Friday, January 31, 2014

Homer - The Equal Feast

Nor did their hearts lack for anything in the equal feast.
Homer, The Iliad, Book 1.456, Barry B. Powell translation

The ancient Greek poet Homer is a lot like baseball, there is just no logical way that these two things should have survived into the twenty first century. The works of Homer cover events that happened over three thousand years ago. There are three schools of thought on Homer. The first is that he was actually present at the campaign of Troy. The second is that he is merely a mythical name applied to a very long distillation of assorted myths and stories, compiled around 750 B.C. The third is that the actor never really lived at all and that it is all hogwash.

The Walls of Troy VII

Before actually finally getting down to read the whole text of  The Iliad, the Oracle of Ottawa would have sided with the third school. After reading the excellent Barry B. Powell translation, the Oracle of Ottawa is most certainly now a believer of the first school. Homer lived, and he was at Troy, on the beach, sort of like a state designated war artist of the assembled Argives. What better way to make sure the singer-poets got the deeds right than to have one of them imbedded with the invading force!

After completing my first read through of the Iliad, the Oracle of Ottawa realized that there was enough on the lines and especially between the lines that would provide enough material to blog on forever. The Iliad is not just some story of a military campaign, it is a guide book for Western Civilization. The concepts that are touched on and alluded to are just mind boggling. But there is one that jumped out at the Oracle of Ottawa immediately. And that is the concept of the equal feast. I have included the opening quote where it is first mentioned in the Iliad. It continues to occur many times through out the entire work. 

The greatest number of references to it occur by the Greeks, the Argives. There are very many less mentions of it in use by the Trojans. The equal feast is exactly what it implies. No mans honour was ever slighted in the enjoyment of the portions. Meanwhile the Trojans secure in their high and polished walls in the stronghold of Troy were not so big on the equal feast, measured by the number of times that it is mentioned in the text as occurring on each side. Of course most any person alive today in the modern Western world can tell you how it all worked for the Trojans. It is mentioned in the Iliad that the gods themselves built the high walls of Troy and then Priam tried to stiff the gods by not paying them the agreed price!

The take away of this story is that the society that provides the richest and most secure equal feast will rule, and will continue to rule forever, with many singers singing of their deeds into the countless days of forever more.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Julian Fantino Gets Stomped

All the earth around laughed from the flashing bronze.
A din went up from the feet of the men.
Homer, The Iliad, Book 19.332-333, Barry B. Powell Translation

After watching Question Period today, the Oracle of Ottawa wonders how long it will be before Julian Fantino, the present Minister of Veteran Affairs, hears of his cabinet demise on the local media, as do all discarded under the bus ministers of the 'Harper Hapless Government' when they are deemed redundant. But the abrasive, dottering, early demented Minister will be able to call it all a hell of a run. From an inspection of the facts Dear Reader, you will also come to the conclusion that this actor has risen far beyond his level of competence. And that is as Christian as the Oracle of Ottawa can put it.   


It appears from publicly available information at the time of this writing, that the good Minister has never seen the inside of a high school, let alone a University! It is all pretty shocking to the Oracle of Ottawa that Julian Fantino started out as mall security guard! A plot right out of  The Trailer Park Boys. And yet, was somehow allowed to rise up to the key positions of leadership of Ontario's largest police forces. It all boggles the mind of the Oracle of Ottawa. It is not surprising that a cop could get by for all these years by essentially faking it, and Julian Fantino's life so far is proof it truly can be done.

Now most actors would have quit after rising to the top of the Ontario Provincial Police, which was paying over a quarter million a year! A shopping mall security guard. And  he came from outside the force! Have you checked the requirements just to be a constable in the OPP lately Dear Reader?  Julian Fantino would not have qualified to be a lowly constable on a northern Ontario dirt road. So in true management fashion they made him the chief! And the right wing wacko's bitch when the minimum wage is raised every four years!? And yet we have in Ontario medical doctors and Classics Professors driving cabs! Who runs Human Resources in this country? The Godfather?

The whole bottom line of the story is that you can't treat Veterans like a bunch of heads in a crack house dope raid. Why even the Mayor of Toronto at the time of this writing knows that. The Oracle of Ottawa has mentioned way earlier in this humble blog that this actor just wasn't going to last. And today in Question Period the dark gloom of Hades enveloped the doomed man, when he got called up by Thomas Mulcair. It wasn't pretty, but yet the Oracle enjoyed every moment of it. The video of the most aggressive stomping has been included above. You Dear Reader can be the judge.... 

