The other day, I stumbled upon a blog post written by Mitt Romney about his trip through the U.S. Southwest with 5 of his 22 (!) grandkids. Here’s the post if you want to take a gander. It’s sweet. Mitt sounds very grandfather-y throughout, and clearly wants to make sure he teaches the rugrats a few things before he kicks it.

Which got me thinking about a couple things. First of all, I’m pretty sure Romney is a pleasant guy. If he invited me over to enjoy a nice Mormon beverage (tap water, with a hint of lemon, I’m assuming), I would go, and I think I’d have a nice time. He used to be in the private equity game, and I assume he’d have some interesting things to say about markets and just business in general.

This led me to seek out more info on the man. That lead me to this, a 2012 takedown of Romney’s business practices by Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone. I’ll let you go read the article in depth if you’re really interested. Let’s just say that Taibbi is not a fan of the leveraged buyout, which was Romney’s speciality at Bain Capital. I’ll say that it’s obvious that Taibbi isn’t a shareholder of anything, or else he’d recognize why buyouts are important to investors.

Anyway, Taibbi had this to say about Romney’s track record:

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“Less than 30 percent per year” is a pretty broad number here. Were his returns 29% annually? 25%? 2%? There are plenty of numbers between 0 and 30, but let’s assume it’s closer to 30.

Now I know the stock market did well during the 80s and 90s, but did it really go up 30% a year? That seems high. So I used the handy Don’t Quit Your Day Job S&P 500 calculator to figure out that, between 1984 and 1998, the S&P 500 returned 14.1% a year (or 17.6% a year if you reinvested the dividends).

If Romney’s returns over 14 years at Bain Capital really beat the market by double digits, that’s amazing. Like, that’s practically Buffett good. They did not “track more or less with the stock market’s average.” Not if they averaged close to 30%.

But hey, at least I have an excuse to feature this video:

Time for freelance links, yo

More Motley Fool links for your amusement/education. Let’s call it amusication. THAT’S TOTALLY A WORD, STUPID SQUIGGLY RED LINE. GEEZ.

I continue to think higher interest rates are something that we’ll have to worry about in the medium term, and not the near term. Meaning, if you’re nervous about stocks after a bit of volatility late in the week, it might not hurt to take some gains off the table and move them into something a little more boring, like RioCan.

Remember how Bell Aliant got acquired and I called it? Considering my 100% success rate, I’d pour 100% of your money into Manitoba Telecom, which I think could be next to be bought out. And by “pour 100% of your money into” I really mean “(fart noise).”

Penn West shares got hammered this week. Look for a more detailed analysis on the company at some point in the future, but you guys know me. If it’s beaten up, I’m going to at least have a look. Penn West is no exception.

Here are some beaten-up tech companies. Yes, one is BlackBerry. No, I don’t have any shame.

And finally, coal continues to be an interesting commodity. Prices are at 6-year lows, and the big North American players keep cutting production (while the damn Australians keep upping it, for some reason. Dingos eating babies, probably.) Here’s a Canadian way to play it. 

And that’s it. See you kids tomorrow for the dump.

Tell everyone, yo!