Stuff Happens, week 32: Markets dive; Calgary has arena envy

OK, now I don’t want to panic anyone, but if you’re in the stock market, I have a few words of advice.

GET OUT NOW!! IT’S A BLOODBATH, PEOPLE!!

Just a suggestion.

On Friday, markets around the world went in the crapper. the reason being, apparently, China. Seem the world’s no. 2 economy is loosing steamed rice. Last week, China devalued the yuan, and this week a report suggest the economy could be worse than the Chinese are admitting. Thanks to the perculiar logic of the markets, bad economic news in China results in people selling off Apple stock. Go figure. Anyway, stocks everywhere fell so far, so fast, that those in the know called it a “correction”, defined as a 10 per cent drop from a peak. That may not sound so bad, but if you fall, say 10 per cent off the peak of Everest, you’re screwed. When the markets reopen Monday, two things could happen. Investors could continue their panic and the fall will continue, or investors might just back to in cash in on lower prices. If that’s the case, then ignore my ALL CAPS warning, and substitute ‘THE MARKET IS RED HOT! JUMP IN NOW, PEOPLE!!”

OK, I don’t want to panic anyone — again — but ASHLEY MADISON HAS BEEN HACKED! IT’S A BLOODBATH, PEOPLE!

Never heard of Ashley Madison? Neither have I. Seriously, never heard of it. Ashley Madison is a Canadian website that promotes adultery; if you want to have an extramarital affair, but just don’t know how to go about it, Ashley Madison can help. Isn’t the internet wonderful? Someone or something, perhaps with a sense of morality, hacked the site (that’s computer talk for ‘burgled’) and leaked (computer talk for ‘stole’) the names of millions of of clients, and posted them. Turns out, a lot of people want to have affairs. Who knew? The Toronto Star did an analysis, based on postal codes, of which parts of Canada spent the most on Ashley Madison. Not surprisingly, the top address was the postal code connected to the head office of Ashley Madison. The number two address? Lloydminster, which straddles the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan. The records suggest $142,000 worth of transactions originated from Lloydminster. Attention divorce lawyers … Lloydminster wants YOU!

The trail of Mike Duffy/Stephen Harper continued this week, at a pace that would cause a snail to say, “Can you speed it up a bit?” Nigel Wright, Harper’s former chief of staff, continued to assert that he never told his boss that he paid the $90,000 Duffy owed for his illegal senate expenses. This week, it was revealed that Harper’s current chief of staff, Ray Novak, also knew of the payment. And, if you want to believe this, Novak ALSO didn’t tell Harper. In fact, it appears that none of Stephen Harper’s closest confidants — the guys who ran his office and used the Senate like a personal plaything — told the boss about the Duffy payments. Two things: if all of Harper’s minions conspired to plan the Duffy payment and subsequent media lies and didn’t tell him, don’t you think they should all be fired? The alternative is that Harper knew all along (which seems much more likely),and Harper lied through his teeth (he does have teeth, although he never shows them), which means he should be fired. By us.

Remember a while back, when the barbarians of ISIS took over the huge ruins of Palmyra? It’s a UNESCO world heritage site, and the fact it exists today is largely due to the work of Kahled al-Asaad, an archeologist who was so connected to the site, he was known as Mr. Palmyra. There were fears that the Islamic State would destroy the site, as they have when taking over other heritage areas. But this time, ISIS decided that destroying ruins was so 15th century, that they upped the ante by beheading the 83-year-old al-Asaad, then hanging his body from a post for all to see. ISIS: Keeping barbarity alive in the 21st century.

Well, this was just a matter of time,wasn’t it? With Edmonton’s new arena taking shape, it was certain that Calgary would want a piece of that sweet, sweet arena action. So this week, the ownership of the Calgary Flames (who also own the Stampeders) announced a grand plan for a new arena, PLUS a covered football stadium, PLUS a field house, all on the same site. The project, pegged at anywhere from $800 million to more than a billion (what’s a few hundred million?) would be paid for by a ticket tax, a community development levy, and a measly $200 million from the owners, who are some of the richest men in Canada. In other words, less than a third would be paid by the people who would directly benefit, with the rest coming from taxpayers/ticket buyers/the city. Of course, they want provincial dollars, too, and this puts the NDP government in a bind. If Rachel Notley agrees to kick in some money for the project (she shockingly didn’t completely rule it out immediately, giving rise to some hope that funds could be found), Edmonton will go with its hand outstretched, looking for the same amount. That would be nuts, of course. There is no way the NDP would give money to private enterprise for frivolous things like arenas, what with all the pressures on the provincial treasury. Is there?

RIP: Bud Yorkin, 89, the lesser known half (with Norman Lear) of the producing team responsible for All in the Family, Maude and Sanford and Son. ..Yvonne Craig, 78, actress best know as Batgirl from the old Batman TV series.

(Note: That panoramic photo of downtown Edmonton at the top of this blog was taken by my brother-in-law, Kim Griffiths.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s