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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS (a short story)

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 22, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Can it be expressed as a calculation?

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

It had been three years since Joshua Steivenson’s father passed away, yet the son was still cleaning out his father’s belongings. The old wooden house in Buffalo, New York was built in the 1930’s. Years ago, the cellar included an ancient coal furnace and chute, typical for the time. His father, Millard, converted it to a gas furnace a few decades ago in order to develop a clean and quiet place to study. His mother, who still maintained the house, encouraged Joshua to clean up his father’s belongings as she did not want to deal with it anymore. Everything in the cellar was tidy, which is uncharacteristic of a mathematician, but his voluminous books and notes filled shelf after shelf. Joshua had cleaned up the attic and his father’s closets upstairs, but it was now the cellar’s turn for attention. He had looked forward to pouring through his father’s notes, as he remembered the amount of effort and detail the elder devoted to them.

Millard Steivenson was a well known mathematician who had worked at the old Westinghouse plant years ago. His calculations were primarily used in manufacturing and design, earning him accolades not just from his employer, but with other mathematicians through his research papers. Joshua had followed in his father’s footsteps by also becoming a mathematician. As he grew up, father and son spent numerous hours arguing over formulas and equations; it was tremendous mental gymnastics, something both enjoyed immensely. Now that his father was gone, Joshua was eager to look through the elder’s body of work.

Millard’s notes were maintained in meticulous chronological order, in three ring binders, representing over sixty years worth of logic. This made it particularly interesting to study and watch his father’s work evolve over time. A lot of it consisted of simple formulas for use in product design, but now and then, he would try to explain concepts in physics which were often submitted to a mathematics union where papers were printed in journals and arguments presented, both pro and con. The father’s work was frequently featured in these journals.

Day after day, Joshua absorbed the journals, often going late into the evening. He remembered some of his father’s early work, but most of the pages included unfamiliar formulas and algorithms. Analyzing each computation, Joshua began to understand his expressions without having to review the accompanying notes. It all made sense to him. Then, in a binder from December 1965 he happened upon a section marked, “The Secret of Happiness,” consisting of a rather lengthy equation describing in mathematical terms how a person can discover his own personal happiness. This piqued Joshua’s interest as he didn’t recall his father discussing this concept and thought it a rather odd subject for a mathematician to pursue.

Joshua poured through the extensive formula carefully. At the heart of his father’s argument was the identification of a person’s purpose in life, both personal and professional, plus the motivation to achieve them, thus resulting in joy through fulfillment. By doing so, a person could elevate their personal self esteem through their chosen vocation and find happiness. Also included was mathematical language describing how to overcome adversity, to teach morality by discerning right from wrong, and the necessity to subdue passions, such as anger, greed and lust. It was all rather extensive. Basically, the formula was intended to unlock a person’s inner self. More importantly, Joshua couldn’t find anything wrong in the logic. It appeared everything was properly defined and interconnected. The son was rather impressed and began to quietly chuckle knowing of no other attempt to write such a formula. However, why had his father kept it a secret for so many years?

Following the formula, there were several accompanying notes, including reviews of the work. Years ago, his father had submitted a paper regarding the formula to the mathematics union. However, it was rejected out of hand with some rather sharp critiques with the contention, “You cannot synthesize human emotion.” Joshua was surprised by the open rebuff, particularly after analyzing the formula carefully. The critics even went so far as to publicly ridicule him, which may explain why his father stopped working on it. As Joshua read through the criticisms, he became angry as it became rather obvious few of the respondents had actually read the formula. The last note written by his father on the subject was a short footnote which appeared to be added many years afterwards; it simply read, “Joshua, when you are ready,” and was circled in red ink. This surprised Joshua who interpreted it as a request from his father to pursue the formula again.

As it was late, Joshua went to sleep thinking about both the formula and the criticisms of it. The logic was perfect, yet people didn’t seem to grasp the significance of it fifty years ago. What about today? What about today?…

The next morning, Joshua decided to resubmit the formula to the mathematics union for their consideration. He included an introductory letter, and updated his father’s supporting notes. One short week later, his documents were returned by the union with a strong letter condemning the work. “We are well familiar with your father’s work in this regard. As we notified him years ago, we do not consider this a viable formula. Trying to calculate human emotion is pure folly. Please do not waste our time again. Sincerely…”

Joshua was surprised the formula was dismissed out of hand so quickly. Perhaps too quickly. Obviously they didn’t study it in detail as the logic was flawless. He was particularly perturbed by their skepticism.

The refutation did not deter Joshua. As he was also well versed in computer programming, he decided to write an “app” for the formula suitable to be used in smart phones, tablets and computers. He expended considerable time coding the formula into the program. Special touch screen technology was added to simplify the use of the program. To do so, a person would simply need to press and hold his/her finger on the app logo whereby a screen was displayed showing the person’s hidden desires. This was done by accessing the person’s central nervous system through the finger where the logical and emotional spheres of the brain were read and scrutinized. The analysis judged the person’s intellectual and emotional stability, frustrations, along with wants and desires. From this, it would visually display the person’s preferences for happiness and offered viable alternatives for achieving them. Basically, it was offering a blueprint for the person’s next stage in life.

Joshua tested the program thoroughly on himself and was surprised to discover he should be making adjustments in his own life; suggestions he immediately understood and embraced. After making the last few technical adjustments, he uploaded the app to the various Internet app stores for free public download under the name, “The Secret of Happiness.” After he uploaded it, he called it a night and went to bed.

