Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mike MacKenzie Band Covers Led Zeppelin

My best ten bucks ever spent was last night for a ticket to a cover of Led Zeppelin II at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino. The Mike Mackenzie Band paid tribute with select pieces recorded 50 years ago in addition to this album which most likely launched Zeppelin into super stardom. The huge take away from the evening was the affirmation that there are superb musicians amongst us today that are undiscovered and perhaps even under appreciated. MacKenzie’s vocals are stellar.  He played lead while absolutely matching the high pitch of Robert Plant.  The acoustics of the venue were good in spite of encountering subtle feedback from keyboards. Mackenzie turned to an old faithful he’s performed with past projects, The Rover from Physical Graffiti. Other standouts included Ramble On and Killing Floor. Killing Floor was one of those 1969 releases which showcased the talent of John Paul Jones on bass. The bass player last night can easily be excused for any misses given the complexity. What Mackenzie may be missing in soloing prowess, he makes up for with versatility and chord voicings. 

A standout in the set’s second half was “No Quarter”. I just love the keyboard intro and the subtlety of this song. It takes good unrushed time in order to pull this one off and apparently the keys player is new to this Mackenzie ensemble.

Notable omissions were “Kashmir”, “Dazed and Confused”, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”.

The merchandise sales lady referenced a formal jazz education by Mackenzie right here at Mount Royal College here in Calgary.  The man has stage presence and puts the audience at ease with his charisma.  With Bonham’s death, Page and Plant espoused that nobody could take the place of the legendary drummer. Well, the rhythm section last night was great support and in fact such confidence was bestowed the drummer that he performed his own solo. The rhythm guitarist pitched in admirably with adept acoustic pieces.            

Vote Buying In Face of Corrupt Leadership

That’s Trudeau folks. Our Prime Minister is as corrupt (SNC Lavalin – evidence is clear) as Donald Trump (election interference – evidence is clear). Your first world ideals are under attack by ambivalent weak leadership, right now. Your only hope in a democracy is your vote. You stand for the ideals of individual autonomy or socialism. You stand for pay based on merit or income redistribution. You stand for reduced taxes or increased taxes. You stand for strong law enforcement or weak law enforcement. You stand for fiscal prudence or deficits and debt. You stand for limited government or an overbearing one. You condone corrupt activity with your vote or you do not. If you believe in you, vote conservative. If you’re compelled to turn to the state for your needs, vote otherwise.   

Options Leaps and Time Value

I write this piece having brushed up on my formal derivatives training from 20 years ago. I went to a weekend seminar last summer to reacquaint myself with options and found the weekend valuable.  It’s a year later, and I put some capital to work. I had successfully recovered my weekend training fees by fulfilling “the required” in the market and submitting proof of my trades.

Margin accounts have authorization levels. You’ll start out by going long on calls and puts only. The closer your “strike price” is to being “in the money”, the more you’ll pay in premium. Obviously less risk entails purchasing calls or puts closer to the market price at inception. 

Then there is time value. The more time until option expiry, the lesser the risk. You start to see the moving parts involved with options. This is why no investment advisor wants you in them. They think you lack the capacity to absorb the variables in placing option trades. So, what are LEAPS? These are options which have a time value of one year plus. You’ve all seen stock charts right. The line graphs move up and down and oftentimes in a pattern. What if you projected that pattern outward while giving yourself lots of “time value” for forgiveness? You are not in options because you’ve been taught that risk is bad. I’m here to say that when you eliminate all risk, you can only expect a meagre return. There is actually an opportunity cost in not at least keeping up to “actual inflation”. Your investment advisor does not want to be proclaimed as a conduit of your options losses. Therefore, you need to direct these investments yourself. However; this would take some time in learning, researching, and acting on your own behalf on your own account. Interested?

Power of Social Media – Example

I enjoy story lines that develop at the WSOP. What’s that you ask? It’s the World Series of Poker. From late May to early July every year, sixty or so tournaments “unfold” culminating in the “Main Event” which has a $10,000 buy in.  Who can afford that right? Well not many…so “staking” has become a thing. You can put your money on a player and ride his coat tails. This has been done for decades but not formally through a website until recently. 

Then about five years ago, the “poker vlogging” phenomenon emerged. Players started video taping their results from their poker sessions and then posting the footage on Youtube. It became a way to get some hand histories while learning and also take in the Vegas nightlife over the net. 

Fast forward to 2019 with thousands of vlog subscribers now interested in staking their Vegas friend in the main event through access to a web portal in order to execute the deal. You guessed it. The volume of traffic was so overwhelming today that the technology could not cope.

What if your business experienced the same kind of phenomenon because of the following you develop through personal affiliation arising from social media content? Could you “break the internet” too? 

