Friday Free-for-all!

Hello!  It’s the end o’ the week and winter games wrap-up.  Let’s do our regular news round up and economic news discussion post, here are a few stories to kick off the chat:

-NYT: a $1 billion olympic hangover?
-ReMAX: few listings mean tight spring market
-Google search for ‘housing bubble’ in Canada and US
-a cooler take on a hot housing market
-Canadian inflation rates 1915 – 2010
-Automatic tipping makes some visitors complain
-Reports show US recovery losing momentum

So what are you seeing out there?  Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

158 Responses to “Friday Free-for-all!”

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    Porky Pig Says:
    1

    Real estate agency Re/Max said the prospect of higher interest rates, the arrival of the Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario and B.C. in July, and recent changes to modestly tighten mortgage financing rules have prompted an "unprecedented number of purchasers" to enter the market

    Why do people rush in to buy, when they know that the fundamentals will get much worse soon and will likely result in lower prices? Makes no sense…

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    @Porky Pig:

    Why do people rush in to buy, when they know that the fundamentals will get much worse soon and will likely result in lower prices?

    Well because they can't figure it out, of course. People are stupid.

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    Porky Pig Says:
    3

    Automatic tipping is outrageous. I am a good tipper, but a tip is always tied to performance. If the service isn't good enough, then the server or cook deserve no tip. With automatic tipping, the restaurants untied tipping from quality of service and changed it into an entitlement or an outright theft.

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    @Porky Pig:

    It's just concealing the true purchase price of the meal. No gas station or store would be able to get away with tacking on 10% to the marked price at the cash register – they would be prosecuted. Why should restaurants be any different.

    If the owners of restaurants are so concerned about the economic well-being of their staff they should give them a raise. And increase the price on the menu to make up for it.

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    Great link on inflation. Notice that, unlike US and UK, this is happening in a period of extremely stron loonie and favorable exchange rate.

    The phenomenon is common to all the great money printers (UK,US,Canada). In the Anglosaxon world only Australia has taken serious step to avoid a burst of price increases, and only because their economy was in the middle of commodity/RE frenzy.

    In summary, inflation is possibly the most understated phenomenon at the moment. With such rates of money printing and velocity of money due to pick up over the next year or so, expect those numbers to pick up considerably. Governments see it as a benign phenomenon, because it would decrease debt liabilities. Of course, they would not want people to realize how bad it can be for their purchasing power.

    Commentators like Krugman are to blame for openly saying that we 'need' inflation. It is becoming acceptable to say that nflation would be good for the economy.

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    The Froogle Scott Chronicles: Mortgaging Our Souls In Paradise –

    Part 5: Raise or Raze
    http://wp.me/pcq1o-xO

    I walk around our neighbourhood taking inventory: renovation, renovation, that house raised and a new foundation poured, that one with a second storey added, and there, a house demolished — razed with a “z” — and a new house built in its place. In the six and a half years that my wife and I have lived in the Grandview area of Vancouver, there have been a startling number of major renovations, and demolitions followed by new construction. – Froogle Scott

    In his fifth episode, Froogle Scott shares with us his careful observations of the effects of the boom on the houses in his neighbourhood of Vancouver, and describes the process whereby “increasingly massive war chests of home equity” are used to renovate and construct. He coins the henceforth indispensible term ‘Boom Box’ to describe the utilitarian houses that have been built in Vancouver in recent years. He explores streets, houses, and memories. -vreaa

    “Statues made of matchsticks crumble into one another.”

    – Bob Dylan

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    @domus:

    Governments see it (inflation) as a benign phenomenon, because it would decrease debt liabilities.

    No they don't, because inflation inevitably results in higher interest rates. The bond markets are not going to be cheated out of their real returns.

    The primary reason why the Federal government was able to balance the budget in the 90's was the big decline in interest rates, and that happened because the bond markets were no longer afraid of substantial inflation going forward.

    Bring back that fear and you bring back high interest rates. Guaranteed. Particularly when your currency is not "too big to fail". That would be a catastrophe with today's level of consumer indebtedness and lack of bargaining power of labour.

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    I wonder if the auto gratuit levied by the cactus club of 18%, 20% at Library Square for the Olympics will come back to haunt them. This was for ordering drinks at the bar with no waiter and 20% seems like a generous tip. Things will slow down after the Olympics as people economize after $10 beers so everything will balance out.

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    @patriotz:

    I disagree, but we won't know until things fold out. I see your view as the 'optimistic' take on governments. In your view governments genuinely worry about repaying real debt and for the long term well being of the economy.

    What i see is a bunch of governments in 'emergency mode'. They are all overloaded with debt. Private households' liabilities are even higher. These are powerful incentives to run some inflation.

    I know, I know: interest rates will pick up. But 3 years of 5% inflation will do wonders to reduce debt loads. This is Krugman's argument.

    The problem of course is that letting the inflation genie out of the bottle opens a new can of worms: it is hard to get back to low inflation.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    10

    @domus:

    In your view governments genuinely worry about repaying real debt and for the long term well being of the economy

    Not really, our current "Conservative" government is clearly not concerned about either one.

    But they, and those that support them, are very much concerned about corporate profits and stock prices, and inflation is bad for them. Google "death of equities" to see what I mean.

    Inflation and the resulting higher interest rates would also result in an even bigger RE bust than we would see otherwise, and any government is going to be concerned about the fallout from that. They may not care about the financial position of the ordinary person but they do need the votes.

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    pricedoutfornow Says:
    11

    $1 billion hangover is right. I went to an Olympic event yesterday (lucky for me, I didn't pay a cent) and happened to hear some people behind me talking. They were from Nova Scotia, the person said "We're never going to do this again, so we're spending like there's no tomorrow, really racking up the credit card! But it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, so why not?"

    Party on dudes! Enjoy it while you don't have to think about the bills to come!

    My guess is 3 months down the road we'll be wondering if it was all really worth it.

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    realpaul Says:
    12

    A Russian newspaper describes Vanshittydiaper this way

    " Vancouver, he writes, “is mutton dressed as lamb. Take off the outer veneer and the stench is horrific.”

    I couldn't agree more.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Vancouver+hold+O

    This sorry event has been taped together with a last minute splurge of ad dollars through a tightly controlled media ( its hard to say and Vantampax in the same sentence without laughing), a policy of all night booze fueled idiocy promoted by the government by keeping the liqour stores open all night so that the drunks can fill up the camera space. I have watched with great amusement as our usually pussy policemen have been wrestling drunks to the ground 'old style' instead of tasering citizens indiscriminatley, why the change in policy girls? Underneath this shitty stinks to high heaven.

    Gordo looked like a deer in the headlights at his first public appearance since the Kerflush Games started. My estimate is that we paid in the range of 2 million a day to get the 'Morning Show' out here on short notice to cover his weasel ass. The cunt has also been buying ad space in Europe like crazy trying to make it look to the locals that the negative comments are isolated. BULLSHIT. To bad we have to pay for this bullshit. 1 Billion hangover says the NYT's, try 7 billion if we ever get half the actual figures for this giaant freaking fiasco.

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    should say "its hard to say MEDIA and Vantampax in the same sentence

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    best_place_on_meth Says:
    14

    US recovery losing momentum?

    I haven't seen any recovery at all, other than the fake one fueled by government programs using borrowed money from China.

    2010/11/12 is going to be hell on America and we're too close for comfort.

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    Vansanity Says:
    15

    @pricedoutfornow:

    Buddy, I know tons of people doing exactly that! They're partying hard and the common theme amongst them is that they're not going to worry about what their credit card statement looks like until its all over!

    It should be interesting to see the debt figures come up a few months from now.

    Also, I know someone who recently bought a home and is now $700k (+) in debt. His family income is somewhere around $100-125k per year. Couple kids, $3,000-$4,000 per month on house costs. Financial stress, mental stress, physical stress… sounds like a great plan. I should mention that they both came close to losing their jobs sometime ago.

    I'm so happy I'm not living "house poor". We're planning our vacations for the year, looking at 4-6 weeks away, Europe, Hawaii and Jamaica, few trips to Vegas in between to maintain the tans. It's really rough being a renter.

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    @vreaa: While I certainly feel the sentimental feelings the writer has for his old neighborhood and how he wish things don't change so much and in his view for the worse, I must say I don't feel quite the same way. I had recently gone back to my first home in Mount Pleasant when I came as an immigrant back in 1989 and lived there for about 10 years. There has been a lot of changes to the neighborhood and blocks where I don't recognize where I am. There have been large heritage style houses torn down and rebuild as a large townhouse complexes. However to me this is also progress. While people maybe nostalgic about those cute character houses building pre-1930, or those cute charm wartime bunglows, the question I have is do they really think it's a good idea to keep all those houses as they are, never renovate or rebuild them? I think we should preserve some heritage buildings but that doesn't mean all new developments are bad. Some are, some aren't. However to to me wishing things don't change is even worse.

