This week Robin Williams decided he couldn’t deal with the inner demons (or Parkinson’s Disease, evidently) he had, and ended his life. Everyone has choices in life, but if you are having these thoughts, please go get help before you make any final decisions.


More likely the photo used if I am ever mentioned in the Media (Cranky Old Guy)

The ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ) “folks” in the states seem to have found a viral shtick that is catching on and that is the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seems many celebrated folks are dowsing themselves with Ice Water to show their support for folks suffering from ALS (if you click on the Ice Bucket Challenge link, you’ll get to where you can donate to the ALS Canada organization). ALS (to me) is the most frightening disease out there, and when they find a cure, I will celebrate.

The #IfTheyGunnedMeDown movement in the states is an interesting commentary on the media’s portrayal of minorities. I am confident if I am mentioned in the news in some fashion it will most likely be a very unflattering photo, but I am curious to see if the media changes their use of Social Media to find unflattering photos for folks in News stories?

Give Blood This Year

My Writings for Week Ending August 15th

Lots of rain in Ottawa, and a chill in the air that is reminding us there are only 19 more Fridays ’til Christmas!

  • Stats Canada’s news last week about Moribund Job Growth in Canada, underlines the problem that this economy seems to be creating a large number of part-time jobs, but not enough full-time jobs. Will Part-Time become the new norm in this economy?
  • Even though we have had the TFSA for a while folks are still having problems getting the hang of the TFSA Two Step, the important factor to remember is that it is not like a regular savings account, so read the rules carefully.
  • I got to meet with a Financial Planner when I was laid off from Nortel, and I did write about it 6 years ago, so I figured it was time to do a Financial Planner Retrospective, given I now have 20/20 hindsight to rely on.

Scotia Bank Value Visa
[click to continue…]


It is 100 years since the “War to end all Wars” started, and I continue to learn more about this period in history. I had not realized the number of men (and women) that died in the war, and didn’t really comprehend the horrendous conditions that the soldiers (on all sides) fought under. I seem to know a great deal more about the 2nd World War, however, I am embarrassed about how little I know about a war that devastated an entire generation (over 16 million soldiers and civilians died). The fact that 21 years after it, another “War to End All Wars” erupted only strengthens my view that humans are a dumb species (myself included).

Evidently the Russian Mob (or Russian hackers) most likely now have one of your e-mail passwords, might be time to think up a new one, and maybe a heuristic to change your password more than once every time someone hacks the entire web?

Ebola continues to be in the news, I am not sure if I am in a full panic about it yet, but I do wonder if this is worse than we are being told, and things are starting to get a little out of control? The fact that a major US City (Toledo) had a toxic water supply, is another interesting environmental episode this week as well. Wonder if this is Mother Nature finally saying, “You know Homo Sapiens, you have been around long enough”?

My Writings for Week Ending August 8th

It was a shorter week this week, in Ontario we celebrated the Anonymous Long Weekend, next long weekend has a name at least (i.e. Labour Day).

  • How do you celebrate a holiday with no name? Who knows, but I did poke fun at it with Happy Civic Holiday.
  • Mike Tyson seems like an odd foil for Financial Advice, but his statement is prophetic especially for finances, “Everybody got a plan … until they get hit
  • Living beyond your means seems to be the raison d’etre of an entire generation, so Lifestyle Creep really is aimed at the new lost (money) generation.
Birds Series $100 – front / Billet de 100 $ de la série Les oiseaux – recto

My Kind of Specimen
(Courtesy of the Bank of Canada)


[click to continue…]


Welcome to August 2014, and for those in Ontario who are soon to celebrate a long weekend, I have one query, what is this weekend called? It has many names, “Colonel By Day”, “August Bank Holiday”, or “August Long Weekend”, how can a glorious long weekend not have an official title?

SDG Carolyn Wilkins reviews bank note signature/Carolyn Wilkins, première sous-gouverneure, examine sa signature sur un billet de banque

Doesn’t look a thing like me… SDG Wilkins Reviews a $20 (don’t loan it to Argentina)

Argentina is now officially in default, to compound the bad news for that country (given they lost the World Cup final as well), but what does this really mean? My feeble understanding of global economics seems to suggest some creditors are not going to get paid, but who loaned them the funds in the first place? China? The US? Russia? Maybe it is like Canada where a great deal of the Government’s debt is actually held by the citizens of the country? No matter how you slice this issue, I suspect this is not going to make things better in a very confused and scary world that we are living in.

For those that enjoyed the writings of Tom Clancy the Ebola epidemic (not the right phrase I know (the book I am referencing is Executive Orders)) in Africa lends itself to some interesting discussion points. The U.S. doesn’t really comprehend how close they came to having someone infected with this disease from landing on their soil (an American Doctor has succumbed to the disease, but he was only diagnosed (i.e.  he collapsed) while leaving one plane to then get on a plane destined for the U.S.. Let us hope the SARS protocols put in place by the Canadian immigration folks will help in case this outbreak turns into a more global problem.

For those not following me on Twitter you have missed one of my favorite quotes from Gail Vaz-Oxlade, and it was aimed at me. We were discussing retirement and such and her final response to me was:

@bigcajunman luckily, you die; I live a long unhealthy life as a woman

This is in response to me whining about not having enough money to retire with, so I guess I should stop saving? No, she didn’t mean that, but it was fun to rib her about it.


