Wading Thru The Hype

April 30th, 2010

These are real HEADLINES:

Average house prices up at least 10 per cent in major Canadian markets
April 8, 2010 The Canadian Press

Record number of homes hit the market in March
April 15, 2010 Canadian Mortgage Broker News

Luxury homes sales through the roof as buyers seek stable investment
April 27, 2010 Globe and Mail

Why there are growing fears of housing bubble in Canada
April 27,2010 Globe and Mail

What's behind Canada's economic miracle? Housing
April 28, 2010 Globe and Mail

Real estate market showing housing bubble signs: report
April 28, 2010 Toronto Sun

GDP up for sixth month in February
April 20, 2010 Ottawa Business Journal

Gloom or Boom?

Recently the Bank of Canada was quoted as expecting the real estate market to cool down in 2011... but then, this might be taken out of context as, apparently, it was a comment made in reference to money pumped into renovations. Incidentally, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has been named the 21st most influential person by the prestigious Time magazine.

According to a report from investment firm Edward Jones, "Canadian investors should prepare for the possible impact of a housing downturn on the economy," said the report. "Investors with well-diversified portfolios may need to take no action, but those considering additional real estate investments should be cautious."

A recent ReMax report entitled “Upper End 2010” cites improved economic performance, increased personal wealth, immigration and foreign investment as catalysts in the sales surge in the luxury home category. The most active buyers so far this year have been business executives, entrepreneurs and professionals and vice-president, Michael Polzer, of RE/MAX in the Ontario-Atlantic region says he is optimistic about real estate sales at every level.

Looking at the slow but steady recovery of economies in the United States and United Kingdom, Polzer also said, "As those much larger economies continue to improve slowly and cautiously, that will help us, so is there a real estate bubble? I think it's unlikely, given the other circumstances at play."

David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates noted that Canada did not see as dramatic a bubble in housing and credit as that in the United States. “But maybe Canada experienced its bubble in the past year instead.”

A report by the Conference Board of Canada states that real estate sales and prices are expected to continue rising in most Canadian cities, including Greater Sudbury, for the foreseeable future.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld says that Bank of Canada's analysis of the country's economic performance is unreliable and suggests it may be overestimating the potential threat from inflation and is too ready to begin raising interest rate.

You don’t say?

The Bank of Canada’s own website: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/indinf.html states:
The Bank of Canada monitors a wide range of indicators in assessing the extent of pressures on capacity and inflation. The Bank's conventional estimate of the output gap provides an overall assessment of the degree of slack in the economy, but this estimate is subject to considerable uncertainty. This uncertainty is addressed by considering a wide range of indicators in various markets. Many of these indicators are derived from data published by Statistics Canada, but some reflect information gathered by the Bank's regional representatives as well as by various outside sources.

Often articles site facts and data gained by sources that relate to the real estate industry in very particular sector- one far different than the segment of traditional family home or personal use recreational property purchasers. Headlines catch our eye, but understanding which market is being discussed is essential to wading through the hype.

The Ontario real estate industry has flourished in the past few years and has become one of the top profit churning markets in the world. With the social and economic stability of the province, not to mention its booming population and continued financial growth, investing in real estate here is still a good choice from many different perspectives.

After consulting a mortgage professional to determine a comfortable purchase amount, you do want to make a wise and profitable investment, however when it comes to your home or your recreational property, you realize it is where you will share time with family, celebrate occasions, teach children to ride a bicycle or swim. The property then, becomes more than just a piece of real estate. Buying a home or recreational property is a lot more than an investment...

And... there are just as many reasons that a property is put up for sale.

It’s true, a number of older cottage owners, many who own their properties outright, are selling to younger purchasers with families and some American cottage owners in Canada are cashing out of the market, because of their economic circumstances at home. However, there aren’t many desperation sales.

Much of the activity in the marketplace today has to do with the mindset of individuals who have a commitment to lifestyle remains a priority ahead of the actual investment aspect of a purchase. More than a simple transaction to these Buyers, owning a recreational property is a demonstration of their dedication to family and balance- and while these folks are prepared to spend their hard-earned dollars on recreational properties, at the end of the day, they do want to know that they’ve negotiated the best deal possible.

A well-informed Buyer and/or Seller will find it quite easy to make a good, comfortable deal. & it’s still considered one of the safest investments there is.

