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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
Sunday, 23 March 2008
The Power Of Life Energy


Getting hold of powerful  energy has been an obession of mankind over the last hundred years. Most of that energy comes from physical sources like oil, solar rays, nuclear, wind and falling water.

Physical and electrical energy of one kind or another makes the world go round.

Unfortunately, little is known about spiritual or life energy. There is evidence that it does heal and that it can make us feel better.

Individuals sometimes survive horrible conditions like concentration camps and extremes of heat and cold.

You might call it "mind over matter", but people have "survival life energy" that we can tap into when our backs are against the wall. Sports teams call this "motivational desire". Religious folks look at it as an inspirational power from God.

Stated in different ways this life energy could be expessed as follows:

  1. "That's all I can stands. I can't stands no more".(Popeye)
  2. "It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'".(Timex commerical)
  3. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."
  4. "You can't keep a good man down."
  5. "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."(Vince Lombari, Green Bay Coach)
  6. "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
  7. "There's no stopping an idea whose time has come."
  8. "I'm the vine and you are the branches".(Jesus to the Apostles)
  9. "The Phoenix rises from its own ashes."
  10. "To me to live is Christ and die is gain."(The Apostle Paul)

Have a Happy Easter.

Posted by qualteam at 10:10 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008 10:31 PM EDT
Saturday, 22 March 2008
A Recession Of Confidence Can Be Turned Around

It's time for investors, shareholders and potential homeowners to start separating the morons and criminals of financial institutions who promoted worthless garbage like "SIVs", "CDOs", and "ABCPs".

In a game of hot potato, banks unloaded this junk far and wide in bundles stamped with triple-A creditworthiness stickers, the recipients raking off their fees only to flip the package again until a $475,000 split-level in suburban Toledo whose low-income subprime mortgagee could no longer make the payments had found its way into the portfolio of a municipal employees pension plan in Hamburg or, remarkably, enough, an agency of the Ontario Treasurer.

Now every banker and financial hotdog isn't like former Citibank CEO, Charles Prince and not every financial institution is like "Bear Stearns".

Take for example Toronto Dominion Bank CEO, Ed Clark. About two years ago, he stumbled across an operation within his bank engaged in trading this unfamiliar exotica.

On discovering that the junior-ranking staff playing with the new toys could not explain how they worked, Clark demanded the stuff be immediately dumped (near the top of the market, as good luck would have it).

It should be noted that the TD bank is doing business in the U.S. as TD Banknorth.

Also, U.S. bank JP Morgan had a very good IPO offering of its VISA division.

As for the financial group, after months of weakness, that sector advanced last week after three big U.S. investment banks -- Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs -- delivered better-than-expected earnings, after the U.S. Federal Reserve backed up JPMorgan Chase's bargain-basement pickup of Bear Stearns.

Also, Bank of Montreal restructured the troubled Apex and Sitka commercial paper trusts, a move that insulates BMO from hundreds of millions of dollars in potential further writedowns connected to the trusts, as well as from possible litigation.

There are many banks who have not weathered this financial crisis as well as the ones above. There are many investment and mortgage people who will lose there jobs over bad loans and bad paper. Hopefully, you'll get someone at your local bank who is selling value at a bargain price rather than hot air.

The ABCP Song/Shaving Cream






Posted by qualteam at 1:15 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008 11:23 PM EDT
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
We Don't Have To Be At The Mercy Of "The Gods Of The Stock Market"

Sure there's a great deal of volatility and emotion in the stock market. That doesn't mean that you should be the effect of it. There are always many reasonable actions that you can do with your investment money:

  1. Learn from your mistakes in the past and resolve not to do them again.
  2. Invest in long term assets like a house, blue chip stocks and financial institutions that you trust.
  3. Look at the subprime crisis as way of sweeping away phoney assets and incompetent financiers. A new broom sweeps clean.
  4. Obtaining a good credit record should be done before buying a house.
  5. Buying a decent house at a bargain price with a low interest rate should be the prime building block of your investment strategy.
  6. Adding value to one's assets rather than chasing inflated stock values is a low risk strategy for good gains. For most people, this would be paying down the mortgage and doing renovations on a house.
  7. Learn about why the market moves in a certain direction and make your own decision on independent data rather than following the sheep or "the financial experts".

We have to be willing to rebuild and start our investment projects with an obtainable dream.  A New Day Has Come

Posted by qualteam at 11:05 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008 10:41 PM EDT

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