Monday, September 1, 2008

You Can't Spell Reunion Without 'U' Part Two

As I mentioned before, there were a couple of very emotional moments for me at the reunion. The most emotional of all was when I finally got to see my best friend from the 'floor' days walk across the room to say hello. Chris Martin. He was the guy I had most of my fun days and nights with. Almost every good time memory involved him and quite a few sad moments as well. Seeing him for the first time in god knows how long was quite an experience. I definately have man love for the guy. The Chris I knew was a stick of a guy who looked like he needed a good meal...haha
Seeing him now, in a more 'filled out' form was a fucking shock. He looked good...just bigger.
We stood around laughing for the longest time and when we teamed up with Rick Walker the evening became hilarious. Seriously, I laughed so hard and so long that I was sore from cheeks to ribs! We were standing in a crowd of 'how are ya doings' when Radar came along. We made him retell one of the best and funniest stories ever told. This, by the way, could only happen to Ralph. It was the cottage cheese rape story and if I was a slightly bigger asshole I would tell you every detail. OK...I'll give you a hint. It involved Radar, who we all know was about as big as a bug back in his 'floor' days, and a blind date he had with a charming girl who outweighed him by possibly 300 pounds. Because Ralph would die, and maybe kill me in the process, I have to stop there. But just think about the ingredients...Radar, a 450 pound blind date, (man) date rape and cottage cheese. Yeah, it is as funny as you can imagine, and then some. Ah...to be young and stupid again.
Since it has been some months since my first post and the subsequent complaints from some wronged? parties to my writing, I feel less enthusiastic about this whole process. For one thing, my friend John Bickerton died June 12th. John's dying, while no surprise, was an eye opener. It makes me very aware of how old and fucked we are all getting. It also made me aware of how many of us are dead now. It made me aware of the lifetime of lives that have evolved since the floor closed so many years ago.  Something that was a bit disconcerting to me were the discussions I had with several people about John's illness and his limited chances of survival. It seemed like 'some' of the people really didn't give a shit. This was a direct result of the calous nature of the business we were in. The same business that would generate countless flaming astronaut jokes within minutes of the Challenger space shuttle disaster in, I believe, 1983. At the time I thought the jokes were funny. I guess I'm just not as big an asshole as I used to be. I am still burned by the Bickerton thoughtlessness expressed by some people. Maybe I should have expected it and been less offended. Maybe I should have punched them in the mouth!

One of the most meaningful and poignant moments for me came when I spoke to Rick Peirog about the passing of his very good friend and companion, Kim Bueller. Kim was a great guy and died way too early in life. I was shocked when I heard about his passing. Kim died many years ago and I just heard about it this spring while contacting friends about this reunion.
Rick was so devistated, even after the passing of all these years. It reminded me of my own feelings about Steve Gilbert.  Rick told me how difficult it became to normalize the everyday events his family shared with Kim's. They did everything together. Now, even the weekend barbecues which were so family and common place became uneven and vaguely uncomfortable for all concerned. That is what the death of someone close can do.  Rick was hurt and is still hurting. This is a measure of a good man who will forever feel robbed of the friendship of another good man. This is why I always liked Rick. 

The rest of the night was filled with alot of nice moments with people that I shared a significant part of my life with. Seeing the changes in them, their physical features, their emotional damage, their change from eternal hope to a sense of acceptance of what will never be, their lost youth for take no prisioners aging, their life of the party for discounted alcholism. This is the final chapter of our lives and not everyone has a happy ending. I guess those of us who made it this far, who find happiness where and when we can, whose drug dependences have changed from recreational to required pharmacudical, whose idea of a good time is closer to a nap than an all nighter.  We have changed so much. We have changed so little.  As the death roll continues to grow and the life expectancy continues to shorten, I hope that we can take advantage of the time we have left and make the effort to get together on a more regular basis.

My night got really good when we went to the bar after the reunion and I finally got to see and talk to some people in a less restrictive atmosphere. I had such a good time with Chris, Melanie, Owen Ritchie, Rick Walker, Mark Grimes and his beautiful wife and daughter and everyone else. At the end of it all when good people were falling down drunk and puking in the corners, I was still having a really good time. Rick Walker, Chris Martin and I drove home and we laughed harder and longer than any of us have in a very long time. We remembered so many great moments and stupid indiscretions and it was all so great. I have no doubt that Rick, Chris and I will get together with some of our other close friends from the floor in the future. We just have so much to share from when we were great and life was good to all of us. I wish I had seen Bickerton and Stevie Gilbert and Mark Haughton and Kim Bueller and Jack Dunbar, Lorne Fallon, Jimmy Ackers and so many other good people that are with us no more. I wish that I had seen Billy Walsh, Pier Doninni, Larry Hoes, Kelly Gilbert, John Newell, Don Bainbridge, Richard MacKay, Boyd, Mike Bond, Jack Max, Frank Pike, Ian (round), Scott Zufelt and Maria, Scott Cook, Chris Cook, Danny Moran, Mike Binns, Mike from Montreal, that blond postie that was friends with Dorie, Nancy Westcott, Jim Mc Gann, Jim McGann jr., Jill, my former friend and wannabe benefit associate, and so many more who are with us but wern't at the reunion for any number of reasons.
I guess this seems a little maudlin and overly gloomy and I guess it might be.
I could have written nothing but happy  thoughts and fun time stories. Unfortunately that wouldn't be very realistic or true to the life we lived and are still living.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Monday, July 7, 2008

The 'Late' John 'MAD DOG' Bickerton

John 'MAD DOG' Bickerton
Posted by Jim MacPherson on June 14, 2008 at 10:55am.

I spent all of Friday the 13th driving from Cape Breton to Pickering and my biggest worry was perhaps a speeding ticket in Quebec or the never ending highway project delays. When I arrived this morning I checked my e-mails and saw one from Owen Ritchie that caused me and my prior good mood a huge blow. The subject in Owen's mail read...John Bickerton. Nothing else. I didn't need to see anything else. I knew exactly what it was about. Today I am thankful that I was able to track John down a couple of months ago and talk to him at great length. John and I had a lot of history between us and we were having a good laugh about some of the shit we used to do. I tried to convince John to come out to the 'Traders Reunion' but he didn't sound too hopeful. He told me he didn't even know if he would last that long. Profound words. I could not of course really believe that he was as sick as he told me he was. The John I remembered could take out a bar, or a hockey team, if the notion came to him. I can only think about John in those terms. Big, strong, tough and a party waiting to happen. He was the 'Mad Dog' and he earned that name and reputation through a lot of experience. When we were speaking, for the first time in 15 years, John told me about the waiting list for the double transplant and the hep 'c', which I already knew about. He told me he wasn't too hopeful about the prospects of getting the call. He knew he was a 'low' priority because of the hep 'c' and the extreme damage to his organs. He told me about the trips to the hospital, the long stays in hospital and the tole it was taking on him and his tired body. I tried unsuccessfully to talk him into investigating the possibilities of organ transplant in India, where money talks. He just didn't think that he could do it.We talked lots of shop and John told me he was making a killing on gold and silver recently and that it was keeping him involved in his love of the market. He talked about his family and how he knew that they would be 'alright' when he was gone. He talked about his folks and was interrested in checking out my properties in Cape Breton as a possiblility for them in retirement.Although he sounded less like the 'booming' voiced hellion of his earlier days, there was never a sense of resignation to his situation...more like a realistic view of things.When I was at the traders reunion and was telling people that I was in touch with John I got some interresting responses when I told them of his situation. Some rumors had him 'hiding out' from the russian mob because he scammed them out of a small fortune. Another rumor was that he had made a ton in the market and was living in the south seas with a harem. John was bigger than life and his rumors followed suit. Everyone, except those who knew the truth, seemed shocked that he was this sick. They, for the same reasons as myself, could hardly believe that John, MAD DOG Bickerton could succumb to anything. Unfortunately, we were all wrong. John did succumb and we are now left with the memories and the great stories that I am sure will grow in proportion to the man they represent.When I called Rick Walker today to inform him, which he had already been, he said something interresting when I said how shocked I was by this news of John's death. He said, to paraphrase, "I am not really shocked. When you consider the life we all lived and the age we all are at now, there will be a lot more of these calls comming sooner rather than later. Sometimes I feel like I am on borrowed time already and one of these days the shoe will hit the floor" or something to that effect.For those of us still dumb enough to take ourselves and our friends from the TSE for granted, Rick's words will become very relevant...sooner rather than later. John Bickerton was a love him or hate him guy...much like myself, I suspect! John Bickerton was a really wonderful guy to me and always treated me fairly and respectfully. Not everyone felt the same way, for their own reasons, but none can deny the effect John had on all of our lives. He will not be forgotten by me, and I suspect, anyone else that knew him. My eyes are welling up now. That's for you John! Wherever you are now has just become a much more interresting place.Rest In Peace Brother

1 Comments Add Comment
"My deepest and sincere sympathies go out to John's family. " wrote Jim MacPherson on June 14, 2008 at 11:00AM.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

JIM MACPHERSON'S BLOGS - OFFENSIVE MATERIAL ? ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THE TSE TRADERS' ARCHIVE PAGE

I am very sorry to tell you that I will no longer be contributing postings to this site. (The TSE Traders' Archive Page) There have been 'a few' complaints from people about the content of my blogs. I have been asked to 'edit out' anything that might be considered offensive...to anyone I guess. I will not do this. To those of you who have given me such positive responses to my words, I thank you profusely. To any of you that I might have offended...HA! Anything else I might add would no doubt be considered offensive.
One of the things that made us what we were, was our absolute lack of political correctness. That is why I could NEVER work in an office environment. Political correctness makes me puke. This is why I will not be 'edited' for the sake of a few gilded lillies.
If you want to read anything else that I write about MY TSE LIFE, I will now be posting on my personal blog site ONLY.
If you are prone to sensitivity...stay to hell away from it.
This is a copy of Simone Lau's e-mail to me informing me of my perceived bad behavior - it is not confidential, so I share it with you.

