Cuba, Rubles, Christmas and #BestThisWeek

Interesting to see that the U.S. will try to normalize relations with Cuba after 50 years. This will mean for Canadians that Cuba will not be quite as cheap as it has been, and worse it will be a lot busier. Should be interesting to see if this turns into a political hot potato for Democrats during the next elections, as the Republicans are already calling it the worst mistake since Chamberlain appeased Hitler in 1939. I am sure the Cuban economy will enjoy the eventual influx of Yankee tourists.

Christmas Tree

This Year’s Tree

The Russian ruble is dropping in value like a stone, thanks to many factors, but the EU and American sanctions cannot be helping things out, that, and the fact that Oil Prices are ludicrously low. Interesting to see how this all shakes out, and whether this disables or slows down the Electric Car industry ( I hope not, I think Electric cars are the right way to go) and other alternate energy businesses.

Sad to see my alma mater having a cheating scandal during final exams, does seem like a very odd story.

Christmas is next week, a time for folks to get together with friends and family and enjoy the Festival that typically starts the Christian Church’s year. For those who don’t attend Church, enjoy the time with your loved ones or someone you love, don’t worry about the presents, or the rest, it is all about family and friends.

Come on by, there will be some new content, and maybe some old favorites will return as well.

My Writings for Week Ending December 19th

Christmas is practically here, what are you doing to be Christmassy this year :

  • Having problems with your resolutions, here is a novel idea  Financial New Year Resolution, Start Now! That way you can fail that much earlier, no wait, that isn’t what I wrote (was it?).
  • I do miss John Houseman’s authoritative tones on TV, but with Make Money the Old Fashioned Way, Earn it, I wondered does anyone really earn their pay in the investment world?
  • Do you want to know my sure-fire investing scheme? Boy you are gullible, when do you think I’d tell anyone if I figured out how to make a fortune (unless it was to get everyone to send me money, on how to make a fortune).

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Snow, Christmas, Enhanced and #BestThisWeek

The snow flew this week in Ottawa, which of course means that we might have a White Christmas here in the Nation’s Capital. Will that matter? It does to some folks, I am good with a green Christmas, and one day hope to enjoy going to the beach on Christmas Day (and not have to wear a parka at the beach).

Christmas Tree

A Previous Festive Tree from the Big C8j House

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and the malls are getting to be pretty nasty places. There are only 13 days left until Christmas Day, and only days left in this calendar year. If you want to put money in an RESP and have not reached your Max, now might be the time to do it! Maybe some TFSA room? Think about it and sit down and look where you could put some extra money (if you have some that is).

The US Government released the Senate Report on the “Enhanced Interrogation” that was done after 9/11, while I won’t comment on the report’s content, I do enjoy seeing the use of “Enhanced” being obfuscated by the intelligence services, as much as it has been muddled by the financial industry as well. Right now you have an Enhanced Purchasing opportunity in the markets with stock prices falling all over the place. Isn’t Enhanced a useful word?

My Writings for Week Ending December 12th

The Time person of the year are the Folks Fighting Ebola, but remember Time also had Vlad Putin as their man of the year a while ago :


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A true gentleman passed away this week, and I was saddened with the passing of Jean Beliveau. To me he was the epitome of a leader, and his demeanor on and off the ice was to be admired. My favorite Jean Beliveau story was when as a young lad, telling my Dad I’d play better hockey if I had a stick with a curved blade, and my Father’s response summed  it all up nicely, “If Jean Beliveau can play with a straight blade, you can too”. Let’s hope Mr. Beliveau’s blade continues to be straight, wherever he is.

Two Dudes

My Son and the Lt-General

I was privileged to be invited along with my son to National Defense HQ for an International Day of Persons with Disabilities festival. My son’s soccer Club the Just for Kicks group with the Nepean City Soccer Club, was invited to show off their skills and play against some very high-powered talent. The Generals involved were very good sports and I also met the head of Soldier On a support organization for wounded soldiers.