The next morning, he checked on the app counter and found 325 people had downloaded it overnight and more were continuing to do so before his eyes. When checking his e-mail queue, he discovered several messages praising him for the app and how it already was changing people’s lives for the better. Day after day, Joshua watched as hundreds of people downloaded the app, then thousands, then tens of thousands, there was no stopping it as it went viral in the first week. News reporters took notice and began contacting Joshua for interviews. Many had used it themselves and became fans well before they asked their first question. This resulted in an avalanche of publicity and “The Secret of Happiness” became the darling of the press. The requests for interviews and correspondence overwhelmed Joshua, so much so, he started to shy away from reading his email.

Then one day, a letter arrived in the mail from the mathematics union requesting a personal interview with Joshua regarding the formula. This surprised him after receiving the terse letter earlier. The tone of the letter was less antagonistic, so he agreed to meet with the union.

Joshua appeared in the union’s offices at the arranged time, dressed in suit and tie. As he waited to be announced, he looked around the office. The building was massive and very well equipped and decorated. It appeared the union didn’t suffer financially, but he wondered how it was paid for; this certainly couldn’t be based on just equations and formulas.

A receptionist led him into an opulent board room with a beautiful table, chairs, and state-of-the-art multimedia screens on the walls. Several officials greeted him, seven in all, and asked him to take a seat. All were much older than Joshua and were dressed as authoritative figures. Their demeanor was serious, giving Joshua the uneasy feeling this was going to be more of an inquisition than a casual interview.

“Mr, Steivenson,” the Chairman began, “We have asked you here to discuss the app you introduced using your father’s formula for happiness. As you know, we have reviewed the formula, both recently and years ago, and found it unacceptable as a means of defining happiness through mathematical language. In fact, we believe it to be reckless on your part to release this to the public as an app.”

“Sir,” Joshua responded, “There is nothing compelling people to use the app. It also comes with a warning that it can only be used on a voluntary basis. So far, I have received no complaints, only compliments from the public, that it is helping them realize their potential and improve their quality of life.”

“We’re well aware of that,” the Chairman continued, “and that’s part of what disturbs us; we’ve tried it ourselves and could not see how it works on any of us here. It didn’t impact us, so we thought this was nothing but a scam or placebo, and are willing to go to the press in order to get you to retract your claims of its effectiveness. We do not wish to see the public suffer.”

“Suffer?” Joshua said, “Hardly. I have testimonials from hundreds, if not thousands of people from all over the world who have described the positive impact the app and the formula has had in influencing their lives positively. The formula does, in fact, work, but only for those who want to believe happiness can be attained in their lifetime. In your case, I knew you would not accept it, so I added a ‘skeptic’ function to my father’s formula, whereby it will not work with people such as yourselves who do not possess an open mind.”

“You mean…”

“Yes, in order for it to work, you must either believe in the formula or are willing to give it an honest try. Since your minds have already been made up, regardless of how ridiculous your arguments are, you will never be able to use it and, as such, will never realize how it can help you with your lives.”

“That’s preposterous,” the Chairman exclaimed, “You cannot use math to deduce skepticism.”

“Really?” Joshua said smugly, “You also said that about my father’s happiness formula and I now have millions of people who have a new outlook on life thanks to it. You do not believe simply because you do not WANT to believe, and that is sad. It is hard to make progress when the people in charge invent irrational egotistical roadblocks. Sometimes you have to do an end-run to get something done. Good day, gentlemen.”

Joshua rose from his chair and turned to exit. Before he could leave though, the Chairman said strongly, “Young man, you have no idea who you are dealing with; no idea whatsoever. You better be careful.” Joshua didn’t like the sabre rattling but chalked it up to old men in their dotage, and he departed.

Following the meeting, Joshua returned home and to an adoring public who thanked him many times over for helping them rebuild their lives and pointing them in the right direction. The app was so infectious, the mood of the country began to change. A wild spirit of entrepreneurship and prosperity blanketed the nation consisting of new companies offering new products and services, all built or delivered with a high sense of craftsmanship. Consequently, the Gross Domestic Product began to rise, money was generated for the people and taxes; so much so, the federal debt was arrested and actually began to retreat. People no longer resisted going to work, but openly welcomed it instead. Grades in schools substantially improved, and education was made meaningful again. Crime rates declined radically, as did unemployment, and spending on welfare. America awoke from the doldrums to once again become a leader in industry. The rest of the world started reporting similar successes as well.

Then, one day, a computer virus was quietly introduced to the world over the Internet, some claimed it originated from China but nobody knew for sure. It was designed to seek out and destroy Joshua’s “Happiness” app and the virus circled the globe like wild fire deleting it from all machines. In just five short days, it had completely eradicated the app, including Joshua’s machine containing the source code for the program. It was gone, all gone, and the public’s attitudes began to shift back to complacency as before the app was introduced.

Joshua could not understand who or why anyone would want to destroy the app. He began to investigate the virus by capturing and dissecting the code embedded within it. Inside he found some interesting clues consisting of mathematical formulas and expressions leading him to believe he had been sabotaged by the mathematics union. Infuriated, he rushed to the union building and demanded an audience with the Chairman, and surprisingly, it was granted.

