Great Canadian Gaming Corp (GC-T) Quote - The Globe and Mail

Gamehost (TSX: GH)

I wanted to share with the group some due diligence and speculation I have done around Gamehost (TSX: GH). I want to start by saying that this is not a situation where you urgently need to buy this right now and ride up a wave, there will be no rocket ships on this post and I strongly encourage you to perform your own due diligence and see if you want to buy this stock. This is an extremely low volume stock and if you rush to buy it, the price will go up far past the supply of sellers. I do not intend to pump this but only to get critique.
Gamehost is an owner and operator of 3 casinos located in Alberta, 2 hotels in Grande Prairie and a retail store rented to a liquor store near one of the casinos. The 3 casinos are: Boomtown Casino in Fort McMurray, The Great Northern Casino in Grande Prairie and the Deerfoot Inn and Casino in Calgary which they own 91% of currently.
As you probably guessed by these locations, the casinos are cyclical and make a lot of money when oil prices are up and go through downturns when prices are low and projects stop. All 3 casinos are not destination type casinos like you would find in Las Vegas where people come from all around to visit, but are very reliant on their local communities. The Boomtown Casino is the only casino in Fort McMurray and the Great Northern Casino is the only proper casino in Grande Prairie with a much smaller limited one in town. The Deerfoot Inn and Casino is 1 of 7 (yes, 7!) casinos in the Calgary area. It primarily focuses on the Southeastern portion of the city and the surrounding suburbs and still serves a market of about 200,000 people in just that area. All 3 casinos are also very focused on live events and have become gathering points for live events and nights out for their communities.
Although all 3 casinos have been affected by oil downturns all 3 communities they serve have much higher median income than the country as a whole. The casinos have remained profitable throughout the entirety of the oil downturn and despite a dividend cut in 2016 they have still paid a consistently strong dividend until the COVID-19 pandemic (more on this later). Grande Prairie’s economy is more focused on natural gas extraction which has been consistently profitable. Calgary as a major city does have a diversified economy as well which leaves just Fort McMurray to be the lone straggler in dealing with oil prices. No new casinos have been built in Alberta since 2006, which has left people still coming to the doors of the casinos regardless of the economy. All three cities have seen consistent population growth greater than 10% from 2016 according to Statistics Canada’s estimates which is far greater than the national average. People are still coming to these cities and are still making a fairly high wage compared to the average Canadian.
The second thing that has likely come to your mind is why casinos when they have been shut down during the pandemic? As the vaccine is currently being implemented the orders will not last forever. When the casinos have been opened even with reduced services, they have remained profitable and the management has responded by using the pandemic as an opportunity. They have been consistently buying back thousands of shares every day and cancelling them. If you look at their SEDAR profile you can see that they have not missed a single day to cancel at least 2,000 shares per day. Since the company had 24.5 million shares issued, they have bought back about 1-2% of the float so far which has made the stock even harder to buy on the open markets due to the lack of volume. They have also been approved to expand the operations of the Deerfoot Inn and Casino which should be completed by the summer. The insiders have followed by accumulating many shares in their personal accounts over this period of weakness.
In the third quarter of 2020 the company posted EPS of 12 cents per share down from 16 cents a year ago. Revenue was down to $4.9 million from $6.7 million. This is with severe restrictions and limitations on the amount of people that can come in the casino and what they can do. All live events were cancelled, table games were restricted and yet the company was still making enough money to buy back significant shares and improve their existing assets. The management has essentially channelled the dividend into making the number of shares decrease in a time of strong price weakness.
There is interest in this space since the largest casino operator in the country Great Canadian Gaming was acquired recently for almost double what they were trading for in the spring. Private equity firms have been looking into casinos as a post-recovery play. Unlike companies in airlines or movie theatres, these do not have significant issues staying profitable during intense downturns, they only become less profitable with a sudden surge afterwards.
I am speculatively buying this stock on the idea that as COVID-19 restrictions are gradually lifted there will be an awkward window where people will be back almost to normal within Canada and will have a strong urge to go out and do activities that they have been restricted from doing for months. At the same time they will be unable to travel internationally due to different countries having different vaccination schedules, planes still operating at reduced capacity with many airlines being in trouble and governments being reluctant to remove limitations abroad. This will significantly bring business to casinos and other live event focused businesses within Canada. I anticipate that in the 12 months past restrictions being lifted that the business will see a significant bump in EPS. They will reinstate the dividend and the share price will grow significantly. My personal price target is $12 per share but I could see it being anywhere from $10-$15 per share. This is without oil prices budging at all.
In the long-term the price will be cyclical based on oil prices unless they start diversifying geographically. It is extremely difficult to get a licence to open a casino, which leaves the company with the only option of acquiring other casinos. This is a possibility down the road but something I will look more into once I see a significant bump in EPS due to increased demand.
I do believe that in the current market with the price having barely recovered from the March lows, that the stock is a very good contrarian play in the 12-24 month range. Holding after that could potentially be risky depending on your own views on how the oil industry will play out and if the management has what it takes to diversify. Online gambling is an even longer term threat but since these casinos are focused on live events and have become a staple of the communities that they are in, this is not likely to be a threat for some significant time.
Please let me know what you think, feel free to criticize. If you guys like my analysis I could do more on other small or mid cap companies. There have been a few I have kicked myself over missing.
submitted by Shoopshopship to CanadianInvestor [link] [comments]

Here is a Market Recap for today Friday, November 20, 2020. Please enjoy!

PsychoMarket Recap - Friday, November 20, 2020
Stocks fell Friday with market participants concerned at the lack of fiscal stimulus and the surge in coronavirus the last three weeks will make states reimpose restrictions that threaten to stall business activity in an already tenuous economy. An apparent dispute between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve also weighed on the minds of market participants.
In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said during a press conference that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) agreed to pick back up stimulus negotiations. However, given the tenuous political situation surrounding the presidential election and the gridlock that exists in the Senate (majority for the Senate is still undecided), it is highly unlikely that any form of stimulus is passed. For months, Congress and the White House went back and forth regarding stimulus but were unable to come to an agreement. In our opinion, it is highly unlikely that additional fiscal stimulus is granted until the presidential and senate elections are resolved conclusively.
Unfortunately, the surge in coronavirus cases shows no signs of slowing down. Yesterday, the US once again set another record high for new infections, hospitalizations. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, there were 187,800 new cases. That’s up 27% compared to last week and by far the most since the pandemic began. Data is trending in the wrong direction, with 44 out of 50 states reporting a 10% increase in new cases compared to last week. According to the COVID Tracking Project, there are around 80,700 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the US, also a new record. That’s an increase of 19.13% compared to last week. Saddest of all, there were more than 2,000 deaths due to the virus yesterday, the highest number since early May, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In an effort to combat the surge in cases, governors from both sides of the aisle have announced a variety of new restrictions. California’s governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state is “pulling the emergency brake” on reopening and reinstated broad restrictions throughout the state. In Iowa, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, who once dismissed coronavirus restrictions as "feel-good" measures, has abruptly reversed course, issuing the state's first mask mandate and limiting indoor gatherings. Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey announced additional restrictions that limit gatherings to household members. Indoor event spaces are also being ordered to shut-down or move outdoors. In Massachusetts, the governor announced a stay-at-home advisory. Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota are under state-wide mask mandate. These are just some of the examples, there are too many examples to list.
Despite the positive vaccine news from companies like Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) it is important to note that it takes time to establish global distribution networks. Widespread availability of a vaccine likely won’t happen until 2021, according to the estimates of experts. In the short-term, the surge in coronavirus cases and the fear of new restriction is driving volatility.
Highlights
“No pain, no gain.” - Unknown
submitted by psychotrader00 to StockMarket [link] [comments]

