Saturday, 28 September 2013

My Beloved Forcast

I was born in 1958 in what is accurately described as the Great White North. A big part of the winter diet was deer and moose slaughtered in the fall without regard to liceing. Vegetables came from a can and tasted like tin. TV was broadcast in black and white by the CBC and on radio we could usually only get a signal at nite. There was a local Cinema that was illuminated on weekends, and every Friday night most of the town was lined up to view whatever vision they had on hand to portray.

In this Diaspora of culture hockey was the King, We played in barns, literally. Some farmer would flood the floor and we would skate on that ice without boards. We played on frozen ponds, and frozen lake cleared of meters of snow by volunteers who knew they could not in anyway stand their ground on ice.
We played in arenas with square comers and wire mesh greeting anyone on the wrong end of a finished check. From my era and to date skaters making the NHL have been rare. The first one was Ron Stackhouse. The second was Bernie Nichols. I grew up with Bernie, he was a few years behind me. On the ice I might have had one or two sessions with him. Indisputably I was a better skater. However Bernie had a incredible knack for hitting the twine from two feet. I saw this. He made the whole net look wide open.

Hopefully I have established my credentials for forecasting the 2013 season.

Hockey has become a chessmatch gamed and simulated by supercomputers.
Every player and every coach is gamed before any game. There are no original thoughts just brain farts. The key to winning any game is for your player to exceed their potential. If you think your job has become overly transparent, an NHL hockey player is living in a world of glass.

So how do you fool the machine, the man and the supercomputers?

First you make a team. Its hard to plot what a bunch of individuals will do collectivist against their own self interest. What comes into this is character.
Are you willing to jump on a grenade for your mates. Personally not, but if you want to win the Stanley Cup you need at least half the team ready to accept a puck in the face.

With that preface I evaluate the 2013  Club de Montreal.

Hockey is now a chessboard and it all starts with the King
Our King is Carey Price. As Kings go he has not been bad
or good. Knowing this what can we do to support him.  Yes he can wave the flag with  a better defense.
Chicago has run through a series of disposable gullies in winning multiple cups.
So defending the king has to be job one in 2013.

Our defense looks a mess. On the other side we have NHL players who can play.
Gorges and BoulIian are desperation measures. Its tough to play NHL and both these guys can do it, but we have better on the farm.

 Bishops, Knights and Queens. (not to be thinking about sexual orientation)

Queens we have in abundance, Makaorw, Plecanics and Desjarines.

Kings we do not have, but some hope from royal jelly.

Bishops and Knights are to numerous to mention.

Our Pawns are powerful.

We are in the fight, a Stanley cup this year, its up to the gods of injury.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

One day the axe just fell

I was working as a cook in the Northwood's for a spell and one day the axe just fell.
 Bob Dylan

Well it happened to me yesterday. I used to work for one of the fourth biggest Market Research firms in the world. In my five years there I did many good things for them. I had a sales base that was 34 times my annual income. About half that total was new clients I had recruited. However my portfolio was under constant attack from category decline and the move away from bricks and mortar to the internet.  So someone way above my pay grade analyzed the situation and decided closing the Canadian Sales office was going to add to shareholder value. I cant argue with the decision, in fact had I been making it I would have done the same thing,

Personally I think it really sucks. At 55 years old I have been given a very generous package, and I have to commend my  company for this, they could have just terminated us, but they did the good thing.  I am not worried about the future, but it is no longer so bright I need sunglasses.

Every aspect of 21st century life is mostly artificial. News is now propaganda.  Despite the constant messages that you cannot live without more information about how to live life, its pretty simple and humans have been doing it for millions of years. You find someone you love and you love them. Forget about big screen TV or hundreds of thousand likes on face book. Living with someone you love is the best app.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

R.I.P. Eiji Toyoda

Eiji Toyoda was the younger cousin of the founder. Toyota has done the world a lot of good. The Kan Ban inventory system and process of constant improvement pioneered by Toyota have been adopted by almost every enterprise. Thus lowering the cost and improving the quality of life. Eiji Toyoda ruled this firm for 25 years. Amongst his accomplishments the Prius and the Lexus brand.

Canada wins best skyscraper 2013

Who does not wish sometimes they were an architect. A Chinese firm builds a winner in Mississauga.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Factory Farming Flamed

Failure to Observe

The building blocks of a great society are right in front of Ontario.  Let’s adopt best practices and stop admiring the chimera that is America.
It’s inarguable that the most successfulhappiestcompetitive and most productive countries in the world are all socialist. Why would we not look to them for answers?