Although he felt his blood boil, he stopped to take a breath and regain his composure before entering the Chairman’s office. He desperately did not want to express panic under pressure and maintain a cool demeanor.

As he entered the office, the Chairman greeted him, “Good afternoon Mr. Steivenson, I have been expecting you.”

“You have?” asked Joshua.

“When we heard your app was the target of a virus, we knew you would blame us.”

“And I suppose you are going to claim ignorance on the matter?” Joshua asked.

The chairman came out from behind his desk and sat down next to Joshua. In a calm and fatherly voice, he said, “No, Joshua, we had nothing do do with it. At our last meeting, I tried to warn you that you had no idea who you were dealing with, and to a certain extent, neither does our own organization. We are the eyes and ears for various government agencies around the world, who happen to fund our work, something we are paid well for.”

He continued, “I will admit I opposed your father’s formula at first, but I finally overcame my skepticism which allowed me to work with your app. Frankly, I was amazed how well it understood me and recommended changes in my life which I have embraced. Believe me, you wouldn’t have gotten into this building if I didn’t believe the app worked. I apologize for not believing in your work and not encouraging you to pursue it, but I was directed to discourage you and let the matter drop, as your father did years ago.”

“Why was that?”

“Joshua, ask yourself the question; what government would want its citizens to be truly happy? You’ve already seen some of the effects your app has had on our country, that we were becoming a vibrant society again, one that began to challenge the status quo and change the political landscape. That is more than any politician can stand. They want apathetic voters and people with a low confidence level, thereby making them more inclined to accept government control. I honestly do not know which country produced the virus, it could have been America, China, Russia or many others, it doesn’t matter, it was inevitable. They simply do not want the citizens to rise beyond their control. Your app was a very real threat to them, so I am not surprised. I know this isn’t much solace, but I’m honestly sorry about all this. I had no idea it would go this far.”

Joshua slouched in his chair. He realized he was defeated. To pursue his dream meant doing combat with the governments of the world, very much a losing proposition.

Days after his meeting, Joshua returned to his father’s cellar and organized his notes in another three-ring binder. Included was a printed copy of the app’s source code which Joshua had printed prior to his computer being attacked, along with schematics and other documentation explaining the program’s logic.

Before closing the binder for the last time, he took out a red pen and wrote on the last page, “For my son, when you are ready.” He then swept the cellar, made sure it was as tidy as his father had kept it, and turned off the lights.

NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters in this story and any real person, living or dead, is not intentional and purely coincidental.

Originally published: September 23, 2015

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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CRAFTSMANSHIP IS A STATE OF MIND

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 14, 2019

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– It is also a universally applicable concept.

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

I have been writing on the virtues of craftsmanship for many years now. I have also given presentations on the subject and discussed it at length with different types of companies. Surprisingly, I find few people truly understand the concept. Perhaps the biggest misconception is that it is reserved for certain types of work effort. Some believe craftsmen are limited to furniture makers, machinists, or watchmakers. And, No, we are most certainly not talking about a line of tools from Sears. People seem surprised when I explain it is a universal concept applicable to any job. My message is simple: “Craftsmanship is a state of mind.”

Years ago, Arnold Toynbee, the legendary historian and economist from the UK, made the observation, “The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” Whereas some people like to separate their personal and professional lives, Toynbee rightfully makes the point there is physically only one person, and their personal and professional lives should be viewed as one and the same.

Craftsmanship is based on three rather simple principles:

First, in order to build self-esteem and give an individual a sense of purpose, we need to acknowledge, “Man must lead a worthy life.” This means people should be given meaningful work to perform, thereby creating the desire to master one’s craft. However, not everyone can be a wood worker, machinist, or watchmaker. Instead, they must find meaning in their chosen profession, which leads to our next principle…

Second, “There is dignity in all forms of work.” We should never look down our noses at anyone’s profession, assuming they are doing it competently and professionally. Regardless of the task, it is always a pleasure to be among people who know what they are doing, and perform it seemingly with little effort and a sense of class. In contrast, there are also workers who are apathetic, put forth minimal effort, and only watch the clock as opposed to the work product they are assigned to. Personally, it is difficult to respect such people.

Third, a simple recognition there are “right” and “wrong” ways for performing tasks. It takes discipline not to skip steps and put the work product in jeopardy. Understanding the differences between “right” and “wrong” is more than just training and experience, it also represents the morality of the worker. One reason craftsmanship is in decline is because of the eroding moral values of the country, such as the inclination to cheat.

These principles highlight the fact that craftsmanship is universally applicable. We can find it in any industry and any type of work, be it janitors, waitresses, programmers, managers, assembly line workers, hairdressers, teachers, engineers, athletes, musicians, the medical community, you name it. Craftsmanship is a state of mind. Think about it, who has impressed you not only by the job they did, but how they went about doing it? Inevitably, it is someone you respect, someone you will gladly give a reference to, someone you would like to emulate.

Craftsmanship requires more than just talent, it is a determination to be the best someone can be. Not surprising, there is a close relationship between craftsmen and the products they produce. Expressions such as “I built that” or “That was mine,” denote the pride they take in their work. Conversely, when someone makes a compliment about a product or service, the craftsman takes it as a personal compliment. The bond between craftsman and work product is so strong, the worker sees the product as tangible proof of their quality of work.

