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THE SECRET OF MASONIC HANDSHAKES

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 21, 2017

BRYCE ON FREEMASONRY

– What do they represent?

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

Now and then I like to write about Freemasonry, an ancient fraternity I have much respect for. It dates back several centuries, back when operative Masons were building the great churches, cathedrals, castles and other buildings of the time. Working as a group, the Masons of that period would mentor and teach their skills and building techniques to younger members of their group, thereby improving craftsmanship and bonding as a set of trustworthy brothers. Over the years, the society evolved to allow others to join the fraternity in order to build better men.

Today, the Masons are a very tight knit group who actively participate in their communities, promote morality, and come to the assistance of others, not just members of their own group. As the fraternity spread around the world, certain words and handshakes were invented to identify Brother Masons. Such protocol helped establish relationships between Masons, such as that between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World war II. It also opened doors to visiting Brothers and welcomed them to communities, and was used to request assistance in times of peril. The grip between Masons, therefore, is an important symbolic gesture of trust.

The secret to the Masonic handshake is not in how it is given, but what it represents. Those who learn it are taught to subscribe to the three basic tenets of Freemasonry, which are “Friendship, Morality, and Brother Love.” This is more than a catch-phrase, it represents how Masons are to treat each other; to meet on the level as friends, the expected rectitude of conduct, and how to work with others, such as offering wise counsel between brothers. Such a handshake creates a bond between people, just as the ancient Masons tried to build in their society of fellow craftsmen.

Most Masons take the handshake seriously and are mindful of what it represents. Unfortunately, there is a small minority of people who join the fraternity for ulterior motives, such as to build a network of contacts to promote their business. Such people learn the customs of the Masons and use them for personal gain as opposed to the three tenets of the fraternity. I personally have a problem with this and refuse to shake the hand of someone I do not believe embraces the true concept of the handshake.

Over the years I have met a handful of Masons who use the handshake for political purposes and have forgotten its original intent. This is a small number of men, but they do exist and, to my way of thinking, besmirch the character of Freemasonry and hurt the society in the process. If you cannot trust the person, there is little point in extending your hand, regardless of their Masonic title.

So, the secret of the Masonic handshake is that it represents a type of relationship and rapport you expect between Brothers. I would like to believe the Masonic handshake is foolproof. Unfortunately, it is not. Without a clear understanding of what the handshake represents, it becomes meaningless and a symbol of the fraternity’s decay.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  MAKING TIME – What you have to do when you run out of it.

LAST TIME:  THE COLLEGE DEBT GETS DEEPER  – It’s now growing faster than we envisioned.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE COLLEGE DEBT GETS DEEPER

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 19, 2017

BRYCE ON EDUCATION

– It’s now growing faster than we envisioned.

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

Back in 2011 I wrote a column regarding the growing college debt. At the time, the amount surpassed the $1T threshold, representing an acceleration of borrowing. For the first time ever, Americans owed more on college loans as opposed to credit cards, which is a frightening thought.

This led to a movement of young people in Occupy Wall Street to demand a means to lesson the financial hardship. Then, during the 2016 presidential election, the Democrats embraced the idea of expunging the college debt completely and let the American taxpayer assume the cost. Fortunately, this didn’t happen, and students remain on the hook for their own loans.

Today, according to a Consumer Federation of America analysis of U.S. Department of Education data, the number of people defaulting on their student loans is steadily on the rise. More than 3,000 borrowers default on their loans EVERY DAY. In 2016, 42.4 million American students owed $1.3T in loans. To make matters worse, the number of defaults grew from 3.6M in 2015 to 4.2M in 2016. (Click for report).

Such financial woes leave a black mark on credit records, making it harder to get a good paying job, or purchasing a house, condo, or automobile. It should therefore come as no surprise that more and more Millennials are staying home, and fewer are driving.

