Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday musings

You know, in this day of smart bombs and uber tech wizardry that our friends the Americans possess, how in the name of Sam Hill could be have an “Oops” moment in bombing  20 odd Pakistanis in a pre-dawn raid in that country?
Like come on, they can snuff out top honchos from Al-Qaeda with pin point accuracy but whiff completely in Pakistan?
I just do not understand this.
Another thing that is beyond me is the American custom to refer to past Presidents as if they were still sitting Presidents and the custom of calling their wives First Lady – what is with that anyway?
Over in Egypt more unrest is happening in the center of Cairo with people protesting over the continued role of the military in government. Meanwhile the Christian community silently worries about the future with the extreme Muslim Brotherhood poised to make large gains in the Parliament.
It seems that the international community that was in such a lather to encourage the so called Arab Spring and help remove the dictatorship in Libya now is in full retreat from the region and does not care about who ends up in control. I bet that Iran is chomping at the bit to get involved in those countries.
Over in Syria, a deadline was imposed on the countries leader by the Arab League to allow human rights monitors into the country to see and report on what is happening in that land. And as usual when International communities deal with one rule countries, nothing happened. Instead there is discussion about imposing sanctions on Syria now. I bet that has them shaking in their boots.
In fact the only people hurt by sanctions are the ones that need the help the most. The leaders always have enough of whatever they want.
Sanctions are an irritant, nothing more.
In the States, the space agency there, NASA, launched a 2.5 billion rocket/probe to Mars to investigate if there the needed building blocks for life. Many would say that this is a waste of money and that it could be spent better on other social priorities. That would not solve anything in my opinion. Money has been spent for decade after decade on the poor and social programs, this will not make any difference at the end of the day Too often people look at one single item and denounce it and try to shift focus onto other items instead. Here in our city, a multi-purpose stadium had been proposed and the detractors have lined up and said spend the money instead on the poor, on roads, on infrastructure, on housing – the list goes on and on.
Well, I am sorry. 
In my opinion they are wrong and it is time they were taken to task for their narrowness of focus and lack of foresight. Indeed this can be said of those in the Occupy movement and even the Greens. Not every issue is in black and white. You have to see all the shades of grey that go with each issue. Compromise is the only way to arrive at a solution that in the end succeeds for all Why is it that there has to be only winners and losers in their scheme- with them being the winners of course and not a solution that is of benefit to all?
Over in America, the day after Thanksgiving is a day of massive shopping frenzy called Black Friday. Deals and not so real deals abound, accompanied by strange store hours and restricted hours of operation. Crowds throng through the door and scramble to buy whatever they can get their hands on. A sort of programmed hysteria is generated by the advertisers to account for this madness, In one incident a woman pepper sprayed her way through a group of people to get to a deeply discounted video game console, bizarre indeed.
 There are 2 main computer operation systems around (with apologies to Ubantu and Linux) Apple-iOs and Google-Android. Many people love the Apple system as shown by the popularity of all Mac products-iMac, iPad, iPod and the like. The main problem with this system is that it is one that is closed to external innovation and all applications must go through a protocol and set up that is controlled by Apple. Android is an open system where external developers can and do participate. You find examples of this in that in the smartphone market where many of the phones run different versions of the system. With the recently released update of Android 5- Ice Cream Sandwich is its’ name- this slowly will bring the fragmentation to an end. Phones and tablets will now run under 1 version and as a result I believe that you will find app developers no longer doing 1 app for Apple and a whole group of others for different Android versions at a high cost to them and causing them to hesitate to do so. Instead there will be one for Apple and one for Android – and the winner is both the consumer and the developer. The cost from Apple to the designer and consumer is much higher than it should be. This new competition should lower those costs.
I cannot wait.
OK, we had a week off from the fun in Europe with the Euro and the countries involved. Holiday is over. Germany issued a bond on the market and the response was tepid to say the least. The fear of Italy, Greece and even France losing control of their fiscal future seems to have increased. In fact the head of the Canadian banking system says that time is running  out for Europe and the results will be terrible if the do nothing politicians fail to step up to the plate and make tough decisions and implement them. I think we have seen over and over again these same politicos meet and emerge and say to the media that “we have a solution, trust us”.
Right – and turkeys can fly?
