Happy thanksgiving to our Canadian readers,
Being Canadian, but not having lived there for nearly a decade, I still decided I deserved at least a half-day off today. And since the Canadian stock markets, home to many of our stocks, were closed I assured myself that I wasn’t going to miss much.
I decided to spend a lazy afternoon watching some Canadian football (Canadian satellite HDTV is receivable as far south as Nicaragua). Most people around the world don’t even know Canada has its own brand of football. And those in the US always seem to think that the Canadian Football League (CFL) is just a minor league of football below the National Football League (NFL).
But that isn’t really the case. Canadian football is dramatically different than American football. So much so that many bigtime NFL stars come up to Canada and they barely make any impact. The most recent was Ricky Williams who was banned from the NFL for the heinous act of smoking a plant that makes you giggle and get the munchies – something humans have enjoyed for millenia.
He played the 2006 season for the Toronto Argonauts. In the 11 games that he played during the 2006 CFL regular season, Williams rushed 109 times for 526 yards, scoring two touchdowns, with a long run of 35 yards. He caught 19 passes for 127 yards.
Those that follow American football will note he averaged about 5 yards per carry, which would be unheard of in the NFL. But in Canadian football there are only 3 downs, so getting an average of 5 yards per carry just gets you a first down. Canadian running backs almost always average more than 5 yards per carry, usually around 6-7 yards. So, in this case, Ricky was subpar.
Canadian football is also played on a much larger field and there are 12 men per side, not 11. This plus a multitude of other differences means that the game is much more of a passing game. And when it is a running game it is far less likely to be the US style straight forward for 3 yards kind of grind. A Canadian football running back needs to be able to run laterally almost as well as he runs north-south. The Canadian field is 65 yards wide (as opposed to 53) and usually results in wide open lateral runs. As well, since the field is so much bigger the game is more conducive to quick, fast players rather than the behemoths that play the American game.
I have always loved football, having played a bit as a wide receiver and having played all my life in parking lots and fields with my friends during the summer when ice hockey was put on hold. And after years of watching both the American game and the Canadian game, I can confidently state that the Canadian game is much, much more exciting than the American game. In fact, if you get used to watching the CFL it becomes hard to watch the NFL.
Want an example? In today’s game between the hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC (Vancouver) Lions, BC was up by a score of 32-11 in the 4th quarter. They were so confident that the game was in hand they even put in their backup quarterback. But after a series of tremendous runs, catches and kick returns Winnipeg tied the game up with a field goal with no time left in regulation. The game went into the 4th period of overtime when Winnipeg intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown to win the game! Here was one fan’s cell phone recording of the atmosphere in the stadium as Winnipeg returned the interception back to win the game:
And here are some of the top plays in the CFL this season so far:
And so, I spent Canadian thanksgiving on the beach in Acapulco watching Canadian football.
Speaking of Canadian thanksgiving, the next time you run into a Canadian at this time of year and they say, “Happy Thanksgiving”, ask them what the Canadian thanksgiving holiday represents. You will likely get a wide array of answers but not one in 1,000 will actually know the story behind how the holiday began.
The history of Thanksgiving in Canada, according to Wikipedia, goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest passage. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey.
So, the next time a Canadian wishes you a happy thanksgiving you can respond, “Yes, happy thanksgiving to you! Thank goodness Martin Frobisher didn’t die trying to find the Northwest passage!”
The G7 Accomplished Not Too Much
Ed Bugos commented last week that he wasn’t “expecting miracles” from the G7 and basically stated that he did not expect them to come up with any grand new plans to find a way to keep the US dollar based financial system from collapsing.
And he was spot on. Nothing came of the meeting and it appears the same will likely be the case for the upcoming G20 Summit in Seoul on November 16-17. As a sidenote, who picks the locations for these G20 meetings? You would think they might want to hold it somewhere fairly unpopulated and secluded. And maybe somewhere not known for regularly having rioters battle the police with molotov cocktails – hint: not Seoul!
Speaking of the G20 and protests/riots, check out this excellent documentary on the recent G20 meeting in Toronto which turned into all-out chaos:
But, in the end, this non-action by the G7 is bullish for gold. First, it shows that there is nothing to fear from a “coordinated” intervention, since there’s no agreement. So if ahead of the G7 people thought that an agreement was likely, the fact that it doesn’t look even possible must be bearish for the US dollar and therefore bullish for gold.
If anyone thought otherwise, or thought that the dollar devaluation was deliberate or under control, this news will undermine their confidence. Moreover, if the currency pressures continue overseas the vocals will get turned up on these tensions.
These are all bullish for the argument favoring a return to gold, and for the demand to hold gold as a reserve asset in the interim. Agreement amongst the worlds financial and central banking powers is generally bearish for gold and disagreement is bullish.
Considering that the biggest concensus to come out of the meeting was that “excessive foreign exchange movements are undesirable“, it hardly looks like the powers-that-be are anywhere near any sort of grand plan or scheme to keep this fiat system propped up a little longer.
And so, we remain very comfortable with all of our current positions and Ed Bugos is hard at work finishing his due dilligence on our next junior gold stock recommendation of a special situation wherein unmet expectations resulted in this stock selling off from a high near $14 a year ago to $7 today, a level that Ed Bugos believes is very undervalued. That report will be going out to full subscribers (subscribe today to receive) later this week.
Until then, have a great Frobisher-didn’t-die day,