Hi Jimmy.
We've received a few complaints about your postings so we had to start taking out parts of your stories. Some people don't wish to be reminded about more sensitive areas of their past and may not share your sentiments or sense of humor. The point of having this archive is to create positive memories for all so anything that may make people uncomfortable will be removed.
So please, if you have the time, go through your postings on the archive again and edit them.
Thanks.
Simone Lau
ScotiaMcLeod Equity Trader 416.862.3906

Simone's e-mail addy is: Simone_Lau@scotiacapital.com

If you have a problem with what I have contributed to this site and feel it has been offensive or negative, please, by all means, let her know. If you support what I have contributed and feel that it has been positive and of benefit to your enjoyment of this site...let her know!
link: http://mytselife.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 25, 2008

YOU CAN'T SPELL REUNION....WITHOUT 'U' PART ONE

I have to start this by telling you, April 23, 2008 was one of the best days I can remember in a very long time. Says a lot about my life, doesn't it!

I parked for $18.00 at Bay St. and Lakeshore Blvd. at about 4:15 and walked up Bay toward the Toronto Stock Exchange, which it will always be to me. I walked along the east side of the street, just as I had done on my first day as a floor trader on April 1, 1980. The throngs of people were moving south, so I was definately swimming upstream. My mind filled with the memories of that first day so very long ago. I was so young and excited. This day I was excited but I have no idea what happened to the young. When I reached the area across from the Exchange I stopped and sat down and stared at this beautiful art deco masterpiece, which, even as a shell of its former self, was still magnificant.

The sound of the pipes brought me back to my Scottish roots and Cape Breton home, and as they do for every Scotsman's blood, they made me feel just a little homesick. This time I wasn't feeling homesick for my Nova Scotia shores...I was feeling homesick for my Toronto Stock Exchange. This time I was feeling homesick for my many, many good friends from the floor. This time I was feeling homesick for the wonderful respected life I led as a Floor Trader. This time I was homesick for the laughs, the fights, the excitement, the boredom, the young guys, the old guys, the girls, the posts, the arb, the clock, the screaming, the bob loblaws', the day-o's, the 3:33:33's, the can, the california sandwich lunches, the gallery, the paper ball fights, the paper cuts, my trading book, the 10 coffees a day, the 15 coffees a day, the TD danishes, the greasy eggs at Marta's, the mango shakes, the capuccinos, the great lunches, the liquid lunches, the shitty lunches, the missed lunches, the beers at the Cork Room, the drinks at Sammy's and Ho Shim's, the hockey nights, the Bulls, the Rockets, the softball games, the soccer games, the easy money, the easy girls, the easy guys, the easiness in general, the constant buzz, the energy that didn't run out, the parties, the lines, the all nighters, the tough mornings, Weston health club pool, the limos to Buffalo with Gardner for wings, the almost getting killed with Gardner in Buffalo, people who liked me, the people who hated me, the pictures in the Star, the TV cameos, the first bonus, the last bonus, all the bonuses in between, downtown girl watching summer days, my first BMW, the trips to Vegas, the trips to New York, the trips to Montreal, my band playing at Ildiko's, my bad 80's hair, skinny ties and most of all, every single day I spent on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
As I j-walked across the street to the TSE, and it will ALWAYS be the TSE to me, I saw a few barely recognizable faces from the past. Faces I hadn't seen for a very long time. The one of these bodies I was closest to, as a friend, was Marty Wittenbols and Paul Napolitano. Walking over to the boys I was immediately flushed with the memories of our arb days with Burns Fry. Marty and his wonderful histrionics as the ultimate 'arb' trader every time there was a TV camera within screaming distance. Paul with his intimidating presence and big booming heart which now contained 4 new bypasses. As we shook hands I wondered what it was like for Marty when the floor died. He was such a fixture and was so at home on the floor, it must have been really tough. And for Paul who could never see himself in an office. Arb boys and offices were oil and water. Seeing Marty and Paul I was feeling the first brick being laid in the foundation of emotion that would become a building as the event unfolded. I stood outside for about 10 minutes and shook some hands and exchanged smiles filled with joy and sorrow. It was beginning to dawn on me that times had really changed, never to return. People no longer looked the same and I was only then feeling sure that this was also true of me as well. Then I saw this woman crossing the street comming toward the building. She looked vaguely familiar and when she was beside me our eyes met and I realized it was Carm, my old friend from so long ago. When I knew Carm, she was a girl, who I shared a lot of time with and somebody who meant a great deal to me at in my time on the floor. We were, at one time, great friends. We always had a wonderful sexual tension, mostly because Carm was just a bundle of young exhuberant sexuality and she carried herself in a very confident way...kind of slutty without being a slut. She was wonderful. When Our eyes met, I not only knew it was Carm, I knew I meant very little to her these days. She almost blew me off and did not look, not even for a moment, as if she even had the time of day for me. We exchanged a few very uncomfortable words and drifted off to other greetings and salutations with other people. It was so very wierd. This was the second brick in the foundation, which was a perfect metaphor for my feelings before and after theis event...bitter/sweet! I shook off the wierd encounter with Carm qiute easily, not because I was didn't care, but just because I was so hyper psyched and excited. But I have to tell you, under normal circumstances, Carm's reaction and obvious indifference to me, would have devistated me.
I walked into the building and took a moment to breath it all in. It was of course different now in its new life as 'the design exchange'. (note the lack of capitals and mild distain) I pain my $75.00 and was wrist wrapped by the smiling Susan Tonkin. I slowly assended the stairs, as I had done so many hundreds of times before. This time with a flood of memories with every step. It was warmly overwhelming. When I got to the top of the stairs I stopped and took several deep breaths. They were bittersweet. Surrounded by the familiar marble, granite and deco art and detail, I knew I was home. I entered the room and was immediately overwhelmed by a kind of out of focus feeling as I looked over the crowd for familiar faces. My vision wasn't out of focus, but my memory of what everyone looked like in my mind and the reality of the people 18 years later was enough to cause a momentary blur of emotion. The first person I encountered inside was Mark Grimes. Not in person, just in his overwhelming booming voice over and above the din of the assembled crowd. I meandered through the people feeling amazingly good. Shaking hands, hugging and kissing friends. Feeling like some wierd time warp had taken place and everyone I knew now looked like people I didn't know. Within a very short period of time I met up with Ed Szolopiak. We talked and shared a few memories and lamented the lost life we lived. Ed looked basically the same. Little thinner on top and a very grey moustache. Little more cynical after too many years locked away being a battery in an office cell. I then talked with Kenny Rathgerber and thanked him for his efforts in this reunion and the web pages we now live our past lives through. Kenny looked basically the same. Just a little heavier but maybe a little happier than most. We posed for a few pics and chatted with Harold Maines, who looked great! I drifted toward the bar but was intercepted by Owen Ritchie whom I spent a great deal of the evening talking to. Owen looked good, a little heavier, like the rest of us, but filled with the same contageous energy that I always loved him for. We shared some great laughs and some sad memories of comrades lost.
Standing with Owen, something odd caught my eye to my right. This leather clad, helmet toting cowboy made his way toward us. I barely recognized him. It was my old friend and co-abuser Mike Gardner. Mike Harleyed his way there and looked every bit the poster boy for middle aged penis replacement. haha. Just kidding Mike. But I think it used to be a Porsche or a 20 year old blond to cure that crisis of mid life. Think I would've gone for the blond Mike hahaha!
We very briefly chatted as I marvelled at the difference in appearance. Holy shit man, we were definately NOT in Kansas anymore Toto.
I walked around, scoping out the crown. I spotted a lot of my pals and one by one, I was making my way through as many as possible. With so little time and so much to say, it was a difficult task. I met up with Anna Dixon and shared some great moments from the past. The great parties at Colin's place. Her unbelievable french maid uniform costume at a halloween party at Chris Martin's place. I informed her that her costume had made her a bit of a celebrity with the horny boys who only drooled, because of her Colin status. To this she responded, half in jest, that if she had known that, she would've dumped Colin and gone for the boys...all of them. Anna is great and as a 19 year old, she was very very hot!
I chatted briefly with Anna Carlouchi. She looked great and was her usual smiling self, but didn't really have too much to say. I was a little dissapointed. Her and Carm were good friends back in the day, so I wondered if there was residual from the Carm thing. Who knows. Maybe these girls didn't like me as much as I thought. I walked over to Jimmy Dimson to say hi. Jimmy looked great and it was cool to talk to him. Across the room I spotted Joe Turner. Joe sent me a pic of him and his dad a couple of weeks before the reunion, so I wasn't shocked to see the shock of white hair on his head. It seems so out of place with his youthful face and 20 year old posture. It was great to see Joe. He is a great guy. He told me I looked the same as I did back in the day...with an 80's tie, slicked back 'same' hair and 'ahem' casual look jacket, which he obviously didn't care for too much. Oh well. Truth hurts...haha! We chatted for awhile and Joe told me about his business these days and it was all good.
I saw and chatted briefly with Brent Schwalm, Gord Gladney, Jimmy Barkwell, Russle Barnes, Bob Point, John Manna, Bruce Cocker, Brad, Jerry the Bell man, Peter Ergli, Dave Knight, Gord MacNeil, John Moir, Dave James, Peter Polson, Johnnie Johnson, Lori Sexton, Sandy Eamond, Ken McIntosh, Glen Grossmith.
Then I had a great chat with Ronnie Williams. Love the guy. We had some great times back in the day. Ronnie looks and sounds great and he deserves it.
Then I met up with Steve Welch. He looks a little older but has lost none of his amazing wit and sense of humor. We had a few belly laughs before we continued on our journeys from chat to chat with as many friends as 41/2 hours would allow, and we met up throughout the evening for similar moments of laughter. Then Rick Walker and I shared some memories and laughs. Rick and I have been talking some in the past weeks and we both needed this reunion, for our own reasons. It was really good to see Rick. He is a great guy and we have a great past and share a macabre sense of humor. Steve Curry saw me in a crowd and came over and gave me the big hug and smile. I was so happy to see him. He will always mean alot to me. One of the great people I was so lucky to share some life with. After sharing some memories with Curry I was getting just a little overwhelmed with the moment and the huge emotional surge that came with it.

