Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2009

O.K., I’m probably a month, or even two, late on this but this morning I caught the story on Bloomberg Television. The story? The ad agency for Air New Zealand has produced an ad campaign touting that the airline  has “nothing to hide.” To underscore the point the staff and crew wear nothing but uniforms of body paint and welcoming smiles. A bit cheeky, it is.

If you have the time, the little background video is also worth a view.

It’s a little long, and it starts and stops on my computer, but this is the inflight video, Bare Essentials of Safety, instructing passengers on airline safety.

If you have time for more smiles, Daily Finance took a look at nudity in famous ad campaigns. Enjoy! (But don’t let the boss see what you’re up to.)

The first-ever naked veggie testimonial PETA public service announcement starring Alicia Silverstone baring all is actually quite artsy. This is just one of the campaigns featured in the Daily Finance article.

Cheers,
Rockinon

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Old Bernie Madoff carries the right moniker, Madoff. Before surrendering, it was originally reported that Bernie made-off with 50 billion of his trusting clients’ money.

It now appears that Bloomberg.com and others have over-estimated Bernie’s accomplishments. Although it was claimed he controlled $50 billion, he may have had only about $17 billion in deposits. If he had invested it, he might have grown it, but he didn’t and it didn’t. Former SEC head Harvey Pitt said that Madoff “probably inflated the amount of money he had under management.” Pitt predicted the actual loss would fall below $17 billion.

How much is left? Hard to say. But there it could be as much as $825 million according to some reports.

Wait, Bernie only lost 95% of the money? That’s it! Hey, Edward Zore, Chief Executive Officer of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, said recently, “We have stocks in our portfolio that lost 95 per cent.” And do you remember Providian Financial? It lost 95% of its value amid a spectacular run of credit card defaults. Oops!

Investors who bought into the American mutual fund ProFunds UltraOTC,when it was at its peak and rode it down to its recent low, watched 95% of their wealth disappear. Will anyone go to jail? Of course not. This is legal. Losing money in the market is an everyday occurrence.

Silly Bernie just cut out the middle man and lost the money directly. Dumb. He could have invested the money, taken his well-earned bonuses for losing the investments and gotten on with his life.

Addendum:

For fun, I took a quick look at mutual funds. Check out this winner. Just think, if you had invested in this fund a decade ago, you would have Madoff like losses today.

A chart tracking Mavrix Growth, growth? Interesting use of the word.

A chart tracking Mavrix Growth, growth? Interesting use of the word.

Read Full Post »

VaubanThe majority of hits today and yesterday are related to Vauban, Germany. I blogged awhile ago on New Urbanism, spending time talking about the community of Vauban. Mainly, I linked to a NYT’s article and an ABC video report.

Seeing the hits reminded me of Vauban, making me think I must learn more about this transit-friendly town.

Cheers,
Rockinon

Read Full Post »

CrayonI actually recalled my password for Crayon. I logged on and man it was great. Computers are so patient. Crayon was still following news outlets for me that I had long forgotten.

All the expected news sources were there, like the Globe, CBC and NYT. But the one that I had long forgotten, and would never hit today, was the one that made me smile the most—Armenia Hello.

In high school I had a wonderful friend, a very beautiful girl, Rosy Aharonian. She introduced me to middle eastern cooking. Delicious. She was from Cairo, Egypt, but she called herself Armenian.

Mount Ararat with Armenian church in foreground

Mount Ararat with Armenian church in foreground

When I left high school behind, I left Rosy behind, too. But, my interest in Armenia stayed with me. I have watched a few small, independent films from Armenia and I have travel books on Armenia. Maybe someday I will get to make the trip, stay at Armenian bed and breakfasts, and see what I believe to be a beautiful and historically very interesting land.

Today, thanks to Crayon, I have a renewed contact with Armenia.


Cheers,
Rockinon

Read Full Post »

Information Overload?