Great Canadian Gaming (GC:TO) buyout deal will collapse. Puts = Tendies

Ok retards,
I've been a lurker for a long time now but decided to pop that cherry for this post.
Apollo is buying Great Canadian Gaming (ticker GC on toronto stock exchange) for $39 per share. The stock went up to $39 on Nov 10 and they had their earnings call on Nov 11. *This is a dead deal. *
On this earnings call, the major shareholders on the line rejected this and you can hear it all in this recording. You should listen to it for entertainment because it gets ugly. Skip to 29:00 min for when the shareholders speak up. https://gcgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/Audio-file-Great-Canadian-Gaming-Corporation-Third-Quarter-2020-Results-2.mp3
Summary of why the investors are against it:
GC didn't run an auction process for this offer. This means that they did not go out to other parties to see if they could obtain a better offer. The CEO said they ran a process around 2 years ago but nothing recent.
Starting to see some light with casinos reopening and the vaccine news from the last few weeks. Selling now is practically selling at the bottom when things are just starting to turn around.
GC has been buying back shares over the last few years. Just a few months ago before covid hit, they were planning to buy back $500M of their shares at a value of 46 dollars which resulted in their share prices shooting up to 45 on February 10 - 11 when that news released. This means that the CEO does believe there is tremendous potential for this stock to grow in the future.
What we know
They will be having a shareholder vote for this deal on Dec 23. The two largest shareholders in the company have already announced that they will reject this deal if you just look at this article. https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/apollo-rebuffed-great-canadian-gaming-205759088.html
They own 31.5% in total. This does not count all the other investors that spoke up during the earnings call who all voiced their opposition to this deal.
Here is a video of an interview with another minority shareholder. Skip to 55 min to see him talk about what he has learned from other investors. Everyone he has talked to will reject this deal and he mentions that the combined ownership of these people is close to 50%. He also says that for the deal to go through there will need to be 65% of votes for it. From these numbers this is already a dead deal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdyEAe0rvn8&ab_channel=YetAnotherValueChannel
I don't think I need to say much more to this as you guys should already know what to do at this point. Put options on great canadian gaming expiring Jan 2021. These are going for cheap but beware that it is quite illiquid. If this thing crashes back to the 20s when the deal gets rejected, we can all expect a huge payday. Do your own DD.
TLDR; Buy GC puts expiring January 2021 because this deal will likely be rejected by the shareholders. My positions: GC 38p / 36p 1/15/2021
Edit: Formatting, because jerking off to this deal while posting is hard
submitted by potatopasttimes to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Special Situations Play

Special Situations Play
Fellow retards, I present to you a special situations play unfolding on a Canadian casino operator.
TL;DR-Great Canadian Gaming (GC- TSX) had an unsolicited bid by Apollo to take private, it’s going to be rejected due to the lack of process that was ran. Expect Apollo’s bid to be upped or they run a real process and multiple contenders come in. Given this April OTM calls offer a very strong risk-reward.
Great Canadian Gaming (GC- TSX) is a casino operator that is beaten up but in a healthy position to outlast the off and on closures with a vaccine on the way. They were trading in the mid 20’s and Apollo came in with an unsolicited bid for the company at $39.
This was presented just prior to the Q3 earnings and discussed with shareholders on the call.
On the Q2 earnings call the CEO was extremely bearish on their outlook causing the stop to drop into the 20’s. This despite the company having positive EBITDA due to the operating nature of casinos in Canada (Government reimbursements for CapEX, etc). This caused some to question when Apollo approached the company and if there are some nefarious dealings going on.
The vote is on December 23rd. Shareholders were vocal in the Q3 earnings call they were not taking this, they feel it's dramatically undervalued. Management wanted to take it despite having run no process for the company. There is a misalignment of incentives, minus the CEO board owns less than 0.5% of the stock and the CEO gets a $30m payday on his options if it goes through.
There is a strong risk-reward play in April OTM calls. Here are the scenarios for these calls to pay off.
  1. Apollo ups their bid
  2. Another contender comes in and starts a bidding war (Brookfield, the worlds second-largest asset manager is already a JV partner with GC on several casinos)
  3. The deal could fall through and no one else could show up to bid. With April calls if this deal falls through there is a good chance the stock recovers by then and is back in the 40’s as it was pre-covid. The pre-covid stock price was low for such a great company, they had a large amount of CapEx on the books from the construction of new casinos and they had not yet opened. Those casinos are now finished and all they have to do is open the doors.
It’s also worth noting that Canada is currently set to start receiving vaccine doses in January. The CEO has previously said the casinos are cash flow positive with just 50-60 patrons inside.
Here are some noteworthy moments from the Q3 earnings call.
Lastly, I feel this is a great opportunity, that does not present itself very often. But do you own DD, I am long GC.

https://preview.redd.it/41q4oa6gp7061.png?width=680&format=png&auto=webp&s=93dccd42d054aff791746a1d2908e60580bab55b
https://preview.redd.it/qsjqn1mep7061.png?width=666&format=png&auto=webp&s=09eb969467cb66454d1ae65a7eaaa69c38e35d18
https://preview.redd.it/cya7cr1cp7061.png?width=662&format=png&auto=webp&s=0c4f084230c99b6ff007989f5d42a82d370e6b12

https://preview.redd.it/qgqoaocap7061.png?width=685&format=png&auto=webp&s=6158d83a1b95aa4edca4a001c8249fd41cd68daf
submitted by dan670 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Here is a Market Recap for today Friday, November 20, 2020. Please enjoy!

PsychoMarket Recap - Friday, November 20, 2020
Stocks fell Friday with market participants concerned at the lack of fiscal stimulus and the surge in coronavirus the last three weeks will make states reimpose restrictions that threaten to stall business activity in an already tenuous economy. An apparent dispute between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve also weighed on the minds of market participants.
In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said during a press conference that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) agreed to pick back up stimulus negotiations. However, given the tenuous political situation surrounding the presidential election and the gridlock that exists in the Senate (majority for the Senate is still undecided), it is highly unlikely that any form of stimulus is passed. For months, Congress and the White House went back and forth regarding stimulus but were unable to come to an agreement. In our opinion, it is highly unlikely that additional fiscal stimulus is granted until the presidential and senate elections are resolved conclusively.
Unfortunately, the surge in coronavirus cases shows no signs of slowing down. Yesterday, the US once again set another record high for new infections, hospitalizations. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, there were 187,800 new cases. That’s up 27% compared to last week and by far the most since the pandemic began. Data is trending in the wrong direction, with 44 out of 50 states reporting a 10% increase in new cases compared to last week. According to the COVID Tracking Project, there are around 80,700 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the US, also a new record. That’s an increase of 19.13% compared to last week. Saddest of all, there were more than 2,000 deaths due to the virus yesterday, the highest number since early May, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In an effort to combat the surge in cases, governors from both sides of the aisle have announced a variety of new restrictions. California’s governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state is “pulling the emergency brake” on reopening and reinstated broad restrictions throughout the state. In Iowa, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, who once dismissed coronavirus restrictions as "feel-good" measures, has abruptly reversed course, issuing the state's first mask mandate and limiting indoor gatherings. Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey announced additional restrictions that limit gatherings to household members. Indoor event spaces are also being ordered to shut-down or move outdoors. In Massachusetts, the governor announced a stay-at-home advisory. Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota are under state-wide mask mandate. These are just some of the examples, there are too many examples to list.
Despite the positive vaccine news from companies like Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) it is important to note that it takes time to establish global distribution networks. Widespread availability of a vaccine likely won’t happen until 2021, according to the estimates of experts. In the short-term, the surge in coronavirus cases and the fear of new restriction is driving volatility.
Highlights
“No pain, no gain.” - Unknown
www.psychotrader00.com
submitted by psychotrader00 to RedditTickers [link] [comments]

Great Canadian Casino sold.