STAY TUNED FOLKS, FOR PART TWO COMMING SOON

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Post# 11 DID SOMEONE SAY...PARTY?

Any discussion of time spent as a Floor Trader would be less than complete without an 'in depth' look at the socializing habits of this strangely elite group, of which I was a proud member. The single most defining description of these socializing moments can be found in one word.....PARTY.
Because of the fact that too many people might be subjected to too many non-specific slings and arrows for me offering a totally factual play by play, I have to seriously limit my recolections to a 'G' rated version of events. Those of you that experienced and lived through the events I speak of, well, you already know what I mean. As for those of you that don't...use your 1980's imagination. Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll baby!

I don't know if it was the times we were in, cause the 1980's were unbelievable, or maybe the chemistry that seemed to manifest itself among the floor people whenever there was an opportunity to enjoy any given social momnent. Maybe it was the cliches' that started to make sense like "going out with the boys and comming in with the men" and "work hard, party harder". Maybe it was just the amazing, almost magic feeling...like shared valence electrons forming a bond between adjacent nuclei. HaHa...Ok, grade 12 chemistry alert!! Or maybe it's just because a group of talented, intense, extremely pressure driven individuals who shared one of the most individualized working environments on the planet, just GOT IT! We really knew how to enjoy the moment and live it to the fullest, no matter what the outcome. Ah, unbridled passion and crazy people...sounds like a party to me.
There were several categories of party in the floor trader world. Almost every time a group, be it large or small, of Floor Traders would get together for any of a number of reasons and sometimes no reason at all, a party was always a distinct possibility and a danger of breaking out. These parties could start from a gathering at the Cork Room or some other popular apres work thurst quencher. They could start to develop from a group playing soft ball or day tripping downtown. They could start from an impromptu road trip to who knows where. Honestly, they could start anytime, any place...anywhere.
The next category would be the sometimes planned, sometimes unplanned 'house parties' that were as common as they were legend. These were the parties where everyone was a little more equal than they would ever be on the somewhat 'elitist' trading floor. You know, the kind of equal where we were ALL as capable of facing the indignities of hurling in the host's bathroom as the next guy...or girl!
The final category of 'party' that we will endeavour to study in this thesis will be the 'organized' or 'annual' parties that had existed for ever as far as I knew. These parties included the 'Stags', the annual company 'Christmas Parties', the 'Bun Toss' and the most intriguing and the mother of all great Floor Trader inspired parties, the annual Montreal based 'Oyster Party'.

HOUSE PARTIES

In my time on the 'floor' some of the best house parties were held at the Bayview and Eglinton house rented by Chris Martin, Bill Walsh and Rick Walker, Chris's Yonge & Sheppard abode and Jimmy Barkwell's place on Wellington St. downtown. I was only at about 10 of these events, combined, but that was enough to grasp the concept. The 'three amigos' house, Chris, Bill & Rick's, was a small, kinda 'cute' little 'North Toronto' bungalow and a half, or for party purposes, cozy. It was in a nice quiet area just off the busy intersection. Most of the action was centered on the main floor area where as many people as you can imagine would be sardined into a very 'cozy' space. But I have some rather 'odd' blury memorries from a sub-terrain area of the house where only strangeness can be recalled. These parties were usually friday night affairs as I remember, so people usually pre-tanked downtown in the Cork Room or wherever and by the time most of us got to the party, we were pretty much hammered. By midnight the air quality was roughly that of Bejing in rush hour. It seemed that everyone and his mother smoked cigarettes in those days and in parties like these, you barely had to light up. Even the non-smokers woke up in the morning feeling like they 'smoked a pack'! As if the cigarette smoke didn't create a thick enough ambient curtain, the pot smoke was absolutely dense and seemingly never ending. You would be able to share in wave after relentless wave of countless joints. I know it's hard to believe, but 'some' people actually did 'drugs' back in the day. Well...take off your hat and say...Imagine that!
These parties were so great, not so much because they offered anything out of the ordinary, it was something more like a spiritual hammering of the minds!
They were just so very much fun because you knew everyone and everyone knew you and we all knew how to have a really good time.

Jimmy Barkwell's parties were another fantastic way to willingly submit yourself to mild, or not so mild, brain damage. The smoke never deemed as big an issue at Jimmy's because there was at least an opportunity for ventilation and not just circulation. He had a great frightening elevated patio kind of thing at the back of the place. OK, so I can't exactly remember the details because I was never at Barky's house when I wasn't pissed. Not angry...drunk! All I know for sure is that there was an open area overlooking a parking lot. I think!! I remember there were always more ladies at Jimmy's parties. Sorry Chris...haha Or maybe I just kept seeing the same ones over and over. Whatever the case, these parties were excellent. There were some great eating places close by, so the enevitable attack of the incredible drunken/stoned munchies could be satiated with prejudice. That means you could get drunk and blitzed and eat. Hah!
I think I can safely state that EVERYONE that has memories of the parties at Barkwell's place thinks they were really, really cool. Jimmy always brought that inexplicable 'je ne sait quois' to his events much as he did to the rest of his life. He was such a smooth rider that his energy alone could bring a so so, to a cool high! That, believe it or not, was not a veiled drug reference. We all owe Jimmy a little thank you for the good times he provided so many of us so often.

THE ANNUALS'...'BUN TOSS', 'COMPANY CHRISTMAS PARTIES' and 'THE OYSTER PARTY'

Ah the 'bun toss'. What more needs to be said. You get a group of business men (and women) together, in this case floor traders, and you add a formal dress code, a luxurious hotel banquet area with dancing to follow and about a million pops and about 2 million buns. No, the dinner roll kind! I remember at my very first bun toss I actually thought the 'boys' were pulling a fast one on me, the rookie, and that I would be somehow sorry if I took it too seriously.
When we were at the event Jimmy Ackers was on the podium and after the glad tidings were spoken, he gave everyone a stern warning NOT to indulge in the bun tossing ritual. Something about insurance concerns from the hotel. I guess not too many people were listening. Within 30 seconds of the end of the meal, the boys were scrambling, grabbing and stockpiling every 'bun' in the place. They seemed to be popping up everywhere and then it began. From every direction and from even the most unlikely sources (Eddie Lewer), the air absolutely filled with buns. Man oh man did they get tossed. I was hit by about three before I even knew what was going on. Mark Grimes was at our table and he was like a 'bun tossing' machine gun. Across the room at Ackers table, there was Jimmy, rocketing off a barage at harold Maines. It was insane. It was the most immature display of grown men being boys that you can imagine. And it was THE most fun you could ever hope to have at ANY formal event you can imagine.

After the buns died off, the mess was something else. 'I love the smell of dead yeast in the morning'. This was a small part of the wild environment that was the world of the floor trader.

THE 'OYSTER PARTY'

It is difficult for me to hear ANY 80's song these days without evoking memories of those wild and crazy party soundtracks from back in the day.
So many of those songs were related to my memories of the 'oyster parties' throughout the 80's. Don't think I missed one.
Within six mmonths of starting my job on the floor I attended the first of my 'oyster parties'. A weekend in Montreal was required to fully participate and comprehend the 'oyster party'. This was definately NOT like other parties, there were none that could compare.

The party started with a trip to Montreal. Limo to the airport, drinks. Flight to Montreal, drinks. Taxi straight to the party and lots of drinks. The party itself was held at the Boursse de Montreal, or for everyone else, the 'Montreal Stock Exchange'. The party was a really cool affair that started with a trip to the trading floor to chat with guys we worked with. That meant Frankie Breaker and Paul (something english) and Paul (something french). He had the hottest girlfriend whose name I cannot remember. She worked some time at the 'boursse' but I think she might have been a stripper. Whatever! Anyway, by the next oyster party rolled around, she was dead. They found her and some other girl in the trunk of a cadillac at the Dorval airport parking lot. Wrong place/wrong time...that's another story!
What a waste.
Back to the action. When the floor got boring, an average of six minutes after arrival, we made our way upstairs to the actual party floor. It was a great space and had a fantastically catered food service. But that isn't why they called it the oyster party. This was why they called it the 'oyster party'...thousands of oysters! Oysters Rockefeller, Deep fried oysters, oysters neuberg, breaded oysters, baked oysters and most importantly, oysters on the half shell. I absolutely LOVE oysters. Here I was in oyster heaven. Mark Grimes absolutely LOVES oysters. He too was in oyster heaven. This being my first oyster party, I was a little laid back, a taking notes kind of thing. Rookie you know! That lasted till I power chugged four bloody caesars with Mark and he challenged me to an oyster war. Oh yeah, eating oysters till ya die. I didn't say we were smart. Our little contest was a see who can devour the most oysters in the shortest time deal. I told you. I didn't say we were smart! To make this interresting, all oysters had to be dressed with red sauce, hot sauce and lemon. Yummy!
The first couple of dozen had pushed our profile to the 'alert' level for the eight servers on duty. It was taking us very little time to go through their pre shucked supplies. Keep in mind that there were about 700 other patrons throwing back oysters as well. We didn't care. We also had to drink at least one caesar per dozen oysters. By the time I got to my fifth dozen, Mark was over 100! He wasn't just eating shucked oysters, he was throwing down ALL varieties available. And to start with, he was about twenty drinks ahead of me. We kept at it for quite awhile but Mark blew my doors off. He might have eaten 12 dozen. Shit, it might have been 20 dozen...haha. I was so hammered by this time that it was a woozy world of oysters and caesars and little else. I had to struggle to keep it all down, especially with Mark giving me the 'noogies'. But then something magical happened and we were fairly sober again. What a world!
This night was just getting started. After the oyster portion of the party it was back to the hotel for a little post party, partying. Oh yeah...that's right!
The next part of the oyster party weekend was definately the best looking part. It was off to 'Club Super Sex'. Today there are tons of 'whaterer goes' strip clubs all over Toronto, but back in the day, there was nothing like the Montreal strip clubs in T.O....at all!
I mentioned in one of my earlier blurbs the kind of money some of the boys dropped at the clubs on these weekends. Let's just say you could buy a decent used car, on each of the nights there in the club, with the money that got G-stringed into oblivion. Oh man, what a way top go broke, haha.


