A 360 degree panoramic photo of Tower Hill in Peterborough, Ontario.

Des Informations, des Idées, et des Opinions Suspectes - rarement mises à jour et de qualité douteuse.

The 2017 Archives

Just look at all of the great stuff that I wrote in 2017

(or move on to the gems from 2016)


Escaping North Korea

It's very difficult to watch Yeonmi Park recount the incredible story of her life so far, both in North Korea and after escaping to China.

She certainly makes me feel more grateful for everything I have, feel helpless to do anything to help her and those like her, yet still she makes me feel like I have to do something, no matter how small, and perhaps my small contribution combined with everyone else's can result in some change.

But what? Today's culture feels that posting, re-posting, sharing, and tweeting bits of media, or dumping buckets of water on each other's heads somehow shows solidarity and therefore obviates the need to actually do something useful to effect change. Sure I'm going to do all that tweeting bullshit as well. but what is something useful that I can actually do? I'm not sure yet.

Don't read this.

I just want to get this out there here and now so that over the however-many-more years I have left, I can gloat and say "I told me so".

It's plain as day that real estate is in the toilet, but that's not the point I want to make here. Since 2013 - 2014, I've already been saying we are at peak to anyone who would listen. The real point I want to make now, and to savour and to remember in the future, is this:

There will be no real estate recovery.*

Demographically speaking, our largest cohort is still the Boomers. By Boomers I mean disgusting, entitled, aging, and so increasingly smelly Baby Boomers, most with houses (often more than one) and cottages. They're near retirement or already retired and they want out. They want to retire up to Timmins, or live on a boat, or drive a camper around North America. They want to realize that tax-free gain they've been sitting on and simply cash out.

And that's it. I'm going to leave this concept simple - that there will be no recovery because the boomers can't except that the house they paid 21k for and sold for 1.3 million last year is only worth 300k today. Oh, they'll still list at their desired prices, so they may just flood the market with over-priced supply. Then when they don't get their price, those that can will sit tight and begin looking at pulling down wall studs to use for their coffins.

The solution? Well, I have mine and it's an excellent option, so I'm keeping it to myself. :) But for the rest...if you own right now (and you haven't just bought), then you're already getting excellent value for your investment. Stay put and stop reading the news. If you don't own already but for some inexplicable reason you want to, then move. It's a big country. There are still some of reasonably priced small houses 6 hours north or west of that shithole Peterborough. Otherwise rent and invest your savings in Home Depot stock.

But if you've bought anything since August 2015, you'll have to play the looooong game. That is to say, you will have to sit tight where you are for probably the rest of your lives just for your purchase to make any sense at all.

* ... at least, not in my lifetime. Note: none of this applies to Ottawa.

The Crystal Ball

A handy little chart from the smelly folks at the Pew Research Center

Use this handy chart to plot and plan your entire future, everything from the job you'll have, to the career you're shooting for, to whether or not you'll buy or rent your home. The answers are all here in this deceptively simple chart!

The Beer Store

Two years worth of bottles. Riiiight....

My son and I are returning a couple of weeks' worth of my wine and liquor bottles to the beer store for refund. (That's how you do it in Ontario.) The clerk and I are remarking at how diligent he is as he brings the bottles in and puts them on the conveyor. I explain that he's interested because he gets to keep the money.

The clerk says, "Oh, did he go around the neighbourhood collecting bottles then?"

Long pause. "Uh no, they're just my bottles."


See the literary classics from 2016

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Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.