Interesting Reads

-1x-1Here are a couple links of material I’ve been reading lately.

Lessons from attending a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting by Mark Bidwell

Jim Murray, author of the annual Whisky Bible, nominated the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye 2016 whisky of the year!

NFL Owner Stan Kroenke Wants to Take Over L.A.

Most of What You Learned in Econ 101 Is Wrong

Letter to My Younger Self by Bryan Trottier

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall

One Jeopardy Question That I Got Right

Jeopardy MLB

CFOs who spend lots of time golfing produce financial reports full of holes

That’s the results of a new academic study: Chipping Away at Financial Reporting Quality.

Here’s a copy of the abstract. I highlighted the most interesting parts:

“Chief financial officers are responsible for managing the financial reporting process. We test whether the quality of a firm’s financial reports is a function of the effort expended by the CFO. Using golfing records to measure leisure consumption, we first show that CFOs consume more leisure when they have lower economic incentives to work. We show further that higher levels of CFO leisure are negatively associated with a number of indicators of financial reporting quality. The use of firm fixed effects and an instrumental variable analysis suggest that the observed relations are causal. Further tests indicate that higher leisure consumption is associated with shorter conference calls with a more uncertain tone. Finally, the effects of lower quality reporting are demonstrated by results linking CFO leisure with analysts’ forecast dispersion and weaker earnings response coefficients.”

What Do You Mean You Need A Bailout?

bailout cartoon
Nick Anderson Houston Chronicle

Donald Trump’s $5 Billion Dollar Website…

Oh yeah, picture courtesy of CNN.

Trump Website

Donald Trump was referring to the Obamacare website. Here’s the full quote:

In Mr. Trump’s own words: “And remember the $5 billion website[?], 5 billion we spent on a website, and to this day it doesn’t work. A $5 billion dollar website[?]. I have so many website[s]. I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a website. It costs me $3.”

The Chairwoman Who Cried Wolf

BoycriedwolfbarlowThe following was written in the context of what happens if that rate rise takes longer — MUCH longer — to materialize than expected? The logical conclusion in that instance would be that emerging markets have been oversold. The segment below was taken from frontura newsletter I occasionally receive. You can find out more about the group at

Reposted from Frontera
By Kevin Virgil

The Chairwoman Who Cried Wolf

You are undoubtedly familiar with the story of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’. The tale is one of Aesop’s Fables, a group of children’s stories believed to date as far back as ancient Greece and first published in the 15th century. The legend is that of a shepherd’s boy who repeatedly tricks his townsfolk into thinking that a wolf is attacking his flock of sheep. The foolish boy continues to play the trick until the townsfolk, tired of his antics, ignore him. Of course, it’s at that point that a wolf actually appears and treats itself to a lamb smorgasbord, and the boy’s cries are to no avail.

Like many of wise old Aesop’s stories, this one bears an uncanny similarity to contemporary events. Take, for instance, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s repeated assertions that the Fed is likely to raise rates this year (as she stated in March, July and September). Her central claim is that inflation pressures are gradually going to rise, and thus action must be taken now.

However the point of the story is that many people think she won’t raise rates and that could go on until after the U.S. Presidential elections. It remains to be seen….


iTunes Terms and Conditions In Graphics!

Itunes 1Apple has a reputation for putting a lot of thoughts in their products to make it the best and as consumer friendly as possible. Everything from the original iMac that came out in 1998. That was the cute transparent computer with a colored handle that took the industry and consumers by storm. This probably doesn’t mean a lot today to the readers, but it was a big deal by then. It just needed one wire to operate (just plug it in) as opposed to the PC that required tons of wires to run. One for the mouse, one for the keyboard, speakers, power etc…Then Apple came out the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad and other innovative products. All Apple products are very well regarded by their users.

However, there’s one thing that Apple does that really annoys their consumers and it’s that frustrating iTunes terms and conditions update that you need to agree to every other week. Once in a while Apple randomly hits you with a nice 40 something pages legal document for you to “read” and agree to (you have the option to have it emailed to you…) I’m not sure what happens if you disagree/decline their terms. I never did because I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to use my iPad. It’s written by an army of lawyers and it’s really unreadable. Actually that’s a lie because I never read it, so maybe it’s not boring. Am I suppose to send this to my lawyer for him to read? The whole thing is so ridiculous that South Park even made an episode out of it.

Anyway, looks like I’m not alone with that feeling and some people took matters in their own hands. Cartoonist R. Sikoryak published a page by page graphic novel of the terms and conditions featuring Steve Jobs. Definitely not a small task. It seems that each page is dedicated to a real comic artist, which some of them you will recognize from your youth. I really recommend that you go check it out at this tumblr page, iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel.