For my non European readers, I would like to bring you a glimpse of a tradition that is great for both the retailer and the consumer. That is this is the start of the Christmas market season where in nearly all cities and towns sections of the downtown core are set aside for vendors and their stalls to sell Christmas products. There is a school of thought that says that this is the forerunner of social networks- a place to connect in times of trouble. Local food delicacies abound and a return to a sort of nostalgic way of life, even if just briefly, makes these markets successful. It is no wonder that locals and tourists flock to these markets. Just imagine how a 1950’s themed Christmas retail setting would sell in your local market. Grandparents would flock to it for nostalgia and kids would go for the “newness” factor. In fact why do you think that come Christmas time on TV, there are no new Christmas movies but reruns of films like White Christmas, A Christmas Carol and the like?

We have had a wonderful week of weather. The temperatures were above melting for crying out loud! This is not supposed to happen in Saskatchewan in November. The normal high is minus 14 (C)) and this is just great, in fact our cat even woke up from hibernation and staggered outside a couple of times.
This weeks’ column you will see quite is than usual. I blame this on the fact that I am in the midst of the yearly hunt for Christmas presents and while most of my side of buying is done, there remains one to be found and since I do not know what I am looking for – typical of me I am afraid to admit to –  has occupied way too much of my waking hours.
Next week it will be back to normal.
Take care out there,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday musings

It seems that the last son of the late Gaddafi has been captured in Libya and soon will appear before the International Justice court to face charges of crimes against humanity. This may be the long awaited final step in the process of reconciliation in the country. However Libyan authorities want their jurisdiction to have first dibs on him. So will it end as strangely as the fate that befell Saddam Hussein, in a secluded hanging?
A word to the wise about Iran.
 This recent past a report was issued detailing Iran’s’ nuclear development program and the real possibility that atomic missile capabilities are in the works. There are too many powers involved and concerned to let this situation to continue for very long. The possibility of a tactical strike by Israel is not out of the question. American support for this is probably a given. We could be in for a period of strife involving many Middle Eastern countries and that will impact oil supplies and that for sure will have a dramatic negative impact on the world economy.
Sunday marks state elections in Spain and all indicators point to a conservative leaning government being formed. If you look at the political map of Europe, you will find that with the 27-nation European Union will have only four smaller members – Cyprus, Slovenia, Austria and Denmark – that are governed from the left. Ironically in order for order to emerge from the current Diaspora that grips the EU, many governments will have to adopt higher taxes and more state interventions in the local economies that are hallmarks of left wing socialist parties.
Indeed there are some analysts who see hallmarks of voter integration throughout the European community. This means possibly the installation of a true international European government with representation from member countries in it. The loss of sovereignty that so many bemoan nowadays may well be underway. Indeed this may be the salvation of the Euro and economies of countries like Greece, Italy and the like.
I am not going to mention the Euro, Italy or Greece this week for the simple reason that I think I have mentioned them for week after week and we all need a rest from this soap opera.
A poorly covered report on a change in the oil industry happened this week in North America. A large oil company purchased an oil pipeline and reversed the flow in it. What this means is that instead of the crude flowing to a refinery in the east sector of the United States where capacity is at maximum, it now flows to the Gulf of Mexico refineries in the States where there is excess capacity. Makes sense you think-right? Yes but what it does is actually change what is called future pricing on oil (where speculators gamble on whether prices go up or down and you pay the penalty at the pumps as a result) and that is where traditionally prices have been based on 2 different markers. One being West Texas intermediate and the other called Brent and based on offshore Danish oil prices.  Europe paid that price and North America paid either the lower priced WTI or the higher Brent.  The Brent resource has declined over the years and now the futures price gap has narrowed dramatically with WTI becoming a larger player in the world market. This should translate into less wild swings in oil prices because of speculators going for maximum profit and now not being able to do so. It also will mean higher prices at the pump short term but more stable prices with less dramatic jumps when prices change at the wellhead. North America with newly discovered reserves, improved recovery process has returned on the world scene as an oil exporting superpower – who would have thought of that 5 years ago?
You have to love American politics when a Presidential election year looms on the horizon. A proposed pipeline from Alberta to refineries in the States was allowed to become an environmental and political issue. Caving in to pressure the Obama government decided to postpone approval until after the election. Part of the reason was that the pipeline was going to pass over an underground aquifer and if ruptured could possibly contaminate a whole whack of water. So the company behind the proposal changed the route of the pipeline to avoid the aquifer and satisfy all concerns, so everything would be just fine right?
