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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Greater the Event, the Less we Hear ?

Silence is upon us.   Let us properly call that "selective silence".  

Why?  With the media frenzy that usually accompanies major events such as the nuclear disaster at Fukushima,  one might expect to see some expression of continued in the plight of Japan, but no.  The same strange abandonment of other man-made and natural disasters seems to disappear with with the same finesse from the media.  Is it too much to ask to be informed?  Radiation from Fukushima has already crossed North America, but officialdom, like the media, keeps it hushed.   Are we  "to glow before we know"  what is happening?  Is there a  "the greater the event, the less we hear"  edict hidden somewhere in government files?
Germany is  intelligently closing down ALL nuclear plants by 2020.  North America is strangely " silent"  about it  instead,  no such plans HERE.
  We don't have to wonder why. The invoking  of common sense itself would be an earth-shattering event that would have to be silenced.
Does wild game  in North America have to become "polluted and unfit for human consumption"  with Fukushima radiation   like the wild boars ARE ALREADY  today in Germany--from 900 miles away,  --the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago--before it becomes a "news story" again? 

The Haiti  earthquake disaster may as well have occurred  a hundred years ago;  the "live"  victims may be healed, but they still live in tent cities,  the city, reduced to rubble  is NOT yet rebuilt,  the aid  "disappearing" into the strangling, secret pockets  of the bureaucracy.  Has that story, too, been "worn out" by the media, no longer worth contaminating a news page or computer screen?
Strange silence is emerging over the  Iraq war,   --"winding down", is it?   Or is it in fact really just another very expensive military failure that will be glossed over,  the new government just as corrupt as Saddam himself, with all the facts hidden from the public?
Never mind that war, we have NEW ones. We line them up, one after the other. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Apocalypse Date: How Handy.

Well, it's not really a surprise that  Mr. Harold Camping's  May 21st  date with the future  didn't quite turn out to be an apocalypse,  On May 21st, we tried gardening instead,  and that was a good thing. May 21st came and went,  mind you,  in the old-fashioned realm of yesteryear, with the sun rising and setting right on time. I guess there is  always 3 days grace for everything,
In case you missed the last rapture and apocalypse, the NEW apocalypse date is Oct. 21st,    It seems Harold was off by 5 months,  we know not why .   A new Doomsday  date, how handyShall we try again? 

Meantime we'll keep on gardening and taking care of our lives in the best possible manner as honestly as possible, and realizing just how fortunate we really ARE. Why?

" Back in the real world of devastating events,  the city of  JOPLIN, Missouri was hit by a major tornado. So far 117 people have been confirmed killed in this terrible tragedy.   People are still missing."

  Is that a good enough answer? 

  At Incoming Bytes, we send our hearts and prayers to the survivors and  especially to families  that have lost loved ones. May they all find peace in their faith as they try to rebuild their shattered lives. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.    

Friday, May 20, 2011

There's More to this Gardening Stuff than Meets the Eye

       Okay, I have to admit that I'm not  just a  thinker or an observer, critic or news-follower, and I'm not a socio-political junkie hell-raiser except at election time. I am not totally engrossed in  prospecting, watching the stock market or delving into the world of finance either. 
    I don't have much to complain about even if the price of gasoline is killing our economy and our pocketbooks both as we speak. Just forget all that stuff for now.  
 I actually have a soft spot, a hobby.
    I actually like gardening .  I like growing stuff.  It's in my blood. I have apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees,  and  bonsai trees, you know those cute little ones in pots, I graft stuff, and we even have some grapevines. It's in the blood.    I have a whole lot of natural  bush to look after too. I rescue and replant trees every year from locations they would otherwise  soon suffer death in, like under power lines, in ditches, and those in dire need of being moved because they have innocently chosen to sprout  adjacent to buildings. 
   I move those babies to a place where they're safe-- to my forest, the castle, you know, the place where you can't see the forest for the trees?  