    Imagine for a minute, if Vancouver had somehow been frozen in time so that no existing house is torn down and no new big box houses were build in their palce since 1970. Every homeowner kept their houses in good condition without major renovations such the house is not recognizable. Do you really think that would make a better Vancouver than it is today? Is it really better to live in a 50 years well build and well maintained small house than to live in a well build new and likely larger building using all the advances we had in the last 50 year?

    People might be nostalgic about the past, especially during rapid changes, is the old way always the better way? Look at China and it's almost unbelievable rate of change in its big cities. Do you really think that it's better for the people if the old neighborhoods weren't torn down and new housing aren't build in its place? A lot of those houses were hundreds of years old, well maintained character houses/neighborhoods that shows distinct chinese architecture. Now they are almost all gone! Does that mean its a mistake to torn them down and they should all be kept and maybe have just interior renovation done?

    I think some heritage should be preserve but saving heritage should not also stop all progress. It's progress that makes life better in general. If we all wished for the good old childhood past and don't want change then really we will still be living in caves.

    Ok this wouldn't be a popular post to most people but that's how I view Vancouver's recent changes. I don't think all the changes are good, like those micro-condos! But I think changes will always be part of life and it's what helps make things better. Wishing there were no changes or only changes you approve of however is not the way to go in my opinion.

    Lastly this doesn't imply in any way that I think Vancouver housing is a good value. Far from it, every time I watch House Hunters and House Hunter Internatioal, especially when they go to those exotic tropical islands or Europe or even Japan, I'm like holy SH*T look at what you can get for $1M USD. Right by beach/ocean, great views, huge lots in country side, all the amenities you expect in a million dollar home. Then I see what's for sale for $1M USD on my local street, most of it are like dilapitated 60 years+ houses that should be torn down and rebuild. Oh I can say is wow, do the sellers and buyer never watch HGTV?? I know they probably never travels since why would you ever need to leave the best place on Earth and best country on Earth??

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    @realpaul:

    A Russian newspaper describes Vanshittydiaper this way

    ” Vancouver, he writes, “is mutton dressed as lamb. Take off the outer veneer and the stench is horrific.”

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Ever been to Sochi?

    You may also be cynical about the First Nations chiefs sitting with Gordo, but at least we're not killing off the local aboriginals because they want self government, like they are.

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    "My guess is 3 months down the road we’ll be wondering if it was all really worth it."

    The Olympics is a two week party that will be followed by 20 year ordeal to pay off the debt.

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    @realpaul: Look, getting the Olympics wasn't the smartest thing Vancouver has ever done. The financial hangover will really suck, we all know that.

    But while the Olympics is here I refuse to just wallow in negativity and complain about everything. You don't have to be a knee-jerk wet blanket just because you're bearish on Vancouver real estate prices. Get outside and enjoy yourself a little, you're paying for it either way.

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    @Porky Pig:

    "Why do people rush in to buy, when they know that the fundamentals will get much worse soon and will likely result in lower prices? Makes no sense"

    How do you know the fundamentals will get much worse? If you knew all this, why don't you short the markets with all your money?

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    @MrBear:

    Today isn't the first day you're here I hope. These bears here have been bitter since the olympics were announced. They're just going to bury their heads into the ground and pretend nothing's happening outside. Don't worry about them. Those who are out and enjoying the games know how to have a good time.

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    Gordon C. Says:
    22

    Do the establishments have a sign outside, saying that they add 18% gratuities to your bill?

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    @Supraboy:

    If you knew all this, why don’t you short the markets with all your money?

    Wish I could. You cannot of course take a short position in RE itself. Also there really aren't any publicly traded companies that would take a direct hit from the RE bust. The banks have already been bailed out and I don't think there are any significant players in the RE business which are publicly traded.

    Nor do I think shorting REIT's is a good strategy as they invest in multi-unit rentals and commercial properties, not individually titled properties at ridiculous prices. There's a good chance they will go down, as I think will stocks in general, but not enough of a sure thing to make a short sale.

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    Not every bear is anti Olympics. I think it will have a net negative impact on Vancouver but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it.

    I sometimes wonder if the anti-Olympics voices here are here because they're just generally 'anti'-something, now they're anti-real estate and anti-Olympics in a few years they'll find something else to complain about.

    For my part I try not to be anti, I am pro-bubble thesis and pro-real estate crash to normalize prices (it has to happen eventually and the sooner it comes the less damage it will do). Those positions are just supported by sound logic, being anti-Olympics is a purely emotional stance.

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    Loud Speaker Says:
    25

    Fan favourite Jon Montgomery tells the talk queen he's from the 'greatest place on Earth.' You Gotta Be Here.

    Keep the spirit going folks- lots of medals in decades to come.

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    @Clarke:

    20 years? its always nice to have optimistic people around:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2006/12/1

    on the upside is that maybe we will recover more money and more quickly by selling some of the althlete's village compared to hosting the Expos and various tradeshows in the Big Owe.

    Get ready for taxes and potholes. PQ has almost double our GDP and more smokers (cigarette taxes). According to the media, the worldwide recession/depression is over and we can start getting lots of money for our lumber, ores, gas and other resources.

    I like the olympics, I just prefer someone else to host.

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    Averagejoe Says:
    27

    The next wave of foreclosure is about to hit the US with the Option Arm and Alt A coming very soon. Its gonna be bigger than the Subprime! Hang on for a rough ride. Canada is next.

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    Disbelief Says:
    28

    RE Sales in the US are down for the last three straight months they will need a rise in employment to see some recovery in the sector. Not likely for some time.

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    best_place_on_meth Says:
    29

    @MrBear:

    Berlin, 1933:

    Well, looks like the Nazis are here. No point complaining, may as well just enjoy it.

    At least we get to wave our flags and do lots of cheering.

    I hear they throw some good parties.

    Vancouver, 2010:

    Well, looks like the Olympics are here. No point complaining, may as well just enjoy it.

    At least we get to wave our flags and do lots of cheering.

    I hear they throw some good parties.

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    LordHuggington Says:
    30

    Has anyone been keeping tabs on which restaurants are doing this automatic tipping stuff? I'd just assume not go to those places anymore if they're pulling something like that. If people working at those places want more money, they should ask their bosses for a raise, and not expect customers to subsidize their wages. The majority of the time all the waiters do at restaurants I go to is ask what I want, take the order to the kitchen, bring the food when it's ready, do the requisite "Is everything OK?" routine a few minutes later, and eventually bring the bill. I'm not even sure why we need them.

    Waiters could just be eliminated from the picture in most cases by putting a small touch screen monitor on the table where customers pick their meals, confirm their choices, and it's electronically sent to the kitchen. The only time we'd need a staff member is for bringing the food to the table. Even the monitor could print out the receipt, and we pay on the way out. Who needs to pay tips for that? Wait staff at most restaurants do so little, I can't see a reason to give them a tip. They're just middlemen between the customer and the kitchen. About the only exception I could think to make is for those working at fine dining establishments who actually need to know a lot about what's on the menu, but that's a relatively small group of people.

    Anyway, I think I'll be making a list of the places with this automatic tipping stuff going on. I suspect a lot of them don't even deserve what they're charging for that.

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    No Longer Looking Says:
    31

    @space889: "Is it really better to live in a 50 years well build and well maintained small house than to live in a well build new and likely larger building using all the advances we had in the last 50 year?"

    If only that were the case. Larger, yes, but the new houses are FUGLY and often poorly built. The ugliest houses were built in the 80s and 90s. But the ones built in the last ten years are still not much too look at (other than a few custom houses in wealthy neighbourhoods). Why is it that we can't build attractive, quality housing in this city? Other parts of Canada can do it.

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    Interest Rates and Alt-A are not as big as the other concerns. Rates in the US have been as low as ever at that is the plan. With bad economic numbers to come, pressure to hike rates will be lower unless they can no longer keep the bond rates down (as upward pressure is building there). definitely downward pressure on the USD. Unemployment effects will be relevant. Alt-A is a no doc loan so if you still have your job, it should be business as usual. Option ARM will be awful. The negative amortization plus the requirement to now start paying back principle will really hurt some people. So, the unemployment and the option ARMS are where you will see some real pain.

    That being said, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belt.

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    @space889: Thanks for your comment. Almost needless to say, I'll archive it. First by referencing it in the comments at VREAA, second by headlining it after the w/e. Hope that's okay with you.

