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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...


Friday, July 22, 2011

Lessons on Tenacity

                                       Tenacity and Persistence

Everybody knows of at least  one example of tenacity and persistence.  The person that refuses to give up against incredible odds,  the participants in miracles,   the tiny, ignored  runt of the litter that survives.  How about J.K. Rowling,  the  single mom  that becomes the  richest author in the world,  or the one seed out of a thousand  that sprouts and grows, saving a species from extinction.  They continue to amaze, and rightly so.  Why do they persist and succeed?

I  like  the idea of tenacity if only for the fascinating concept of observing  the  characteristics  of the extraordinary one that does survive  and promise to  outgrow, live and produce,  something like my  Charlie Brown apple tree  in  "Life's little Successes"  saved by tenacity and persistence.  Well, let's add a bit of  refusal to die, gardener's stubbornness and  some eternal optimism, the curiosity of experimentation, and such other  factors easily plucked from the air, but you get the idea.

We have to digress a bit.  See the picture?  It's a stump, a very large one.  White birch,  or what remains of a huge dual trunk.
  The  Paper Birch, Betula Papyrifera, a magnificent part of Northern Ontario almost seems doomed to pass into memory. The beautiful birch, also known as the canoe birch, silver birch,  or western paper birch,  has white, paper-like bark that has layers as delicate as fine paper or thick as old canvas that can be peeled off.  Some bark sloughs off naturally.  Fine stands of these trees are almost ghost-like in certain lighting conditions.
Magnificent trees?  Yes.  Invincible?  No.  They are attacked by bronze birch borers , typically causing tree die-back from the top down. The tops break off, and the  larger branches and trunk being essentially waterproof like a birch bark canoe, (imagine that coincidence )  the tree soon falls prey to decay and ultimately dies.
   It behooves us to use the beautiful hardwood if possible, and for a year or two  after the tree begins to succumb to the bug, the wood remains solid and useable for furniture or other creative  purposes. 
Interestingly,  if one fails to cut down a  dying paper birch before the last branches die off, the root system does not survive,  but if cut soon enough, a number of saplings will spout from the stump. 
The photo included herein is the one-in-a thousand instance in nature that should teach us the power of tenacity and persistence in nature. A lesson we can probably benefit from.  The majestic dual-trunk birch was probably 80 years old or more, and finally caught the attention of the insects. Alas, it had to be cut down a couple of years ago. Being close to the abode and dangerously leaning, was left by the power of procrastination and was very dead, -- no chance of sprouts left.  
Oh yeah?   Look at the picture.  On top.   See little twin-trunk clone,  the King of the Castle, the winner, the number one contender in nature--admittedly yet a runt, but soon to be giant?   Ha !  Harry Potter, wizardry?    Somehow I doubt it.

  Nature has us stymied once again.  Maybe Glory Lennon's  happy zeitgeist is so busy  she spreads  her enthusiasm to hopelessly dead  wild birch trees too.  It seems there's always hope left, no matter what happens. 
Now that's  how to be tenacious and persistent. 

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

M.J. Joachim : Gum Pets on the Hill

At Incoming Bytes  it is our privilege and pleasure to be able to feature fine guest authors .  Authors and individual writers who  think as  individuals,  speak with authority, and  express their personal  opinion with justification, a unique voice, and personal perspective --while encouraging protracted thought in the reader --are always welcome. 
Please join me in welcoming M.J.Joachim to Incoming Bytes.  Her approach to the oncoming financial crisis in the U.S.  is uniquely expressed in her always-powerful style. 

                 Gum Pets on the Hill

Mitzi was a gum pet

Statue of Liberty
A crazy sort of critter

Amenable to everyone

Not ever thought a quitter

Stuck like glue campaigning

Melting in the heat

Mitzi claimed the answers

But Mitzi was a cheat

Unraveling the mystery

Of change preached far and wide

Mitzi challenged everyone

To beam with errant pride

“We’re not there yet,” Mitzi shouted

As the people bowed in shame

“The economy’s atrocious,

And I am not to blame!”

The people stared in wonder

At the zeitgeist Mitzi made

Wampum was no good here

Few people could get paid

The past had come to haunt them

The present scared them more

The future looked much brighter

Than it ever had before

Mitzi was a gum pet

That lost direction fast

The question, “Are we there yet?”

Did not need to be asked

Blink and you might miss it

In the battles on the hill

Focus on the wrong things,

You’re sure to get a chill

Trust in God and liberty

Stand up for what is right

Challenge Mitzi gum pets

To keep your future bright. 
           copyright Teresa DePoy  2011                

                                     About our Guest Author                      

M. J. Joachim is a  freelance writer and self-described die-hard American who believes in common sense, hard work and the American Dream. She believes real people should get elected to serve her country, as opposed to professional politicians who want to run it.   M. J., like most patriotic Americans, is well aware of the power struggles taking place in Washington D. C., and in municipal governments across the country. Freelance writing in a number of genres enables her to share knowledge and opinions on a variety of subjects through the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Freedom of Speech.    One of many American inalienable rights,  Freedom of Speech was deemed worthy of protection by America's Founding Fathers.

        M.J. has recently  published several E-books including  'The Merciful Victory of the Cross' ,  'Beyond our Words Prayers and Reflections' ,  and  a FlashTyme series of stories that may be found at         http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mjjoachim

photo credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/                                                        p.s.  that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life's Little Successes

Life's little Successes

See the black tape?    Every once in a while we should step back and check  the trees in the forest.  I check the ones in the yard too, while I'm at it.   I do  like checking trees; it comes honestly, and  I observe them carefully.   Closer examination is often required to see  mind-shattering, clever details.  When you focus on details, you often find surprises, too,  pleasant ones.   What seems normal is not.   Sometimes, persistence pays.  The strange and unusual can happen.

Let us digress with purpose.  Just for today,  pretend the world is  not in difficulty,  that wars are not in progress, and  that major  economies, even  countries are flirting with bankruptcy.   Let's ignore the weather which is haywire,  wreaking havoc upon the land  with unmitigated flooding, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, forest fires, and drought world-wide. Let's forget that we can't afford to take a wonderful vacation to an exotic land.
While we're at it, let's totally  ignore petty, corrupt politicians,  stuffed-shirts,   the self-entitled, the talking heads on television, and the  at-times sordid lives of  Charlie  What's-his-face  and So-So GaGa  in Hollywood .
Let's focus on life's little successes instead.  Let's talk about growing things.  Why?  Let's explain.   WE think happier is better. 

My friend Glory Lennon is a happy person. She is a wonderful  writer, blogger, and novelist,  but her blog "Glory's Garden" ( http://glory-garden.blogspot.com/ ) seems to be her happy  place. She grows things. She's an expert gardener,  she is knowledgeable.  She knows that day lilies don't have bulbs,  she knows what thistles are, even big ones;  she has two green thumbs,  and best of all, she  is always happy to help others with their gardening and floral  greenery challengerium.
  Glory may well  be the very zeitgeist of gardens, and doesn't charge  wampum for advice  or tips on how to grow stuff in front of your wigwam either.   No matter.  The point is,  I have been enjoying reading her blog for well over a year now,  that's longer than one growing season in gardening talk.  Good thing.  Things sink in slowly.   Let's not lose focus now, remember, patience is good, and persistence pays.
Back in 1994  I planted a skinny  McIntosh apple tree. It was a mere whip,  about 15 " high, no branches, and the size of a very skinny brown  pencil.  Despite my advanced gardening skills and encouragement, annual examinations and talking to  it,   in all this time (yep, seventeen years, threats and all )  it never grew more than 5' high, hm....actually it may  not even be  quite that high.

It is still not much more than an inch in diameter.  StuntedHeight challenged. Anemic looking.  Nary a blossom.   A  potential Charlie Brown Christmas treeSans vitamins or something.   Last year was definitely the last straw, time to cut it down.  Not so fast, gardening guy.   There's only one thing we hate around here  more than  wimps and quitters, and that's apple-tree-chopper-downers.  Apples, the fruit of the Gods and all that. 

The optimism in Glory's Garden  must have rubbed off on me.  "One more year...I'll GRAFT it."  I said, almost changing my mind,  the old fingers just itching to grab the axe.

THIS very spring, a few months ago,  while it was still looking leafless,   I was going to reverse direction again,  hack it down, and even made a cut on the base as I started to do so.    I  changed my mind at the last second.  It must have been the zeitgeist whispering.

Instead,  I studiously grafted a twig  (scion, that's apple talk)  from a producing "Sweet Sixteen" apple onto a  nipped-off handy branch, that would be  any arbitrarily chosen branch close to the trunk.   The theory is if a branch graft  will grow, you can eventually hack off  (in civilized terms, reduce)  the rest of the OLD tree and convert the whole thing to the new species.   Not a bad plan, since   I have had marginal to fair and reasonable to  erratic success grafting.   Out came the grafting knife and black tape.  A simple wedge graft. Match up the cambium ( that's the green stuff under the bark). That's how you do it. Crank it up with tape to seal it so no sap can escape.   Sap  has to go up into the graft  when the buds start growing.  All that sipping-sap makes it grow.
Well, that's the theory.