      I like organic vegetables too. It's food.  We  like growing peas, cabbage, corn and carrots. I like seeing garlic sprout as soon as the snow is gone,  almost as fast as the crocuses.  The chives come up all by themselves, no problem there.  I even try to grow potatoes without a whole lot of luck. Don't forget tomatoes. The big Beefsteak type.  They're getting legs  under grow lights now and will be planted outside in the garden. Sooner or later.
As long as the weather cooperates, that is.  

     Summer is getting closer as we speak, but somehow  it sure doesn't feel like gardening weather.   I won't offer any excuses for complaining. Farmers always complain about the weather down at Timmie's  even if it's only tongue-in-cheek,  pragmatically or just a point of pride. A Farmer's right.    The truth is,  I  don't like cold weather much,  I  like being warm much  better than being chilled to the bone.   Okay, let's be TOTALLY honest. Seriously.  Cold is bad. There, the truth comes out. 

     Why?  Look at the calendar. it's May 19th.   There was heavy frost on the windshield a couple of days ago--and how can that possibly help grow  tomatoes and potatoes ?   The soil in the garden still  feels icy  cold. Only a few days away from planting, because  May 24th is our "usual" get-out-in-the-garden-and-plant-it-come-hell-or-high-water  planting date in our area.    
We're concerned. We'll need ear-muffs instead of a sun hat.  

      Is there a heat wave on the way?   We keep looking for one, but no,  it's still relatively cold.   Mother Nature, we need a weather miracle. Maybe we need one, but the world is supposed to end  on Saturday the 21st.  Did you hear about that?   No matter, the garden has to be planted anyway.
     As serious gardeners we always need to know stuff like the world is ending and   the temperature  of the soil and what kind of floods and  tornadoes are working themselves into a frenzy out Manitoba way.  We need to read the Farmer's Almanac and get gloves with green thumbs too.   Why?  We have enough agricultural  experiments on the loose out in the 100' long garden to satisfy any mad biologist. We have rototillers, big and small.  A Troybilt "Horse"  and a Mantis, the tiny kind.  Big and small, we grow it all. 
     We grow stuff.  We grew tomatilloes that are only supposed to grow in warm places. They seeded themselves down and grew like weeds here in NW Ontario. We made salsa. And more salsa.  We're trying for ground cherries next. I like pie, that's what ground cherries are for.  
     We mulched everything on raised beds, all 14 of them.  We don't have straw, so we use hay. We use leaves.  We use sawdust.  The earthworms love it.  The big 8" kind.  We noticed mulch kills off most of the weeds--not all of them by any means, but lots  of them. Mulch is good stuff for gardeners.  
     Our thumbs are turning greener by the minute, soon we won't even need gloves with green thumbs ---if the frost melts off of the rototiller, that is.  It looks like we'll have to wait for the pie. Go figure. 

     A few days ago we waited with abated breath for a parcel too.  It finally arrived.  We ordered  a special soil thermometer from those nice helpful  Lee Valley folks just  to test the temperature difference between mulched garden beds and garden soil that is not mulched;  a.k.a. real garden dirt exposed to what little sun and frost and other assorted variations of weather  we have had in the last few days. As an aside, we got an apple peeler too, for apple pie. You should see how fast that gadget peels  apples, cores and slices them in a flash.  Fast pie, no waiting for the weather there.  

"Wouldn't that let the frost in?? "
The difference in measured soil temperatures  was astounding.  Several readings were taken of each soil condition in comparable, close locations, and they were taken at the same depth,  just to observe sound scientific principles:   

  • Ordinary, bare but  undisturbed,  clay loam uncultivated soil  averaged: 14C
  •  Soil newly uncovered and cultivated 3 days previous, -- with no mulch averaged :   15 to 16C.
  •  Undisturbed garden  Soil with 4" of hay mulch left on it  was 10C to  11 C.
For the Celsius-challenged,at  zero in Celsius  water is ice--frozen solid.

      Clearly if we wanted the soil to warm up earlier, the mulch should have been pulled aside earlier.  Wouldn't that let the frost in?  Yup. Only a rocket scientist could figure that one out. 

