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Monday, July 6, 2015

OUR 1964 PLYMOUTH VALIANT

BRYCE ON AUTOMOBILES

- Remembering our first automobile.

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

Men tend to have a love affair with their automobiles, particularly the first few they drive. As for me, it was a 1964 Plymouth Valiant, painted red, with a red interior, and a black convertible roof. This was the car I first learned to drive and took my behind-the-wheel driver's test when I was 16. It took me on a lot of dates and several High School football games. My parents bought it new in Connecticut and we took it with us when we moved to Chicago and Cincinnati.

As a convertible, it was considered sporty, but had great gas mileage. It was a comfortable car to drive and easy to maintain, not to mention a model of simplicity. Featured was a push button transmission, with 1 - 2 - D - R as buttons. My brother managed to break the buttons when he learned you could drive it like a manual transmission. Believe me, you push the buttons long and hard enough, they will break.

There was no air conditioning in the car, just a horizontal bar you would move from left (hot) to right (cold), along with a knob to adjust the fan. Simple. It came equipped with an AM radio which was fine as FM was not yet a major factor in the entertainment world. My brother and I added an 8-track tape deck, state of the art for the times. When I bought the new "Abbey Road" album in 1969 as an 8-track, I listened to it over and over again while sitting in the car in the garage. I'm surprised I didn't kill the battery.

Inside the engine compartment was a 6-cylinder engine, battery, air filter, etc., all of which was easy to access. So much so, we would change the oil and filters ourselves. You could change the battery in less than five minutes. Simple.

The windows and retractable roof were manually operated. It would take less than a minute to put the convertible top down or up. It was also the first car we had with standard seat belts.

My father taught me how to drive in the Valiant, and we started by traversing the neighborhoods before I graduated to the open highway. Frankly, it was a great car to drive, not to mention to learn to drive. Yes, we were taught to change the tires and care for the car. More importantly, he taught me the value of keeping a set of jumper cables and a good tire iron in the trunk. During the great blizzard of 1967 in Chicago, my father happened to travel out of town on business. The weather was so bad, it took him days to return home. Since he had left the Valiant in O'Hare's parking lot, we had to go and retrieve it. Unfortunately, it was covered under several feet of snow. We patiently removed the snow but the battery was dead. Next to the car was a pickup truck, so we removed the snow from it, popped the hood open and put the jumper cables on, and "Voila" the Valiant started right up.

When I was taking my behind-the-wheel driver's test in Cincinnati, an Ohio state trooper drove with me wearing "Cool Hand Luke" sunglasses and a drill instructor's hat. I was driving fine during the test, and he loved the car. When he looked at the 8-track tape deck, he saw a cartridge resting in the deck and shoved it in. As I had forgotten I had left it on a loud setting, I suddenly heard Jimi Hendrix blaring "All Along the Watchtower" from his "Electric Ladyland" album. Fortunately, nobody was around us as the sound snapped my concentration and I swerved. Fortunately, I regained my composure and turned the volume down. The D.I. wrote something on his clipboard, but I still passed the test.

I believe it was in 1973 when my parents traded in the Valiant for an Audi which turned out to be a lemon. Shortly thereafter they traded it in for a Mustang, thereby marking the end of an era. We never had another car as simple to use and drive as the Valiant. It was a great example of American engineering and we miss it even to this day.

As I said, men possess a fondness in their hearts for their first car. Mine was the 1964 Plymouth Valiant convertible. What was yours?

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR CONTEMPT FOR AUTHORITY - Why do we dislike our leaders?

LAST TIME:  THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE - Time to remember why our country sought independence from Great Britain.

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; 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.

Friday, July 3, 2015

THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

BRYCE ON OUR NATIONAL HOLIDAY

- Time to remember why our country sought independence from Great Britain.

