After seeing that Prince Andrew is jumping on the Self-Portrait bandwagon and someone else is having #Selfie Day, I do believe that fad has run its race and is done. It is a rather damning statement that we are into pictures of ourselves, seems the 21st Century is trying to out do the ME Century (20th Century).

BAD!!!

The Worst #Selfie Ever!

The Quebec Election looms on Monday, and what will those wacky Quebec voters do? As a Quebec born patriot, I look forward to the rest of Canada attempting to explain this election, it will be entertaining. Remember Quebec gave you an Orange Tide in the last Federal election, what might they do Provincially? My hope was that the Rhinoceros party might make a comeback, but no matter what happens, the rest of Canada will be left scratching their heads wondering, “What were they thinking?”.

Only in Ottawa could you have a controversy over the name of a Football Team Mascot (that looks suspiciously like the Acadia Axeman). You got it Big Joe Mufferaw (a Stompin’ Tom classic (see below for a video)) was announced and then withdrawn as the name, now the mascot is simply called Large Man with Axe, no, it’s actually Big Joe. Evidently Mufferaw is a mispronunciation of a French Canadian name.

It was Autism awareness day on Wednesday, I didn’t write anything specific for it, since Autism Awareness is every day in the C8j homestead. I did post my previous rant about Autism & Advice, and it is important to understand that it looks like we have a generation which will include a lot of “different thinking” individuals, maybe we need to start thinking how this might work? I did wear Blue Underwear on the day, but I am not sure that counts as showing solidarity.

My Writings for Week Ending April 5th

Spring may finally have come back to Ottawa!

Inflation at 1.1%, That is Low for February

Low numbers from Stats Canada, yet prices keep going up, and I feel like I have less money, wonder if they take that into consideration?

Pay Day Loan Mortgages Revisited

A very ham-handed attempt at an April Fool’s joke, most folks read through it, wonder what someone might think of it if they read it on July 1st?

Tax Haiku

Yes, when I have nothing else to write and I have no ideas, I fall back on my Poetic roots. Having Welsh ancestry I just channel my inner Dylan Thomas (and drink myself into a stupor).

Long Distance Laptop Repair

Maybe it would have been better to just buy my daughters two computers at the start of school, and avoid having this problem?

 

TigerDirect (CA)
 

Cornucopia Section

A veritable horn of plenty of interesting articles from the finance (and other categories) world:

TigerDirect (CA)
 

Give ‘em Heck Gail!

Gail Vaz-Oxlade gives debtors heck on City TV

Mufferaw Joe

Only in Ottawa could you have a controversy about the name of a Football team’s mascot:

A New Monty Python Video

It is called the Silly Walk Song, however, the chorus is “Money is the root of evil”, so very topical too!

TeamBuy: Your Golf Destination!
Remember my RSS feed is available too, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well. Have a look at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well.

If you have social media accounts, don’t forget to vote for my posts (see the nifty dashboard on the bottom of each article, where you can cast your votes).As they say in Quebec, vote early and vote often! This site is iPhone Friendly (and Android , iPod Touch and iPad Friendly), enjoy it on the go, in a readable format for the device. If you are reading with an iPhone or Android device, drop me a comment and tell me if this needs any improvements. This site is also in the Kindle Blog list, if you are interested.

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Long Distance Laptop Repair

Last week my youngest daughter called to say that her laptop computer was in distress, and was not working, due to the batter being dead, and the charging unit unable to charge it. This continues the family tradition of:

By the end of the 2nd University year, all laptops will crash or become  unusable at a time when an important assignment must  be completed, which results in the purchase of a replacement computer either immediately, or shortly after that time.

I kid you not, that is exactly what has happened to all 3 of my daughters. The first two laptops were HP (I wrote about my oldest daughters problems in Student Computer Safety) and this last one is a Dell, all three have had issues with the charging unit, the system overheating and/or hard disk crashes (i.e. the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). The problem is that portable computing is now “table stakes” for most University Students (unfortunately), so (for now) a laptop computer is a necessary (expensive) evil.

