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Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Remembering Ingmar Bergman
Mood:  a-ok

Definitely, one of the top ten movie makers of all time. He demonstrated to audiences around the world that film could be as profound as literature.

In an age where special effects seem to rule the box office, we should look again at a man who made movies out of the pain of this own life and his search for God.

My favourite Bergman's movies were "Smiles Of A Summer's Night" and "The Seventh Seal". Art should take us into new places within our souls.

Ingmar Bergman passed away yesterday at the age of 89. He will not be forgotten.

A Preview Of The Seventh Seal

Posted by qualteam at 10:27 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007 10:37 PM EDT
Sunday, 29 July 2007
The Pump And Dump Boys
Mood:  down

I'm not writing about guys who are looking for one-night stands. I'm writing about smooth stock manipulators who can do it legally.

Basically, "Pump and Dump" schemes are spam promotions intended to boost(pumped) the prices of penny stockes which are then sold for a quick profit (dumped). This is illegal.

Boosting stock prices through financial irregularities like "Enron" did a few years is also illegal.

However, there are legal ways of boosting stock prices and one of the best is through "M & A",  mergers and acquisitions. In Canada, this happened with INCO, Alcan and other numerous companies. Either the merger can happen with equity/cash or with leverage/debt.

Unfortunately in U.S. a "credit crunch" has appeared because too many bad mortgages have been given to too many credit risks resulting in massive defaults(the subprime fiasco).

Chrysler has had difficulty in finding a buyer because of this credit crunch. It's now perceived that it will now be more difficult for companies to buy other companies because of tightening credit. This could prevent stock prices from rising quickly.

It's just plain nuts to lend money to credit risks. That doesn't happen very much in Canada. Our mortgage/lending market is stable.

Things went crazy in the stock markets. The U.S. GDP was up 3.5% last quarter. It's best showing in four quarters, but speculators DUMPED stocks throughout the world: The Dow had a 4.2% loss, the S&P 500 4.9%, the TSX(Canadian Index), a 5.7% loss.

Rumors of mergers and acquisitions can send companies' stocks soaring. 

Stock prices should be based on the financial health of businesses and the prospects for the economy. Over the next year, I see investors dominating the North American markets instead of the pump and dump boys.

The Wall Street Journal Reports


Posted by qualteam at 10:40 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 July 2007 5:12 PM EDT
Thursday, 26 July 2007
A Barron Favourite: Do You Think You Can Dance?

As well as the Idols, Canadian and American, I'm also a fan of dance competitions like "Dancing With The Stars" and "Do You Think You Can Dance?"

Do You Think You Can Dance features both solo and team competition. I'm amazed at the amount of energy and dedication that these young people display each week.

Personally, I like swing and latin dances because they're hot with high energy.

In the present top ten, my favourites are Danny Tidwell and Lacey Schwimmer. Their training in different dances comes through with polished effortless technique. 

While there are some who are better individual performers, I prefer Danny and Lacey because they can really connect with their partners in different dance styles.

Danny Tidwell's Website

More On Lacey Schwimmer

Posted by qualteam at 10:55 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007 10:58 PM EDT
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Protecting Children From Harm

What do Ephraim Brown, 11, Jordan Manners 15, Jerome Bennett 15 and Jane Creba 15 have in common? They were all killed as innocence bystanders and targets of gun violence.

While I'm in favour of stronger penalties for anyone carrying and/or using handguns in Canada, I also realize that stronger penalties for  criminals doesn't guarantee the safety of our children.

Only the Lord and his angels can stop an incident before it starts and that means having protectors on Earth as well as the spiritual world. A community and parents who are concerned about their children's connections and influences can go a long way in defusing the negative effects of gangs. We must learn to solve problems with each without resorting to violence.

Lord, teach them the way to peace, love and reconciliation.

We must also ask the Lord to watch over our children and send them along a safe path. When all else fails, children should be taken out of harm's way and placed with friends and spiritual allies.