Americans place a lot of emphasis on education but we should be mindful of the fact that attending college is not a right, but a privilege. During the Depression years prior to World War II, there was no more than 1.4 million college level students attending approximately 1.7 thousand institutions of higher education. Today, according to the Digest of Education Statistics, over 19.1 million students attend 4.4 thousand colleges, a quantum increase. Since the 1960s alone, when colleges experienced an influx of students seeking refuge from the Vietnam war, enrollment has more than doubled.

Back in the Depression, money was scarce and, as such, it was common for all of the members of a family to work, often sacrificing higher education in the process. Back then, a high school diploma was considered a prestigious achievement. Even a junior high diploma was prized as some people could not afford to rise above this level.

Regardless of what school counselors tell students, COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Other institutions offer fine programs which lead to good paying jobs, such as trade schools and the military. Yet, these are typically pooh-poohed by the counselors which performs a disservice to students.

Let us also consider the spiraling cost of colleges. Although this is hard to pin down with precise certainty, the lion’s share of costs for college operations appears to be in salaries and benefits (such as health insurance, pensions, etc.), and with cost-of-living adjustments and a competitive market place, labor costs are growing unabated.

Between rising college costs and the ability for students to pay for it, college enrollment has recently plateaued, but the Department of Education expects a slight bump to slowly grow over the next ten years. Regardless, the economic reality is that colleges cannot continue to operate as business as usual. we will likely see a downsizing of faculty and trimmed operating costs in the next few years.

As for the students, there is no panacea on the horizon for the debts they incur. And that is just the point, they incurred it, not the American taxpayer. It was their decision to go to college, not the public’s. This is why I continue to say higher education is a privilege, most certainly not a right. At some point, they have to learn what it means to earn your way through life. If you cannot afford it, there are other options available to you. Again, COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  THE SECRET OF MASONIC HANDSHAKES – What does it represent?

LAST TIME:  TALKING TO YOURSELF  – What it says about you.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

TALKING TO YOURSELF

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 17, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– What it says about you.

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

I have noticed as I get older I have developed a habit of talking to myself. Other friends of mine have commented they have done likewise. It would be rather cheeky to say it is the most intelligent conversation of the day, but this is not what I’m getting at.

With me, I think it began years ago while driving around town. Because of all of the northerners who visit the Sunshine State, Florida has some of the most eclectic driving habits around. Evidently, how they teach driving in the Midwest is noticeably different than how they teach it in the East or Canada. This is very frustrating to the natives, such as myself, who often lose patience with other drivers and let loose with a salty tongue of expletives voicing their displeasure.

Naturally, as we get older, we are not as nimble as we once were and might suffer from basic body aches caused by arthritis or whatever the ailment du jour is. Consequently, we are susceptible to bashing ourselves into walls, stubbing toes, and bruising ourselves in the process. When we hit the deck in the morning, we feel our bones and muscles pop into place. None of this is beneficial to our demeanor and we start the day as a bit of a curmudgeon.

We also find simple tasks are no longer simple. For example, I used to be able to change a car battery in just a few short minutes, but thanks to today’s engineering and safety standards, it has become a complicated procedure, like performing a frontal lobotomy that now takes a couple of hours to perform and causes your patience to wear thin. Technology was supposed to simplify our lives, but I find it only complicates it.

With this in mind, we find ourselves becoming impatient with inanimate objects. To illustrate, I have a Kia with man-eating car doors. No matter what I do, I cannot seem to get the door to stay open as I enter or exit the vehicle. I think the Koreans have trained it to intentionally rip my legs off. Naturally, I become irritated with it, and begin to argue with it, e.g.; “Will you just stay put?” I demand. Of course, it pretends to not hear me and continues to ride my leg.

When I am dressing or undressing, I might reprimand an article of clothing or shoe for not fitting or buttoning properly, e.g.; “Will you just get off of me?”

As you work in the kitchen to cook a new recipe you read in a magazine, you try to follow the directions carefully but somehow it doesn’t turn out the way you had imagined, e.g.; “Why, this tastes like s***!” Naturally, you see yourself as the victim and not the cause of the snafu.

