Saturday, March 31, 2007

Something stinks and it's not my feet

Some of you outside of Quebec probably don't know about some of the details of our recent provincial election. Many of my friends outside Quebec think that the majority of pure blood French Canadians are rednecks/racists. This isn't entirely true but unfortunately it hasn't been easy to defend the populace with articles like these dominating the headlines for the past few months. What is that all about? This article for those of you that don't speak French, points out how unacceptable some locals think that serving soup without ham and letting Muslims pray in a "Cabane a Sucre" is. This is an age old Quebec tradition, probably one of the most defining traditions of this society. Sure getting hosed in the woods while eating maple syrup on ham is a sacred ceremony but for fucks sake, getting infuriated when the tradition is flexed a little to accommodate others to me seems to be just plain racist and proves the point of those outside of Quebec who think QC-Francophones are just a bunch of backwoods yeehaws.

Unfortunately there's lots of this going around and the ADQ headed by Mario Dumont are front and center in the fight against diversity. I don't think that MD himself is originating this stuff but in the process of shamelessly riding the tide of anti-urban sentiment, this poor specimen has jumped on the bandwagon of rural angst and adopted some of its racist undertones.

This is especially sad considering that most of the areas that are really adamant about these policies have not a single visible minority. In the province of Quebec, the only place you'll see a minority is in Montreal yet the argument about Muslims, Sikhs and other such groups rages on not here but in small towns with nothing but pure white French people.

How sad, how embarrassing and how pathetic is this? The ironic thing is that the ADQ has quite a few immigrant candidates. Shame on them.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Aye Carumbu


Apple sauce

Dvorak thinks the iPhone is going to be a dud. Personally, I'm kind of torn. He's right in saying that competition between Motorola/Nokia/Samsung is going to squeeze the margins out of this segment but at the same time people really want their iThings and RIM is doing a great job at selling high margin gadgets without serious threat from M/N/S.

So what's it going to be for Apple? iTV and phone domination or is this their stumbling block? Steve's been a killer (in the execution sense) to date but he's got some serious obstacles in front of him with both these markets. There are no guaranteed slam dunks for sure but we're in for a wild ride. I have no predictions on this one but I think that Apple is going to do us all a favor by raising the bar for everyone else at a minimum.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


There is something to be said about minority governments. On Monday, here in Quebec we will be faced with a provincial election. The results look quite polarized. Urban Montreal will vote Liberal, the countryside will vote ADQ and what's left of the hard line separatists will vote PQ. Most likely there will be a Liberal minority gov't and things will get pretty ugly in parliament during the next few years. This is good for all of us in a way because the ruling government can impose idiotic legislation that alienates a large section of the population without the support of an opposition party whos best interest it is to not let that happen.

Seems to have worked pretty well federally, turning the nasty ex-reform conservatives to warm fuzzy conserva-liberals. Lets see what Monday brings us.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The War Zone Diary

I'm not sure if any of you saw Richard Engels "War Zone Diary" on MSNBC last night but if it you missed it and it does repeat you should most definitely check it out.

The thing that I realized the most from the show was that the violence that's sprung up in Iraq since the fall of Saddam is not really about the American presence. For sure it doesn't help but fifteen hundred years of Shia repression under a Suni minority was going to eventually boil over, it was just a matter of time. Without a strong man to hold it together, it finally has. The Americans should get out like yesterday, let the Iraqis, Iranians and everybody else duke it out and then eventually the place will partition itself off into a number of sectarian zones much like Serbia/Bosnia did back in the day. Things will get much uglier but it's better to just let it blow up now than to slow bleed over decades. Seems to me that the estimates of 100,000 dead civilians is pretty ugly in itself. It's just a number until you see a video of dozens of dead yellow/brown maggot covered corpses being stacked up every day.

Maybe I'm wrong 'cuz I'm a long long way from the action and I don't know a damn thing about these religious factions but the Americans just seem to be going in circles without any end in sight. Time to bail unless someone has a better idea.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Stryker et al.

Anybody that knows me knows that I'm not especially impressed with hippies. I don't think that they actually ever got anything done in the 60s and don't think that they had a positive impact in the years that followed. So even to my own surprise I can say that I've got a new soft spot for them today. Why pray tell do you ask? Simple, those guys all have bum hips and knees these days and are making me loads of money in Stryker, my favorite stock of the month. When the market started getting shakey a couple of weeks ago, I culled my dearly held favorites and moved into some defensive plays. Almost all of them have held ground and then some (GS, VRNT, SYK, PEP, PG). Phew.

On a different note, I'm not posting much because there's not much to say. The weather hasn't been too cooperative and I've been travelling and working too much to really do anything worth writing about. Just one of those periods I guess.

Lots of interesting stuff cooking but nothing that I can speak about just yet. See y'all later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More cash from more chaos

The equities market has been a mess this past two weeks and I've managed to avoid a lot of pain with the following moves:

- Sold NTRI (+13%)
- Sold all tech except DIVX (-3%)
- Sold GS this morning at 205 (bought last week at 199)
- Last week bought into DIVX at $20 and VRNT at about $30 (up +1 to 3%)

So far I'm out of everything except VRNT, DIVX, TM, DEO, MPEL and a couple of agriculture and defence ETFs . I'm feeling a lot of pain on MPEL but I'm prolly going to double down as soon as it starts lifting again. I am now sitting at 65% cash. Overall, I'm still up a point since Jan 9th and I've got tons of upside coming on VRNT, DIVX & TM. Not so sure when DEO and MPEL are going to fly.

If things really crater this week I'm going to jump back in again.

Monday, March 12, 2007

There I am

Deepak Chopra once said "no matter where you go, there you are". There I was in the back hills of coastal Costa Rica last week wondering what the fuck I was doing there beating snakes and scorpions out of the underbrush in front of me. It definitely wasn't my typical tequila and beach break surf vacation. I went off to find a nice plot of land to call my own and eventually build a couple of villas or timeshare units with some surf buddies. Little did I know how hard I had to work and how tough a job it was going to be. In any case, I learnt a lot, didn't buy anything yet but did come to earn a great deal of appreciation for the locals and the feral settlers in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.

It didn't help that the equities market was a roller coaster last week and my Internet access was umm.... well let me put it this way, the aboriginals prolly had better throughput way back when with smoke signals.

Lessons learned:
- Skype rules
- Love my TC1100
- GPS rocks
- Milagro golden brown Tequila kicks ass
- Don't mess with the stick bugs
- Construction is a pain especially from 3K miles away
- Hangovers dissipate quicker in the heat

So in the end, I didn't buy anything but I am in negotiations with some interesting deals. I'll keep you posted as things develop. Well that's not exactly true, I bought a scooter for nine hundred bucks but that's another story.