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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 19, 2019

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– A lot has changed since 1970.

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

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I haven’t been a fan of the NFL for the last few years. I think they have simply lost their way and become a dangerous masculine role model for youth to emulate. I have written about my displeasure on more than one occasion. Nonetheless, the latest Super Bowl was held just a couple of weeks ago, and I really wasn’t interested. Instead, I watched Super Bowl IV from 1970 pitting the Kansas City Chiefs against the Minnesota Vikings. This was the last game before the merger of the American Football League (AFL) and the NFL, and held at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. I was in High School at the time.

This was an important game as KC beat the Vikings 23-7 and evened the series between the two leagues 2-2. This was an impressive game featuring some great players from both teams, but this is not what this article is all about. Instead, I want to discuss the differences between the Super Bowls in the early days versus those of today. A lot has changed.

There was no controversy over the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of the game, as performed by actor Pat O’Brien and trumpeter Doc Severinsen of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Nixon was president at the time, but there was no mention of not visiting the White House back then. In other words, the Super Bowl was not a place for political intrigue. Everyone was rather patriotic, but I digress.

On the field, there was only one significant rule change, no two-point conversion following a touchdown. I presume this was done due to some conflicting rules between the two leagues. Today, the two-point conversion is, of course, acceptable. I also noticed there were far less penalties than today. Either there were less mistakes back then or the refs didn’t inhibit the play of the game as they do today (or both).

In terms of television commercials, General Motors bought all of the ads shown in the first half featuring their 1970 automobiles. This must have cost them a pretty penny, even back then. Today, it would be cost-prohibitive to so. In 1970 though, all of GM’s brands were featured, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, etc. I remember all of these cars quite well, but found the ads rather amusing in terms of their story-line. Car buffs would certainly love watching these ads. The second half featured commercials for beer and razor blades.

As far as I was concerned, the most interesting part of the program was the half-time show. I had forgotten how the early Super Bowls handled this, and I found it most enjoyable. It wasn’t a lame rocker singing lip-synced songs, but rather a big event put on by the City of New Orleans. Proudly leading the way was the Southern University marching band who put on an exciting display. This was followed by famed trumpeter Al Hirt, a favorite son of New Orleans.

This was followed by a re-enactment of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, pitting British Red Coats against the Americans commanded by General Andrew Jackson. Here, in the Super Bowl, canons with blank rounds were used by both sides creating considerable smoke. An actor portraying General Jackson on a white steed commanded the Americans who turned the British back; making it a great little history lesson.

Next, was a simulated Jazz funeral as commonly found in New Orleans, and famous for this genre of music. Jazz legend Lionel Hampton played xylophone and was accompanied by Al Hirt and Doc Severenson, all of whom picked up the tempo and ushered in a simulated Mardi Gras parade, complete with balloons and a replica of a steam boat.

You could tell all of the participants were enjoying themselves as they proudly showcased their city. And that’s really the point I’m trying to make; in addition to be a great show, it was an invaluable public relations tool for their city. It was so good, I would have paid money to see it as opposed to the half-time shows of today. It also speaks volumes of how our sense of entertainment has changed over the years. Most likely, critics today would argue it was “racist” or “sexist” which, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Frankly, I would love to see the Super Bowl return to this format, but it is highly unlikely this will ever happen as half-times now represent mega-bucks to sponsors, such as Pepsi. As much as I would like to see the entertainment performed by the host city, thereby creating a “win-win” situation, it will undoubtedly remain in the clutches of NFL owners.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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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Posted in Entertainment, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

REDISCOVERING THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 29, 2019

BRYCE ON ENTERTAINMENT

– Everybody loves somebody, sometime, particularly Thursday nights.

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Recently, my wife and I rediscovered the Dean Martin Show on Youtube. For those of you too young to remember, Dean’s show was one of the most successful variety shows on television, and broadcast “in living color” on NBC on Thursday nights. The show ran for nine seasons (1965 to 1974).

Due to his other entertainment obligations, such as movies, nightclubs and Las Vegas, Martin initially didn’t want to do the show. He demanded an exorbitant salary, refused rehearsals, insisted on a prime time slot, and only showed up on the day the show was taped (which was on Sundays). Surprisingly, NBC agreed to his terms and the show quickly became a favorite in America.

We hadn’t seen the show in many years, but after watching the latest set of reality shows on television, featuring pimple poppers, obese women, hoarders, naked survivalists, and talent shows, I started fishing around Youtube where I came across the Martin show by accident. Since then, we have been slowly going through the catalog of shows and enjoying every minute.

In hindsight, I think the reason for the show’s success was simply due to Martin’s on-screen playfulness, something appreciated by both men and women. In a way, the show was derived from his Rat Pack years in Las Vegas with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, all of which featured bawdy behavior and some rather outstanding entertainment. They were portrayed as “rascals” on the loose, which was carried forward by Martin on his show. Not surprising, Sinatra was a frequent guest on the show.

The format of the Rat Pack shows called for the performers to be dressed in black tux and bow tie, which was standard issue back in the Vegas of the 1960’s. Dean carried this dress forward to his own show.