      Regardless,  five degrees  (Celsius)   is  a LOT of  heat and makes a big difference to seeds. If they're not planted in soil that is adequately warm, they sit and do not germinate.  If the crows don't get them first.  Seeds can even rot and disappear before your very eyes, making you think you missed those few rows.      Corn  is best at doing that trick because it's tricky stuff. 
It's a conspiracy-weeds are best at growing at ANY temperature. 
     For added entertainment, and the advancement  of our agricultural know-how,  Lee Valley also sent an eye-opener along with that special Soil and Compost thermometer.  I suspected that right away. Something to read while we await the melting of frost.  It was a list.  A bucket list, maybe.  A list of  ideal soil temperatures  satisfactory for the planting of different types of vegetables,  transplanted or seeded directly. A list for waiting and dreaming.  
     Imagine that, a bucket list that runs from Asparagus to TurnipsTwenty-seven kinds.  So far, according to the temperatures I have recorded above, I can grow cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, peas, and leaf lettuce.   
I can grow those-- if it warms up enough to go outside and actually plant the stuff. 
Meantime, about the price of gas....and that election...where's that Farmer's Almanac anyway? 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gasoline in Venezuela: $0.37/ Gallon. In Canada: $6.52 /Gallon

I am a consumer. I'm  mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. It is time to nationalize the petroleum industry in Canada. It is time to put an end to greedy "BIG OIL".
 The title explains it all.  There is NO  excuse for gasoline to be  $ 1.43 per liter  or $6.50Cdn /gallon in Canada.  In Toronto-- in 1970 gasoline was 0.37 a gallon. That was 40 years ago,  but gasoline today  is made by the same process, the same equipment. 

We all know the price of crude oil is artificially set by OPEC.  Why does the Canadian  oil industry have to follow the dictum of OPEC?  The SAD fact is, Canada could have a "made in Canada" oil price, but internationally based petroleum corporations see it as an opportunity to gouge unfair profit from the consumer, and the government, collecting ever more tax from the consumer in the process, does NOTHING about it.     

Enough is enough.  It is time for the majority government of Canada to 'bravely' admit what the problem is, and put an end to the gouging and over-taxation of gasoline.
IN Venezuela today, the price of gasoline is --imagine that---approximately 0.37 per gallon. 
Even self-righteous ideological political critics of the "Chavez"  government in Venezuela will choke  in indignation, if they are honest,  having to admit there is no excuse for $6.13 MORE  for a gallon of gasoline in Canada, a large oil-producing nation,  than is charged today in Venezuela, a small  oil-producing nation. 

Petroleum companies in North America, meanwhile,  have published  almost unheard of profit levels --billions of dollars over the same period last year-- unfairly  gouged from everyday people.  

Let us listen carefully to the objections and sputtering about "political differences" as being the excuse.  
 Like it or not, "Political ideology" must be recognized for what it is--an invention of those that benefit most from it. Fascism, communism, capitalism, dictatorship-anarchy--all benefit the creators and those in power using those ideologically and imperfect systems. Better and more fair systems CAN be created. Why?

Even the creators of  "purist capitalism" surely must come to the realization that there are LIMITS to the amount of money that can be gouged and siphoned from everyday people that wish ONLY to survive and be treated fairly. 

  It is inexplicable and extreme gouging that ANGERS the consumer, NOT the concept of a "fair price and fair profit for a good product". 

All North Americans should be aware that it is equally  the ABUSE of ANY political system that is the driving force of  political ideological  change.  At this time,  in the petroleum industry,  "capitalist extremism " and endless  greed has clearly grown out of control.

As the petroleum industry is being  operating today, it must cross the minds of government, the consumer AND the political critic that NATIONALIZATION of the petroleum  industry is an idea whose time has clearly come, ideological "travesty" or not.  It is called necessary "change"--for the better.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is North America Being Integrated Without Permission?