At night, a body ache of some form, such as a muscle or joint, might throb thereby preventing sleep. I admonish them as if they were my kids when they were little, “Will you knock it off and go to sleep!”

The interesting part of arguing with an inanimate object is that you never win. It may be nice to vent your frustration, but such talk says more about ourselves than anything else. When you curse an inanimate object, you are actually cursing yourself. The object is not a thinking entity, you are, and the fact you are quarreling with it means you no longer know how to deal with it anymore.

Now, about this stupid computer…

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  THE COLLEGE DEBT GETS DEEPER – It’s now growing faster than we envisioned.

LAST TIME:  EMBRACING COMPLEXITY  – It’s a matter of how many things we can juggle at one time.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

EMBRACING COMPLEXITY

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 14, 2017

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– It’s a matter of how many things we can juggle at one time.

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

For years in my youth, I was the “go to” guy for operating the family’s technical equipment, be it tape recorders, record players, or even our Super 8 movie projector. As I grew older, I eventually relinquished my title to my son who is adept at setting up our High Def TV, cable box, DVD/VHS player, cell/smart phones, and other such devices. It was only when I realized we were as dependent on my son, as my family was on me years ago, that I began to ask why.

It is a long accepted theory that younger people tend to embrace and adapt to technology faster than seniors. I am reminded of the story told by comedian Jay Leno where he purchased a remote control for his parents’ television set. On a return visit to their home in Boston, Jay couldn’t locate the device and asked his father of its whereabouts. The father informed Jay they kept it locked up in a nearby drawer as he considered it a complicated piece of equipment and wanted to be sure it “wouldn’t go off accidentally.” Despite Jay’s attempts to assure him it wasn’t a phaser that could burn the house down, the father was unmoved and kept the device safely locked up. Whereas we tend to accept complexity in our youth, we grow abrasive to it as we grow older under the mantra, “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

In our youth we are more inclined to accept complexity as we assume it is a natural part of the learning process. As we mature, we learn to handle more responsibilities and assignments much like a juggler takes on additional objects to be thrown into the air. We keep juggling more and more objects until we reach our capacity and discover our limitations. Our arms deftly spin for years and years juggling everything until we grow weary and can no longer embrace any more items. In fact, we start to slow down, prioritize what we are doing, and drop those tasks we no longer consider important thereby simplifying our lives. In the Jay Leno example, the father had grown to accept changing the television channel manually and felt the remote control was simply one more thing to complicate his life. Consequently, he avoided using it, even going to the extent of fabricating an excuse.

In youth we are eager to accept new challenges as we want to prove ourselves ready to assume our place in society. As we master the subjects that interest us, we begin to exercise our skills and express ourselves creatively. Typically, our window of peak creativity is no more than ten years. To illustrate, both the Beatles and the Beach Boys, two of the most successful Rock and Roll bands of all time, were at their zenith of their careers for no more than ten years, as is true for most bands. The members of the bands ranged in age from their late teens to late twenties. In their thirties, they slowed down and were never able to duplicate the creative output of their earlier years. This phenomenon is not only true in the arts, but in the sciences as well. Our tempo slows, we prioritize our efforts, and we begin to focus on fewer things. Whereas we were eager beavers in our youth, we become more cognizant of our limitations and more selective in our challenges.

One reason young people are gravitating towards the Information Technology field is because of their ability to embrace complexity. For example, the average computer program consists of approximately 100 components (such as data elements, records, files, modules, etc.), each requires a series of design decisions based on type (e.g., a data element’s length, precision, scale, label, validation rules, etc.). In total, there are approximately 2,000 such decisions to be made and controlled, which is quite a challenge for anyone to track. Whereas younger programmers are more inclined to simply write and compile the software iteratively until it is clean, their older counterparts are more likely to carefully plan and document the software to avoid forgetting or overlooking the components used and the design decisions associated with them.