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    best_place_on_meth Says:
    34

    @patriotz:

    >>>Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Ever been to Sochi?<<<

    Even Russian chimps can't handle the depression of being there.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100226/odds/od

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    LordHuggington Says:
    35

    @No Longer Looking: Yeah, this frustrates me as well. When the crash inevitably comes I wish there were some new constructions that I could feel confident in putting some money on, but this city (region, actually) has such a terrible track record with new buildings. So many towers and smaller walk ups get a tarp thrown over them after a few years because they were built so badly, and I haven't heard anything good about new houses either. Moreover, the architecture is so boring. I actually enjoy reading some of the architecture magazines out there, and think what they're showcasing looks pretty darn neat most of the time. Then I stop and look out the window at what we have here, and feel sad. Boring, lifeless architecture here by-and-large, especially for residential projects.

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    No Longer Looking Says:
    36

    @LordHuggington: "Waiters could just be eliminated from the picture in most cases by putting a small touch screen monitor on the table where customers pick their meals, confirm their choices, and it’s electronically sent to the kitchen."

    Or just have a cafeteria-style restaurant. Some people like the middle-man. I don't totally understand it, other than for fine dining, but its more of a cultural thing.

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    realpaul Says:
    37

    #19 McBear I have to avoid the stumbling drunks and other losers in the downtown street everyday, if thats what you mean by 'getting out and enjoying myself'. It's amusing how many people are making total asses of themselves. Sorry I don't get the whole 'drunk thing'.

    As I said its funny to see the usually girlish policemen suddenly NOT using the taser on the innocent when under every other circumstance outside the Olympics we would have our lives in jeopardy by the application of this killing machine in the hands of these half wit yokels from BushBrain Saskatchewan and the lesser minds in the 'force'.

    Thanks to the girls hockey team we are now officially a dumbfuck cigar chomping booze swilling bunch of losers in the eyes of the world. This is the image of Canada, drunk chicks pissing at the ice rink? I didn't see the Koreans or the Chinese or Americans acting like savages after any of thier gold medals. These broads have no class. The game is already on notice as an Olympic sport, this show of loserdom should put a bullet in it. You can't say they didn't do it to themselves.

    The Olympics have stopped the police from murdering people temporarily and I am thankful for that. It would be nice if the current restraint orders were extended after the Olympics as well. If they can stop killing people with tasers now why can't they just stop? Are the drunks any less adversarial in non Olympic situations? This just proves that the RCMP taser killings have been malicious and unessecary.

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    space889 Says:
    38

    @No Longer Looking: I guess that really depends on your perception. To me the Vancouver Specials are split around 50% average, 30% bad/horrible looking, 20% very nice looking. What you or I consider to be a nice charming house might be a total fugly house to someone else, or a sign of everything that's wrong with modern rampant consumerism. Looking around my current neighborhood of Fairview (Cambie to Oak, 16th Ave to 33rd), I find most of the Vancouver Special or new big houses are not horrible to look at. Nothing spectular that makes me want to go wow but not fugly. There are however quite a lot of older "character" houses that my wife think looks like some poor rundown rural houses that should be torn down period. So it's all subjective. Asians or at least Chinese in Canada less than 20 years seem to prefer Vancouver Special type houses and layout over character houses. So might be a culture thing as well.

    I think if in the end a particular housing style sells and sells well over a decade or longer time period like the various incarnations of Vancouver Special, it means it is a successful product that is appealing to a lot of people. If they are as fugly as people always say they are then they wouldn't be selling that well or for $1M in my area.

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    space889 Says:
    39

    @vreaa: The honor is all mine vreaa! :) I've always enjoyed your archives and think you are doing a valuable service! Glad to be able to finally be part of it :)

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    oneangryslav2 Says:
    40

    @LordHuggington:

    "Waiters could just be eliminated from the picture in most cases by putting a small touch screen monitor on the table where customers pick their meals, confirm their choices, and it’s electronically sent to the kitchen. The only time we’d need a staff member is for bringing the food to the table. Even the monitor could print out the receipt, and we pay on the way out. Who needs to pay tips for that? Wait staff at most restaurants do so little, I can’t see a reason to give them a tip. They’re just middlemen between the customer and the kitchen. About the only exception I could think to make is for those working at fine dining establishments who actually need to know a lot about what’s on the menu, but that’s a relatively small group of people.

    Spoken by somebody who has obviously never waitered a day in his life. I used to manage restaurants and also waiter and it's not an easy job. Finding a good server is a lot harder than you'd think. I'd love to see you try to do it for just one shift; you'd probably go home crying at how difficult it is.

    That being said, I'm not in favour of the automatic gratuity.

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    space889 Says:
    41

    @LordHuggington: Funny you should say that because I just read that free mag – Metro Vancouver Condo Guide – special Edition: Invest in Metro Vancouver – that is free and comes with the New Home Buyers Guide that's available at most skytrain stations. In this special edition guide, they had a SFU prof(?) who is supposedly an expert on building architecture who is raving about how architects all over the world are just raving about the unique architecture style called "Vancouverism", how we are leading the world and the envy of architects all over due to our unique, varied styles of architecture and urban planning. Read the piece gives me the feeling that apparently we are the top of the world in urban planning, architecture design, the best of the best, the one that everyone in the world wants to learn from. Quite surprising since I never was super impressed with a lot of the new buildings here. To me they are just concrete and glass, not much difference between one building and the next. I like those older buildings with all those nicely decorated and detailed exterior walls much better.

    As for building quality, yeah, isn't it interesting how technology and sciences keeps on getting better but the buildings we get keeps on getting crappier? I have heard so many elevator not working horror stories in new high-rise apartments that one might be the wrong impression that Vancouver has only started using evalators in high-rises. Also interesting that in a rainy climate, we can't figure out how to build a proper building so it doesn't leak and grow moldy after 10 years!

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    @Porky Pig: CRA must be thrilled there's a papertrail for all this bonus income though ;-)

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    Anonymus Says:
    43

    @patriotz

    "You may also be cynical about the First Nations chiefs sitting with Gordo, but at least we’re not killing off the local aboriginals because they want self government, like they are."

    But you have murder them nearly all 300 years ago so there was nobody left to kill. Typical american ignorance. learn your history first. And it is not that Canada is bringing candies to poor Afghan's kids. we are pretty much on a murder mission with the taxpayers dollars. I have not seen you complaining about that.

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    Vancouver Girl Says:
    44

    California is riskier than Greece.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/

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    "being anti-Olympics is a purely emotional stance".

    I disagree. The olympic hype was the single strongest factor that fueled the wild real estate speculation in the last 5 years. As a result, a decent home will cost me $500,000 more and that can be attributed to the olympics. The games effectively reduced my personal wealth by half a million dollars. I don't see how my anti-olimpic stance can be considered purely emotional.

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    Van Renter Says:
    46

    @Joe: Its very true and not only had it cost me money, it had cost me my marriage as I could not buy a house to shelter my family. 2 more days left for the Olympics, tic toc.

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    Tipping?

    Hey, I'll give you a tip: don't fry bacon with your shirt off!

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    @Vansanity:

    15

    X Vansanity Says:

    I’m so happy I’m not living “house poor”. We’re planning our vacations for the year, looking at 4-6 weeks away, Europe, Hawaii and Jamaica, few trips to Vegas in between to maintain the tans. It’s really rough being a renter.

    ====================

    Your post is only deserved of a D

    .

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    .

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    …for the vitamin D, of course! LOL

    ReplyCurrent

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    @LordHuggington:

    @30 George? George Jetson?!?!

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    bestplaceonmeth Says:
    50

    ~IN LUONGO WE TRUST~

    Not so sure about the rest of the team though.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    51

    @Drachen:

    Not every bear is anti Olympics. I think it will have a net negative impact on Vancouver but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.

    I enjoy the sports but I don’t like the Olympics. When the World Figure Skating Championships came in 2001 I got an “A” ticket for everything for $600. Like I’m going to pay almost as much to see one program? Can you say rip-off?

    At least for the hockey you get all the best players at the Olympics, for figure skating (and all other sports) the competitors are the very same as at the world championships.

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    Roberto let in a soft one, then slammed the door when it mattered. I guess the Slovaks were trying to bore us all to death for 50 minutes then win it all in the last 10….

    ;-)

    Did anybody catch their game with Sweden? One period of that and I wanted to cut my wrists…..

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    Ya know, it is said that success in sports drives success in other areas. Remember in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Korea beat out Italy and Spain to advance to the Semifinals. It was a huge boost to their economy.

    So who are you guys rooting for on Sunday? Canada or US?