Like many variety shows of the time, it featured singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, skits, and an occasional serious piece. In this way, it was like a vaudeville show from yesteryear offering a plethora of entertainment to suit just about everyone. The list of guests appearing on the Martin show represented a veritable “Who’s Who” of the entertainment world, featuring big name headliners, up-and-comers, and veteran entertainers in the twilight of their careers, all of which Martin had a fondness for.

The show would certainly not be considered politically correct by today’s standards. Martin smoked incessantly, he put on a lovable-drunk shtick (he was actually quite sober), there was ribald humor, and scantily clad dancers a la Las Vegas, all of which would be criticized today as vulgar and sexist. Back then though, it was considered all rather classy and just plain fun; kind of like getting a sneak peak at a Las Vegas show back then.

Today, the music would likely be considered archaic, the humor corny, and the dancing behind the times. Regardless, the show was a delight to watch, which explains why it was popular for so long. It also speaks volumes in terms of how our entertainment culture has evolved over the years. Today, it is a pleasant distraction from the political turmoil of the day.

I’m not sure such a show would succeed today as we seem to be inclined more towards crass reality shows. Besides, there aren’t too many people who could pull off the Martin playfulness, sing well and be loved by the performers appearing on the show. The one exception might be Michael Bublé who has a fine voice and tries to have fun in his specials. If NBC ever approached him to do a similar show, I would recommend he demand an exorbitant salary, refuse rehearsals, insist on a prime time slot and only show up on the day of the show’s taping. Maybe then he could capture the magic of Dean Martin.

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 timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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 Entertainment, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

TELEVISION – PAYING MORE, GETTING LESS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 17, 2018

BRYCE ON ENTERTAINMENT

– With the advent of cable, television hasn’t gotten any better.

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

There used to be a time when I relished coming home after work and watch some television after dinner. It was a good way to relax and unwind. Thursday nights used to be “must see” TV featuring comedy. News magazines like “60 Minutes” and “20/20” were also meaningful. Personally, I was a sucker for “Law & Order”
and watched it for years. We would end the day by falling asleep to the late night talk shows. Unfortunately, all of this has changed.

As much as I would like to watch television, I cannot seem to find anything worthwhile anymore. The few remaining comedy shows cannot seem to get a laugh unless there is a reference to genitalia or some other taboo subject. I am certainly not a prude, but I tune in to laugh, not to listen to vulgarity. For drama, there are a host of police stories featuring a comic book array of guns, violence and drugs. There is also the occasional game show, but the lions share of entertainment appears to be reality shows, where we watch toothless rednecks surviving in Alaska, a variety of talent shows, bridal planning, home remodeling, and other topics related to obesity, survival, cooking, infidelity, hoarding, and other vices. Interestingly, there are few reality shows promoting patriotic themes, such as the military and veterans, charities, law enforcement, fire fighters and first responders, all representing the true heroes of today who should be emulated.

There are also many Hollywood adulation shows where awards are presented to the entertainment industry. These have less to do with entertainment and more to do with spouting incoherent political commentaries, which I find to be a real turnoff.

Inevitably, I now live in a world of re-runs and news. A big night for me lately is watching old re-runs of “The Munsters,” “Andy Griffith,” “Taxi,” “Newhart,” and if I’m really lucky, “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.”

I have the same problem finding anything worthwhile to watch on Netflix, Amazon, and the other streaming channels, where a variety of movies are available, but none of which I find stimulating. Most feature comic-book stories with weak scripts. Rarely do any of these services show a movie produced before 1980, leaving me to assume movies were not around back then.

As to news, I have been a junkie for many years, but there is simply too much Fake News being reported today to be credible. No wonder they have lost the public trust. Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite and Howard K. Smith would all be spinning in their graves if they knew what was going on.

Most appalling of all is having to pay a hefty monthly fee for the many channels I do not watch. Back in the 1960’s, during the “Golden Age of TV,” there were only three channels (ABC, CBS, NBC) and possibly a UHF channel for PBS or an independent station. With such a limited number of stations available, only the crème de la crème made it to the screen. This is when you would find yourself saying, “Hey, it’s Monday night, Laugh-In is on; hurry up, let’s clean the kitchen so we won’t miss anything.” Each night had its own unique set of programs we watched regularly. For example, Sunday nights were dedicated to Ed Sullivan, Lassie, Walt Disney, and Bonanza. And movies were shown throughout the week.

Interestingly, none of this cost us a dime. I find it rather ironic, whereas we once watched good programming at no cost, we are now being charged exorbitant rates to watch a giant pile of trash, and we are still inundated with commercials to boot. For those who may have forgotten, the original idea of cable was to eliminate those annoying ads on television. Interestingly, you’ll notice they are still with us.

Thank God for the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). I actively use it to record the shows and movies I want to watch which are normally played late at night. One of the main reasons I use it is the fast forward button allowing me to speed past those pesky commercials. This is particularly useful when watching sports.

Oh well, I guess it’s back to watching Herman Munster, Andy Griffith, Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson and “Law & Order” for me. What was good then, is still better than what is on today.

