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A LITTLE SILLY

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Why we need a light hearted distraction now and then.

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

There’s not too much to laugh about these days; the country is still polarized politically, and the main stream media has the general populace whipped into a frenzy over just about everything. In fact, the general disposition of the country is rather depressing, which is why it is refreshing to see or hear something that lifts our spirits, something a little silly. As for me, not long ago I was waiting in line at my bank’s drive-in window when a man drove up on a red motorcycle whom I judged to be in his sixties. This was no ordinary motorcycle as it had an attached sidecar with a golden retriever proudly perched inside wearing goggles and a red bandana. It appeared the dog was enjoying himself immensely and didn’t seem encumbered by the attire his owner had dressed him in. The sight of the dog stopped everyone in their tracks, both in and outside of the bank. The bank tellers called their colleagues to the window to see him, and the other patrons waiting in line rolled down their window to get a better look. He was simply a very cool pooch who seemed to enjoy the attention, as did his master.

This particular couple have become regulars in our area and are often seen on the roadways around Palm Harbor, a tiny community on the suncoast of Florida. Everywhere the two go, they are met by smiles and pointed fingers. They lift the spirits of people wherever they go. Golden retrievers are pretty cool dogs to begin with, but when you add goggles and a bandana, they become real hams. It’s as if they know what they’re doing and are daring you not to laugh. I’ve seen other types of dogs sitting in sidecars, but the golden retriever seems to own it, particularly if he is dressed properly.

Now, more than ever we need a little silly in our lives. Walking around in a depressed or angry mood can make for some rather deep psychological scars. It is important to now and then do something a little silly thereby lifting the mood of others and ourselves. I believe our friend with the motorcycle is very cognizant of this, which is why the pair take to the streets like Batman and Robin to bring a little cheer to the citizens of our area. We don’t know exactly who the Dynamic Duo are, as their goggles conceal their identity, but they are warmly welcomed wherever they go. It’s a nice little silly that can break the tension regardless of who you are or the problems you are experiencing. For one brief moment, you cannot help by being distracted, thanks to a little silly.

First published: September 14, 2012

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHERE DOES YOUR TIME GO? – How it adds up.

LAST TIME:  WHY DO OPPOSITES ATTRACT?  – Good question and something that has puzzled us from time immemorial.

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.

 

WHY DO OPPOSITES ATTRACT?

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Good question and something that has puzzled us from time immemorial.

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

On a recent trip to work one morning I was tuned into a local radio talk show. One of the DJ’s mentioned he happened to be married to a vegan, yet he was a confirmed meat eater. The other two DJ’s sharing the microphone with him found this amusing, as did I, and they asked him what life was like living with a vegan, particularly at dinner time. Somehow they found a way to avoid squabbles and respect each other’s culinary preferences. One didn’t intrude on the other, and they have lived happily together for quite some time.

I am always intrigued by couples who appear to be incompatible on the surface, yet somehow find a way to build a successful marriage. I have seen tall people marry short people, fat and thin, wild versus mild, mixed religions, mixed races, and mixed politics. As to the latter, there is probably no better example than political pundits James Carville (Democrat) and Mary Matalin (Republican) who were married in 1993 and have two daughters. Even though they worked on opposing political campaigns, they somehow found the right chemistry to make their marriage work. This particular union has puzzled people for years, particularly due to their different personalities. When they appear on television, Carville is very animated and chatty, and Matalin appears more sedate and thoughtful. Both have strong personalities in their own right. When they appear on television together, they make it clear they do not agree on several political issues and try to correct each other, which can be rather amusing to watch. As I understand it though, politics is a taboo subject at home, particularly around their children. As an aside, I wonder if this political odd couple votes at election time since they will undoubtedly cancel each other out.

