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Archive for December, 2017

FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 8, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Beware of hatchery fed trout.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published: August 24, 2012

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  COMMON COURTESY – A simple form of communications which reflects our character.

LAST TIME:  WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?  – Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity”?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 6, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity”?

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

For many years, the American Dream was characterized as “the land of freedom and opportunity,” where a person could move about untethered and not be beholden to anyone, particularly the government. People were free to try their hand at anything if they were so inclined, thereby encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit. They also realized they had a say in how government was run, unlike several other countries, thereby encouraging citizenship and patriotism. The general belief was that if you worked hard, you could enjoy the fruits of your labor. I personally know this was the case with my grandfather who immigrated to America following World War I. It was his desire to have a better life and work environment than what he was leaving behind in Great Britain. To him, America was big, opportunities were plentiful, and the sky seemed the limit. After finding work in this country, he moved and settled his family, blended into the community, and never looked back. It was an arduous process to go through, but he was proud to become an American citizen, something millions of other immigrants were proud to do. They were all willing to work hard and sacrifice in order to realize the “Dream.”

I still believe this to be the American Dream but I fear it is changing. People now come to this country not necessarily for the principles it represents but more for the benefits they can receive, such as health care, education, and other perks such as food stamps and cash, thereby becoming the “land of entitlements” as opposed to opportunity. Such perks are putting a stressful burden on state governments, particularly those in the Southwest whose hospitals and schools are buckling under the strain. The general belief now seems to be that you will prosper regardless if you work or not.

Aside from illegal immigrants, a class of people has emerged in this country who have found it easier to live on government subsidies as opposed to working. So much so, it has become addictive and, consequently, apathy grows. In essence, they have become wards of the state. This has become glaringly obvious with Native Americans who are dependent on federal subsidies as coordinated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, under the U.S. Department of the Interior. Despite the millions of dollars given to them by the government, they have the lowest life expectancy and the highest poverty level, and where only one in four people have a job. All of this because they sincerely believe the government owes them something.

Helping those in need has changed from a charitable donation to what is perceived as a “right.” It is a harsh reality that as more people embrace the notion of entitlements, fewer people become available to pay for it. Keep in mind, only 51% of the populace pays income taxes today. When this percentage dips below 50%, the money will inevitably run out.

Not surprising, we now live in an era of two distinctly different interpretations of the American Dream, both of which are incompatible. Somehow, I am reminded of John Kennedy’s famous quote at his 1960 inauguration, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

First published: September 12, 2012

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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

LAST TIME:  UNDERSTANDING THE NFL’s PROBLEMS  – It goes well beyond disrespect for patriotism.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL’s PROBLEMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 5, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It goes well beyond disrespect for patriotism.

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

The brouhaha surrounding the NFL player protests during the playing of the national anthem is slowly fading from view, just as the NFL had counted on, knowing the fans addicted to professional football couldn’t stay away forever. Unless the Main Stream Media keeps it in the public’s eye, the fans have the attention span of a gnat and are slowly beginning to tune back into the league. So, after hitting a few speed bumps, the NFL money machine continues on its way. The commissioner and owners refuse to discipline their players, in fact they appear to be downright intimidated by them, but is everything truly back to normal yet?

Not so fast. During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the Detroit game saw its ratings fall 12.3% since last year, and the Dallas game was down nearly 20%. The NFL may try to put a positive spin on this, but the fact remains the protests turned a lot of patriotic Americans off. Even though the fans believe the players to be wrong, they are not so insulted anymore and the NFL will continue on its merry way.

The reality though is if you attended a game or tuned in, you are siding with the players, plain and simple. You are overlooking their disrespect for the country and believe we are suffering from racial injustice. Either that or you have no scruples whatsoever. Personally, I find it rather ironic that the American system the players are protesting, is the same system that has made them incredibly rich.

My problem with the NFL goes way beyond disrespect for the flag and anthem. For a long time, the NFL has been willing to overlook the indiscretions of the players, be it for battery, domestic violence, assault, guns, drugs or whatever, and give them nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Whereas NFL players in the past were held in high esteem as role models of sportsmanship, now it is fraught with thugs and criminals, people we should not respect. Yet, the NFL allows them to keep playing, making millions, and allowing the NFL money machine to continue unabated. They may have to pay a nominal fine now and then, but it would be better for the character of the sport if they were banned from the league instead, thereby giving a clear sign such behavior is not acceptable. By not properly disciplining the players, the NFL is condoning their behavior.

Banishment will likely never happen as the players now set the terms for the NFL, not the owners. Whereas the players represent employees who should follow the policies as prescribed by management, they now know they are untouchable as their athletic skills are sorely in demand and the owners want to win. As Houston Texan owner Bob McNair correctly observed recently, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” However, in fact, they are, as evidenced by McNair being forced to issue an apology for making the comment.

The NFL is now the model for corrupt athletic competition; they may know how to make money, but they also know how to sabotage the morality of the country. It is not that the owners or commissioner know what should be done, they are just scared to change the goose who lays the golden egg.

In addition, the media is hesitant to criticize the league as they have also hitched their wagon to the NFL money machine. Without them reminding the public of the indiscretions of the players, the topic slowly disappears. Instead of just producing an injury report prior to a game, I would like to see a crime report. Since the television media refuses to mention this, we are left to discover it ourselves. Fortunately, some outlets, such as USA Today, maintain an NFL Arrest Data Base which clearly lists player indiscretions, both current and in the past (click HERE).

In a way, we should thank former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick for starting the protest last year. From it, we have discovered the true character of the players, their new role in setting team policy, and the greed motivating the league.

“Alas, poor football! I knew it well.”

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM? – Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity”?

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

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

SHAPETH UP AND GETITH THINE ACT TOGETHER

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 4, 2017

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Some tricks of the trade for being productive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published: February 14, 2008

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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

LAST TIME:  WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?  – Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity,”

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

THE GOOD NEIGHBOR

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 1, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– The joy and benefits of a little cooperation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published: August 17, 2012

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 40 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 © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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

LAST TIME:  SEX EDUCATION, THEN AND NOW  – Are we truly any smarter today?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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