     Now that the dust has settled,  the Canadian election is finished and delegated to the media back-burners in favour of other more exciting events. The latest annual flooding of  Manitoba and parts of Quebec  are complete with army call-outs for assistance --a new Federal  incentive at Provincial equalization  with Toronto's famous three inch snowstorm, so the majority Feds can  now happily claim equal helpfulness to all  Canadians  and confidently proceed with the progressive agenda on their books.  Everybody knows the publicized part, disposal of the long gun registry, another budget,  the same budget,  spend this,  yada yada.  
    But is the greater percentage of government agenda conducted openly or in secrecy? 
 Readers of Incoming Bytes  are  encouraged to think for themselves  as always, bearing in mind  "Ask the right questions, and you shall be told the right and most convenient  lies". 

     Shall we be thankful for the long-standing tradition of secret  governance?   Rightfully or not,  with inherent skepticism we believe  it's mostly secret.  Have no fear,  it's  just a matter of time,  ordinary folk will learn collectively what is to be done with us  reprobates and old codgers sooner or later, --perhaps even to rue the day a majority government was awarded.  For the forgetful, that was May 2nd.   
No matter.  It's already historical stuff, write it down, stick it on the refrigerator.

  Which other curious ongoing shenanigans  will become historical data,  to be revealed 50 years from now? 
   As we keep repeating,  the truth always comes out one way or the other, it's on the refrigerator in a sticky-note too,  --you can count on it, --but how can you do your part to  "help" the truth come out?

     Here's a hint;  Line up for Poutine or coffee at Timmy's.  Watch the body language of the politician in the line front of you,  if only for a few brief  moments of entertainment, --as you ask a pointed question loudly. 

   Try Question "A" :   "Is North America being integrated without our permission? "  The sudden  hush in the doughnut shop will astound you.
     Answer:   "That's a big question, um, oh, make that a double-double,  thanks--and a cinnamon doughnut, er, thanks,   I'm glad you asked that question,  yes, two sugars, ", blah blah...the perimeter security zone...blah blah, make that a chocolate  dip instead.....the correlated defense and security protocols, the confusing energy policy, we're working hard on that one,  the Keystone pipeline,   blah blah...pretty boring stuff.   How about Free trade ----that only applies to BIG business, --oh, did  Brian  forget to tell you that?  We wanted to tell you, but the members "opposite" didn't like that"....blah blah 
     Isn't  the Canadian-US border disappearing?    Where did you get that idea?  It wasn't very visible in the first place, but you still have to cough up  $ 87.00  on your credit card for a passport, yet another form of identification required,  No cash accepted Pay and go, You get the idea. Big business. Big government.  Big body language.

     Let us imagine what the real answer to question "A" might be instead,  it doesn't matter if the supposition is correct or not, it only matters that the reader's mind is actively seeking out all amusing truths  and other likely  probabilities.

    Real Integration involves all Americans lining up at the border and signing up to join Canada immediately when  1  US buck = 1 centavo = 1 Loonie.   We can't wait to see what the new North American "Centavo-loony-buck "   looks like  as it's integrated in celebration,  the sovereignty of three nations going down the pipe as slick as a burrito with sour cream.   "Mission accomplished", a revered Bushism,  comes home to roost.   
  "Queue up-alignez-vous " in multi-cultural Brit colony terms might be a handy term to remember and  understand while you stand in line  trying to join the Secret Governance Department in Ottawa.  It would also be helpful to  wear a " I voted Republican, Dude "  Tee-shirt.   
  If you happen to be applying at the Quebec border, as you're standing at the official counter, just nonchalantly mutter the words:         " Oui,, monsieur,  alignez-vous,  I got it, y'all " ,   which  can help you get an instant translator's  job in the Language Police division of  Quebec's department of Language Advancement .
By the way even with Gilles out- of- sorts  and even further out-of-office  with the results of the  last election, (May 2nd, remember?), you still  have to know  who Gilles is.   The bureaucrats might still  secretly want him  to be King of the new Integrated Quebec, although to the uninformed,   it looks like Jack already beat him to it.   That could be problematic secrecy at work yet again.  

