Freemason Tim Bryce.

Stand Up For Morality: Part 4


– The observation of consequences (reward and punishment) is an important part of learning moral values.

This is Part 4 in my series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY.”

In Part 3 we discussed how Morality affects our culture. Here, in Part 4, we will discuss how Morality is taught and learned.


Some psychologists believe that sociopaths are “born without a conscience.” More likely they were never taught the concepts of kindness, fairness, love and compassion; that these are admirable traits. As such, they never developed a conscience.

Morality is taught either through formal or informal training, using words and examples. The printed word is useful, but the spoken word is perhaps more effective, whether it is communicated by parents, teachers, clergy, managers, or peers. Examples are even more persuasive and represent live models of what is acceptable forms of behavior. Observations of the actions of our friends and foes, or our heroes and villains, all play a substantial role in our perspective of right and wrong, particularly if they are rewarded or punished (or not). To illustrate, a student observes another student plagiarizing on a paper. Instead of being penalized, the offending student receives an “A” for his efforts. The first student then comes to the conclusion plagiarism is an acceptable form of behavior. Likewise, a worker witnesses a coworker cheating a customer to earn a little extra pocket money. The indiscretion is not detected and, as such, the first worker concludes cheating customers is acceptable and does likewise. If the transgression continues for a period of time, and the cheaters are finally apprehended, they are perplexed about their punishment as they perceived their actions as an acceptable form of behavior.

The observation of consequences (reward and punishment) is an important part of learning moral values. In the event an offender is caught committing a crime, and the person’s superior does nothing to discipline the person (such as the teacher or manager in the examples above), this too is observed by others and influences values. If a person concludes there is no significant penalty for being immoral, a person may very well risk emulating the offender. Likewise, if a person observes another being rewarded for something they have done, others may very well follow the role model’s example. This is why role models play a significant role in our society. If a manager strongly advocates a code of conduct, yet doesn’t practice it himself, his employees will more likely follow his example as opposed to the code. The phenomenon of, “Do as I say, not as I do,” presents a genuine problem for teaching morality.

The entertainment industry is often accused of transmitting mixed signals of morality in movies, television, radio, and the Internet. The media greatly influences our sense of right and wrong, not just by comedy and drama, but even in the presentation and interpretation of news. By defining the characteristics of heroes and villains, the media is presenting role models for others to pattern their lives after.

When establishing our moral values, we are ultimately establishing our allegiances to certain parties. By doing so, we are expressing supreme confidence in their judgment. As such, we ultimately derive our values from such institutions. It also defines our loyalties.

As a group exercise, ask attendees to privately pick the top three institutions they supremely trust. This can be done two ways: by distributing slips of paper to the audience, collecting them afterwards, and compiling the results, or; simply asking for a show of hands as to how they voted.


– Church/Religion
– Company
– Country
– Cultural Heritage or Race
– Entertainment Industry
– Family members
– Fraternity
– Friends
– Gang
– Government
– Military
– News Media
– Political Party
– School
– Sports Team
– ___________(other)
– None of the Above

Not surprising, the top three answers are typically, Family, Church, and Country. The answers will vary based on the age of respondents. For example, how teenagers perceive the world is substantially different than older people. Nonetheless, the answers here provide great insight into who influences you, and how your moral values are derived. Undoubtedly this will change with the passing of time as we find faults with the institutions.


“Stand Up for MORALITY” is an eBook available in PDF, Kindle and Audio formats.
All are available through MBA Press.
The Kindle version is available through AMAZON.

Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Stand Up For Morality: Part 3


– Our actions are based on our perceptions and sense of morality.

This is Part 3 in my series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY.”

In Part 2 we defined what Morality is and described its properties. Here, in Part 3, we will discuss how Morality affects our culture.


As mentioned, morality is aimed at improving the interaction between humans by defining how we should treat each other in a common manner. One must remember our actions are based on our perceptions and sense of morality. This means there are two variables: perceptions and morality.

Our perception of reality influences our actions. For example, we dress according to how we believe the weather will be; if we believe it will be cold, we will wear a warm coat, but if our perception is wrong, that the weather is actually quite hot and humid, wearing a warm coat would be considered a foolish decision. A false perception of reality can be caused by such things as attention deficit disorder (easily distracted), or by our own sense of self worth (ego). Having worked in the computer field for a number of years I can tell you authoritatively, if the input is wrong, everything else that follows will be wrong. Even if a computer’s processing logic is correct, the resulting output will be wrong. The human being is no different. Even if we have competent mental faculties, if we do not perceive a situation correctly, we will act incorrectly.

Assuming our perceptions are correct though, the mind then determines the morality of the situation and devises a decision or course of action, be it moral or immoral. What happens though when you find yourself in unchartered waters, where no laws, rules, and regulations have been written or are applicable to a specific situation? You must rely on your moral compass, your sense of “Natural Law.”

Morality may also be linked to some local customs which date back in time. For example, the interpretation of crime and punishment varies around the world, particularly in the area of capital punishment. Some cultures accept the death penalty, others do not. The forms of execution may vary as well. This means moral values may change from culture to culture. Incompatibility is one of the reasons that cultures cannot exist in the same place at the same time. Each needs its own space. This is not to say they can never interact. In fact they do, particularly in geographical buffers located between cultures who may use elements of both.

Even our sense of humor is based on morality. We find humor in situations where a person reacts immorally in certain situations. To do so, we must first understand what is considered “right/wrong” or “good/bad”. Most humor is based on reacting in an opposite manner of what is expected.

Government is morality in action, as it represents the laws, rules, and regulations of a body of people, thereby representing their interpretation of right and wrong. To learn about government, politics and law, is to learn morality. The founding fathers felt strongly about this. So much so, in 1828 the text book, “Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States” by Arthur J. Stansbury, was introduced to teach students government and morality. Having the students learn their rights and freedom was considered important in the early days of this country.

