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Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Movie Review 119: Alvin And The Chipmunks

This is a complete modernization of the Chipmunks in the 21st century. There really isn't much character development of David Seville, the creator of Alvin and The Chipmunks. In the movie, he's portrayed as a failed folk singer. In actual life, he was both an actor and a songwriter of funny songs. He real name was Ross Bagdasarian, but for recordings  he changed it "David Seville". Ross died in 1972, but his son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. continued the recordings of the famous Chipmunks.

The movie concentrated on the antics and the rise to fame of Alvin and his buddies. In some parts, it was quite funny, but the real story of the man who created them was never told. I guess that will be made into another movie someday. Two and half stars. More reviews of "Alvin And The Chipmunks".

In meantime, enjoy the original version of "Witchdoctor" which wasn't presented in the film:

Get Music Tracks! Create A Playlist!

Posted by qualteam at 11:52 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2008 9:58 PM EDT
Sunday, 13 April 2008
General Electric Goofed Up Its Earnings Report

Sometimes it hurts to be too optimistic at a time of slower growth. This happened to GE and it shook the stock markets of the world. Take a look:

"Net income fell to $4.3 billion or 43 cents per share from $4.57 billion, 44 cents per share, a year ago. Earnings from continuing operations came to $4.4 billion or 44 cents per share, down eight per cent year-over-year.

That was well below the 51 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial for profit from continuing operations. The company (i.e GE) itself had forecast a profit of 50 to 53 cents per share".

Companies could learn a great deal from Canada's former Finance and Prime Minister, Paul Martin. He was the king of low expectations in Ottawa, the surpluses were always greater than predicted and deficits were always less than expected. The Liberal Government stayed in power for over 13 years with this lowball type of forecasting.

The markets are taking a cold shower of reality, right now. It helps if earnings expectations are underinflated for the time being.

Also, the U.S. public should be wary about electing a President who's an economic lightweight. 


Posted by qualteam at 9:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2008 6:55 PM EDT
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Beware Of The Toilet Police

This memo was actually sent to employees of a company that my wife used to work for:




If this bathroom is not kept clean, we will be forced to lock the bathroom door.

Then you will have to get the key from your shift supervisor.

It will be inspected before and after you use it.

From Management

Remember you might be being watched at all times.


Posted by qualteam at 12:33 PM EDT
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Dave Devall, King Of The Weathermen After 50 Years


Dave started as a weatherman on television at CHEX, Peterborough in 1958. I first saw him as a forecaster on CKVR, Barrie from 1959 to 1960. In earlier 1961, he made his appearence on CTV Toronto and has been with them ever since. To work over fifty years at one job shows me that he really likes it and he's good at what he does.

There's always a personal touch in his weather forecasting. He tells you if you need an umbrella, a coat or sunscreen.

The humourous touches like writing COOL on the transparent wall and then putting his eyes through the "OO" does the trick (LOL).

He banters around with the other newscasters and often gives the impression that he's creating the weather. There also a running joke about the fact that "he came from or is still living" in Bolsover, Ontario. I never knew where Bolsover was until I looked it up on the internet. It's situated East of Lake Simcoe near Beaverton. These are very senic rural areas of Ontario and part of Canada's vast wilderness. I went to a day camp in Beaverton when I was a kid and had a great time.

Dave is also a pilot and an honourary colonel of a Canadian regiment. He sometimes wears his uniform when broadcasting. He's still the number one meterologist in charge of the weather.

Posted by qualteam at 10:23 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 April 2008 10:58 PM EDT
Monday, 7 April 2008
Canada Post's Corporate Team Incentive Delivers

For the first time in the history of Canada Post, the membership in the Canadian Union of Postal Workers(CUPW) will be receiving a Corporate Team Incentive Bonus . It's only $895.00, not as much as I thought it would be, but it's a big change from "no bonus for 150 years".

I must point out that management has been getting a bonus for over 15 years, so I fought hard last year against CUPW opposition to it and finally, the union membership did accept it.

There is more information concerning the Corporate Team incentive on my CUPW website at Have fun checking out my history in CUPW and the anti-war songs on the website.

Below is Canada Post's spin on why the CTI wasn't in the 100% range:

"2007 was a tough year with aggressive target goals. Although we didn’t reach several targets, we exceeded those in key areas such as Lettermail delivery, reducing pay defects and lowering cost of operations. The Corporate Performance results and bonus rate for 2007 have been approved by the Board of Directors. Some key targets were met at threshold level, at target, or exceeded. The bonus will be paid to eligible employees on April 17, 2008 at a rate of 63.75% of their respective bonus levels".

Posted by qualteam at 10:47 PM EDT
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Winning At Online Poker

For the last three weeks, I've been on a winning streak with "Texas Hold 'Em". Granted I only play for small stakes "$.02/$04 blinds and $.05/$.10 blinds, but that's part of the secret of winning. I play with the stakes that I'm comfortable with.

Here are my top ten online poker strategies:

  1. I'll only stay in a game as long as I'm winning. When I start to lose, I leave.
  2. When I'm unlucky at the $.02/$04 level, I move up to the five/ten cent level where I often get my money back and more.
  3. If I lose early, I stay with a game until I move into positive territory. Online poker is great for that. You can come and go as you please.
  4. I study the game on YouTube and other websites. There's a difference in playing "limit and no limit poker".
  5. I seldom call the big blind unless I have a face card in my hand.
  6. Most of the time when my hand doesn't improve with the flop, I fold.
  7. In the last betting position, on the button, I will often bet on nothing.
  8. I avoid tables where players make extreme bets on weak hands.
  9. I connect with a game where the action moves quickly and the flop, the turn and the river fly by.
  10. I only play as long as I'm enjoying the game play. When I start to get bored or tired, I move onto something else.