There comes a time when all the easy low hanging nickels are cut and grasped and saved. Then you reach the point where the cost of removing the next nickel starts to incur unintended costs that far exceed the intrinsic value of the last nickel saved. This is a perfect example... 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Justin Trudeau Has Harper By The Balls!

In all things balance is better.
Homer, The Odyssey,  Book 15.71, Richmond Lattimore Translation

It was only the third day back from the world vagrant tour for the 'Harper Government' and that young Odysseus of the Liberal party of Canada otherwise known as Justin Trudeau has reached across the floor of the House of Commons and directly and firmly grabbed Stephen Harper of the 'Harper Government' firmly by the balls and in turn has gained control of the whole total agenda. Not too bad for the leader of the present Third party! And of course that is true as I have related it to you Dear Reader. Otherwise, why is today's Question Period not posted on the CPAC site as it is supposed to be? Yes, indeed, the prime Ministers Office has many friends among the corporate whores of the media companies that own CPAC. And when it all goes really wrong on any given day, you the tax paying public will just have to wait awhile to see the actual proceedings.

Justin 'Odysseus' Trudeau

It seems that they still teach Homer at that posh Jesuit high school that Justin no doubt attended, as has his great father before him, and it was also the school that Jean Chretien also attended many many years ago. And it just so happened that the young Justin was in attendance at the great Jean Chretien's 80th birthday party ever so recently. That Dear Reader is the difference between Justin Trudeau and the conservative scum. The conservative scum waits for the spin doctors and fart catchers to write their speaking points, while Justin Trudeau surrounds himself with the best and the brightest, just as his father did, and after taking the guidance of all the great men, stands up and simply acts. This quality is fully and totally beyond the mental horizon of Stephen Harper of the 'Harper Government'.

 One might ask how it all flew with the Canadian public at first glance. Well the Oracle of Ottawa found it all surprising that on a poll of Canadian viewers of Power and Politics in real time, natch, that over 97% of people polled agreed strongly with the young Justin's idea!  Now for all of us that know such things, the 'Harper Hapless Government' has never had one act in all their years in office that ever even came close to that level of approval. The only thing that they ever came close to achieving 97% in is fucking up! And of course in politics you can only usually do that just one time....

Monday, January 27, 2014

'Harper Government' - Same Sleaze Different Year

Let the mortals battle by themselves.
Homer, The Iliad, Book 21.465, Barry B. Powell Translation

Fresh back from the less than awesome Vagrants Tour, the grey domed (doomed?) eminence of the 'Harper Government' seemed to be be visibly miffed that the Royal Opposition seemed to be in no mood to drop by 24 Sussex Drive after work to take in all his holiday snaps from all the accursed sand spit micro states of the Middle East. And it seemed to this observer that the Prime Ministers going to church Wal-Mart suit jacket was bulging a bit at the buttons, it seems that kissing away all those white snot balls can be very fattening.

(and more snot balls!)

Question Period started off all civil for about five minutes, which scared the be'jesus out of the Oracle of Ottawa, but after that all the lads of the Opposition seemed to find the jugular just fine. One has to wait for the hounds to get into their stride after such a long break. It all scared the Oracle half too death, if Question Period were "civil" it wouldn't be any fun at all now, would it?

Of course we didn't have to wait long for exposure of some members of the 'Harper Government' to be exposed by the Opposition. One of the most humiliating occurred  when it was brought to the light of day that one Cheryl Gallant from up the Ottawa Valley was caught red handed about some charity site that happened to be somehow connected to the local conservative riding association, i.e. hers! It must have been very true as the punks in short pants from the Prime Ministers Office would not allow her to stand to her own feet and respond, the Question was half heartedly deflected by Pizza Paul Calandra! The Oracle of Ottawa has to ask himself and the people up in Renfrew County; how low can you go? That cabinet post again has faded far into the distance, and all on the first day back!