WE don't know if Obama applied or not,  since he was so busy filling out the long-form birth certificate demanded by The Donald. 
  That kind of specialized electoral knowledge always  complicates the issues, especially with all of the orange signs Jack  has to get rid of and the extra forms you'll  have to fill out,  but, stand strong,  that's the very kind of stuff you need to know if you want to join Canada and get free Universal Health care, integrated without permission or not. 

As for a job,  there's full employment for all,  don't forget to apply in person at Timmy's too, before  it's integrated with Krispy Kreme on National Double-Double Doughnut- Taco  Day on June 5th.  

That's my story and  I'm sticking to it.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Canadian Election: Good News and the Bad

Canada survived the election.   Why not, we're certainly in practice, the third election in seven years,  and the good news is that there will NOT  be another Federal election for 4 years.  Maybe that's the best news. 
   The Conservatives and Stephen Harper now have a majority government and a mandate  to do with Canada as they will, not to be hindered,  stymied, threatened or made ineffective as they so piously  pleaded in their previous minority status whilst they ruled.
     Throughout the campaign,  with canned, planned rhetoric void of fire but hinting of  brimstone,  they attempted to instil fear in the hearts of the electorate  at the possibility of yet another minority and potential coalition conspiracies galore.   Mission accomplished.    Please, now,  with that majority, please do not repeat that canned speech one more time lest you drive us all around the bend, never to vote again.
 The Bloc Quebecois was wiped out,  left with four seats,  having occupied those many fine leather chairs in the House of Commons  for far too long --and what other destiny could be more  appropriate for a naval-gazing, regional, separatist, non-representative Canada-destroying party?  Gilles Duceppe,  their fierce leader failed to survive the NDP onslaught in Quebec, and  he is resigning.    From what he is resigning we know not, for without party status,  nothing remains but indignant whispers and a few crocodile tears.  
Smiling Jack Layton, the upstart fiery  cane-wielding New Democratic leader was the real story for the night;  wounded or not,  Jack and the NDP swept Quebec  at the expense of the Liberals and Conservatives to become the 'official' opposition with over a hundred seats.  Heady stuff for Jack.   He gave a speech that was befitting a Prime Minister.  Blew the Liberals and Michael Ignatieff out of the water like a surfacing whale.  That was  good news for him.
The bad news is that as official opposition facing a strong majority Conservative government across the floor,  even with 104 seats  he probably has less power now than he did when the government was a whining  minority suffering  the whims of aggravated opposition ---and Jack was often deal-maker of choice.

Hastily scribbled on the back cover of the Liberal Red Book is  Michael  Ignatieff's resignation;  he will likely to return to academia---and  Justin Trudeau,  yes, the son of Pierre Elliott T. himself  --is already considering  acquisition of that broken leadership and it's broken toys.   Go figure.  That didn't take long.

Thing is, with the  central-left Liberals it's either take on Justin and die or try to reinvent themselves, lick the wounds, and maintain silence and dignity if at all possible, without trying to alienate the electorate any further than they apparently already have .

Bottom line, left  with only a paltry 35 seats, for the Liberals, it's either that or conjure up a leaderless merge with the Leftist NDP,   Bob Rae seems to like that idea, visions of sugar plums at 24 Sussex Drive  dance in his head,  but  the crabby old boy's Red Tie Power  club has 4 years of vacation ahead of them  to figure out how to  politely remove Iggy from the seat of power and  put Justin in charge without offending Bob anyway. Oh, tell them not to bother;  Iggy resigned today.  That was easy.

Way out in the greenest part of B.C, out on the  Saanich-Gulf Islands , a place I always wanted to visit since it's always green on Saltspring,  there's  Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, who made her own  history by being the first  Green member of Parliament,  let's repeat that,  the first elected member of the Green Party of Canada to be sent to Ottawa.   Watch out, boys.
     Listen up, Stephen.   Now Elizabeth can storm the  leader's debates without the stigma of being the only party leader without a seat.  Now she has one. and it's a nice  Green one  just like the dozens  conveniently vacated by the Bloc for this special occasion, and the point is,  --shall we recall,-- she whupped a Conservative to get it too.  Feisty girl.   She is going to restore civility to the House of Commons single-handed. 
That's good news. Canadians are tired of watching children at play, and  by the way,  Canadians are entering dangerous territory with a government that not only prorogued  parliament twice,  but was also ruled in contempt of parliament.  How soon we forget?  uh-uh...Will the majority status "improve" that marginal tendency to dictate?  What shall we have, a majority anarchy? 
So, that's the bad news?  That's the pointed question.  Maybe the bad news  really is that we're just facing another 4 years of the same old political partisan gamesmanship. 

