Thursday, March 27, 2008

My new Band

...If I ever started a rock band I think I would call it "Hey Son, it's your Dad. Even though I left you and your Mom I love you and I'm very proud of you". Whenever any fatherless child saw the band name come up on his iPod or digital radio he'd feel good about himself. The band would most likely suck as I have no actual musical talent. As such, the music would not bring about much joy but everyday the name would provide an inspirational message of hope to millions of kids. My second choice would be "The Small is the Message" because nowadays a medium is actually a small. If you don't believe me order a small drink at a fast food restaurant.

So keep an eye out for HSIYDETILY&YMILY&IVPOY or The Small is the Message coming to a town near you. I've even got a promo shot ready to go. Doesn't it rule? That's me with the moustache.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A quick hello from Jonathan Roy


Hi everyone,

You don't really know me but, trust me, I'm a total douchebag. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, I'm wearing this chain. That, along with the cocky, jackass look on my face, is a pretty damning piece of evidence right there. Secondly, my Dad was a douche and seems more than happy to act as an enabler for my bad behaviour. "Saint Patrick" is an apt pupil of his idol Guy Lafleur's school of fathering young offenders. Thirdly, as you've all probably seen by now, I jumped a guy and kept throwing punches at his head even though he was not willing to fight back. That's classless and borderline psychopathic behaviour but hey, that's me. On top of that, I'm not a very good goalie so I have that "I'll never be able to do what my father did" stigma. I'm a backup goalie even though my Dad owns the team, is the GM and the head coach. Nothing says "you're not very good at stopping pucks" like being benched by dear old Dad. So that's a little bit about me. My name is Jonathan Roy and I'm a douche.

All the best,

J. Roy

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Nugget in the Footnotes

...so there we are sitting in the board room waiting for everyone to dial in from the international offices. Jones, as usual, was late calling in so Peterson asks "maybe he got the time difference screwed up. What time zone is he in?" I then got that tingling feeling you get when you know you've just been set up for the most perfect joke ever. Your eyes get wide, your body starts to shake in anticipation and then it happened. "Oh" answered my boss "I think it's Bangkok Time".... and was it ever. Whamm-o! Direct hit. He's on the ground in obvious discomfort. It was literally perfect.

In retrospect, maybe it wasn't the most appropriate venue and maybe that contributed to my subsequent dismissal but really, how can you let something like that go?

***

You political junkies out there are surely familiar with the most recent bit of campaign controversy. Sen. Clinton is coming under fire for not actually coming under fire. Yesterday it came to light that one of her favorite war stories, the one about dodging sniper fire while on a critical foreign policy mission in Bosnia, was just a little embellished. The media has grasped on to video footage of then-First Lady Clinton walking casually off the plane with her daughter Chelsea. It also shows her stopping to listen to a young girl read a poem. Either this is one steely broad, not to mention a young poet with ice water coursing through her veins, or the sniper fire angle is a tad manufactured. The other exaggeration appears to be in regards to the "critical foreign policy nature" of the trip. This is not getting as much play as there may not be actual proof as to what was on Mrs. Clinton's itinerary. Luckily, the crack investigative journalists here at the WWNW have all the proof we need. Accompanying the First Lady and Chelsea on this trip was this guy:



That's right, noted Balkan affairs scholar Sinbad. Something tells me that if you're planning a trip to "get down to business" you'd probably opt for the head of a think tank, a professor or maybe even a civil servant. Sinbad was none of these things. Trust me, I looked it up (he was, for a short time, a secret service agent in First Kid and was the head of a Dorm, not a professor, in a Different World). Apparently she also brought along Pauly Shore to help monitor elections in Haiti and Urkell to advise on a multi-lateral trade agreement in Central America. Given this apparent inability to chose qualified people for important jobs I would be very wary of what a cabinet under President Clinton part Deux would look like.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Decision 2008: It's 2008 and we're making a decision

...legally speaking, Ms. Mills-McCartney's case didn't have a leg to stand on.

