to administering or governing. It is not so much important to report on what is accomplished in Washington, but who said what about whom which, of course, is indicative of an irresponsible sensationalist press. Instead of a 24 hour news cycle, journalists today make active use of social media (e.g., Tweeting, blogging, Facebook, etc.) to report anything of insignificance instantaneously. Through Leibovich, we begin to see how the media perceives themselves as elitists and the American public as cattle. They are above it all. They are megalomaniacs, smug, in love with their brilliance, and herein lies their Achilles’ Heel. They have no true perception of reality, no ethics, only how witty and politically correct they can be and whom they can either build up or take down in Washington. If this isn’t “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” I do not know what is.

Pandering to the media, politicians do likewise and concentrate on facade, not substance. They focus only on those topics that make fodder for the press, not to those topics that might help the American public, such as balancing the federal budget. Being fully cognizant of their power, a sense of thugery has emerged in the press. Leibovich himself often refers to the press as “The Mob” and reporters as “Wise Guys.” Understand this, most of the political rhetoric being produced from Washington, particularly during the 2012 presidential campaign, is by Millennials trying to make a name for themselves, not veteran reporters.

Prior to his 2008 election, Barack Obama promised to become the most transparent president of all time, where lobbyists would hold no sway and the administration would come forward with all pertinent news, facts and figures. Even Leibovich admits this didn’t exactly happen, but rather, lobbyist influence continued to grow unabated and the administration became more secretive with the press. He also reveals, both political parties have secret “Opposition Files” used to smear politicians, which is reminiscent of those possessed by J.Edgar Hoover.

Through the book, Leibovich slips and reveals the Democratic bias of the press. Regardless of President Obama’s problems, he can do no wrong in the eyes of the mainstream media. In their eyes, the president is blameless for everything and genuinely the most brilliant president there has ever been. This is only surpassed by the media’s love affair with the Clintons. For some unknown reason, they are totally in awe of Hillary as well as her husband. Through the book it becomes rather obvious who the press will be working for in 2016.

On the other hand, Republicans are held in contempt and portrayed as foolish bumpkins, particularly by Leibovich. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are favorite targets, probably because the press feels most threatened by them. Conservatives are dismissed outright without listening to their side of the story. During the 2012 presidential election, Leibovich constantly refers to the “Romney-bots,” meaning Romney supporters are unthinking and clueless as to how the country runs. Again, we see how the press “knows better” than the public. Throughout the campaign, the press focused on what Governor Romney said, as opposed to the president’s track record.

Leibovich is also an unashamed name dropper, thereby providing a “Who’s Who” of Washington, DC, and by doing so, reveals the identities of the liberal left in the media, particularly within NBC and its affiliate MSNBC. Prominently mentioned are: Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, Tom Brokaw, Savannah Guthrie, Chris Matthews, and many others. The book begins with the funeral of Tim Russert, the appointed “Mayor” of “This Town.” Remarkably, Leibovich has little to say about Fox News and conservative talk radio.

If the book teaches us anything, it is that the system is broken and in need of major repair. The only way to fix it is to somehow stop the money flow. This can be done several ways, such as term limits for politicians, prohibiting politicians and their aids from joining lobbyists, capping campaign spending, or requiring a 50/50 split of all campaign spending between the media and charities, or paying off the federal debt.

This is an important book which everyone should read, not necessarily for its entertainment value, but as a confirmation of the mess we are in. As you read Leibovich’s book, you may not like what he has to say or how he says it, but he has actually performed an important public service: confirming our belief of what is wrong in Washington, DC.

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 © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION – How early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society.

LAST TIME:  “HOMO SAPIEN ASS****” – It’s a matter of acting on perceptions, not reality.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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

HOMO SAPIEN ASS****

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 9, 2013

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– It’s a matter of acting on perceptions, not reality.

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Foreword: I first published this piece on July 10, 2006. I do not believe anything has changed to refute my thesis. It’s nice to know some things remain constant.

Introduction: This is going to be an unusual essay; it may sound a bit avant-garde at first, but it is designed to make a specific point. So please bear with me. For those of you insulted by the slang used herein I offer my sincere apology.

I remember an incident years ago where my father was on his way home late at night after being out of town on a business trip. At the time, he owned a new Cadillac. The interstate was relatively empty that evening making motoring a pleasure, particularly at a late hour. The exit he took emptied on to a main suburban thoroughfare which naturally intersects with several smaller streets, one in particular is an unusual junction where a feeder lane merges with the main road. Cars in the feeder lane must yield to drivers in the main thoroughfare; not only would commonsense dictate such an apparent yield, but it is clearly marked as such with a road sign.