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 © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  MANAGING CONSULTANTS – How to manage them effectively.

LAST TIME:  THE FIVE ELEMENTS OF MASS PRODUCTION  – It’s what keeps products and services affordable.

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 Entertainment | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

ESSAYS ON THE AMERICAN SCENE

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 8, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

– One of four new books from Tim; this book includes humorous descriptions of the human condition in America.

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

The following are excerpts from the Introduction of my new book, “ESSAYS ON THE AMERICAN SCENE,” one of four new books I recently introduced, available in paper and Kindle eBook formats from Amazon.

“If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted.”
– Bryce’s Law

Americans are interesting creatures. As a heterogeneous society, we bring the best and the worst to the table. On the one hand, we are stubbornly independent, we resist cooperation, and ready to fight our neighbor when his kid accidentally kicks a ball on our property; On the other hand, we can be tremendously kind and generous, and ready to come to the nation’s defense if attacked. Americans prefer to react to disasters as opposed to planning. It’s an inherent part of our character which the rest of the world is well aware of; as Japan’s legendary General Yamamoto said after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

America is a melting pot of ideas and customs from around the world, which is both our strength and weakness. We love to bicker about our government, yet are unwilling to do anything about it. We are easily swayed by the media who spins our perspective on current events, diverts our attention from true issues, and castigates anyone who is not politically correct. America is a nation split between hard workers and freeloaders. Whereas half of the country believes and pursues the American dream, the other half believes they should do nothing but dream.

Perhaps America’s biggest commodity is entertainment, which is closely followed by the rest of the world. Our entertainers see themselves more as free-spirited artists and role models as opposed to laborers. They are quick to offer their political opinions which seems odd to me. This is like the court jester offering advice to the King.

Although I write on many topics, I find the foibles of the American people to be particularly interesting. What I am including herein our observations of phenomenons or events we tend to overlook or have forgotten about.

From the outset, let me warn the reader I am not always politically correct. You will also encounter some profanity along the way, but I am more interested as to why we use it as opposed to the simple use of it. I apologize in advance if this offends you, but please realize I am trying to make a point. Hopefully you will see the humor in what I am describing.

After reading these essays, some of you will accuse me of dwelling on the past too much. Maybe, but it is probably better than what we are experiencing today. In reality, I am trying to contrast the human character of yesterday to today. We cannot appreciate where we are going unless we know where we’ve been.

There are eight sections in the book:

1. HOW WE COMMUNICATE – some observations as to how we send and receive messages.

2. HUMAN NATURE – describing what we are about and what makes us tick.

3. FOOD – a handful of essays on what we like to eat.

4. SHOPPING – where we go and how we barter.

5. THAT’S LIFE – interesting episodes of how we live.

6. SPORTS – some perspectives on baseball, fishing, and sports in general.

7. SPECIAL DATES – commentary on some important days to remember.

8. ENTERTAINMENT – remembering some class acts.

9. EPILOGUE – concluding comments.

As to what makes me tick, you first have to remember I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, hence my fascination with our vernacular and histrionics. I never tire of hearing new words injected into our culture, particularly from people in advertising. I also spent over thirty years as a management consultant, specializing in information systems and computers. Because of this, I was fortunate to have toured quite a bit of the world, visiting companies of all sizes and shapes, and people from the trenches to the boardroom. It was a very enlightening journey. This also caused me to write on a myriad of subjects, everything from business management, to systems and technology, politics and religion, and the ever-changing world around us. Although I try to make a legitimate point with each of my essays, I try to sprinkle in some humor to make them more palatable.

I hope you will be pleased.

Tim’s “Uncommon Sense Series” is available in paperbook and eBook format. For information, click HERE

NOTE: Tim is available for radio interviews and lectures. Click to REQUEST SPEAKER.

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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE ARROGANCE OF THE LEFT – Are Americans stupid?

LAST TIME:  LIBERAL KRYPTONITE  – One of four new books from Tim; this book includes my political writings warning America about the liberal agenda.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; The Glenn Pav Show on WTAN-AM (1340) in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri (9-10am); and 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.

Posted in Entertainment, Food, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

100 WATTS GOES A LONG WAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 24, 2014

BRYCE ON RADIO

– How tiny WZIG-FM in Palm Harbor is conquering the airwaves, and presenting our area to the world.

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

Tiny WZIG-FM (104.1) is a new commercial-free radio station in northern Pinellas County, Florida. How tiny is it? It operates at a meager 100 watts. To appreciate its size consider this, the legendary WLW radio tower from my old hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio was created by the inventor and entrepreneur Powell Crosley, Jr. who didn’t just want to build just another radio station, but a big one, a VERY big station. In 1934 the WLW tower began broadcasting with 500,000 watts of power, an incredible number. It was so powerful, you could easily hear the AM station in Los Angeles. Midwest farmers could hear the programming on their barbed wire. Lights would turn on and flicker. You could hear it in the springs of your mattress or from the fillings in your teeth. It was extremely powerful.