Low ball offers are on the decline. Thank goodness. They are seldom met with success and, in fact, often result in tougher negotiations and multiple sign backs. Buyers who are serious tend to find out-the hard way- that Sellers are serious too. As a result, the sales-to-list ratio remains relatively high in most recreational property markets across the country. And so, the real estate market, at the family home or recreational buyer and seller level is perking along.

Yes, gone is the classic market mania that occurs when people believe the real estate market is the only place to make money. Instead, people have moved up their purchases to take advantage of pre-approved mortgages with interest rates that remain quite low.

Blowing Kisses... a message for Bret Michaels

April 27th, 2010

Hold on to the thread, my friend. Remember the gentle spring breeze...remember the past... remember blowing kisses....

trust... and remember... it comes back... float back.

Rocks & Things

April 16th, 2010

This is the perfect time of year for rock hounding. The snow is almost ALL gone and the trees are still mostly bare. I’ve got the itch... and the bugs aren't out yet!

I have a huge collection of rocks that I’ve collected over the years... and I’ve had to move them, a number of times. Still, they are like old friends and I will miss them when I move from this house, as I plan to somehow include them in the landscaping, lakeside.

Bancroft is a haven for rocks and minerals. Styling itself, since the 60s, as the Mineral Capital of Canada, it’s been said that:

1/ 80% of Canada’s minerals can be found in the 60 km radius around Bancroft
2/ 90 percent of the world's mineral content can be found in Bancroft's Ontario Canada
3/ Ancient mineral deposits around Bancroft, from the long-gone Grenville Mountain range, give the area a special energy (The early Mesoproterozoic tectonic history of the southwestern Grenville Province, Ontario: Constraints from geochemistry and geochronology of high-grade gneisses)

The Grenville province represents a virtually unique window into the roots of a Precambrian mountain belt. The Bancroft/North Hastings region lies within the Grenville Structural Province of the Canadian Shield, a northwesterly trending belt, roughly 400 kilometres wide and 2,000 kilometres long, extending from Lake Huron to the Labrador coast. The rock beneath Bancroft is between 1.1 and 1.8 billion years old, and has been subject to volcanic activity, glacial scouring, extreme heat and pressure, and intense faulting and folding. The Grenville Province can be subdivided into separate areas or terranes, which exhibit certain characteristics (type of rocks, degree of metamorphism). The Bancroft area consists of deformed carbonate metasedimentary rocks, a minor amount of volcanic rock, and a distinctive suite of nepheline syenites, syenites, as well as, skarn pyroxenites, calcite cored veins, and uranium-bearing nepheline rocks.

Mining was carried out on a limited scale, between 1880 and 1935, primarily as open cuts and quarries.

Sodalite was discovered in 1891 at a deposit near Bancroft, Ontario by Frank Adams, while he was studying the geology of the Haliburton-Hastings area for the ‘Geological Survey of Canada’. The mineral,a beautiful dark blue color, is very popular. It is used in jewellery and carving.

The Duke & Duchess of Cornwall visited Bancroft in 1901 and were presented with samples of minerals including a piece of sodalite from Bancroft. In 1905 the Duchess expressed a desire to use sodalite to decorate her home, The Marlborough House. When the order was received from London in 1906, the Duke & Duchess had been created the "Prince & Princess of Wales" (the future King George V and Queen Mary).

Sodalite also occurs as a minor constituent in the mineral aggregate lapis lazuli. It is believed to possess serious metaphysical and healing properties. Sodalite is said to increase one's confidence and to enhance creativity, and to have a balancing effect on one's emotions and mental state. It is claimed to alleviate fear and bring clarity of mind and is a good stone for Psychic Protection. Sodalite is believed to strengthen the metabolism and lymphatic system. It is also said to enhance self expression and communication, to eliminate confusion, bring peace and to facilitate spiritual growth. It also cleanses the aura. It soothes and calms inflammations.

This mineral is said -like it's sister stone Lapis Lazuli- to benefit the higher self. In particular, sodalite is said to help prevent diabetes and is useful in the treatment of digestive system disorders, balance the metabolism, boost the immune system and overcome calcium deficiencies. It combats radiation damage by soaking up electromagnetic smog. Sodalite treats the throat, vocal cords, larynx and helps with hoarseness and digestive disorders. It cools fevers, lowers blood pressure and stimulates the absorption of body fluids. Sodalite can also help to prevent insomnia.