On my second trip to Montreal for my 2nd oyster party I shared a room with Radar (Ralph Ditchburn). Actually it was his room and I was just going to split the costs with him. After following the prescribed protocols for the oyster party event, I made my way back to the hotel, no idea how, and crawled into bed with the spins from hell. I got into the room at about 3:30am and passed out violently. Hard as it might seem to believe, I actually woke up to an unbelievablw banging on the door. It was Radar and he was hammered and he didn't have his key. I did! Could I get up off that bed and let Radar into the room? NO! Could I do anything, move anywhere, NO! Did I care? NO! I passed out again! The next thing I knew, I was being shaken awake by some dude in a scary uniform. Of course in those days, all uniforms were scary...except those private school things. But I digress. Anyway, this barely understandable goof was shaking me and asking me..."Do you know this guy, Do you know this guy?"
He sounded like Peter Sellers doing Inspector Clouseau. Maybe he was Clouseau.
I looked over at another security guard holding Radar by the arm. Radar certainly would have been on the floor if not for this brute's strength in holding him up. I quickly assessed the situation and made the only logical choice I had available...I said NO, NO, NO, I don't know this guy. Get him out of here. They, of course, dragged Radar out of the room, kicking and screaming while giving me the f-offs to beat the band. Drunk as I was, this was a fine example of humor to me. To Radar...not so much!
I made a herculean effort to save my friend from the indignities of a french jail and called the front desk and explained that if those guys didn't bring Radar back, he would sue their asses off. The room, I reasoned to her, was in Radar's name. He was brought back to the room and the security guards sat him on the other bed and he just sort of slumped there, limp. When the guards finally finished admonishing me, for my "not funny joke", I flipped them the bird I did not understand a single word they uttered, and thusly passed out. This pass out was short lived. Radar, in a feat of super-human strength well beyond his drunk and stupid 110 pounds, jumped on me and started screaming, it could have french too, but he didn't speak it, and was punching me under the covers. I was laughing at him and my really funny joke so hard, I puked in the bed. Then I passed out again and slept in it. I guess Radar stopped pummelling me at some point through the night, cause' when I woke up at around 7:00am, covered in my own vomit, possibly Radar's too, Radar was flopped over his bed. He looked dead. I was wishing 'I' was dead!

Then we started the next day much as we ended the last...with many drinks and way too much fun and living too many cool future stories.

These were the best of times boys and girls.
In retrospect it all seemed so normal and we all just kind of took it for granted.


'THE LAST WALTZ' - FLOOR TRADERS 25TH REUNION OF THE CLOSURE OF 234 BAY ST

This brings me to what might possibly be the LAST party. Bay St ghosts present and future. So many friends have left us since those glory days. I have to wonder, at the risk of getting morose, how many will be left for the next party. At the risk of sounding morbid to go with it, we are all getting 'old'. There, I said it! We better enjoy whatever time we have to share with our many friends from the days of the floor trader. We better start to be better friends. We can do this by NOT waiting for 5-10-15 years to see each other, our friends. We can better appreciate what it was that we had by better appreciating what we have today. We aren't what we used to be. But alot of that is because we have done precious little to maintain what we were and who we were. For the sake of posterity, we better do something to keep the memory of our past lives alive forever. The Floor Trader's Archive is a great start. Compiling a directonary of e-mail addresses and phone numbers that members can access will also improve the chances of keeping in touch.

We don't have to become a lost civilization. We don't have to be the next 'lost tribe'. Lets do something to insure that there is a legacy, a "real' legacy, of the men and women who were the life and breath ofthe 'floor'. Let our children and children's children be able to look back be able to see what we were.
Once, we were great. Really, we were. Although 'we' are all going to die, (sorry, but it's true) what we were should never die with us!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Post# 10 - The Rest of My Friends At The Toronto Stock Exchange

continued

THESE ARE SOME OTHER FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES FROM THE OLD FLOOR WHO MEANT SOMETHING TO ME FOR MANY REASONS!

There are many reasons people become friends. When people spend alot of quality time together under stressful and sometimes very high pressured situations over a long period of time, people become close. I was always privliged to considered many of the people on the floor my friends... good friends in many cases. Yet recently, when I called as many of my old friends as I could, it was the first time I had spoken to many of them for 11 to 15 years. Every time I think of a friend of mine from the TSE floor, any friend really, I have to give my head a real shake to try and understand why I have made so little effort to maintain a friendship with people that have meant so much to me. It is not just me...It is almost everyone that I have spoken to that is out of the business and about half of the people that are still in the business. It speaks to the human condition and the fact that sometimes when people are forced do battle together, when that war is over, maybe people all just needed to forget the war and unfortunately, the people they fought beside. I know the war analogy might be a bit over the top but I am sure that everyone of us feel and know that we have had to give up little piece of ourselves just to be in this business. This is much the same way a soldier who comes back from battle is never quite the same. That is definately very true in our business. This being said, I am thoroughly excited to re-connect with so many excellent people. Although I may not EVER know why I allowed so much time to piss away without even so much as inquiring about any of my friends, something really interresting has taken place in my cold calling of friends from days past. In almost every single case, with almost every single individual, it is as if I last spoke with them...yesterday. Sharing the memories and the laughs, the victories and the defeats and the fact that we were all so very lucky to have been where we were, doing what we were doing, in the very best of times.
At the risk of sounding really puss...to all of my 'floor' friends I just want to say that I missed you. I missed you all and I hope that this reunion will help all of us to appreciate who we are, what we are and who our FRIENDS are.

These Are Some Of My Other 'Floor' Friends in No Partictular Order

Joe Turner
I have many great memories with my old friend Joe. We had so many hours of terriffic conversations and even though he was a Habs fan, I still really liked him. Those great hot dogs in the Montreal Forum..oh yeah, and the games. haha A little baseball, a little hockey, Argos...cool memories. Joe was a really steady, even keeled trader and was well respected. A great sense of humor and a good laugh when that ketchup pack Joe was playing with exploded all over his white shirt and cool silk tie. Sorry Joe, but it was hilarious. I told you not to play with it...hahaha Joe is a really good guy and everyone that knows him will agree on this. It is great to be talking to Joe again and I look forward to getting together for another shared revisionist history lesson.

Bill Webb
My very best hockey conversations I ever had were with Bill. He was such a calm relaxed guy you would never be able to tell he had serious GOON blood flowing through his veins. Great times with Bill and his cool dad Lenny, Bill Walsh, Steve Welch and an assortment of hockey experts. Bill was one of the most informed and intelligent people on the floor and his hockey knowledge was vast and accurate. So much fun and great laughs with the 'Crunch' goon pool and every other pool that existed. So many good laughs on the floor keeping each other barely sane sometimes. Watching Tim Taugher threatening to go after Bill Brough to, I think, kill him while we stood by and laughed. Oh yeah, the good old days on the floor. Murder and mayhem...that was Bill...haha The fact that Bill and I were so, so different made it really cool to be friends. Bill was so measured and collected and I was...let's see...insane. Bill was a real calming influence on me, which was required once or twice...haha Thanks Bill. Go Wings!

Rick Perogi
Rick was an absolutely great guy. I enjoyed his company as much as anyone on the floor. I have great memories of Rick including the time he came up to my farm in Brougham to enjoy some nature...like the trees that were made available to us from the tree nursery adjoining my property. OK, so we had to wait till it was kind of dark to dig them up, but there you are...hahaha
Paper balls were king on the floor and Rick was an ace. No one was spared. He even threw a rocket that hit Tommy Milligan right on the top of his head, causing Tommy just a little aggrivation. I once threw a sugar pack at Rick, never believing I would hit him, but I did. He was so far away but the stars were aligned. I threw the pack on a very high arch, because he was so far away, and it went perfectly...as if in slow motion. BANG, right in Rick's right eye. It was so funny in a paper ball kind of way. Rick marched over to my booth as soon as it happened. He couldn't see that it was me, but yet he knew. He walked up to me and said, "nice f....ing shot Jim" and turned and walked away. What a true warrior. Just a great guy with a really good attitude. Once again, sorry Rick, but it was my best shot ever. Thanks!

Gord Gladney
I worked with Gord through part of my Peter Mitchell period as a trader and we shared a lot of hockey pools and pick-up games at midnight. Those games were tons of fun and I will now apoligize to any of my team mates that I injured through the course of our playing time together. Chris Martin, I am sure you can relate. Gord, I forgive you for the Peter Mitchell inspired plank walking in the Gordon/Davidson fiasco. I did OK by the way.


Owen Ritchie
Owen and I were kind of a ying/yang on the floor. He was a more soft edged and considerate individual to my rather hard assed approach. Of course, my being an Arb trader always kept me on edge. Pressure baby. You gotta love it!
Great Owen memories from the soccer pitch, hockey pools and chats about the 'carting' life. Owen was always so good to see. Always so positive. I only saw him loose it one time and it made me realize that it would always be better to have Owen as a friend than an enemy. Owen made having Owen as a friend very easy and rewarding. He and Bob Point could always be counted upon to provide lots of entertainment and general good cheer. I am glad I have Owen memories from the floor because without Owen, it would just not have been the same place. He was one of the truely 'good' people that helped make my job as a floor trader such a rich and rewarding experience.

Jeff Gamble
I used to really like Jeff and the times we spent together. Back in the Tow Truck days, the condo with Mike McCarthy, the boozecan experiment we almost followed through with, all of which I'm sure Jeff will deny ever existed, we had some great times. After Jeff went to New York to join the Larry Hoes gang, he was never the same guy, or so EVERYONE told me. Yeah, I thought that too Jeff. That was a real shame because Jeff was such a good friend and terriffic guy. Jeff would always help you out in a pinch and never want anything in return and was terminally friendly. I have no idea if he is any of these things anymore. Maybe some time he will tell me!