Old Laptop

A Rehabilitated formerly dead Laptop from the “Big Cajun Man Laptop Graveyard”

I ended up having to buy another Dell Laptop to send my daughter back to school with, and after some judicious “Dad’s I.T.” wizardry, I was able to extract all the important data from the laptop’s hard drive.

I am now left with a “dead” laptop however Costco is now “fixing” the broken computer (thanks to their Concierge warranty which doubles the normal 1 year warranty for most computers), but the methodology to make the “fix” happen is quite puzzling (to me). I had to call someone, who took down all the details of what transpired (and verified I had in fact bought this PC at Costco). Once it was determined that the computer needed fixing (which seemed obvious to me, but I had to convince the person at the other end of the phone that), the young lady said the PC would be serviced and I would receive a Box very soon.

The Box arrived, shipped via Purolator to the house (naturally left at the front door, without ringing the door bell). This magical Box, was padded with styrofoam, but it had tear aways so that the computer fit in it properly. The box also included a whole bunch of documentation for me to fill in, and finally it included a pre-paid packing label (for Purolator) to put on the box.

I filled in all forms, my wife made sure the computer fit in the box, and we included all the requested documentation(that we could find). We taped the Box shut, put the shipping label on it, and took it to the Purolator drop off site, and away it went. It is now whisking off to a repair place in Toronto, that will hopefully fix the computer, and then ship it back to me (presumably by Purolator).

My only question is, how can this be cost effective?!? I suppose it must be, or Costco wouldn’t do it this way (they seem to be a very smart retailing firm), but it leaves me scratching my head (and hoping to see a Purolator truck showing up at the house soon). Other retailers follow this model, so it must be that they have very cheap rates with the courier companies, and a well negotiated support contract with whoever is fixing the computers.

Assuming the machine can be fixed I now have a 3rd lap top to add to the “Big Cajun Laptop Graveyard”.  I  point out that this piece was actually written on one of those formerly derelict computers (picture above).

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Tax Haiku

I spent today finishing my taxes, and this is where my brain ended up, with an Income Tax Haiku:

Tax time coming soon,

Ensure all credits are there,

I keep my money 

Keep that in mind doing your taxes

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Pay Day Loan Mortgages Revisited

Last summer I wrote about the idea of Pay Day Loan Mortgages and at the time I was quite critical of the idea, but after a while to reflect on this, it might end up being a sound financial concept for a specific group of consumers. I compared it to being a concept as ludicrous as a Sharknado, but after reflection maybe it serves as a needed service (and maybe we should watch out for Sharknados as well).

Clown Prince of Crime

One of my Pay Day Loan Mortgage Service Agents (Courtesy DC Comics)

If you need a house for about a 2 week period, you don’t want to have to tie up your capital and all that, just get yourself a quick Pay Day Loan Mortgage and then after you are done with the house, you give it back, and pay off your two weeks “service fee” on the Pay Day Mortgage.

Remember if this is a $300,000 house we wish to own for only two weeks, our estimated “service fee” of between $30,000 and $60,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the enjoyment of home ownership for two whole weeks! Does it matter that your fees cost more than a new car? Of course not, because you got to enjoy living in a beautiful home for those two weeks.

Another great idea is if you already owned your house, getting a Pay Day Loan mortgage would be useful as well, say if your Daughter Wanted a “Kardashian™-like” Wedding Ceremony, and you were planning on winning the lottery, you could borrow the $500,000 you might need and then pay back the small service fees 2 weeks after the ceremony ( what is $575,000 if it makes your daughter happy and she gets what she wants?).

I note that none of the “main stream” Pay Day Loan sites have not picked up on this new service, so I may have to start-up the Big Cajun Man “I am Ripping You Off” Pay Day Loan Mortgage service (maybe just on-line).