Whereas youth is quick to tackle complex issues, often to the point of recklessness, this inevitably leads to mistakes and causes us to slow down and become more cautious. As we grow older, we don’t mind tackling complex issues, but we are leery of making mistakes and, consequently, become wiser in how we tackle such undertakings. As we approach retirement and beyond, we are less likely to tackle bold new ventures and, instead, are more inclined to “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Actually, if programmers weren’t so bad at designing devices to be easy-to-use, we wouldn’t be so dependent on our youth to operate them for us, but that is another subject. As a teenager, there were only two buttons on my family’s television set, one for on/off and volume, and a tuning dial. Today, God only knows how many buttons I have on my High Def TV; I know there is one for power, three for color, two to adjust screen positioning, and one to automatically call 911 when I’ve finally lost my mind.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  TALKING TO YOURSELF – What it says about you.

LAST TIME:  THE STATE OF I.T. IN BUSINESS  – Have we really made progress?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE STATE OF I.T. IN BUSINESS

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 12, 2017

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– Have we really made progress?

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

Watching the speed by which Information Technology (I.T.) has changed over the last forty years has been amazing. Hardly a day goes by without some new twist or invention. In particular, my interest is in how I.T. can be applied to support the systems needed to operate a business, such as for manufacturing, inventory, order processing, customer service, accounting, human resources, and much more. I have seen a lot during the last four decades, perhaps too much.

On the physical side, I have watched computing go from mainframes to minis, to PC’s and Smart Phones. Instead of mere Local Area Networks (LAN), we now network through the Internet and share resources via “The Cloud.” By doing so, we have placed data entry and information retrieval into the hands of more people than ever before, be it internal users, or externally with customers and vendors. In the process though, security has become a serious problem.

There have also been drawbacks to computing’s diminishing size. By thinking smaller, we tend to focus on only a small part of the puzzle and have lost sight on the total picture of our systems. The physical aspects of computing may be seductive, but it has compounded problems within companies. To illustrate, data redundancy remains the Achilles heel of most businesses, be they large or small. It may seem odd, but it is certainly not unusual for companies to have multiple interpretations of such simple, yet important, data elements as “Customer Number,” “Part Number,” “Order Number,” and “Product Number.” Whereas there should be a single interpretation of each, there are multiple interpretations instead. Consequently, the opportunity to share and re-use such data is lost, and systems invariably lack integration.

The formulas for generated elements, such as “Net Pay,” “Order Total,” and “Earnings Saved” may also be redefined for each program written. This results in erroneous information throughout the business. For example, one user’s calculation of “Total Sales” may be entirely different than the values produced for other users. With such inconsistencies, the business will ultimately make poor decisions. It also means systems lack integration, thereby dividing the business units simply because of the lack of consistency, and leading to user complaints.

Despite the sophistication of today’s data base management technology, the idea of a managed data base environment in companies today is still the exception as opposed to the rule.

The programming staff tends to pride itself in terms of speed of development and technical elegance for their piece of the puzzle only, not the entire system. Requirements are roughly prepared and evolve as the program is developed. In the end, it looks nothing like what the user had hoped for.

Because writing program source code is typically a 1:1 endeavor, it tends to foster an individualistic attitude among programmers, and institutes a heterogeneous development environment. This leads to inconsistencies in workmanship and deliverables, thereby hindering quality. If you were to ask programmers if systems development is a science or an art form, without question they would respond as to the latter. This grants us insight into how programmers see themselves and their work.

Interestingly, programmers are not concerned with producing any documentation to maintain or modify their program should future occasion require it. It is generally believed it is cheaper and faster to simply rewrite the code as opposed to modifying the existing program, regardless of its level of complexity. Naturally, as the programmer moves on to another job in a different company, he walks away with the program logic safely lodged in his brain.