For the longest time the graft looked like a dud, completely hopeless.  A skinny stick with one end stuck in black tape.  No leaves.  Dried up buds.  Dead, falling off, and threatening to dry up completely.  The bark was even  beginning to wrinkle.  I clipped off  the top end of the graft stick  (scion, remember-- to real apple guys )   and sealed that cut  too.  

Nothing happened for a month, and the rest of the tree came into it's usual wimpy leaves, so in disgust,  I thought the best strategy was to simply ignore the whole tree for the season,  disassociate my hurt feelings and gardening soul from it, take revenge and viciously hack it down in the fall --after the  leaves dropped.
It's easier to do when the tree is 18 years old,  the age of majority for apple trees. Besides, in the fall, most trees look like  dead sticks without leaves  --much easier for sensitive  gardeners to hack down.   The  "chop it down with something , anything *sharp and get a real tree " concept came to mind.   (  THE *axe was indeed looking very tempting  at the time )

Surprise...I could not believe my eyes.  Three months later, a.k.a.  a few days ago, I discovered  the graft was not only growing, but it has  blossoms.  Apple blossoms.   That would be right, since the stick (scion)  I stuck on there wasn't from a spruce or poplar tree.  Success.    I held my breath. Are we there yet? A real dual- apple tree?

  Even  more confusing, the whole  tree began to grow like never before--putting on at least a foot of height.  The leaves are  now dark green, lush --  and healthy.   Why?  Grafting?   It's looking good!   I'll have a dual-species tree --if the original tree ever decides to blossom.

Maybe I half scared it to death with that sharp chopper. Maybe it just wanted extra encouragement, or company,  being an old tree and such.  No, it can't be.
I know.  I think the zeitgeist from  Glory's Garden  took over and  influenced it.  They can do that, you know.  I'll ask her.   She'll know.

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


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Ball and Chain Approach might Work for THEM too....

                                             the old ball and chain trick

It's difficult to raise the flag high  these days. 

It seems to me punishment should always fit the crime. 
in troubled financial times, the big spenders,  the economic destroyers wasting our money inappropriately and creating financial havoc should be wearing a Ball & Chain award instead of the people footing the bill.   The  old "Stars & Strips"  of the  United States of America is wearing a big ball and chain--uncontrollable debt, the wall is coming, a lot faster than you think,  we already talked about that,  but the concept and that cute little picture  also got me thinking about appropriate ways to reward people who insist upon following their hearts to questionable riches and fame at the  undisciplined expense of society.  Same thing for the guys making stupid and stupider decisions and policy.

Such  treatment should always be  appropriately arranged  for crooked politicians without fail, and for  financially-challenged overpaid CEOs  filching their shareholder's funds under the guise of bonuses.  They can join other greedy CEO's seeking bailouts to save their  stained shorts,  and  other industrious  greedy-specialist types that wish to garner wealth in devious, dubious or dishonest ways. 
Other rascal knockabouts  who think they can do anything devious, underhanded or " make stinky"  in society "as they please" without moderate to severe consequences should also think twice,  yes, make that twice,   we're onto you.

NO more holidays- get-off-Scott-free happy-hotels   for you   hoodlums, fast fingered- fanatics and assorted horrible home-grown terrorist guys either--you're exiled as of yesterday, you're off to some desert island without  umbrella-decorated cool drinks, but there are  lots of sharks in the water to entertain you.   Play "count the coconuts" as you tow your ball and chain around, making creative 'B & C' tracks.     Say bye-bye.  Get your Speedos on, you're leaving for much warmer climes much sooner than you think .

  McDummy hamburger-serving jobs complete with B& C benefits are awaiting all politicians that express a marginal propensity to destroy the job market by making foolish, biased decisions in a bid to to enrich themselves by building gazebos in their ridings for a million bucks each.  Let's include  dirty oil boys, and all industrialists who practice  Chinese outsourcery  or local economy downsizery too, while we're at it.  What's the matter with you guys, did you not watch Harry Potter?  Do you not know what happens to evil types?Want to see the inside of a real dungeon?
Oh, and about jobs?  Want to try a nice working foreign vacation ?   We shall assign you environmental   moppit   jobs in Fukushima's  Nukes and Radiation Melt-Down Department, REAL work  to pay for your vacation,  the vacation tailor-made  just for you,  if you insist on entertaining any additional  Nuclear energy in Canada.   You'll love the glowing veggies and beef  and radiated Saki.   