Then there are the law-abiding citizens who marry convicts while incarcerated. I never did quite understand this; a spouse who is free on the outside and a convicted criminal on the inside, never having physical contact or living together. Even people committing some of the most heinous crimes seem to score well from within the walls of prison. Maybe there is sex appeal in the forbidden fruit of a mass murderer, or maybe they’re just plain nuts. Somehow I have a hard time grasping death row as a lover’s lane.

How the opposite ends of a magnet are attracted is easier to explain than human compatibility. Scientists have a lot of theories for the attraction of people, but no conclusive facts. There are those who believe it is based on a biological and chemical arousal whereby people are attracted by scent which somehow matches the female’s hormonal status. This would suggest it’s all in the DNA. Then there are those who believe it is based on complementary psychological makeups, or maybe based on some astrological compatibility where the stars must be in some specific alignment.

As for me, I don’t buy any of this. Frankly, I’m not sure what it is that makes another person float your boat. Maybe it’s physical, maybe it’s logical. I tend to believe there is some specific element of the other person we find intriguing, and realizing they are complete opposites, we tend to work harder at building and maintaining a relationship than those people who are much more compatible. Keep in mind, there has to be more “give and take” in a marriage of opposites as opposed to those who are evenly matched. They have to work harder if they want to sustain it. A relationship of opposites will be obviously more challenging than a compatible relationship which will likely be more sedate. I guess some people thrive on a challenge, and some do not.

Maybe the only way this can be proven is by studying the duration of marriages and divorce rates of compatible couples versus polar opposites. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the opposite couples were more successful? Keep in mind, Carville and Matalin have now been married for 24 years, and it certainly couldn’t be due to their politics. In 2009, the two were interviewed by CNN’s John King who asked them how to maintain a happy marriage:

Carville: “I don’t have a position on anything domestically. So I just say yes, and then go on and do it. I mean it. I would say the three ingredients to successful marriage is surrender, capitulation and retreat.”

Matalin: “Spoken like a true liberal. What a martyr. Faith, family and good wine. That’s how we do it.”

First published: September 28, 2012

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHY DO OPPOSITES ATTRACT? – Good question and something that has puzzled us from time immemorial.

LAST TIME:  A LITTLE SILLY  – Why we need a light hearted distraction now and then.

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.

 

AMERICAN RENAISSANCE

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– It is no longer business as usual.

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

There is something in the wind. America is changing, not just a little, but a lot. No, it is not the political intrigue of Washington featuring numerous investigations. Nor is it the recent spat of sexual harassment charges, or Russia for that matter. These are all manufactured distractions by the Main Stream Media (MSM). A new way of thinking about government is starting to permeate society, and frankly it is long overdue, and it is making the Washington establishment nervous.

During 2017, we witnessed the rise of the American economy. The Labor Department reported unemployment is down to 4.1%; the Department of Agriculture reported the number of people on food stamps is beginning to decline; the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported the Gross Domestic Product grew throughout the year and looks to accelerate presuming the tax cuts pass; and the stock market is hitting record highs. The President has also issued numerous orders to cut bureaucratic red tape, thereby freeing up business to prosper and grow. Yet, most Americans are unaware of this as it goes unreported by the MSM.

In terms of immigration, the Department of Homeland Security reported dramatic reductions in illegal immigrants in 2017, and the southern wall is in the offing. Again, the MSM overlooks such changes. The President also signed Pro-Law Enforcement and Anti-Crime Executive Orders. In addition, he is very supportive of rebuilding the military. His no-nonsense approach to trade and statesmanship has been noticed by both our friends and enemies abroad.

Despite all of this, I have friends, both Republican and Democrat, who are offended by the president’s tweets, speeches, and duels with the MSM. I normally ask, “Why does this offend you?” They claim his conduct is unpresidential and not in accordance with political correctness. To which I counter, “You mean, it is not business as usual?” Yes. “Good, because business as usual has led us into the mess we were in.”