Communications were understandably slow in 1776. Couriers on horseback would deliver messages by hand. There were no electronics, and no real signal corps. Morse code wouldn't be invented for another sixty years. Not surprising, it could take days or weeks for messages to be received between parties during the Revolutionary War.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4th, the Congress would sign the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration explained the rationale for breaking ties with Britain. The president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, ordered a copy rushed to General Washington who was stationed in New York making preparations to defend the city from the British. Washington eagerly awaited the Declaration as he wanted to communicate to his troops exactly why they sought independence. The General finally received the Declaration on July 6th. He then ordered his troops to assemble in lower Manhattan on July 9th at 6:00pm where his regimental commanders read the Declaration to the troops and citizens assembled. They found the words so stirring, a group raced down Broadway toward a large statue of King George III where they toppled and decapitated it. They later melted down the statue for much needed bullets.

From time to time, we need to be reminded of the importance of this document. As such, I present it in its entirety:
 
The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

- He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

- He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

- He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

- He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

- He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

- He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

- He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

- He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

- He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

- He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

- He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

- He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

- He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

- For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

- For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

- For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

- For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

- For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

- For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

- For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

- For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

- He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

- He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

- He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

- He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

- He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

(signees)

Connecticut:
- Roger Sherman
- Samuel Huntington
- William Williams
- Oliver Wolcott

Delaware:
- Caesar Rodney
- George Read
- Thomas McKean

Georgia:
- Button Gwinnett
- Lyman Hall
- George Walton

Maryland:
- Samuel Chase
- William Paca
- Thomas Stone
- Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Massachusetts:
- John Hancock
- Samuel Adams
- John Adams
- Robert Treat Paine
- Elbridge Gerry

New Hampshire:
- Josiah Bartlett
- William Whipple
- Matthew Thornton

New Jersey:
- Richard Stockton
- John Witherspoon
- Francis Hopkinson
- John Hart
- Abraham Clark

New York:
- William Floyd
- Philip Livingston
- Francis Lewis
- Lewis Morris

North Carolina:
- William Hooper
- Joseph Hewes
- John Penn

Pennsylvania:
- Robert Morris
- Benjamin Rush
- Benjamin Franklin
- John Morton
- George Clymer
- James Smith
- George Taylor
- James Wilson
- George Ross

Rhode Island:
- Stephen Hopkins
- William Ellery

South Carolina:
- Edward Rutledge
- Thomas Heyward, Jr.
- Thomas Lynch, Jr.
- Arthur Middleton

Virginia:
- George Wythe
- Richard Henry Lee
- Thomas Jefferson
- Benjamin Harrison
- Thomas Nelson, Jr.
- Francis Lightfoot Lee
- Carter Braxton
 

By signing their names to this declaration, these men essentially put their lives in jeopardy. Very bold, very risky.

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR 1964 PLYMOUTH VALIANT - Remembering our first automobile.

LAST TIME:  THE MUCKRAKING HAS BEGUN   - The political mud slinging has already begun.

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; 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.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE MUCKRAKING HAS BEGUN

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The political mud slinging has already begun.

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

The term "muckraking" is attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt, and was originally used in a positive sense describing writers publishing truthful exposes of corruption. However, after World War I, its connotation was changed to denote a journalist producing adversarial articles, not necessarily laced with truth. Although the term is seldom used anymore, make no mistake, "muckraking" is very much alive in the 21st century.

Back in January, I wrote an article titled, "Welcoming a New Congress," which described the switch in the Senate from Democratic leadership to Republican. In it, I observed the Republicans "will be placed under intense scrutiny by the main street media who will criticize the slightest hangnail." I was spot on with this comment. As the growing field of GOP candidates for president continue to grow, the media is putting their every word and action under a microscope. Interestingly, they are being assisted by some new research groups on the web with political agendas.

On the Democrat side, four web sites have been specifically designed to sniff out Republican indiscretions, "American Bridge," "Forward Progressives," "Factivists," and "American Democracy Legal Fund," all of which were specifically designed to provide as much ammunition as possible to smear GOP candidates. They aggressively research, check facts, and write about every foible a Republican candidate might possess.

