Thursday, March 27, 2008

grab bag #

I heard on CBC today that Councilor TimStevenson is introducing a motion to tax empty (read; speculator/flipper) houses at a higher rate. It will probably get shot down in Council, but quelle idee. There are other aspects to the motion as well - such as mandatory inspections (for health and safety) for all rental properties. Also not a bad idea.
- An anti-vacancy by-law, which would increase the levels of taxation on vacant properties being held for the purposes of speculation;

- The consideration of past compliance with building standards and owner history when granting new development permits;

- A publicly accessible database to monitor evictions throughout the city as well as conversions to student housing, and would provide a list of buildings protected under the SRA regulations; and

- A downtown eastside planning office, whose sole responsibility would be to inform local residents of planned developments, and facilitate meaningful community participation in neighbourhood development..

I found a link to this on Vision Vancouver's website

Some of the usual suspects (whoever they are) said that it is ridiculous and unworkable. I guess most things that are for the good of society tend to be seen that way. Let's face it, it was rampant greed and speculation that drove the market up - to the detriment of this city and its citizens. Not just those that can't, or won't pay such ludicrous prices to rent from the bank, but those that would/could, and shackled themselves with a lifetime of debt. Sorry about all the restaurants and retail when there is no disposable income left. Sorry about the city.

Monday, March 24, 2008

whither the crash?

OK! It's Spring now! Time for the Spring surge. Question is, will it be a surge in listings? A surge in sales? a surge in prices? All three? Things are so bent, that I almost don't care anymore.

I had no power on the week-end, so no computer, no Internet, no blogs, no music. It was actually kind of nice, but I was truly expecting to hook up today, and read that everything was crash. Bummer.

Last week I saw on CBC that flippin' mobile homes on rented pads were selling for $400 Gs in Fort McMurray. I guess that things could be worse here, but at least in Fort Mc... there are lots of Newfoundlanders. We have none.

It must end sometime. Please tell me that it will.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

n is for neville...

...who died of ennui

I'm getting bored.

When will it start? Where will it end?

Was that "little" stock market stumble of today profit-taking, a small correction, or the beginning of the end? Do you think it will continue tomorrow? Betcha it does.

I liked this line quoted here yesterday - re-born Robber-Barons do not suffer fools or casual opportunists-instead they eat these 'hangers-on' that would have cluttered up their kill. Time to reap the harvest?

Okay, I forgot, Vancouver is...immune, or something. mohican busted the land shortage thing into 5 Easy Pieces. Well, we do have comparatively good weather. The Olympics are likely to be a bust though;
the Olympic Winter Games > Lake Placid, New York, U.S., 1932

The worldwide economic depression cast a shadow over the third Winter Olympics. Only 17 countries attended, represented by some 250 athletes, over half of whom were from Canada and the United States. The Games generated little revenue, and organizers, who had built a new stadium and bobsled run, suffered huge financial losses.

Encyclopedia Britannica
I have heard the words "depression" and "nineteen twenty-nine" quite a bit today - and in the MSM, no less. Weird though, I still see people cruising "For Sale" signs.

I have a feeling that Real Estate is going to be dropped as a topic of polite conversation very soon.

I'll be Blogging the Apocalypse (if I can afford to pay for electricity!).

Monday, March 17, 2008

low-pressure trough

Bear-Stearns price graph.

A low-pressure trough is sometimes called a depression. I have been talking of an impending depression for years (not here, but elsewhere, and verbally). Most people just thought that I was a crank, but it is starting to come to fruition.

Bear-Stearns was trading at around $70/share last week, but today, sold off the whole shebang for $2/unit. I'm sure that a lot of people thought that BS was different. Bear-Stearns is just one banking house in trouble, there are more to come - by all accounts.

I know that a high CDN dollar is problematic for exports to the US, but our dollar slipped below par today. That is bad news for us. We do not want to follow the US to the bottom, but it appears that we will. All those fools that bought RE at exorbitant prices in the last few years are going to be in big trouble when the carbon tax comes in, property taxes sky-rocket to pay for the Olympic scam, TransLink is putting in a new tax, Hydro rates to increase some 25%, job losses coming soon, etc.

Here is an interesting article at proclaiming that Black Friday is back. The article is a bit long to keep one's attention, and is kind of spectacular in writing style - it is also aimed more at the US reader, but there is some stuff of interest about halfway through.
There is one more player in this quagmire of failure and defeat that has yet to show its face. That is the face of those that have supported all this criminality and horror with their greed and with their interminable silence throughout this most treacherous chapter in all of American history.