Donald Trump was elected president not because he was a noted politician, but for being a hard-nosed businessman who is able to get things done. His super Type-A personality is despised by the Washington establishment, on both sides of the aisle. As is typical of someone with his stature in business, he uses some friendly bullying and humor to get his way, most of which is misunderstood by the media and his opponents. It is this type of defiant personality middle America finds appealing, and resented by politically correct politicians and the press. However, with the 2018 midterms on the horizon, and the clamor from the American public to get the economy working and to safeguard the country, the Republican side of the house is slowly waking up to the fact it is a new day in Washington, not “business as usual,” and they better get aboard the Trump train or pack their bags for home.

This means an “American Renaissance” is in the offing, a reawakening of basic American principles, such as smaller government, individual liberty, respect for family values, and an acknowledgement that the American Dream is based on capitalism. Of course, this does not sit well with the Left who represents the polar opposite of such values and, as such, is fighting President Trump every step of the way. However, the Renaissance concept has already taken hold and is gaining traction. Should the economy continue to accelerate, and the president can deliver on his promises, there will be no stopping the renaissance.

At the time of this writing, the proposed Tax Reform plan hasn’t yet fully passed the Congress. If it makes it to the President’s desk for his signature, this will be a significant catalyst to power the American economy even further, raising the GDP, encouraging business, and putting more money into the pockets of the people. A stimulated economy will then begin the process of paying off the national debt and shrinking the deficit.

As an old systems man, I am acutely aware of the effects of change. The more dramatic the change, the more people tend to resist it. The problem though is Americans have grown accustomed to “business as usual” in the nation’s Capitol for so long, our government and country is denigrating in the process. The changes engineered by Mr. Trump were inevitable as the country no longer accepts the status quo of the Washington establishment which has floundered and produced nothing of substance, other than the enlargement of the government.

Perhaps Mr. Trump’s biggest legacy from his term of office will be the realization it is time to think and act differently in government. This is something past presidents simply do not comprehend, nor his political opponents or the press. However, I’m betting by the time Mr. Trump’s tenure is over, he will make the changes implemented by Ronald Reagan seem minuscule.

What is necessary is to recognize these are extraordinary times we live in, and the status quo simply won’t cut it any longer. “American Renaissance” is the mantra we need to embrace to make America great 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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHY DO OPPOSITES ATTRACT? – Good question and something that has puzzled us from time immemorial.

LAST TIME:  FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA  – Beware of hatchery fed trout.

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.

 

Fake News, Now and Then

We got to thinking that maybe Fake News is nothing new, so we took a look back.

Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders actually charged up Kettle’s Hill but since the War took place in Cuba and Kettle’s Hill sounds like some place in New Jersey, charging up San Juan Hill sounded a lot better.  And, who would want to watch a movie or read about the Gunfight at the empty lot alongside Fly’s Photo Studio?  That’s how it became The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  So, when we stop to think about it, Fake News not only sounds better than the real thing but it’s heroic, glorious and it makes you the consumer, feel better too.

With that in mind we have some headlines.

PUTIN TO RUN AGAIN FOR PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA

Trump pledges support saying.  “You fixed our election, we’ll fix yours”.

AL FRANKEN RESIGNS FROM THE SENATE

Later he is heard saying to his staff.  “But I didn’t say when.  I’m smart enough.  I’m good enough and doggone it people like me.”

THE NEW NORMAL

As wild fires sweep across southern California and people run for their lives, their Governor Jerry Brown said.  “This is the new normal.”  He went on to explain that it was all due to global warming, which makes sense to us.  The planet is warming, bleep is getting hot and pretty soon poof!

BOMB GOES OFF IN TIMES SQUARE!  NEW YORKERS INJURED!