We also learned today that the once wee banty finance minister is going sneak a budget by Canadians on February 11, 2014 which is right in the middle of the Winter Games. As per usual one can safely surmise that there will be very things that will come as a surprise to all Canadians when they finally find out all about it! That is, of course, if the finance minister lives that long! The wee Jimmy seems to be morphing into an old Rob Ford. It is the strangest thing the Oracle has ever witnessed (so far). What the hell is up with that do you think Dear Reader?  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

'Harper Government' - Return Of The Suitors

I easily recognized him as a god by the trail he left when he went away. For it is easy to know a god.
Homer, The Iliad, Book 13.70-71, Barry B. Powell Translation

Fresh off the world vagrants tour, the Suitors of the 'Harper Government' return to the House and the Nations business, in our ice bound Ithaca. There to meet the 'Harper Government' will be the NDP's Telemachus, in the form of one Thomas Mulcair. The hot headed ideological son of of the great Odysseus, which all the people of the ice bound Ithaca await the return of, one fine day soon, any time now. The great Odysseus has taken the form of, according to all ice bound Ithacans who know about such things, the handsome and comely shape of a young ice bound Ithacan by the name of Justin Trudeau. Beguiling in appearance and matter, but very famous for his brilliance, guile, and overall polytropos. He is making his entrance as a beggar, only to some day soon rear the head of his Magus heritage to slay all the Suitors in an utter and devastating blood bath at the next called assembly of the people of ice bound Ithaca, which will happen no later then 2015, but probably sooner. The gods, as is well known, take on many shapes.

Suitors - the ultimate end...
 Meanwhile in the camp of the Suitors there is much unease, as the concept of the meaning of declining polling numbers bring to them the shadow of their ultimate fate and the eventual embrace of Hades dark and permanent gloom.  There is much nervous talk of the far reaching implications of the missed million dollar shots at the whaling walls of lands far far away. The best thing to do is to put off the sure to come day as long is possible by the careful use of spin doctors and allied fart catchers, and to rapidly increase the consumption and wasteful wanton destruction of the wealth and heritage of the fine people of the ice bound Ithaca,  while the going is still good.

As the Suitors writhe and twist in their beds and awake in cold nightmarish sweat realizing that the Suitor to their left and to their right could possibly eclipse there chances and cherished dreams of becoming the head Suitor all are beginning to realize the price that they are all soon going to have to pay....Cerberus howls in utter delight.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Barry B. Powell - Homer For The Rest Of Us!

No one sings about glorious deeds performed in an imaginary war.
Barry B. Powell, Homer, The Iliad, p.25

For a very long time the Oracle of Ottawa has wanted to read the great works of Homer. At the time of this writing the Oracle of Ottawa has four different English translations of The Iliad; the Chapman, the Fitzgerald, the Lattimore and the Barry B. Powell. I know, how sick is that? The Oracle has made many attempts in his misspent youth at attacking the great work. But each time the Oracle was put off by the place names, the character names, and the nagging level of missing basic information of the setting of the great story. The Oracle of Ottawa came to the conclusion that to get through the Ilaid, and actually understand the times and all, you had to have at least an Honours Degree in Classical Studies.

Barry B. Powell at the Walls of Troy - Bona Fide!!!
 Another problem was that the Oracle always insisted on the best and most pure translation. Research at an actual old fashioned public library informed the Oracle of Ottawa that the works of Homer were always in something called dactylic hexameter. The works were sung by singers, until someone invented writing. Now from watching the movies, the Oracle of Ottawa roughly knows what Homeric Greek actually sounds like. But alas, the Oracle of Ottawa found none of the same music in the big three English translations.

Troy - Not just a 'story'...
 It was just after Christmas when the Oracle of Ottawa was out hunting for something awesome to read with his new Christmas book money, when he happened to spot a never before seen new translation of the Iliad by some guy called Barry B. Powell. The Oracle of Ottawa picked up the new hardcover book, without much hope, and marveled at the perfect cover illustration and design. The Oracle's interest was further peaked when he noticed that the book was published by Oxford University Press. Surely the Oxford University Press would not publish just any new translation of Homer.  

Thetis picks up new armor for Achilles...
 The Oracle of Ottawa cracked the book open and was floored at the perfect sparse double opening title page in perfect good taste, that actually matched the contents of the included work. The Oracle of Ottawa marveled at the detailed, but yet accessible, introduction by Barry B. Powell, that alone is worth the price of the hardcover. The Oracles little literary heart quickened. This is the stuff that the Oracle of Ottawa has always longed for. The maps, diagrams, and pictures. Especially that picture of the translator at the walls of Troy! How bona fide is that Dear Reader? And the fact that the translator had the same goal in translating the masterpiece that the Oracle of Ottawa has always dreamed of, to make the English translation take on the music of the ancient Homeric Greek.

The ultimate test Dear Reader is of course in the reading. The Oracle of Ottawa turned to Book I, and read the first line. The rage sing, O goddess, of Achilles, the son of Peleus... and no word of a lie, tears come to the Oracles eyes! This translation is the Bomb! This is the one. All the weird bits were very well noted at the bottom of the page and that doesn't bother the Oracle in the least. And yes, I read every damn one of them notes and was very grateful to the translator and his publisher at giving him the freedom to include them all.    