Good day PFC people. So I am an employee on the west coast of Great Canadian Casino. We were bought out by a company named Apollo last night. Our stocks were sold for $39 each. Which brings my stock today to about $25,000. What do I do sell and transfer to a TSFA. I have the room. Or do I keep the stock? Please help very confused thank you
submitted by islandcoffeegirl43 to PersonalFinanceCanada [link] [comments]

Blighty Bingo - free spins bonus & no deposit bonus code

Blighty Bingo - free spins bonus & no deposit bonus code

Blighty Bingo free bonus and no deposit codes
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submitted by freespinsbonus to u/freespinsbonus [link] [comments]

The three most played solitaire card games in the world

The three most played solitaire card games in the world
WHICH GAMES ARE THEY?
The main reason that traditional playing cards first spread across the world is due to their primary use: for playing card games. But you don't need others to play card games, courtesy of solitaire card games. These have existed for decades, going back as far as the 19th century. But there's no doubt that the arrival of the personal computer into office spaces and homes has had an enormous impact in introducing these classic games of patience to the masses, and in popularizing them.
Arguably the single biggest reason for this is Microsoft. Microsoft first began packaging a simple version of Klondike Solitaire with their operating systems with Windows 3.0, which was the third major release of Microsoft Windows, and came out in 1990. At the time, desktop computers had only just become a staple in homes and work-places. Part of the rationale for including a solitaire card game was to assist new users in learning how to use a mouse, and to help them become familiar with features like dragging and dropping, and the overall graphical interface of a personal computer. As Microsoft continued delivering new versions of their Windows operating system in later years, a couple of other solitaire card games were added, notably Spider and FreeCell.
This development single-handedly revolutionized office-culture around the world. It's a little known fact, but sources within Microsoft have stated that Solitaire is in fact the most used software program in the entire Microsoft family, even ahead of programs like Word and Excel. At the time, it even led to debates about whether introducing computers into the workplace would actually decrease productivity, due to real concerns that Microsoft Solitaire was leading to many hours of time wasted by employees.

https://preview.redd.it/yw9nk8tvdmc51.jpg?width=600&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=338bc8b84aaac968213494c002299ea9152872f3
What accounts for this tremendous success? First of all, digitizing what was already a popular game meant that it removed the practicalities and constraints involved in using a physical deck of cards. By eliminating the hassles of shuffling, dealing, and physically moving cards, and taking away the requirement for a reasonable amount of table space, all the book-keeping and tedious elements of the game were instantly eliminated. Now solitaire card games could be played much more quickly and easily.
Software versions also created new opportunities for the game that didn't previously exist. Digital implementations made it possible to record percentages of wins, best times, and win streaks, all of which give additional incentives to return to the game. They also made possible forms of the game that - for logistical reasons - would be difficult or impossible to play in real life with a physical deck. Digital versions of solitaire were also easier to learn, given the enforced rules, automated layouts, and instructional tutorials that typically accompanied them. And of course, solitaire has an addictive quality about it, given the inherent challenge of trying to win from a deal. Being able to easily and quickly play a game of digital solitaire makes it a highly attractive time-filler. Despite the advent of flashier and more impressive games, people keep returning to the simplicity of dragging cards around for a quick five or ten minute fix of Solitaire.
But this also explains how the three most played solitaire card games in the world accomplished this status. As Microsoft Windows was slowly conquering the world and asserting its monopoly on the global market of operating systems and personal computers, their versions of solitaire were the ones that became firmly established into homes and offices. So we have Microsoft to thank for making Klondike the solitaire game that nearly all of us are familiar with. For many people, this is the game that they identify "Solitaire" with.
With Microsoft adding Spider and FreeCell in later years, these two games were quickly adopted and became beloved by solitaire fans as well, causing them to leapfrog many other classic solitaire games in popularity, and make them the most commonly played versions of solitaire behind the evergreen Klondike. With the release of Windows 8 in 2012, this trilogy of titles was rebranded under the name "Microsoft Solitaire Collection", as part of an ad-supported freemium package that also included two new solitaire additions: Pyramid and TriPeaks.
While there are many other classic solitaire games that exist and are played around the world, in terms of the sheer number of games played, Microsoft's holy trinity of Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell unquestionably reigns supreme. As proof of its success, Microsoft Solitaire was inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2019, alongside other greats like Doom, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Super Mario Kart, World of Warcraft, and The Legend of Zelda. To get there, it had to meet criteria that included being widely known and remembered, having enduring popularity, and not only influencing other games but culture in general. It's estimated that it has been installed on over a billion devices, localized in 65 different languages, and is considered to be instrumental in paving the way for the growth of the casual game market.

https://preview.redd.it/x2473u9ydmc51.jpg?width=600&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=059922b3200f4e0d679ab3b8ed61ebc623a3857a
Of course today there are many more ways to enjoy these popular solitaire greats. Besides apps for your mobile device, all you need is a web browser, and sites like Solitaired.com enable you to play them for free online wherever you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. Besides dragging and dropping cards with the click of a mouse on your personal home or office computer, touch screens have only helped to increase the number of ways you can play solitaire, especially on mobile devices. So let's take a closer look at the three most popular solitaire card games.
KLONDIKE
Overview: Klondike is the solitaire game most of us will be familiar with from our personal computer, or that we've seen bored staff playing in the office. It's the quintessential solitaire card game that everybody should at least try once, and is the game most people have in mind when they think of "solitaire". Its name has its origin in the late nineteenth century gold rush in the Klondike part of the Canadian Yukon, where prospectors would play the game in order to help pass the time. It sometimes goes under other names like Canfield (in the UK), although this latter name is technically incorrect, and actually refers to a different solitaire game.
Game-play: Using a single deck, the aim is to arrange all 13 cards of each suit in a complete sequence from Ace through King. These sequences begin with the Ace as the foundation and build upwards, hence games like this are typically described as builder type solitaire games. Cards are placed in an area called the tableau, and the initial deal involves laying out seven piles, ranging from 1 to 7 cards on each, and with only the top card of each pile turned face up. These cards can then be arranged within the tableau by building downwards in alternating colours, and moved between columns to in order to access other cards. Only a King or column built down on a King can be transferred to a free space in the tableau. Unlike an open game where all the cards are visible and face-up from the start of the game, Klondike is an example of a closed game, because not all the cards are known, and slowly become revealed as you make them available.
Variations: The most common way of using the stock is to deal three cards at a time, but many people also play with an alternative rule in which you deal one card at a time, which is sometimes called Las Vegas Solitaire, and even played as a gambling game in some casinos. This gives you access to many more cards and increases your chances of completing the game successfully. To make the game harder, you can also limit the amount of passes through the deck to just three times, or only once.
My thoughts: Depending on which variation you're playing with and how many redeals you allow, a skilled player should be able to win standard game of Klondike nearly half of the time. It is very satisfying to finish a game and get all the cards onto the foundation, but be warned, because it's also very addictive! Once you're familiar with how the game works, you can polish off an entire game in as little as five minutes, making it an ideal choice for a casual game to keep returning to. It's also a game you can get better at, and for some excellent suggestions on improving your strategy, check out the article 7 Strategies to Win Solitaire.

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Related games: If you want an easier Klondike style game that you should be able to win nine times out of ten, try Westcliff, which has ten columns; or Thumb and Pouch. There's also the easier two deck version of Klondike called Double Klondike, as well as Gargantua and Harp; while the two deck game Lady Jane is even easier yet, and you should be able to win 99% of the time. If you enjoy Klondike and want to try similar games, variations worth trying include Agnes Bernauer and Agnes Sorel. Easthaven adds a tricky Spider-like method of dealing the stock, while Blind Alleys and the closely related Pas Seul use a 6x3 tableau.
Many other Klondike-inspired builder games exist which change more significant things about the game-play. One of the more popular ones is Yukon, in which the entire deck is dealt at the outset, and where you can move columns of cards even if the cards being moved aren't in sequence. This gives you easier access to cards, but the columns consist of more cards to begin with.
Two players: For a version of Klondike that enables you to play competitively with another player using two decks of cards, take a look at Double Solitaire. Players have their own deck and tableau, and the aim is to be the first to play all your cards to eight foundations piles which are shared. As well as turn-based play, this can also be turned into a real-time race game of frenzied simultaneous solitaire.
SPIDER
Overview: One of the two games that lurks most closely in Klondike's shadow is Spider. Along with FreeCell, it has risen into prominence courtesy of Microsoft Windows, and chances are good that you've seen a version of it on your home computer along with other common games like Chess, Minesweeper, Hearts, and Spades. It is said to be a favourite of president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many consider it to be the best solitaire game since it gives a lot of room to overcome the luck of the draw by skillful play, and comes with a good chance of winning the game. According to Gregory Trefry's Casual Game Design, by 2005 it had outstripped Klondike and become the most played game on computers that had Microsoft Windows, largely due the increased challenge it offers over the more luck-based Klondike.
Game-play: A game of Spider uses two decks of cards, and the game starts after dealing out 54 cards out in a tableau of ten piles. Like Klondike, the aim is to get cards of the same suit in order from Ace through King, but in this case there are no foundations. Columns of cards remain in the tableau until you line up a whole column of a suit in order, descending from King down through Ace, at which point they are removed from the game. Cards can be moved within the tableau in a somewhat similar fashion to Klondike, but whenever you need fresh cards, the 50 cards remaining in the stock are dealt out 10 at a time across the entire tableau.
Variations: In the standard form of the game, which is the hardest way to play, you play with all four suits, and while descending columns of alternating colours can be built, you can only move a stack if they are all of the same suit. This is generally considered the more Advanced form of the game, while an Intermediate form of Spider uses two suits and makes the gameplay easier by only using Spades and Hearts. The one suit game only uses cards from a single suit, and can be considered the beginner version, and serve as an excellent introduction to Spider. Officially all spaces in the tableau must be filled before dealing from the stock, but a more relaxed form of the game is possible by removing this requirement.
My thoughts: Unlike Klondike, in Spider all the building happens within the tableau, so that immediately gives it a different feel. Winning Spider, especially in its standard form, can prove quite a challenge. But it's also one of the best solitaire games in view of the analysis and skill it allows for. New players should begin with one suit Spider, and you can always progress to the more difficult and strategic versions later. Single suit Spider is easily winnable most of the time, and is a more relaxing way to play. But even an easier game of Spider will take two or three times as long as a game of Klondike. While taking longer to play, it gives more room for skill and thoughtful play, and comes with the reward of increased chances of completing the game successfully. Microsoft's versions of Spider incorporated a scoring system, so that players could use "undo" in order to discover hidden cards and use this to determine their choices, but with a small point penalty.

