Greetings from a balmy Toronto. Feels like a Vancouver winter out here this week.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

I think I'll gaze into my crystal ball here and make a few predictions for 2004 - why not, everyone else is doing it.

Prime Minister: Martin (duh)
U.S. President: Bush (no need for a recount this time)
Dow Jones on 12/31/04: 9175
Best Picture Oscar: Return of the King
Stanley Cup Champion: Devils (again)
Kobe: Not Guilty
Jay's kid: Girl

If you disagree or have a prediction in another category - leave a comment.


I have something for everyone today, but first things first...

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last! Yes, my first semester at Rotman is in the rearview mirror and the time has come to let slack reign. I've got the next two weeks to pursue any and all of the following activities: Movies, TV, alcoholic beverages, blogging, reading non-textbooks, working on my spelling, exercise and sleep.

I got a start on the first activity today as I got the chance to see Return of the King.

As you can see it rates a full five thistles out of a possible five - I simply cannot heap enough praise on this movie. It is the most visually stunning movie ever, hands down. The battle of Pelennor Fields makes Helms deep look like a tea party, Shelob the spider is awesome and Minas Tirith was just dazzling as well. All the performances were good, but I particularly liked Sean Astin as Sam and Billy Boyd as Pippin. I think also that the theatre I saw RoTK in must have been extremely dusty, because by the end I definitely had something in my eyes, as they were emitting some kind of salty discharge. And I'm not the kind of guy who normally gets dust in his eyes during movies. Just go see this movie. The only problem with seeing it so close to the release date is the geek factor. The bottom section of the screen was almost completely obstructed by people in front of me wearing tall, pointy wizard hats.

I am now rereading Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life by Nassim Taleb. This is one of my all time favorite books on the markets, and was sorely due to be reviewed. I recommend this to any and all TAMLers who are interested in securities markets or in probability. Taleb explains with great wit how to tell the difference between being lucky and being good. Great stuff, and yes, I do consider books as a part of pop culture.

I'm really on a roll recommending things here, so I'll keep it going by sharing some of my favorite blogs with you all. Check out Little Green Footballs for the truth about what's going on in the Middle East, and straight-shooting insight into politics and current events. Read Megan (aka Jane Galt) on Asymmetric Information for economics, satire and social commentary. For lighter fare, the busblog is the most entertaining blog on the net - and Tony Pierce (The King of Bloggers) proves you can use a blog as a way to get laid. Honourable mentions to Vodkapundit and, even though he isn't a blogger strictly speaking, Walter Williams. Gotta love Walter, there's no way he would get away with what he says if he weren't Black.

Here's an interesting item I came across today (with all this free time on my hands). The Bartman Ball has been auctioned off in Chicago, and it fetched over a hundred grand.

The word is the ball has been purchased by a coalition of Cubs fans who plan to destroy it in some bizarre public ceremony in an attempt to lift "the curse" from the Cubs franchise who have not won the World Series since 1901. Good luck with that. I can't believe these people can't find a better use for their money with so many people hungry and homeless at Christmastime.

On a more upbeat note, the TAML intern stationed at our Chrome Bolt bureau brings back word this week that Detroit Jay is going to be a father. Big, big, big congratulations to Jay and to Kaori. Man, that is going to be one cool kid. (S)he'll be the only one in the class whose Dad has more toys and comic books that (s)he does.

And finally this week, although there have been requests, no recap is available for Dave's stag last weekend.


Just a quick post today as I am in the midst of second quarter exams. I can honestly say I've never worked so hard at anything in my life. On the upside the holiday break is now within shouting distance. Next week second quarter concludes with the case competition for first year students. We are put in teams (they just love putting us in teams) and we get 24 hours to analyze a business strategy case, make a 15 minute presentation on it, and hopefully keep our sanity in the process. The case comp is being judged by CEOs, CFOs and assorted other business dignitaries in Toronto - just the kind of folks it would be nice to make an impression on as we head into recruiting season for summer jobs.

On the pop-culture front, today's recommendation in the category of television is Kenny vs. Spenny. With the exception of Hockey Night in Canada, this has to be the most entertaining thing on Canadian television today. Kenny has been dominating lately, so it was nice to see Kenny win for a change yesterday. Check it out - trust me.

This Saturday is the bachelor party of one of my old Brazilian travelling companions - Dave Taite. A few of us boys are taking him out for one last caipirinia - just for old times' sake.

Saude! Dave