The Sad Story Of Ephraim Brown

One Day At A Time

Posted by qualteam at 11:02 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007 11:27 PM EDT
Saturday, 21 July 2007
Major Issues Were Avoided By J.K. Rowlings And Harry Potter

I have just finished reading some of the reviews for "Deathly Hallows." It really is a "Western" set in the magical world of Hogwarts and Harry Potterland. Basically, the good guys fought against the bad guys and the good guys won. The melodramatic formula holds true with superheroes, gunslingers and teenage wizards. The issues relating to the deceptiveness of evil, the antagonism of religious sects to witchcraft and the disenfranchisement of muggles wasn't addressed. Particularly, this could be stated this way:

  1. It is true that many muggles don't believe in magic or withcraft, however there are many who believe in magic and who want to become wizards as "The Harry Potter Franchise" proved. Unfortunately, they are banned from entering Hogwarts because they don't have a magical relative.
  2. Unlike Darth Vader or Lex Luther, there's no subtlety to Voldemort. Somewhere along the line, he flunked out of "Deception 101 in Black Magic". He appears to be a maniac on the loose who isn't playing with a full deck or a full soul.
  3. Rightly or wrongly, many fundamental religious groups fought Harry Potter and wizardry because "innocence masks evil". Their stand was biblically based because the Bible states "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live". In Harry Potter's world, these people don't exist.
  4. I can't swallow the ideal that magical powers are generically inherited rather than developed. If that was the case, most of us would be doomed to be unmagical.
  5. There's no historical connection between historical witchcraft (17th century and earlier) and Hogwart's witchcraft (20th and 21th century).
  6. Harry Potter never seemed to have problems with "altered realities" or "weakened powers".
  7. He wasn't able to help Conrad Black, but that's ok. Magicians have limits on their powers.

The Charmed Ones

Posted by qualteam at 11:36 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 July 2007 6:53 PM EDT
Friday, 20 July 2007
David Miller And Dalton McGuinty Do Some Gambling

One of the big issues in the election will be Toronto and its 550 million dollars debt. Mayor David Miller has commented that the province should do something about downloaded social services like welfare benefits, public health, long-term care for the elderly, and social housing. At one time the province used to help out on these programs, but now most of the financial burden is borne by the city.

There's also been a steady decline in tourism from the U.S. because of the high Canadian dollar.

Although I live in Brampton, a city just north and west of Toronto, I sympathize with major Miller's plight. I sent the letter below to Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty on these issues:

"As you know, the new taxes for Toronto have been deferred until after the provincial election. Whether MPPs like it or not, this has become a major issue in this election.

The basic issue is provincial "downloading" and who pays for what. Obviously, a new formula is needed between all governments on this matter, but a patch is needed for Toronto, right now.

I believe that the pain has to be spread around to everyone until the Federal Government includes municipalities in its transfer payments.

The least painful way to raise money is with a new entertainment/casino complex at Woodbine. This will help tourism in Toronto.

In respect to Casino Rama and Niagara casinos, it should run only six months of the year during the summer months.

There are other methods to raise money that Toronto should look at like "a toll on roads for residential cars coming to and parking in Toronto" similar to London England's solution.

Municipal services like pools should be fee based except for the very poor.

An anti-poverty strategy and budget should be adopted by every level of government. This is everybody's concern including charities like the United Way, however, a program must be laid out by the Provincial Government on the fair way to deal with this issue that crosses all jurisdictions.

Until this is handled, property taxes must be raised moderately. Perhaps, up to the 3% level. The other taxes like "Land Transfer Taxes" could be imposed moderately so that it doesn't hurt that much.

Provincial politicians shouldn't run from the financial woes of Toronto or some other municipality.

I look forward to how you and your Government will handle this difficult issue."


Posted by qualteam at 10:56 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 July 2007 6:47 PM EDT
Thursday, 19 July 2007
My Top Two For Canadian Idol 2007

I believe the two Idol contestants in the finale will be Jaydee Bixby and Martha Joy.

Jaydee is a throwback to the rock and roll idols of the 50s like Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and Jerry Lee Lewis. The highest compliment you could give an artist these days is that he looks and sounds like an original from the 1950s.

Jaydee has the voice and the looks, but he doesn't have the moves yet. But do we really want another Taylor Hicks?

There is an outside chance that Jaydee is the reincarnation of Elvis. He definitely has that "ah shucks, I'm just country boy" appeal about him.

Martha Joy has the looks, voice and the uncanny nack of chosing the right song that suits her performing style.

There are other good performers in this group, but the two above are the most memorable so far. Who do you like?

Conway Twitty (not Bobby Darin) wrote and sang "It's Only Make Believe". He later went on to stardom as a country singer.

Follow That Dream/Elvis Presley

P.S. I'd like to thank all the visitors to my blog, especially, those from Facebook. A record 40 unique hits were recorded on my hit counter yesterday. I usually get only 7 to 8 visitors a day.

Posted by qualteam at 10:52 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007 11:27 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
Conspiracies, Mysteries And Dark Secrets Concerning Deathly Hallows

The most basic one is who dies and who doesn't? This is like killing off  characters in a TV series. So what? Everyone dies sometime. I can't see this as being the real big mystery in the Harry Potter series.

Do you remember when Darth Vader revealed that he was Luke's father in Star War's "The Empire Strikes Back"? This was a dark secret that caught me by surprise and put great drama into the story.

Now if some shadow group like MI5, Christian Fundamentalists or the Illuminati was behind Hogwarts and/or Voldemort, I would find that very interesting. That would be the conspiracy factor at work in the plot.

As for a dark secret about Harry, he might have an evil personality that has been freed from a Horcrux and he has to destroy this personality even if it means killing himself.

It remains to be seen how far into darkness J.K.Rowlings has pushed these stories. I don't see it being pushed farther than it is now.

The Leaky Cauldron And Harry Potter Fanatics

Another Secret About Harry Potter

Posted by qualteam at 10:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007 12:58 PM EDT
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
Happy Birthday Irene
Mood:  celebratory

Today's the birthday of my wife, Irene Barron.

Probably, the best present she received today was a visit of her friend from Germany, Irene Dummel. When they first met at Zellers 17 years ago, they were both going through difficult divorces. A little while later, I came into Irene's life and Irene Dummel met a good man in Germany where she presently lives. Occasionally, she visits her three sons and grandchildren in the GTA. 

Recently, Irene Dummel lost both her mother and husband. It was great to cheer her up and to share some good memories with her.

Despite the fact it was my wife's birthday, she bought Irene some flowers and took us both to dinner. She always thinks of others even on her special occasions. That's one of the things that I love about her.

More On The Barron Family


Posted by qualteam at 11:02 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007 9:07 AM EDT
Monday, 16 July 2007
Who's Behind Lord Voldemort?


If I was writing the finally chapter of Harry Potter, I would have a religious group who is using Lord Voldemort for their own ends in order to deliver Harry Potter to them. For this, they are willing to give Voldemort eternal life. This is a conspiracy of a large order to rid the world of Harry Potter before he gives magical powers to the muggles. This secret is leaked out while in combat with Voldemort who's a racist.

Of course, Harry is quilty of "The Prime Directive For Magicians". Never reveal your secrets to anyone who is unmagical.

The contests with Voldemort was to sharpen his magical skills and to reveal his true intentions. He has failed and is executed with a full memory shutdown, but his friends perserve his memory in a Horcrux.

This is the way, I'd like to see it end with some big twists and turns in the plot, but, probably, J.K. Rawling won't kill off Harry. With mind numbing continuity, Voldemort will continue to be the last of the Nazi magicians and he will be killed off.

What's a Horcrux?

Who's Voldemort?



Posted by qualteam at 11:24 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007 11:58 PM EDT

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