In terms of managing the development effort, companies covet Project Management certification, which is useful for such things as estimating and scheduling, but provides no insight into using effective methodologies for developing systems. Despite their best intentions, development projects still come in late and over budget. Consequently, companies shy away from massive development efforts, and are content building smaller things, thereby discouraging systems integration.

Come to think of it, the state of the I.T. industry is essentially no different than what it was when I began in this business back in the 1970’s. The technology may have changed, the problems in terms of development certainly haven’t. This includes how to specify information requirements, standardizing on systems theory, the role of documentation, managing information resources, etc. These problems are no different today than what they were back in the early 1970’s. Common sense is still uncommon.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  EMBRACING COMPLEXITY – It’s a matter of how many things we can juggle at one time.

LAST TIME:  THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT; HERE WE GO AGAIN  – It looks like history is going to repeat itself.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT; HERE WE GO AGAIN

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 10, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– It looks like history is going to repeat itself.

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

NOTE: This column was originally published in late March, prior to withdrawing the legislation. The point remains valid.

I have some grave reservations about the pending American Health Care Act, not because of political or health care reasons, but for management. Eight years ago I wrote about the outrage I had in how Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act was concocted behind closed doors and written by lawyers. Any company embarking on such a huge undertaking would have first developed a Feasibility Study in order to make a proper business decision. This would have included a Project Scope specifying the limitations of the project, a Current Systems Analysis describing the strengths and weaknesses of the current system, Requirements to define the specifications for the new product, a System Approach to satisfy the requirements (with consideration given to proposed alternatives), a System Evaluation to enumerate the costs, schedule and financing of the System Approach, and finally a Review with participants signing off on the project.

This did not happen back in 2009 and it is not happening in 2017. Despite their best intentions, the Republicans are approaching this in the same manner as the Democrats. Today’s American Health Care Act may be much smaller (123 pages) than what Mr. Obama offered, but it is still written with legal blather. Click to download a PDF version of the document.

I would have liked to have seen a Feasibility Study built in a Congressional Committee with input from both parties, not just one. A frank and open discussion would be one way to de-politicize the bill and build consensus, something we haven’t seen in our nation’s capitol for quite some time. Wouldn’t it be interesting to read an accurate description of the strengths and weaknesses of the current system? In addition, I would have also liked to have seen someone think beyond mere insurance and consider such things as Tort Reform and the nightmare medical systems now in place, but such is not the case.

As I wrote in 2009, “If our Congress went through the motions of building a true Feasibility Study, it would promote cooperation through effective communications, thereby eliminating partisan sniping; it would produce a proper solution for the right set of problems, and; it would go a long way to improving the trust in the government by the American people, simply by assuring them that the “T’s” were crossed and the “I’s” were dotted (that it has been thoroughly thought through).”

Politicians will read this and claim it’s nice, but “We don’t have time to do it right.” Translation: “We have plenty of time to do it wrong.” This is the same excuse I commonly hear from programmers who practice “Fire, Aim, Ready,” as opposed to “Ready, Aim, Fire.”

Consider this, had we performed a proper Feasibility Study back in 2009, we wouldn’t have this discussion now and we would have implemented a system we all are proud of, not a partisan pile of legal gibberish. Regrettably, it appears history is going to repeat itself.

Related article: WHY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HATE OBAMACARE

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  THE STATE OF I.T. IN BUSINESS – Have we really made progress?

LAST TIME:  EXPLAINING JACK BENNY  – And his lesson of teamwork.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

EXPLAINING JACK BENNY

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 7, 2017

BRYCE ON COMEDY

– And his lesson of teamwork.

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

Recently, I attended a dinner in downtown St. Petersburg. I invited a young man I knew to accompany me to introduce him to some people for networking purposes. At age 25, he had already finished a hitch in the Army and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was now starting his professional career. As we drove home, we discussed the after dinner speaker who had made a reference to Jack Benny, the legendary comedian of yesteryear. My young friend innocently asked, “Who is Jack Benny?”