I had trouble finding the Republican equivalent of these four sites, but there is one. At first, I thought it might be a conservative think tank or Tea Party related organization, but this was not the case (and it certainly wasn't Fox News). Instead, I found "America Rising," which essentially has the same mission as its Democrat counterparts, namely to expose "the truth about Democrats through video tracking, research, and communications. By cataloging every Democrat utterance we have the data to ensure they are held accountable for their words and actions."

Established in 2013, "America Rising" is one of the few Republican-related initiatives who decided to fight fire with fire. These five political sites are actively referenced by American journalists intent on digging up dirt on the candidates. Now, the public can review these sites and draw their own conclusions. I forewarn you though, not everything is as truthful as it might seem, and there is a lot of venom spewed.

These well organized and technology based web sites have taken muckraking to new heights. In addition to their research and writing, these groups are known to infiltrate political meetings, fund raisers, and press conferences normally reserved for the media. Again, their intent is to seize on any gaffe a politician may make, large or small, thereby providing the ammunition to attack them. A politician can no longer sneeze without somebody from the opposition taking note and scrutinizing why it occurred. Consequently, I believe it is safe to say we will witness some rather brutal character assassinations as we go into the 2016 presidential election.

Again I ask, why would anyone want to be a politician and suffer through all this? As my father liked to say, "The last guy that was perfect, they hung on a cross." Imagine what they can now do to today's politicians.

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE - Time to remember why our country sought independence from Great Britain.

LAST TIME:  THE JACKSON/TUBMAN DEBATE  - Which face belongs on the twenty dollar bill?

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; 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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

THE JACKSON/TUBMAN DEBATE

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Which face belongs on the twenty dollar bill?

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

Last Spring, an on-line poll was created soliciting suggestions for a woman to replace President Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill. Over 600,000 people voted and on May 13th, the results were announced whereby abolitionist Harriet Tubman won, passing former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks.

The selection of Tubman certainly will please women's activists as well as African-Americans. Tubman's biography is a remarkable story of survival and determination to free slaves in the South. Frankly, our youth should read about her as it is very inspirational. In addition to being an abolitionist, she was a humanitarian and during the Civil War, a Union spy. When Tubman passed, she was buried in Auburn, NY with semi-military honors. A plaque was hung at the Auburn courthouse noting her achievements. The great Booker T. Washington delivered the keynote address. Many other honors followed, leading to having her portrait replace Jackson's on the twenty dollar bill.

Although I think the recognition is deserved, I question why her proponents have targeted Jackson. I, for one, do not believe in change for the sake of change, and as someone who has studied Jackson, I do not believe they remember what he meant to the country.

If they studied the Wikipedia description of "Old Hickory," as well as other sources, they would find an impressive list of achievements:

As soldier:
- Served in the Revolutionary War at age 13, informally helped the local militia as a courier.
- Captured by the British and held as prisoner; nearly starved to death in captivity.

Legal:
- Served as a country lawyer on the frontier.
- Elected as a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796.
- When Tennessee achieved statehood that year, Jackson was elected its U.S. Representative.
- The following year, he was elected U.S. Senator.
- Appointed a judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1798, serving until 1804.

Military career:
- Appointed commander of the Tennessee militia in 1801, with the rank of colonel. He was later elected major general of the Tennessee militia in 1802.
- Defeated the Red Sticks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.

As General:
- Victory over the main British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans, 1815, thereby becoming a national hero.
- Sent to Florida where he deposed a small Spanish garrison, leading directly to the treaty which formally transferred Florida from Spain to the United States.
- Became military governor of Florida while it was being integrated as a U.S. territory.