Don't give me that look. Heather Mills is a miserable shrew who used all possible forms of deception to cheat Sir Paul out of his money. The judge ruled that she constantly made up things in a sad attempt to paint Paul as some sort of abusive drunk. For shame, this is a guy who performed at the Super Bowl halftime show and the last song at my wedding. Admittedly it was a recording of "Hey Jude" but he still deserves our respect. She claimed to have donated a bunch of money to charity, which she hadn't, and poured a glass of water on one of McCartney's lawyers (er... barristers?.. solicitors?.. bobbies?.. lorries?). The leg was lost in a motorcycle accident anyways, it wasn't some sad childhood disease that would have been rightfully out of bounds. She was on Dancing with the Stars for pete's sake. Were not talking about a war amp here. Anyways, she's an awful person who doesn't deserve what she got though thankfully its far less than she was asking for.

Now its time for that important moment where I announce who I am endorsing in the 2008 Presidential election. Given that I am not a US citizen I cannot vote but surely my words will influence many of those who will. As such, I have put as much thought into this as possible. So here goes. Let me first run through those I didn't chose, along with a brief explanation of why:

Mitt Romney: President Mitt? No way. First Ladies? Double no way. Governor from Massachusetts? Triple no way. Speaking of things from New England who were widely predicted to have no problem winning only to flame out when the pressure was on, let me use this opportunity to put my most prophetic prediction in print. Bill Belichick will not be the head coach of the Patriots at the start of next season. The commissioner and congress will somehow put the pressure on ownership to get rid of this menace. You heard it here first.

John Edwards: Clever little guy, but background as a class-action lawyer turned me off. Same reason I didn't support Cellino or Barnes.

John McCain: A little edgy, which I like in a power forward or a defenseman but not necessarily presidential. I swear he was about to dive across the desk during his debate with Dubya around the time of the South Carolina primaries in 2000. If he had I would be all over this guy. He really could have used the release as every time I see him he looks more and more repressed. Clearly this guy is going to blow and at that point he should not be in arm's reach of any sharp objects, nonetheless "the button".

Rudy Giuliani: Worst campaign strategy in recent memory. If you're going to put all your eggs in one basket make sure you're picking the right eggs. Florida was to Giuliani what shoot-first, no defence headcases are to Isiah Thomas. That probably doesn't make much sense but who cares. Even if it's a weak comparison, anyone who can even be considered in an analogy with Isiah Thomas should not be President.

Mike Huckabee: If I were ever to throw my support behind a baptist minister it would be this guy, no question. Likable, genuine and shockingly open-minded on many issues. Unfortunately he comes with all the baggage of the religious conservatives who would flock to him so he's a no-go.

Hillary Clinton: Sorry Hillary. I'm not even sure your own husband wants you to win given some of the things he's said and done. If he's not convinced, how can I be? If you're mad at someone be mad at him.

All Others: Too small, dumb, tall, smarmy, bug eyed, wordy, fat, double-jointed, Austrian, not Austrian enough, undecided, tanned, dead, secretive, grabby, red-cheeked, whorish and/or incarcerated.

That leaves only one logical candidate. My nod goes to Illinois Senator Barack Obama, with the one caveat being that I reserve the right to change my mind if Marv Levy decides to run. While my conclusion may not be that surprisingly, my rationale may have differed from some. Others will point to his moving speech from last night where he courageously tackled the issue of race in America rather than throwing his friend and pastor under the proverbial bus. That was commendable and very much in keeping with his message that he is truly a different sort of politician, but not what led me to his camp. Will.i.am with his cast of C-minus celebs and their performance of "Yes we can" had nothing at all to do with my decision. If anything it was a bit disturbing that Jimmy Kimmel could bring together an all-star group of A-listers for his "I'm F@%#ing Ben Affleck" song while Obama's camp tops out at the late Milo Pressman. Couldn't you have at least roped your buddy Oprah in? By the way, Oprah's endorsement actually worked against him. Her and I have issues going way back. I won't get into it other than to say, I'll never forgive her for what she did to that poor Steadman.