All political problems are based on morality. Consider the issues of such things as: Welfare, Gun Control, Marriage, Abortion, Environment, Taxation, National Debt, Crime and Punishment, etc. Some people strongly believe government exists to serve the people. Others believe just the opposite, that the citizens are subservient. All of these topics involve an interpretation of morality, what is right and what is wrong.

Moral values may evolve over time. For example, in the early days of America (1600’s-1700’s) many Protestants viewed the fiddle as an instrument of the devil, particularly if it led to dancing, which was considered sinful. Such attitudes have, of course, disappeared over the years. Today, we embrace “political correctness” (P.C.) which consists of language, ideas, and behavior constrained by perceived social concerns for offending various groups of people. Such expressions may change over time. For example, smoking and offering a cigarette was considered commonplace behavior. Now, thanks to P.C., smoking is a taboo and smokers are ostracized.


“Stand Up for MORALITY” is an eBook available in PDF, Kindle and Audio formats.
All are available through MBA Press.
The Kindle version is available through AMAZON.

Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Stand Up For Morality: Part 2


– Morality is a COLLECTIVE concept which defines us as a culture.

This is Part 2 in my series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY.”

In Part 1, we examined the state of Morality in our culture and where it is heading. Here, in Part 2, we will define what Morality is and describe its properties.


Is it something we intuitively know or is it something that must be taught and learned? Unfortunately, morality is not a subject commonly discussed anymore, particularly at the dinner table, office, or just about anywhere.

  • Does morality mean following the letter of the law? What if the law is amoral?
  • Is morality “political correctness”? Somewhat.
  • Is morality synonymous with religion? Religion helps to define morality, but it is certainly not a requirement. For example, I have personally met people who avidly attend church and can quote chapter and verse, but I personally consider immoral, particularly in their business affairs.
  • Is it possible for atheists or agnostics to be moral? If they have been taught to respect the rights of others and observe the rules of the land, Why not?
  • How does morality differ from ethics?


noun (plural moralities)
Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
– A particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.
(Oxford Dictionary)


  1. (usually treated as plural) moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior: Judeo-Christian ethics
  2. (usually treated as singular) the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. (Oxford Dictionary)


  1. Behavior showing high moral standards
  2. A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person (Oxford Dictionary)

Whereas morality represents the values of right and wrong or good and bad, ethics represents a body of moral values. This is why you see a “Code of Conduct” representing the guiding principles for employees in a business. More than anything, a moral value is an accepted form of behavior. This may be written, but quite often it is not. To illustrate, there is a multitude of laws, rules and regulations for operating an automobile, be it pertaining to traffic lights and signs, observing speed limits, parking, etc. However, there are other rules that are not documented, such as allowing another motorist to pass you on the highway, to enter traffic in clogged intersections, to dispense with the use of a cell phone in heavy traffic, etc. Such rules are commonly referred to as the “courtesy of the road” and just as important for the steady flow of traffic.

Morality is a COLLECTIVE concept which defines us as a culture. It refers to a code of conduct that applies to all who can understand it and can govern their behavior by it. It means acting in an expected/predictable manner, representing the status quo based on the norms of the day. To be a moral person, one must subscribe to this code of conduct of right/wrong and good/bad. The intention of morality, thereby, is to develop a person’s conscience as it includes the elements of honesty, courtesy, respect, kindness, value, honor, loyalty, courage, integrity, dedication and commitment, and a sense of professionalism. Morality means giving of one’s self, putting aside our self interests for the common good of all, so we may live and work together.


One must consider how a moral value originated. Perhaps it was based on philosophical or religious teachings, such as the Ten Commandments. For example, just about every religion and philosophy embraces the “Golden Rule” (“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”). Most moral values though are based on “Natural Law” which is the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behavior. Such law is normally not written. However, if it becomes necessary to formalize the law in order to properly communicate and enforce it, it can become Statutory Law as enacted by legislators.


“Stand Up for MORALITY” is an eBook available in PDF, Kindle and Audio formats.
All are available through MBA Press.
The Kindle version is available through AMAZON.

Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Stand Up For Morality: Part 1

– “Morality is something we all claim to know, but never openly discuss.”

Today I begin a series on “Morality” as derived from my new eBook “Stand Up for MORALITY,” which discusses morality in American culture, the properties of morality, and how to teach it in a uniform manner. “Morality is something we all claim to know, but never openly discuss.” Herein we will tackle the subject head-on.

Let me preface my remarks by stating unequivocally, this is not about religion. I am not a member of the clergy, nor am I here to preach dogma. I am certainly not interested in your particular faith, if you have one. Religion is your business, not mine. I will make comments pertaining to organized religion as an institution but my intention is to comment on the need for promoting fundamental morality in our society. By understanding the properties of morality, it will enable us to support and perpetuate it.

Laced throughout this text are exercises designed to promote discussion. We cannot solve a problem unless we truly understand it. As such, the discussion points contained herein are intended to stimulate thought.

This book is a companion to a training seminar of the same name as conducted by the author.

I would like to thank the many people who took the time to review a preliminary copy of the manuscript and offer suggestions. Although they generally believed morality is a lost cause in this country, they encouraged me to persevere and light a torch to help show the way. The path to a moralistic society is a long and arduous one, requiring tenacity and conviction. In my office, is a framed quotation from President Calvin Coolidge which has inspired me for years:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Let us now “Press On.”


In May of each year, a Gallup poll is conducted regarding the country’s “Values and Beliefs,” the most recent being conducted in 2012.

Two questions are asked:

How would you rate the overall state of moral values in this country today?
20% – Excellent/Good
36% – Only Fair
43% – Poor

Right now, is the state of moral values in this country getting better or worse?
19% – Getting Better
05% – Remain the Same
73% – Getting Worse

The poll paints a rather bleak picture of the values of our country and does not offer much hope for the future. One can only ask, why this is occurring? Answers vary:

People have become self absorbed (“Looking Out for #1”, “Dog-Eat-Dog World”)
Permissive society (too tolerant).
Affluence – people believe they are above morality.
Cavalier attitudes about sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence.
Parents have abdicated their responsibilities.
Organized religion is in retreat.
Schools are not doing their jobs.
Business and Government are perceived as corrupt.
We’ve become too tolerant of abuses and too ready to forgive & forget.
Hollywood is corrupt and disseminating immoral messages under the guise of entertainment.