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    Karl-Heinz Rummenigg Says:
    54

    @tim: Tim get real please, you can't compare FIFA World Cup and Olymics Ice Hockey. What do you think, who does care for the hockey but Canada, it is just local thing not global.

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    @Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: What, you think that Korea advancing in world cup means that other countries, such as those countries who got bested by them, will be more willing to invest in them? Use your head. It means nothing of the sort, at least not directly – national sport winning means that patriotism is higher and countrymen have more confidence in their abilities. They're happier, feel that they are connected to a winning team, and are more willing to take risks.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    56

    @Anonymus:

    But you have murder them nearly all 300 years ago so there was nobody left to kill. Typical american ignorance. learn your history first.

    Why don't you learn something about Russian/Soviet history. The injustices toward the aboriginal peoples of BC pale beside the treatment of the minorities in the North Caucasus. Essentially open warfare and it's been going on longer than the colonial presence in BC.

    And it is not that Canada is bringing candies to poor Afghan’s kids. we are pretty much on a murder mission with the taxpayers dollars. I have not seen you complaining about that.

    Then I guess you haven't been reading this board for long.
    http://vancouvercondo.info/2008/11/oecd-canada-in

    Even the US has decided that it has had enough of the war in Iraq, and people in authority have been saying that the conflict in Afghanistan cannot be settled by military force.

    That quote is from Nov. 27, 2008.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    57

    @Joe:

    The games effectively reduced my personal wealth by half a million dollars.

    No they didn't, because you don't have to buy to have a place to live. You can rent, and rents have not gone up.

    The real wealth returned by owning a house is its future rental value. The people whose wealth has actually been reduced are the fools who bought at inflated prices.

    Your wealth has not gone down any more than homeowners' wealth has gone up. It's all just an illusion, as they found out in the US, and we will soon find out here.

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    I think it is entirely possible to be anti-Olympics for pretty objective reasons. I think the cost to the public purse has been the main reason to be opposed to the Vancouver games. From what I have read, the IOC is not exactly the epitome of business ethics, and I am not convinced the Olympics actually has much benefit for regular people other than giving them something to watch.

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    scullboy Says:
    59

    @angryslav:

    WELL SAID! Anyone complaining about waiters/waitresses has never worked a day in a food service outfit of any kind.

    For those of you who are wondering, wait staff keeps an eye on your orders, they make sure each of a table's orders arrive hot, made to order and at the same time.

    For those of you wondering what wait staff do, consider these logistics:

    In a place like the Cactus Club, you have up to three hundred customer, each placing different orders at different times.

    Each of those orders has several components (drinks, appies, mains desserts etc), and each of those components can have SUB – components (starch, veggies, meat).

    Some guests have dietary requirements that MUST be met (allergies etc), and if those requirements are not met, the guest can end up in the hostpital.

    The establishment's staff have a lead time of minutes from the moment you place your order to when you expect to be served. Unless you're eating somewhere really cheap, your meal is cooked from scratch and while prep cuts some of the lead time, you expect your meal to be on your table in minutes when if you had to make it yourself it would take hours.

    If not for the wait staff, the kitchen and bartenders would have no clue whatsoever who ordered what, when. It would be absolutely impossible to manage each or your custom made orders (each table's orders are unique to that table).

    While people are forgiving most of the time, if you're late with their food they'll turn into homicidal lunatics.

    Waiters make sure your food's the way you like it. The fact that you've probably had relatively few unsatisfactory meals is testament to their ability to handle mindbogglingly complex instructions easily and seamlessly.

    Waiters work really, really hard. I've done that job and I've worked in some sensitive IT positions. Frankly it's easier working IT, even if you mess up people don't scream at you the way customers frequently scream at waiters.

    If it weren't for waiters the only food service operations that would work well would be nasty ol' caeteria food. YOu'd get your meal one way and one way only. Forget ordering a different side or a rare steak…. it'd be like high school all over again.

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    Anonymous Says:
    60

    @scullboy:

    Scullboy, I waited most of my life, so don't generalize. Those server expects a tip. They don't even know what good service is. They just take my order and expects $5 bucks for doing that. No way!

    And no, servers have it easy. There is way more stress in IT. You see those girls at Cactus, all they do is chat about their nails.

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    IfYouCantBeatThemDQT Says:
    61

    I wonder how much the Own the Podium folks paid the Canadian referee that disqualified Ohno and gave Tremblay the bronze.

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    @tim: "What, you think that Korea advancing in world cup means that other countries, such as those countries who got bested by them, will be more willing to invest in them?"

    Actually, I think there must be an effect. If you're a businessman sitting in Europe watching the World Cup, it's going to make you more aware of South Korea. What are the odds of that affecting a business decision? Very very slim, but imagine it's 10 million to one. How many businessmen are watching the world cup? Many multiples of that.

    Now, here's the catch. If that a business person takes a chance and likes the result, you're going to get good word of mouth and others may follow. There's no direct relationship and you certainly can't predict the effect, but if have something to offer then these sorts of high profile events will help people discover you.

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    bestplaceonmeth Says:
    63

    @Clarke:

    This is as good a reason as any to despise the Olympics, although there are so many. It's all about enriching developers, politicians and those who are well connected to them. May you rot in hell, Jack Poole.

    http://www.straight.com/article-93176/developers-

    Developers are the Olympic Games’ real winners

    By Donald Gutstein

    A former developer himself, Premier Gordon Campbell holds the purse strings to an Olympic-size sweepstakes payout.

    The 2010 Olympics were still a gleam in Jack Poole's eye when he addressed a roomful of real-estate developers in the spring of 2002. Vancouver had been shortlisted for the Games, but it would be more than a year until the winning city was chosen.

    The outcome of the race to win the Games didn't seem to matter to Poole, who headed the 2010 Vancouver Bid Corporation. Western Investor editor Frank O'Brien sat in on the talk and later editorialized that, according to Poole, "the real purpose of the 2010 Olympic bid is to seduce the provincial and federal governments and long-suffering taxpayers into footing a billion-dollar bill to pave the path for future real estate sales."

    Indeed this was Poole's opinion. "If the Olympic bid wasn't happening," he told the developers, "we would have to invent something." Long-time developer Poole had it right. The Olympics are about real estate.

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    Karl-Heinz Rummenigg Says:
    64

    @tim:

    patriotism is higher and countrymen have more confidence in their abilities. They’re happier, feel that they are connected to a winning team, and are more willing to take risks…

    Tim you enlightened me, thank you. Now when I'm connected to those elite athletes who are making shitload of millions, for not necessarily top performance I go to my work happier then ever and I work harder then ever for my $12 per hour and I produce more therefore I get even more motivated when I see how economy is blossoming while my inspiration perpetually rises from patriotism and the fact that I'm connected. Life is suddenly wonderful, finally I DO BELIEVE!!!

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    Anon:

    I'm currently pursuing 2 careers at the same time; I'm working as a private chef and as an IT contractor to a major American bank. I've worked for large IT firms in Canada for many years.

    As far as I am concerned, waitering is FAR harder. If you're 6 hours late finishing an IT ticket nobody blinks. If you're 5 minutes late getting food to a table you catch hell.

    I'd *MUCH* rather work an IT job then wait tables. IT is way less pressure, frankly.

    Canadians are effing cheap with tips too, frankly. Haven't you ever heard the joke:

    "What's the difference between a Canadian and a canoe?"

    "Sometimes canoes tip".

    That one's funny cause it's true. Usually the less money someone makes, the better they tip. By and large the rich are really effin' cheap.

    That's an annecdote, not a data point.

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    nonymouse Says:
    66

    @bestplaceonmeth:

    I think the games is just part of the fuel for the fire, it's just a piece of the narrative that's driven expectations. We hear all sorts of folk theories about things that drive the market from running out of land to rich foreigners. The games fits into the narrative but it seems to me that the results are going to be impossible to measure up to the expectations.

    The promise is always so much more of a seductive idea than reality.

    Of course it may be different this time but it looks to me like the olympic effect is already baked into prices.

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    tim says:

    Ya know, it is said that success in sports drives success in other areas. Remember in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Korea beat out Italy and Spain to advance to the Semifinals. It was a huge boost to their economy.

    that was huge for south korea, just more evidence that per capita south koreans are the most athletically gifted peoples on the planet. sort of gets you thinking that from a business perspective south koreans can get things done. the hockey game tomorrow is in no way a comparable, canada is supposed to win anyway and just reinforces a canadian stereotype.

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    @tim: it is said that success in sports drives success in other areas.

    actually I think thats ass-backwards. Countries with the economies to support sports training and hire better athletes will do better. Once you've won though, does it really make any future difference to the economy?

