October begins tomorrow and that means Oktoberfest both in its birth place in Bavaria (and Germany in general), but also all over the world. I was first introduced to it as a Freshman at the University of Waterloo, and if you can’t make it to Munich for Oktoberfest, I would say Kitchener/Waterloo would be a good place to visit, as it is quite the festival. A great deal of beer is drunk, but there is a great deal of wonderful food, Oompah bands and polka, polka, polka! I tended to Polka a lot better after a few beers (or that was my opinion, my wife claims I actually don’t know how to Polka). My favorite Polka band? Not Walter Ostanek of course it was the Schmenge Brothers (a video clip at the end with their smash hit Cabbage Rolls and Coffee).

A new Trudeaumania coming? I can only hope, to drive the PQ Crazy in Quebec, anybody west of Dryden and everyone else. Can this young man polarize a nation the way his Father did? It sure would make for  a much more interesting political world, but it all remains to be seen.

Bad Beef? It’s all coming from Canada, and it seems to be making lots of folks sick (and making more of us try to get our money back from our Grocery stores). The joys of E.Coli and beef, just make sure you cook it good!

No E.coli in my Twitter feed this week, but lots of blasts from the past (like Trudeaumania):

Now hopefully the coffee is brewed and the cabbage rolls are ready:


NFL Refs are Back, Free Tuition and Friday #Shoutouts

After my concerted efforts with both sides, the NFL referees have returned to work, well OK, I bitched about it on-line and an agreement went into place the same day, so I had nothing to do with it, but I am still happy to see this (if anything it will shut up those Packer fans about how they were robbed and such). I think that fan outcry helped resolve this situation, and the NFL decided it was hurting their product to have this hanging over their heads (they would have no refs if they could, but figured throwing the officials a bone wouldn’t hurt their bottom line too much).

I am glad to see Mrs. Marois is living up to her promises of rolling back the tuition increases in Quebec, but in true Québécois fashion, the students are now on the streets protesting for Free Post-Secondary tuition, which just goes to show, give them an inch they will take your wallet (and hand it back empty). I could have predicted this one, but it will be interesting to see how this all plays out (my guess is not much will come of it, but I did have a good laugh about it).

Will Justin Trudeau follow in his Father’s large footsteps (speaking of friends of the PQ)? Don’t know, but it might add a few real personalities back into Canadian politics, which is about as exciting as a Wish Sandwich right now. What I wouldn’t give for a Judy Lamarsh, or John Crosby just to make life more interesting. We have a status of women minister who seems to be anti-abortion, that is about as exciting as we get these days.

The search continues for Jimmy Hoffa, one has to wonder, why? I suppose now that the U.S. presidential campaign has gone mute, thanks to Obama deciding that Romney can do more for the President’s campaign, he is staying very quiet.

Weekly Recap

The fall colours are starting in Ottawa, so much less green around (much like my wallet):

And thanks to those who added me on Twitter I am now over 1200 folks who follow me, holy liftin! If you join my “Twitter Posse“, you might notice I am also re-Tweeting some posts from the French Media as well (hell, if I am learning the language, shouldn’t we all?).

Check out my Facebook page and find us on Google+ as well. The page includes many different posts, not just my own (kind of like this Friday post, but all week-long), and I have changed it a little bit too (note the new background).

Links for the Week

No mention of cartoons that infuriate folks, topless photos of royalty, or the lack of hockey:

  • If you’d like to learn about pretty much anything, go try No Excuse List which has links to any site you might want to go find stuff out from. Pretty amazing stuff.
  • The Blunt Bean Counter kibitzes about whether the CRA Should Reward Tax Snitches? I am not sure they should pay out the way the IRS does, but it might not be a bad idea.
  • Our amigo the Canadian Capitalist seems to have returned from a hiatus and asks why ING Direct Lags the Competition ? Not sure why that is the case, but they had better get moving.
  • Michael James points out that ETFs Offer a Variety of Investing Approaches , and you should read carefully before buying any ETF (as you should with all investments).
  • Mark at My Own Advisor gives us Reflections and Highlights from CPFC12 which was a Canadian Financial Blogging conference in Toronto (I got invited, but was busy that weekend, and it sounds like I missed out on a lot of fun).
  • Another new interesting site is the Deep End of Stupid with The Rules of Jo, well worth having a read.
  • Gail Vaz-Oxlade is worried about our health with Don’t Worry, Be Healthy, which is true, worry will shorten your life.

Other Bookkeeping

No, no, no! Wrong Kind of Zebra

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


I still blame the Refs (especially NFL Replacement Refs)

After watching the debacle in the NFL Monday Night Game, one might think I still agree with I blame the refs and this instance I think I do, but in general the job done by most officials is just fine.

The NFL replacement ref catastrophe is about the same as if you were to use my blog as your investing authority. I get some things right, but I am certainly no authority, and if you asked me a direct question (and could actually get me to answer) you most likely would get some less than stellar advice. On Monday night we saw what happens when Management assumes that all workers are interchangeable, where the NFL is assuming that their officials (who are incredibly closely scrutinized) can be replaced by High School

Officials (since the University and College officials refused to act as scabs for the games).