As my father passed through the junction, he noticed out of the corner of his eye an old Ford slamming on its brakes in the other fork, narrowly missing him. Evidently, my father had surprised the other driver who was failing to yield. What ensued was an excellent example of what is today called “Road Rage.” In the other driver’s eyes, some “Fat Cat in a Cadillac” had just cut him off. Outraged, he began to chase my father down the highway hurling every obscenity he could think of. To try to stop and reason with him was definitely out of the question. To make matters worse, he then tried to drive my father off the road. Only by some clever maneuvering on my father’s part was he able to elude the other driver. He felt lucky to have escaped without any material injury to himself or the automobile.

Afterwards he reflected on the incident and why it occurred. From the other driver’s perspective, he obviously felt my father had wronged him, even though commonsense and a clearly marked road sign proved otherwise. His perception of the situation had no basis in reality. In his mind, he was right and my father was wrong, and acted accordingly. It was this little episode that inspired the concept of “Homo Sapien Asshole” and the basis for this essay. As illustrated by the other driver, human beings become assholes when their perception of reality is inconsistent with others and act abnormally. We have all encountered Homo Sapien Assholes at various points of our lives; sometimes we get hurt, sometimes we survive. Or, even more frightening, perhaps we were the ones instigating the problem. So, look upon this work as a “Survival Guide” to understand the nature of the beast and how to deal with it.

So what exactly is a Homo Sapien Asshole? Is it something we intuitively know or does it have identifiable characteristics? Actually it is not as abstract of a concept as you might think. Although the word is often used to curse another person, we shouldn’t necessarily take offense to it, after all we are all HSAs at different points in our lives, some more so than others though. The trick is to get by with a minimum number of occurrences.

DEFINITION – a person who acts in a seemingly absurd manner towards others based on their erroneous perception of reality either for personal gain or to react to a situation.

Our perception of reality dictates our actions. For example, we dress according to how we believe the weather will be; if we believe it will be cold, we will wear a warm coat. However, if our perception is wrong, that the weather is actually quite hot and humid, wearing a warm coat would be considered a foolish decision. A false perception of reality is one of the underpinnings of HSA and can be caused by such things as attention deficit disorder (easily distracted), or by our own sense of worth (ego).

Having worked in the computer field for a number of years I can tell you authoritatively if the input is wrong, everything else that follows will be wrong. Even if a computer’s processing logic is correct, the resulting output will be wrong. The human being is no different. Even if we have competent mental faculties, if we do not perceive a situation correctly, we will act incorrectly.

So, what influences our perceptions? Our human senses (predominantly sight and sound) coupled with our attention to detail. In our “Road Rage” example mentioned earlier, the other driver failed to see the yield sign and only saw a Cadillac pass in front of him. Consequently, he leapt to the wrong conclusion and took the wrong remedy. Sometimes we deliberately block our perception of reality due to ignorance or preconceived assumptions. In other words, we “tune out” and listen to only what we want to listen to. In the first O.J. Simpson trial for example, the prosecution presented some compelling evidence as to his guilt. This went in one ear of the jury, and out the other. Instead, they saw him as an unfair victim of a prejudicial police force and consequently acquitted him.

One exception to this is in the area of foreign translation. If we try to converse in a language we are not proficient in, we may not properly understand what is being said. In this situation, the person is not a HSA, just simply misguided. For example, I once had a visiting Australian ask me in the office for a “rubber”; whereas he was actually asking for an eraser, I knew it as a prophylactic, hence confusion. The same phenomenon is true observing the local customs in a foreign country, e.g., dressing inappropriately or how we conduct ourselves. These are simply innocent mistakes.

If our perceptions are correct, yet we do not have the mental faculties to process them accordingly, as in a mentally challenged individual, that person is not an HSA, just incompetent. Therefore, the HSA is a mentally competent person who either accidentally or deliberately doesn’t understand their surrounding reality. From this viewpoint, animals cannot be HSA’s. In fact, the designation “Homo Sapien” is a clear indication only people can be assholes. Some may argue their pets are assholes. This cannot be true since they are not graced with the adequate brain power to reach logical conclusions and are easily deceived.

Alcoholism and drug abuse are no excuses for being an asshole. In fact, it heightens your ability to become one. Assholes do some of their best work when under the influence.