It seems Akayed Ullah an erstwhile terrorist, planned to detonate bombs in Times Square.  But on his way to Times Square, his bomb went off in his belt and he wound up face down on the floor near the A Train exit, which is not Times Square.  So he didn’t’ quite make it.  The bomb it turns out was just a big firecracker.  And the injuries that it caused turned out to be a ringing in the ears of nearby commuters.  It’s the kind of thing that happens on July 4th or it can happen if you stand on a subway platform for too long.  And since it was more like a cherry bomb, Akayed Ullah is not injured too badly.  He just has a belly ache.  But while he lay on the floor, some New Yorkers without access to Fake News had no idea that he was a, would be terrorist bomber.  They just thought he was another homeless person, lying on the subway floor.  They threw him some change.  And, someone left him their Mickey D’s big breakfast.

Yes, we checked, Akayed Ullah gets to keep the Big Breakfast and of course, he can keep the change.

Dicens simile factum est

Pro Bono Publico

COMMON COURTESY

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A simple form of communications which reflects our character.

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

I recently discussed the four basic types of personalities; A, B, C and D. In addition to the different personality types, we as humans have a wide variety of interests and non-interests (“turnoffs”), as well as highs and lows. As such, it is impossible to know precisely how to properly relate to everyone in every situation all of the time. The common leveler is common courtesy. By this I most definitely am not referring to “political correctness” which is concerned with pseudo-courtesy for political purposes. Instead, common courtesy represents a genuine respect for the human spirit and how we should interact. This is much more than just saying “please” and “thank you,” it’s treating others as we want others to treat us.

Each day we transmit a series of messages which communicate how we regard others. This is done either verbally or through other means affecting our senses. These messages can either be perceived as positive or negative. For example, someone who dresses or smells badly is sending a message that he has no regard for the others around him, as does foul habits such as belching or flatulence. Conversely, good grooming means you care how people perceive you. Other positive messages are conveyed through such things as greetings and handshakes, punctuality, and simple manners. Common courtesy, therefore, is concerned with sending positive messages as opposed to negative. It also means our ability to practice common courtesy is a reflection of our character and how we want other people to treat us.

Introductions, Handshakes & Greetings

In Japan, an introduction in a business setting is very important. In addition to identifying yourself, it establishes your professional image, and the superior/subordinate relationship for the two parties to assume (the “pecking order”). Consequently, the Japanese practice introductions carefully, particularly how a business card is presented, as they realize its importance. In contrast, people in the western world have a much more cavalier attitude towards introductions. Nonetheless, the introduction is every bit as important and sends signals as to how we perceive each other.

A lot of people underestimate the importance of a handshake. Actually it is the single most important message we can convey in an introduction. Some people like to give a strong vice grip handshake in an attempt to intimidate you, but most handshakes today by young people are weak and flabby. Actually you need to find a good balance, not too flabby and not too strong. Further, look the other person square in the eyes when you shake hands, this conveys your sincerity in meeting the person. Do not trust anyone who simply shakes your hand but doesn’t look you in the eyes; they simply do not care about you.

Shaking hands has historically been a very masculine custom, but this has changed in recent times. However, men still question the appropriateness of shaking a woman’s hand. Because of this, it is the woman’s responsibility to offer her hand. If she does not offer her hand, do not reach for it as she may feel uncomfortable doing so.

Upon meeting someone for the first time, be careful about using the other person’s first name or nickname as this may be reserved for the person’s friends and family. Use “Mister”, “Ms”, “Mrs” or “Miss” depending on how you were introduced and allow them to say, “Please call me Joe.” But if by chance you ask, “May I call you Joe?” Don’t be surprised if someone says, “No.” In other words, do not risk embarrassment, let the other person make the offer to use their first name or nickname. And please, whatever you do, do not call the other person “Dude,” this should have gotten out of your vernacular after graduating from High School.

It is also a good practice to memorize the other person’s name, particularly when a business card is unavailable. Nothing is more embarrassing in a business relationship to both parties than to forget a name. Write it down if you cannot remember it.