The malls are now crammed with folks trying to find the next “perfect” toy, but remember the reason you are out there. I will no doubt be in the middle of the bloody fray this weekend, so stay the heck out of my way, if you don’t want to see what I learned playing rugby.

Oh and congrats to Wales for defeating the Mighty South Africa Springboks last weekend (for only the second time in 100 years).

My Writings for Week Ending December 5th

Christmas lights twinkle and even I have got out the inflatable Christmas Penguin for the front of the Big C8j Hacienda :


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Black Friday is Here, Advent, and #BestThisWeek

The month of November is effectively Black November, but today is allegedly the beginning of the Christmas rush with Black Friday. The folklore behind it being called Black Friday is that this day is when Retailers actually get into the Black (in their accounting books), and from now on is profits. My e-mail inbox has been inundated with great Black November sales and such, some almost too good to believe. Who would believe I could buy a TurDuckEn 🍗 at Costco for $95?!?
Black Friday
Will all this spending help everyone get that much more festive about Christmas and such? I really have no idea, but Advent begins on Sunday for those wondering what the Christian Church view is on the topic.

There is talk again of the Tampa Bay Rays moving, for now to St. Pete’s (across the bay) but there is also an undertone of Montreal getting in the mix as well. Thanks to Jeffrey Loria (one of the most hated owners in sports) Montreal lost it’s team in the 90’s, but a returning team that was in the same division as Toronto and had the hope of a new downtown stadium? That brings old Expo lovers like me, hope. I grew up within walking distance of Jarry Park ⚾  , and would go to games if they came back.

There seems to be a bit of a backlash in the US about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, for the Black Friday sales, and I support that backlash. The next logical step is opening on Christmas Day for Boxing Day sales. We live in a Consumer Society, but we do not need to consume that much!


My Writings for Week Ending November 28th

The snow all went away this week, but we are left with the cold weather and we can now see all the “early deployment” Christmas Lights as well:

  • Inflation Stays High Despite Lower Gas in October is another example of how numbers don’t necessarily mean what you think they do. I still think the collective lifestyle of Canadians is slipping due to price increases, but you wouldn’t think it looking at the reports.
  • I tried a small poke at the mainstream media with the TFSA Retirement Welfare Bums, but no one seemed to get too indignant about my analysis.
  • RRSP to TFSA Grand Jeté is really just a rehash of many other articles about what to do with your RRSP refunds, although Mark from My Own Advisor pointed out the model does loan the government money, which is something I never like doing.
  • I had some spare time on the weekend so I came up with Financial Tweets of the Week, just to expose you to some other good financial stuff.


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We got to see what Lake Effect Snow actually means with some vivid photos of Buffalo getting buried by 7 feet of snow. They are getting more snow today evidently, this is why I am happy that Ottawa only has a river running through it. The worst part of this is that it might rain in Buffalo putting all roofs in the area in the peril (7 feet of heavy wet snow is not what any how is designed to support).

Winter Sucks

Mr. Cardinal Confirms, Winter Sucks

Enjoy  your web cams and such? The laptop I am typing on has one pointed right at me, but evidently our Russian hacking friends have sites from hacked cameras that folks can go and check. You know how to fix this (aside from having good anti-virus and security), cover the camera up with a piece of paper and tape, or point your web cams elsewhere when you aren’t using it.

A couple in Alberta learned just how expensive medical costs are in the US, when their bundle of joy showed up 9 weeks prematurely, and they are now stuck with an almost $900K bill, that their insurance provider (Blue Cross) refuses to pay. Travel insurance is always a tricky world, always be sure you are covered

My Writings for Week Ending November 21st

Winter has come with snow and all of that, but luckily this is Ottawa, so it is supposed to rain on Monday. Note that I am experimenting with a new grading system for comments (so far I only have Gold Stars, but I will be looking to expand that capability very soon).


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