Colin O'Handley
Colin was a guy that I had much in common with. We were both musicians, motorheads and enjoyed a good party. I used to like going over to Colin's place to jam. Hey, Cherry Bomb! Pink Cadillacs'!
Colin gave the greatest parties. His annual 'corn roasts' were always so much fun...well, what I can remember from them. Colin actually served corn, boiled in huge pots with open fires and there would be butter melted into empty apple juice cans, ingenious, and the corn dipped in just right. The entertainment at these parties was always live bands and Colin and Brian Duff were in their element. What great memories!

ED SZOLOPIAK
Ah yes, Ed. Well Ed Szolopiak had one of the best names of my friends on the floor (except for maybe Rick alphabet) but for whatever reason really didn't look like his name...if you know what I mean. Ed wasn't nearly as exotic looking as his name sounded. Since he wasn't a stripper, I guess that didn't much matter. Ed and I used to spend a great deal of time hanging out and talking during the many down times on the floor. Ed had a great sense of humor, which it seems was a prerequisite to being a floor trader. Of course there were an awful lot of guys that had no sense of humor at all, so it kind of balanced out in our little universe. (see Tom Milligan) Ed was a perfect straight man and had excellent timing and demeanor for such a designation. I loved bouncing my rather extreme viewpoints off Ed because he always had such a deep measured response. His perspective on things was intelligent, while at the same time being quite funny. I believe Ed was an Acadia grad with a football major and an english minor...haha Like most of us on the floor, his education had little to do with his career. I really enjoyed my friendship with Ed and when we got together for a few after the closing of the old floor I didn't realize it would be 11 years between beers. I sincerely hope that it is not so long between the next!

Marty Whittenblos
When it came to characters on the floor of the TSE, Marty was near the top of the heat. Marty never met a camera he didn't have a passionate love affair with. Almost every clip on the news shows would enevitably be of Marty shouting and frantically hand signalling, real or imagined and sometimes including such well known 'arb' men as Arnie Coombs. I worked with Marty at Burns Arb and I enjoyed socializing with him off the floor. Marty wan not a drinker or a party animal, so it was hard to find common lines of interest. Marty is a long time Corvette man and once recorded a 'Taking Care of Business' cover video with Stevie Gilbert and I at a studio I had. Marty played drums. Marty was never as happy as I thought he should have been, although I am not really sure why.

Ike Ross
Ike was way happier than I thought he should have been...just kidding Ike! He was such a pleasure to have on the floor. A funny voice of reason in a world of turmoil. His take on life made you look at yourself just a little differently than you normally might. I think Ike was a trader, but I can't actually remember him actually doing a trade...haha Sorry Ike.

Jimmy Dimson
Swish, as Jimmy was known by so many on the floor was a really tremendous guy. Very quiet by floor standards, but a wonderful sense of fair play and a grounded personality. I thoroughly enjoyed my many and varied conversations with Jimmy. I always appreciated the fact that he would patiently listen to my many gripes and always offer calm relaxing advice. Jimmy was an absolute pleasure.

Mark Houghton
I just loved this guy. He was so gregarious and fun to be around. I spent many an evening after work having a beer with Mark and it was never ever boring. When I recently heard that Mark had died, I was absolutely shocked and could hardly believe my ears. I had been calling Mark's number trying to get in touch with him and didn't even realize that he would not be picking up. Mark spent many summer days and nights at the Exhibition, working in the family business selling home made beer nuts, which were delicious. At the end of the Ex he would often come by my apartment and drop off like 20 bags of these beer nut sweets. This was a very good 'munchy' appeaser. I miss Mark Houghton.

Sharon Butler
In my time on the floor Sharon was one of the coolest girls I ever hung out with. She was hot and could hang out with the boys and never feel like a third wheel. She was so much fun to spend time with and talk to and it was cool to have a female friend, of the hot persuasion, that you could just have fun with without the tension. Only the boys will know what I mean by that one. Sharon had a ton of friends and admirers and I am happy to have been one of them.

Kelly Gilbert
Kelly was one of the first girls that I became friends with on the floor. She was a great post clerk and we spent hours and hours of down time talking. She was the most energetic person I had ever met. Boundless energy and full time smiles. Kelly was a beautiful girl and soul. The night Kelly and Steve Gilbert became an item, and later married, was a classic. You know what, I think I will just leave that night at that. I just loved Kelly because she was such a great friend. She used to confide in me alot and I always felt like she cared about my opinions. I miss our good times together. Still love ya Kelly!

Little Carm
Carm, I am so sorry that I can't remember your last name. OK, you can shoot me. Carm was one of my very good friends and like Kelly, we spent countless hours talking and flirting. She was probably the only person that I talked with EVERY day on the floor. Carm was such a kind soul and so generous to me. She was always worried about me. She didn't approve of my lifestyle choices and always let me know when she thought I should curb the enthusiasm. I have such great memories Carm and I will cherish them forever. Love you too Carm!

Sheila Barry
The first time I met Sheila I was upstairs at the Cork Room with a group of non-traders types from the floor. Since there was a bit of segregation in the Cork Room which had the traders on the main floor and the non trading staff of the floor relegeted to the 'upstairs' portion of the establishment. Sheila was kind of hammered, like everyone else there, and people were talking about going to a party at Jimmy Barkwell's place. Most of the good parties were trader exclusive, to a degree, and the party ay Jimmy's was going to be a coup for the postie people to attend. This was to be a more 'open' party than most of the usual 'trader' parties, so people were excited. Meanwhile, back at the bar, Sheila was a real 'life of the partier' and was as funny as hell. She was toe to toe with a couple of guys and matching them gross out for gross out. She was no shrinking violet and I could tell I was going to like her. I owe alot of good laughs on the floor to Sheila. She was just a really funny girl. Since she came from a fine floor trading pedigree with trading vetrans Paul Barry (dad) and Bill Barry (uncle and gruff of note), you just knew Sheila was cut out for the job. Her North Toronto roots served her well in the wasp bastion of the trading floor of the TSE.
She was friends with Sharon Butler in those days and those two together were quite the party tag-team. (no, not that kind of tag team). Sheila almost always had a HUGE smile on her face and she really knew how to enjoy herself, which usually meant those around her enjoyed themselves as well. I always liked Sheila's company and her terriffic sense of humor and ascerbic tongue. Along with all the laughing I did with Sheila, I also considered her a great friend.

Vic Ciampini
Vic and I recently spoke about his first day on the trading floor. Vic was not your average postie in any demonstrable way. The day he started he was immediately the wierdest looking guy on the floor and discovered the attention that went with that distinction. In brief, Vic had the piercings and spiked hair of a hard core punk of the day. Not exactly a white shirt and tie guy. Vic was a musician and looked the part. Vic and I shared a rehearsal space for our individual musical needs and I loved the way he played. I was sure he could have made a career in music with a few breaks. Vic went on to become a wheel at the TSE which I am sure he wears as well as his musical endeavours. Vic is a great guy and I am indeed very happy to have spent time with him and share lots of cool moments.

Bob Mullet
I spent a lot of time with Bob on the floor as we both traded on opposing Arbs for many years. Bob always with Dorhety. Although we had an adversarial relationship, we never let that get in the way of our having a good time. Bob was a S&P 500 guy from way back which was oddly out of place for an arb trader. Bob was smart and funny and could snap you in two if he wanted to. Luckily a friendly guy. I remember Bob telling me there were way too many nights at The Keg Mansion, so many in fact that Bob actually had a nameplate there...sort of a wall of fame thing I guess. Thats a whole lot of steaks and drinks Bob...haha Ah, memories! I am hoping I get to see Bob at our reunion. That's right Bob, I'm talking to you buddy!

Larry Hoes
Larry was a good friend of mine for a long long time on the floor. When I first started on the floor a whole lot of guys thought Larry was kind of a dick and he didn't have too many friends. To be fair to Larry he was good friends with Mark Grimes, Jeff Gamble and myself. He was very hard to get to know, a very 'to himself', arrogant kind of guy, dying to be accepted by the 'in' crowd. He never was. Larry was always a smart guy and we had some great conversations. Great memories from Kensington Market, the St. Lawrence Market and endless bargain hunts. He was a driven capitalist. He traded client orders for Burns but wasn't much of a trader as I recall. His specialty however, was in the office and management. Not Burns office however because they fired him over something that probable litigation prevents me from going into. Larry went on to New York where he teamed up with a questionable wierd grey area character that I never liked or thought too much of. Larry went on to made his fortune in 'hedge fund' heaven, and lost alot of it, in 'hedge fund' hell, if the rumors be true. But that all went kind of south for reasons that probable litigation prevent me from discussing. I do not believe that his company, Sharpe Capital Inc. is doing much business these days, for reasons...well, you get the point I'm sure. Larry is, I believe, alive and that is a good thing. I tried to contact Larry in Parry Sound where he has land and some real estate holdings but he did not respond to my fax, which was the only available technology my efforts were able to come up with for him. Just doing the hermit thing I guess.
The one thing that I most regret about my dealings with my former friend Larry was that I set him up with my good friend, Carm. She was totally wierded out by the guy, which I can't go into for the previously mentioned legal reasons. She forgave me but I didn't! Larry completely sandbagged me at McNeil Mantha. Et tu Brutus? Nice friend. He usurped my power within the Arb operation I had created there while I was in the hospital and laid up for 6 weeks. Did I mention, nice friend! Other than the money it cost me and the pain of being back stabbed by a 'friend', it was wonderful. I'm not so bitter anymore however because it got me to move to the Caribbean for 4 years, which was ubbelievable, and helped me develop my current career. So, thanks Larry...I guess. It also taught me that friend is just a word...and words are cheap. Betrayal and Larry are just words too! It is odd to see me keep using 'Larry' and 'friend' in the same sentencses. Wishful thinking I guess. Larry has gone through a lot of friends, like everyone he took from Toronto to New York, and a lot of wives. Oh well! When you have the dough, you can always buy more friends I guess. Larry was never one to let friendship get in the way of his career. When Larry was getting married to one of his wives he invited me up to Parry Sound, to the wedding on his island property. I didn't go. He never forgave me. Get over it! She divorced him and so did I.