I added some of their art pieces. All credits to them. Here are the samples:

Page 1
Page 1
Page 20
Page 20
itune 4
Page 43

Bombardier Inc. – Canada’s Too-Big-To-Fail

Bombardier CSeriesBelow is my latest article on Seeking Alpha which you can access for free. There are already some interesting discussions in the comments section.  Below is just a sample of the article because Seeking Alpha has the rights to it.  The article are my general comments on the bailout of Bombardier by the government of Quebec.


  • The Quebec government invested US$1 billion (CA$1.3) for 49.5% of Bombardier’s CSeries and 200m warrants for BBD.B.
  • The government is not in for the money, but to solve a confidence crisis. The CSeries is not expected to deliver free cash flow until 2020.
  • Bombardier’s CSeries is in a Catch-22. The CSeries program can’t survive without orders, and there’s won’t be orders unless the CSeries program survives.
  • I’m disappointed in the deal. I wish the government had better represented the interest of the taxpayers.
  • Bombardier is too big to fail in Quebec and Canada. It’s the heart of the aerospace industry.



Bombardier Inc. is primarily traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the tickers BBD.B and BBD.A. Class A has ten votes per share, and Class B has one vote per share. The Beaudoin-Bombardier family has 54.35% of all the voting rights. BBD.B is the most commonly traded ticker.

Note: Dollar amounts are in Canadian $ unless mentioned otherwise. The price of 1 USD in CAD as of October 31, 2015 is USD-CAD 1.3146.

This is not a valuation of Bombardier (BBD). I’m providing my general comments on the latest Bombardier bailout by the Quebec government. I was never a shareholder of the company, I’m “not a shareholder today”, and I don’t plan to invest in the company in the future. I used quotation marks because, as a Quebec taxpayer, I’m now indirectly a shareholder of Bombardier. Actually, I should clarify that the taxpayers are a shareholder in BBD’s CSeries program, not the parent company. If you don’t read the media report carefully, it might lead to the conclusion that the Quebec government is a shareholder in Bombardier, which they are not. Like many others, I woke up on Thursday morning as an indirect shareholder in the now-infamous CSeries program that’s sinking the company.

This leads to many questions. What’s the upside for the taxpayers? What are the risks? Why would the government get involved? Plus, the timing of the investment was a little insulting. It came a day after a one-day strike in the public sector to protest the government’s austerity budget, after cuts in the education and health sector. Without getting sidetracked, the government’s rationale for investing in Bombardier is that the cost of not investing is greater. Well, this rationale also applies to education. The cost of not investing in education is higher than not investing.

Let’s find out what my dear provincial government got me involved.

Full Article here.

William Thorndike: “The Outsiders” | Talks at Google

The Outsiders

Below is an interesting talk by William Thorndike, the author of the popular investment book The Outsiders. In writing this post I realized that I didn’t post a book review for that exceptional book. I was pretty sure I wrote one since I took notes. It’s now on the to do list. It’s a must read for any serious investor or CEOs trying to deliver exception results. It was a the top of Buffett’s list (well there’s a chapter on him…) Here’s the talk provided by Google Talk:

Tough Week To Be a Toronto Fan

On Friday October 23, 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated by the Kansas City Royals. The Jays’ playoff run was the best thing that happened to Toronto since 1993, the last time they won something. After captivating the heart and minds of Toronto and the country, the dream was crushed.

However it didn’t have to end there. On that same night the Montreal Alouettes steamrolled the Toronto Argonauts, 34-2. At least Toronto caused a safety which resulted in two points. A solid 3,700 fans turned up to the game. To be fair to Toronto, the game was in Hamilton and people were probably watching the Jays. Still, it’s brutal that it drew the attendance of a high school football game. In comparison, the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguar, the laughing stock teams of the NFL, played a game in England, at the same time as the rugby World Cup and still managed to fill the 84,000 seats at Wembley Stadium. Of course the NFL is “bigger” than the CFL, but there’s no culture of football in Europe. Football is actually a totally different sport.

The carnage continues on to Saturday with the Montreal Canadiens doing what they usually do, beating the Maple Leafs, this time 5-3. The Leafs with their star filled front-office and head-coach are now 1-4-2. The Habs are 9-0.

The weekend wasn’t over. On Sunday the Montreal Impact defeated Toronto FC 2-1. If you are Toronto fan, if there are any left, that was a terrible weekend. But an amazing one if you are a Montreal fan.

To add a cherry on top, Don Cherry wore a Habs tie on Saturday’s night edition of Coach’s Corner. If you know Don Cherry, he loves his Leafs and his big bad Bruins. He pokes fun at the Montreal Canadiens every chance he gets. Him honoring the Habs was suppose to only happen once hell freeze over.
Don Cherry Habs Tie Montreal Canadiens 2

Don Cherry Habs Tie Montreal Canadiens

To summarize the weekend:
Lost – Kansas City 4-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Lost – Montreal Alouettes 34-2 Toronto Argonauts
Lost – Montreal Canadiens 5-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Lost – Montrea Impact 2-1 Toronto FC