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Related games: Given the popularity and success of Spider, many other solitaire games exist that take over its basic concept, such as Mrs Mop, which has all the cards dealt face-up at the outset, and Beetle. Tarantula and Black Widow both make Spider easier by allowing you to move sequences in the tableau that are of the same colour (Tarantula), or of any colour (Black Widow). Spiderette is a single-deck version of Spider, and uses just seven columns Instead of ten, which are dealt out in a triangular style much like Klondike. Like the standard game, the way the cards are dealt can play a big role in whether or not a particular deal is solvable. Other common one-deck Spider games include Will o' the Wisp (which has a 7x3 tableau) and Simple Simon.
Special mention should be made of the popular game Scorpion, which allows stacks to be moved within the tableau even if they aren't arranged in order, in the style of games like Yukon. It's not easy to win, however, and the Wasp variation increases your chances significantly by allowing any card or stack to be placed in an empty space in the tableau, not just Kings. Three Blind Mice is another favourite Scorpion variant, and uses a 10x5 tableau.
FREECELL
Overview: FreeCell emerged out of relative obscurity in 1995 as a result of its inclusion in Microsoft Windows 95. Even though it was created by Paul Alfille already as early as 1978, it was only when it was brought into the public eye with the help of Windows, that it quickly became an addictive pastime for many, and gained a loyal following. Just a few years later it was included along with Minesweeper in the chapter "Computer and Online Games" of the published version of Hoyle's Rules of Games. Fan websites were even created for it with information about the different deals, and strategies.
Game-play: At the start of the game, a single deck is dealt face up into eight columns. There are four foundation piles, and as in most solitaire games, the goal is to build cards from each suit in ascending sequence from Ace through King. But in addition to these foundation piles, there are four storage cells that can be used to temporarily store a card from the bottom of any column, and that's where the real fun of FreeCell lies. Cards in the tableau are arranged down in alternating colours, and such sequences can be moved between columns - but only with the help of available cells - while a space created in the tableau can be filled with any card.
Variations: FreeCell has inspired many variants and related game, which are too many to list. Several of these are true to the basic concept, but simply increase the number of cards in the game. For example, there is also a two-deck version called FreeCell Duplex. There is also a version with three decks and one with four decks.
My thoughts: FreeCell has the distinction of being a solitaire card game that lends itself particularly well to a digital implementation. In the Windows version, each unique deal was assigned a different number, nearly all of which were solvable, and people could use this number to attempt the same deal as other players. The computer could also calculate which moves were possible and which were not. While later versions came with over a million unique deals, the original Microsoft FreeCell supported 32,000 numbered deals, dubbed as the "Microsoft 32,000". In the hey-day of FreeCell in the mid 1990s, a crowdsourced project assigned all these deals to different people, successfully completing all but one of them. Given that all the cards are visible at the start of the game, FreeCell is an open game and you have perfect information to work with from the outset, so there are no surprises awaiting you. Winning requires sheer skill, and there is very little luck.

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Related games: FreeCell has among its ancestors Eight Off and Baker's Game. In both games you build down in the same suit instead of in alternating colours. Eight Off gives players the added advantage of having more storage cells to use. It was the novel use of alternating colours that helped make FreeCell a big success, but these two predecessors are also very good.
Given its tremendous popularity, FreeCell has inspired many other games of its kind, many with small twists to the setup or rules. One popular take on this style of the game include Art Cabral's excellent Seahaven Towers, which has a different starting layout. Also highly recommended is David Parlett's Penguin, which has seven reserve cells, and gives you three of your starting foundation cards but buries the fourth one at the bottom of the first column in the tableau; this is the "penguin" that you must free.
CONCLUSION
The above three solitaire games can all be described as builder-type games, and there are many other builder-type solitaire games that have been inspired by them or are related to them. The most popular ones besides the trilogy covered here include: Baker's Dozen, Beleaguered Castle, Canfield, Forty Thieves, La Belle Lucie (Lovely Lucy), Scorpion, and Yukon. Each of these games is in turn a representative of its own family of games that provides variations of the same theme. So it's worth trying each of these other titles too, to determine which ones you especially enjoy playing, and then exploring further within each family.
But despite the tremendous diversity, these three reign supreme: Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell. Nearly everyone who has had a Microsoft Windows operating system on their computer at some point in their life will be familiar with one or all of these three solitaire games. This is particularly going to be true of those who were the early adopters of personal computers in homes and offices. Those who found themselves behind an office computer in the 1990s, lived in an era when video games weren't nearly as advanced, impressive, or varied as what they were today. This was a time when social media didn't yet exist, and when the world wide web consisted largely of text based websites that were accessed with slow dial up modems. In this environment, solitaire was the ideal companion for a lonely and boring day behind the computer, and a welcome distraction.
The positive reception of Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell by this audience, has ensured that these three brands of solitaire will continue to have an enduring legacy, far beyond what even Microsoft ever imagined when first making them our friends. Almost 30 years on, these solitaire games have already stood the test of time, and will undoubtedly continue to be enjoyed by future generations.
Where to play them? Head to Solitaired.com and try a game of Klondike, Spider, or FreeCell!

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Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks here.
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If you’re new to Coronavirus research, start here…

Feb 19, 2020, updated periodically...Unfortunately there’s not just one link you can use to get an estimate of the real numbers of infected, or of the seriousness of this outbreak, and you will have to do some digging of your own. But here are a few points to consider and research for yourself:

The basics

Other reasons why we don't believe the official numbers

What leaked videos and social media posts have shown us has happened in China

A 4-minute quick intro: /CoronavirusFOS/comments/fgk1b9/covid19_deus_ex_coronavirus_clip_compilation/

What else is happening in China

The Unknowns

What's happening outside of China

Supply Chain and Economic Impacts

There’s much more that can be posted here, but that's enough topics to get you started on your own research. I really doubt this is going to be disappearing in a month or two. If any readers have a source or video link etc., or additional points they you'd like me to add, just reply to this message, or send me a private message if you prefer. Thanks for reading!
submitted by TeRiYaki32 to CoronavirusFOS [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…5