A big case of “oh no this changes nothing” from the Administration and greenies. Just shows you that the whole issue was votes and nothing more. I cannot say that I was surprised over that.
I remember a couple of years ago an incident that occurred in our city with what arguably Canada’s’ best known green activist. He was here to give an address on the greenhouse effect from automobiles. This was in the middle of winter and the tour bus he was using stayed running all day and over the night while he was here giving the address.
Just saying.
When the iPad came out of nowhere and created a market just by being what it is rather than as a response to a specific consumer demand, many other companies decided to invest time and money to build, promote and sell competitive alternatives. Some failed miserably. Some are not bad, but as people say, they are not an iPad. Some, such as the Asus Transformer are equal to if not superior to the iPad but lack such a heavy marketing machine and app store. Then you have Research in Motion, a Canadian success storey in the smartphone market. They were the top dog for a long time in that market until the iPhone and various Android phones emerged but still have a large world wide following. They decided to get into the tablet wars with their tablet called the Playbook. It is a very good piece of equipment with a wonderful operating system; however a lack of e mail, and apps and other items has hindered its adoption by the consumer. Now in various big box stores in North America the price on the Playbook (and its various versions) has been deeply discounted and this does not appear to bode well for the unit. Hewlett Packard (HP) had its own tablet and after it was discontinued, sold it at the $99 mark and quickly sold out its entire inventory! Thereby making a success story of a failure except that there will be no continuing technical support for this tablet. One wonders if this may be the fate of the Playbook as well.
I hope not.
Remember the Super committee that was formed by the American government this summer after gridlock occurred in its budget attempts? This was after a credit downgrade by lending institutions of the American government? Well, I hate to tell you this but it is next week is the deadline for those cuts. They were supposed to total 1.2 trillion. If nothing is achieved, then drastic cuts to social and military programs are to kick in. Bet you did not know that it did not mean next year, but rather 2013? This way any blame can be deflected by politicians seeking re-election and dealt with by another group of lawmakers. And you wonder why there are so many Occupy protesters and general voter anger with all levels of government? I think you will see a further downgrade of the American government financial rating by the bond markets and that will only exacerbate any attempts to increase employment, reduce costs of government and indeed tax reform which from all reading the Republican Party is determined to oppose. House prices will not rebound and interest rates charged to the average consumer will increase. Do they not remember that there is only one taxpayer? Printing more and more money is not the answer, especially if all it produces is more inflation and fewer saving for the average taxpayer. Members of the American Government are well insulated from this by increasing their perks and wages whenever they want, and in fact a very large number of them are millionaires to boot!
You think they really care for anything more than being re-elected to a nice cushy job?
I still have my doubts; next week will tell the tale.
So how is the weather in your part of the world anyway?
Here in Saskatchewan winter has really slapped us in the face with a blizzard and bone chilling temps just for the fun of it. I am getting too old to enjoy minus 25 anymore.
Cold is cold.
Temperature in Buenos Aires is 29 (79F) with isolated showers. That is something I can handle, no question about it. I cannot wait for February and our trip there.
On the West coast of Canada it is plus 6, sunny, cool, but still something I could handle.
Tonight it is minus 29 plus wind chill – wonderful!
We had my wife’s Beamer in for a small repair this week; the mechanic must have gold plated tools as the final bill was the size of a house mortgage payment.
Time to think of getting a new one.
How is the Christmas shopping coming along?
I did mine this summer. I always try to do so in order to avoid the dreaded mall crowds and shrill Xmas music blaring in the background as mothers with 4 kids in tow run amok in stores.
As a person ages, the way they read the newspaper changes. When young, you look at the comics first. Married – world news and sports. Middle age now brings the obituary section to the front. There sometimes seems to be a grim bit of satisfaction in finding that you have outlived contemporaries from yesterday. This week it was different. I read about the passing of someone that I had worked with for about 15 years and then as time changed and people change jobs and cities, lost contact with her. She was what is now called “a glass ceiling” (or trailblazer for others of her gender) person in the print/publishing trade as a sales representative. A lot of the crap and sexual harassment that she was subjected to would be and is illegal today. Throughout it all she endured and even prospered.
She was a good person, and a good friend.
Hopefully that might be said of me one day.
Take care out there,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday musings

What a week this has been.
First off, in Italy where the Prime Minister, Berlusconi has tendered his resignation Saturday in order to start the reform process to appease the money markets. The Italian parliament passed laws increasing the retirement age starting in 2026! As well legislation to open up the inflexible labour market was ignored. Sounds a little like what is happening in Greece does it not?