Pier Donnini
When Pier, pronounced 'Pierre', started on the floor he was an open book. A very young impressionable spirited guy with a good, if mildly depressed, attitude to life. The depression part is from Pier, not from me. He was ok at his job, certainly nothing special, which seems really wierd considering the executive position he would later go on to hold with Yorkton. He played keyboards in a band with some friends of mine and myself, mostly because I just convinced him he could. You see, he didn't play keyboards but was up to the challenge none the less. That did take some kohones! Ok, I know. We did Brian Adams songs. Come on, it was the 80's! It was great fun and I am glad Pier was with me to share in the experience.
Pier was a good friend for awhile, but when he didn't need too much more from our relationship, he abandoned it...at least I think he did. I was kind of the same way myself, so I don't have the luxury of being judgemental. Pier went on to become an executive wheel of some note and prestiege with Yorkton Securities, which was absolutely shocking to me. Not because I didn't think he could attain such a position, only that he did. He was, unfortunately front and center in the ultimate demise of that operation. You probably remember him for such courageous but career killing moves as taking on the Ontario Securities Commission...! Ouch, Ouch!
According to my spies Pier is currently the owner of an eatery and watering hole in Port Elgin or where ever that long weekend biker spot is. I informed Pier of this reunion, but because of the huge OSC publicity and accompanying crap that goes with it, he has had to suffer, he might not allow himself to come to this little reunion. I know it was tough for me when I got burned at McNeil Mantha, so I would understand. Those kind of wounds run deep. I hope he does come and I hope we can work out our differences... whatever they are. Good luck with the planning commission Piergeorgio.

In Conclusion and a Eulogy

Although one of the last two people I mentioned, in my humble opinion and based on my very personal experience, was of questionable character as a friend, and one just drifted out of friendship with me (I am sure you can tell which) something that was proved to me is that Larry was indeed the exception to the rule. That considered, it has been my absolute pleasure to have been associated with this fine group of people...these 'floor' people...traders and staff. The friends I have made far outnumber the idiots I have known by a huge margin, which is not the norm in the 'real world'. We hardly ever had to be in the real world. Our world was a more protected, more elite environment. Our world was a little more secretive and mysterious. Our world and our lives were definately more exciting than the 'real world' and average lives in it. Our world was always very rewarding and we always felt just a little better about ourselves because of the nature of our world.
My career as a Floor Trader on the Toronto Stock Exchange trading floor was more than just a job to me. It truely was a way of life. We were the foot soldiers in the never ending war that is the securities industry. This war takes few prisioners and the casualties are many and varied. We were in the trenches and on the front lines of the Canadian business world. We were warriors, without a war. We were a culture on to ourselves. There was no work like it. There was no atmosphere like it. There were no people like floor people. Truely, there was no life like it.
All of that is gone now. Chewed up and spit out like so many other casualties of the computerized trading world of today. Today the trading world is a spirit killing office devoid of personality and truely a more heartless and hostile territory. Who's to blame? Well, the short answer is WE are to blame. We fighters who put up NO fight of consequence. We dreamers who were incapable of seeing the value of the situation we were in. We loud mouths who were too afraid to speak up when it meant the most. We just allowed the bean counters and bankers come in and use us to create our own ultimate demise. It is probably difficult for many of us to agree on where or when it all went wrong but we all know that we did indeed let it happen. The Toronto Stock Exchange is dead. The Floor Trader is dead. The culture that was the 'floor' is dead. The only question remaining is...will we allow it to be buried?

Well...will we?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Post# 9 - The 'Young Turks' of The TSE (3)

The Young Turks. This is the best way I can describe the group of younger, mostly male, hard working, harder partying floor traders from my early days on the floor of the TSE. The adrenelin and bravado and the money created many interresting moments both during work hours and most especially after hours.


continued

MIKE GARDNER

In my career as an Arb trader I had to deal with almost every 'Pro' trader at one time or another. There were certain Pros' that I had to deal with more than others depending on the stocks I trading at any given time. When I traded lots of RCI.A & RCI.B, Rogers Cable stock I had to deal with Johmmy Massin in the GM square quite a bit. That was usually a nice calm square to hang out in and GM Johnny was rarely overly excited. The other Pros in the area were fairly calm types as well. Pros like Dave Bond and Lenny Amon were like kittens in the lion's den. At least in the way they treated other pros' compared to how some other traders often acted, which is to say...viciously! Then there was the area where Mike Gartner traded, which was the same area as Pros Bobby Churchill, John Morrison, Dixie Duggan, Denis McColgan and several other very hard assed traders who rarely took prisioners. Did I mention...viciously?

Having butted heads with Mike as often as I did we developed a mutual respect and slowly became pretty good mates. Mike was as hard assed a partier as he was a trader, and he was a really good trader. If you measured 'good' by the amount of money you made, then Mike was very good. Mike learned his chops unter the close tutaledge of one of the Vetran greats, Dixie Duggan. Dixie was a very serious guy and had alot to offer an up and commer like Mike was in his early days. They were great friends and Mike was very lucky to have Dixie watching his back. Mike, with his well earned, substantial ego, would probably never admit how much Dixie had to do with his ultimate success as a trader. However, if you were to ask the people that would know of this process between Mike and Dixie, few of them would ever discount Dixie's worth to Mike.

Mike was a 'shooter' trader and a very good one. I loved watching him in action. He always had this wonderful smirking face when he traded and you couldn't help but think that he knew that he was winning the game. He was!

I had some great parties with Mike. On occasion, and when we felt the need for heat and if we were just bored enough, we would get a crew together and grab a limo and head down the road, an hour and a half, to Buffalo, to the Anchor Bar for their world famous 'Buffalo Wings'. We always had them with suicide sauce cause' it just made us drink more and more and that was the point. Sometimes we would take in a hockey game while there, sometimes we would just have the wings and about a million American beers.

Mike is still in the business today, as are many of my friends. In Mike's case I believe he is still in the business more because he wouldn't know what to do if he wasn't a trader. It's not because he doesn't have enough dough to retire or just relax more...He just wouldn't know HOW to relax or retire. Adreneline junkies have a really tough time going 'cold turkey'. It would probably kill him to do anything, or nothing else.

I always enjoyed my time with Mike. Although he is nearly impossible to get close to, we were pretty good pals but not really good friends. When I needed a change of scenery from the Burns Arb, as good as they were, it was Mike who talked Dixie into offering me a job trading Pro for Nesbitt, which I accepted. I will always appreciate that because in our business, the trading business, if you recomend someone and call in a favour for that someone, that someone better not screw up. To this day there is still a sneaking suspicion, deep in my head, that getting me to trade Pro, far away from Mike and Dixie's area and having Burns have to try and come up with someone as effective as I was in that square, was part of the reason for the helpfulness. My replacement in the square was not much to speak of and Mike later told me that it was so easy to play this 'new' guy that he actually missed my aggrivation. Makes a guy think..haha!

Mike had alot of friends both in the 'old school' and within the 'young turks'. His popularity was easy to understand. He worked for Yorkton Securities, where another friend of mine, Pier Donnini, became a wheel which fell off in a spectactular way. That, however, is another story. 'Teaser Alert'! That story, and the stories of the other 'bad boy' friends of mine that have gained one sort of 'infamy' or another, will follow in this blog at a later time. I will study the laws pertaining to those disclosures just a little before I discuss my litigious friends and their indescretions. Hi Larry! haha

Mike now works in an office to do his trading as do almost all the other office clones who used to populate the floor. Forced into the 'clone wars' with the death of the trading floor and the floor trader. Mike and his great 'floor' personality are definately out of place in an office and off the floor. All of us would be and are. I for one was never able to, nor did I have to, choose a move to the office to trade. I got out, well I was screwed out, which is another post, but nonetheless I was out before the machines took over and killed all the floor traders. For that I am eternally greatful. I hadn't seen Mike for 11 years of so and I am looking forward to seeing him at the reunion. I hope to hell he hasn't gotten old. He has a Harley now, the new middle aged Porsche replacement for mid-life crisis control. I bet he looks great on it. I should take one and go for a long ride with him one day...maybe to Buffalo. Maybe have some wings. Probably not quite as spicy and definately not with as many American beers!

STEVE CURRY

I have said a great deal about Curry in the preceeding pages. That's because he was my first boss and we shared some great times together.
Let me say, if I haven't all ready. that I love this guy. Ok, relax homophobes...it's man love. He gave me an opportunity to go where few men have gone. The opportunity to experience what few men have experienced. The opportunity to have been a member of the most elite and elusive jobs in the world. The opportunity to have made so many very good friends and acquaintences which I would never have without his intervention. The opportunity to have an exciting career and make lots of money while having more fun than I ever had a right to. Yeah, this guy Steve Curry was important in my life's direction and for that alone I owe him eternal thanks.

My memories with Steve are endless it seems. I will just give you some brief highlites and I am sure you will get the message. Steve was a drinker. A REAL drinker. Almost every single social moment with Steve involved our being totally hammered. SO many nights in the Cork Room. So many nights that lasted too far into too many mornings. Some of the best times were around the famous and entirely infamous Montreal 'Oyster Party' weekends in, of course Montreal. From all of our perspectives, as traders on a real 'Exchange' floor, and in consideration of the fact that Montreal had an exchange, which they called a 'boursse', Montreal was good for two things. French women and more french women. Where was the best place to find french women in Montreal...well almost everywhere. Where did we go to 'find' these french women? Club Super Sex, that's where. And when we went there, Steve Curry was the king. On one night there which started at about midnight, Steve dropped something like $1400. Those were like 1983 dollars so that would be about a million $'s today.

At that time it was about $5.00 for a dance. A naked french girl would dance in front of you for as long as it took for the song to end, say 3:00 minutes. Well if you do the math it should boggle the mind as to how he actually drank and lap danced away that amount of money. That was just for him. Radar spent something like $700. that same night in the same club, so it wasn't like Curry was paying for anyone but Curry. Well, back to the math, that amount over the three hours we were there would pay for about 200 dances and 100 drinks! Seem like alot? Welcome to the world of the floor trader. Welcome to the world of Steve Curry and the rest of us...crazy bastards at the best of times!