    The US had the highest medal count in the 2008 summer olympics, how's their economy doing?

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    olympics could gave been good for Vancouver, as it was the Province and Federal Government that paid for most of it. It was the badly designed risky deal that the City got involved in to build the athletes Village or guarantee it. They could have housed the athletes in cruise ships and had Vanoc do that.

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    Supraboy Says:
    70

    @scullboy: Why is this faggot still around here when he lives in Halifax? Sounds like he's still bitter and can't let go of a city that forced him out of town because he can't afford to live in it.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    71

    @tim:

    Ya know, it is said that success in sports drives success in other areas.

    Worked really well for the USSR, East Germany, Romania, etc, didn't it?

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    Please ban the homophobe.

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    stagnate Says:
    73

    i agree peter, the olympics allowed us to finally get some decent cash from ottawa. the athletes village was a total screwup, basically at the end of the day a hugely valuable piece of land was given away by the city for nothing.

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    Koreans are the biggest lying, cheating, thieving bastards on the planet. I have worked in the film biz for 20 years and the only time myself or anyone else I know have ever been ripped off was from a Korean production company.

    The Japanese are fantastic, the Chinese drive a hard bargain but always pay on time.

    Watching the Olympics tells you that the Koreans are only good at 2 things. Speed skating and cheating at speed skating.

    The best athletes per capita would most likely be the Norwegians. Population: 4 mil – 20 medals. *South Korea: 50 million – 14 medals. *Canada 32 mil – 21 medals.

    Koreans act like their culturally superior neighbors Japan but they are not and never will be as noble or modest as most other asian cultures.

    Look no further than North Korea…

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    75

    @Patrick:

    If your country was ruled for 40 years by a foreign power that wouldn't even let you use your own language or your own name, I think you'd have an attitude too.

    BTW they do have a great figure skater too.

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    bestplaceonmeth Says:
    76

    @nonymouse:

    Actually, I don't even believe the games had anything do do with the run up in prices. Otherwise why would Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary and Edmonton have run up as well?

    My point is only that the games were yet another scheme to transfer money from the taxpayers to the corporate pigs via the government.

    By now, governments around the world have nearly perfected the art of siphoning of money from us to the people at the top under the guise of helping the economy.

    There's going to be blood in the street soon.

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    @bestplaceonmeth: Kelowna and Victoria have three major things in common with Vancouver: record low unemployment rates in the past 5 years, the same provincial government that was spending the resulting tax revenues province-wide, and record low interest rates. It's not surprising the cities' prices have some degree of correlation.

    Calgary and Edmonton experienced a major boon of cold hard cash so higher prices are somewhat justified. BC… not so much IMO. Most cash coming into BC is on loan.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    78

    @jesse:

    Calgary and Edmonton experienced a major boon of cold hard cash so higher prices are somewhat justified

    Agree, both cities saw a substantial increase in rents post-2005 which supported higher prices. But the prices got a lot higher than justified, as witnessed by the 2007 bust – the first in Canada in this cycle – which was reversed like Vancouver's by the low interest rates, and will inevitably resume.

    http://cuer.sauder.ubc.ca/cma/data/ResidentialRea

    Note also that Alberta has Canada's highest savings rate which also indicates a strong real economy, as opposed to BC which has the lowest. BC really is a classic credit-driven bubble economy, and the end result is going to be nasty and long-lasting.

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    stagnate Says:
    79

    patrick says:

    The best athletes per capita would most likely be the Norwegians. Population: 4 mil – 20 medals. *South Korea: 50 million – 14 medals. *Canada 32 mil – 21 medals.

    there's a huge difference between collecting medals and genetic athleticism. the lpga tour almost went under due to korean genetic athleticism. scientific studies have shown they actually have a genetic advantage. just be thankful they're not interested in hockey.

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    Ya know, it is said that success in sports drives success in other areas.

    Incidentally, I'm not saying that it'll happen. Only that it's a risk for the bears. If USA wins, then the Canadian media will look to other positive analytics, but it'd be hard to ignore the elephant in the room.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    81

    @tim:

    You're trying to couple the outcome of a hockey game to the RE market? Surely this is a sign that the end is nigh.

    BTW the only risk for the bears is rising rents.

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    #1 and #2…why do people rush to buy? the same reason people rush to the bay to stand in a 3 hour line up to buy a tshirt, or stand in a 5 hour line to ride a zip line…people are sheep and do what the masses do…great read on the subject in general called the Madness of Crowds.

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    @space889: My only problem with knocking down stuff and rebuilding is that it's so *wasteful*. I have a friend in Glasgow whose flat is 250 years old and it's neither bizarre nor uncommon.

    @scullboy I also moved from waitressing to IT and then to software development. Each step has been less stress for me, really. I imagine it depends on temperament. Doing service work, you're there to be friendly to people.

    I remember at Kingsway and Broadway sometime in the 90s there was a cashier less checkout system grocery store. It was depressing!

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    Registered Hockey Players, by country:

    (from Wikipedia, natch)

    Country ↓ Players ↓ % of Population ↓

    Canada 499,695 1.50%

    USA 465,975 0.15%

    Czech Rep 97,102 0.95%

    Russia 84,720 0.06%

    Germany 68,800 0.06%

    Finland 61,684 1.18%

    Sweden 60,374 0.67%

    Switzerland 24,705 0.33%

    Japan 21,027 0.02%

    France 17,133 0.03%

    Austria 10,378 0.13%

    Slovakia 8,671 0.16%

    Italy 6,454 0.01%

    Norway 6,385 0.14%

    UK 5,627 0.01%

    Kazakhstan 5,251 0.03%

    Latvia 4,539 0.20%

    Ukraine 4,228 0.01%

    Denmark 4,056 0.07%

    Belarus 3,302 0.03%

    1. Okay, so we do know whose game this is.

    2. Pro rata (per national hockey players), the Slovakian team beat Canada by 115 goals to 3.

    Now, let's beat the US.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    85

    @space889:

    Asians or at least Chinese in Canada less than 20 years seem to prefer Vancouver Special type houses and layout over character houses. So might be a culture thing as well.

    That's a polite way of saying that the Chinese have bad taste, and having lived in China I'm afraid to say it's all too true. The same thing has been going on in China itself – heritage neighbourhoods are being destroyed all the way from Beijing to Kashgar.

    There is no more toxic combination than too much money and too little taste.

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    @scullboy: i think the main point is that tipping should be optional. If you really like a waiter's performance and friendliness the you tip. Tips should not be expected regardless as part of the salaries though. Salaries are the employer's problem. Where I'm from in EU that's how it works and it works out fine.

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    other ted Says:
    87

    86 gorky. not sure how this topic started but I agree. Too many people expect tips for bad service. It is the employmers problem not ours. With that said I have only left no tip a few times in my life. I will only do that for extremely poor service coupled with indifference or rudeness.

    And before people go into a rant about how tough it is, go to the US where its tougher. Americans are very generous tippers but the service is tops. If people want canadians to tip like americans we need to get that service.

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    oneangryslav2 Says:
    88

    @gorkyy: That's precisely the reason why many establishments decided to introduce the automatic gratuity. Tipping is not expected in European countries, but wages (and benefits) are considerably higher for service staff in these countries than in Canada.

    Given that without tips most service staff would have a difficult time paying rent, the prospect of a gratuity-less Olympic period was financially daunting.

    I'm not suggesting that either European or North American way is better, they are just different.

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    @patriotz:

    "That’s a polite way of saying that the Chinese have bad taste, and having lived in China I’m afraid to say it’s all too true."

    The sad thing is there used to be art and culture in China, more than nearly anywhere in the world, it's just that 60 years of communist rule has completely gutted it from the population, now they're left with cardboard cut-out propaganda masquerading as culture. Films like "Hero" for instance, or any of the travelling Kung Fu/Acrobatic/Dance shows they tour around the world. All they're left with is the shrine of money. They went from one of the richest cultures in the world to one of the most hollow in half a century.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    90

    @Drachen:

    Couldn't agree more. Mao and his wife hated traditional Chinese culture and went out of their way to destroy it, and did a pretty good job. And his successors have put together a sort of capitalist Frankenstein monster from the body parts.

    I think it had a lot more to do with Mao personally than Communism, for example Ho Chi Minh had much more respect for his country's traditional culture and it shows today. Even Stalin, who wasn't even a Russian, was a patron of classical Russian music, dance, and art, although he certainly tried to impose his own tastes on contemporary artists.

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    @Patriotz

    From what I have read, Ho Chi Minh was a lot more of a nationalist than anything else, including communist. Stalin and Mao were both despots, though Stalin as mentioned actually liked traditional Russian culture, even though he was Georgian. And they said my history classes were a waste…. : )

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    votingyoudown Says:
    92

    @Supraboy: Why is this faggot still around here

    My first post here.