As 7th president of the United States:
- Believed the president's authority was derived from the people and the presidential office was above party politics.
- Strongly believed in the Union, but was also a supporter of states' rights.
- In an effort to purge the government from corruption of previous administrations, Jackson launched presidential investigations into all executive Cabinet offices and departments.
- Put down a threat of secession from South Carolina.
- Disposed of the Second Bank of the United States.
- Balanced the budget and got the country out of debt. (As an aside, this was of particular interest to me, as Jackson was one of only a handful of presidents to balance the budget, and perhaps the only one in the 19th century to do so.)
- Settled spoils of war claims with France, Denmark, Portugal, and Spain.
- Made trade agreements with Russia, Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, and Siam (the first in Asia).
- First to recognize the independent Republic of Texas (which was later annexed).
- The "Jackson Era" greatly influenced politics in America for several years after his term of office.
- Jackson was elected twice to office, the last to do so until Abraham Lincoln.

Miscellaneous:
- Became the leader of the new Democratic Party.
- Master Mason, becoming the Grand Master of Tennessee.

Jackson was certainly not without his faults. He was censured by the Senate in 1834 as a political move by Henry Clay. He owned slaves on his plantation in Tennessee, and relocated Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi, to quell attacks and stabilize the country, a very controversial move, both then and now.

Even with his faults, Jackson was a giant among U.S. Presidents. He brought peace and prosperity to the country, and made the United States a world power to be reckoned with.
 

I am not trying to make a comparison between the greatness of Harriet Tubman versus Andrew Jackson, only to remark our 7th president has certainly earned a right to have his portrait on the twenty, and his removal would cause young people to forget his contributions in American history. It may also be an affront to Democrats who may resent slighting their former leader.

How about a compromise? Such as creating a $25 bill with Tubman's face on it? I always thought a $25 note made more sense than the twenty, e.g.; four bills to make $100 as opposed to five. It would be a clever way to honor two great Americans, and not offend proponents of either of them.

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE MUCKRAKING HAS BEGUN - The political mud slinging has already begun.

LAST TIME:  JUST PLAIN WEIRD  - Some obscure observations on the mysteries of life.

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; 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.

Friday, June 26, 2015

JUST PLAIN WEIRD

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Some obscure observations on the mysteries of life.

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

I have always found the little nuances of life to be bewildering. You know, things we tend to overlook or take for granted. Yet, when you examine them closely, you wonder why there are the way they are. For example, have you ever noticed the "cups" marked on a coffee pot? Mine shows twelve, but I can barely get six cups of coffee out of them. Maybe the manufacturer doesn't have the same interpretation of "cup" that I have or the pots are designed for Munchkins. Then again, most of these pots are made in China.

I'm always amazed by the numerous amounts of "spam" e-mails I receive on a daily basis. No matter how many "junk" filters I add, I still receive four times more garbage than regular mail, but I guess this is essentially no different when we were receiving regular mail through the post office. I find it particularly annoying when I receive an e-mail from a stranger stating, "I'm doing great and miss seeing you! Let's get together and get updated!" You then rack your brain wondering if it is legitimate and, of course, it isn't.

Do squirrels poop? I've never seen it. I've seen just about every other animal defecate, be it birds, dogs, cats, even fish, but never squirrels. Maybe they store it away with their nuts.

I hate it when belts no longer work. Young men may like to show their underwear. I, for one, do not. As we get older, our body changes. In my case, I have lost weight and find it embarrassing when the pants begin to fall off my waist, particularly in the company of others. Constantly pulling up your pants may be indicative you have a bladder or bowel problem. I don't, just a hard time keeping the pants up. Maybe it's time for suspenders.

I have always thought golf should be played by speed, kind of like croquet or polo on steroids. You win by a combination of strokes and time. At least it would make the game more interesting than it currently is.