It is a good practice to greet your boss and coworkers on a daily basis when reporting to work (as well as saying your farewell at the end of the day). Nobody wants to feel unwelcome or unappreciated. If they do, they will feel like outcasts and less likely to help you with something. The objective is to make people feel at home. This can be accomplished with a simple greeting such as “Good morning” or “How are you?” It is easy to detect when a greeting is sincere or routine. Your goal is to appear genuinely concerned about the person. This can be achieved by:

* Complimenting on some personal attribute of the person (e.g., clothes, hair, car).

* Inquiring about a person’s family (e.g., birthday observed, anniversary, graduation, pets, health, etc.).

* Asking about an event the person recently experienced (e.g., attendance at an event, a trip, participation in a volunteer organization/charity, a new job or project assignment, etc.).

* Commenting on something newsworthy – community, sports, weather (“What did you think about…?”).

Such greetings are an expression of your interest in the person. Too often greetings become routine and, as such, less credible. Try to break it up.

A good basic greeting can work wonders in building cooperation and relations between people.

Attention to Detail

Small details can have a dramatic effect in your relationship with others. For example:

* Be observant – if there is anything constant in life, it is change. Change is always around us, but it takes a perceptive person to be able to spot the smallest of changes, whether it be a new hair style, someone losing weight, a small job well done, or whatever. When a change is observed, ask yourself why it has happened. Be inquisitive and understand the rationale for the change. This will help you adapt to the change as well as improve your interpersonal relations. For example, people are easily flattered when someone compliments them on a change. It means you are perceptive and interested in the person, both of which puts you in good standing with the other person.

It is these little observations that go a long way. As an example, perhaps the best secretary I ever met was a lady named Myrna who worked for an I.T. Director in Chicago. The first time I visited the office, Myrna warmly greeted me and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. Saying Yes, she then asked me what I wanted in it. I said cream and sugar, which she then made for me. Months later when I returned to visit the Director, Myrna greeted me by name and presented me with a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. Frankly, I was startled she not only remembered my name but how I also liked my coffee. Later I discovered Myrna maintained a simple card file; whenever someone visited the office, Myrna would record their name and the type of coffee they liked. Sharp. Very sharp.

First published: September 14, 2007

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  AMERICAN RENAISSANCE – It is no longer business as usual.

LAST TIME:  FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA  – Beware of hatchery fed trout.

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.

 

Sexual Harassment (A Long And Winding Road To Equality)

I guess its time for me, as I am wont to do, to weigh in on another issue of the time before I go. I will be brief here, only because traditionally this would not be a man’s topic to speak on. (But I guess just saying that identifies my time and place is passing.)

Men and women live a long time. Lots of things change. The way we live, the way we think—even what is accepted as right and wrong. Perception changes with the time. Cultures change. Values.

The issue of sexual harassment and the treatment of women has, perhaps, reached a crescendo that may influence the timely and inevitable change of our culture. Others have predicted it before and yet we slipped back toward familiar patterns, led by the famous and powerful, and reinforced by age-old values.

The three mono-theistic religious juggernauts of our time, Christian, Muslim and Judaism, all embraced paternalistic order in their cultures. Women were subordinate to men, even at times, property. This drove the cultures of Europe and the Middle East and is a prime component even of modern culture in many countries. Of course these were not the only cultures to embrace a paternalistic view of the world. East Asia seemed to embrace it as well, although my knowledge of history in those areas is suspect and I may be wrong. I do know that many Indigenous cultures were maternalistic in their organization and world view, that reality even extending to the original Tribes of Europe before the Roman Conquest. All this I point out only to provide the historical precedent of women as secondary in the previous cultures of those who established these United States.