Years ago, people learned their craft through apprenticeship programs. Ben Franklin learned to be a printer at his older brother’s print shop. Likewise, young men learned a variety of crafts through such programs. Over the years though, we have drifted away from apprenticeships. Today, we rely on certification programs and college degrees, but this does not necessarily make someone a craftsman. It only denotes the student has learned something and passed tests and exams. Rarely does it give us insight into a person’s mastery of a craft, which cannot normally be evaluated until it is put into practice and studied over time.

In terms of skills, the craftsman must master several things:

* The resources used in the product. For example, a wood worker will know the differences between types of wood, their strengths and weaknesses, their suitability for the product, and how to work with it. Likewise, a machinist will understand the nature of the different metals he must use in his work.

* The methodologies to produce the product, representing the steps or processes of the project.

* The tools and techniques to be used in the development of the product, all of which may change over time. This means the craftsman is a student of his profession and possesses a sense of history to his craft.

Craftsmanship is something we have taken for granted for many years. Consequently, it has been fading from view. Interestingly, when I teach these concepts to students and business professionals, they are usually surprised by the simplicity of the concepts involved. I warn them though that craftsmanship requires a personality which includes such things as discipline, an intuitive mind, pride in workmanship, a willingness to be the best in your chosen profession, and some good old fashioned morality. Craftsmanship is not for everybody, but we should celebrate those willing to lead such an existence, for they are the people who create the products we admire and cherish.

For more information, see my earlier paper, “Craftsmanship: the Meaning of Life.”

If you want a presentation on craftsmanship, please do not hesitate to contact me.

First published: February 26, 2014

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 Business, Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

LIVING WITH REGRETS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 12, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…” (My Way)

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

Many years ago, when I was still in college, a good friend and myself came up with the wild idea of spending a summer vacation as smoke jumpers out West. We had heard about the forest fires plaguing the West at the time and, as able bodied young men, we wanted to help. Unfortunately, we found it difficult to find anyone in authority who could answer our questions and tell us how to join. You have to remember, this was at a time well before the Internet where such information would have been readily available. Consequently, we abandoned the idea in frustration (much to the relief of our parents). Even today, many years later, we talk about it and wish we had been able to experience it.

Just about everyone has some sort of opportunity they wish they had handled differently, be it in love, a business opportunity, an adventure or experience, or a way to improve one’s self. Life is full of missed opportunities. It is difficult to know when to grasp the brass ring as opposed to holding back and assuming less risk. Some people are bolder than others. I think it is either a matter of self-confidence or the ability to formulate the odds for success. Regardless, life is full of “could’ves,” “would’ves” and “should’ves.”

Some people have difficulty living with regrets…

“If only I had married Bob instead of Bill…”

“If only I had invested in the ABC company…”

“If only I had taken that job…”

“If only I had gone to school instead of…”

Some people dwell on regrets too much, allowing it to eat away their self-esteem and confidence, to the point of making themselves physically sick. They just cannot let go of a bad decision they made. As I see it, mistakes are a natural part of life and hopefully our decisions do not harm others, but every now and then, they do. I’m not talking about the vicious acts of criminals as much as I’m describing the regrets of everyday decisions.

Regardless if a bad decision affects only yourself or others, we have to learn to live with our mistakes. We have to accept it, not deny it, accept responsibility for it, and learn from it so that hopefully we do not make the same mistake more than once. What is done is done. Do not dwell on the past. In most cases, there is no way to correct it. Let’s move along. In addition, we cannot live in a state of perpetual fear of making another mistake because, in all likelihood, we will. After all, we are only human.

Part of the problem in our decision making process is how we rely on others for advice. If you haven’t guessed by now, people are quick to tell you what you cannot do in life. Nine times out of ten they are dead wrong. If you can think it through, you can do it. Mindpower is where it’s at. More than anyone, you know your strengths and weaknesses, and what limitations and capabilities you possess. True, we should respect the advice from people we trust, but we should ultimately be guided by our wants and needs, coupled with our ability to calculate risk. Let it not be said it was someone else’s decision, let it be our own. You will then have nobody else to blame if it fails.

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
– Andrew Jackson

I still think smoke jumping would have been an exciting way to spend a summer over thirty years ago, but I look back with no regrets. It just wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I think of all of the other things I accomplished since then which were meant to be.

First published: June 4, 2010

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 © 2010, 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 Life | 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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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

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 »

PUSH BUTTON GRIEVANCES

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 10, 2019

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Our Pavlovian response to irritants.

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I find it interesting how people tend to have knee-jerk reactions to certain things. It’s kind of like a Pavlovian response we turn to in certain situations, particularly as we get older. For example, years ago when I visited my grandparents in Buffalo, New York, my grandfather would automatically go into a tirade if he heard on the radio about crime rising in the area or taxes rising, a common conundrum in New York state. This would automatically trigger a response from my grandfather who would say, “And you know who pays for that don’t you? Your grandmother and me!”

If I heard this expression once, I must have heard it a thousand times over the years as it left an indelible impression on me. So much so, when I hear something similar on the radio while I’m driving around town, I find myself saying, “And you know who pays for that don’t you?”, and I start to laugh.

I think we all have certain hot buttons which trigger some sort of an outcry, mostly things that irritate us one way or another. For example, I know a couple in my neighborhood who is quick to point out the horrible color their next door neighbor painted his house with, a ghastly dark blue. “Do you believe how horrible that looks?” I have been asked several times over the last three years since it was painted. Every time I act as if the question is new to me.