As I grow older, I have more difficulty understanding what young people say. For example, I am at a loss as to when they text such words as "On fleek," "YOLD," "Bae," "Turnt up," and "Dat Ass Doe." I suspect I really do not want to know. Maybe English is morphing into another language altogether.
Have I ever mentioned how much I detest MS Windoze? It interrupted me twice this morning installing updates and re-configuring my register; all rather slowly I might add. Plus, I am sick of having to use the "three finger salute" (Ctrl+Alt+Del) on a daily basis. If this is "State of the Art," we're in big trouble.

Whenever you find yourself liking something, science suddenly steps in and condemns it. Of course, years later, they retract their condemnation and say it was all a mistake, but never apologize for it. I'm still waiting for scientists to renege on tobacco.

What demented souls write crossword puzzles? Instead of a single word to match a clue, they now use multiple words in an answer, usually to form a vague quotation. The puzzlers like to reference geography, but I still do not know where the Cardiff River is located. How about something in the United States? And I really do not care to know the country where "Quechua" is the official language. They also like to reference obscure authors, poets, movie directors, and singers, as if we would really know the identity of these people. I generally do well with clues involving Roman numerals, but I pity those who were never taught this in grade school.

Crossword puzzles seem to get progressively harder as the week goes on. This means we have to waste more time solving them. The only benefit I see from working on these puzzles, it forces you to learn how to use a dictionary and thesaurus. Thank God for Internet crossword solvers, such as Wordplays.com. I believe the reason why most crossword puzzles do not bear the puzzler's name, is because people would hunt them down and kill them like the dogs they 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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE JACKSON/TUBMAN DEBATE - Which face belongs on the twenty dollar bill?

LAST TIME:  TECHNOLOGY'S EFFECT ON SOCIETY   - Technology is an effective tool for civil unrest and war.

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; 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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TECHNOLOGY'S EFFECT ON SOCIETY

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

- Technology is an effective tool for civil unrest and war.

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

In the past, I have discussed the adverse effects of technology, focusing on its addictive powers on a personal level, (see "Bed Bugs & Our Changing World"), but what about society in general? As I concluded in my "Bed Bugs" paper, personal technology plays a detrimental role in the public's moral values, and the rise of a "socially liberal" agenda. It is also a catalyst for social activism. For example, personal technology (smart phones, the Internet, and social media, etc.) was actively used in the riots and protests of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, and other places, not to mention the Arab Spring of 2012. It was also a key factor in the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years ago. Abuse of such technology has demonstratively led to civil unrest, civil war, mayhem and violence.

People using such technology no longer subscribe to the rule of law, preferring to use it for agitation purposes instead. To illustrate, in the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, the people did not embrace the simple concept, "A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty." Instead, the people charged with the deaths were tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. Regardless of the legal outcome, the protestors and rioters rejected the verdict and caused helter-skelter. The news media shares some of the responsibility for their "sensational" reporting, thereby fanning the flames of outrage.

In the Middle East, Muslim extremists have long understood the power of personal technology and use it to devastating effect. Groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, et al, use it for communication purposes in waging war, recruiting, public relations (such as when they butcher innocents), and intelligence gathering. Without technology, these groups would be disorganized and rudderless; so much so, the world would likely not know who these groups are, and their power would be dissipated.

From this, we can conclude the use of personal technology has had an adverse effect on the world socially. It therefore seems rather obvious thwarting the use of it in times of crisis would be an effective deterrent to the break up of communications and mob rule. This could easily be done by creating jamming devices for smart phones, blocking social media, or simply suspending the Internet. Without such communications, leadership and coordinated activities break down, making it easier for law enforcement to disperse mobs.

Critics would argue such blockage is an affront to the freedom of speech. Not necessarily. Freedom of speech is not applicable in creating crisis, such as when a person falsely yells "fire" in a theater. The same can be claimed when violent confrontations occur between police and rioters and looters. Freedom of speech is one thing, a danger to society is another. Nonetheless, some 1st Amendment lawsuits are likely in the offing.