Continuing
“Hey, Viv!”, I say, as we’re all being shuttled onto the bus which will take us to our hotel, “Toss me one of those miniatures, if you please. Yeah. Of course, Vodka’ll do. It’s bloody dusty round these parts.”
Viv chuckles and asks if anyone else wants anything. He’s a consummate scrounger and somehow sweet-talked a demure and pulchritudinous female Air China cabin attendant out of her phone number, Email address, and a case of 100 airline liquor miniatures.
That he looks like a marginally graying version of Robert Mitchum in his heyday and speaks fluent Dutch, French, and Italian might explain his success. I mean, a guy with four ex-wives can’t be all wrong, right?
He’s a definite outlier in this crowd. We could be characterized as a batch of aging natural geoscientists who collectively, sans Viv, add up to an approximate eight on the “Looker” scale. Besides the years, the mileage, the climatic, and industrial ravages, it’s a good thing we all have expansive personalities, as most of us are dreadful enough to make a buzzard barf.
But, save for Viv, no one presently here is on the make. Oh, sure; we’ll all sweet talk some fair nubile into a free drink or a double when we really ordered a regular drink, but we’re all married, most terminally, that is, over 35 years and counting. The odd thing is that save and except for Viv, none of us married folk had ever been divorced.
That is strange, considering that the global divorce rate hovers around 50%, and we are often called to be apart from kith and kin for prolonged periods. However, we are always faithful and committed to our marital units and those vows we spoke all those many long decades ago.
But, hey, we’re all seriously male and not anywhere near dead; and there’s no penalty for just looking, right?
Continuing.
We’re all loaded on a pre-war, not certain which war, by the way, bus which stank of fish, kimchee, and diesel fuel. We really don’t care even a tiny, iotic amount. It’s free transport, we’re tired of traveling, and not keen on walking any further than we absolutely have to.
Viv has been passing out boozy little liquor miniatures, and I’ve been handing out cigars since I bought a metric shitload back in Dubai Duty-Free and somehow got them all through customs.
We didn’t light up, as there was neither a driver nor handler present. So, we figured we’d all just wait on the cigars, and concentrate on having a little ground-level “Welcome to Best Korea” party until the powers that be got their collective shit together and provided drivers, herders, and handlers.
We sat there for 15 long minutes. Being the international ambassadors of amity and insobriety, we started making noises like “Hey! Where’s our fucking driver?” and “I am Doctor Academician! Of All State Russian Geological Survey! How dare you make me wait?
Suddenly, a couple of characters in ill-fitting gray suits and fake Rays Bans are outside the bus having a collective meltdown. Somehow, someone fucked up and put us on a ‘regular’ bus and not the ‘VIP’ bus. In other words, we got to see what the locals really got to ride around Pyongyang on instead of our supposed to be impressed by the bus that wasn’t there; but was now just arriving.
A spanking new purple-and-chrome Mercedes long-haul bus shows up. It even has our group name emblazoned above the placard that normally tells where the bus is headed or who it is for: “’국제 석유 지질 과학 연합’ [Gugje Seog-yu Jijil Gwahag Yeonhab] or ‘International Union of Petroleum Geological Sciences’”.
We are brusquely ordered off our present bus and into the opulent, obviously bespoke, bright yellow faux-leather interior Mercedes-Benz Tourismo RH M. It’s so new and so obviously a ploy to get us to think that all things here are so new and opulent, it even smells of that new car, ah, bus, aroma.
“Well, we’ll take care of that soon enough”, I muse, as the bus is equipped with ashtrays and we’re going on the scenic route to our hotel, which is only 25 or so kilometers from the airport. However, it was announced that it’ll take us about 2 hours to get to our hotel since we need to see the city in its best light and get a feeling for the town if we should ever find ourselves lost and alone.
We all know what’s going on. They’re getting our rooms ‘ready’ for our arrival and need some extra time to make sure everything’s all wired in and transmitting properly.
“Guys”, I muse to our new handlers, “I’ve been to the Soviet Union, pre-wall fall. I stayed in places where I was definitely among the first westerners ever to grace their porticos. We’re a busload of natural scientists, of eight different nationalities, covering the economic spectrum from staunch capitalism to sociable socialism to hard-core communism. You even think for a second we’re going to spill any beans about anything you’d find interesting or useful? Think again.”
In fact, it would become a running joke between us all to see what sort of fake bombshells we could drop into the normal conversation what would give the listener’s the greatest case of the jibblies.
But for now, our bags were all loaded into the cargo compartment of this very, very nice, I must admit, mode of conveyance. Our handlers: ‘Yuk’, ‘No’, ‘Man’, and ‘Kong’, are all seated upfront and please with their latest tally of bodies. We have a couple of shady fellow travelers with the knock-off Ray-Bans and shiny gray suits that just appeared out of the woodwork in the back, seated by the loo, watching over all of us, and we’re going on a fucking city tour, whether we like it or not.
We’re all present and accounted for. Let’s keep our camera in our bags for the time being as the drinking and smoking lights had just been lit as the bus fired up its new German-engineered and machined precision diesel engine.
The bus rumbled to life and after a moment or two of checking that all dials, gauges, and indicators were where they were supposed to be; without so much as a cursory glance, we pulled out into traffic.
Except there was none.
Not another bus, pushbike, tap-tap, scooter, car, truck, hover-board, or motorcycle in sight.
Nothing.
Seems we were a big deal. They shut down the main drag so we wouldn’t be encumbered by such proletariat things like traffic jams or people-things cluttering the roadway, clambering for a look at the Western scientific cadre.
So, away we whizzed, sans traffic and into the very belly of the beast, and onward; eventually, towards our hotel.
Our handlers were very kind to point out passing scenes of interest.
“Look, look! There’s the Potong River. Notice all the lovely birds, ‘eh what? See the Norwegian Blue? Beautiful plumage!”
“See here, look. Here’s the Taedong River. Many forms of fish in the river. Maybe we’ll see some fishermen. If you like, we can stop, and ask them about today’s catch.”
We all declined, as we were certain that the fish the ‘random fisherman’ we’d talk to was flown in fresh from elsewhere earlier in the day.
Besides, we were comfortable. We had our drinks, our cigars, and we were leaving the driving to someone else.
After being driven around the city and seeing all the wonderful monuments, like the faux Arch of Triumph, which looks exactly unlike its namesake Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile in Paris.
The Arch of Reunification, a monument to the goal of a reunified Korea, which, by necessity, is unfinished. Then there’s the Tomb of King Tongmyŏng, where people are lining up, just dying’ to get in.
Finally, we all called for our hotel, the Yanggakdo, after yet another mausoleum, the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.
Arches or tombs. Such a stunning array of monuments and places of less than moderate interest.
We were interested in Mirae Scientists street (Future Scientists street). It is a street in a newly developed area in Pyongyang to house scientific institutions of the Kim Chaek University of Technology and its employees. But we were told that it was too late, there was not much there to see, we needed to express written permission to visit, and we’d be going there tomorrow or next week.
We wheel into the parking lot of the Yanggakdo Hotel and are immediately unimpressed by the pseudo-Baroque concrete fiasco that appears to stand, wobbly, before us. It’s a page right out of the Soviet Construction-For-The-Masses Handbook. A cold, gray concrete edifice with multitudes of seemingly little, tiny windows. A perfect metaphor for our travels thus far; look at the expansiveness of Best Korean wonders, through this pinhole.
However, we judged too soon. We were told to go inside and check-in, whilst our luggage would be de-bussed for us and handled by the expertly efficient hotel staff. The lobby was opulent, tastefully laid out in earth tones of facades of veneers of marble, granite, some garnet-mica schist, if my hand lens doesn’t lie, some Prepaleozoic anatectic migmatite, displaying intricate and intense plication, xenoliths, and graphic delineation of minerals by segregation through melting points. There was a gigantic well-appointed and well kept up aquarium, complete with snuffling sharks and nuclear-submarine sized groupers.
Very handsome indeed. Impressions increasing slightly.
Then we see that there’s a bloody casino on the bottom floor of the hotel, several bars interspersed throughout the hotel, and karaoke, of which I’m not terribly fond, but some of my European counterparts almost swooned at the prospect. There are a large pool and weight rooms/gymnasia, saunas and places to relax outside of one’s room, but still under the watchful eye of the thousands of ill-concealed video cameras at every turn.
“Covert surveillance” may be a thing in Best Korea, but it’s a practice still leaves a lot to be desired. The Eastern Siberian Russians back before the wall fell were more covert with their obvious button audio microphones woven into the fabric covering the headboard of your Intourist bed than the Best Koreans here. Their cameras were ‘disguised’ as flower arrangements, overhead lights, and speakers inexplicably placed into things like standing ashtrays, refuse bins, and randomly placed holes in the wall.
The floors were all covered with exquisite what looked to be hand-woven rugs of most vibrant crimson and gold; the usual Communistic colors. Always with some sort of floral pattern or pattern that’s supposed to be reflective of nature, as I was told. Evidently, for workers to remember what nature was as they don’t get out much with 14 to 16 hours workdays here in the Worker’s Paradise.
Enough of the travelogue; we all wander up to the front desk, and each with their own passport in hand, request our reserved rooms. We supposed that we would all have rooms on different floors as the reservations were made, expired, re-made, juggled, rebooked, allowed to expire, re-jiggered, and finally formalized a scant week before we left the UK.
Nope. No such luck. We were all on the 39th floor. The place boasts 47 floors, of which, the top floor is a revolving restaurant. Evidently, food tastes better when you’re rotating.
However, it won’t spin unless you first buy a drink.
We had that thing whirling like a NASA centrifuge after its discovery the second night.
Yeah, all 12 of us are bivouacked on the 39th floor. A floor with approximately 30 rooms.
I guess we could have played “Room Roulette” and see who got which room and who’s luggage. Or we could switch every day or two to drive our handlers nuts. Or, we could just take our assigned rooms, which were conveniently located one empty room apart.
Meaning, no one had adjoining rooms. Why? Fuck if I know. We didn’t spend much time in our rooms, and that time was either sleeping or showering. We’d all meet at the bar, casino, restaurant, karaoke, bowling alley (all three lanes) or actual meeting rooms every once in a while when we thought we should get together and compare notes. It was the most inexplicable situation.
Plus, we spent an inordinate amount of time waiting on the fucking elevators to take us to our room. These elevators, and if you think you’re going to get a batch of aging senior scientists to schlep it up 39 floor’s worth of stairs, think again; are the slowest elevators in the civilized world. And that was the consensus of scientists representing not only Europe and North America, but Russia as well. 15-25 minutes added to each journey, up or down; stopping on every floor, except 5, on the way down..
Jesus Q. Fuck, dudes. If you can’t construct a bleedin’ elevator that works better than those at the Sozvezdie Medveditsy Guest House in Lesosibirsk, Eastern Siberia; then I suggest you seriously rethink your plans for world domination and new world order.
Grako and Erwin once, while waiting for the fucking elevator, figured out that we were earning some US$25 each just to wait for the lift to arrive and take us to our rooms. Every day. Sometimes several times per day.
With that, we all agreed to toss our “waiting time” funds into a kitty and on our last day of captivity here, blow it all in the hotel casino. Whatever became of that would be donated to the Koreans we thought most deserving of our largesse.