The Founding Fathers of this Country had great familiarity with the Indigenous Nations of the eastern seaboard and were acutely aware of the power and decision-making authority of the female members of these Nations. Though they did not specifically endorse the equality of women in their treatises and daily life they did tolerate the exceptionally bold and vocal women of their time. They also crafted governing documents that, unbeknownst to them, provided a framework for all americans to one day re-propose the idea of equality for all—beyond the prejudices, bigotry and traditions of their time.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. The ideals and realities of those days informed my beliefs, my world view, and my behavior toward others, especially the women around me. Feminism was just beginning. Women had the vote but were virtually unrepresented in the power structures of society. The sexual revolution came about somewhat after our ideas as young men were formed and we retained much of the paternalistic ideals and practices of our forebears. While mouthing support for Feminism and female power we still practiced what had come before in our behavior toward women, and what we thought was acceptable behavior toward them.

One has only to binge watch the most popular sitcoms of that time, 1960 thru 1979, to find evidence of the pervasiveness of these perceptions and practices. One can find example after example of jokes and behavior that today would be identified as examples of severe sexual harassment and the belittling of women, portraying them as primarily as sexual objects for the gratification of men.

I was from that time. So was nearly every other man who grew up then. All of us were guilty, at one time or another, perhaps often, of these types of thoughts and behavior.

As time has progressed, so have we, at least many of us. We have come to see that behavior as wrong. We have changed. The Generations that succeeded us came to it naturally, while we have had to be dragged into change. That’s the way it is with every older generation, questioning the new, pining for the old, wishing to slow the change of the world and our inevitable passing from it.

But I agree that now is the time to recognize what is right and what is wrong. If we believe in equality we must believe the women. We must encourage their movement to reach into the halls of power of every venue and achieve balance and harmony with their male counterparts. It should be them who decide the fate of those of us who came before. Life is never fair, but we should strive toward making it better, and in making it better, making it Just.

Our culture has a long way to go. We are seeing the last desperate gasps of racism, paternalism, bigotry, Anglo-privilege and power all around us. Only by replacing men with women to find a balance at every level of our culture and society as well as government, business, and service industry management will we reach the goals of equality we have come, often by a hard road, to cherish–and to establish that “more perfect union”.

FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Beware of hatchery fed trout.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published: August 24, 2012

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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

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

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

 

WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

First published: September 12, 2012

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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

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

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

 

A Natural History of Sexual Harassment: Darwin to Lauer

Well, good heavens!  It seems every morning we’re waking up now to news of another masculine celebrity accused and smacked down careerwise for, you guessed it, “sexual harassment.”  Yes siree.  Ailes, O’Reilly, Weinstein, Spacey, Rose, Louis C. K., Franken, Conyers, Seagal, Hoffman, Halperin, Keillor, Stone, Affleck, Lauer, James Levine, even old daddy H.W. Bush—and all that’s just for starters on the long and growing list.  Holy smoke!–could the pope end up there, just for “touching an angel”?  Where we used to have that Republican men’s “war on women,” we now have the liberal Democrat women’s “war on men,” with the finger-pointing barrage (of the painted-nails variety) coming on hot and heavy and that pendulum thing swinging wildly in reverse.

I got to thinking and pondering a good bit that it might behoove us, just for clarity’s sake, to examine the roots of sexual harassment through the distant and turbulent ages of “male-and-female-kind.”  Or, it might not, but that’s what I intend to attempt here anyhow.

Now, right off we have to choose between Darwin and the Bible.  But since the scriptural record doesn’t imply Adam harassed Eve (maybe the snake did, but that’s a stretch and could get really complicated), we’ll go with Darwin and the caveman.  Considering the hundreds of cartoons I’ve seen with the caveman holding a club and dragging a cavewoman by her hair back to his cave, I’ll take that as archetypally accurate.  Whether it was the club or the hair-dragging that became frowned upon, that all eventually fell out of favor and was replaced by a form of “let’s make a deal.”  Not exactly like Monty Hall’s version (no cars or vacations were involved, of course), but more like “I bring meat, you cook on fire.  We eat meat, then boom boom.  No boom boom, no meat.”  This seemed mutually workable unless said cavewoman found said caveman to be boom-boom unappealing while said caveman kept persistently dangling his meat.  Then it could reasonably be surmised that historically the first brave spark was struck for the concept of sexual harassment.