Whether it is the police trying to control civil unrest, or the military fighting our enemies, the key to subjugating opponents is through personal technology. If you take it out of their arsenal, you have greatly improved the odds for dominating your opponent.

Keep the Faith!

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

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

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  JUST PLAIN WEIRD - Some obscure observations on the mysteries of life.

LAST TIME:  STRUCTURED BRAINSTORMING  - Better than the shotgun approach to solving problems and creating ideas.

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; 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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

STRUCTURED BRAINSTORMING

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- Better than the shotgun approach to solving problems and creating ideas.

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

Brainstorming is back in the news for management. The idea of creating new ideas is certainly not old, but most people tend to take a shotgun approach, meaning they schedule a meeting and bounce ideas off of each other. I have never seen this approach work in a corporate setting. Instead, I have always found a methodical approach works better.

When we were building our "Information Factory" product, I assumed the role of lead Systems Analyst. During the Feasibility Study we defined the project scope, analyzed the current system, and considered the information requirements for the product. In other words, we did our homework. This knowledge was invaluable for producing a systems design. In our "Expert Facility" we came up with designs for tools to automatically design systems based on inference, and a tool to calculate corporate priorities. Many people told us it was impossible to devise such tools. We ignored them and persevered. There was never any thought that it couldn't be done. Instead, we talked through the problem carefully, wrote out the logic for the tools and implemented accordingly. This obviously didn't happen overnight. Instead, we used a phased approach to break the problem down. Come to think of it, we never encountered a technical problem that couldn’t be conquered with a little imagination, some concentrated effort, and a lot of good old-fashioned management. Here, the structured methodology defined the thinking process. As an aside, I tend to believe in the old adage, "A problem well stated is half solved."

An illustrator friend of mine also takes a methodical approach to coming up with ideas. Not too long ago he was lecturing at a university campus where he was explaining his approach to producing an illustration of General Douglas MacArthur during World War II for National Geographic. In particular, they wanted him to depict the silk pajamas MacArthur was known to wear during his stay in the Philippines, something my friend knew nothing about. He started by doing extensive research on the General by going to the main branch of the Cincinnati library. There he poured through several books on MacArthur and read about the pajamas and reviewed hundreds of photos until he found pictures of the legendary pajamas. He then made some sketches of the general in different poses. Next, he reviewed his ideas with NatGeo who selected one of his interpretations. Only then did he begin to work on the drawing. Interestingly, after his lecture he asked if there were any questions. One young student simply asked, "Who is Douglas MacArthur?"

All systems projects should begin with a well defined Feasibility Study which includes such things as a definition of the Project Scope, an analysis of the Current System, well defined requirements, and a suggested System Solution, not to mention a Cost/Benefit Analysis. This simplifies the system design which, in turn, leads to better specifications for software. Basically, it takes the guesswork out of programming.

As we proceeded with our "Information Factory" project, I would schedule a 30 minute review meeting each morning with the programmers to review their progress and determine if they were facing any technical problems. Most were corrected there in the meeting. The stubborn problems required us to perform some research and determine a suitable solution. By facing the problems square on, we were able to overcome all of them, not because they were difficult (many were), but because we took a methodical approach to brainstorming, going from the general to the specific.

Throughout the process, it is important to allow everyone to input their ideas, both veterans and rookies alike. No question or idea was considered insignificant, thereby creating an esprit de corps among the team, and causing the older programmers to mentor the younger ones.

Over time I have learned the naysayers of the world take pleasure in chiding you as to what cannot be done. Prove them wrong and return the favor.

"Remember, it is Ready, Aim, Fire. Any other sequence is counterproductive." - Bryce's Law

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 © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  TECHNOLOGY'S EFFECT ON SOCIETY - Technology is an effective tool for civil unrest and war.

LAST TIME:  1ST LESSONS IN JOINING THE WORK FORCE  - Some of life's hard lessons a young reader should expect upon entering the adult world.

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; 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.