Would it be our handlers? How about the Korean Scientists we’d be meeting? The affable and most accommodating concierge? Or that plucky little Korean charwoman who was always on our floor and kept everything spotless, right down to our freshly laundered and pressed field clothes and newly polished field boots; done without our requesting or knowledge?
Only time would tell.
It could be a fortune or it could be bupkiss. Just like our expectations of the Heavenly Kingdom where we were currently sequestered.
As it was, with our official protestations, they kept only photocopies of our passports as we roundly refused and threatened a full-scale karaoke battle right here in the lobby if they didn’t relinquish our passports immediately. I had broken out my nastiest cigar and was primed to offend.
With that, we all had our keys and trooped over to the elevators for our first, of many, inexplicable waits. We made many uncharitable and potentially nasty remarks about the Anti-Western posters that made up some of the wall décor. Once we finally made it to our floor, we all fanned out to find our rooms. Viv found his first and was quite pleased to report to the rest of us that there was a “Welcome” basket in his room.
We all hoped that we would be receiving one a well.
I was in room 3914; which I considered a close call, but later only wondered as there was no 3913. Upon entering, I saw it was 1980s Hotel 6 opulent, but with an excellent over-city view. True it was late, dark, and the city was only somewhat lit up; I was looking forward to the view of the town in full daylight.
The room had a ‘king’ bed; that is if the king in question was Tutankhamen, the stubby, Egyptian boy king. The bed had no mattress pad and no box spring but it was hard enough for my liking. Many of my compatriots didn’t agree and complained bitterly. They eventually received thin mattress pads for all their kvetching.
There was an ancient Japanese color television, which only had 2 English language channels - Al Jazeera and the BBC, which was on a dated news loop. Watching the local channel is amusing though; the ads for ‘personal enhancements’ were hilarious, even without understanding a word of the language.
There were a couple of chairs and a low table, built-in dresser drawers for our clothes, a rusty and probably unusable room safe with corroded batteries, a small table built out of the wall that would serve as my travel office, and would-you-believe, a rotary telephone; how’s that for nostalgia?
There was an old-model radio built into the nightstand next to the bed. I was very surprised to find it not only received AM, FM but shortwave as well. I had brought along a pair of Bose headphones and during some rainy down days, spent many fun-filled, and I mean that sincerely, hours DXing from the comfort of my ‘enormous’ king bed.
Beyond that, the room was very nondescript. Like any other of the millions of rooms in hotels around the world that unlike here, aren’t claiming a 5-star rating. I mean, it was clean, if not a little long in the tooth. But didn’t smell too terrible, even after I took care of that with my Camacho offerings. It was utilitarian, everything worked, even the water pressure, which surprisingly could strip off layers of one’s skin if you weren’t careful.
The bathroom, though no Jacuzzi, had a large enough bathtub for the occasional soaking period. Western accouterments in the bathroom were also welcome additions. My knees can’t handle the traditional squat-holes any longer.
There were an electric teapot and several brands of tea, but no coffee. A quick “Gee! I sure wish I had some coffee!” to the four walls and damned if 30 minutes later, a porter didn’t arrive to replenish my tea and courtesy in-room coffee…
There was a small Japanese brand in-room refrigerator which I thought might house a mini-bar. Oh, no! It was actually a complimentary larder stocked with all sorts of Best Korean goodies. Multiple cans of Taedonggang beer. Several bottles of Pyongyang Soju, in various flavors ranging anywhere from 16.8 to 53 percent alcohol by volume. My fridge was skewed towards the right-hand side of the bell curve; the more heavy-duty boozy side.
Evidently, my reputation had preceded me again.
There was a selection of German-style wheat beers from the Taedonggang Brewery and the more familiar ales, steam beers, and lagers. There were some imported beers like Heineken, Bavaria, Pils, a couple of Japanese brands: Asahi and Kirin, and something called ‘Hello Beer’ from Singapore.
There were also ‘sampler’ bottles of Apricot Pit wine, and a couple of high-alcohol fruity liquors made from constituents such as apple or pear, and mushrooms. There were also special medicinal liquors like ‘Rason’s Seal Penis Liquor’.
That is going home with me unopened.
There were a couple of bottles of local sake, called Chonju. Finally, there was a couple ‘samplers’ of homemade alcohol known as Makkoli. Plus there was something called ‘Corn Grotto’, which for the life of me, looks and tastes much like a very passable Kentucky Sippin’ Bourbon.
I put our concierge on instant danger money the very next day. He’s yet to source me more than a fifth of the stuff so far.
I found that there is a popular drink here which mirrors the Yorsch of Mother Russia. Beer and soju can be mixed to create *somaek’; a foamy, frothy, funky drink of many flavors, depending on the soju chosen.
Is ethnoimbibology at thing? The science of how different cultures drink and the effects of drinking culture on different societies. If not, now I have another Ph.D. to pursue after I endow a chair at some likely Asian university.
Anyways, in everyone’s room was a “welcome” basket, just chock full of Best Korean goodies. Postcards, stamps, ads for coin sets, stamp proofs and other goodies that could be purchased at the hotel. There was a field notebook, which I thought was a very nice addition, newspapers, cookies, crackers, biscuits, candies, fruit drinks, and some fresh fruit; although tamarind chewies and durian chips aren’t on my list of personal favorites.
There were a couple of tour books, just chock full of staged photos. These were very nice as well, as so far, we haven’t had much time for shopping outside of government stores or smaller family-run shops in town or out in the boonies.
A few of us were hungry and decided to see what the hotel had to offer room service-wise.
Bupkiss.
But, they did have a selection of restaurants. There is a Chinese restaurant, a European restaurant, and a Korean restaurant on site but they all serve the same food...a Best Korean attempt at western food. And it was weird being the only ones in the restaurant even though it was fully staffed.
We grazed lightly and decided to do some late-night perambulations around our hotel. Our handlers admonished us to stay within the confines of the hotel, or see them if it was absolutely necessary to go walkabout. In the hotel, we were on our own.
We found that there were tunnels in the hotel’s basement. The basement tunnels were a real bonus. There’s a bar with pool tables, a karaoke room, bowling, and a massage parlor, where I was beaten and pummeled into submission by tiny, diminutive, little Korean lassies fully 1/5th my size.
It was wonderful.
There was a hairdresser’s, who were completely befuddled by my shoulder-length silver-gray locks and full gray Grizzly Adams beard. They did provide a lovely shampoo/cranial massage though for the equivalent of US$2.
There were a couple of shops selling Chinese goods rather than local stuff, which was sort of disappointing, a cold noodle bar, and another casino. No shops selling Korean Communist propaganda posters, as I wanted to augment my Soviet-era collection. Perhaps I’ll find something in-country later on.
We were shocked to find that the casino had WiFi that was uncensored and we were able to access; after a fee of liquor miniatures and a cigar or two. We were supposed to have access to the global internet, not local intranet, from the universities that we would be visiting. However, all of that was under the heavily squinting eyes of handlers and guys in shiny suits wearing fake Ray-Bans.
I still had my secret satellite internet lash-up available, but that was iffy, a pain in the ass to set up, and ridiculously expensive. However, it did work on the 39th floor and the times I used it instead of wandering down to the tunnels, no one appeared to be the wiser. Thus far.
So typically, we’d just head to the basement casino with our laptops, iPads, and phones. Bam! Robert’s your Sister’s Husband, we could connect more-or-less free with the outside world; hence how you are reading this now.
Herro! “Yes, I’d sure like another beer. This time a porter, if you please.”
The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain. Or the more they put into locks, the easier they are to pick.
Besides, we were told we’d have access to unfettered and free internet. OK, so we just found it for ourselves. Whaddya expect? We’re scientists, motherfucker, back off.
Ahem.
Back to reality.
The breakfast buffet the next morning had a wide choice of Asian and Western food, although the choices seemed to be the same every day. The main event was to beat the Chinese tourists to the egg station every morning. Breakfast always included fried eggs, a limited selection of pork, kippered fish, potatoes, rice, fruit, and a very Titanium-dioxide-white white bread
After a while, I took to going to the small market behind the lobby, buying some imported Chinese or Japanese nibbly bits and heading to the tunnels for a few breakfast beers before the long hard day’s work. It took almost a week, but I gained the trust of some of the workers in the tunnels and they showed me the on-site microbrewery at the hotel. It produced very passable, and very, very cheap beers of several varieties.
Liquid bread. Beer. Is there nothing it can’t do?
After breakfast our first day at the hotel, we were told to meet in the Conference Room “Il-sung” as we were going to have a ‘Welcome foreign imperialist scientists’ introduction and indoctrination.
Besides our handlers and the shiny-suit squad, there were several Korean folks we didn’t recognize. These were students, scientists, and scholars from the Kim Chaek University of Technology, Kim Il-sung University, the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; all hailing from Pyongyang, and the University of Geology from North Hwanghae Province.
“Oh, marvelous”, Erlen remarked, “It’s going to be a bloody Chautauqua. We’ll be here all day.”
“Well”, I replied, “It could be worse. We could be on a bus headed off on another unscheduled road trip.”
As we found our seats, our Korean counterparts were busily setting up portable screens, like the ones your grandfather had for showing his 2.1 Googleplex worth of travel slides every Christmas or Thanksgiving get-together. They had a couple of ancient Chinese brand laptops that could have doubled for body armor, they were so thick and heavy.
While they fiddled with running cords for the overhead projectors and 16mm film projector; yes, it was going to be movie time as well, the hotel’s restaurant folks wheeled in carts laden with scones, cupcakes, and other sweet sorts of bakery. Another cart was wheeled in with pump-pots of hot water, tea, and coffee. Usual scientific meeting fare.
There was one final cart that made the day bearable. It held a pony keg of hotel micro-brewed beer on ice, with several dozen frosty mugs available for all who wanted to partake.
There were instantly 12 mugs that were spoken for.
I grabbed a cold beer and wandered around the conference room, sipping beer, chewing on an unlit cigar, and just trying to be pleasant to our hosts and their scientific guests. I was surprised when one North Korean professor, who spoke amazingly British-tinged English, offered me a light for my cigar.
“Is smoking allowed here?” I asked.
“Allowed?” he laughed heartily, “My good man, it’s practically a prerequisite.”
“Here then”, I said, offering him a nice, unctuous Camacho, “Try one of mine.”
Dr. P'ung Kwang-Seon of the North Korean University of Geology became my instant and lifelong friend at that moment.
We had a very nice chat, much to the chagrin of the gray suit cadre, who could hear what we were talking about, but probably didn’t understand anything beyond every 8th word.
After a while, we were asked to take our seats, after refreshing our drinks, and introduced to the group of Korean geoscientists we’d be interacting with during our stay here in Best Korea.
I tried to record every name, but between the students, other scholars, and professors from the various universities, I decided I’d ask for a list of participants once the day had worn on. After all, they had all our names, references, and resumes if the thick folio they kept referring to was any indication.
There were a couple of hours of introductions, as every one of the Korean geoscientists there introduced themselves, mostly through translators, told of their personal area of specialty, and their latest work.