My Writings for Week Ending August 1st

I had a drier writing week, with only two pieces. I have written or started about 6 ideas, but none of them were really worth publishing yet (that means I have about 160 titles and ideas still to finish off).

  • Financial Anarchy Day is another one of my many rants about the media and retailers attempts to make us go nuts and yell “FESTIVAL!!!” and spend like crazy people (Star Trek reference, for those who are unsure). I am not saying you should go watch the movie mentioned though, it is more of a Metaphor than a Recommendation.
  • Sometimes I get fed up with the “Make Money on the Market Using This Fool Proof Technique” e-mails that clog my inbox, so I figured I’d write the most outrageous Stock Picking Idea I could, and then someone points out in the comments there is one even more outlandish one out there, wow.
  • I did find in my archives one of my favorite phrases “Don’t Mistake Activity for Achievement” (a quote from John Wooden), just because you think you are working hard, doesn’t mean you are achieving your goals.

[click to continue…]


Yes, it is time for the Clown Prince of Financial Blogging to do the dastardly deed of unmasking our Financial Crime Fighting heroes!

Did you guess any of these Financial Writing Do Gooders? Some are blatantly obvious, while others, are more clever in their concealing their secret identities.

First the accursed Money Media Maven, you have seen him, I know you have (unless you don’t own a TV), but you have seen his postings here as well, he is none other than…. Preet Banerjee! Bet you didn’t know for his affinity to drive race cars did you?

If you did not guess The Voice of Money, you really aren’t looking very hard, that is none other than Gail Vaz-Oxlade, a lovely lady, but also a very plain speaking lady.

Who is  Judge Financial? That one is a little trickier, he hides his love of all rules and regulations well, but never get in an argument with him about rules, you will most assuredly lose! Da Judge is none other than Michael James.

As for Mrs. Financial Transmographier you should know that one just on the basis of the $3 HD TV antenna comment,  but that is of course Kerry from Squawkfox (in fact you see her a great deal on TV and in Magazines these days).

The Summer here in Ottawa continues on, with wonderfully oppressive heat (I am not being sarcastic, I still remember those days in January where I complained about how cold it was) and tremendous storms. My only problem with this summer (and all summers) is that they pass far too quickly!


Me and Young Master C8j

My Writings for Week Ending July 25th

Did you realize you missed both Ice Cream Day and Hammock Day this week? I need a calendar with this kind of important information.

  • I was interviewed by Sheryl Smolkin and she published Big Cajun Man Shares RDSP, RESP Expertise, which is a very kind title (I am no expert, just a grizzled user). I also must work on my interview technique, noting I start most sentences with “Well”, dear me, I need to talk to the Financial Media Maven about his techniques.
  • While missing out on Hammock Day, Stats Canada did point out that Inflation Stayed Up in June, which is not a good thing, even if loose money policies still prevail at the Bank of Canada.
  • I do have a very good working relationship with one of my advertisers, so I figured I could ask the question what is the difference between Disability Insurance vs. Critical Illness Insurance, luckily I got a very good answer to write about.
  • I am very much a geek at heart, and yes I did (and sometimes still do) read comic books (I read them WAY before they were cool), so I wandered farther afield with Comic-Con International and Financial Super Heroes, I suspect I may be in trouble with a few of those Financial folk, we shall see.

[click to continue…]


All Stars, Al Stars and the #BestOfFinancialForWeek

So the World Cup is finally over, congrats to the German team, we hope this means the beginning of a thousand years of supremacy in Football (maybe that isn’t the right phrase to use, but congrats). Interesting game to watch, glad it didn’t go to penalty kicks.

Bastille Day

Le 14 Juillet Bastille Day!
Image courtesy of noppasinw /

For those that may have missed it on le 14 juillet it was Bastille Day, which might explain why any of your French associates seemed overly patriotic on that day.

The baseball All-Star game was played this week, in Minnesota. This game actually matters since the winning team’s League will have home field advantage for the World Series this year. Who won the game? Tokyo?!? I didn’t really watch it, but I heard it was good. Did the Human League win?

Weird Al Yankovic has a new set of videos out, and a topical one is included at the end of this article. I enjoy Al’s parodies of current hits, but nothing will ever top his classic White & Nerdy (with Donny Osmond).

Word is that Montreal would be an excellent site for a Major League Baseball team, as a die-hard Expos fan (I was in the original Rusty Staub fan club), I can only hope, but they better not play in the Big Owe. Must Keep Calm on this one (there is a video about that too at the end).

TigerDirect (CA) Summer Savings Event

My Writings for Week Ending July 18th

I have varmints eating my tomatoes and peppers in my back yard, aside from a shot-gun, can someone tell me the best way to get rid of them? A falcon sounds like a good idea, but I don’t know where to get one on short notice.

  • Employment in Canada continues to be better, but unemployment is still up last month as well, when will we see the boom of jobs that has been promised? Old farts like me are finding jobs, but the young folks are having a harder time, as Stats Canada Pointed out.
  • Meet the new Budget, same as the Old Budget was the initial title of my “New” Ontario Budget 2014 article, but I didn’t want the Who’s lawyers to call me about copyright infringement.
  • If you have half an hour, a kindle reader and $1 please read How Millenials Can Get Rich Slowly, by William Bernstein, it is well worth the time and money.

[click to continue…]