Sodalite fuels your creative processes and enhances wisdom. It also helps one make clear rational, logical decisions. Sodalite helps one to speak their truth in a way others can understand. It is recommended you use this stone if doing presentations in a business environment.

As a elixir it helps to give one self confidence. It also helps fight lymphatic cancer. One may use the this elixir as a salve to treat inflammations.

Sodalite may be used for massage in sphere, egg or wand form.

Sodalite Associations:
Chakras - Throat Chakra, Third Eye Chakra
Zodiac - Sagittarius
Planet – Moon
Element – Water & Air
Typical colours - Rich royal blue: mottled with white veins or patches
Vibrates to #4

Oh yes, oh yes... it’s time to put my gear in the truck... that well-worn leather bag... loaded with sturdy shoes, long pants, a hat, a couple of bottles of water, granola bars, safety glasses, chisels, hammers, containers, bug juice and my trusty mineral guide.

As always, I’m looking forward to the civic weekend, July 29, 30, 31st, and August 1st for the 47th Annual Rockhound Gemboree. It was chosen as one of the top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario for 2010. I never miss it!

November 3, 2011 I just got this email:

Hello Jody!

I've just read your Blog on Sodalite and it is the best I've seen with more perspectives that I did not know about the Bancroft area. I'm a "rock guy" (and a sculptor, writer, green energy efficient architectural coatings expert) in California near San Francisco. I've got several pieces of the stone and love it as a hand piece. It's one of the most calming and rich stones. I like it as much as beach Jade, which is saying a lot, as that is in category of it's own. However I have got it in my mind to find gemmy, translucent, even colored, (like Calcedony) "Princess Blue" Sodalite like I saw in one of the gem books. It a color that speaks to my being. I am fascinated by it and it does not seem to be what most people associate with the stone.

In your experience, does such a thing really exist up there and if so, so you know anyone who sells it, or cabs it for sale for jewelry or tumbling?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes for a great day


Cheating Hearts

April 15th, 2010

This isn't anything new... infidelity has been written about in literature for many centuries. From the classic plays of William Shakespeare, to the modern works of Arthur Miller and more recent studies, like the 1992 movie "Basic Instinct"... and 2009's "Couples Retreat" to name just two!

Tiger & Elin Woods

“For weeks now there have been rumours that Tiger Woods and Elin might reconcile and save their marriage. It was believed by going to sex rehab Tiger had done just enough to keep his family together. But sources have told me that the marriage is indeed over," says news correspondent Kevin Frazier.

When ex-NYPD Blue actress, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon recently discovered that her husband of nearly nine years has been cheating on her, emailed Mike Nilon's colleagues at LA's Creative Artists Agency saying, “I found out today that my husband of almost nine years has been having an affair of 5 years with some slut in Chicago. I am devastated. And I have been duped!”

Radar online has reported Oscar winning actress Sandra Bullock is preparing to serve cheating husband Jesse James divorce papers.

Jesse James & Sandra Bullock

Brooke Mueller could be fed up with the problems which keep hitting her marriage with Charlie Sheen that she is said wanting to end it. The mother of two reportedly plans to file for divorce to her husband after learning that he has an affair with a lingerie model while he is supposed to be in rehab treatment.

Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole announced that she is splitting from husband and footballer Ashley Cole after reports of him cheating on her with five women surfaced in February.

Luann de Lesseps, from The Real Housewives, will be divorcing with her cheating husband.

Larry King’s marriage has:
“reportedly crumbled after Southwick (wife Shawn Southwick) accused King of having an affair with her younger sister, Shannon Engemann.”

Singer Cheryl Cole has been estranged from her husband (Ashley Cole) after learning that he was cheating on her.

Divorce documents allege that:
Bruce Springsteen has been involved in an affair with a married woman.

Amid claims that Rebecca Hall was the reason behind the split of Sam and Kate, friends and representatives of both Rebecca Hall and Sam Mendes have rubbished the rumours.

Lenny Henry and (The Vicar of Dibley)Dawn French have revealed they are to split after 25 years of marriage - The stars have faced questions over their marriage since 1999, when Lenny was accused of cheating on Dawn with an Australian receptionist.