Most were what would be considered geoscientists, but oddly enough, not one that you would consider a petroleum geoscientist, however tangentially.
There were geomorphologists, structural geologists, petrologists, mineralogists, marine geologists, engineering geologists, and seismologists. However, there were no stratigraphers, sedimentologists, paleontologists, or geochemists. We were all geoscientists, but apart from the obvious Korean:English disparity, it was as if we spoke different scientific languages as well.
That would be our first hurdle to overcome.
They had no oil industry here; none whatsoever, therefore why one would bother with the geosciences that fed directly into petroleum? That, in and of itself, would make it difficult to explore for oil in the country. Couple that with the fact that they’re so insular, think their version of ‘science’ is the best, at least that’s the official line, and think all other’s ‘science’ is capitalistic, substandard, and inferior doesn’t bode well for your country discovering anything either oily or gassy.
We were having another conclave around the beer keg, ack, err…a ‘coffee break’ and I mentioned this fact to my scientific colleagues.
“Guys”, I need input here, “We’re going to get precisely nowhere if they won’t even acknowledge that they have major problems from the start.”
Ivan replies, “Very true. I’ve seen this before back home. You get a group so entrenched in their own little corner of science, they can’t even accept or acknowledge that others exist. Not only exist but actually know more about a certain problem than do you.”
Dax joins the fray, “Sure, that’s very true, but who’s going to tell them this unfortunate fact? They could take that as a personal, national, and global insult. Imagine you’re at an international conference and a bunch of foreigners walk in just to tell you you’ve been doing it all wrong for the last 75 years.”
I add, “Remember, though. These characters are scientists as well. I think it’ll be a good measure of seeing what sort of science and scientist we’re dealing with here. If they are truly researchers, they’ll listen to and evaluate what we say as for veracity and accuracy. If they’re just a bunch of Commie goons; no offense, Comrade Academician Ivan, they’ll get all pissed off, kick us out, and we get to go home and enjoy our triple Force Majeure pay.”
Ivan walks over and deliberately steps on the toes of my newly polished field boots.
“In Soviet Russia, field boots walk on YOU.” He laughs in his heavily inflected, and scary, Soviet-era speech…
“Yes, I agree”, Joon adds, “But who is going to address this issue with our hosts? Perhaps one of our Russian comrades, as they are, or were, more politically aligned with our Korean friends and perhaps best understand the issue?”
Ack speaks up, grinning maniacally, “No, I disagree. We should have the one person here who so encapsulates the ideologies and political leanings that they love to hate here so much. You know; the quiet, diminutive, and soft-spoken North American…”
Dax recoils, “Oh, no! I’m not going out in front of this mob of ornery Orientals…”
I smile wanly and tell Dax to cool out.
“Relax, Dax. They’re talking about me.”
“Oh, yes”, a collective group of voices replies, “Yes. Let out fearless Team Leader break the bad news to our Eastern Colleagues. That way we can gauge their reactions to being bounced around scientifically by a member of the Evil Capitalist Cartel.”
“OK”, I reply, “I’ll do it. But be forewarned, my fine feathered fiends. I get stuck on a topic that’s not precisely my bailiwick, I’m going to throw your ass to the wolves. Remember, we’re all in this together.”
Whoops, and catcalls were reduced to mumbles and ‘Aw, fucks.’.
Chautauqua resumption was called and I asked for the floor.
It was a bit off the agenda, but since they’ve been chewing the air for the last several hours, they understood it would be appropriate for us to at least try and get a word in edgewise.
I downed my beer, and grabbed a fresh one as what I was going to say was going to be harsh, cut-and-dried, and rather pointed. But delivered in a pleasant manner.
I hoped.
This all had to be filtered through a series of translators, one for general conversational Korean and another for the more technical and scientific transliterations. I realized I was going to be up here for a while. So, I brought a cigar.
One way or another, I was going to deliver our pronouncements and hell, I may as well be comfortable while doing it.
.
“Greetings and felicitations, my Eastern Colleagues. Let me first say how nice it is to be here in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as part of the ….”
I’m going to fast-forward through all the flowery bullshit and introductory happiness; I’ll going to just cut to the guts of the matter.
“…Now, you do know why there has been virtually no oil, gas nor any other hydrocarbon related deposit discovered here in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea?” I asked by way of a rhetorical question.
I sipped my beer and lit my cigar. In for a chon, in for a won.
I let the buzzing subside on the side of our eastern counterparts.
“Because, and please do not take this as insulting or derogatory, but as a statement of irrefutable fact, no one with the proper training nor experience has been looking. You’re historically guilty of applying the science incorrectly and letting dogma and politics guide your search, instead of the scientific method and the facts. Geology, like all natural science, is just as truth based on the facts for a capitalist as it is for a communist. Reality is not influenced by your beliefs, be they scientific or political, secular or spiritual, ‘trusted’ rather than ‘thought’; any more than by your wish that it wouldn’t rain today during a raging thunderstorm.”
Little Boy over Hiroshima was dropped with less effect.
Our Democratic People's Republic of Korea colleagues erupted into a chaotic mixture of stuttering, internecine yelling, accusations, and sputtering.
Calling for decorum, I figured that since I was this far gone, I may as well push the plunger all the way to the bottom.
“Gentlemen, I do not denigrate the science of geology as taught and practiced here in Best Korea.” I actually said that, sort of a slip of the tongue. Continuing, “However, one would not fish for Bluefin tuna from a rowboat in a pond with a fly rod. One does not hunt bear in the city with a slingshot. Just as one doesn’t search for oil and gas with mining engineers, geomorphologists, and seismologists.”
I let that sink in and after the translation, they calmed a bit and wanted to hear the rest of what I had to say. I could sense a couple was less than thrilled with what I had to say, but forging onward…
“One fishes for Bluefin tuna in the deep ocean with huge rods, reels and a specialist boat captained by someone with deep experience in hunting the elusive fish. One hunts bear in the proper environment, the taiga or forest, with the proper tools and guided by one with the education, learnedness, and experience to know how to make the hunt come out successful.”
Hit them with some analogies they can relate to and digest. Now, go for the carotid.
“Just like one does not hunt oil and gas without stratigraphers, sedimentologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and other oil and gas experts who have the education, experience, and knowledge to know where to look. Knowing which environment looks most conductive to hide your quarry, if you’ll pardon the pun, and how best to find them, the guys who know how to corral and de-risk them once you find them, and the engineers and technologists who know how to bring them to the surface so they can be utilized.”
They had stopped being irritated and were listening in rapt attention.
“My colleagues and I have spent the last few days going over, in detail the geology of your country. There is nothing we can see that would preclude the development, entrapment, and preservation of economic quantities of oil and gas. Ture, the geology is quite complex as is the structural history of the entire peninsula. That’s one other thing you will have to accept. Geology doesn’t give the tiniest shit about political boundaries. One must look at the big picture, and that doesn’t stop at some man-made borders. Ignore that fact at your peril, because if you continue to view the geology here as not existing across political boundaries, you are preadapting yourself for failure.”
Drs. Ivan, Volna, and Morse make certain that everyone sees the ex-Soviets agreeing with the bushy-bearded, cigar-chomping American capitalist.
“So,” I said, hoping to bring this little spit-balling session to a fortuitous close, “If we can have an agreement; scientific agreement, on these points, then I am certain we can find a way forward with not only this discussion but the program we can devise for the best Korean (notice phase shift?) geologists to take the project forward both scientifically soundly and economically successful.”
My North Korean counterpart gets up from his seat in the conference room, goes to the keg, taps a couple of beers and walks up to the podium where I was standing.
“Thank you, Dr. Rocknocker, for saying what needed to be said”, he spoke in perfect English as he handed me a beer.
I grinned and gratefully accepted the beer.
“Why, Dr. Chang Kwang-Su”, I said, as that was his name, “You old fraud. You do speak English; and very well, I must add.”
“Yes, almost all of us do”, he relayed, “But, as you said, we are most reserved. We were more or less under orders of the ‘most illustrious’, to play coy, and act as if we spoke no English.”
“I see.” I said, “I’ve worked in several FSU countries as well as Russia and saw that there as well. I guess old habits die hard.”
“That they do, Doctor.”, he replied, “But, we must now tell you the truth. We knew exactly what you said is true, and we agree. We are not as totally insulated from the outside world as some suspect.”
“Well, I was going on what your superiors related to us. Like the police that had all their toilets stolen, I had nothing else to go on.” I replied.
“Ah, ha! Quite!”, he chuckled, “We had long suspected that we were lacking in certain areas of scholarship. What you said cements that fact as it was an independent conclusion. We can now present that to our superiors with the caveat that unless we bolster work and training in these areas, the hunt of hydrocarbon resources here will be for naught.”
“I am relieved”, I said, truthfully. “I was slightly concerned that some might take umbrage to being told their science is not up to specifications. I tried to be the bearer of that bad news but deliver it gently. Here, I find you need that to use that as a truncheon to smack one’s boss upside the head and tell him that an upgrade is required. And fast.”
“Ah, so”, he replies, “We are in total agreement. Now that is out of the way, we would appreciate it if you’d help in designing a course of study for up and coming local geoscientists. Then, we can go forward with a great plan to search for oil and gas here in…Korea. Correct?”
“Absolutely”, I remarked, “You’ve got over 400 man-years of science and exploration expertise here in this room alone. Let’s shoot for the moon, so to speak. Let’s get you up to speed on scientific journals and articles that are available out there in all of academia and industry. Let’s get you communicating on a global basis. Let’s prove that you can talk science with global scientists and still not have it affect your political or nationalistic aspirations one little bit. Let’s see if we can drag you, figuratively speaking, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.”
“Doctor”, Dr. Chang remarked, “You are the embodiment of what we were always told what Americans are. Brash, loud, confident, and evil. Except for evil, you are American as we were led to believe.”
“Hey, I take that as a compliment”, I exclaim. “You think that’s bad, I’ve got a bunch of earnest Europeans, raucous Russians, and a couple of cagey Canadians on my side as well. Before we’re finished here, we’ll have you ordering hachee, dining on Caldo Verde, snacking on salmiakki, drinking Russkaya vodka with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, eating poutine, and rooting for the Packers.”
“Doctor, I don’t know what half of that means, but I hope it comes to pass. It sounds most fascinating.” Dr. Chang chuckles.
The rest of the day was spent with various groups crystallizing and breaking off from the main crowd; then reforming as different groups. This was good, as it showed an interest across not only national borders but across ideologies and scientific specialties.
Most everyone here spoke English with some degree of fluency, so the translators were called in only occasionally.
I made certain they were included in everything that transpired that day. I want everyone to feel ‘part of the team’. How better to show the classlessness of Western science to include everyone in on both sides of every discussion and activity?
To be continued…
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🔴 List of Cheap Canadian Options

