About this blog

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...


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Last Raspberry

The Last Raspberry. The BEST One?

With the end of summer rapidly approaching it does not take much imagination to recognize that if you don't have some garden harvesting in motion and berries picked by now, it may soon be too late. Every fruit has it's season and all that....

Raspberries are a good case in point,  and although one may still find some late, tiny wild raspberries  in secluded areas  shaded from the intense summer sun in the bush,  the neat, orderly rows of raspberries in the garden are pretty much finished producing for the year, like it or not.

After harvesting 8 or 10 gallons of raspberries, maybe more,  it seems to me  the "pick " was  clearly finished. For the last couple of weeks there have been a  miscellaneous  "few here and there types " , not really  enough to bother with a container or do an official "pick", but certainly enough for the casual garden-visitor to pause happily  and  enjoy the sweet fruit---Until today, that is.  
Today there was only one raspberry in sight.  The last one.   I poked around looking under leaves, tenderly moving aside those drying, scratchy old plants that have given their all to produce that final flurry of fruit.  I gently push aside the new, green, very tall, stately plants that will produce the fruit next season, making sure they are not damaged.   Raspberries DO that.   Grow the first year and produce the second year.  AT least some types do.  The June-bearing "Red ones"  like mine do--I can explain that sometime, but I digress;  it's hard not to be distracted  in the bright August sunshine.  See how tall the new plants are?  Oh, right, let's not digress.

Much taller  new growth raspberry plants will be next year's producers

Back to business,  at Incoming Bytes  we like to ask the most difficult of questions and from time to time must necessarily wander into alternative fields of  interest like  insurrection, how to do stuff, and  timeless, strange but true  philosophical quandarys.
Such is this question:    Why does the last raspberry of the year always taste so much better than the first gazillion?  Is the last raspberry the Best one?   I vote yes.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jack's Gone, Now What ?

It was with much dismay and sadness that Canadians learned of the death of  Mr. Jack Layton,   husband of Olivia,  a father, a friend of average Canadians and families,  and clearly a highly- respected statesman.  He was many things, but  he was also the  leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada.   

The first thing that most people will tell you is that Jack was successful at what he did, leading the party that became "official opposition" in the last  Federal election. He tossed  the arrogant  Liberal Party into the twilight zone of political parties,  close to  non-party status.   The fact that he also took Quebec by storm, virtually wiping out the  separatist Bloc Quebecois  is worthy of note.

With that brief but heady success  and facing a  Harper Progressive Conservative majority in the House of Commons,  Jack bravely took on cancer head-to-head for the second time and lost.  
 A state funeral soon to be held will honour Jack.
R.I.P, Jack Layton
May your family stay strong  and receive comfort in their faith and your memory.

Jack's gone, now what ?

The fact is, I believe that politicizing anyone's death is a bad thing to do and is  thoughtless.  Regardless of one's political affiliation, now is not the time to speculate on the meaning of his " final note" or any other political consideration. 

AT  this time,  at Incoming Bytes  we encourage all Canadians to show respect and reflect kindly upon the  memory of a  great Canadian that  truly earned  the respect of all Canadians.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to the Grindstone --and the Drawing Board

Well,  it's back to the grindstone again.
Having been away from everything including Incoming Bytes  for a few days right in the middle of one of  the biggest financial crises in North America's economic history  was actually helpful.  Let's call it a stress reducer,  fortuitous timing,  a blessing in disguise,  you name it.   Why?  The fact is , there is absolutely no logic in worrying about something one has no control over. 

Meantime, North American stock markets  took a terrible dive,  shiny gold climbed to over  $1700/ oz. for the first time in history,  and as usual, the overly-nervous  small investor panicked and sold off--giving the banks and the wealthy with  endless cash coffers yet another opportunity to use our own money to  engulf  stocks at bottom-feeder prices.  Go figure.  How lovely.  Is that  happenstance, devious manipulation,   just good economic choreography, or what?

So what is really happening? With the US credit rating dropped, the international community looking at the U.S with a wary eye, ordinary  investors are nervous--and rightfully so.  Unknown to most Americans, the Federal Reserve does not even  belong to the Federal Government, it belongs to foreign banks --who are tightening the purse strings willfully.  China "warns" the US  that the days of easy borrowing are over.  How cute.

With burgeoning personal debt, it is easy to understand the conundrum. Many North Americans, Canadians and American households  alike  are overspent, and their discretionary spending, the  amount of money they have left after huge interest payments are made--is  shrinking rapidly. Simple to understand, budgetary discretion also known as --choice-- is siphoned away by burgeoning  interest payments and bad fiscal management. 

The fault really is our own.  Governments R US......literally.   We actually vote for, and pay people to manage our financial affairs--and where does that get us? They make bad to worse decisions, spend our tax dollars foolishly,  advise us what "we" want,  and  then we all scratch our heads in  wonder, contemplating why national piggy-banks no longer rattle with gold.   Ya' gotta appreciate the no-win -no-win  mess we've put ourselves in.

Let's use the latest debt crisis in the US  as a result of bad  political management, bad partisan politics, and bad spending --as a typical  'model' of desperation --in reality,  a typical model of despair.  
To be realistic, perhaps we should not feel bad as individuals,  other countries, Greece,
Spain, Ireland, Portugal --are also in a mess,  and now the whole of the United States of America is in the same situation.  Why would that be?  Unbelievable?   

In the case of the USA, all you have to do is look at the chart to see why.  A full 58% of discretionary spending is spent on the military.

Let's all close our eyes and disregard reality.

"Let's worship political dogma,  practice party gamesmanship,  and  just raise the debt ceiling some more, so our great-great-great  grandchildren can pay it all off.  Let's stick to our guns, spending habits, and outrageous spending at all cost.   Right. Let's raise the debt ceiling and make it even worse next time. The Holy Dollar is all that counts  as long as we get to spend it. "
Frankly, at times it seems like two or three working, budget-minded  single moms and a handful of mediocre but  hard-working average Grade VI students might do a better job of managing the biggest economy in the world.

The way I see it,  priorities should be people instead of political dogma,  "power" and political gamesmanship.  

How is one to convince North America  that's what is needed?
 Think NEW priorities !   Imagine using logic instead of politics to run countries. 

Perhaps we should have stayed on vacation,   chilled out,  and hid our heads in the sand instead.  Would that help? No.  Would that fix problems at home?  No.

The fact IS, it really is time to go back to the grindstone, back to the drawing-board and redesign the economic model everyone  depends upon so heavily.   The North American economic model IS failing.                                            What are we going to do about it? 

I know... go on another vacation,  buy on credit some more,  borrow more money,  wear rose-coloured glasses, and blame everyone else.....

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