Please note the date of the publishing of this less than humorous lampooning article (April 1st, 2014)

(April Fools!)

 

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Inflation at 1.1%, That is Low for February

A week ago our friends at Stats Canada put out their monthly Consumer Price Index report for February 2014, and year over year Inflation was running at a low-ish 1.1%, which is not likely to trigger any kind of reaction from the Bank of Canada (at least it shouldn’t).

This month gasoline helped keep the index down, but how much longer will that work? Gas is back up to $1.30 in Ottawa, and the big “kick in the lower abdomen” will be Enbridge’s 40% Natural Gas jump and Ontario’s Hydro price jumps too.

How much has Gasoline prices jumped around in the past little while, have a look at this graph, and note the index on the left, those are some wild price swings:

Gas Price Index

Gas Price Index for the Past Little While

The weird part of that graph is the way prices changes are not increasing slowly they slash up and down at an alarming rate.

The scary thing to look at is food prices, to quote our Stats Canada amigos:

Prices for food purchased from stores increased 1.0% on a year-over-year basis, led by higher prices for fresh fruit (+7.5%) and meat (+2.1%). In contrast, prices for dairy products, sugar and confectionery as well as fruit juices declined in February. Prices for food purchased from restaurants increased 1.1%.

Given the problems with the weather in North America, Fresh Fruit prices sky rocketing is to be expected, but it isn’t appreciated.

If we started at 2002 as a start where sits the CPI now, 12 years later? This graph will help you with that:

CPI year over year for past little while

CPI Year over year for the past little while (100 was at 2002)

Not exactly hyper-inflation.

The Big Table

As usual I include one of the big tables from the report showing the parts of the basket that is the CPI:

Table 1
Consumer Price Index and major components, Canada - Not seasonally adjusted

 

Relative importance1

February 2013

January 2014

February 2014

Jan
to Feb 2014

Feb 2013
to Feb 2014

 

%

(2002=100)

% change

All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI)

100.002

122.7

123.1

124.1

0.8

1.1

Food

16.60

132.9

133.0

134.3

1.0

1.1

Shelter

26.26

127.9

130.5

130.7

0.2

2.2

Household operations, furnishings and equipment

12.66

114.3

114.7

115.3

0.5

0.9

Clothing and footwear

5.82

91.4

89.2

91.0

2.0

-0.4

Transportation

19.98

130.3

129.2

130.8

1.2

0.4

Health and personal care

4.93

118.6

118.3

118.4

0.1

-0.2

Recreation, education and reading

10.96

104.7

104.7

106.4

1.6

1.6

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products

2.79

139.4

140.9

142.9

1.4

2.5

Special aggregates

Core CPI3

84.91

120.6

121.3

122.1

0.7

1.2

All-items CPI excluding energy

91.44

119.7

120.1

121.0

0.7

1.1

Energy4

8.56

160.1

160.2

162.6

1.5

1.6

Gasoline

4.62

186.1

179.5

183.7

2.3

-1.3

All-items CPI excluding food and energy

74.85

116.9

117.3

118.2

0.8

1.1

Goods

48.18

115.2

114.2

115.6

1.2

0.3

Services

51.82

130.1

131.9

132.5

0.5

1.8

1.2011 CPI basket weights at January 2013 prices, Canada, effective February 2013. Detailed weights are available under the Documentation section of survey 2301 (www.statcan.gc.ca/imdb-bmdi/2301-eng.htm).

2. Figures may not add up to 100% as a result of rounding.

3. The Bank of Canada’s core index excludes eight of the CPI’s most volatile components (fruit, fruit preparations and nuts; vegetables and vegetable preparations; mortgage interest cost; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; inter-city transportation; and tobacco products and smokers’ supplies) as well as the effects of changes in indirect taxes on the remaining components. For additional information on the core CPI, consult the Bank of Canada website (www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/indicators/key-variables/inflation-control-target/).

4. The special aggregate “Energy” includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.

 

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