The book cost a little over thirty dollars in Canada, a mere pittance for something of such awesome quality. Again Dear Reader this was the one. The Oracle has finally put The Iliad under his belt, so to speak, but this is only the beginning. This was the translation that reached out and in and had the Oracle completely enthralled. Even reading carefully and slowly, not wanting it all to end, the Oracle had the great work wacked in less than seven days, with his copy full of underlines and notes. Something has gone off in the Oracle of Ottawa. This translation is a masterpiece. It captures the flavor of the music of the words of the Homeric Greek into our English. This is a great, great, feat.    

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

'Harper Government' - The Other Vagrants

A just system must generate its own support.
John Rawls, A Theory Of Justice, p. 261

When the House of Commons broke (early) for the Christmas break last year, the young punks in shorts at the Prime Ministers Office wiped their sweaty brows in utter relief, in the fact that they had managed, just, to prevent the whole mess from caving in and falling from a non confidence vote. At the onset of the New Year, they were sure that the Vagrants Tour, which started just last week, to all the accursed sand spit micro states of the Middle East would be a sure lift for the bosses numbers. Surely in the middle of January nothing could possibly happen to upstage the 'Harper Government's Divine message. Surely the Vagrants Tour - 2014 would steal all the first slots of every news cycle for its total duration. Well not exactly...
Canada - Time for a new crew?
  Right from the get go of leaving Ottawa on Conservative Air, full to the brim with pilgrims, the blessed event started to not have the desired effect. But surely when the chrome domed eminence addressed the klutzedupsenate surely that would steal all the first slots in every news media cycle right through to the start of the next session of the House of Commons, starting on January  25 coming... Well not exactly....

The monumentus speech to the vagrant micro states klutzedupsenate barely caused a ripple here in Canada's news cycle. It seems that the 'Harper Government's other vagrants back home, completely rose up all together and stole all the top spots of the national news cycle for the last 72 hours at the time of this writing. As the Oracle of Ottawa pounds out this humble missive, the 'Harper Government' is sitting at level eight of the CBC News internet page! But they had serious competition from other Conservatives all over the country all at the same time! What are the chances of that? Not even the Oracle of Ottawa could make this up.

Level one of the news cycle at the time of this writing has been stolen by  the vagrant provincial Conservatives of Alberta, as the Health Minister Fred Horne glibbly announces that only 625,000 Albertans have had all there confidential information lost on a laptop, probably by a minimum wage contractor, the Minister is seeming to have a very hard time to explain to the press all the money that was saved by firing the civil servant that used to do it right....

Level two spot was stolen by the insane antics of one of the closet and dearest friends of the 'Harper Government', Mayor Rob Ford, the conservative mayor of Toronto has had the nation transfixed as the CBC plays the video over and over again, as the Mayor of Toronto made his most successful dinner theatre debut last night, some where in Toronto. The only thing that was missing was the black face make-up! Oh Mammy indeed...

Level three of the news cycle was stolen by yet another conservative provincial Premier, in Newfoundland this time, when one Cathy Dunderdale resigned as Minister of Darkness, it seems that the lights always go out when there is a conservative running things, is there truly a pattern? Well the Oracle of Ottawa has seen that he has gone on far to long. But for the sake of completeness that Oracle of Ottawa has checked out the level of the 'Harper Government's vagrant tour level in the news as I close and at the time of this writing, it is now at level 8, way at the bottom of the page, just above Health, Community and the fine print....        

Monday, January 20, 2014

When To Sell A Stock

" investment is grounded on the past whereas speculation looks primarily to the future."
Benjamin Graham, David Dodd, Security Analysis - Principles And Technique, p. 66

When the Oracle of Ottawa bought his first stock he was called a fool, then later on, having survived and thrived, he was called lucky, continuing on until the time of this writing, people just call the Oracle of Ottawa "Sir". As mentioned many times before in this humble blog, stocks have been very good to the Oracle of Ottawa. Now the Oracle of Ottawa is not Warren Buffet, nor does he ever want to be. The Oracle of Ottawa has no desire to be listed as one of the richest Canadians. The Oracle of Ottawa just wants to enjoy a benevolent level of prosperity, read all the books he has never read, so far, and write the truth to power in his blog, completely unowned by any corporate whore.

Capitalism? Nuttin' to it!