Have fun playing poker and don't take it too seriously.

The Gambler/Kenny Rogers

Posted by qualteam at 8:17 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 6 April 2008 8:21 PM EDT
Thursday, 3 April 2008
There Are Much Bigger Housing Bargains In The U.S. Than In Canada

The average price of a house in Canada is now over $325,000.  Canadian homes are less affordable because prices have grown faster than household income. Prices have gone up 10 percent a year between 2002 and 2007 while historically, they have gone up only 4 to 5 per cent a year. Mortgages with 40 year amortizations are now 37% of new home loans--- and 9% of outstanding mortgages.

Homes in the U.S. are a real bargain in comparism. Lets look at the positives that exist now:

  1. Any investment whether house, stock or mutual fund should be purchased at the time of greatest pessimism. This is another spin on the old adage: "Buy low and sell high".
  2. The Federal Reserve is bringing more controls into the financial and mortgage marketplaces, so that something like the subprime fiasco doesn't happen again.
  3. Not only has the Fed dropped interest rates by a big margin over the last year, but it has become the insurer of last resort to the U.S. banking and financial system.
  4. The forty year mortgage has been successful in Canada. I'm sure it will be a success in the U.S.
  5. With the help of the U.S. Government, financial institutions will be encouraged to give mortgages to people with good credit records.
  6. In a tight presidential race, the candidates will be committed to actually doing something to help homeowners and potential homeowners.
  7. During the last Canadian housing bubble in the 1980s, homeowners were flipping houses as fast as they could. From 1990 on, house prices declined for six years until people started buying homes to live in rather than speculate on. Since then, house prices have been doing very will indeed.
  8. Successful mortgage products in Canada could be applied in the U.S.

I have heard that half the buyers of Arizona property are Canadian. If you don't grab your bargain dream house soon,  some rich guy is going to do it and you might end up renting from him.

Posted by qualteam at 10:50 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 April 2008 10:56 PM EDT
Monday, 31 March 2008
Rays Of Sunshine Are Getting Through Clouds Of Doom And Gloom

While much of the media and the financial crystal ball gazers are predicting the U.S. will go to "Hell in a Handbasket", there are some signs that responsible people in government and business are trying to turn things around.

Most market watching spectators are standing around with their fingers up their butt whistling Dixie. "What tune will we be whistling next," they ask?

Fortunately, there are U.S. business men and others that are competent at what they do and willing to take calculated risks:

  1. Last year, 41 per cent of venture capital invested in Canada – and 53 per cent in Ontario – came from the U.S., making our potential gazelles increasingly dependent on foreign capital.
  2. Nice to see General Electric Co. lightening up on financial assets, which during the Jack Welch era of the 1990s threatened to overshadow GE's other businesses. Those other businesses – aircraft engines, medical devices, lighting, appliances, locomotives and other essential "infrastructure goods" – are the makings of a reliably well-run industrial conglomerate. GE head Jeff Immelt is one of those rare Fortune 500 CEOs who sets his watch on company time and not Wall Street's, in stark contrast with Welch. Immelt waited for the right price before shedding GE's historically important, but low-margin plastics business last year. Now he's easing out of financial businesses, starting with an auction at GE Canada, where he'll have better luck commanding decent prices than for sales of U.S. counterparts in the jittery American market. We hope to one day soon see GE, additionally bereft of NBC Universal and its uneven performance, emerge as a streamlined peer of United Technologies Corp. (Otis elevators, Carrier, Pratt & Whitney engines), whose stock has soared 117 per cent in the past five years, to GE's paltry 32 per cent.
  3. In February, there was a surprise rise in U.S. home sales. Well done to those agents and buyers who are getting the show on the road.



Posted by qualteam at 10:19 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 31 March 2008 10:30 PM EDT
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Earth Hour: A Cause That Unites Us All

For sixty minutes tonight as our contribution to Earth Hour, My wife and I turned off the lights and appliances in our house.

Unfortunately, my stepson celebrated Earth Hour by watching television in the garage with the lights on. Maybe next year, he'll get the message.

For an event that started in Sydney Australia, this crusade has snowballed around the world. Even the guys at Google are embracing the idea. 

I've written many articles about grass roots involvement in the "Green Crusade". One of them is buying stocks and mutual funds in green oriented companies. That was the subject of my last blog.

"Reduce, Reuse and Recyle" are also activities that anyone can do.

What are you doing for the well being of the planet and mankind?



Posted by qualteam at 9:30 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 March 2008 10:46 PM EDT
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Green Investments Are Investments In The Future

I was surprised that some green oriented mutual funds have been doing so well over the years.

"The Acuity Clean Environment" fund has a compounded return of 9.3% since its inception in 1991. From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2007 the fund had a gain of 30.3%. That sure beats the 8.8% gain of the Dow.

In the U.S., "The WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio" has had a gain of 65.7% since inception in Aug/2004.

Not only are these funds socially and environmentally responsible, but they're highly profitable as well. This reminds me of how Microsoft developed in the late 1970s.

If you're interested in the next big thing, check out "Green Investing: A Guide To Making Money Through Environmentally-Friendly Stocks" by Jack Ulrich.

Good news can be found in the U.S./Canadian stock markets, but sometimes you have to search deep to find it.



Posted by qualteam at 10:21 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008 10:34 PM EDT

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