Speaking of Greece, the Prime Minister there apparently has also called it quits.
So what anyway?
The underlying problems in both countries still exist and do not seem to be going away anytime soon do they? More and more the general consensus in the market is that Greece will have to leave the Euro zone and default on its obligations and that Italy will have to have its economy run by the 2 economic powerhouses of Europe-France and Germany. This will be a bitter pill for the Italians to absorb but there seems no other option on the table at present. The French and Germans will soon stop shoveling money into the endless pit that holds the Greek and Italian economies and instead will force those countries to allow them to run their economies and hopefully return them to some sense of normalcy.
That could take a generation to accomplish. The whole social fabric needs to be revamped with cradle to grave civil service employment and pension plans changed or restructured to be paid by both the employer and employee. Generous benefits must be scaled back or portions removed. I am talking of a revolution in the entitlement thinking that is prevalent by many in those countries. Just compare those programs to those in Germany and you will see what I refer to. That country has lived within its means but even now faces problems with the influx of so called “guest workers” and their families that are starting to cause strains on the economic and social structure of the country.
Here in Canada there are a number of interesting stories to attend to. One is the election in Saskatchewan where the governing Sask. Party was returned to office with an increased majority at the expense of the opposition socialist New Democratic Party whose Leader lost his own seat as well. The problem I see with the results is that an effective government depends on an active and responsible opposition to keep it honest and accountable for its actions and with such a reduced opposition, there exists the potential for sloth and abuse of power.
Hopefully this does not happen.
Rim, once the world leader in the smartphone market with the Blackberry, seems to be in difficult times as its phone offerings are being used by less and less people who are switching more and more to those of the Android operating system and that of Apple, namely the iPhone.
Its attempt to compete in the tablet market against the iPad with its unit called the Playbook has not been well received by the general public and plagued with a lack of applications and lack of a native e mail service and promised upgrades for this quarter are now delayed until the New Year.
This is one of Canada’s largest hi tech companies and the future looks fairly grim at this time. Will there be enough time for a turn around to occur or will it end up being just a footnote in the history books? Something tells me that this answer will happen in the New Year.
A pipeline from Alberta to refineries in the United States has been stalled in the American Government approval mechanism and it looks like ill informed activists will succeed in preventing its construction. Compromise could have been achieved with reasonable discussion but emotions appear to have won the day. So, on the surface it seems, sadly, that the American public prefers getting its crude oil supplies from countries that lack basic democratic rights, treat women as chattel and in some cases, fund terrorist activities.
The consequence of this action is that where a source for safe, ethical oil from a democratic ally that shares a common border and political interests is spurned, is unfortunate. Instead of the pipeline going to refineries in the States for processing and distribution, the pipeline will in all likelihood go through the Canadian Rockies to the West Coast and the crude will ship to markets in India and China.
When Americas runs low on oil and is forced to go to more costly alternatives, will they remember this?
And that this could have been avoided?
Probably not, and that is a pity.
Remembrance Day came and all through Canada ceremonies were held to honour the dead and the remaining veterans. They fought and gave their all so people like the Occupy…(you fill in the city) could squat in public places and rail against those that they think have denied them whatever they think they should have. There may be some things to accept in what they say but when I see pictures of some of these people dressed in really fine clothing, with portable computers in their tents, cell phones at hand and some going home to warm houses at night, I wonder at their motives and sincerity. I started working when minimum wage was 1/10th of what it is today and I took out student loans to pay for my university studies and paid them back without complaint as I understood that they were a loan and not a forgivable grant. I worked 7 days a week, 12-16 hours a week when I started in business with the belief that if I worked hard and saved, that something like owning a house, with a good life and retirement were possible.
It is a tough world we live in, not everyone will get the same chance as others to do well in life. That is a fact. It is the responsibility of those more fortunate to assist those less fortunate by way of social programs and assistance. It is not the role of those to be made feel guilty of their hard work and fortune and then be penalized for it as some of those that protest want. I wonder how the protestors would react if they were part of the so called 1% that they rail against?