Europe is not a total mess, in Germany life has never been better despite the FIT program, abandoning of Nuclear power, and massive investment in wind. No the Germans take their 36 hour work week, 6 weeks of paid holidays, three years maternity leave, free University Education, full day kindergarten starting at age 3 and just keep on rolling. Oh and I should mention they are stupid enough to have a minimum wage of about $20 Canadian, and virtually everyone in the country is in a union. Oh the Horror they have a 20% HST and $2/liter gasoline. I ask Ayn Rand how is this possible ? They can’t just dig a hole in the ground and find money like Americans and Canadians can, they don’t have endless hectors of land to develop, could it be that socialism is superior because the money and resources are used much more productively? They do not believe any one man is worth 400 or 4000 times more than the lowest paid employee. Same goes for Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Denmark. If Canada had copied their model instead of the USA, Canada would be by far the richest most prosperous country in the world, not Qtar. That is what the National Energy Program was all about, but instead of having a huge sovereign fund we have a sizable debt. Just look with horror how Alberta has bungled their lottery win.
Price of food in Canada. You may have noticed we only have one growing season in most of Canada, thus food is cheaper in the USA where about half the country has at least 3 crops per year. If the Milk subsidy in the USA Farm bill was eliminated Canadian milk would be the same price as the USA.  Crony capitalism for big Agra is not superior to a stable price for mom and pop farmers?  One hundred and three million Americans are on Food Stamps, and that’s something we should long for?
The Milk boards provide certainty to the farmer; they mean the farmer does not have to juice his cows like they do in the USA to make a living. You are what you eat and the chemical cocktail of hormones and GMO foods in the USA is already having a huge impact, and unfortunately we get some of the blowback. Some would consider feeding a baby American milk child abuse. Wages and benefits are better for Canadians and that leads to higher prices, however take a look a Buffalo, and then Toronto and ask yourself is that what low cost wage victory looks like.
The GST is the smartest tax.  First it’s hard for the 1% to avoid, and that's who has the money and those are the people that are holding back Canada and North America from having a just society like Germany. Here is a simple phrase cause  Tea Party people cant seem to understand anything with more than two elements. Tax what you want less of. Economics 101, if you want to build wealth, tax consumption not income, tax spending not saving. That’s why Harper cheap pandering GST cut combined with a rise in personal income tax reveals him to be an economic weasel. The GST tax credit acts as an efficient income redistribution system. GST properly applied allows the people in the lower income brackets to keep more of their income, and get tax credits for their expenditures, thus encouraging them to work instead of social assistance. The state should be doing social engineering to encourage people to be productive. My final point on this point Singapore, if its smart social engineering they are doing it, and they have a GST.

American gas taxes are irresponsibly low. That’s why the number one selling car in Canada is a Civic and in America it’s a pickup truck. Pickup trucks are stupid urban vehicles, but no politician in the USA has the courage to say so. In Canada and even more so in the rest of the world, you can be stupid in your choice of vehicles but your rightly going to pay through the nose for the privilege. Gas taxes are another wonderful means of income distribution with a very positive social engineering aspect. They are also one of the greatest tools available to fight global warming.

Why limit the examination of fraud waste and abuse to Ontario. Maybe we would like to have the nearly 200 lives and $20 billion dollars back that Harper recklessly poured into the sand in Afghanistan? The gas plant scandal has its roots in the ill-advised Harris scheme to privatize power. Look with horror at Alberta to see how that would have worked out. 
Just as an aside I ask conservatives to really ramp up your cognitive dissonance amplitude, try and explain why socialist booze in Ontario is significantly cheaper than private booze in Alberta.  Teabaggers did your head just explode , good thing we have socialized medicine in Canada and you can get it fixed without going bankrupt.

And now lets hear from the chorus saying you cant blame Mike Harris time has passed. Yes Mike Harris is to blame because we used to have this unwieldy, bureaucratic institution called Ontario Hydro that despite its woes kept the lights on and provided Ontario with some of the cheapest energy in the world. But free market Mike could not accept this, so he pushed Ontario Hydro off the wall and like Humpty dumpy there is no way to put it back together again. I am not saying it was corruption but the whole gas plant thing stinks. And yes Jerry it’s a free market solution that got us in this mess. So a company gets a contract to build a plant, they put it in the wrong place, way late in the game the government wakes up and cancels it. The cost maybe $30 to $40 million, but wait, the contract is a 407 like maze of chum deals and loans and cancellation charges and promises and rainbows for the private company, so unlike the old days where Hydro would never have backed down, and if some foolish pol had stopped them the only expense would be in money spent, no under the private label we have to pay $800 million.

Orange - was a Mike Harris initiative
Don't do semantics, the Liberals only changed the name. Same with e health. Now the liberals badly fumbled these land mines left by the cons, and I often wonder when the government is totally incompetent is it merely a beard for corruption? See Iran Contra, savings and loan, and 911.
The Federal conservative have wasted far more money, the economic action plan alone dwarfs any bumbles by Ontario. Harper's rush to make Canada a great 18th century economy will take decades to repair. His moves to create a structural deficient will once again force the Liberals to apply the tough medicine, just like Chretien had to do to bail us out of the Mulroney debacle. And for anyone interested in facts, despite the big lie the conservatives repeat over and over about being sound financial managers, in modern Canadian and American history that has not been correct, and Harper is proving this point with emphasis. 
In summary Jerry if you want to help not just the poor, but the middle class, adopt the socialist policies of Europe, stop giving away our resources, and subsidizing industries like banks and oil companies that need no help. Anyone with a rudimentary grasp of reality based economics knows proper distribution of wealth is the number one requirement for a healthy society. 

In an ideal world people like Paul Krugman would decide what is proper, but in our imperfect one, we can only seek answers in successful solutions, and America is not near the top of the class.

Lobster Revolution

No they are not taking their claws to the beach. Science has given us a brand new way to enjoy them.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Breaking Bad Final Season 2013

I join the crowd of critics who are ready to proclaim Breaking Bad as the finest TV series ever created. I gotta get some kind of Totem to keep my connection. Maybe some Lego from Citizen Brick.

For sure the official boxed barrel! $224 from Amazon US.
Be sure to check out the official BB store.
H/T The laughing Squid.

911 12 years after

Still a mystery.
Is the truth still suppressed?
Why did building 7 fall?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Shipping Container Housing

Every time I read about sub standard housing or disaster relief housing I wonder why there is not a container ship at ready about to sail in to the rescue. I hope one day to build my own Shipping Container home. Another way I would use one is as an underground garage/storage. By putting a basement and a lift under my traditional garage, there would be room to store up to two "summer cars" and/or all the seasonal stuff the crowds my traditional space.

H/T Gizmag