Morality is everywhere. I know of no other word that has so much to do with the way we live and act. It represents a pattern of living, setting standards or drawing a line in the sand for which you will not cross. Morality is wherever the human animal dwells, be it in schools, offices, or other institutions, for example:

The Israel Defense Forces teach morality for armed combat situations. They believe a new type of warfare has arisen whereby soldiers need to be able to identify combatants and deal with them accordingly, not to mention the treatment of prisoners as well.

The Government of New Zealand teaches morality to police officers. The aim is to equip police with “a commitment to goodness,” to “recognize evil” and “confront it more effectively”.

The real purpose of such programs is to devise a standard approach resulting in uniform morality, which is also the intention of this paper.

What one family teaches their offspring, may be different than the next. What one boss teaches his subordinates, may be different than the next. What one church or organization teaches their congregation, may be different than the next. Organized religion generally teaches uniform lessons of morality within their faith, but not everyone goes to church anymore. In fact, church attendance has declined noticeably.

To America’s founding fathers, religion and morality were recognized as a requirement for good government and citizenship. Hence the first Congress in 1787 passed the Northwest Ordinance (CLICK for more) which defined how America would expand and admit states from that area (land surrounding the Great Lakes). An important part of the legislation was Article 3 which states: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Through Article 3, our founding fathers foresaw the necessity of teaching knowledge, religion, and morality in a uniform manner, and for many years the schools did so. Even well into the 20th century, public schools were used to provide religious instruction albeit it was not compulsory and conducted after normal school hours. Aside from this, schools used to teach general religious concepts, such as one divine entity, and moralistic concepts of right and wrong. This was all abandoned in public schools over the last fifty years.


NEXT TIME: We will define what Morality is and describe its properties.

“Stand Up for MORALITY” is an eBook available in PDF, Kindle and Audio formats.
All are available through MBA Press.
The Kindle version is available through AMAZON.

Mr. Bryce is available to speak on this subject

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Are We Becoming More Tolerant, or Less?

Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself?

– Bryce on Morality

I have been working on a project aimed at teaching morality in a uniform manner. This has caused me to examine the properties of morality and consider the causes for its decline in this country. One key variable is our changing sense of tolerance; what was not considered permissible in one generation, may be considered acceptable in the next. For example, back in the 17th century a fiddle was viewed as “an instrument of the devil” as it led to dancing, which was considered sinful at the time. This is certainly not true anymore, but we now have become more “Politically Correct” (P.C.) in order to not offend a class of people, be it based on race or gender. Frankly, I find most of the P.C. language and customs to be hypocritical, but that is me. Others follow P.C. religiously.

Our sense of right and wrong used to be as sharp as black and white. No longer. Now it appears we have many shades of gray. What was condemned in prior generations is now accepted in today’s world. The idea of accepting such things as legalized marijuana or gay marriage would be beyond the comprehension of “The Greatest Generation,” those who survived the Great Depression and World War II. The Baby Boomers though survived the drug culture and sexual revolution of the 1960’s and, as such, are more tolerant of such concepts. For example, a man living with a woman out of wedlock would be considered disgraceful to “The Greatest Generation.” However, most Baby Boomers today accept it, as do their successors.

I am fortunate to have witnessed five generations in my family. Each had their own unique perspective of morality and sense of tolerance. Some of the differences were subtle, such as drinking, smoking, and language; others were more pronounced, such as their perspectives on citizenship, defense, patriotism, love, assisting others, etc. The impact of economics, and war and peace played a dramatic role on their values, as did their participation in organized religion. I contend each generation becomes more permissive than the last due to changing perceptions of moral values. What is considered acceptable today, may not have been considered so yesterday, or possibly tomorrow.

Consider how we administered corporal punishment in the home. In yesteryear, the father doled out discipline on the children using a leather belt or shaving strap. Mothers used a fly swatter or hickory switch to get their point across. Today, such devices are considered archaic. Instead, we have “time out” or suspend the child’s use of his/her smart phone, computer, or television. Somehow I think the leather belt was more persuasive than “time out” which simply inconvenienced the child.

Each generation tries to make life better for the next. Whereas one generation may have suffered through hardships and lived modestly, a trail is blazed by the elders to simplify the lives of their youth, provide them a better world to live in and encourage them to prosper. Sometimes the sacrifices of the past are appreciated, other times it is taken for granted and forgotten.

Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? Without a doubt, it is progressively different. My great-grandparents were less permissive than my grandparents, who were less tolerant than my parents, who were less tolerant than my generation. Many years ago, the family suffered through a divorce which was considered damaging to the family’s reputation. Not surprising, there were much fewer divorces back then because of the shame associated with it. Today, there is much more of a laissez faire attitude toward divorce, which is perhaps why it is more commonplace. There is no longer any commitment to make a marriage work. If it doesn’t, a couple can get a divorce and a “do over” in life. So much for personal commitment.

My point is, over time we become more tolerant of violating moral values. The more frequently we turn away from such values, the more our culture changes. Again, ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? Now ask who is more tolerant, you or your offspring? I hope you see where I am going with this.

FOOTNOTE: I am currently working on a training program to teach uniform Morality, suitable for use in companies, schools, and other institutions. If you would like to know more, see my flyer by clicking HERE.

Keep the Faith!

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

author, freemason, business management, from the edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

Tim Bryce, PM, 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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Our Intolerant Society

Freemasonry is one of the most misunderstood institutions on the planet. It is not a religion, charity, political action committee or cult. It is simply the original fraternity whereby members congregate to enjoy friendship, morality and brotherly love. Despite this, people are suspicious about their motives and have accused the Masons of everything from starting World War I to the Kennedy assassination. No, they are not trying to secretly commandeer government. Heck, they have trouble organizing a picnic, let alone the world. Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret, but before I do, you should understand in order to join the Masons you must possess a belief in Deity (in a Supreme Being). Because of this, no atheist or agnostic can join the Masons. I have personally sat in Lodge with members representing every religious denomination imaginable, all enjoying peace and tranquility. Now for the secret: discussion about religion and politics is forbidden in a Masonic lodge. This is done in order to maintain the harmony of the Lodge.

It’s interesting to see what a little tolerance can do. Instead of squabbling over theological or ideological differences, Masons sit as brothers looking for ways to cooperate and understand each other. I’ve discovered a little tolerance can go a long way. It’s a pleasure to know men who are my political and religious opposites. You gain invaluable insight as to their interests and perspectives on life. We learn from each other. It’s actually quite refreshing to speak on the level without fear of retribution. The fraternity proves it is indeed possible to have civil and respectful discourse, but certain rules of decorum have to be observed.

Outside of the Lodge, there are no rules or decorum. In the real world of today, it has become commonplace to make scurrilous claims designed to attack the integrity of another. It wasn’t always like this though. Although we understood differences existed between ourselves, there wasn’t a public venue to comment. Thanks to the advent of easy-to-use social media, where a wide variety of disparate personalities and interests meet and pass public communiques, decorum and cordiality have been replaced with venom and hostility. People will say things in such venues they would never dare say face-to-face. Such discourse is changing our society and makes for heated arguments. Nobody is immune from this, including yours truly who has been duped into reacting upon having his nose tweaked. Even those of us who do not use social media are affected as they will undoubtedly encounter a person influenced by such technology.

Thanks to electronic communications, where we observe the thoughts of others, we have sharpened our personal sense of social and ideological right and wrong, thereby accelerating the rift between us. One side sees our country as half-empty, and the other half-full. To illustrate:

Liberals pound on conservative doctrine, and vice versa.

Atheists ridicule people over their religious beliefs.

Politicians spin lies and deceit against their opponents. Negative advertising is now the norm, not positive.

Gays argue with straights over lifestyle.

Our divisiveness is now in full bloom for all the world to see. Our common sense of right and wrong is cloudy at best and we no can longer agree what kind of country the United States should represent. Not surprising, one side or the other will not not be happy, which is why I worry about the fallout from the November elections. It is impossible to elude.

We have gone from respectful discourse to a society intolerant of the other person’s point-of-view, thanks in large part to technology. It’s too bad we cannot all sit in Lodge together and speak on the level.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director ofM&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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

The Good Neighbor


– The joy and benefits of a little cooperation.

Every now and then I take an elderly friend home from my Masonic lodge (I’ll pick them up as well). If they need help getting into the house, I do so. If I am just dropping them off, I make sure they get inside the front door before I leave. For friends who are away from home on vacation or business, I check their houses at night to make sure everything is alright. If they ask me, I pick up their newspapers in the driveway as well as the mail. If they need to be dropped off at the airport or picked up, I’m glad to oblige. On a few occasions I have mowed the lawns for my neighbors when it got too long and someone failed to cut it. Every now and then I am called upon to help move something heavy at a neighbor’s house or assist in some awkward task, such as helping my neighbor get her gravely ill husband back into bed after he had fallen out. All of these acts are appreciated and not taken for granted by my acquaintances. I certainly do not expect any recognition or compensation for this other than they reciprocate in kind. However, most respond by remembering to buy me a good cigar which I certainly appreciate. I do not consider this an imposition as they are good friends and neighbors.

I am not sure where I learned to be a good neighbor, probably from emulating my parents who did likewise over the years. As I was growing up in the various communities throughout the United States there was always a sense of community, that you kept an eye out for your neighbor and helped out where needed. During the Great Snow of Chicago in 1967, the roads were clogged with snow. Adults and kids helped clear driveways, and checked on neighbors to make sure they were alright. Some would take sleds and trudge to the grocery stores to pick up basic food supplies, not just for themselves but many others as well. Everything closed down during that storm, including schools, businesses, transportation, etc. I have never seen anything quite like it since. This resulted in some of the best block parties as the neighbors were determined to socialize as opposed to being trapped in their houses.

Disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding, seem to bring out both the best and worst in us in this country. Sure there are those who loot and take advantage of emergency services unnecessarily, but most of us seem to be more than willing to lend a helping hand in the face of disaster, be it in distributing food and supplies, fixing a roof, using a chainsaw, clearing debris, offering transportation services, helping people find shelters, tending to pets, donating clothing, or whatever. How we respond is truly admirable. Such response represents our compassion for humanity.

I only wonder why it takes a disaster to behave this way and why we are not like this the rest of the year. Many people today believe volunteerism is for chumps and won’t extend the most basic courtesies to their neighbors, be it nothing more than a simple greeting. I fear though, common courtesy is no longer common, nor is it being taught by parents. I do it, not because of my parents or anyone else. I just realized it is the right thing to do, and believe it or not, it is not costly or painful. I certainly do not feel like a “chump” when I volunteer my services, and feel sorry for those who do not as they will never realize the benefits of cooperation.

As I write this, I am reminded of the old Frank Capra movie, Meet John Doe, starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, where a grassroots movement is started to promote good citizenship. A John Doe philosophy then spreads like wildfire across the nation, and clubs sprang up to promote the concept of being a good neighbor. It may sound naive, but maybe we need some more John Doe Clubs to again learn to “Be a better neighbor.”

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

Tim is a Past Master and currently Secretary at Dunedin Lodge No. 192 F.& A.M. in Florida.

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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

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

Tim’s Travel Planning Checklist

– Don’t leave home without it.

Travel used to be fun and carefree; you grabbed your tickets, got on the airplane and off you went. Thanks to terrorists though, the TSA, and the dangerous world we now live in, it has become quite complicated. I have done my fair share of traveling over the years and learned a few things along the way, such as how to organize a trip with a minimum of headaches. Below is a checklist I use to mentally prepare myself. Now, I’m finally putting it to paper to perhaps make travel planning a little easier for others. This checklist is not designed to help you order tickets, only how to prepare for the trip after you have made the purchase decision. It will also not cover the items you can or cannot carry on to an aircraft (see the TSA for guidelines). If you have a concern or question, either contact the TSA or your airline carrier. Aside from this, these suggestions will hopefully simplify your trip and make it more enjoyable. I have listed my suggestions in alphabetic order:

AIRLINE COURTESY LOUNGES – Most major airlines offer private lounges available on a membership basis. They offer comforts for the weary traveler, including beverages, snacks, privacy, television, Internet access, comfortable chairs for catching a few winks of sleep, clean washrooms, and sometimes showers. If you are going to be traveling extensively, it may be wise to purchase a membership. Don’t want to join on an annual basis? Most airlines have a 30 day membership available or pay as you go. If you have a rough and rugged road to travel, it may very well be worth it. Contact your airline for details.

AIRLINE TICKETS – Make sure you have your seat assignments in advance. If you have certain food requirements, notify the airline in advance, not on the day of departure. Boarding passes can still be obtained at the airport but most people prefer printing them in advance on their computer, usually 24 hours in advance. Print two copies, just in case. TRAVEL INSURANCE may be wise if you are planning an expensive trip where there is a possibility your travel plans may change. As for me, I typically avoid it under normal circumstances.

AIRPORT – get there early. TSA usually creates unGodly security lines where you are seemingly strip searched. Wear comfortable shoes you can quickly slip in and out of, and socks to avoid the germs awaiting you in the security screening area. Avoid wearing or carrying anything metallic, particularly coins, lighters, or anything else. Try not to dress like a Huckleberry thereby indicating you’re an inexperienced traveler to be taken advantage of by charlatans.

AUTOMOBILE, PREPARATION – If you are going on a lengthy trip by automobile, be sure to have your car’s tires, brakes, and oil checked, and possibly have it tuned up. An ounce of prevention now, may save you headaches later on.

BALLOT – If you will be gone during election time, be sure to request an “absentee ballot” from your local board of elections.

BATTERIES – make sure all of your batteries for your electronic devices are charged or replaced. It might not be a bad idea to bring extra batteries if you are going to be gone for an extended period.

BILLS, PAYING THEM IN ADVANCE – if you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, try to have your bills paid in advance so that you will not be in arrears upon your return. If necessary, have someone you trust pay bills for you, or utilize electronic payments.

CALL HOME – upon your arrival, let your loved ones back home know that you have arrived safely, either by telephone, instant message, or e-mail.

CAMERA – Are you planning on taking pictures during your trip? Make sure your digital camera is fully charged and ready to use. Don’t forget the charger and any other cords and attachments. I typically purchase a book of photos of the country I’m visiting (the local photographers are much better than I am).

CAR RENTAL – It pays to make reservations well in advance, not to mention shop around and look for specials. I tend to use reputable firms with airport shuttles as opposed to hitching a ride to East Podunk to pickup a car. Beware of insurance coverage; I tend to get minimum coverage but it is your choice. (Also see “International Driving Permit”).

CASH – do not take an inordinate amount of hard cash with you. If you are robbed, it will be impossible to replace. Take enough cash for taxis or shuttles, tipping, basic “walking around” money, and perhaps a drink or something to eat along the way.

COMPUTER – If you are planning on taking your laptop, be sure you will have Internet coverage. As with the telephone, check on available coverage.

CONCIERGE – a hotel concierge can be your best friend if you treat him/her right. Let them know what your interests are and ask for their advice regarding restaurants, tourist attractions, transportation, and currency exchanges. Sometimes they may point you in the wrong direction, particularly if an outside firm is paying them a commission for every tourist they send their way. Develop a good rapport with them if possible and they will, in general, treat you right.

CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS – alert your credit/debit card companies of your travel plans. Such companies may refuse the processing of transactions from a faraway location (including within the United States). In addition, write down your credit/debit card numbers and customer service telephone numbers and keep them in a safe place. This can be invaluable if you lose your wallet or purse and need to cancel them (and get new ones).

CURRENCY EXCHANGE – try to have some local currency with you before you arrive, for use with taxi drivers, tipping, etc. You can obtain such currency through a bank, but it may be better to get it at an airport if you have some time between flights. While at your destination, check with the hotel’s concierge or front desk on how to exchange money. Make sure you are getting the correct rate, realize that not everybody necessarily will charge you the same rate. Sometimes black market rates are better than those offered by the banks. For the latest rates, check HERE.

ELECTRICAL CONVERTERS – not everything runs on the American electrical system, including plugs. Fortunately, there are inexpensive adapter plugs available for you to plug-in an American electrical device. Radio Shack provides a fine TUTORIAL on this subject.

E-MAIL, AUTO RESPONSES – If you are going away for awhile, do not write a default e-mail response such as, “I’ll be away on vacation from DATE to DATE”; Translation: “Hello burglars, the house is deserted, come and get it.” Frankly, it’s nobody’s business where you are. Try something like this instead, “I’m away from my office right now, please contact John Doe if you require immediate support, (telephone number and e-mail address).” If possible, periodically check your e-mail while you’re on the road and answer critical messages.

EMBASSY – It may be wise to write down the telephone number and address of the local American embassy or consulate. Click HERE for a listing. (Also see “Police”).

ENTERTAINMENT – you may be traveling for hours. Either plan on getting plenty of sleep during your journey or take something to occupy your time, such as a book, magazine, portable DVD player, laptop computer, or some other electronic device. On airplanes, observe the proper decorum for using such devices.