    I've been reading this blog since it picked up from VHB, and reading VHB since the year it started.

    Your loathesome use of 'faggot' is totally unacceptable.

    I'll be voting your comments down everytime I see them, no matter what's in them.

    Hate can go two ways, and it's not very nice, is it?

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    @patriotz:

    No shit. Even though the thought of the HST makes me steam up, every time I hear the restaurant industry funded anti-HST ad, it leaves me cold.

    If they raised their prices a little AND then paid their workers a decent wage and didn't extort me for more money on top, then I'd support them.

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    Drachen,Patriotz,

    The Chinese and Russian cultures have given the world so much in the past. The Russian literature is exquisite, their music is legendary. The Chinese culture makes me wish I knew Chinese just to be able to read their history books!

    And now, what? All my Chinese/Russian colleagues (at my workplace the engineering dept it's mostly Russian and Chinese, 150 cogs) tell me the same: God==Money. Money is what counts. People are judged by the money they have (specially among Chinese). It's pretty sad.

    I always thought us Jews were the greedy money chasers, but I can clearly see we are definitely not "gold medal" in that aspect anymore. LOL.

    Regarding "waiters" vs "Software Developers": Waiting tables is much harder than developing software. Luckily, not many people can develop software, but many people can wait tables ;)

    And Supraboy: As I understand Canadian political correctness, it is not acceptable to call someone a faggot if they really are homosexual. Otherwise it's OK. I may be wrong.

    Regards

    arit

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    ulsterman Says:
    95

    no one is saying that serving isn't a hard job. To be good at it you need a good memory, strong people skills, and the ability to think clearly under pressure.

    However, the barriers to entry are low and suppply of new workers endless. Intelligent young people do not take long to become competent.

    The problem is that some servers think that they desrve to make $100-150 in tips plus their pay for a 5 hour shift.Few pay more than fraction of the taxes they should on their tips. The industry norm is to declare 10% of their T4 stated income as tips, which is a joke.

    There are bartenders at clubs on Granville walking away with $250-350 per night (virtually tax free) in tips. Many are in their 40's and cannot leave these jobs because they are too well paid.

    It's the sense of entitlement that irks most people.

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    "All my Chinese/Russian colleagues … tell me the same: God==Money."

    It's funny. I have had many Russian and Chinese born co-workers (professionals and highly trained techs) and it always struck me that, for the most part, it was their professions, not the money, that got them up in the morning.

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    Ah Supra, is that the worst insult you can dream up? I mean really. I go out of my way to come up with the most graphic images of you in some Japanese schoolgirl outfit on your knees fellating some rich German sex tourist for hockey tickets and the best you can come up with is "faggot"?

    Sad. Just sad.

    To answer your question I still read this stuff for a couple of reasons. One is to see if I can get a reaction out of either you or Grampy TInfoil. You seem to be too dim to figure that out even though I've mentioned it more then once. It's awesome. Stay clever!

    Another reason is to remind myself why I left.

    I just got in from yet another awesome kitchen party. We had to drive past my old neighborhood (which incidentally is SYdney Crosby's old neighborhood, Cole Harbour). It's amazing… all the houses are the same! I haven't been there for 20 years. It turns out you *can* go home again, if only for a moment or two.

    I couldn't help but compare that to Van, where places are constantly being torn down so someone can build a bigger, uglier place. Then there is the infamous condo tarps.

    After reading the Froogle Scott stuff about how tearing down homes people liked in changed everyone involved I was so glad to see it hasn't happened to the little corner of the world I grew up in.

    My part of town has old WWII saltbox houses. They're tiny but they're so well built. Anyone doing a reno seems to be rebuilding either the outside or the inside while keeping the overall character of the place just as it was. It's so different to see people want to preserve some kind of continuity rather then tear down a perfectly servicable structure out of greed.

    Then I log in just to make sure you're still acting like a silly ass, SUpra. Thanks for not changing, either. :)

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    jesee,

    "t’s funny. I have had many Russian and Chinese born co-workers (professionals and highly trained techs) and it always struck me that, for the most part, it was their professions, not the money, that got them up in the morning."

    We don't disagree. These guys (professionals, high tech) which you and I meet, are not the ones making the big bucks, right? They complain about the loss of values just like you and me. The big money makers are not the engineers, never were…

    Cheers,

    arit

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    Anonymous Says:
    99

    @ulsterman: "It’s the sense of entitlement that irks most people."

    Yeah, I hate it when people get paid for their work. Meanwhile, those poor bank CEOs only make a few million a year.

    And when will the working man (or woman) understand that escaping taxes is only for those who can afford high priced accountants?

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    100

    @Anonymous:

    If the restaurants respected their own workers, they would pay them what they were worth directly from salary, and if they respected their own customers, they would put the price they are expected to pay right on the menu. A gratuity is just that, a gift, not an obligation.

    Got that?

    And I have no sympathy for anyone trying to cheat on their income taxes. People doing so are just parasites living on the bodies of the T4 employees who are the great majority of Canadians.

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    99, anonymous. You do realise that the tax avoider you just condoned is the one who kills your grandmother / wife / daughter when she can't get the medical help she needs due to underfunding of the health system.

    I wish people would actually THINK before applauding tax evasion.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    102

    @logic:

    You do realise that the tax avoider you just condoned

    For the record, a tax avoider is simply someone who arranges their financial affairs to legally pay less tax. For example, someone who opens an RRSP, or quits smoking for that matter, is a tax avoider.

    What you're talking about is tax evasion.

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    Boombust Says:
    103

    Those Seattle people are at it again.

    Yesterday, I happened to see a small Olympic segment on King 5 TV from Seattle. The announcers not only called Vancouver a "sister city" of Seattle (yeah, sure), but they told me that Vancouver was in the "Pacific Northwest".

    Northwest of what? Omaha?

    Last I heard, Vancouver was in the Pacific Southwest. Of Canada.

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    Drachen Says:
    104

    @patriotz:

    "What you’re talking about is tax evasion."

    Or if you're a fan of Kent Brockman, "Tax avoision"

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    I prefer to tip euopean style. You'll get whatever spare change is left when I round up the bill to the nearest dollar or two. If you can't pay your bills on your wages maybe it's time to look for other work. As far as how difficult a job is, what's that got to do with a gratuity? There are plenty of tough jobs that never get tipped, and plenty of no-brainers that do.

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    A bit off-topic, but I have noticed some debate here on tax evasion and avoidance. The Russians have a saying that no matter how much you steal from the government, you'll never get back what it has stolen from you. Interestingly, they came up with it during the Communist period when healthcare, education and many other services were 100% free and personal income tax was 12% flat. How much more is it true for Canada where tax rates are among the highest in the world? And what do we get in return? We still have to pay for most government services, even such basic infrastructure as bridges. We are forced to pay for our health insurance and our universities are among the most expensive in the world. Our money is wasted on sky high salaries for the huge army of useless bureaucrats. A senior official in the city of North Vancouver, for example, makes over a million bucks a year. The BC provincial government has a Youth Liaison Officer (wtf?) with a base salary of over $300,000 a year. Examples are too many to list. I, therefore, applaud any creative ways to evade and avoid taxes in this country.

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    @Joe:

    "We are forced to pay for our health insurance"

    You think we pay for health insurance? We pay a very small fraction.

    "How much more is it true for Canada where tax rates are among the highest in the world?"

    Try near the lowest in the developed world

    Is any of your information factual or are you just spouting something you heard from some guy? Give us sources if you have them. The two times I fact checked you you came up wrong. Stop making statistics up, it just makes you look stupid.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    108

    @Joe:

    How much more is it true for Canada where tax rates are among the highest in the world? And what do we get in return?

    Highest in the world? You clearly haven't lived in France or Germany, never mind Scandinavia. Or met someone who has for that matter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by

    In fact taxation in Canada at about 33% of GDP is lower than the OECD average. It's less than the UK at 37%, which as anyone who's lived there can tell you has far inferior public services. And we don't pay much more than Switzerland at 30%, which most taxophobes seem to think has far lower taxes.

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    chumpdawg Says:
    109

    @ Lord Huggington

    if you search the posts from the Beyond Robson blog, you'll find a link to vancouver buzz, which shows which restaurants are adding the automatic gratuity.

    Most of Yaletown restaurants have done this.

    May I point out my personal worst offender- Simply Thai in Yaletown. Don't get me wrong, i love the food, and have been going there at least once a month for 10 years (for 3 years it was once a week). but they eliminated the lunch menu, jacked up the prices and added 20% automatic gratuity.

    i walked in last week and saw that and walked out.