In 1939, just prior to World War II, the FCC thought this was too much and put a maximum limit of 50,000 watts on commercial radio transmissions. Today, 50,000 watt stations are referred to as “Clear Channel,” and there are a limited number of them in the United States. Even at 50,000 watts, such stations command a substantial geographical presence. As an aside, the mammoth WLW tower is located north of town in Mason, Ohio and, I believe, is still open for tours (click for a video TOUR).

Enter Paul Kempter of Palm Harbor, Florida (yes, my neck of the woods) with his station, WZIG-FM (104.1). Started in July of this year, it is a nonprofit radio station with some interesting programming. Even though it is miniscule in size compared to giant WLW, WZIG-FM has found a way to get around. For starters, the station ably serves the towns of Palm Harbor, Dunedin, East Lake, Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar, and quite a bit of Clearwater. However, because it is also streamed over the Internet, listeners from around the world can tune into it. For example, I often listen to the station in the background of my computer. (Click to TUNE IN).

As a nonprofit organization, WZIG-FM is commercial free which is particularly welcomed in this day and age. They do accept sponsorships, but they are simple acknowledgements of supporters of the station. Such support would be gratefully appreciated if you are so inclined. See their web page at WZIG.org to sponsor or make a donation.

In addition to being commercial free, I particularly like the eclectic mix of music they offer. You might hear something modern one moment, then perhaps some classic Rock, the 50’s, Blues, Pop, country, the Beatles or Stones, or even Big Band. I was very much impressed by the station’s “music shuffle.” What really sold me was when I heard Sam and Dave singing, “Hold on, I’m coming,” something you rarely hear anymore. Again, this is all commercial free.

In addition to this, the station features a jazz show on Mondays (from 8:00-9:00pm) and on Thursdays at noon. It is hosted by “Raindawg,” a local teacher who really knows his stuff.

Ray Kramer is the Sports Director who airs on Saturdays at 10:00am, and covers the main Tampa Bay teams plus North Pinellas High School Football and more.

More programming is in the offing to support the local area. For example, they are looking for North Pinellas churches who wish to broadcast their services.

Local musicians are also welcome to submit quality, upbeat material for consideration (a release is needed).

The Snappers restaurant in Palm Harbor has been kind enough to afford space for WZIG-FM. As a small operation though, they do not require much.

Even though WZIG-FM transmits at only 100 watts, they are getting the message out. I admire them for their support for the community, along with assembling some professional programming. Even better, Kempter’s group is having fun putting this all together.

Whether you live in my neck of the woods or not, I encourage you to tune into WZIG-FM (104.1) and listen to the shuffle. I do not believe you will be disappointed, even at just 100 watts.

By the way, the station’s call letters, WZIG, is named after Kempter’s dog, Ziggy. Yes, there really is a Ziggy, I’ve met him. He is also known as “Woofmaster Z.”

You can also find WZIG-FM on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/wzigradio

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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE BLAME GAME – an acute case of projectionism.

LAST TIME:  JOB CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK…   – Something for young people; describing the types of checks an employer will perform.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

Posted in Entertainment, Radio | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

WHO SHOULD WATCH “AMERICA,” THE MOVIE?

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 20, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Certainly not just conservatives.

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

I recently attended a viewing of the movie “America,” featuring Dinesh D’Souza who co-produced “2016: Obama’s America,” a film describing the president’s way of thinking by examining his personal background and the people he met and worked with along the way. The controversial film was released in 2012 just prior to the presidential election. D’Souza is an Indian-born American who has become a political commentator, filmmaker, and author. He also served a stint as an adviser in the Reagan White House. Needless to say, he is a well known promoter of conservative principles and causes.

In his latest offering, D’Souza hypothesizes what would have happened if George Washington had been killed in battle, and the Colonies had lost the Revolutionary War. He doesn’t actually answer this question directly as the British would have surely reenforced their control over the country and cultivated its resources. Instead, he uses this as a clever way of asking a rhetorical question, “What if America didn’t exist?”

To answer this, D’Souza begins with opposing interpretations of America, one based on traditional history and another based on a counter cultural view that is gaining popularity in academia and being taught to our youth. This interpretation is primarily based on Howard Zinn’s book, “A People’s History of the United States,” which is used in college to portray an opposing view of America. Zinn, who passed away in 2010, was a political science professor at Boston University and social activist. In his book, Zinn portrays American history through the eyes of common people, such as the native American tribes, African slaves, and the Mexicans of the Southwest.

According to D’Souza, Zinn’s interpretation of America is one of “theft” by the conquering Europeans; theft of land, resources, labor, and more. This is a radically opposing interpretation of history as has been traditionally taught in school. To support Zinn’s thesis, D’Souza interviews a variety of critics of American exceptionalism who explain their views of why the country is socially and morally corrupt.

After allowing the critics to specify their “indictments” against America, D’Souza patiently answers each criticism and presents an opposing viewpoint. Whereas the anti-Americans cite historical incidents in their arguments, D’Souza does likewise by using such examples as the rapport between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America, and Alexis de Tocqueville, the noted French author of “Democracy in America,” an illuminating analysis of America based on his travels in 1831-1832.