Top Ten Symptoms of Polar Vortex Cabin Fever

  1. You’ve been beaten at Risk so often by your adolescent that your getting a complex
  2. You’re going broke after making so many auto deposits over at pokerstars
  3. Your privates are getting chaffed from…..
  4. Your heating company has called looking for an advance payment
  5. Your spouse has cleaned the house
  6. Your once docile canine has eaten the laundry room door
  7. The little one has actually produced melody on her toy piano
  8. You’ve baked bread
  9. You’ve finally put to work that grocery delivery app
  10. Dum te de dum…’ve unboxed and glared intently at your elliptical trainer  

Browns Social House

What I like about Browns Social House: It’s friendly and has high padded bar stools with foot rests. It has properly controlled climate. Décor not overly imposed by big screens. Happy hour. Four dollar draught. Quick service. Reasonable prices. Did I say that? Square bar accommodating for socializing. You’re not there just for the booze, right?

Distracted Driving At Centre of Humboldt Bus Crash

While much focus has been on the driver of the Humboldt bus crash, it’s become evident that an insidious behavioural pattern of distraction while at the wheel is underlying the cause. Although it was a flapping tarp and not a cell phone, every single driver who owns a smart phone and is compelled to jump to its chime indicating the latest facebook notification should take heed. Speaking to passengers is distracting, changing CDs is distracting, and soothing crying babies is distracting. Some minds may be better equipped to deal with distractions than others but should you really be assigning yourself the confidence to multi-task while at the wheel when one misstep can lead to a life-long occupation of guilt. 

It’s certainly easy to judge this man responsible for the deaths of these Humboldt teens but hypocrisy given one’s own behaviour is peculiar.

In addition to the driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, law enforcement and the regulatory framework of the transportation industry must also answer to this event. We put doctors in this country through seven years of training and a driver of a transport truck through three weeks, if that. Mr. Sidhu  may have lacked training in how to properly secure a load. Our justice system is structured in such a way that police tend not to put resources where they believe that the probability of conviction is low. I postulate that in the minds of law enforcement, the process of obtaining the necessary evidence to charge a suspected distracted driver is not worth the application of resources and hence this matter is at large with you and I witnessing distracted drivers in metropolitan centres daily.

If the financial penalties were materially strong and the justice system had the practical powers to enforce, we could actually make headway toward significantly reducing this problem.         

Who Was Allan James McKinnon

He was one of the very nicest people that I’ve ever come to know and he was my boss for a brief period of time around 2003. He practiced public accounting and the dynamic between the two of us was mutual respect. Upon helping him through one tax season, I pursued another opportunity which helped paved the way to establishing my own practice. 

Al should have been winding up his practice right around the time I had come on board. However; it’s clear that his clients and the game of golf were preeminent interests which weren’t going to go away. We had lost touch between my tenure and his passing but I can only imagine that he had a tremendous home life with loving people around him. Evidence of his high intellect is referenced from his obituary listing his university graduation at the age of 19 from our common alma mater, the U of A.

Upon reflecting this morning of one particular collaborative effort on a file with Al, I just had to draft a blog post in remembrance of him. He was one of many fine folk instrumental in assisting me with the street level application of tax accounting.  Al was one of those people who knew exactly how to treat people respectfully. He was a soft spoken big man who carried clout through his unspoken word.   

Songs Not To Be Forgotten from 70s 80s

It’s no secret that this was a vibrant period in modern music. A sampling -many of which had lesser popular appeal.

  1. Heartbeat City – The Cars
  2. Come Undone – Duran Duran
  3. Annie’s Song –John Denver
  4. Show Me The Way – Peter Frampton
  5. I Go Crazy – Paul Davis
  6. Heaven Can Wait – Meatloaf
  7. Sorrow – Pink Floyd
  8. Since I’ve Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin
  9. Still Got The Blues – Gary Moore
  10. The Love Parade – Dream Academy
  11. The Perfect Kiss – New Order
  12. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
  13. Aubrey – David Gates and Bread
  14. If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot
  15. Light In The Tunnel / Human Race – Red Rider
  16. Thunder In My Heart Again – Leo Sayer
  17. Crucified – The Fixx
  18. Slave To Love – Bryan Ferry
  19. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  20. Talking In Your Sleep – The Romantics

Whistleblowers Fired In B.C.

You may have read the story. Word is that close to 20 civil servants in B.C. have been fired in the context of voicing concerns over public spending. Imagine that. Results from an investigation proceeded and ultimately two individuals were escorted from the legislature.

Let’s think this through:

 We all know that Canadians are over taxed with a top marginal rate in Alberta of 49 per cent income tax.  Yes, that’s just income tax and doesn’t include excise taxes, property taxes, or GST.  In fact, many of your fellow citizens of high net worth leave the maple leaf behind for residence elsewhere due to the excess of Canadian tax.

Now let’s consider our politicians who have done absolutely zilch in decades to materially reduce the personal income tax burden. It hasn’t mattered their stripe because once any politician has achieved office – the best interests of taxpayers have been lost amidst the expanse of bureaucratic largesse. Ralph Klein in Alberta is one noted exception who took on public sector unions and saved the public purse from calamity. Unfortunately, his legacy has been undone.    

How about the receptivity of public officials to your discontentment with the tax burden? It obviously hasn’t translated. For bureaucrats as evidenced by this sequence of events in the B.C. legislature to be  negligent with the treatment of sacred tax dollars to the extent that they would  enact measures of self protection of their behavior through non-disclosure agreements should in my estimation be equivalent to fraud and corruption. Yes, corruption in Canada.