FLASH DRIVE – Don’t want to lug around a laptop with you? Put a lot of your data on a simple flash drive which you can carry in your pocket. Rarely do I take a laptop with me anymore. Instead, I keep important documents, email addresses, and web bookmarks on my flash drive. You may also want to scan your passport, driver’s license, tickets, and traveler checks and maintain them as JPG or PDF files on your flash drive (as opposed to photocopying such items as mentioned under “Photocopying.” I also make active use of GOOGLE DOCS/DRIVE for documents, graphic presentations, and more, which I can easily access from any computer. Using this same rationale, I also check my e-mail using such things as GOOGLE GMAIL or YAHOO! MAIL.

HOTEL BUSINESS CARD – You can obtain such cards from the front desk or concierge. Take more than one. They are particularly useful for finding your way back to your hotel. If you are in a place where you do not understand the language, just hand the taxi driver the card and he’ll get you home.

HOTEL ROOM KEY, LEAVE AT THE FRONT DESK – this is a custom most Americans cannot seem to grasp. By leaving your key with the front desk, you do not have to worry about losing it or having it stolen (plus it is one less thing to carry with you).

INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT – if you are planning on driving an automobile overseas, obtain an International Driving Permit in advance. In addition to allowing you to drive, it also makes a handy form of identification. You can obtain such a permit on the Internet or at AAA. It would also pay to familiarize yourself with local rules of the road, and ROAD SIGNS.

JET LAG – if you are traveling to distant lands, try to adjust your sleep patterns accordingly. For example, when I’m traveling to the Orient, I try to get as much sleep as possible on the aircraft to get myself on the time zone of my destination. Just remember, it is easier to adjust as you chase the sun (going from East to West) and harder when you chase the moon (West to East).

LOCAL CUSTOMS – familiarize yourself with local customs, such as greetings, forms of address, dressing for occasions, and tipping.

LUGGAGE – Try to pack lightly thereby minimizing additional baggage charges. If you are planning on shopping, take an extra collapsible bag for such sundries. Be sure that all bags have attached identification tags, including your name and address. Some people also add their mobile telephone number and e-mail address thereby expediting contact with you in the event of lost luggage. I have also found it useful to add luggage straps which keeps the bag together in the event the locks break by reckless baggage handlers. Because many bags look alike, it may pay to put something colorful on it so you can spot it easily on the luggage carrousel, perhaps a ribbon, a rag, or some tape. If you need to take unusual items such as golf clubs, fishing poles, etc. contact the airlines and ask for their advice on how to best pack them. As to carry-ons, keep it simple and small enough to fit under the seat in front of you (in case the overhead compartments are full).

MAPS – obtain in advance a map of the destination you will be visiting. Bookstores, Hotels, AAA, and other travel agencies have a plethora of them available, not to mention what you can find on the Internet. Study the map before you arrive so you know where you are going.

MEDICATION – obviously you want to bring sufficient amounts of your medications, but it is the unexpected you should take into consideration, such as coming down with a cold, motion sickness, and indigestion (particularly if the local cuisine doesn’t agree with you).

NEWSPAPERS AND MAIL, HOLDING – newspapers left on a driveway is an invitation for thieves to rob your house. Either arrange to have someone pick them up for you or have them stopped. Leaving the mail in your box may expose important papers to thieves as well. Want to stop your mail, either call or visit your local post office.

NOTIFY a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member that you will be gone and to keep an eye on your residence. Also notify the local police.

PASSPORT – You simply cannot travel without a passport anymore, be it by ship or airplane. Driver Licenses may suffice in North America but the preferred method is to carry a passport with you at all times. You can apply for a passport at a local post office (call them first) or check ON-LINE. If you haven’t traveled in a while, check the expiration date of your passport, maybe it is time to renew. (Also see “Visas”).

PETS – If you are leaving your pets at home while you are traveling, make reservations to have them boarded or have a friend or family member take care of them. If you are taking your pets with you, check with the airlines about traveling restrictions and possibly shots. Also be sure to contact the hotel regarding their policy on pets.

PHOTOCOPY YOUR PASSPORTS, TICKETS AND TRAVELER’S CHECKS and hide them in the lining of your luggage or some other safe place. Losing such items overseas can be a painful experience. (Also see “Flash Drive”).

POLICE – It might not be a bad idea to get the telephone number of the local police and carry it with you, in case of emergency of course. No, not everyone uses “911” for emergencies; the British use “999” and other European countries use “112.” (Also see “Embassy”).

RESIDENCE, CLOSING IT UP – make sure you have timers on lights in strategic areas of the house so it doesn’t give the appearance it is deserted. Give consideration to lawn maintenance or snow removal while you’re away. Also, make sure your heating or air conditioning is set at a minimal level so that you do not waste electricity (and money). It’s also a good idea to turn off plumbing, particularly to toilets. Should the lines burst or leak you can be left with an expensive mess. And of course, make sure all of the windows and doors are locked and major appliances turned off.

SUNDRIES – purchase travel sized toiletries in advance, including clothes detergent if necessary to wash your socks. In all likelihood, you won’t like the prices overseas. Make sure you bring sufficient medications with you. Also, if you are so inclined, take a small bottle of booze. I can assure you, it will be a lot cheaper than the hotel’s mini-bar. Also bring a sufficient amount of tobacco. Better yet, you can buy such things at the Duty Free shops either at the airport or on your airplane. If you are not sure, ask the airlines regarding allowances you can purchase.

TAXIS AND SHUTTLES – Make sure you have a plan for getting from the airport to your final destination, such as your hotel. If you are going by taxi, be sure to ask how much it will cost BEFORE you get into the cab. Otherwise you might wind up on an expensive joy ride.

TELEPHONE – If you are planning on taking your cell phone or smart phone, it might be wise to see if you will have any connecting coverage at your destination. Check with your carrier and also be sure to understand any special connecting fees. Sometimes it is preferable to take a prepaid telephone card with you instead.

TRANSLATION – obtain a pocket dictionary and learn some basic words and phrases, such as “Please,” “Thank you”, “How much?”, and “Where can I find…” Make a simple cheat sheet of common expressions, such as on an index card, and carry it with you. There are also some smart phones that now have translation “apps” available for download. Familiarize yourself with how they work before you go.

TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS – ask your family and friends about favorite places to visit at your destination if they have been there, including sightseeing, restaurants, and do’s and don’ts.

TRAVELERS CHECKS – in this age of credit/debit cards, the use of travelers checks have diminished. However, I have always found them to be a universally acceptable form of payment. You can obtain travelers checks from your bank, AAA, or other financial institutions.

TRIP SHEET – write out your travel agenda, along with the name of the hotel(s) you will be staying at, their address, telephone, e-mail and web addresses. Also include your travel itinerary complete with flight numbers and departure/arrival times and dates. This is useful not only for yourself, but provide a copy for your loved ones.

VISA – if you are traveling overseas, you may need an entry visa which can typically be obtained from an embassy. For a listing of country requirements. Some countries may also require you have certain shots which you can either get from your doctor or a medical clinic. Specific paperwork is required which is commonly attached to your passport. When getting such shots, be sure to take your passport with you. (Also see “Passport”).

VOICE MAIL – As with the “E-mail” response, do not leave a voice message indicating you are away. Also, periodically check your messages.

WEATHER – check the forecast for your destination and pack clothes accordingly. Don’t forget the portable umbrella.

MASONS – If you are planning on visiting a Lodge overseas, try to make contact with the Lodge in advance. You can usually find Lodges listed on the Internet, either individually or through their Grand Lodge. Ask about dress codes, schedules, and decorum. Be sure to bring your Dues Card and brush up on the “Tyler’s Oath” of your jurisdiction.

Hopefully you will find this checklist helpful in planning your next trip. If I have overlooked something, please be sure to drop me a line with your suggestion. Now for the hard part of the trip: enjoy yourself! Bon voyage Y’all!

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Producing Newsletters: Beware of the Birdcage

– Writing newsletters that will be read as opposed to discarded.

formating newsletters, group communication, As I have been involved with a variety of nonprofit organizations over the years, I am often saddled with the task of producing the group’s newsletter. Maybe it’s because I know how to string a few words together and have worked with computers for more years than I care to remember. Nonetheless, I have probably produced over a thousand newsletters over the years for management groups, technology associations, homeowner groups, and fraternal organizations. Because of this, I like to believe I have learned a thing or two over the years about these publications, the first being they should never be taken for granted. Too often I see newsletters prepared frivolously where the same verbiage is spewed out month after month thereby become very predictable and quite boring. I know of newsletters where the same copy is used year after year and nothing changes except the names of the club’s officers. Surprisingly nobody notices. There is nothing wrong with devising a standard format, which readers tend to adapt to, but if there is no “news” in the newsletter, in all likelihood it will only be used to line the bottom of a birdcage. However, if they are meaningful, not only will they be read, they’ll also be kept for future reference.

When writing copy for the newsletter, keep it simple and to the point. Do not ramble as most readers of newsletters have the attention span of a gnat and become easily bored. You have less than thirty seconds to grab a person’s attention with a newsletter, after which they will decide to either read it or discard it. I tend to see the newsletter as a working tool which is why people should discuss more about what is on the horizon and less about what happened in the past. Your column should be positive and upbeat, not negative and depressing. In other words, keep the glass half full as opposed to half empty. We write to communicate, not to put people to sleep. People will likely follow you if you are more optimistic. If you’ve got bad news though, do not try to sugarcoat it, give it to your members straight so you get their attention and encourage participation if necessary.

Other than news, a schedule of upcoming events should be included, along with a listing of club officers and their contact information (e.g., telephone, e-mail). These two items are what most people are looking for, everything else is secondary. In terms of “filler,” there is a lot you can add, but do not overdo it as you should be mindful of the birdcage liner phenomenon. I have seen a variety of things used, such as a welcome of new members, a listing of past presidents, this day in history, cartoons, some useful tips and techniques, educational trivia, and a listing of sponsors.

As I begin editing the newsletter, I collect all of the notes and columns from contributors and place them into a plain text file (ASCII) suitable for use with any text processor, e.g., MS Notepad. People always wonder why I do this. The answer is simple, in this format I can migrate it to any other computer file format, be it a word processor, desktop publishing, HTML (web page), E-Mail, PDF, etc. Whereas these other formats are limited in terms of migrating to other file formats, plain ASCII text can go anywhere. In one association I am involved with, I produce multiple versions of the same newsletter: using desktop publishing, I produce a paper copy to be printed and mailed and a PDF version to be e-mailed; I also produce an HTML version for our web page. This is all simple to do, but not possible without first preparing the plain ASCII text version. As an aside, I am a big proponent of Adobe’s PDF file format as it is more universally applicable than word processors like MS Word.

Since your files are now on the computer, be sure to run spell checkers and grammar checkers on the text. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not doing so.

I tend to name computer files in a specific manner so I can easily sort through them and find what I want, as well as to easily backup files. For example, I put the publication date into the name; to illustrate:

NEWS0612.TXT – Representing the June 2012 edition (MMYY) – my personal preference
NEWS1206.TXT – the same thing backwards (YYMM)
NEWS200612.TXT – Representing the June 20th, 2012 edition (DDMMYY) if so inclined

I have seen other people name them based on Volume and Edition number; for example:

Vol06Ed10.TXT – Volume 06, Edition 10

How you name your files is your business but I encourage you to devise a standard format thereby simplifying the storage and maintenance of the files. This is also useful for setting up a new edition of the newsletter. Instead of inventing an entirely new edition of each newsletter, I copy and rename a past issue and use it as a template to build the next edition, thereby saving considerable time.

In terms of layout, devise a clean and simple approach that you can standardize on, thereby inviting readership as opposed to discouraging people. Most desktop publishing tools have standard templates for such purposes. Always be cognizant of your readership and try to accommodate people. For example, do not use a tiny font or strange type style that nobody can read. Break your text into multiple columns on a page, two or three, and leave a sufficient amount of white space between columns, thereby making it easy to read. Underline or highlight key words you want to draw attention to but do not do so excessively as people will start to ignore it.