My mother has made a house in the neighborhood a pet peeve of hers. Whereas it was a handsome and well maintained house in the past, the new owners have turned it into a perpetual project whereby something is always being modified or remodeled, be it inside or out. Interestingly, they never seem to get it right, causing the house to lose its charm. Consequently, whenever we pass the house today, my mom is likely to say, “What in God’s name are they thinking of?”

There are, of course, many other push button expressions to convey our displeasure. For example, when my wife was in high school, her mother would say to her or her sisters, “You’re not going out dressed like that are you?” or “You didn’t pay money for that did you?” Women may say something catty about another woman they don’t like; e.g., “Ugh! I hate her.” Guys are a little more colorful, referring to someone as “What an idiot” or something much stronger.

Mothers are notorious for pushbutton expressions, such as, “You can plant potatoes in those ears” or “Eat your vegetables or you’ll wear them” or “You can put your eye out that way.” Another favorite is, “Stop it or you’ll go blind.”

We also see this phenomenon in the area of politics. For example, when liberals hear a reference to President Trump, they instantly respond that he is a racist, a fascist, or is xenophobic. Again, this is a Pavlovian conditioned response requiring no thinking. Ask them what he said or did to trigger their reaction and they won’t remember, but they are sure he is a a racist, a fascist, or is xenophobic, even if they do not understand what the labels mean.

I have heard these expressions so often, perhaps we should consider numbering them, thereby saving us time and effort. In a way, it reminds me of the old story where a man is sent to prison. As the newbie, he asks his cellmate if he knows any jokes to pass the time. The cellmate says, “Here in prison, we’ve heard all of the jokes a million times. So, instead of repeating them, we’ve numbered them to save time. Here watch this…”

The cellmate yells “97” from his cell which results in gales of laughter from the other prisoners.

“Wow, that’s pretty impressive,” the newbie says, “Can I try one?”

“Sure, be my guest.”

“82,” he yells out from his cell. Unfortunately, nobody responds, not even a chuckle.

“Try another,” the cellmate encourages.

“51,” he yells. Again, no response.

Frustrated the newbie tries multiple numbers, “162”, “25”, and “13.” Again, dead silence.

To which the cellmate observes, “Well I guess it goes to prove, some people can tell a joke, but others cannot.”

I’m not sure we should number our grievances this way, as I believe we take comfort in airing our displeasure to others, thereby building consensus of opinion. Besides, someone will inevitably find a way to make money off such a numbering convention, “And you know who pays for that don’t you?”

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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2018 YEAR-END WRAP-UP

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 20, 2018

BRYCE ON BRYCE

– My most popular columns and audio segments this year.

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This is my last column for the year as I prepare to enjoy the holidays and rest up for 2019. As has become customary, I’m using this opportunity to review my top essays from the past year.

As you know, I write on a variety of subjects, such as management, systems, technology, social issues, politics, and observations of our changing world. Sometimes my work is instructional and informative, other times it is controversial or humorous. I certainly hope it isn’t boring. By the number of subscribers I have, their comments, and the hits I have on my web site alone, I do not believe this is the case.

Since this was an election year, most of my top articles were political in nature. What follows is based on my “hits” by my readers.

My top columns for the year were:

1. THE ELEMENTS OF SOCIALIZATION (May 3) – This was far and away my most popular column, not just in America but overseas as well, particularly in India and, No, it wasn’t political in nature.

2. 2018: AS FLORIDA GOES, SO GOES THE COUNTRY (Nov 5) – This was published the day before the midterm elections, which perhaps explains its popularity.

3. 2018 AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION (Sep 13) – This was one of the few articles available which attempted to clearly explain the Florida legislation. It was heavily referenced during election time.

4. CHINKS APPEAR IN THE DEMOCRATS’ ARMOR (Sep 26) – Unlike the main stream media, this column was one of the few to note the weaknesses in the Democrats prior to the election.

5. FAREWELL TAMPA BAY TIMES (Apr 10) – This explained my rationale for cancelling my subscription to “Florida’s Best Newspaper.”

6. WHY ARE THE DEMOCRATS TURNING TO SOCIALISM? (Jul 10) – Discussed how the party had turned even further left than before, going well beyond “Progressives.”

7. THE POLITICAL EPIPHANY OF #WalkAway (Jul 19) – Described a new movement of people turning away from the Democrats as it is believed the party betrayed their trust.

8. THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LOSERS (Aug 21) – A sports piece describing problems with the NFL.

9. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS IN NOVEMBER? (Oct 4) – describes the dangers involved with voting for the Democrats.

10. A NEW DIGITAL DIVIDE (Aug 7) – Discusses the adverse effects of technology on reading and writing.

HONORABLE MENTION

ARE DEMOCRATS EVIL? (Oct 10) – raises an area of concern by Democrats concerned with how they are depicted.

THE 2018 ELECTIONS ARE OVER, NOW WHAT? (Nov 8) – Some predictions following the 2018 midterms.

SAYONARA HUFFINGTON POST (Feb 5) – describes why I left the publication.

AUDIO SEGMENTS ON YOUTUBE

I provide an audio version of most of my columns for those people on the go, courtesy of YouTube. I would like to believe people listen to me at the gym or beach, but more realistically, people tend to tune in while they are traveling or at work. Interestingly, the popularity of my audio segments is not the same as my written columns.