Not thinking of his age, I said, “You remember, he had his own show for a number of years; had Rochester as his butler, Mel Blank, Dennis Day, Don Wilson, Phil Harris, and his wife, Mary Livingstone; he sold Jello; his car was a Maxwell; ‘Your money or your life’; his basement vault guarded by “Ed,” an ancient sentry; the Si-Sie-Sue bit, etc. Remember?”

“No sir, I’m afraid not,” and he looked at me blankly. It was only then when I realized how young my friend was and how much older I had become. I spent the remainder of our drive home trying to explain Jack Benny to him which I found rather difficult to someone unfamiliar with Jack’s gentle style. Today it is common for comics to be crude, vulgar, and “In your face.” Benny was certainly more refined and presented himself as a gentleman which is something young people have trouble relating to today. His good friend George Burns referred to him as a “Quiet Riot.”

Over the years, Jack cultivated an image as being a spendthrift (cheap), vain, and a pitiful violinist. So much so, his writers had to only suggest a situation and the audience would be conditioned to laugh immediately, as if a button had been pushed. His walk, his ability to stare down someone, and play the dupe for his guests, would naturally result in gales of laughter. It wasn’t “what” Jack said that was funny, it was his persona and his predictable reaction to certain situations, such as picking up a check at a restaurant, purchasing Christmas gifts, guessing his age, or receiving a compliment. To illustrate, Jack’s biggest laugh came on April 25, 1948 when Dorothy Kirsten was the guest on his show, a famous soprano opera star of the day. During the show, his announcer, Don Wilson, strikes up a conversation with Miss Kirsten regarding opera. Listening to them was Jack and Mary Livingstone who played his girlfriend (his wife in real life):

Don Wilson: “Oh, Miss Kirsten, I wanted to tell you that I saw you in “Madame Butterfly” Wednesday afternoon, and I thought your performance was simply magnificent.”

Dorothy Kirsten: “Well, thanks, awfully. It’s awfully nice and kind of you, Mr. Wilson. But, uh, who could help singing Puccini? It’s so expressive. And particularly in the last act, starting with the allegro vivacissimo.”

Don Wilson: “Well, now, that’s being very modest, Miss Kirsten. But not every singer has the necessary bel canto and flexibility or range to cope with the high tessitura of the first act.”

Dorothy Kirsten: “Thank you, Mr. Wilson. And don’t you think that in the aria, “Un bel dì vedremo”, that the strings played the con molto passione exceptionally fine and with great sostenuto?”

Jack Benny: “Well, I thought…”

Mary Livingstone (to Jack): “Oh, shut up!”

This resulted in a huge laugh from the audience, not because of what Jack said, but because the audience was sensitive to his character. During this operatic dissertation, the audience knows Jack has to somehow butt in and add his two cents, but they don’t know how he can possibly contribute to the pretentious conversation, which is why Mary shuts him down immediately. Youth has trouble comprehending this type of humor, probably because it doesn’t exist anymore. When you think about it, Jack is the straight man in this skit and the butt of the joke. By himself he wasn’t funny, but because of his persona, people find such a situation hilarious. Please keep in mind, this was all done on the radio, not on television, that’s how strong his persona was.

The Benny show was in the top ten for a number of years, both on radio and later on television. Jack’s genius was not so much his own personal comedy, but his ability to orchestrate an entire show. It was common for him to afford his guests more laughs than himself, even if he had to be the butt of the joke. He would always heap praise on his writers, his regulars, and everyone else. When asked why he was so generous, he said he didn’t want people to tune in just to see him personally, but rather they should tune in to see “The Benny Show.” He was very cognizant of the power of teamwork in the cutthroat entertainment industry. It wasn’t about him, it was about the show, and Benny laughed all the way to the bank as a result.

Benny had come up the hard way and paid his dues in the entertainment industry. He was one of the few people who had been successful in Vaudeville, radio, television, motion pictures, and the stage, not to mention his music which generated considerable amounts of money for charity.