Much attention has been given to how cool and collected Obama has been throughout his campaign. To me its is not his demeanor that necessarily swung my decision but the context in which he has maintained it. Am I the only one who is not blown away by the fact that he has managed all this while in the process of quitting smoking? This is a truly remarkable feat and clearly speaks to his ability to handle any potentially stressful situation. When I went cold turkey I would fly off the handle if my radio reception was less than perfect. If I was forced into a debate during this period I would have certainly told my opponents off at least a half dozen times, and probably the moderator too. My opening address would have been something akin to "why the F--- are the lights so bright and would someone please tell this harpy to quit yapping". Breaking a nicotine habit puts you on the absolute razor's edge. It can turn even the most mild-mannered amongst us into raving lunatics. Haven't you seen the Nicorette commercials? They aren't far off. If Barack can carry himself with such class and poise while in the throes of his battle against cigarettes there is likely very little that he can't handle. Throw in the fact that he overcame the challenges of growing up as a mixed race child with the initials B.O. and its safe to say he has the experience necessary to deal with whatever adversity may come his way.

So there you have it. On behalf of the editorial board here at the WWNW I would like to take this opportunity to publicly endorse Barack Obama for President in 2008. Yes, I'm pretty sure we can!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Would you Schadenfreude up!

...for the one-time peasant her newfound status as a Manhattan socialite was quite an adjustment. It is some 7,000 miles from Tajikistan to America but even that understates how far she had come. Who would have thought that a crude act of village dentistry some forty years earlier would leave her with a mouth that was now worth over $170 million? Then again who would have thought gold would go up as much as it did?

Olga, the mysterious benefactor of the Tajik-only Horse Feed Dispensary (formerly known as the Guggenheim)

The preceding was a dramatization but was meant as an illustration of the extremes brought about by unrestrained financial speculation. As you will learn from reading on the possibility of such ridiculousness may have just increased. This is not good news.

***

Watching the floor of the New York Stock Exchange erupt into joyous applause brings back memories of capitalism's great victories. The re-opening of the markets after 9/11 and the Dow hitting 10,000 are two ready examples. Earlier this week we saw and heard the trading floor go wild with exuberance once again. Why, you ask, aren't the stock markets going to Hell? With gold hitting $1,000 an ounce and Bear Stearns on the brink of extinction you're certainly right to think that the markets, as a whole, have few reasons to celebrate. The cheers from the pits were in fact driven by something that had nothing to do with stock prices. Arms were raised and happy cries were heard because news broke that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had admitted that he cheated on his wife with an escort. Hizzah rang the chorus from the Wall Streeters!

Every day cheating husbands are forced to come clean to their families about their lascivious ways. Usually its kinda bad news, hardly the cause of such hootin' and hollerin'. This was however not just your average John. Much of what elevated Eliot Spitzer from his role as relatively unknown civil servant to Governor of the Union's third largest state was his work as Wall Street's Top Cop. After the Internet Bubble popped at the beginning of this century then-Attorney General Spitzer went to work zealously prosecuting the Wall Street enablers and unwarranted beneficiaries of the preceding excesses. Perhaps the term "zealously" requires a prefix there but as the old saying goes "you need to break a few eggs to punish the jackasses that made millions convincing poor schmucks to blow their life savings on eToys.com stock". He was by all accounts a ruthless prosecutor who may have, on a few occasions, crossed the line in making his cases too personal. The results, however, were impressive. Fines were levied, previously unassailable crooks were perp walked and, eventually, confidence was restored in the integrity of the financial markets. Spitzer and others joining his fight restored law and order to an industry that had become desperate lacking of both. Was self-aggrandizement a driving force behind what he did? Sure, but who cares. Most successful prosecutors rely as much on their ability to grandstand as their ability to interpret case law. Besides, these weren't the Sisters of the Poor he was going after here. These were grown men and women who had benefited from their excessive greed often at the expense of those who didn't know any better.

Now, flash back to the traders slapping high-fives and promising "drinks on me tonight"! Is there not something imminently distasteful about the joy they're getting out of this? Is this not akin to a bunch of high school kids celebrating the fact that Jimmy's parents just left for the weekend and left the liquor cabinet unlocked? This is not just some concerned New York citizens reacting to the fact that they will be getting another shot at electing a governor. This is a bunch of cowboys ready to turn the town upside down because someone just shot the sheriff. The cat is away and its time for the mouse to play...and, trust me, they won't play nice.