1. THE POLITICAL EPIPHANY OF #WalkAway (Jul 19) – this was very popular among members of the movement, hence its high rating here.

2. PRIDE RENEWAL TOUR (Apr 25) – I was particularly glad to see this become popular as it was based on a seminar I gave regarding morality earlier this year. Highlights from the program are included.

3. IN PRAISE OF POLKA MUSIC (May 17) – I was pleased to see this off-beat column get recognition. It was just plain fun to do.

4. CHINKS APPEAR IN THE DEMOCRATS’ ARMOR (Sep 26) – this segment, like the written version, did very well. Unlike the main stream media, this was one of the few to note the weaknesses in the Democrats prior to the election.

5. MAYHEM IN THE WHITE HOUSE? (Sep 12) – Provides an explanation of why the Democrats attack President Trump.

6. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS IN NOVEMBER? (Oct 4) – This did equally well as the written version. It describes the dangers involved with voting for the Democrats.

7. THE BOSTON GLOBE CALLS FOR WAR AGAINST TRUMP (Aug 15) – Describes the campaign created by the Boston Globe to have the main stream media attack President Trump.

8. WHAT OTHER FRATERNITIES CAN TEACH FREEMASONRY (Feb 9) – An unusual piece aimed at making suggestions for improving Freemasonry.

9. TIME TO END THE MUELLER INVESTIGATION (Dec 4) – A recent segment urging an end to this colossal waste of time.

10. WHY ARE THE DEMOCRATS TURNING TO SOCIALISM? (Jul 10) – Another segment which complemented the written version. It discusses how the party had turned even further left than before, going well beyond “Progressives.”

HONORABLE MENTION

CNN’S JIM ACOSTA BUTTS HEADS WITH THE PRESIDENT (Nov 9) – Discussed the incident which caused Acosta being banned from the White House.

I will be on sabbatical for awhile until I am ready to get back in the saddle.

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 © 2018 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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CHASING APRONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 19, 2018

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

– What is more important, the institution or our vanity?

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

As a follow-up to my recent column on “Do Just One Thing,” I want to describe another problem involving nonprofit organizations, and that is “Chasing Aprons.” This is an expression derived from Freemasonry, the ancient fraternity. For those unfamiliar with the Craft, it is customary for Masons to wear a plain white leather apron at our meetings, symbolizing the aprons worn by workmen years ago. We are admonished there is nothing more ancient or honorable than the plain white apron, yet there are other more decorative aprons awarded as gifts to Masonic officers. Over the years, such aprons have become coveted as a means of identifying a Mason of influence. Unfortunately, some Masons desperately pursue these ornate aprons only to denote their authority, not for accomplishing anything of substance, hence the expression “Chasing Aprons.”

The Masons are not alone in this regards as I have seen similar situations in other nonprofit groups. For example, I remember attending a party when I moved into my neighborhood and a man approached me with some swagger saying, “Hi, I’m John Doe, President of the homeowner association” (it was kind of like, “Hi, I’m the Head Raccoon”). He winked at me, then turned away to glad hand someone else. Frankly, I burst out laughing as he thought he was impressing me. In reality, this same gentleman ran the homeowner association right into the ground and nearly bankrupted it.

At some of the I.T. related associations I was involved in, there would be the usual officer titles, such as President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, but then there are higher titles such as “Division Director” as you now oversaw several chapters as opposed to just one. There are other names for this, such as “District Deputy” or “Inspector,” but you get the idea. Such titles denote a loftier position and are either given to people to perform a legitimate responsibility or awarded as gifts to cronies.

I have seen people “Chasing Aprons” in just about every nonprofit group I’ve been involved in, be it fraternal, political, professional, educational, even in sports clubs, such as those related to baseball, softball, football and soccer.

I have found people who covet such titles tend to be more consumed with the title, and less about the responsibility associated with it. This is essentially no different than in business where people yearn for a job title for political reasons as it will look good on a resume. I tend to see such people as rather shallow. They never accomplished anything of substance in their life, so the appeal for recognition through titles and aprons is irresistible to them. Whenever I run into people like this, who obviously don’t know what they are doing, I tell others to give the person the title or apron and get them out of the way as they will only inhibit progress.

As an aside, I wonder how many people would volunteer their service if there wasn’t a title or apron involved? It would be an interesting experiment to see if people care more about the institution they belong to or are in it for themselves.

Obviously, this is all about the human ego. In Freemasonry, we are taught the importance of the title of “Brother” as it is a fraternity, a Brotherhood. There are many other impressive sounding titles associated with the Masons, but nothing more important than the simple designation of “Brother” and the plain white leather apron.

Just remember, being called a “thoroughbred” doesn’t change the fact that a jackass is a jackass.

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 © 2018 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 Life, Management, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

DO JUST ONE THING

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 18, 2018

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

– What can be done to rebuild declining nonprofit institutions?

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

When I travel around town these days, I often run into old friends and neighbors who know my background regarding nonprofit organizations (I served on +50 board of directors over the years), and they like to unload their frustrations on me. For example:

* The president of a homeowner association complained he had to serve a second term simply because they couldn’t find anyone interested in serving on the board and perform some relatively simple tasks. Consequently, they were forced to hire a management company to perform these tasks and the annual dues skyrocketed. Operating an HOA is certainly not rocket science, but if nobody is willing to perform these simple tasks, then they have to be delegated to an outside contractor.