These are the would-be emulators of those in power, regardless of how corrupt or jaded the individual criminal-figures might actually be. These are vulture capitalists in-waiting, not yet fully fledged, but still very eager to find a way to get their own piece of the corpse that was the USA. They are the reason that so many have remained silent and complicit with all that has transpired. In reality these seemingly ordinary people, have made it possible for the owners to get this far without a violent public backlash.

Now while the real players have begun to pull their money out of everything, it is these small-time opportunists who will be left with nothing, because they weren't smart enough to get out before the major dominoes began to fall. Now they, along with us, will be left holding the bag and screaming about "what could have been!" Because whenever any major 'bubble' bursts, the key players not only escape, but they always have made huge new fortunes from each new chaos-while the suckers lose it all.

This time there are literally millions of suckers that did not study the Stock-Market Crash of 1929, so they've just been waiting in the wings to be crushed by this burden: which was always part of this design that was created to insure that this failure will be total!

The lesser beings that sought to profit..."believed implicitly" that they would end up on the winning side with their own smart-money profits as a bonus. But re-born Robber-Barons do not suffer fools or casual opportunists-instead they eat these 'hangers-on' that would have cluttered up their kill. So, once again only the few will profit, while all the rest of us will pay because 'the run on the banks' has begun and the Fed can't print money fast enough to stop this, if it reaches beyond the business class and into the general population. (emboldening and clipping mine)

I think that Rense may be a bit sensationalistic - like Alex Jones, but still speaks to the truth.

Things are going to get nasty. Forget schadenfreude, we are all going to hurt. Get rid of debt, and stash some cash while you can.

Friday, March 14, 2008

good question, and a rant

David sent me the following e-mail:
subject: the elephant in the room

Still trying to puzzle this out.

Banks are failing, not due to lack of regulation (Mish). But the elephant of Fractional reserve lending.

Okay I get that, what I don't get is how can a bank lose liquidity when they never had it in the first place.

They make 'money' by typing it into the computer. Yes, that's simplified, but the money never was there, so how can they lose nothing?

And yet us the 'great unwashed' will 'bail-out' the banks. Would love to see a discussion on your blog around this, maybe someone can enlighten me.

David poses a salient question, that I cannot readily answer - but to say that so much of what we are taught about the world is a bunch of bullshit.

How can a private bank (The Federal Reserve) have such control over Americans' money, and their lives? They just pulled $200 billion out of their asses to "save" the American economy. Where did that $200 bill. come from? That's easy - from interest charged on the (imaginary) trillions that America owes, and so on - back to the days of JC and the boys.

Why did they kill JFK? Maybe because he was going to release America from the strangle-hold of the Fed. Reserve, and re-introduce a government-backed "green back"?

Why is our government - through the Bank of Canada - buying frozen ABCP? I wouldn't buy it, would you? Ah, but we are buying it, and we will be bailing out all the Fucked Buyers, and CIBC, and, and, while we are impolitely raped in many other ways - like carbon taxes, property taxes, and on, and on.

And you thought that feudalism, slavery, oligarchy, and royalty were dead?

Collectively, we are a bunch of under-educated, but over-inculcated idiots. I can never get the image of the deported-to-camps Jews, Communists, Artists, etc. during WWII, who carried their suitcases with them in the belief that everything would be ok.

Man's inhumanity to man has not lessened in any way, and the pendulum is swinging back to very dark days. The Depression was no joke, and we are headed to something much worse.

I hope that people can figure out how to eat granite.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

speaking of spooks

I mentioned in the last post that there are rumoured to be spooks skulking about that Podcast-adrift project. Spooks are believed in by every culture, and pretty much by all, but for the most skeptical. One reason that those UFO pod houses are still there is that the locals believe that you are playing with danger by tearing down haunted houses.

The aboriginal cultures believe that their ancestors' spirits inhabit the land. I worked in the north in silviculture for ten years, and I have seen and heard some strange things, and I would tend to agree with the belief. I recall working in one valley where the anger at the pillage was palpable. I was not unique in noticing it.

The Rogers Mansion (now Romano's Macaroni Bar and Grill) downtown is well known to be haunted. I personally know the painter who encountered the spook, and he did not actually run out as reported in the article. He finished what he was doing. I also did work there, and we always worked at night. One night I was working with a friend when we heard crashing and banging from the kitchen area. We went and investigated, but found nothing. We were the only ones in the building, and we had all of the doors locked. Strange, but true.