In the United States one of the men running for the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party, Herman Cain, was accused this week of sexual harassment charges by some women stemming from the days when he was the head of a large national pizza company. At a press conference and later an all candidate’s debate he held firm on his denial of the claims. While not judging on whether these claims are true or not, it must be noted that the maturation of the American people is striking in this case. It would not be a stretch to say that if you had said 10 years ago that a black politician would be able to able to calmly address and refute such allegations – still to be proved or disproved – was possible, you would have not been believed.
The Arab League has given Syria a 4 month deadline to reform from its human rights abuses or be thrown out of the League. Quite a bold and courageous step. It is too bad the United Nations did not have the same courage when it came to seating the Palestinian delegation in the UNESCO. You had the French delegation cheering this acceptance. Where are these countries when it comes to finally once and for all getting the warring parties in the Middle East to settle the Borders of Israel and a State of Palestine? And when will the Americans stop letting Israel continue to build expansion settlements further inflaming the people of Palestine?
Probably not in my lifetime I am afraid.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has issued a report detailing how Iran is in the process of building nuclear weapons. This leads to the specter of some sort of military action by countries unknown against it. Can you imagine what would happen to the region if Iran did have these weapons? This is a country that has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, hates Saudi Arabia, wants to rule Iraq and the list goes on from there. It might surprise you that there are some Arab countries that share the same concerns about Iran as does Washington (the worlds; much maligned policeman) Israel and others.
And one wonders at the strange behavior of both China and Russia in this matter where they both abstain from any involvement at all.
Out in Hawaii there is a gathering of Asia Pacific leaders in order to try and craft a sort of free trade zone.
 Lower tariffs, freer movement of goods, less red tape and the like is the goal.
Funny thing about that is that the Americans are on board with this concept. Yup, the same people that when times get tough fall back on the old Buy American concept, raise tariffs and taxes against other countries.
You cannot have it both ways I am afraid, either you are for Free Trade, warts and all.
Or against it.
So I was right on the mark with my weather forecast last week and yes, the kamikaze car drivers were out in full force the first couple of days. Fortunately the weather has moderated and indeed the plus side of the heat gauge was in use for a few days and helped to clear most of the streets and some parts of the sidewalks. It is just a small reprieve until the big stuff hits, but, what the heck, every little bit helps.
Now the next period of time off will be Christmas and already the music and commercials are pushing me to the edge of my level of tolerance. I told my wife what I would like for a gift and somehow a pair of boots with heating elements in them (got to keep the toes toasty you know) just did not generate enthusiasm from her. Probably another set of socks is in my future I suppose!
So that is it for another week and it is really funny how fast a week can go by sometimes.
Take care out there,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday musings

Well the Greek Prime Minister backed down from his proposed referendum on the Euro bailout package.
Well, that sure was a shocker wasn’t it?
Now he is under so called intense pressure to resign and let someone else take over the leadership of the country. The possible new leader, if one does emerge, will go through the same drawn out steps as his predecessor. Thereby we have another chapter being added to the ongoing soap opera that is called the Greek Euro crisis. Want to bet this goes into the New Year?
By the way, did you know that the Greek Constitution guarantees lifetime employment with no possible dismissal for civil servants? And you wonder why everybody wants to work for the government, pay little or no taxes, have a fat pension paid for by the rest of society? The same rest of society that hovers at the 80% rate of non paying taxpayers?
Let’s face it, the only things that make money for Greece are shipping and tourism.
There is nothing else of any value to the world from that country.
Also did you know that the European community cannot toss the Greeks out of the Euro union because by law only if a country wants to leave is it able to do so. So the German taxpayer will continue to subsidize the Greeks. However do not think that this is all one sided, for when the Euro works, it makes exports from industrialized countries like Germany cheaper and earns the country much money in terms of export sales. So the hesitation of the German government is one where they want to have the Greeks reform and rebuild rather than continue sucking money from them ad naseum.
Tens of thousands are marching in Italy to demand the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi because of his inept appearing attempt to handle the Italian financial crisis. And crisis is absolutely the right word. Greece is a pimple of a problem really when compared to Italy. It is the 7th largest economy in the G20 and the banking community has flatly refused to accept any idea of a money bailout because the amounts owed are out of sight. That is the problem that causes many world Leaders to have restless nights. Take the stock market ripples that Greece has caused and multiply it by, say, 100 and then you will get an idea what Italian default will cause.
I would instruct my money manager if I were you, not to invest in any European bonds for a long time right about now. I actually would look more to natural resources that the world needs, like potash (for fertilizer) that many emerging countries must have no matter what the cost in order to feed increasing populations in order to avoid possible civil unrest.