As my  brilliant friend John says,  "We shall see what we shall see".   Just don't hold your breath while you wait. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The New Normal: Expect the Unexpected

Yes, it is May the 1st today,  yet it is not warm by any stretch of the wishful imagination.   Cold and windy, steady as she goes.   Here in NW Ontario the sky is bright, but still tending to be overcast after yesterday's rain.   The sun will come out eventually.  We hope

Somehow it seemed gratifying yesterday to get rain instead of  snow.  Much better. We got the shoveling kind  ungraciously bestowed upon us a couple of days ago.  Complaining?

No, not really, -- but...but........C'mon,  a couple of inches of snow wasn't that bad, but it's supposed to be spring, isn't it? My crocuses are in bloom, after all.  Beautiful, too, down there in the snow. 

Regardless, our luck of the draw  here  seems a lot better than the treatment  Mother Nature has been bestowing upon other areas of North America. Vast areas of Manitoba are flooding, farmer's fields are lakes, literally,  basements full of water, and the water isn't even crested yet --with more to come.
I'm feeling lucky and blessed at this point, -- but  I'm guessing we, too,  have to expect the unexpected,  as the new normal.

Internationally,  with radiation still spewing from Fukushima,  a disaster of proportions  that perhaps now exceeds that of Chernobyl, the end of that disaster is nowhere  in sight.   Who would think that an earthquake coupled with a mere tsunami  could eventually endanger the whole of Japan  and other countries as well ?  The nuclear didn't think so.     Expect the unexpected,  it's not a matter of IF disasters will happen, but when. 

In the Southern US, over 340 fatalities--and still counting, with many people missing -- have been caused by perhaps the worst tornado season on record.  Total destruction, a swath of damage that looks a lot like the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan.
Still,  a tornado or two,  perchance a dozen, or three dozen ---but 130 or more in one day?
Isn't that just a bit overdone, Mother Nature?   
Heavily populated areas were hit badly.  Expect the unexpected. 

At Incoming Bytes, our hearts go out to the families of those lost in these terrible tragedies. May they find comfort in their faith.

In Canada, our unwanted  election is May 2nd .   It was a pretty dull campaign, a real yawner, and  the  Harper Conservatives were expecting to garner a majority government.  Guess what. "Were "  is the key word.

Surprise, surprise.  Jack Layton's  New Democratic Party has surged past the Liberals in the last few official polls --  not only moving into 2nd place  to threaten the Conservative majority, but  perhaps .....the unthinkable, could they end up in 1st place?

Maybe  there is some  historical stuff coming up tomorrow.     Surprise, people,-- just  expect the  unexpected.

South of the border again,  Donald Trump, yes, that smiling Donald,  the one and only  Donald --seems to be running for the Presidency of the United States?  Why not, isn't politics a reality show anyway?  
 Maybe he'll bring a whole roster of  "apprentices" to the White House, cute little Presidential trainees. ...I wonder.
If an ex-actor can be successful  president,  why can't  a successful entrepreneurial showman be President?  The Terminator  got to be governor, didn't he? Anything is possible.
  The Donald knows how to fire people. " You're fired" he says, pointing his finger at the unlucky outgoing soul.   Sighs of relief all around the table.  Gary Busey, was the latest statistic,  he was apparently too likeable but just a bit crazy and not a Leader, so  no apprenticeship at the White House for him, --but think about it, a White House with  glitz and spangles and "you're fired! "  ---and big hair.     
Barack, better expect the Unexpected there too.  Maybe it will snow. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.