Lets try to consolidate some trade ideas. The market has already taken a huge beating, so enter at your own risk. I do think we could see a leg up before we continue on our downward trend.
AC - Air Canada: has been below $10 before, max 8’s requiring full rewiring. Put on hiring freeze.
GWO - Great Westlife co. Life insurance, people gonna die. One of the more overvalued insurers
SLF - Sun Life Financial - raptors got coronavirus, bear market confirmed. Another life insurance company
CWB - Canada western bank. Huge exposure to canadian oil sands (Edmonton based) could go bankrupt if oil stays at this price.
CGX - Cineplex. Will get hurt from COVID 19. Unsure if still getting bought out.
CSH.UN - Chartwell Retirement Residences. COVID will rampage the old folks
MG - Magna international, car sales are way down. Will continue to stay down. Supply chain will be an issue.
LNR - Linamar, same reasons mentioned above (is green today for some reason lol)
GC - Great Canadian Gaming Corp, casinos, old farts wont have money to gamble. COVID will turn the casinos into empty shells.
Anyone know any canadian casino or gambling stocks, with physical locations? (Not the online stuff) Comment below if you want to contribute some ideas. ⬇️
Big 🧠 plays 🌈🐻
submitted by TSXinsider to Baystreetbets [link] [comments]

(OFFER) Canadian GP (REQUEST) Canadian GP, Offers

Looking for:
All codes listed below are Canadian Google Play codes. CA GP codes are redeemable in the US. Looking for Canadian GP codes or other offers.
submitted by HarkenSlash to uvtrade [link] [comments]

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