I know a guy that used to live in Amityville, New York, and he said that while the movie sensationalized it (no kidding), there was a very strong basis of truth in it.

I have lived in a house with a spook for the last 8 years. Lots of weird stuff goes on, but we have a kind of agreement not to cast her out if she doesn't mess with us. There used to be two of them here, but one has left. I've only seen it out of the corner of my eye, but my mother-in-law, amongst others, has seen it full on. It's creepy, and I don't like it that much, but we still live here. I have a few pictures of it too, but I can't find them before press time.

So what to do if you buy a haunted house? If it's your house now, go ahead and help it on it's way (I have no suggestions on how to do that). Should you disclose the fact that you have spooks when selling a house? Have you ever thought about buying or renting a place, had a creepy feeling, and not followed through? My wife and I were going to rent a place on Semlin Dr. years ago, but when we went to look at it, a woman in a wheelchair answered the door. My wife and I both had a creepy feeling, and then the woman told us not to rent the place. She asked us if we noticed that the address added up to 13, and told us that she had the worst luck since moving there. She had walked into the place, and was now paralyzed from the waist down. Even stranger, about a year later, I was going through a box of discarded photographs behind a photo shop on the west side, and came across the girl in the chair's photographs of her and her friends doing the Can-Can. That was weird.

I know I'm an odd duck, but I also know that I'm not alone. Ever.


Do you have/have you had spooks? What did you do about it?
That's a bunch of bunk. There is no such thing as ghosts.
I have/had spooks, and I just accepted it.
I had my house blessed when I moved in.
I had to have my house exorcised.
I had to move. It just freaked me out too much.
My cat/dog/kid sees things that I can't see.
I have too-frequent light bulb burn-outs.
A lot of stuff goes missing in my house - like keys and such.
solipsist, you really need a vacation, or some shock therapy!
Free polls from

Monday, March 10, 2008

ghost town

Thanks to coco for alerting us to Podopolis Place in Taiwan. She was right; it fits in well with Legopolis Mews of the last post, but seems to once have had greater ambitions.

It looks quite nice from a distance; lush, tropical, and colourful...

...but as the view zooms in, the decay starts to show.

The elements are slowly rendering the abandoned project back into the landscape (although, the bio-degradability is suspect), and the place is said to be inhabited by ghosts. According to custom/superstition, places that house spirits are seldom torn down, so this place will fester for years to come... the sea slowly works it's way in.

Haunted by ghosts, huh? That is an interesting topic for another post.

(I tried to get a view on Google Earth, but it keeps crashing on me!)

Update - I got a Google Earth shot, and a picture of the Space Ostrich. Seems the place is now an avian space flu research laboratory.

Friday, March 07, 2008

affordable condos

Shanghai Thunder sent this image to me (thanks Shanghai!), and the next day, my cousin in Florida sent it to me as well. I just had to post it for some comic relief.

I'm too brain-dead to come up with any quirky quips, or funny fictions, so I'll leave it for you all to do.

Average price in Vancouver now some $970k (un-freakin'-believable!). When will the madness end?

Oh, I guess the new 50 year amortization mortgage will make that affordable.

Good grief!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I just don't have any energy to post these last 7 days or so: first, I was engrossed in the "Cadscam" thang for a few days, then I started getting sick with the flu, and I am a stay-at-home-dad these days. I've been feeling pretty low, and I'm sorry not to have dreamed up some fantastic presentation for you.

BoC has cut rates by 50 basis points - which is significant - but it is not going to help the common consumer, and it will not stop the slide that has begun in RE, nor the lumber industry, nor the economy over-all. That is all getting pretty tired anyhow.

So maybe you would like to see my process for photoshopping? Again, I don't have the energy or time to be explicit, but you can get an idea from the source photographs below, and well, I hope you find it amusing.

I will be back in short order...I hope.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

watching the birdie

I regret that I have not scribed another instalment on the interminable wait for things to start sinking, but I have been deeply immersed in the goings-on at Parliament Hill. It's a fascinating story, and I can't wait for tomorrow.

This is not entirely unrelated to the game of RE, and is, in my view, a match to the fuse to one of the bombs that is part of the ensuing melt-down.

Imagine Harper subjecting to a cavity search. Sympathy for the devil?

I'll be back after La Revolucion!

Thoughtful, non-partisan comments are welcome.