* A local club for a major political party is also having problems attracting people to their Board of Directors. Further, not long ago, participation in parades was well attended and gave the club visibility in the community. This year, they could only attract four people to walk in the Xmas parade, an embarrassingly low number.

* Masonic lodges continue to shrink in size in my area. Instead of addressing the root cause of their problems, membership continues to diminish, and Lodge funds are being drained to maintain aging building structures. It’s just a matter of time before they disappear just like the Odd Fellows did in our area.

* Information Technology related associations for adults have disappeared. Back in the day, professional trade groups enjoyed a major presence in cities, such as the Association for Systems Management (ASM), the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP; formerly DPMA), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Today, these groups are non-existent in the Tampa Bay area (as well as my old stomping grounds in Cincinnati). ACM does maintain student related chapters, but nothing for adults in my area. Other trade groups are experiencing similar problems.

* Attendance at local churches are down. So much so, some have been running in the red for quite a while and are faced with tough decisions for cutting costs, including the firing of pastors. Further, due to lack of participation, the elders have to serve multiple terms.

* Volunteers for public schools are hard to come by these days, not only for general school activities, but for local Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), and School Advisory Councils (SAC).

* Little League programs have shrunk noticeably. In my area alone, children participating have dropped over 50% over the last few years.

It kind of sounds contagious, doesn’t it? So many different nonprofit organizations with similar problems.

In many cases, nonprofits are run by well meaning people who have some time on their hands, yet haven’t a clue as to how to run a business. Consequently, the execution of simple procedures are neglected, e.g.; the preparation of meeting agendas and budgets, issuing routine treasurer reports, auditing finances, or keeping accurate minutes and membership records. For a list of tasks, see my earlier article, “Managing a Nonprofit Organization.”

I guess I have become somewhat of a therapist on such problems as people continue to confide in me. I try to advise them accordingly, but the sad truth is the people running these organizations are frustrated and exhausted. They desperately want to hand the baton off to others, but there is nobody there.

Now and then in nonprofits, someone with a business background comes in, takes the bull by the horns, and does a good job with an assignment. The problem is, it is assumed the person will do it again next year, and possibly for eternity. With rare exception, this is not what people signed up for. To overcome this problem, ask the person to document the steps they used while they were in charge, perhaps through checklists, thereby documenting the procedure for future reference. The person thereby passes this knowledge on to the group overall, and someone else can perform the responsibility. Bottom-line, execution is fairly easy assuming planning is competently performed.

From my perspective, there are three fundamental problems facing nonprofits:

1. Apathy by both the officers and membership who genuinely do not believe a problem exists. The old maxim applies: “You cannot treat a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick.” Such apathy suggests incompetent leadership from the Board of Directors.

As an aside, I tend to believe our excessive use of personal technology shares part of the blame in terms of apathy as people are more imbued with their technology and are losing socialization skills, including volunteering their services.

2. Organizations are stuck in a rut of repetition. They have been doing it wrong for so long, they believe it is right. Instead of making the programs meaningful and interesting, there is little or no imagination to adapt and improve. Again, this suggests incompetence by the Board of Directors.

3. Failure to recruit and train people to succeed the current administration. People today are less inclined to volunteer as in the past. Now, is the time to personally ask for assistance, indoctrinate them in one aspect, and empower them to conquer problems. Start by asking people to serve on committees. To get the ball rolling, simply make a list of committees and tasks, and get everyone’s name on it. To gain their commitment, have them sign their name.

As to this last point of recruiting support, during my talks to such groups I generally admonish all of the attendees to “Do just one thing.” This is derived from Billy Crystal’s movie, “City Slickers,” whereby Curley (Jack Palance) tells Billy’s character the meaning of life involves “Just One Thing” which we must all figure out for ourselves. In terms of nonprofit organizations, I think I have an answer:

If all members did “Just One Thing” for their club, it would be a better place. I am not suggesting we do anything extremely labor intensive; perhaps it is something as simple as being a greeter at the door, preparing name tags, attending a meeting or social function, helping to write letters, or just helping out in some simple way. If we all did “Just One Thing,” the institution overall would be a better place.

Something that might help is the creation of a “Member of the Year” competition based on points for service, and award prizes or special recognition at the end of the year for their service. It sounds trivial, but people react to such competitions. Simply devise a list of activities with related points, and have people notify an officer of their activities.

Where is it written the club Officers must do all of the work? Sure, they have many responsibilities, but it is the job of the officers to formulate objectives and set the membership to work towards some goals. I am amazed by those members who come to such clubs and are not happy with this or that. For example, how often have you seen a member criticize the club, yet make no attempt to lift a finger to help out? We have developed into a generation of “takers” as opposed to “givers,” and this has to stop. Before you criticize next time, figure out how YOU are going to help solve the problem. Do not be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

I guess the following quote sums it up:

“People can be divided into three groups: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – John W. Newbern

It is up to the membership, not just the Board of Directors, to each share in the responsibility of making our clubs successful. If we all did “JUST ONE THING,” be it large or small, think how far ahead we will be.

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 © 2018 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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GOODBYE SEARS, FAREWELL OLD FRIEND

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 25, 2018

BRYCE ON LIFE

– We’re going to miss you.

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No doubt you have heard about Sears recently filing for bankruptcy. The one-time retail giant has been facing crippling losses over the last few years which caused vendors to stop shipping supplies to their stores. It now owes billions of dollars which will likely not be paid back.