Starting today The London Free Press is sending e-mail notifications to those interested, alerting folk to news stories as they are posted to the newspaper’s website. One can even specify the kinds of stories in which they have an interest. Not a jock? No sports story alerts for you.

Sounds great, at first. When I worked at the paper I carried a BlackBerry and I thought instant e-mail sounded great, at first. But, the amount of junk that I got was truly annoying. I never ate at the Free Press cafeteria but I always knew the menu; it was e-mailed to me daily. (I might have learned how to block those messages but the layoff hit a very short time after getting the PDA.)

The BlackBerry quickly became an important tool during my last weeks at the paper. It had more pluses than minuses and even had some unique strengths, yet it was annoying. And in some ways the really good things it could do were not taken advantage of by management. They were still well down on the learning curve at that time. But, I always knew the cafeteria menu.

Will I subscribe to the lfpress.com alerts? Maybe. I’m retired. I’m rather curious to see how it works on my home computer. Would I want these alerts being sent to me if I carried a BlackBerry and received all my e-mails on the PDA? Maybe—especially if I worked for radio or TV.

_________________________________________________________________

Many years ago I subscribed to a service called Crayon, Create Your Own Newspaper. It still exists! What a surprise. Now, what was my Crayon password?

Cheers,
Rockinon

Read Full Post »

It’s all a gamble.

The other day I blogged on investing for retirement and a reader questioned my ideas. The questions were very good and very pointed. My questioner made it clear I had not taken a very good in-depth look at where I was considering putting some of my precious retirement funds.

I don’t want to appear too flippant but somehow, at some point, all is a gamble. No one steps up to this table and walks away a winner.

On the way to our eventual loss, and we all utimately lose this game called life, we like to feel in control. Our investment strategy is no different; we want to believe if only we take control, do it well, take care to make no mistakes, we will succeed.

I hate to tell you, but this not necessarily true. In the end, it is out of our hands.

I like to dream that I am a movie writer working on a successful script. (I make a mint, it may star Tom Cruise.) In my movie, an inventor perfects a time machine and a criminal acquaintance, Tom Cruise who is facing certain imprisonment,  kills him in order to travel back in time. He believes that he will avoid imprisonment plus benefit from knowing the outcome of everything.

He uses his new knowledge to quickly accumulate wealth, all is going as planned. He puts all his money in IBM. He knows it will beat Burroughs, drive them into the ground. He discovers that life, given a chance to be replayed is not at all like a stage performance with lines etched in stone. It is life, living, breathing life. This time the execs at IBM make some small mistakes and the ones at Burroughs don’t. Burroughs buries IBM, leaving them making electric clocks and money-losing Selectric typewriters.

The man loses everything. He realizes life is not unfolding the second time as it did the first. Each day life moves farther and farther away from life’s original path; the one with which he was familiar. Events are not repeated. He turns to crime as he is a criminal; he gets caught and is sent to prison.

Somethings don’t change.

My point. Move carefully in the financial world, follow the rules. If you don’t know the rules, visit the library and borrow a few books. A visit to Chapters might be in order as the library does not carry all the good books. Spend a little money on some books — think of it an investment.

Then, set your goals, buy a mix of stocks, bonds and GICs, spread the risks, and sit back and relax. Really, it is out of your hands.

Cheers,
Rockinon.

p.s. In a future post I will look at Monte Carlo calculations as they apply to financial planning. I have an Excel spreadsheet tracking my portfolio. The true average annual return of my investments is plugged into a Monte Carlo calculator, as is the true value of my investments. The calculator factors in my wife and my old age pensions which will kick in in a few years. It looks at the dividends and the distributions that I am actually receiving as of today, and lastly, it factors in my true living expenses which it takes from my home budget page.

At the moment, I won’t become a burden on the government until I hit 91 according to Mr. Monte Carlo. Cheers!

Read Full Post »

This post has been updated, improved and moved to:

Click on link below, thank you!

Rockin’ On: the Blog

Cheers,
Rockinon

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »