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Showing posts from March, 2012

Montreal is Hockey Mad!

I return to Montreal in the early 1990's from living more than a decade in London.  I worked for a few years here at what is now a major aircraft manufacturer.  One of the first thing I was asked is whether I played ice hockey -- I answered no (I really don't), but out of curiosity I asked if there was a team -- even then this was a big company, imagine my surprised when I was told there was not only a team, there were leagues (plural intended!)  In fact each "plant" had something like 30 or so teams -- some were nearly NHL caliber in the playing ability.
Every night when there is a hockey game in Montreal (at the Bell Centre) its a full house.  Every single ticket has been sold, and that's despite the team playing rather badly over the past few years (decade).  In fact, the Montreal Canadian are the NHL's most profitable team in terms of revenues (and by a long shot) with Boston and NY Rangers r.
So yesterday was budget day in Canada -- with the Canadian go…

Sometimes statistics matter

The continuing (although the end is in sight) saga that is the Republican primaries has proved to be a fascinating process and a recent article in the NYT has put even more colour to the race to the White House.  South Carolina has been the bellwether for presidential politics for more than 20 years, and yet in the recent GOP contest some of the data is hard to believe and represents a disaster for the GOP.
A few days ago I mentioned that the Hawaii GOP primaries participants totalled slightly less than 10,000 voters -- in a population basis of 1.7 million (trust me that's not a lot).  But the results from exit polls for the South Carolina primaries are even scarier (for the GOP).  First the shift in the type of voters; whereas four years ago something like half the primary voters (we are talking GOP here) were fundamentalist christians, now it's 64%.  Whereas 95% of voters in 2007 were white now its 98% (scarcely believable that South Carolina's GOP is now all white -- i…

What I read

As a finance guy there are a few things you have to read almost on a daily basis; the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times are the three core "journals of record" of the financial world.  Over the past 5 years my reading habits have been changing.  First to go was the WSJ, frankly now that the rest of the journal (the Editorials and opinions always were) has been taking over by the loony right and now colours everything they write (I blame Newscos to some extent... but the seeds have long been there).  The FT for some reason (maybe because the problems in Europe are so severe) has become such a Eurocentric publication to become almost irrelevant to my needs.
I had a short divorce from the Economist (2002/06) but I'm now back in the fold.  The one surprise has been the NY Times that has proven to be a very good replacement for the WSJ (Ok the opinion pages has the same problem, except from the other side of the isle),  Still the NYT's financial cov…

One year without a car!

Exactly 12 months ago today I moved out of my now sold "big house" in Westmount to my loft in Old Montreal.  It was also the day that I gave up my car -- actually my third ever car...
For a Canadian born in the 1960s I have an unusual relationship with cars; first as a teenager I lived downtown where owning a car was not only useless but was far too expensive, although I had great summer jobs (working in hospitals) the idea of paying a $100 dollars a month for parking was a non-starter.  As I grew older (and went to university -- less then 3 blocks for my parents's apartment), the idea of moving out was less than appealing .  So after three years of university I moved to London (England) where owning a car made absolutely no sense whatsoever (so by the time I came back to Montreal in 1994 -- I was 33 by then) I had never owned a car!  
In fact, the first car I ever owned was a 1994 Saturn -- all of three years before moving to Singapore where I was the proud owner of a …

Santorum & Hawaii

Ok so watching the Republican slug fest last night, it was amazing how well Santorum did, considering that all the polls had him trailing Gingrich and Romney, turns out that he won, and Romney came in third (although it must be said it was a very close contest with each of the three picking 1/3 of the vote).  It is also telling that despite Romney superior cash position (Romney outspends two or three times over the combination of Gingrich and Santorum), that he does so poorly.  Romney will almost certainly win this contest (although people said the same thing about Clinton in 2008) but the cost may be substantial.  In this era of "video playback" it will be hard for him to walk back his comments.  He will also be unable to go after Obama's health care program (since it was largely modeled on Romney's own Massachusetts' plan).  I think it was the NYT that outlined that this primary was the cheapest in over a decade.

Most amazing was Romney's win in Hawaii, whe…