One must ask when are we old enough to become a HSA? Do infants qualify? No. An infant is totally dependent on others and excused for any accidents they may cause. Only when a person gains consciousness and begins to think for him/herself can he/she become a HSA. An infant has no preconceived notions and, therefore, cannot act upon them.

Is being an asshole hereditary? As much as we would like to think it is in the genes, it is not. Being an HSA is learned behavior we pick up from our contemporaries.

So what are the characteristics of an HSA? How do we know when someone is acting like one, even our self? First, an HSA is not restricted to any socioeconomic class. We can find them in all walks of life, in all cultures, all over the world. The following is a list of common characteristics of an HSA and are not in any particular order:

* When we try to talk authoritatively about something we know nothing about, e.g., “bullshit”.

* We use abusive language to berate another, particularly when they don’t deserve it.

* We make change simply for the sake of change. Even worse, not changing when times dictate you should do otherwise.

* We jump to conclusions without learning all of the facts. The press is notorious for shaping public opinion by carefully controlling the dissemination of information. People act according to what they know; if they do not know the facts, they may make erroneous decisions.

* When you cut someone off to suit your whims, either in traffic or a conversation. There is a general lack of courtesy today which is greatly affecting our interpersonal relations.

* When you have huge egos with little regard for others (aka the “I am God” complex). This includes pseudo-experts who think they know everything, and you know nothing. Dictators also fall into this category, be it a government, company, or nonprofit organization. These are people who zealously exert their will over their constituents because they have little regard for them. HSAs do not like to have their authority challenged.

* They viciously slander someone’s integrity for personal gain. It has become common in politics and our legal system to vilify or demean a person when the other person takes an opposing viewpoint. The intent is not to just win an argument, but to humiliate and control your opponent.

* When a person has risen above the level of their competency and, instead of seeking guidance or help, pretends to know what they are doing.

* Lastly, HSAs tend to rationalize their actions. They are never at fault and blame others for their mistakes. Very few people today are willing to admit they made a mistake and assume responsibility. When was it ever a crime to admit “I screwed up”? Again, this is ego related.

WHEN IS IT NECESSARY TO BE AN HSA?

Sometimes it becomes necessary to be an asshole. Two examples come to mind; First, when you are cornered in a situation, you can conveniently become an asshole to cloud an issue. A vintage example of this was President Clinton’s infamous deposition in the Paula Jones case; “It depends on what you mean by ‘Is'” – a classic. Becoming an HSA can be a clever tactic to distract people from the real issue at hand.

The second example, is to use assholeism as a means to motivate people to work harder. When you cannot get your subordinates to do their work properly, it sometimes becomes necessary to rant and rave (aka “browbeating”).

You can only justify acting like this when you want to get your way. Regardless, you are still an HSA.

HOW TO DEAL WITH AN HSA

Okay, you have an HSA in front of you. What do you do? Do not panic. Reasoning with an HSA is out of the question since they believe their point of view is the only one that is valid. You have only two alternatives: walk away from them (and let cooler minds prevail) or become an HSA yourself and do battle accordingly. Regrettably, it is this latter alternative which has led to many court cases and wars.

Automobiles and HSA naturally go hand-in-hand. You are either driving badly or the other person is. Everyone has a different viewpoint on the open road and everyone believes theirs is the most important; from the retired spinster who can barely see over the steering wheel, to the kid who weaves through traffic like a kamikaze on his motorcycle, to the soccer mom who pays more attention to her cell phone than the road, to the guy running at breakneck speed to keep an appointment, to the delivery man who waddles through traffic and double-parks, etc. The variety of driving personalities inevitably will cause an HSA incident to occur on a routine basis. You can bet on it. Pity the traffic cops who have to deal with it.

Love also seems to bring out the asshole in us, whether it be during courtship or competing for the attention of another. How many times have we done something stupid to impress another? Too many. Divorce results when our perspectives change and we suddenly wake up next to an asshole. There should be some sort of mandatory test to check compatibility prior to wedlock; e.g., review comparable values, goals, and maturity. It would sure save us a lot of aggravation (and money) later on.

If you have become a full time HSA, it is difficult to become a real person again. Arrogance has a lot to do with it; it propels the ego; lose the arrogance and you are on the road to becoming a recovered assaholic.

And for those of you wondering, Yes, I too have been an HSA and, no doubt, I will screw up again in the future for which I apologize in advance. Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.

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

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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