On the more mundane things, snow is forecast to fall this Saturday night, 3 cm apparently. That should, based on previous experiences, cause mass insanity to grip the driving masses who will forget to drive at less than Nurenberg Ring speeds in the city and forget that brake pedals are used to slow and stop the vehicle rather than as a launching pad for an unguided missile.
Which does brings up an interesting observation of mine. In 2006 the City population was 179,000 and now in 2011 the number is 205,000, an increase of 26,000+ in 5 years! I realize that for a larger metropolis that this is a minor number indeed but for this City it is significant in many ways. The most obvious is the increased tax base for the corresponding increased demands on city services, of course that, according to critics of the civic administration is never enough. Another is the fact that city traffic streams remain busy all the time now! It used to be that one could drive from our house to the other end of the City in 20 minutes but now 45 minutes is doing well indeed. There is an increasing amount for new trucks and luxury vehicles driving the streets where you saw basic Chevys before. Money is flowing into this province and City and largely fueled by our exports with over 75% going abroad and the rest to the United States. This is important because with the States in its economic slump, the amount of imported products by the Americans drops drastically as Buy American sentiment swings to the forefront.
Unfortunately that sentiment is short sighted and will lead to costly trade retaliation if it continues to grow.
Monday is election day in the Province and all indicators point to return of the governing Saskatchewan Party and a possibly diminished number of member Opposition New Democratic Party followers. If so this would be an affirmation of the free enterprise philosophy espoused by the Sask. Party as compared to the socialistic dogma promulgated by the NDP. This I believe bodes well for the next ½ decade for the Province at a minimum.
Some interesting ideas have emerged and should merit further discussion and possible implementation. One is the idea of setting up a Heritage fund paid for by resource wealth that would be at arms’ length from use of the government of the day and used by future generations when resource revenue diminishes as resources dwindle. Another is funding for the First Nations in the Province. The NDP proposed entering into negotiations with the First Nations about resource money sharing. The Sask. Party believes that all people of the Province should share in the benefits rather than a select group. Well, maybe it is an idea that might work if, and this is a huge caveat, the First Nations commit in no uncertain terms to never again approach the Provincial Government for another extra penny for self government. As it is a large amount of funding does flow from the Federal Government with repeated abuses accompanying it. In other words, someone draws a line in the sand and says you either sink or swim if you want to. Bailouts and payouts cease.
That idea might be a non- starter I think.
But still, food for thought.
The month of November is termed Movember as it is a month designated for men to grow mustaches in support of prostate cancer for men. As in the case of breast cancer, way too many men have lost their lives to this insidious killer. Any and all support to the worthy initiatives is well appreciated.
On the negative one reads of too many charities across the country that seem to have lost sight of their objective and direct more and more of funds received into administrative positions rather than that of research and treatment.
I made it through my birthday in fine form. I would like to take a moment to thank those (and I was surprised by how many!) that sent cards and e mails. The last time I got such traffic was when I forgot payment of my utility bills one month and received a raft of reminder notices!
I received a Tablet on my birthday (Android, an Asus EEE Transformer) and my goodness, quite a machine. For those that are not familiar with Tablets, they are a cordless handheld screen mini- computer that instead of using a mouse and keyboard to type in commands and access information relies on a touch sensitive screen to accomplish the same. It is ideal for e mail, web surfing, reading books, and in my case it has an attachable keyboard that doubles battery life and allows access to a word processing program and a spreadsheet program, both that handles and allows modifications on Microsoft Word and Excel files. In the available applications you can get things like voice translations, mapping, educational tools and a myriad of other interesting and indeed fun items. This will be quite useful in Argentina when if there are no English TV stations for night viewing, we will be able to watch movies on. Also this will also allow me to continue to post my blog and photos while there.
Next weekend in Canada is Remembrance Day weekend and take the time to stop what you doing in your life for a minute to reflect. Think about the veterans that fought in way too many wars and the few that are still with us. Sadly the number is starting to increase with the most recent conflicts of the last decade. While the second World War may be foremost in some minds, remember that that ended 66 years ago and today’s’ generation now has memories of Bosnia, Afghanistan and the like. Whether young or old, our veterans deserve our thanks and appreciation. Buy and wear a poppy and also protest to your MP in Canada about the funding cuts to the Veterans Affairs Department and what that means to the veterans themselves.
They deserve better.

Take care out there,