D’Souza concludes the America portrayed by Zinn and others is aimed at undermining the spirit of the country and create a sense of shame. Not just shame of historical events, but also by the fact the country was founded on Christian principles. In contrast, D’Souza argues Americans actually have nothing to be ashamed of, least of all Christianity. He contends the founding fathers designed America to “enable” its citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit thereby encouraging them to boldly go where no one has gone before.

The movie argues this “shame” concept is part of a long range interconnected plot to cast doubt, destroy harmony and promote social upheaval, thereby undermining the American culture which would inevitably lead to radical reforms. To this end, D’Souza describes the teachings of social radical Saul Alinsky and his more notable students, including Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

The intent of the movie is to stimulate discussion as to which interpretation America should embrace. From this perspective, the movie is suited for anyone interested in political theory and American history. Conservatives will enjoy it, and Liberals will undoubtedly criticize it, but it is still worth a watch for them to consider the two distinctly separate viewpoints. From my perspective, it should be required viewing for high school and college students.

More than anything, the “America” movie is a remarkable story of subliminal brainwashing in our country. This is but one, very important, story of the distortion of the American dream, all of which is aimed at social engineering and dismantling the country. Other notions include the sense of “entitlement” and class division though the “have’s” and “have not’s.”

Not everyone is fooled though. Towards the end of the movie, D’Souza inserts a video clip from a speech made by Irish musician Bono at Georgetown University in 2012 where he concludes, “Anyway, it’s not a right-left issue, it’s a right-wrong issue, and America has constantly been on the side of what’s right. Because, when it comes down to it, this is about keeping faith with the idea of America. Because America is an idea, isn’t it?… That’s how we see you around the world, as one of the greatest ideas in human history… The idea, the American idea, is an idea. The idea is that you and me are created equal… This country was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper. And God love you for it.”

D’Souza asks the viewers of the movie to do nothing more than consider both sides of an argument, not just one, and beware of charlatans who are more interested in the demise of the United States as opposed to promoting its virtues.

Nobody believes our country is perfect, least of all me, but the D’Souza movie asks should we give up in shame, and relinquish our leadership role in the world community, or should we proudly strive to improve ourselves? I am reminded of an old Bryce’s Law, “Systems are built by evolution, not revolution.” Nobody has built the perfect system the first time, and nobody ever will. We can either quit and start all over again or strive for perfection. As for me, I vote for the latter, not the former.

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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  LIGHT-YEARS AHEAD – Using a “Common Core” analogy to explain why our “PRIDE” Methodology is still far ahead.

LAST TIME:  OUR LAME DUCK PRESIDENT  – The sad thing is, he doesn’t realize he has already become one.

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60+ YEARS OF JAMES BOND (007)

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 8, 2014

BRYCE ON ENTERTAINMENT

– The characters have evolved and adapted to the times, making it just as relevant today, as when it first debuted.

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My fascination with James Bond, code named 007 of British Intelligence, began 50 years ago with the movie “Goldfinger.” Although author Ian Fleming introduced the character and story line in 1953 in a 12 volume set of books, it was “Goldfinger” that made the franchise. “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love” preceded “Goldfinger,” but it was the third movie in the series which caught the public’s imagination. Maybe it was the Aston Martin DB5 with its bag of tricks that caught our attention, or the girl murdered in gold paint, the henchman “Oddjob” with his steel rimmed bowler, or Pussy Galore and her flying circus. Actually, it was the whole package we found very avant-garde and provocative, thereby making “Goldfinger” a smash hit. So much so, the producers rushed “Dr. No” and “From Russia with Love” back into theaters as reruns to capitalize on the Bond hysteria.

James Bond appealed to both men and women. Sean Connery was the perfect candidate to launch the character. Ian Fleming had wanted Roger Moore, but it was Connery who got the nod. For men, Connery had a coolness about him, he had a way with the ladies, knew his way around a casino, got to play with clever tools and weapons (“toys”), and was very resourceful when he had to be, even in how he fought. For women, Connery was great looking, exuded confidence, and as I said, had a way about him which caused women to gravitate towards him, even to this day.

The Bond character invented by Fleming was based on several agents he knew during his tenure in British Intelligence during WW2. However, there really was a James Bond, but he was nothing like Fleming’s character. It is explained in the book, “A Man Called Intrepid.”

There has always been a debate about which actor played the best Bond. For my money, it was Sean Connery. Sure he could deliver a clever line, but it was his coolness under pressure that made him credible in my eyes. His fight scene on the train with actor Robert Shaw in “From Russia with Love” showed his resourcefulness. Bond may have been trained in martial arts, but he broke the rules in defeating his opponent. This was repeated in “Goldfinger” when he fought Oddjob.

Of the six actors who played Bond (not counting the early “Casino Royale” starring David Niven), here is how I rank them:

1-Sean Connery – appealed to both sexes. Established the character and made him believable.
2-Daniel Craig – I wasn’t sold on Craig at first, but I think Fleming would have been proud of his portrayal in “Casino Royale.”
3-Timothy Dalton – a tie. Both Dalton and Brosnan were competent and didn’t overplay the role.
3-Pierce Brosnan
4-Roger Moore – was Ian Fleming’s choice, not mine. Too pretty to be Bond.
5-George Lazenby – succeeding Connery was a hard act to follow, but where did they dig this guy up?