At one time there were over 4,000 Sears stores throughout North America. That number has dwindled to less than 700 with liquidation sales to begin shortly.

Sears originally started out as a mail order house, then expanded to stores both in urban and suburban areas, but they eventually felt the competition of discount retailers and specialty stores, such as Walmart and Home Depot, and their market share fell. The knockout punch was the Internet, an area they entered too late allowing others to dominate the market.

To me, it seemed like Sears was with us forever. No matter where I lived, there was always a Sears store nearby. It was dependable, consistent, and good value. It was also clean and meticulously organized, making it easy to find whatever you were looking for. If you couldn’t find it, the clerks would be glad to direct you to it and answer any question you might have. As such, the store was like an old, reliable uncle or friend in the neighborhood. You were comfortable in it and, unlike other stores with unthinking clerks, you liked to visit if, for no other reason, than to browse the aisles. This is why I consider this news about the company closing as a sad sign of our changing culture.

As a kid, my brother and I would love to page through the Sears catalog as we approached Christmas time, oohing and ah-hing at the latest toys, and dogear the pages we wanted our parents to see.

Sears was the home of Kenmore appliances, Craftsman tools, and DieHard batteries, products you always had confidence in. A Craftsman tool case was perhaps the most coveted prize to have in your garage. My family bought many a lawn mower at Sears over the years, and had them serviced there as well. Their hallmark was fast, reliable, and dependable service.

The Sears auto repair centers also had a good reputation for reliable work at reasonable prices. If the service man said you needed a new belt on your engine, you knew it wasn’t a con job. Nearby was their key center where you could have a duplicate key made quickly. As a lad, I loved watching the people make keys.

Having lived in Chicago, we were all familiar with the Sears Tower which, at the time was the tallest building in the world. It was a dramatic symbol of stability and strength for the company. Chicagoans would later be shocked when it was sold and renamed the Willis Tower, but even today, natives still refer to it by its original name.

This is why the passing of Sears is so troubling and unimaginable to a lot of us. It was a beloved institution which was trusted, possessed a great reputation and was a pleasure to frequent. We were so confident in its durability that it causes us to reflect on our own frailties. Maybe the problem was they simply overextended themselves and no longer could compete with the discount houses anymore. I find it rather ironic that Sears, which was originally devised as a mail order house, fell prey to the 21st century version of the same; you know, the Internet.

And so we turn another page in our culture.

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 © 2018 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 Business, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

MORE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS RUN AMOK

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 23, 2018

BRYCE ON POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

– We need to study all of our history, not just selected chapters.

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At a recent rally in Lebanon, Ohio (10/12/2018), President Trump happened to bring up the names of the two most famous generals of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, describing them both as “great.” Liberals accepted Grant’s name as he was the Union general, but were outraged for recognizing Lee as the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Here we have another example of political correctness running amok in this country. Even NBC misquoted the President and was forced to apologize later, but the damage had been done. Liberals were incensed the President would recognize Lee at all, someone they bitterly viewed as a racist.

As I grew up in the north, I was taught the North had their generals, and the South had theirs. The emphasis was on their military tactics and strategies, not their politics. The Union won, the Confederacy lost, and a lot of people died in the process. We recognized the North had generals they were proud of, as did the South, and it basically ended there.

Now, in the 21st century, we are being taught by the Left to never discuss anyone in the Confederate States of America (CSA), as they were all allegedly racist. This is simply foolish as the War between the States, is an epochal event in the development of our country and there are many lessons to be learned. However, liberals would rather have us ignore it as the old racist attitudes of the South are too offensive by today’s standards. I’m sorry, but burying your head in the sand is just plain foolish.

I would remind my liberal friends of a few simple facts about General Lee.

* When war broke out, President Lincoln offered Lee the command of northern forces. However, he turned it down as he couldn’t go against his beloved Virginia.

* Lee had served as Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, where many of the cadets were trained and would later serve both the North and the South.

* Lee knew Grant through the Mexican-American War, when Lee was Major and Grant a Lieutenant. At the Appomattox surrender, the two chatted briefly of their days in that war.

* Arlington National Cemetery was Lee’s home prior to the war. Following heavy losses after the Battle of the Wilderness, the U.S. Army Quartermaster commandeered Lee’s home and buried the Union dead there.

* After the Civil War, Lee became the president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia where he ably served for five years before passing away. To honor him, the college was renamed “Washington and Lee University” and this name carries forward to today.

Regardless of his position on slavery, militarily, historians agree he was a great general, having defeated Union forces many times, particularly in the early part of the war. He surrendered after his losses in the North, Union victories in the South, and the depletion of supplies, making victory untenable.

One little bit of trivia most liberals are unaware of is their beloved U.S. Grant, who went on to switch parties and become a Republican and 18th President of the United States, was a slave owner prior to the start of the war (while he was still a Democrat).

History isn’t always pretty. In fact, it can be quite ugly, but we should study it nonetheless to learn its lessons and avoid making the same mistakes a second time. Instead, Liberals believe this ugly chapter of our history should be removed from the history books completely. This is censorship at its worse.

The Civil War was what it was. We cannot change it by political correctness or deleting chapters. We must look at it in its entirety, warts and all.

I’m just disappointed we have to keep fighting the Civil War over and over again.

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 © 2018 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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