RICK WALKER

The first time I met Rick was, I believe, the first day on the job at the TSE. He came up to the booth to chat with Chris Martin and barely noticed my presence. Chris didn't introduce us and I didn't introduce myself. Rick was making plans to go to the Cork Room after work to have a few pops.Where I actually met Rick, in the traditional sense, was in the guys can in the Cork Room later that night. He was one of a group of about 6 prople piled into a cubicle of sorts doing what people would do in those circumstsnces. What else! As we got to know each other I soom came to like Rick, mostly because he had such a great sense of humor. The humor was a very common thread among the group on the trading floor. Rick also was a hockey fan and played pick-up games. I was also a hockey fan at that time and had seasons tickets to the Leafs, which was cool. I was always going to games with different people and when Rick and I went it was always cool. Rick's brother and I split the seasons tickets a year later and it was all good.

One of the interresting things I did while I was working on the floor was to coach the TSE hockey team, the Rockets. I still hold Dave Richardson in some contempt for my having to be associated with a team of men playing a men's game and having a lame girly name like 'rockettes' haha. Anyway, Rick was one of, if not my favourite player, on the team. He was my kind of player...gifted and dirty. hahaha. Yes you were Rick, don't lie! Rick was also an excellent goal scorer which on our mentally and talent challenged team was a gift from God.
He played with great intensity for an industrial league and he always showed up to play. We were in a playoff series against a team that kicked our arses all season and we were down in the series 2 games to 1 and down 3 to 1 in the third period when a cool brawl broke out in front of the opposing net after Rick had scored a goal to make it 3 to 2 in the game with 10 minutes to play. Scoring wasn't the thing that started the little brawl, it was Rick bringing his stick up into the air to celebrate his goal in a calculated manner and kind of banged his stick off the face of one of the other defensemen. The guy went down like he had been shot and Rick looked like he didn't notice. The opposing center DID notich and made a bee line for Rick and banged him hard with a crosscheck which Rick responded to with a fine spear to the nuts. This didn't seem to calm the other guy down and he gave Rick his stick over Rick's head, breaking Rick's CCM helmet, popping out a rivet and leaving an actual crack. After this scrum ended in this 'no-contact' game, Rick was assessed a 2 minute minor for the stickwork and his over aggressive assailant was assessed a 5 minute major for the head shot to Rick and a game misconduct for intent to injure. When Rick was in the box and we had a power play. Henry Brazil scored to tie the game. With about two minutes to play and the other teams best scorer thrown out of the game, Rick scored the winning goal and did a fine salute to the other bench in his little celebration.

Rick and I have many many memories together and I cherish almost every one of them. I say almost because in some of our times together I might have lost consciousness for any of a number of reasons and might not necessarily have cherished those actual memories. haha!

I always considered Rick a friend and I always will. I hope it's mutual.
Rick was great friends with Bill Walsh, who had been a friend of his for most of their lives, John Moir Jr., Chris Martin, Stevie Gilbert, Jack Harvey, Matt Taugher, Jack Dunbar, Joe Turner and I am glad to say, me.

Now Rick, I could have gone into much detail about your notorious reputation as a ladies man and a heartbreaker of some renoun...but, I didn't. I also could have related a wonderful funny story about you and an incident at Sammy's that Chris shared with me recently...but I didn't. I didn't because discretion is the greatest part of valor or something like that and I know Rick didn't really want me to write anything about him. Mostly I think because Rick is a humble guy, but also, like the rest of us, because he has an interresting, kind of exciting past.

BILL WALSH

Bill and Rick were great friends, as I have mentioned and they had much in common. They grew up together, played sports together, lived together,dated girls together, had friends in common and worked, obviously, in the same business. They were both big hockey fans, but Bill was a Red Wings fan. A HUGE Detroit Red Wings fan. Bill was a client trader for DS I believe, which was a good gig. I didn't have much of a trading history with Bill but I do have a cool social history with him. I spent alot of time listening to Bill talk about what a great team the Wings were, which they were. Compared to the Leafs they were a powerhouse to the Leafs' shithouse. It was the Ballard era, the middle of the worst of the Ballad era, and there wasn't too much to chirp about if you were a Leafs fan. Bill was a huge Steve Yserman, Probert and Federov guy and who could blame him. I remember lots of great conversations with Bill, Lenny Webb, Bill Webb and myself, mostly about hockey. Bill was a hockey pooler like myself and a goon pool vetran as well. Might even have won one.

I partied alot with Bill and he was a really cool cucumber. He wasn't overly excitable but you had the impression that if you pissed him off just the right amount, he would, I don't know....kill you! Just kidding...or am I Bill? haha.

Bill was good friends with Rick Walker, Terry Blackwell, Jack Harvey, John Moir Jr., Chris Martin, Matt Taugher, Jack Dunbar and Stevie Gilbert. Also friends with many other guys and girls, Bill was well liked.
I enjoyed visiting Bill's assorted residences for parties. The Bayview and Eglinton house was the best with the Seneca townhouse being a close second.

I haven't seen Bill for over 11 years, maybe as long as 16 years and I am excited to see him soon. Bill is out of the business these days and it will be good to have some of the years since I've seen him in filled with detail when we talk. I always liked Bill and I am sure I always will.

JACK HARVEY

Although Jack might not have been a 'young turk' in years, he absolutely was an honorary member and a very deserved one. Jack was a vetran trader when I started on the floor of the TSE and was a client trader DS. Jack was a party animal and fit right in with the group 'peter pan' syndrom that overwhelmed all of us on the floor. One of my first memories of Jack was at a Jimmy Barkwell party on Wellington. Jack was on the patio with a large group of partiers and was laughing uncontrolably. This laughing lasted for about 20 minutes and it was hilarious to watch and listen to. He was hammered and was the absolute life of the party, which considering the group he was with, was saying alot.

Jack was always great at happenings like the 'bun toss' parties. The Bun Toss was a semi-formal party, usually at a very upscale hotel banquet hall with very good food and drinks and a full contingent of floor traders. At such meals, there was enevitably a bun at every plate, you know, for dinner. A dinner roll. As the tradition went, and these were pretty loose rules, we would wait till after dinner when the little speeches started , and then pick out a likely terget and let them haet the bun, usually right in the head. Then, everybody in the place was throwing buns at everybody else. Yeah, we were big time floor traders at the Toronto Stock Exchange. Man, did we ever know how to have fun. When it came to knowing how to have fun, Jack was at the front of the line.

I enjoyed Jack's company alot. Jack was indeed one of the really 'good' guys on the floor and I only hope he is happy and doing well. I wish him nothing but good!

To Be Continued (Part 4)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Post# 8 - 'The Young Turks' of the TSE (2)

The Young Turks. This is the best way I can describe the group of younger, mostly male, hard working, harder partying floor traders from my early days on the floor of the TSE. The adrenelin and bravado and the money created many interresting moments both during work hours and most especially after hours.
continued

CHRIS MARTIN

Chris was not your prototypical floor trader. He seemed much more refined and measured compared to the 'got to have it nows' that made up the majority of the traders'...myself definately included! Perhaps it was his British ancestory or his very laid back approach to life. Whatever it was, it served him well in his chosen profession and made him an interresting subject. Maybe that is why Stevie Gilbert and I were so drawn to him. Stevie and I were both insane and required a balance in nature so we didn't implode. Chris provided us with that balance.

Chris has an amazing sense of humor and was a perfect straight man foil to Stevie's comedic wanderings. There are so many of my TSE memories that revolve directly around Chris that he will be forever linked to almost everything I did during my time as a 'floor trader'. I am pretty sure Chris didn't have any enemies. Even his old girlfriends still really liked him. What a wierdo!

When I started socializing with Chris, he was living with two other floor traders, Bill Walsh and Rick Walker in a house at Bayview and Eglinton in Toronto. This place was the home to way too many great parties and after hours get together. Since all three residents were on the same party page, in the same line of work, there were very few disputes over things like being kept awake all night. Cleaning the dishes...well that was another matter. I have some great memories of that place and the guys there but unfortunately I am not at liberty to discuss too many of the details. Once again, to protect the guilty.

When Chris was working the greenshields wire (arb) and training me for the 'floor wars', I used to be amazed at how much shit he could tolerate. The sources of this shit were mostly on the other end of the phones and on the floor in the form of barely competent traders making his life hell. I was in that category for awhile, so I can speak from experience. In my case I just didn't give a shit at first. In the case of some of the other traders...they just sucked!

Chris and I shared a lot of quality party time several bad habits. Although, to be fair to Chris, he was, or always gave the impression that, he was much more in control of things than I ever was. Some of my fondest memories of Chris involved the pre-tanking meal rituals he introduced me to before going on a weekend binge or two. While Chris lived at Bayview and Eglinton there were a couple of restaurants on Mount Pleasant that we used to frequent that provided you with an ample serving of comfort food at a very reasonable price. It didn't matter how much money any trader made, they invariably would hunt down the cheapest meals and then go out and blow $1000 on a weekend of booze and happy time indulgences. Yeah, if we were anything, we were ANY trader! I have great memories from tons of parties like the 'bun toss' and Montreal 'oyster' parties with Chris. Sharing rooms at the Manoir Le Moine in Montreal or the Harbour Castle in Toronto, where we would house ourselves when the serious party season was upon us. I remember being in the Harbour Castle at 4:30am and having probably 35 people in the room, fighting for the ever decreasing oxygen supply and barely being able to focus on the other side of the room because of the bellowing cigarette and weed smoke. Yes, it's true. People DID smoke the ocassional joint at parties. Relax, we all feel shame today. Oh yeah!

As I mentioned in my Steve Gilbert blurb, Chris and Stevie were the best of friends. Together there was nothing but good times and happy memories, at least while Stevie was alive. After Stevie died, Chris was never quite the same. Many of us felt that way as well, but with Chris it was much more tragic. Being as close as they were, I can only imagine how much pain was and still is, involved in Stevie's death.

