Debt Ceilings Fun and Games (OBG)


Always Oldie and Sometimes Goodies

As usual on Sunday I recap the tweets I have done about old posts from my years of writing (remember there are over 1200 such posts already), just so folks can enjoy some of my early writings (or lament how naive I was back then).

Some of them include:

Enjoy your long weekend (if you live anywhere but Quebec).

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Cities As a Mathematical Model (video)


Can You Kill a City?

Going a little off topic with our friends from Ted with a very interesting presentation by Geoffrey West (a physicist) talking about the Mathematics of Cities and Companies, which isn’t really a financial video, but still a very interesting one (none the less).

It is actually hard to tell whether it is bad that we are becoming more Urban or good? An interesting study of data, which may be full of crap, but still quite interesting.

Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities — that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city’s population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.

Mathematics is everywhere!


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Random Thoughts: Get Well Soon Jack

Need the Opposition

Even though I don’t agree with a lot of his fiscal policies, I send out a Get well Jack Layton shout out to the guy who wants to be Canada’s political conscience. I hope Jack can recover from whatever he has, I think he will play an important role making sure that Canada does not become too conservative (that is small c not the political party). I have to admit he looked awful (health wise) on TV on Tuesday, but get well soon Jack you can make Parliament that much more fun to monitor. With the Liberals in disarray, the NDP is the only opposition voice for Canada, and I feel that the Parliamentary opposition (even in a majority government) has an important role to play.

More Debt Ceiling tremors are causing the stock markets to absolutely plotz this week, but is this a buying opportunity or simply a shape of things to come warning? I cannot believe the way both parties in the U.s. are attempting to make political gains on the back of this fiscal neutron bomb? Who gives a rat’s ass about who caused the problem, fix the short term problem and then argue about long term fixes once the short term fix is in place. Don’t play silly buggers games trying to claim you were the last one to pull your foot off the track before the train came (unless you want a neat new nickname like the gimp).

August begins on Monday, and I may or may not have a post (as it is a holiday here in Ontario). If not, there will be something here for you gentle reader. Don’t forget to follow my Twitter feed there are some excellent job hunting tips being shared by me (OK, incredibly sarcastic and silly, but in my mind, same thing).

Inflation is down a little in Canada, but a very eclectic array of themes this week, not sure what brought this on, but:

  • Financial Armageddon is a former Treasury Secretary pointing out the folly (on both sides) about the politicizing of this fiscal decision.
  • As mentioned inflation has slowed in June 2011 but it is still quite high (except by the Bank of Canada core rate), and could cause more fun with interest rates soon.
  • Still not quite sure what the message was from financial lessons from the Departed other than I like the movie, and I have now bought the soundtrack (gotta love the Dropkick Murphys).
  • Back to being more informative with EcoEnergy On Line and Ready to Go unfortunately I don’t think I can use it for my window replacement project. Note the picture of the lousy windows I previously had in my house
  • I do enjoy computer tinkering at home but not really sure what message I was trying to get across with that article either.

I actually enjoy all comments (even the ones that question my sanity), and will try to respond to most comments, so please feel free to comment away. For you spammers who continue to inundate me with your drivel, keep it up as well.

With a financial apocalypse on the horizon with the deficit ceiling issues, what were my favorite financial mavens saving?

Other Bookkeeping

Remember my RSS feed is available too, for those who enjoy reading without looking at my crappy page lay out, 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 Digg as Big Cajun Man, on reddit, Tumblr and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well.

As an added feature on the Tweety, this week I have been putting up some Useful Job Hunting Tips.

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 US Blog list, if you are interested, not available in Canada yet (because no Blogs are available in Canada on a Kindle?!?).


“When you’re sick, you present your medicare card, not your credit card. New Democrats will not stand idly by. We will be fighting each and every day for our precious medicare system.”

Author: Jack Layton keep fighting Jack, I may not always agree with you, but we need you in Parliament


Computer Tinkering at Home (case study)

I think I finally understand why friends spend so much time on the hobbies and projects which they love. For background, the past few days I have spent many hours tinkering, fixing, patching and fiddling with my family’s computers, and I actually had a good time doing it. I can hear a few of you saying, “Couldn’t you find something better to do with your time (like flossing your cat’s toes)?”, and the answer is No, this type of stuff is fun to me.

Is it really worth me doing all this work or would it be cheaper to take the computers into a Computer Place (e.g. Best Buy, Staples, or Big Al’s Computer and Donair stand) ? That question always comes up when I start on these kind of projects, sometimes it is me who asks, but many times it is Mrs. C8j who is asking it (i.e. she wanted me to be doing something else that she deems more important (possibly feline toe flossing)).

Where I cut my teeth on computers

As with the folks who tinker with cars, they could get their cars fixed by a licensed garage, but there is a feeling of accomplishment and a bit of pride when you fix problems (and the joy of the frustration you build up trying to fix the problem) by yourself. How can that be put in monetary terms?

This quandary is much like writing this blog, I make about slave wages writing this tome (not that I am complaining, I only mention this for comparison), I could make more money working overtime at work, or refereeing basketball games or the like, but I get a certain level of enjoyment doing this (even that really weird post about the Departed on Tuesday).

Is it Worth Doing?

I have also learned that most computer shops can do competent jobs fixing up computers, but I usually end up tinkering with machines even after they are “fixed” to understand why they broke in the first place (or to figure out whether I created my own problems, by creating problems from “fixing” other problems). Sometimes all I really needed to do was run an Anti-Virus program.

Do you have a hobby that sometimes monopolizes your time (to the detriment of earning real money)? Do you rationalize why you do it, or do you simply enjoy it?


EcoEnergy On Line and Ready to Go!

Program Up and Running

So as part of the Budget 2011 there was a mention of restarting the Eco Energy program and the government has now finally restarted the program and you can read more on this link. The first thing you’ll need to do is register with the program and then start following the steps outlined.

The program can get you up to $5000 in rebates it says, but for me, I am just hoping that my windows (which I have already had done) will be allowable. Given the rebate for windows seems to be $40 per raw opening (which sounds very rude to me), I’d be happy to get the $240 back (but then I am wondering how much the Energy audit might cost).

The program seems a little more tuned for folks that are getting big ticket items replaced like Air Conditioners and Furnaces and such, but still a worthwhile program to investigate, free money is always a good thing, and if it is the government giving it to you, so much the better.

The program is due to last until March 31, 2012, but they also mention that it could be discontinued sooner than that, so you might want to get moving on this one, and make sure you get your grants, while the getting is good.

Lousy Windows

If your windows look like this, replace them!

If you wander through the Grant Table you will find some wild and interesting retrofits that get some major pay backs (but I suspect they are mighty expensive too).

  • If you put in a ground earth-energy system you can get up to $4300, which isn’t too bad.
  • Solar hot water heating system you can get $1250
  • If you get the right furnace you are getting over $500 too, so that is great.

Go find out how much your Energy Audit might cost and then get yourself some of this free money!


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