Jack has been gone for over 42 years now and, without a doubt, comedy has changed considerably since his passing. I can appreciate bawdy humor, but I certainly do not want to be subjected to incessant expletives and vulgarity. There is nothing wrong with a little dignity and class which, frankly, I consider to be more cerebral. That was Jack Benny, a “Quiet Riot.”

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT; HERE WE GO AGAIN – It looks like history is going to repeat itself.

LAST TIME:  OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR  – In just two months, we have gone well beyond just a war of words.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in humor | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 5, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– In just two months, we have gone well beyond just a war of words.

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

Photo: Occupy OaklandPresident Trump has been in office for just two months and in that short time the activities in our nation’s capitol and around the country already reads like a Tolstoy novel. He began with an ambitious agenda, signing many executive orders that took the country by storm and alarmed the Washington establishment. In an attempt to slow him down and express their disdain, the Democrats boycotted the inauguration, moved slowly to confirm his cabinet nominees, and accused him of wrong-doing. They resisted just about everything in his recent address to the joint session of Congress. Democratic women flashed “thumbs down” signs and the rest basically sat on their hands to prohibit applause. In contrast, 70-80% of the country saw his speech as positive.

A “resistance” movement has emerged with organized demonstrations in the streets, Congressional Town Hall meetings that are loud and angry, and there have been some physical skirmishes between anti-Trump demonstrators and supporters of the president. There is also an open war between Mr. Trump and the main street media who fails to report anything positive regarding the president. Suddenly there are calls for investigations of alleged Russian relationships, wire taps by the Obama administration, leaks to the press, calls for resignation of Mr. Trump’s cabinet appointments, even calls for impeachment of the president.

All of this is designed to discredit the president and sidetrack him, thereby rendering him impotent as commander-in-chief.

True, Mr. Trump is fighting the ideological differences of the Democrats, but he is ultimately fighting the Washington establishment which views him as a threat to the lucrative relationship they have in the capitol. This includes Democrats, the press, bureaucrats, and lobbyists. There are even doubters in his own party who would like to see him disappear. All of this reflects the corruption of Washington, DC.

Other indicators of our divisiveness can be found in the economic boycotts of companies and institutions supporting one political side or another. There is also the problem of repressing free speech on college campuses by the left, and their embracing of political correctness.

The push back to Mr. Trump goes well beyond gridlock, bordering on insurrection. In order for him to survive, the president has to persevere and not allow himself to be distracted. Yes, he must call out his detractors and reveal their intentions, but he cannot afford to be sidetracked by them. This would be playing into their hands. Instead, he has to simply persevere. If he can correct immigration, health care, our tax structure, and pass a viable budget this year, he will not only have kept his campaign promises, but he will have gone a long way to make the country stronger, while taking the Washington establishment down a peg. In the process, he will break the liberal elements of the Democratic party and put it into a tailspin going into the mid-term elections next year.

The Democrats are acutely aware of this, which is why they are fighting the president so vehemently. If the president loses, the left wins, our country will stagnate, and Mr. Trump will be a one term president.

Yes, the country is at war. Maybe not a war of deadly force, at least not yet, but the determination by both sides is something to recognize. Such histrionics may be interesting to watch, but there are substantial risks at stake for the country. Do not kid yourself, it is no longer business as usual in Washington, this is a life or death struggle for the direction of the country.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  EXPLAINING JACK BENNY – And his lesson of teamwork.

LAST TIME:  THE PERILS OF PERSONAL HYGIENE  – If you start to notice people starting to avoid you, perhaps it is time to invest in a bar of soap.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

THE PERILS OF PERSONAL HYGIENE

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 3, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– If you start to notice people starting to avoid you, perhaps it is time to invest in a bar of soap.

