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Today, as I sat to write this pathetic post about the sea of stupidity we sail upon, Randolph emailed me. “I am ready to overhaul my finances,” he says, “and I’m not sure where to start. Can you help me?”

Randy’s 30, has an unemployed, job-seeking wife with a Masters degree, makes $155,000 and has $20,000 in student debt, a $350,000 mortgage on a 5%-down house and a grand total of $11,800 in liquid assets. In other words, his net worth is about zero.

“I would like to thank you for starting your blog,” he sucks up. “It has been immensely helpful in re-orienting how I view my finances.”

Obviously not helpful enough. Why this couple would want to begin their lives together with almost four hundred thousand in debt, no mobility, property taxes and financial stress is beyond me. But, actually, I do understand – it’s a disease. And here are two more examples of why I am seriously considering dumping this blog and joining the priesthood. Except for celibacy. And the religious part.

“Oh, sweet Jesus,” (just to continue this theme) Mike texted me today. “This just popped up on my Facebook.”

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Flip houses in Vancouver for a profit? Without using your own money? What are these people smoking?

Actually Tarek and Christina are reality TV stars, which gives them demi-god status and instant creds with the people who move their lips as they watch Closed Captioning. They appear on an HGTV series called ‘Flip or Flop’ (I will resist). They’re also realtors, but not from the Lower Mainland – where they’re hosting a series of special, limited-seating, flipology seminars this week – but Orange County, in California.

According to their web-approved bio, Tarek and Christina are “the top choice when looking to sell a home in Orange County at a price sellers will truly profit from. With California real estate, design, and construction backgrounds, Tarek and Christina are able to inspect every aspect of your home and advise you on minor changes that may be needed to ensure your luxury North Orange County home stands out above the competition.”

In reality the El Moussas, both 31, crashed and burned in the California real estate bust, crushed by a business failure, a $6,000-per-month mortgage and fat payments on their flash cars. They ended up walking away from their real estate, renting a $700-a-month apartment, then started flipping houses for a living. The first one cost $115,000. In Vancouver that buys time share in a bus shelter.

So there you go. Perfectly appropriate advice-givers for a market where the average detached house now costs $1.4 million, where real estate is peaking, not crashing, and crapola, unrenovated 1970s-era Vancouver Specials are going for seven figures. “Tarek and Christina built their successful house flipping business by building upon a few simple real estate strategies,” their promo says. “Now, Tarek and Christina have turned these strategies into an educational program that has helped people, just like you, start their own real estate business. The Success Path team is coming to present a live training (free to the first 100 to signup). Reserve your free seats now before they are gone.”

Real estate profits flipping houses in North America’s most expensive market, without requiring any money. When you see this, you know it’s over.

But wait, there’s more. Another come-to-Jesus moment, this time just south of Eglinton Avenue in mid-town Toronto. Local realtor Fraser Beach is taking the distasteful strategy of creating a blind auction for a house, and going big – turning it into a spectator sport and competition.

This is his mass email:

One of the most popular games in town these days is watching the real estate market and predicting what a particular piece of real estate might sell for. I’ve heard there are even office pools devoted to such predictions. So we’re joining in. I’ve just listed a desirable home in a demand Toronto neighbourhood. The Seller is receiving offers next Saturday. So our challenge for you is to predict what this property will sell for in the comment area here. We will announce the selling price and the winner of this pseudo contest when the sale of the property is firm.

Seriously. And boatloads of people are piling on, making their predictions for the auction price of this old two-bedroom bungalow on a 30-foot lot. The consensus seems to be well over $1 million which, of course, is why he priced is at $925,000. You can almost smell the coming breathless Toronto Star story, “Bidders boost beauty bung to $1.3 million. Buy now or Perish.”

Well, here is Mr. Beach’s fetching portrayal of his cute little house.

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Meanwhile people actually going to see it will encounter a different reality – a property running along the side of a hulking, low-rent apartment building, one street south of one of Toronto’s busier arterial roads. That’s the house on the far right of the street view below:

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Of course, it has granite counters, a marble backsplash, heated floors and a steam shower. Soon it will have a greater fool. Now, let us pray.