This is probably a good time to reveal a bit about myself so you don't infer any false biases (I have plenty of biases, just not this one). I work in the investment industry and have for 10 years now. On a purely selfish basis the reforms Spitzer and his ilk put forth probably cost me a few bucks. I was around for the idiocy of the Internet era, the subsequent implosion, recovery and now whatever you call this period. I like to think of myself as reasonably successful and, as such, am (for the most part) free of envy for what others in my field achieve. As much as I can tell, this is not being written out of any jadedness. Hopefully this is just an honest account of what I have witnessed. In my experience, a sadly large percentage of my fellow financial professionals need someone watching over them. I don't believe this is because they are particularly less ethical than those in other fields its simply that the temptation is that much larger. I'm not referring to large-scale fraud of the Enron variety or rampant pilfering like we saw at Tyco. Even a slight twist of the rules or an overlooked conflict of interest can result in a substantially lucrative benefit to the perpetrator. That being said, there must be a reason that the CFA curriculum (the industry standard designation for most categories of financial professionals) teaches ethics in each of its three exams. Ethics strikes me as something more innate than that. Maybe there is something inherently wrong with many of those attracted to the money game. Regardless of whether its is nature or nurture, history has shown us that left to their own devices far too may of those that do "what I do" with invariably find a way to screw you. Now, there's much less between them and said devices.

Eliot Spitzer is a shitty Dad and an even worse husband. There are, in fact, a whole lot of things wrong with him personally. He was, however, someone that kept the worst element of Wall Street at bay. For anyone with a couple of bucks in the stock market this is an important thing to keep in mind. This isn't the vanquishing of just another hypocritical politician or, as the media is lazily referring to it as, Schadenfreude. As flawed as he is and regardless of what his motivations were, he was on our side and his absence will be felt.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hey Subway! (the restaurant chain, not the mode of transportaion)

I presume you're paying attention given how frequently your banner ad shows up on my site, so listen up! Quit treating Jared like he's a freaking war hero! Way to not eat yourself to death and good job keeping the weight off for a couple years! To show how appreciated you are we're going to get Quarterback Brady Quinn to congratulate you. "Hey Jared, nice work and that means a lot coming from me as I've never thrown a single NFL touchdown pass and you've only heard of me because I'm white and went to Notre Dame. When you look back in a couple years you'll ask yourself 'why did they ask that guy to be in my commercial? Wasn't there a Detmer or Huard brother available?' Anyways, I love you".

If you want to stay on my site please respect my wishes.

The Management.

Get to Know your Fellow Commuters: Part 3

...Hey, isn't that the hotel we stayed in when we went to Washington?.....I've never been to Washington with you.....Oh, crap.

***

The relative calm of March Break has unfortunately not completely rid the subway of its more unlikeable passengers. This morning I ran into "Queen Shit". This miserable woman believes that her 4-digit handbag is entitled to its own seat. In her misguided view of society's hierarchy her bag ranks ahead of me and a handful of other Torontonians on their way to work. Thankfully she didn't have her lap dog with her or we'd all still be waiting on the platform. To step back a week or so, I started this series as an attempt to avoid unnecessary confrontation and the stress that would cause. I felt that rather than getting myself all worked up about how inconsiderate and oblivious the majority of Toronto's subway riders are I could find a way to channel it into something amusing. This was my attempt at modern-day anthropology. Actually, I'm not even sure that's the right term. Regardless I just wanted to rip in to people in a manner that released, rather than built, tension. Besides, there is clearly no way to change this behaviour as it seems so deeply ingrained in these soulless creatures. There does not appear to be even a shred of decency which I could possibly appeal to. Today I had to remind myself of my detached observer role as I fought off the urge to ask this shrew if her purse was comfortable. I would have followed that up by explaining to whoever was next to me that "the bag needs its own seat...as does her purse". As much as that would have been enjoyable for me it would have likely sent this woman straight to her local botox purveyor, followed by heroic amounts of percocet mixed with Grey Goose. I don't need that on my conscience.