Bond was surrounded by some interesting supporting characters. First, Bond reported to “M” as head of “MI6,” the Secret Intelligent Service. Actor Bernard Lee was the first to play the role capably, as did Judy Dench. Miss Moneypenny was the personal secretary to M and often flirted with Bond. Lois Maxwell owned the character for years. The character of “Q” (for Quartermaster) was concerned with issuing Bond his “toys” for his various assignments. There was always a playful rivalry between the two. Desmond Llewelyn played the character for over 30 years. Someone decided to use Monty Python’s John Cleese in the role, but that flopped (thank God).

As to Bond’s “toys,” I had two favorites; first, the Aston Martin DB5 with ejector seat, twin machine guns, spinning axle blades, oil and nail ejectors, rear window bullet deflector, and smoke screen. I cannot think of too many men who wouldn’t want to take this for a spin. My second favorite toy was “Little Nellie,” the Wallis WA-116 Agile mini-helicopter made famous in the 1967 film, “You Only Live Twice.” Sheer genius. Bond also had a personal fondness for the Walther PPK as his handgun of choice. And let us not forget Bond’s Vodka Martini, “shaken, not stirred.”

As to the best Bond movie, my vote goes to “Goldfinger.” Prior to this, Bond was fighting the evil SPECTRE empire (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). This was all phoney-baloney for my taste. Instead Auric Goldfinger (played by Gert Fröbe) devises a very sophisticated scheme to enhance the value of his gold, while creating an economic panic for the Communists to capitalize on. Even though it meant capturing Fort Knox, Goldfinger’s scheme was truly diabolical as opposed to the plots by the other Bond villains.

James Bond spawned a wave of espionage movies and television shows, such as “Matt Helm,” “Our Man Flint,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “I Spy,” “The Wild, Wild West,” “Get Smart,” and many more. Bond outlived them all and still influences our perception of the world of the secret service.

Fleming died at age 56 in 1964, the same year “Goldfinger” debuted. Although he enjoyed some success, he never realized how his character turned into a cultural institution. After his twelve books had been made into movies, other authors stepped up to fill the void Fleming left behind. By then, it was a formula.

Bond has been described as predictable and iconic. Yet, we still come back for more. Actually, it is the formula that makes Bond work: a rugged and confident operative who is sent to solve a cockamamie plot to conquer the world, and enjoy the perks of life along the way.

Due to age, the actors have had to be replaced more than once, the toys have changed, as had the type of music used in the opening credits, but it will be interesting to see how long the James Bond formula for movie magic will endure. Who knows, maybe 100 years, which is something I do not believe Fleming would have imagined.

The masterminds behind the Bond movies were, of course, Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli who formed Eon Productions (Everything Or Nothing). Through their careful planning, Bond has evolved and remained relevant. Both partners passed away some time ago, but Eon remains under the tight control of the family, most notably Barbara Broccoli.

I have debated this subject on more than one occasion. Some people think Roger Moore was the best Bond; young people prefer Daniel Craig. Some like the newer movies, others prefer the classics from the 1960’s. Actually it really doesn’t matter. We all find something of personal interest in the Bond movies we can relate to, be it a toy, a character, or the plot.

And, Yes, I thought the song “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey was the best.

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 © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  UNDERSTANDING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE – No, it is not an educational institution, nor is it really difficult to understand.

LAST TIME:  10 MOST WANTED LIST  – A list for improving America.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and 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.

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ALL THAT JAZZ

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 11, 2013

BRYCE ON MUSIC

– Better take in some “cool” before it disappears completely.

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About three years ago my wife and I were saddened to learn WSJT-FM, the “Smooth Jazz” channel in Tampa, was leaving the airwaves. We had listened to it for years, either outside on the patio, inside on the weekends, or while driving around. Although we didn’t know the names of all the songs, we always found it calm, relaxing, and just plain “cool.” I like to believe I have an eclectic taste in music. Even though I was of the Rock generation. I love classical, Big Band, some international sounds, particularly Japanese and Spanish, but Jazz holds a special place in my heart. After college, I picked up on it in some small nightclubs in Cincinnati, but as I traveled on business I found some excellent jazz in Chicago, New York, Toronto, and on top of the legendary Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, but that was some time ago. So, when WSJT announced they were abandoning jazz, we were greatly disappointed. They didn’t shut down completely though. Today, you can listen to them streaming over the Internet.

A similar phenomenon happened back in my old hometown of Cincinnati where WVXU (the “Voice of Xavier University”) played jazz classics and “When Swing was King” for years. Unfortunately, their ratings slumped radically and they were forced to abandon jazz. This seems to be a common occurrence as jazz stations are slowly disappearing. According to Lady Jay Davis, a well known radio personality and jazz aficionado in Reno, Nevada, “I have lots of thoughts on how the smooth jazz format was KILLED. Stations turned it into a top 40 format and burned everyone out, then cloned the stations for every market. It is a format that should have evolved into smooth and HOT. Instead they commercialized it and then depended on ratings to sell it. What an excuse for failure.”