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

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

I don’t understand why people deliberately avoid personal hygiene. I know it seems rather insignificant, but it sure can be irritating to the other people you come in contact with. This is true for both men and women, but I think it is predominantly men who are the greatest offenders of personal hygiene, and not just older men, but younger men as well. I certainly hope this isn’t a new fashion trend (I must have missed the memo). Actually there is no real excuse for poor personal hygiene. The last time I looked, a bar of soap was still pretty cheap. I never was a fan of unkempt hair either, particularly in the workplace, but that doesn’t bother me half as much as a guy who has long hair growing out of his ears or nose. Actually, I think nose/ear hair is one of the Lord’s favorite practical jokes he ever pulled on us.

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

In terms of facial hair, I’ve noticed most men over 40 seem to be clean shaven while younger men have some form of scratch on their face, usually unkempt (another memo I must have missed). It’s not that I am anti-beards, but if you are going to wear one, make sure it’s manicured properly. I don’t want to see what you had for lunch yesterday. Actually, I blame Hollywood for the current trend of fuzz on the face. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t want to work with someone who looks like a bum. If you are wearing three days worth of growth to prove your masculinity, forget it, it’s not working.

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

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

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR – In just two months, we have gone well beyond just a war of words.

LAST TIME:  FUN AND GAMES AT THE AIRPORT  – “Please report any suspicious behavior.” Are you kidding me?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

FUN AND GAMES AT THE AIRPORT

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 31, 2017

BRYCE ON TRANSPORTATION

– “Please report any suspicious behavior.” Are you kidding me?

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

It has been awhile since I’ve talked about airports. In the past, I enjoyed air travel but now look for excuses not to go, thereby avoiding the headaches associated with it. Suffice it to say, I find travel to be more laborious than exciting. I think the novelty wore off when they introduced the security checkpoints back in the early 1980’s. Now we have to strip and be subject to cavity searches by people who flunked their proctology exams in a foreign country. You really have to hand it to the terrorists for creating a billion dollar industry and putting the homeless to work as security inspectors.

Over the public address system you routinely hear the message, “Please report any suspicious behavior.” Hell, the whole thing is suspicious. People are plugged in and tuned out. Those people talking on cell phones look delusional as they wander aimlessly through the airport seemingly talking to themselves. Most are dressed as if they are going on a camping trip or bombing run. Even the security people look like they speak a foreign language, certainly not English. Report “suspicious behavior”? To whom? Muhammed, the head of airport security? I’ve also noticed airports are now much more handicap accessible than in years past, but perhaps they have gone overboard on some things. For example, when I went to the men’s room recently I noticed there was an infant changing table. Okay, fine, men change diapers now. No big deal. Over the table hung a sign denoting the changing table, but in addition to plain English on the sign I noticed a Braille version for the blind. This got me thinking how a blind person would ever find the spot and use it properly. I imagined a person groping around a strange airport and rest room until he finally arrived at the station only to miss the sign (as it was displayed a tad high and inset, making it easy to miss). He might even end up circling the rest room for hours to find the right spot to change diapers. God knows what he will use if he misses it.

Luggage carousels haven’t really changed over the years. The baggage handlers still send out the same 100 empty suitcases before any of the bags from your flight shows up. Actually, I think it’s a stalling tactic as they rip through your luggage to find the good stuff.

The Gestapo runs the ground transportation, for both pickup and drop-off, complete with bomb sniffing dogs, mirrors to look under your car, and tow trucks. Most do nothing but wave their arms incessantly, blow their whistle, and yell at you to move your car. I still haven’t developed the knack for picking up someone while the car is still moving. I guess I need more practice.

So, do I see anything “suspicious” at the airport? You tell me.

Also published in The Huffington Post.

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:  THE PERILS OF PERSONAL HYGIENE – If you start to notice people starting to avoid you, perhaps it is time to invest in a bar of soap.

LAST TIME:  THE FAST-FOOD KIOSKS ARE COMING, THE FAST-FOOD KIOSKS ARE COMING!  – Get ready for major changes at the fast-food franchises.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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

 
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