So there you have it. Queen Shit, you suck!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Get to Know your Fellow Commuters: Part 2

It looks like my esteemed comment makers are doing my job for me. I very much appreciate their help in completing this commuters who's who. Our combined work is becoming much like that of the Group of Seven except that ours is obviously much more original (Why don't you paint another windswept tree, A.Y. Jackson!). So to recap, we have "The Remora", "Marital I-formation" and "The VIP". Let me add two other wacky characters today. The first is the polar opposite to the aforementioned VIP. While the VIP is known for their premature push to be at the front of the line, the "Snoozer" is characterized by their delayed, frantic dash to escape the car. The VIP is too eager to leave while The Snoozer is too late to leave. As their name would dictate the Snoozer can miraculously fall asleep in any position be it standing, seated or leaning. No one actually knows what rouses the Snoozer from their slumber or if they have any idea what stop they're supposed to get off at. All that is known is that they will awake only when the doors are about to close triggering the half-asleep passenger to bolt towards the closing door regardless of what may be in their way or what stop they're at. Watching this desperate rush towards the closing door can be quite entertaining when you're not in their direct path. It's similar to the opening scene of Raider's of the Lost Ark if Indy was completely uncoordinated and just woke up. A close relative to the Snoozer is the patron who is awake but is not paying attention due to an engrossing Sudoku, a fascinating conversation about what they read on a fellow student's Facebook page or just because their head is firmly up their ass. At the very last moment they realize that they need to get out and make the very same clumsy, hurried dash through the crowd to get off. This person is simply, an idiot.

One of the more harrowing experiences I had on the TTC was during one of my very first commutes. As the subway was heading east on the Danforth-Bloor line I noticed a passenger who was somewhat agitated yet also very excited looking. His expression went from just any other irritated passenger to wild-eyed nutjob as soon as we approached the DVP overpass. If any of you remember the look on the face of that crazy bastard who tried to run over his daughter and her boyfriend a while back because of some backwards customs (BTW, don't label me insensitive for that comment. Even the most tolerant amongst us need to call bullshit when someones beliefs involve running over their own daughter). Anyways "Wild Eyes'" expression, along with the presence of an overpass and the geopolitical issues we now face combined to put me into instant "let's roll" mode. If he reached for his shoelaces I was ready to jump him. Thankfully he just sat there revelling in his own craziness and the commute went off without any need for vigilantism. "Wild Eyes", I apologize for thinking you were a terrorist when, in fact, you're just a whack job or perhaps you may just suffer from some sort of ocular condition.

Anyways, "The Snoozer" and you're cousin "The Idiot", you suck! "Wild Eyes", you may need to see an eye doctor.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Get to Know your Fellow Commuters: Part 1

...talk about a violation of free speech. What's the point of asking for contributions from the general public if you're not going to use them? The thought police at Alesse apparently didn't feel that my idea fit in with their campaign. Personally, if you think you're going to sell more birth control pills with "I'm flalesse" than with "You must be alesse because you wouldn't go out with me in high school" you don't know the first think about marketing.

***

Now that I've spent a good eight months commuting to work via the TTC I have had sufficient opportunity to get to know my fellow passengers. They are a diverse group from all walks of life: lawyers, students, nannies, life coaches, homeless drunks. What most of them share, however, is a common awfulness that comes together to make every subway ride even more miserable than the last. Over the next few days/weeks I'll be introducing you to some of them. Let's start with this guy...

The Remora: The marine biologists amongst you will know what I'm talking about here. Remoras are the suckerfish that attach themselves to sharks in the hopes of feeding off the scraps that fall from the mouths of their carnivorous hosts. On the subway the remora will quickly attach itself to the back of a larger patron usually by burrowing their forehead into your lower back (there are some shockingly small people on public transit) as they squeeze in for that last square inch of open real estate. While the remora can go unnoticed by the shark in the depths of the ocean the TTC remora is impossible to ignore. The constant bumping and the sound of shuffling feet can't be missed. The most irritating of these leeches will latch on to you as soon as the doors open, even when there is seemingly more than enough time and space to get on without being in the back pocket of your fellow passenger. There really is very little in the world more annoying than being gently nudged in the back as you step into a smelly subway car.

So to you, Remora. You suck!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More TV observations

..."just like the help used to make". "No Galen junior", the producer gently interrupted, "it's just like your grandmother used to make". "Grandmother's make apple crisp?" the confused grocery heir asked. Sixteen more takes and the commercial was finally finished.

That's it. I just needed to call out those gawdawful Loblaw ads. I know he's the boss but there must be one person in the boardroom with the balls to stand up and say that chosing this douchebag as the spokesperson was a bad idea. Usually a slight hint of a fake English accent combined from an individual with no actual job experience and a heaping helping of blatant nepotism doesn't typically add up to "likeable spokesperson". We're not exactly talking Dave Thomas. Hell, this guy isn't even Sy Sperling.