As jazz disappears from the airwaves, it is slowly being forgotten, particularly by younger people who simply know nothing about it. Back in 2000, Ken Burns produced his television documentary on “Jazz” which chronicled the development of this unique American sound. More than anything, the miniseries was useful to educate the uninformed regarding the various forms of jazz, everything from Dixieland, which traces its roots back to New Orleans and the South, to “Cool Jazz” emerging after WWII. The program also described the contributions of such people as Charlie Parker, Jr., Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billie Holiday. As an aside, singers such as Bing Crosby and Judy Garland were devotees, and could belt out some excellent jazz songs themselves.

As for me personally, Dave Brubeck, who recently passed away, was the first to bring jazz to my attention. His “Take Five,” which was released in the early 1960’s, should be declared the national anthem of jazz. The clever mixture of piano, sax, bass, and drums is pure genius. It is no small wonder it has been used in television and commercials over the years as an icon of class and elegance. From there, I learned the early work of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, which, of course led me to Charlie Parker, et al.

More recently, I was fortunate to see George Benson in concert. At the time, I knew little about him. I just thought he was another guitarist with some easy listening music to his credit. Boy was I wrong. Although he started slow, I quickly recognized him for what he was, a jazz craftsman. His rendition of Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade” made a believer out of me. He is also known for such classics as “On Broadway,” “Give Me the Night,” and “Breezin’.”

The group who had the most profound influence on me regarding jazz was the Modern Jazz Quartet, whose roots can be traced back to Dizzy Gillespie. The quartet starred Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Percy Heath, and Connie Kay. Although they are perhaps best known for their song, “Django,” there are many other impressive cuts which jazz buffs love, such as “Confirmation,” “Blues on Bach Blues in B flat,” “Concerto De Aranjuez,” “Round Midnight,” and “Willow Weep for Me.”

There are of course many other artists who deserve recognition, but space prohibits me from listing them here. Nonetheless, after learning jazz, I saw Rocker Jimi Hendrix in a new light. It wasn’t Rock that made him unique, it was simply a new form of jazz.

Jazz is still around, but unfortunately it has gone underground in this country. No, you won’t find it on radio or television anymore, but you can still find it on an obscure cable channel or on the Internet. The best way to enjoy it though is to visit one of those small jazz nightclubs which still exists in the big cities or the occasional jazz festival.

As an aside, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the jazz classic, “Just the Two of Us,” recorded by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers, and written by Withers, Ralph MacDonald, and William Salter. It has a very special meaning for my wife and myself for over 30 years, and produced by some very special people. Yes, jazz can have that kind of effect on you. Be sure to listen to it before it is gone with the wind.

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.


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$3 WORDS – For all those boring and effete intellectuals out there.


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

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THE PASSING OF THE CROONERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 14, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How the rich music of Sinatra, Como, Crosby, Martin, et al is slipping away from us.

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Emerging from the Big Band era of the 1930’s was the “Crooner,” a lead singer who was usually male. Actually, the crooner is the stepchild of both Big Band and the Jazz era. Unlike those eras though, the emphasis was on the singer as opposed to just the sound of the music. These were people with unique voices supported by slick orchestras, and singing the popular songs of the day, primarily the 1940’s and 1950’s. These were people with magnetic personalities which were derived, in large part, from the types of love songs they sang; people like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett, most of whom are long gone. Interestingly, Sinatra disliked the “Crooner” label and considered himself more of a star. Capitol Records had a keen eye for crooners and developed a stable of singers where they cultivated their image as well as their music.

Two things were interesting about the crooners in general; first, they had more than just a good singing voice, each possessed a unique characteristic which was difficult to duplicate, and songs were specially selected to match them. Second, all were backed by excellent musicians, not just some hacks who knew how to play an instrument. Further, they had the best arrangers such as Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Ralph Carmichael, Axel Stordahl, Sy Oliver, Percy Faith, Les Brown, and Billy May.

Perhaps the best music from the crooner era came in the 1950’s as audio technology was noticeably enhanced, e.g. “High Fidelity” and “Stereo”. The 50’s also marked the decline of the crooner which was pushed aside for other musical styles, most notably Rock and Roll. The crooners carried on but interest rapidly declined. Tony Bennett, at age 86, remains the last of the greats. The music is still appreciated and lives on through such artists as Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Bublé.

Aside from the greats, there were others who made names for themselves as crooners. They are not as well remembered, but their work was excellent and deserves recognition. In particular, three artists come to mind, all of which broke with the stereotype of the crooner.

Nat King Cole

In an industry dominated by white male singers, Nat King Cole broke the color barrier, particularly in television in the 1950’s where he hosted a variety show. Cole began as an accomplished jazz pianist, but his deep voice led him to the microphone. He was a chain smoker, consuming three packs of Kool cigarettes a day under the belief it helped him tune his rich voice. Eventually, he succumbed to lung cancer as a result. Even though his music lives on, thanks in large part to his daughter, Natalie Cole, most young people are unfamiliar with his name. They may have heard his songs in movies and on the radio, particularly this time of year where “The Christmas Song” is routinely played, but they really do not know who he is.

