Not Exactly a Laugh Riot

by JDH on June 18, 2011

Before we discuss the markets, please indulge me by allowing me to vent and rant…..

Vancouver: what the hell were you thinking?

Your hockey team loses, so you start a riot? Are you all a bunch or morons? All of the goodwill you created with your perfect hospitality during the 2010 Winter Olympics is now gone. Way to go, idiots.

Some will say that it’s not all Vancouver residents that are bad, and of course that’s true. I realize that the average person, myself included, would have no idea how to set a car on fire. Obviously the ring leaders brought gasoline and other supplies with them, and they were going to start a riot, win or lose. But based on the pictures and video I saw, it’s true that it was only a small minority that were actually lighting cars on fire, but there were a significant number of other people who didn’t try to stop it, or who stood around cheering and having their pictures taken in front of burning cars.

Others will say that you can’t blame hockey fans, because most hockey fans are law abiding people. Again, that’s obviously true. But let me offer a more nuanced viewpoint.

I was born and raised in Canada, and I still live in Canada. I played hockey from the age of 5 up until my mid-twenties. I am not an athlete, and I was a lousy player, but I enjoyed playing the game. When my brother and I were kids my father would spend dozens of hours in the freezing cold building us a backyard ice rink. For the last few years I’ve done the same for my two sons. I get it. I get hockey. I get Canada.

That being said, hockey fans are to blame. Professional hockey is not a pure sport; it’s more like watching the gladiators in ancient Rome. We “civilized” people go to the Coliseum to see the “barbarians” kill each other. That’s what modern hockey is today. After watching people fight on the ice, is it any wonder that we go outside and want to emulate what we just witnessed?

This hockey final will go down as the dirtiest in history, on both sides. Slashing, biting, blind side hits, and then diving to induce penalty calls. Cheating and goonerism; that’s hockey today.

Go to any hockey rink in Canada and watch any kids game. There will be at least a few loud mouthed parents in the stands yelling “kill him” to their 10 year old son. It’s no wonder that in Canada most kids drop out of hockey around the ages of 13 to 15, because they don’t want to get killed themselves.

Congratulations, Vancouver Canucks. You got what you deserved. You played dirty, you whined, and you cheated, and you got what you deserved.

But I’m not here to praise Boston, either. I grew up a Boston Bruins fan. Bobby Orr was my favorite player. However, I have long since stopped cheering for them, and although they won, there should be little joy in Beantown. Your players were just as dirty. Your only saving grace was you had the best goalie, who seems like a decent guy.

There, end of rant, except for this last point:

Was the riot in Vancouver about more than just hockey or hooliganism? How evil a person do you have to be to start throwing things and punching firefighters who are there to help?

Do mobile devices help the barbarians get inside the gates, and did that also contribute to the problems in Vancouver?

Is society crashing, as evidenced by this story about Women stealing credit cards from a cemetery (while their occupants were attending funerals)?

Perhaps this un-ending recession has left young people with little hope for the future. I guess if I had no job, no career, and no hope of every getting one I’d be tempted to go out and burn cars too. If that’s true, we’ve got big problems. And perhaps we do.

The Misery Index, which measures unemployment and inflation, is at a 28 year high. Un-cared for children are running naked in the streets in Jersey City.

Perhaps I’m over-reacting. There is good news out there, like the news that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has hired an attractive former model and Miss Moscow finalist as his personal photographer. Oh wait, that’s probably just proof that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Never mind.

I guess the fact that German Chancellor Merkel is trying to help the Greeks (by encouraging private investment) is good news? Or is it more proof that government meddling is what’s causing most of our problems?

It would be nice to see the private sector stepping up to save the economy, but alas the news on that front is not good. Here in southern Ontario we have the sad news that RIM.TO – Research in Motion Ltd. is bracing for The Big RIM Reset as they start the largest round of layoffs in company history. Their stock is at a five year low.

Alas the only growth in the private sector appears to be in people, who can’t find jobs, starting their own business. We now have the curious phenomenon of people setting up shop together in shared workspace to make a go of it. I’m not objecting; entrepreneurship is probably our only hope for getting out of this mess.

The Dow managed to avoid taking out the March lows this week, so I guess that’s good news…..

The S&P 500 was only marginally more lucky, falling to within 8 points of a major support level, which also happens to be the 200 day moving average.

Crisis averted? I don’t know, but I do know I’m not brave enough to be throwing money at anything at this level.

So I continue to hold my cash, to deploy later in the summer, assuming we are not all consumed by riots…….

The weather looks nice this weekend, so I’m off to enjoy the outdoors, doing something productive (working in the garden). Happy fathers day, and see you next week.

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