You will also get a glowing letter of recommendation when you leave Fukushima,  you even get to keep the radioactive mop,  and are awarded  a one-way  free pass to a Siberian work camp called Chernobyl.   They have cute little lines of  Class A  yurts there  (good idea eh, borrowed from Tibet!)    to vacation  in.   Don't forget the entertainment, it's the Gulag's "works"  Nuclear Society  Entertainment program,  the approved  'exchange-a-life-for a  glowing Siberian Honeymoon  plan' is another option.   It will be called other names by  politicians who THINK we should exchange sanity for more nuclear  power plants in Ontario, but apply soon,  most of the vacation spots are filled already.
Let's send  Dalton and the developers and nuclear financiers with him so they can become glowing water-boys too--as a rest,  right after the Ontario election,  shall we?  They'll be joining all the nice  Americans  from Nebraska.  They want a third Nuke plant down there  too, but that's justifiable, the first two are being washed away in the floods.   They're easy to spot,  they're the boys  trying to hoist the flag, --you know, the Stars & Strips,  the one with the big ball and chain on it.  

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Economic D-Day: US Heading for the Wall ?

                                                 the old Piggy-bank

I was always told to never spend more money than I had.
" If it's not in the piggy-bank, don't spend it"    Simple, timeless advice from parents that came through the "dirty thirties" --when unemployment was standard,  men and their families were put out on the street and desperately migrated any place they could go to find work and food.  A time when the very will to survive, for many, determined whether they survived or not. 
The question is now not whether individuals will survive, but whole nations --Ireland, Greece, Spain --all in financial trouble, playing with "bailouts" --and now the USA.

Big trouble is afoot-- and in July,  --yes, THIS July,  --in the next few weeks  it will be pretty much determined if the US hits  the wall or not--with 15 Trillion dollars in debt, give or take a few billion,  a "few"  very pricey  wars on the hotplate and a struggling political battle in Congress doing it's  best to kill off any  progress--what will occur?    Will the US default on it's loans, or will it just print trillions of paper dollars and inflate the debt away--destroying the economy with hyperinflation?  Will the 'debt ceiling'  just be arbitrarily raised to "extend" the deadline and "put off" the big collapse?  

It seems to me economics in North America is going to have to be re-invented.  It is not working, let's face it.  Big corporations and CEO's  collect tax breaks and  multi-million dollar bonuses while shareholders collect little or  nothing for their investments;  taxpayers foot the bill for bailouts,  and end up in worse shape than the trillion-dollar banks  that continually siphon the cream off of every sector of the economy--and all the while creating yet more  financial disaster so the taxpayer can foot the bill to fix it.  The banks OWN North America.  The banks OWN your government  and tell it what to do. The US federal reserve is NOT run by your government.  

  Change is due, and soon.  Real soon.   IN the old West, they would "hang'em high" and leave the vultures to clean up the mess.  In today's economic world,  we have it backwards; the financial vultures are happily creating the mess.
August 4th   is  D-Day.
Standard& Poors notes that the US default on on it's payment for August 4th.....the US will drop rating from " AAA"   to  a dismal  "D" ranking.

The global economy is at stake and world markets will react "badly".   A real barn-burner.  The Grapes of Wrath are ripening.  

It's going to be a tough one. Hang onto your hats. 

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

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th, America, BUT-- are you really FREE ?

"Those who flee oppression oft' flee to oppression of their own"  should come to mind as  America celebrates Independence Day .

Happy July 4th to all of our American friends! 

It may be time for celebration, but it is also time for thoughtful  reflection.   How and why  was America built?   Everybody knows that America the Beautiful was founded by people seeking Independence;  people fleeing oppression from  European political systems,  repressive taxation, stifling political dogma characterized by an agenda driven by monarchies and the self-entitled,  the rich, the devious,  and the corrupt.

It is little  surprise that American leaders, movers and shakers,  the self-entitled, the Power, the glorious rich  and the deviously corrupt  are building the same empires  in the  "new world",  the "thirteen struggling Colonies" now come the most powerful nation in the world.   As they do so, the subtle, at times blatant removal of  rights from individuals is always  justified by those doing so  with the "best of intentions".
Since  9/11  one of the issues seemingly becoming more prevalent  and a bone of contention  is that  rights and freedoms have been reduced under the guise of "security" and protection" .
The growing spectre of  leadership paranoia is displayed with increasing levels of surveillance,  paranoia expressed loudly with "Eye in the sky",  street cams,  and  the use of electronic  technology capable of monitoring hundreds of millions of electronic transmissions simultaneously.  Millions of telephone calls can be monitored without law, without permission, and without  reason;  the whereabouts of   anyone  on earth can literally be determined with  electronic monitoring,  face-identification technology and Google Earth.   If no "boogie-man" exists, create one.  Any excuse to garner power.