Again, I warn publishers of newsletters, regardless of how graphically appealing your publication looks, it it doesn’t say anything of substance it will inevitably end up in the birdcage. Before you release it though, try to get a second set of eyes to review the publication. Another person might be able to spot something you have overlooked.

Although most publications today are distributed via e-mail and web pages, there are still people who do not have access to a computer, particularly elderly members who prefer printed copies instead. This means you need an address book that can produce both mailing labels as well as a listing of e-mail addresses. Electronic versions of the newsletter have no restrictions in terms of number of pages. However, printed versions do, as dictated by postage costs. I have seen many organizations struggle with the issue of discontinuing the printed version of the newsletter. Electronic versions are cheaper to produce, and you can do more with them, but if a sizeable portion of your membership cannot access it, you will inevitably alienate them. Then again, this may become a moot point if the economics of the group cannot justify the continuation of a printed version.

The question remains though, can a simple newsletter truly impact a nonprofit organization? You betcha. First, it reflects the personality of the group (tired versus stimulating; lethargic versus ambitious). Second, it gets the word out as to the plans and activities of the group. I would wager you this: those groups without a newsletter or offer nothing more than a “birdcage liner” are probably the same groups suffering from apathy, lack of attendance, and a decline in membership.

All that is needed is someone who can string a few words together and feels comfortable around computers. Oh oh, now I know how I get trapped into doing this.

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Eulogy for a Friend

– Writing it is one thing, delivering it is something else.

Writing a eulogy commemorating a family member or close friend can be a daunting task. I have written my fair share of them over the years and they are never easy. You have to look into your heart and try to put into words how you feel about the deceased in a way others can easily comprehend. Your choice of words must be very precise as you want to invoke the proper responses from your audience who is normally in mourning. Consequently, you write it more for the purposes of oratory as opposed to just text narrative. As for me, I do not like to dwell on doom and gloom, but to remember the brighter side of people. Such was the case recently when I wrote a eulogy for a good friend, Frank Verderame, who I met years ago through the Masons. He was an Italian from Brooklyn who retired to Clearwater back in the 90’s. Frank may have been older than me, but we found a kinship that flourished over the years. Here is what I wrote:

“I want to take a few moments and talk about my paisan, Frank Verderame.

I’ve been fortunate to have known Frank for the last ten years. We met when we were both wardens in our respective Masonic Lodges; then as Masters of our Lodges, we worked together on a variety of projects. After our tour of duty, we remained fast friends, and I think this is because Frank was a very down-to-earth type of guy; he was fun loving, very practical, a hard worker, loved his family, was very compassionate, and you could take Frank’s word to the bank. He also made some excellent tomato sauce.

Coming from Brooklyn and the hustle of New York, Frank suffered from an acute case of common sense. He didn’t go to college, but he was a voracious reader with an inquisitive mind, and a student of life. Yes, I knew Frank would frequently say, “Don’t worry about it”, but Frank would. He would worry about his family and friends, his church, and what was going on in this nutty world.

I will miss sitting at his kitchen table with him just talking, about everything it seemed, be it national politics, religion, and the changing world around us. And I guess that is the true litmus test of a friendship: when two people can talk about anything without fear of blushing. I very much valued Frank’s opinion and he would often review my editorials before I published them, and I respected his advice.

Frank loved baseball. He enjoyed spring training down here, not to mention his Tampa Bay Rays. Being from Brooklyn, he made it very clear he was more of a Dodgers fan as opposed to the Yankees. Back in 2003, our Lodges played a softball game for charity. Frank was about 65 at the time, but he dusted off his old mitt and played the infield. And you know what? He wasn’t too bad. He just loved being out on the diamond again with the boys. You see, I don’t think anyone told Frank he was getting old, and he thought of himself as a young kid.

I’m not much of a golfer, but I have to tell you about the last time I played, which was with Frank several years ago at a tournament for charity. We played with my son and his friend who are good golfers, but giving guys like Frank and myself a set of clubs, well, that’s just wrong, and rather dangerous I might add. We killed a lot of snakes that day and made a lot of divots. Getting the ball into the cup, well, that was optional. As Frank would say in his Brooklyn accent, “Forget about it.” We laughed through 18 holes, making it the best round of golf I ever played, and a good way to leave the sport.

Frank’s hobbies included woodworking and he built an amazing shop in his garage. He possessed great attention to detail and found the work very gratifying. I well remember the doll house he built for his grand-daughter. Unbelievable detail and craftsmanship.

He also had an impressive library of books, videos, and records. Boy, did he love those records which he learned to digitize on the computer.

Frank was no stranger to the Internet and he would do a lot of research and correspondence on it. He particularly enjoyed it when I showed him his old house in Brooklyn using Google Earth. I think he has traveled the world since then using Google.

You had to love Frank’s infectious sense of humor. The stories he would tell about working with his father as a longshoreman, in the army, or working in Manhattan were priceless. I still cannot think of pineapple concentrate or elevators without chuckling. He loved to tell a good tale. And that’s how I think he enjoyed life; by building one relationship at a time. In 2003, my Lodge held a roast for me as the outgoing Master. Frank, of course, had to put in his two cents,…several times. So much so, he had me in tears of laughter, as well as everyone else.

I’m going to miss this man. It was a privilege to have known him, not too many like him come along, and it was a sincere honor to call him my friend.”

The eulogy was relatively short and to the point, and I hope I communicated Frank’s spirit adequately. In delivering the speech, I was doing fine until I got to the last line where I unexpectedly choked up. No matter how I tried to clear my head, I just couldn’t form the words. In desperation, I asked a friend to finish it for me. I was somewhat embarrassed I couldn’t complete it, but afterwards I had several people thank me, including Frank’s family, who said they could tell it came from the heart. Actually, I blame Frank who had touched mine. Alas, my Brother, my Paisan.

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

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.