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    Anonymous Says:
    110

    This local blog has a list of restaurants that are jacking up prices and using auto-gratuity.

    http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-16-2010_12-20am

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    bestplaceonmeth Says:
    111

    I sincerely hope these restaurants and bars that have been gouging throughout the Olympics have irreparably damaged Vancouver's reputation with visitors from around the world.

    It would be the worst thing possible for our local cheerleaders whom I completely despise.

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    HappyRenter Says:
    112

    @Drachen:

    Good table. People seem to have the idea in their head that some paradise exists where you get the same quality of services offered by the Canadian government. I'd like to see a real argument for a developed country that significantly outperforms us, because I'm sure it does not exist (maybe some small city state). Of course we are not perfect, but we're not exactly lagging behind.

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    joe 106

    jesus, if it's so bad, I suggest moving to russia then. or somewhere else with 3rd world social and health services.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    114

    @HappyRenter:

    I’d like to see a real argument for a developed country that significantly outperforms us

    Well most of Western Europe and Scandinavia does. But the point is that they have way higher taxes.

    I don't think there is another country that has lower taxes and better public services, except for obvious exceptions like Brunei. Note BTW that although the health care system is Switzerland is controlled by the government, the premiums technically remain in the private sector and are not classified as taxes.

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    115

    GOLD MEDAL IN MEN'S HOCKEY!!! YAYY CANADA!!!

    Can we get on with the bust now?

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    grandmaster GY Says:
    116

    @Drachen: sorry but this graph seems off. I wonder what salary range they're looking at, 200K – 2MM or so?

    I worked in Germany and Canada with similar salaries (above avg but not major) and taxes are pretty much the same…except it feels you get a lot less out of them in Canada or at least BC, no public Kindergarden, Canadians actually have to pay for quality education, public schools are outdated and from what i've been told can be dangerous.

    And then a 2 lane highway to a bankrupt ski resort (WTF?) when on the other hand there's permanent traffic jams for people to get into work in Van or BBY from further out. It seems like most money in BC is spent on propaganda how great this place is, incl. the Olympic fiasco. Great for tourism and folks that own a B&B or so…but for the average taxpayer? I'm certainly not benefiting from the Olympics.

    Anyways I guess i get somewhat lucky since the industry I'm in got a tax break just recently from BC. I sometimes wonder why movies and video-games get tax cuts while other industries don't. Bottomline is this place is way to expensive for companies to come here mainly due to these fantasy house prices. I know from my company, they let lots of people go in BBY/Vancouver over the last year, shut down a location in downtown Vancouver while hiring like crazy in their Montreal/China/ect locations, where they can get programmers for less than HALF the money they cost here.

    Economically BC sucks a bit. All the govt is doing is exploiting the beautiful nature (which is BTW the only thing besides relatively low rents that keeps me here, probably not for much longer though).

    I really wonder if people at some point will revolt against this obvious mismanagement of funds? Maybe they'll wake up once house prices tank.

    Always have to laugh about the latest cheesy BC propaganda piece with Michael J Fox ect… 1) pretty obvious that it's all green screen, not very well done 2) when the one lady says 'sophisticated'… – ahm…wow. She should be awarded some bumper ballz. The people in the area she's green-screening in front really like those. Maybe the Brass BigBoy™ Nuts: http://www.big-ballz.com/

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    no way! Says:
    117

    @chumpdawg: do NOT support Simply Thai. While food is OK, the owner is horribly greedy. Wife worked there for a while and the owner lady has issues, she's totally nuts, has tons of money, no friends. In a weird way it's sad…

    She also imports cheap temp laborers from Thailand, pays them close to nothing, puts them up in shacks and generally exploits them. All to familiar with it since i helped some to take legal action.

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    Anonymous Says:
    118

    @grandmaster GY:

    Best.Post.Ever.

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    grandmaster GY Says:
    119

    forgot to mention, I'm not trying to put Canada down at all, Germany has it's flaws as well. Just observing more obvious political lies and corruption over here. On top this is coupled with what feels like a lot of people who don't seem to care about politics at all (maybe because they're all 'house rich'?). Sometimes gets to me… but i do love Canada, love the real Canadian people and their friendlyness, heck my own son is Canadian.

    Also like the fact that we just kicked some US ass ;-)

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    nonymouse Says:
    120

    @grandmaster GY:

    The irony of green screening talent who for the most part are now expats is one thing. Doing this while the tagline of the campaign is "you've got to be here" made my jaw drop.

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    grandmaster GY Says:
    121

    same here. Curious, which of the celebrities featured in this movie actually lives in BC?

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    bestplaceonmeth Says:
    122

    @no way!:

    My wife worked there for a while too – all of 3 weeks.

    The cunt of an owner, I believe her name is Grace, worked my wife to death until she got fed up and walked out. True story: one day the hag, sensing she was about to lose another employee, tried to bribe my wife with a gift – a sack of pennies. Must have been well over $4 there.

    Fuk mi.

    Although the owner is technically from Thailand, she is of Chinese descent which explains why she puts money above all else including human decency, and how she can treat people from her own country like shit.

    The only time you should ever eat there is if you're planning a dine & dash.

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    Vansanity Says:
    123

    The barriers around Britannia are coming down tonight! Awesome! I'm glad to see they're wasting no time removing the fencing and barricades. The games are over, what the hell will they hype the market with next? Hmm… beats me!

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    no way! Says:
    124

    yes, Grace is Chinese-Thai. However, there's not a lot of Thai-ness in her personality. She's a bitch and the staff hated her.

    because she doesn't have any friends she kept trying to make friends with my Thai wife (whilst paying here a pretty shitty wage) but for obvious reasons that didn't work out.

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    … And on that note the games are officially over. Let the listings begin!

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    Anonymous Says:
    126

    So the Chinese are gonna buy up all the condos after the Owelympics? Because it's just so pretty here eh?

    ' Is Hong Kong ready for reverse property bubble? '
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hong-kong-and-pr

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    closing embarrassmen Says:
    127

    WTF is going on in the closing ceremony? is this bad or what?

    If MJ Fox loves it so much here and feels so Canadian then why on earth isn't he living here????????

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    Anonymous Says:
    128

    Yeah the Russian's bits had culture all over it not this hokey tourism ad

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    129

    Yes, but they'd have you think that the games are going to be held in the Russian heartland rather than a place that was in the Ottoman Empire in George Vancouver's day.

    Loved the Shostakovich and the women though. :-)

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    @closing embarrassment: yeah it's this endless infomercial on Canada. Minority complex much?

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    Anonymous Says:
    131

    Nickelback?? They're still apart of the making fun of Canada bit right?

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    Patrick Says:
    132

    Stagnate your an obvious bullshitter!!

    pick up a book called "Language of the Genes". It's not written by a nazi propagandist nut by Michael Smith (Canadian).

    Your comment about Koreans being genetically superior is possibly the dumbest remark I've seen on this blog or any blog.

    I've been to Korea and there is nothing superior about them. All of their technology was stolen from the Japanese, Americans or Russians.

    They pick a sport, obsess with it and if you fail as an athlete its not good for your family..at all.

    Speed Skating in Korea is the national sport. Period. They will do anything to win at it. They invest so much money into it that losing is not an option. Sometimes this can be a good thing but not in Korea.

    One more thing about Koreans, they hate Canadians. For a Korean girl dating a Canadian is a family tragedy. Canadians have their rednecks, Chinese have theirs, every culture has a redneck contingent but Korean culture by nature is brutally racist.

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    wow, William Shattner with his spray-on tan really sucked.

    the only musical performance i liked were the Sochi related ones and Alanis Morisette. What's with the supersized paper machee hockey players and balloon mounties??? Showing off that we believe bigger is better?

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    134 was me, sorry logic.

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    bestplaceonmeth Says:
    135

    Great closing ceremony!

    In fact it was my favorite part of the Olympics along with the sounds of packing and leaving.

    Furlong spoke French like Tom Vu speaks English. Neil Young was inspirational as usual. Shatner and his hairpiece were both hilarious. Gordo, the only one still wearing red mittens continued to flail away like a Special Ed child.

    The only thing missing was an all star rendition of "I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok". That would have been truly sweet.

    As far as the early part of the show went – Fantastic! The Russian portion of the show was spectacular and injected a much needed component to the games that we haven't seen for a while. Culture.

    Some of the less interesting things were the cheesy Canadian stereotypes: Buble singing in a Mountie uniform against a backdrop of mountains and log cabins, followed by even more mounties, multiple giant inflatable beavers and moose, prancing lumberjacks, men running around in canoes. And far too many close-ups of Haley Wickenheiser's ugly mug. But still, it was much better than the dancing Indians of the opening ceremonies – I didn't think an Olympic ceremony could get more embarrassing.