The far-reaching tentacles of  paranoia extend  even to  individual key-strokes  carefully applied on  keyboards;   senior citizens  exploring the world and sending Email to their grandchildren at the blazing rate of 15 words per minute are worthy of watching. 
Are such evil keystrokes  perceived to be  a serious  threat to the official status quo of the rich and powerful and their dogma of corrupt power and  corporate greed?  Let's  figure that one out somehow, because I think it approaches the realm of the sublime.

What does this trend say about "freedom" in North America?  The noose is tightening on the expression of freedom world-wide.    There is no place left to run to.  NO place remains on earth that one may flee to in a bid to escape  oppression.
Should the population of the United States of America remain silent  as babies and grandmothers alike are "patted down" in airports ?  Should the population of ANY  country remain apathetic and silent  until all backs are against the wall and there is nothing left available BUT to fight savagely with  tooth and nail ?

At the infamous  G20 Summit in Canada demonstrators were "kettled",--- meaning locked up en masse and detained without cause, without  being charged with any crime, -- simply because the "Riot-equipped"  police force present COULD use that UGLY  method to inspire FEAR in the hearts of demonstrators,  trouble-inciters  and innocent  alike.  

The message was  "We can take away your freedom arbitrarily, if WE decide to do so".   

Is that process acceptable?  NO It is a direct affront on the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens. It is government gone mad, far exceeding any  mandate to govern. 
  What has "civilization" in North America become ?   A police state?  Riot police willfully doing as they wish simply because the "government" allows, even encourages them to do so?  Shall we control the masses with fear?  What is YOUR government doing?  
Excuse us,  but freedom-loving people  have no intention of accepting  that kind of arbitrary  treatment with silence or open arms;  thinking people will not accept any arbitrary reduction of rights and freedoms or abuse of power.

At Incoming Bytes  we encourage freedom-loving people everywhere  to be aware of the direction your leadership is taking and speak up.   Freedom  is under attack --and there is no longer any place to run.  Apathy is not an option.  Think about it as you celebrate your Happy Independence Day !

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

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day --Time to Re-think Freedom. You too, America!

It's July 1st  2011  and   "Will and Kate" , Prince William and Kate Middleton are wowing the crowds in Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations.  Isn't that great?   Canadians are enjoying the "historic relationship of the Mother country England --by honoring the newest and most popular royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, -- that are merely  "Will and Kate" to happy Canadians on this sunny day.  

What does that acknowledgment of royalty really  mean?   Only 145 years ago, Canada became 'Independent' and free of Great Britain's colonial rule.  Are we "free" ?  
It is time to rethink what freedom really is. It's not 1867  any  more, that is a given, but freedom is more than a royal signature on dusty old documents.

"I live, therefore I must be free or die." Passionate, serious words that challenge the concept of freedom within an ordinary, normal society, but where does true freedom really begin and end?
What must one be allowed to do to be considered free? " (more)

Canadians, in fact all North Americans,  need to think for themselves and examine the shaky ground we stand upon.  One only had to watch the G20 security summit disaster to recognize how close to a police state we appear to be.  Is democracy real freedom when  authoritarian rules are arbitrarily inflicted upon a civilized population?   Let's totally  ignore the rabble and trouble-making element for a moment.  Does a demonstrating,  civilized population need to be threatened and controlled by robotic, heavily-armed,  riot-equipped police?  At Incoming Bytes  we think not.  

Clearly troublemakers should be identified and held accountable for their actions and the damage they do, but is it necessary to threaten average teenagers, average adults, and average Canadians who choose to express their opinion?  Freedom of speech comes to mind.  
     When we have studied, compared, and discerned our actual status within reality,  stripping  away the imaginary "freedoms" we are "allowed" by government and bureaucracy  that has  totally forgotten what the real  mandate of government IS,  what is really left?  

Perhaps Canadians are not the worst off in the world comparatively, but could real freedom make our lives so much better?  
Americans in the United States  will celebrate their July4th  holiday with equal gusto,  but they are suffering reduction of freedoms under the guise of the 'war on terrorism'. They, too, have riot-equipped police forces.  Go figure.  They look just like ours.  Imagine that.  
How far does legislation and government  go before "freedom" is no longer?  Why is there so much  awkward silence about real freedom, just as there is unnatural, official silence about the spate of  disasters and the potentially mind-boggling, civilization-changing effects of them?   
It seems that "Will and Kate" are more important today .   That's fine.   Really.  Happy Canada Day --but we continue to  encourage all North Americans to think for themselves --before it is to late to do so.

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