A Call that will live in Infamy

Making the assumption in life that: I don’t need an expert’s advice on this, I’ll just ask Big Cajun Man or my Uncle Fred for advice, is very dangerous. Yes, you might get good free advice, but it is not very likely. Deal with a trusted professional if you are building a house, or in any other instance like that. Are all experts always correct? Nope, that is why you need to find someone who others trust (i.e. people who are trusted by people who you trust) to get expert advice.

What might happen if you don’t? You might have an Interception called a Touchdown, causing $250M  worth of bets to change on one very badly officiated play.

Oh and Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman are both ruining their businesses for the sake of wanting to be right (IMHO). You are helping Conan O’Brien get some good material mind you:


Inflation Slowing some More for August 2012 in Canada

Apologies to my regular readers, only now  catching up with my friends at Stats Canada who last Friday published their monthly Consumer Price Index for August 2012, and some OK news in there for Canadians, in that Inflation continues to grow at a slowish rate.

To be exact our friends said:

Consumer prices rose 1.2% in the 12 months to August, following a 1.3% gain in July. Higher prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles, gasoline, meat and food purchased from restaurants were major factors in the year-over-year increase of the August Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Given the ups and downs of Gas prices that I have seen, inflation running this low is good news. With the drought in Eastern Canada, watch for food prices to go up, with many farmers claiming whole crop failures thanks to lack of rain and weather issues.

Inflation for the Past Little While

Are we really on a downward run here on inflation? I think the Bank of Canada hopes not, because if they introduce tighter money policy, what might happen then? Interesting question.

What is energy doing, you ask? Up and down in lots of spots, but effectively nothing? That is what seems to be happening if you look at this graph of the Energy Index:

Energy Index for the Past Little While

How is it that it says almost zero yet gas prices are up? Oh yes, my Natural Gas bill is down, fancy that?

Bank of Canada’s core index

More importantly given our friends at the Bank of Canada measure inflation a little differently, what do they think of our inflation?

The Bank of Canada’s core index rose 1.6% in the 12 months to August, following a 1.7% gain in July.

On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted core index rose 0.3% in August after posting no change in June and July.

Well that is bloody low too, isn’t it?

The Big Table

OK, where are we seeing the biggest growth then? The only way you are figuring that out is if you have a look at one of the big tables from Stats Canada:

Consumer Price Index and major components, Canada – Not seasonally adjusted

  Relative importance1 August 2011 July 2012 August 2012 July to August 2012 August 2011 to August 2012
  % (2002=100) % change
All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) 100.002 120.3 121.5 121.8 0.2 1.2
Food 15.99 128.9 131.7 131.7 0.0 2.2
Shelter 27.49 126.2 127.2 127.4 0.2 1.0
Household operations, furnishings and equipment 11.55 111.2 113.0 112.7 -0.3 1.3
Clothing and footwear 5.31 90.6 89.1 89.5 0.4 -1.2
Transportation 20.60 125.3 126.4 127.5 0.9 1.8
Health and personal care 4.95 117.5 118.5 119.8 1.1 2.0
Recreation, education and reading 11.20 106.4 107.2 107.6 0.4 1.1
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products 2.91 136.1 137.6 137.8 0.1 1.2
Special aggregates            
Core CPI3 82.15 117.8 119.3 119.7 0.3 1.6
All-items CPI excluding energy 89.92 117.2 118.7 118.8 0.1 1.4
Energy4 10.08 157.9 156.0 159.2 2.1 0.8
Gasoline 5.80 181.0 180.1 184.9 2.7 2.2
All-items CPI excluding food and energy 73.93 114.7 115.8 116.0 0.2 1.1
Goods 47.80 113.2 113.2 114.0 0.7 0.7
Services 52.20 127.3 129.7 129.6 -0.1 1.8
1. 2009 CPI basket weights at April 2011 prices, Canada, effective May 2011. 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 to 100% as a result of rounding.
3. The Bank of Canada’s core index excludes eight of the Consumer Price Index’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, please consult the Bank of Canada website (www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/price-indexes/cpi).
4. The special aggregate “Energy” includes: electricity; natural gas; fuel oil and other fuels; gasoline; and fuel, parts and supplies for recreational vehicles.


How Easy is Your PIN to Crack? or Spaceballs the PIN!

Over at Data Genetics they did a little PIN Safety study and they found out that there are a lot of dumber than posts people out there, because the most popular PIN is 1234. Really you say? Really, I reply.

Remember this scene from Space Balls?

Dark Helmet was right, if your PIN is 1234 (or 12345 in this instance) that is the stupidest password in the world.

These are the WORST PIN you can Have!

I enjoy when real statistics come out to blow the whistle on those lazy folks who think their birthday or the like is a good PIN for their security system.

Want the best PIN to have? I won’t spoil it for you but a really good one is 6835, check the link above and you’ll see what might be the best choices (but now these are known, are they the best any more? Maybe 1234 is now the best?).

Gotta love some of those PINs, read the article, you may want to go out and change your PIN, very quickly.

It might be fun to ask if you can add another number to your PINs? Of course going to 12345 as a PIN, might not be that good either? Buy Spaceballs the movie too, it’s available on Blu-Ray.


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