Cole’s best crooning work includes such greats as “Ramblin Rose,” “Mona Lisa,” “Unforgettable,” “The Very Thought of You,” “Almost Like Being in Love,” and the legendary “Stardust” (arguably one of the best renditions of this famous song). Another personal favorite of mine is his “Route 66” which is more of a jazz piece.

Peggy Lee

Lee certainly earned the recognition of “Crooner” even though she was obviously not one of the boys. Yet, she possessed a smokey purr which was unlike any other female singer, and she tackled the same sort of arrangements the boys did. She was active on the nightclub and concert circuit for years and worked up until near her death in 2002. She began as a singer for Benny Goodman’s orchestra and forged a sophisticated personality essentially no different than Sinatra or Martin; she was a singer’s singer and everyone loved her for it. Although her name is fading away, her music certainly isn’t. Just about every young person is familiar with her signature song, “Fever.” Her classic, “Is That All There Is?,” is a personal favorite and demonstrates her on-air magnetism. Other hits include “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” and “It’s a Good Day.” She is said to be a mentor figure for such musical greats as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Bette Midler, Madonna, and Dusty Springfield.

Jimmy Durante

Durante was an unusual character and undoubtedly forgotten by many people (he passed away back in 1980). Whereas the great crooners were handsome men, the old “Schnozzola” (as he was called for his sizable nose) was relatively short and balding. Yet, he had a magnetic personality with a gravely voice unlike everyone else thus mentioned. He was primarily known as a comedian who played a ragtime jazz piano. Durante was one of those rare entertainers who was successful in Vaudeville, radio, television, and movies. His nightclub act was often considered raucous and bawdy. His first jazz hit was “Inka Dinka Doo” which became his signature song, but this was considered lighthearted music that certainly wouldn’t cause a woman to swoon. His serious work came in the late 1950’s and early 60’s as the music technology improved. Even though Durante was advancing in years and possessed a coarse voice, his arrangers helped him produce a string of hits still familiar to a lot of people, including: “Young at Heart,” “As Time Goes By,” “Make Someone Happy,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and “Smile.” These were all proven songs made famous by other artists, but Durante’s rendition is perhaps more memorable.

Although I wish singers like Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Bublé much success, and that others join them, we must realize we have witnessed the passing of an era of some very rich music. The singers today may have some fine voices, but none with the unusual sounds the crooners gave us, coupled with fine orchestrations behind them. We may not know the songs of today, but we certainly remember those the crooners gave us, both those artists with recognized names and those quickly fading from our view.

“Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

 

NEXT UP:  WHAT IS BUSINESS? – Sounds like an innocent question, but do we have a consensus understanding?

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IN PRAISE OF SOPHIA LOREN

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 2, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why we still find her attractive at age 78.

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Over the years, men have had favorite pinup girls; during the 1940’s there was Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, and Jane Russell; in the 50’s there was Marilyn Monroe, Gina Lollobrigida, Jayne Mansfield and Elizabeth Taylor, and during the 1960’s there was Brigitte Bardot and Raquel Welch. I don’t know who the latest sex symbols are these days, but they have a hard act to follow as far as I am concerned. There was one, in particular, that captivated the public for a number of years, Sophia Loren, an Italian actress with incredible looks and acting skills.

Loren has spent over sixty years in the public eye, which is a tribute to her endurance. At age 78, she still looks fabulous. If you were to ask people which actress appeals to both sexes, you would be hard pressed to find someone who can top Sophia Loren. It’s more than just looks too. She’s starred in movies opposite such notable leading men as Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Marcello Mastroianni, Richard Burton, Charlton Heston, Peter Sellers, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, and Marlon Brando. She was always able to hold her own against such heavyweights and won numerous acting awards, including being declared in 1991 as “one of the world cinema’s treasures.”

Even though she was always admired for her beauty and acting skills, there is something else that captures the imagination of her fans, some sort of mystique she possesses, perhaps it is European or Italian in nature. I think the word I’m looking for is “class.” In public, I have never known her not to be the picture of poise and grace, yet she seems to be very down to earth, very approachable. She is a sort of royalty who can relate to her subjects, probably because she remembers her modest beginnings. It is this sense of class, coupled with looks, that makes her attractive to both men and women, and you see it in just about every film she has made, as well as in interviews.

When the movie “Grumpier Old Men” was produced in 1995, she was already 61 and making fewer films. People wondered if she still had “it” to play a femme fatale opposite Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and competing with Ann-Margret. She had “it” alright, helping to make the movie a box office success. On the screen, she still exuded class and sensuality.

Sophia is still active but has understandably slowed down her volume of work. Now and then, she will appear at a public function and still looks smashing in her cleavage revealing gowns; even better than a lot of actresses a third of her age. So, if I had to vote for a favorite pinup, I would have to give the nod to Sophia Loren. She has looks, class, longevity, and a certain savior-fare about her. She certainly has “it.”

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP:  THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM – Twas the night before elections and all through the house…
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