Tiki Barber

Sports broadcaster Tiki Barber and wife of 11 years Ginny Barber announced their seperation this week. Ginny is eight months pregnant with their third child. According to a new report by the New York Post, Barber split with his wife to pursue a romance with a former NBC intern named Traci Lynn Johnson.

Reggie Bush has denied claims that he was unfaithful to Kim Kardashian.

Billy Crudup Walked out on seven-months-pregnant Mary-Louise Parker to date Claire Danes.
Jude Law His relationship with Sienna Miller came to an abrupt end when news leaked that he was putting the moves on his kids' nanny.
Jon Gosselin News of Gosselin's alleged infidelities busted up his marriage to the mother of his eight children, Kate, and put an abrupt end to his reality TV career.

David Letterman The "Late Night" host was forced to out his affair with staffer Stephanie Birkitt after her boyfriend tried to extort $2 million with threats to take the relationship public.
Brad Pitt Pitt reportedly "fell in love" with Angelina Jolie on the set of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," before leaving then-wife Jennifer Aniston.
Ryan Phillippe Phillippe and co-star Abbie Cornish started seeing each other in 2006 on the set of "Stop-Loss" while he was still married to Reese Witherspoon.

Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant Cheated on then-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley in 1995 with prostitute Divine Brown.
Eric Benet Benet blamed sex addiction for cheating on then-wife Halle Berry in 2002.

Jenny Sanford’s divorce from Gov. Mark Sanford became final last month. The pair split after the governor disappeared last June and returned to publicly reveal he had been carrying on an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman.

Former presidential candidate (John) Edwards admitted in January that he is the girl's father after initially denying it. He and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards , are now separated.


Multi-platinum R&B crooner, Usher, has released an album in which he:
implies that his own lies and infidelity led to divorcing the love of his life (Tameka Foster Raymond) and ending a two-year marriage

Boyband member, Mark Owen (of Take That) has entered rehab for “infidelity and issues with alcohol”.

Hong Kong actress Myolie Wu has been plagued by rumours that her boyfriend, fellow actor Bosco Wong has been straying.

Carl Paladino

Millionaire governor wanna-be Carl Paladino reveals he fathered a child out of wedlock.

Toronto Transit Commission chair, Adam Giambrone, admitted cheating on his long-time live-in girlfriend with multiple women.

Chef Gordon Ramsay is said to have cheated on his devoted wife, Tana, for years.

Chef Ramsay

Uma Thurman- Ethan Hawke... Scarlett Johansson- Josh Hartnett... Paris Hilton- Nick Carter... Sienna Miller- Jude Law.... Hillary-Bill.... oh there are MORE!!!!

And I read this, too:

John Tesh and Oprah Winfrey allegedly had a love affair before she was involved with Stedman Graham... now, they weren’t married to others at the time but still...

Tesh apparently abandoned Winfrey in the middle of the night after succumbing to "social pressures" that caused tension in their relationship.

John Tesh & Oprah Winfrey

"He said one night he looked down and saw his white body next to her black body and couldn't take it anymore," a Tesh ex told Kelley in the book, the Daily News reports. "He walked out in the middle of the night . . . He told me later he felt very guilty about it."

Hugh Hefner and girlfriends

My favourite comments, though, are these quotes from Hugh Hefner (c/o wwtdd.com)

on Jesse James (cheating husband of Sandra Bullock):

“When you get married, you make a commitment. I had a lot of girlfriends, but it’s not the same as cheating. I don’t cheat. I am very open about what I do . . . Sandra Bullock’s husband looks like a real creep. I think that when you are in a relationship, you should be honest. The real immorality of infidelity is the lying.”

On Woods:

“... this whole idea that it’s a sex addiction is a copout. Some people become obsessed with sex, but it’s not like an alcohol or drug addiction. He did it because he could get away with it.”

Missing Children

April 13th, 2010

I’m listening to voices in the background, on t.v. (I confess, at times I’m occasionally drawn into the electric circus)... and I’m hearing about the St. John’s River, in Florida... and Haleigh Cummings... and Cousin Joe... and I’m thinking...

Something happened... and there’s a whole bunch of North Amercian humanity that has lost their minds with drugs... and they’re so sick, they’re sacrificing their own babies... and the rest of us just don’t want to believe it...

So we think it’s enough to sneer and judge and say they’re scum...
Why didn’t we fight for the children the first time we thought it?

Rest in peace, little angel.