I lost touch with Chris after I left the business. When I did leave the business and moved to the Caribbean to do a tourism development on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, I tried to get Chris to come down and hang out there with me but it never did come to pass and we didn't connect again until the 'new' floor closing in 1997. Even there we didn't spend much quality time together. There were just so many people to talk to and share memories with that it was virtually impossible. It wasn't till this Mark Grimes inspired reunion event came up that I finally tracked him down and we spend much phone time reconnecting.

I feel like I owe Chris alot for the great friendship and good times we shared. He was one of the truely GOOD guys on the floor as could be measured by the huge number of people that counted him as a friend. I was lucky to be one of them.

STEVE WELCH

I think everyone on the floor that knew Steve Welch really liked him. You can count me among those numbers.
Steve was a very good friend of Stevie Gilbert and was almost as funny. He was also a person that was well respected as a trader and hockey purist. Steve was a charter 'Goon Pool' member, like myself, and although he once drafted Bjore Salming as a goon, which was a stretch, he was a fan of the hockey pugalist. Stevie was long time friends with George Ellerby, Terry Blackwell and Dennis Hill and Terry Blackwell going back to the time he first started as a floor trader. When I started on the floor Steve was good friends with Chris Martin, Rick Walker, Stevie Gilbert, Jack Harvey and Bill Walsh from the 'Turks' and old schoolers' like Ike Ross, Lenny Webb, Frank Koren, Jack Elliot and too many others to mention. Steve was always a smart guy and a dependable voice of reason when things got hairy. He could bring a chuckle to almost every situation, which in our line of work was an amazing saving grace.
Steve Welch was another of my favourites on the floor and I will always count him as a wonderful friend who could make me laugh when I needed a laugh.
Steve is retired now and I only wish great things for him and his family. Oh yeah Steve, thanks for the great Ricky story in Vegas. You still got it and my cheeks still hurt from laughing!

Ralph 'Radar' Ditchburn

Way back in the day there was a TV show called M.A.S.H. which was really popular and one of the most popular characters was called Radar. That name came about because he could tell when things were going to happen and when things were going to be said, just before they actually occured. Kind of like he had built in radar. The character of Radar was a diminuitive guy with receeding curly hair, glasses and a very shy, scared of his shadow personality. He rarely lost his temper or fought back against his attackers.

This brings us to Ralph Ditchburn, aka 'Radar'. He got the name because he was a diminuitive character with receeding curly hair, glasses (later on) and a very shy, scared of his shadow personality. He rarely lost his temper or fought back against his attackers.
I mentioned early on how important a role intimidation played in the everyday activities on the trading floor. Ralph was one of the victims of that intimidation but it never outwardly seemed to bother him too much. The fact that he didn't ever come onto the floor one day with an automatic weapon and just spray the place in a very postal manner will forever be a mystery to me. Ralph had to suffer the physical and emotional wrath of almost every bully with shark blood in his veins, and there were many. Ralph was the proverbial guppy swimming with the floor trading sharks. But there was a little 'smart' shark in Ralph as well! Radar was able to use his victim persona to his advantage as often as not. Radar was, after all was said and done, a pretty decent trader, certainly above average. One of the wierdest things I observed with Radar and his interactions with his fellow traders in general was his ability to be 'kept in' on trades when he had orders. Now this surely wasn't all the time. However, unless you were Bainey, there were lots of times when the 'Pros' wouldn't 'keep you in'. Being 'kept in'meant that the 'Pro' in the stock would keep you involved in trades in his stock instead of using the information from your order against you to profit from it himself. This being 'kept in' thing with Radar was because he provided a kind of outlet for the bully boys and they probably, at some really deep level, felt bad about the way they sometimes treated this 'nice' guy, Radar. Yeah, I know. It sounds really wierd but remember that we worked in one of the wierdest places on the planet.

Ralph was trading Pro with George Chisholm for a period in his career and was a decent student of the 'charts'. I remember thinking that it was kind of wierd that George, who was known to be quite the bully himself from time to time, would hire someone that he had probably victimized was rather ironic. Obviously George considered Radar to be a good trader, which requires respect, yet still be capable of treating him with the least respect imaginable. Wierd is surely wierd!

Ralph and I were friends for a long time and he is one of the few people from the floor that I spent any time with after I left the business. Ralph used to hold annual 'super bowl' parties which were really good. While attending these parties for several years I got to see a few other floor people which was always cool. One of the neat features of the parties was the outdoor touch football games in the street in front of Ralph's house. In addition to the parties I frequently hung out with Ralph to 'jam' with him and some of his friends. Ralph and I both played guitar. Although we hated each others idea of cool music, we always seemed to enjoy playing together whenever we could. Another cool thing about the times at Ralph's place was that he lived with Peter Morrison at the time and Peter made the best organic homemade pizzas. I hope you like anchovies! We always enjoyed really good food at Ralph's place with Peter there and the close proximity to 'Greek Town' in Toronto. Love those cheese and spinach pies...mmmmmmm!


CLIFF JONES Jr.


When I think about the excesses of the 1980's where there was lots of money and the good times seemed like they would never end, I can easily envision Cliff. Cliff was born into privlidge and he wore it very very well. He was the Richie Rich of the 'young turks' on the trading floor. Cliff's dad, Cliff Jones Sr. was a bit of an institution on the floor of the TSE. Cliff Jr. was definately Cliff's Sr.'s blood. They both carried an air of money and privlidge that was as palpable as it was annoying to some of his peers.
Like almost everyone else on the floor, Cliff had to pay his dues, but maybe it was a little easier to pay those dues when you have a bloodline guardian on the floor to watch over you. But to be absolutely fair to Cliff, he had to show up to work just like everyone else. He had to know what he was doing to be successful. He had to take chances and put his ass on the line just like everyone else. What might have made some of a little envious was the fact that if Cliff screwed up, he had a pretty nice pillow, filled with cash, to land on.

My first memory of Cliff was in my first couple of days on the floor when people were rushing to the front of the 'old' TSE building to witness an obviously exciting event. The place came to a virtual standstill. What was so important that it could cause such a stir and bring the crowd out into the street? Well it was Cliffy pulling up to the front of the building in a shiny new candy apple red Mercedes 450 SL with a totally hot and gorgeous blonde in the front seat beside him. Truely, it was something to behold. They were both dressed to kill and with those oversized shades that were so popular in the day, they totally looked the part. This was so very hollywood. This was so very Cliff. This flair for the dramatic and the 'in your face' style with his money made Cliff an easy target for his critics. But really, he didn't have too many. Personally, I never had a problem with Cliff. We didn't socialize except at the countless stag parties at the enevitable craps games with him and Larry Farrel and of course the bun tosses and Jimmy Barkwell's excellent swarees' on Wellington. He certainly didn't bother me except for the envy I probably felt for his silver spoon situation. That, of course, was my problem...not Cliff's!
Cliff had some tough times trading, like everyone else, but always had a smile on his face and a fearlessly positive attitude toward the future. He always maintained that wonderful 'swagger' that served him so well in his professional and personal life. Ah...money is honey after all. So I guess Cliff was just a little sweeter than most of the rest of us.


DENIS McCOLGAN

Denis was one of the ultimate 'shooters' on the TSE floor. He loved to gamble and rarely missed a hockey pool or any other such opportunity to make some extra cash. Denis traded like a madman from time to time. He was courageous and very on the edge. He had a lot of balls which was a proverbial 'curse and blessing' for Denis. I used to love talking to Denis about trading. He didn't have the holier than thou attitude so many 'shooter' traders had. They gave the impression that they were always afraid you were just going to somehow hone in on their trading action and steal their secrets. Denis wasn't anywhere near that insecure. He felt very confident in his trading style, his very on the edge trading style, which of course drove his assorted bosses absolutely insane. An excellent example of that ability to induce insanity in his boss came from his time with Bainey. When I was with Burns Arb and trading American Barrack Gold in Bobby Churchill's square every day, I had a real opportunity to see Denis in action. It was an exciting sight well worth seeing. Bobby was a 'close to the vest' Pro Trader that rarely shared ALL of the information that he had. He always hated dealing with the Burns Arb but had to keep us in because we could hurt you as a Pro if we wanted to and we often did. Bobby could be partictularly difficult for other pro traders, like Denis, to deal with. Denis actually got along amazingly well with the crumudgeon Bobby Churchill. When ABX (Barrack) was trading in its hey day with huge swings and volumes, Denis was all over the stock sometimes holding hugh positions. Huge positions required tying up HUGE amounts of capitol by the company that the trader worked for. In Denis's case with the ABX, he was working for Daly at that time. That meant that his boss was none other than Don Bainbridge...Bainey. On a partictular day when the stock was going crazy, Denis was going even crazier. I am not sure of the amount of stock that Denis was positioning, but it was huge. When he was already holding a large position in the stock, Denis kept comming in and buying, and buying, and buying and buying. I'm sure you get the idea. At one point late in the day, Don Bainbridge was informed about Denis's trading and almost blew a gasket. With the trading square absolutely filled with frantic screaming trader and the stock trading going nuts, Bainey ran into the square and tried to get Denis's attention. Failing to get Denis's FULL attention, Bainey grabbed Denis and litteralt and figuratively dragged Denis out of the square and basically forced him to limit his exposure. As it turned out Denis was absolutely right about the stock but was so far over his $100,000 trading limit funds that he had to dump stock and what would have been a ton of additional profit. Denis was looking to relocate shortly after that for what we will call 'mutual' satisfaction.

Denis was one of the fastest talkers I ever came across. He was an absolute wealth of information and his charting skills were superior. Whenever we talked stocks, I could barely keep up and process the information that spilled from Denis's lips. I really like Denis. He always treated people well and paid his lost bets promptly. We once had over $600 in bets on a playoff series. He lost...with grace. Montreal Canadians Denis...You know you should've known better! You gotta love a good loser. Denis was good, but I would never consider him a loser.

Stay Tuned For 'The Young Turks' of the TSE (3)