It should be noted, however, since we mentioned Darwin at the outset (not in conjunction with him being accused of sexual harassment, so far as we know, but considering these contemporary revelations that can’t be totally ruled out), that not all creatures as they evolved adopted the “let’s-make-a-deal” paradigm.  I give you the rooster as a prime example.  Have you ever seen a rooster mate a hen?  Wow!  Ka-pow!  Ka-whamo!  No please or thank you.  Then he’s got the gonads (somewhere, but they’re really hard to find) to climb up on a fence and crow about it!  Nevertheless, the hens seem not to have ever lodged a protest as I’ve never seen a rooster in jail.  Wire cage, yes; jail, no.

Moving along up the historical trail, we come to Egypt and the pharaohs.  About the time Norman Mailer wrote Ancient Evenings with all that Egyptian research, he explained in an interview about the vast importance culturally of the phallus in early Egyptian politics.  It seemed that as a seasonal ritual, the throngs gathered before the “king” and at a predetermined stage of the proceedings he slowly lifted his robe to reveal (hopefully) a fully erect male member to the celebratory masses.  This symbolized virility of the nation, victory in war, a favorable growing season, abundant harvests and the efficacy of Egyptian Viagra.  However, if the ceremony at that point displayed a certain “limpness” (if you get my drift), panic might ensue among the people and certainly a new pharaoh could be in the offing.  Anyone who doubts this should check out the most prominent feature on a statue of the Egyptian god Min.  And I’m not talking about his feathered crown or the flail.  But the main point here is that by modern standards, the old boy was sexually harassing a whole nation in one fell swoop!  That, by golly, could be labeled a quantum leap ahead for the guys’ team.

Most historical authorities surmise that a goodly amount of sexual harassment occurred during the Dark Ages; however, it is difficult to pinpoint with statistical accuracy because most of it was conducted in the dark.  In the 16th century, it was said that Erasmus advocated for women not being harassed, but his message got blunted because he also considered women “emotional, conceited, jealous, greedy, impudent, and garrulous.”  Finally, creeping up into the modern era, that old rascal George Bernard Shaw was famously said to have propositioned a female dinner companion with the lines “Would you sleep with me for a million pounds?” “Well,” she supposedly said, “maybe for a million I would, yes.” “Would you do it for ten shillings?” said Bernard Shaw. “Certainly not!” said the woman. “What do you take me for? A prostitute?” “We’ve established that already,” said Bernard Shaw. “Now we’re just haggling over the price.”  Yep, by Gloria Allred’s criteria, that would qualify.

Then everything more or less culminated in Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony against Clarence Thomas’s confirmation to SCOTUS revolving around the compromised Coke can.  That was a quantum leap forward for the girls’ gang because tons of workplace sexual legislation ensued.  But those nasty boys kept up their distasteful antics in spite of the law (the hall-of-defamer Bill Clinton, for example) right up until the election of Donald Trump.  And that’s when all hell broke loose and the “feminine empire” of pussyhatters struck back with an heretofore unbeknownst vengeance!

Now, it seems to me the central question remaining is simply what accused male transgressor will qualify for the distinction of the “greatest-harasser-in-chief”?  And the most deserving of female enmity for all time?  Harvey Weinstein comes immediately to mind for the alleged magnitude of his offenses; however, Matt Lauer craftily sneaked into the lineup (having cleverly employed the technology of button doorlocks on his desk) and even left female colleagues “processing” the whole situation on-air.  Nevertheless, I think Louis C. K. merits the most serious consideration for having “stood up” in every sense like a man and in effect embodied that revered tradition of the magnificent Egyptian pharaohs.  That “ancient evenings” spirit is powerful stuff!

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL’s PROBLEMS

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It goes well beyond disrespect for patriotism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

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

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

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