Right from the start the Oracle of Ottawa had no trouble on what and when to buy. There is a ton of literature and success stories on that. The Oracle of Ottawa is an old time value investor. He simply seeks a stock that is priced at or below its book value, between two and ten dollars and  with a P/E ratio of less than 10, with a dividend between 2 and 55 percent and recently, a P/S ratio less then 3. The Oracle picks one stock every month, which he calls "Stock of the Month". Been doing it for years and years.

Soon the Oracle of Ottawa had a pretty wacking portfolio of stocks very deep into the money. But the great Oracle sweated on when to sell a stock. The Oracle of Ottawa found the decision to sell much much harder then the decision to buy. Oddly enough, every one else the Oracle knows, has the same problem in reverse. They always sell a double right away and sweat about what to buy next.  Don't be like everyone else. Taking a mere double will never make you rich. The Oracle discovered that buy and hold is still very powerful, and that it is not unusual to get a ten to fifteen bagger! Ya, you read that right, 1,000 to 1,500 percent profit is not out of the ordinary with the Oracle of Ottawa.

Then, after much gifted thought, as the Oracle of Ottawa is an "85", he realized that it could all be reduced to a simple rule of thumb (ROT), or what the undergraduate text books refer to as heuristics. And the rule of thumb is: NEVER OWN A STOCK YOU WOULDN'T BUY. When the statement arrives at the end of the month, the Oracle lists all his stocks in the money by percentage difference of book to market value. Then he lists the top 19 stocks in order for the month past. Yeah it does take a while to do it by hand, especially when you own way over 100 different stocks!  Then you go through the list checking the fundamentals on your favorite quote sight, and you sell the stock that has gained the most, but appears to be at the point of being unsustainable. i.e. Sell that stock that you presently own, but would never buy.

The Oracle of Ottawa will provide a simple example of two stocks. One is a very large REIT that the Oracle purchased many years ago when it was not a very large REIT. He paid $2.60 a share at the time. Today the REIT is one of the TSX 300 stocks, and is selling for nearly $27.00 a share. Another ten bagger. But it is still paying a monthly dividend with an annual yield of nearly 7 % ! And its P/E ratio is under 7! Aside from the price, this is still a value stock. Keep this one. Now going done the list, the Oracle sees that he has another stock that he bought for around two bucks that is now pushing 15 bucks a share, and the dividend yield is only a lousy 1.4%, and worst of all it is at 100 times earnings. The Oracle will sell this stock as soon as possible. It is now a growth, momentum darling. Never Own A Stock You Wouldn't Buy! Get it?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Neil Young Is Not A Rock Star

As are the generation of leaves, so are the generations of men.
Homer, The Iliad, Book 6, Lines 145-146

You would think that a blogger could take some time off! Especially in that the last 539 posts, that amount to very near the length of an epic Russian novel, the Oracle of Ottawa thought he was due. But no, the idiots in short pants, now resident in the Prime Ministers Office, of the doomed 'Harper Government', have made the blogging fruit hang so low, that it is all but impossible for the Oracle of Ottawa to let it all merely slide by.

Neil Young
 It all got started recently when that nice Toronto boy by the name of Neil Young stood up on his back legs and let it whale on the skanky Alberta tar sands, the 'Harper Government',s favorite and pet project. It was  like watching a triple launch of Exocet sea skimming missiles in terminal lock on, hitting a great hulking cruiser or aircraft carrier of yesteryear. To the Oracle of Ottawa's eyes from where he as sitting in the last few days, it appears that all the missiles were a total hit right above the water line.  

The 'Harper Government' realized that if the Native Peoples efforts at legal fund raising are an absolute success, they could easily go to the Supreme Court of Canada, and on a good day with the right argument, could quiet well get an injunction that could shut down the tarsands until such time, that all Treaty issues were hammered out to the  Native peoples satisfaction! Imagine the carnage on the Toronto Stock Exchange, not to mention the local Canadian Tire Stores in Fort McMurray! (Also known as Newfoundland Tire and Speed).

There was of course the usual ordered wailing of the CBC of the old style vulgar media by the Prime Ministers Office to try and make old Neil look bad. But as the efforts increased in intensity, old Neil Young was looking better and better by the second. Doesn't anyone know in the Prime Ministers Office that old Neil once took on Richard Nixon in the US and totally won that one? The Oracle of Ottawa figures that if a mere rock star could shake the government of the mighty United States, the mere pale shadow of the ever increasingly doomed 'Harper Government' is all about in and done, like dinner.

No Dear Reader, Neil Young is not a rock star, he is a freakin' LEGEND!!