    Until I saw Nickleback. When you thought the show should have ended, it foolishly kept going. And just when you thought Nickleback had ruined a perfectly good show, the raccoon-eyed pop troll came out and ruined it some more. Then Alanis made it somewhat less horrible, how ironic. Then it turned into fucking Lollapallooza culminating with some deranged rap spectacle that looked at times like Thriller done by prisoners .

    Someone in VANOC should face a firing squad for the last 45 minutes of the show.

    It seems that hockey, mounties and bad pop music is still the best that Canada has to show the world. Oh well, 'tis to be expected I suppose.

    Anywho tomorrow is DAY #1 of the post-Olympics and I couldn't be happier. I'll probably be whistling on my way to work.

    But if anyone is still looking for Olympic accommodation it seems there is still plenty available as of today.

    http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/search/hhh?quer

    Yep, these fuckers never give up.

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    stagnate Says:
    136

    patrick, points taken; the truth is probably somewhere in between.

    the olympics were a success but indeed most elements of the closing ceremonies were somewhat embarassing. i especially thought gordon campbell acting like a drunk 20 yr. old granville street meathead to be an embarassment to his position.

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    140 – you make me laugh. nice summary.

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    ********************************************

    !!!PARTY TIME!!!

    ********************************************

    I declare the opening of the Post Olympic Era!!!

    This is the time we have been waiting for! 7 years of expectations, here it is. This new epoch shall be known as:

    "You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out"

    Among many exciting venues:

    1. "The unveiling of the bear/bull truth: Who was right and who is poor!"

    2. "The Great Chinese Drywall!"

    3. "The dissapointment of the specuvestor!"

    4."The -Nobody could've seen it coming- headlines!"

    5. "The economic massacre of the realtor(tm)." aka "Please take over Hummer lease".

    The events will span across the coming six years, culminating in a magnificent "Post Olympic Era" closing party at arit's place (cash only) where everybody here will be invited, mark your calendar July 27th 2016!

    Regards

    arit

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    ulsterman Says:
    139

    Patriotz, as an Irishman who hated French in high school I could feel John Furlong's pain as he butchered the language. However, if i were him i would have spent months working on my accent with a tutor. It was painful to listen to him chew each syllable to death. Jzzzeu Sweeze…

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    Arit: When your number (4) comes true, I am quite sure that my head will explode.

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    Absinthe Says:
    141

    Hey, Arit! You picked my birthday!

    PARTY!!!

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    Anonymous Says:
    142

    @patriotz:

    @domus:

    Governments see it (inflation) as a benign phenomenon, because it would decrease debt liabilities.

    No they don’t, because inflation inevitably results in higher interest rates. The bond markets are not going to be cheated out of their real returns.

    Unfortunately the real rate of inflation was obfuscated throughout the '80s and '90s by things like the 'hedonistic adjustments' and 'owner equivalent rent', not to mention the massive purchases of debt from governments hoping to keep their currencies down relative to the dollar.

    See:
    http://www.shadowstats.com/

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    richasian Says:
    143

    Best closing ceremony ever! Every rich asian is going to now buy a condo in Vancouver just to be close to all the beavers, moose, good hockey, and canoes. I'm keeping my smock and moose ears forever.

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    can they please also buy Nickelback and make them move to China. Oh, and make them STFU.

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    Big Crash Says:
    145

    Get ready for the olympic bills and the cost over-runs. Gordo, I'm going to slap you in the mouth with my d**k!!

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    Nowwhat? Says:
    146

    Get those people back in here! Turn those machines back on!

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    Fandango Says:
    147

    I think Sarah Mclachlan lives in BC. Michael J. Fox moved away decades ago and Ryan Reynolds many years ago. Not sure about the others. Why couldn’t they at least use people that actually LIVE here? It’s embarrassing. You’ve got to be here, but to make a living you have to be in LA? WTF?

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    148

    John Furlong is trying to speak French! PLEASE make it stop!

    He greeted the Prime Minister of Provence (southern France), among other gaffes.

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    KoreanPatrick Says:
    149

    @Patrick:

    The comments patrick is making is from total ignorance and racism.

    You probably are some kind of sick loser who doesn't have any respect to other races. Koreans hate Canadians???

    If so, please give me your rationales why more than 30,000 young Canadians applying working visa to teach English in Korea every year? Canadians are coming into Korea to earn decent wages and new opportunities because they are treated very well. I myself is Korean and choose to immigrate here 16 years ago because I love the beautiful nature Canada has offered. And by the way, speed skating or any other winter sports are NOT natioanl sports in Korea. They have very short winter and only one long track speed skating venue in whole country. Only One!!! Even national team members are allowed 2 hours a day 5 days a week in the venue to practice. Their national sports are Taekowndo, Soccer,Golf and Baseball. Just go check the last Summer Olympic stats(won Gold medal in Baseball even though they had to play against Major league players).If you are golfer you will notice alot of Koreans in golf courses.They have many world class golfers including Antony Kim, Michelle Wie, Y.E. Yang, KY Choi, etc. They only have 15-20 long track speed skaters, less than 50 short track speed skaters,2 figure skaters(including Yu na Kim who won the gold medal in Vancouver Olympics. Why Yu Na Kim has to train in Toronto with Brian oser? No indoor venue for her to train!!!

    Government support is almost non-existent. Korean Government is not allowed to use tax payers money to specific sports or ahtlete. Koreans pay very little income tax because tax from the big corporation is huge. Have you noticed many visiting students from Korea? Some companies even pays your child's University education to secure workers. Samsung alone hires 2 million people world wide and they have many companies like that.Big korean companies like Samsung or Hyundai are sponsoring elite athletes like Yu Na Kim but there was no support for the Long track speed skaters who won the Gold medals. Canadian winter sports athletes are blessed with world class facilites and support.

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    aw, i don;t know – the bits involving the russians have been quite classy….

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    Anonymous Says:
    151

    It’s an episode of ‘This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ or ‘ Wayne and Shuster ‘

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [...] February 2010 · Leave a Comment This response to Froogle Scott Chronicles Part 5 from space889 at vancouvercondo.info 26 Feb 2010 10:52 am [...]

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    patriotz patriotz Says:
    153

    @bestplaceonmeth:

    Have to say that what the dancing Mounties, etc. reminded me of more than anything else was "Springtime for Hitler".

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    patriotz patriotz Says:
    154

    @Anonymous:

    Unfortunately the real rate of inflation was obfuscated throughout the ’80s and ’90s by things like the ‘hedonistic adjustments’ and ‘owner equivalent rent’

    You mean the statisticians managed to fool the bond markets? Things have kept getting more expensive just like in the 70's? I don't think so.

    As for rent, it's a plain fact that it's not going anywhere, and that's the largest component of CPI by far.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Drachen Says:
    155

    @grandmaster GY:

    "I worked in Germany and Canada with similar salaries (above avg but not major) and taxes are pretty much the same…"

    My wife is German, she paid 40% of her cheque to the government when she was working there, even the highest tax brackets pay less than that here. I don't know what you're thinking about.

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    space889 Says:
    156

    @patriotz: As I said, taste is subjective. You think Chinese have bad tastes because they prefer Vancouver Specials. Well I have news for you, they think you have bad tastes for preferring and willing to pay more for old character houses over a more functionally laid out, easy to maintain Vancouver Special. So it's all subjective.

    Don't mean to be mean here but there are lots of mainland Chinese who thinks large areas of Vancouver looks like a poor rural village. Would you tell them that they are all wrong and stupid and have no tastes because they don't agree with you?

    Either way for me personally I'm happy you think that way because that means the kind of houses I want to buy will also be 10% to 20% cheaper :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    space889 Says:
    157

    @Clarke: actually what happened in China is a lot more complicates than you appreciate and it is not as simple as Mao is a despot or hates traditional Chinese Culture. If anything, a bit part of drive to destroy tradition Chinese culture is to actually caste off things that ties China to the past and catches up/emulate what has made the West so powerful. So while you bemoan the loss of Chinese culture, consider that if the Europeans/Japan hasn't trashed and humuliated China so much in 1800s to early 1900s, China probably would not have changed so much as it did in the last 100 years and we would have maintained more of that culture you so loves and maybe the pigtails. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    grandmaster GY: Says:
    158

    @Drachen: well i paid roughly the same in Germany, maybe 2% more – maybe because I was married or maybe because it's a while back? Main point is though that it feels you get a lot more for the taxes you pay in Germany.

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