The $1L Gas Problem (Like the Y2K problem, except with gas)


Remember when I wondered how gas stations with old signs would handle the realities of $1 per litre gasoline? Well, there was no secret “10” hiding out as the ingenious James Koole suggested.

$1 per litre gas hit Mississauga earlier this week. Some stations had the extra digit and were prepared for it. Others weren’t. According to some readers at the Transit Toronto mailing list, some displays went 02.5 to show $1.025 per litre (these were later modified to plant a “1” in masking tape in front of the display), while others blanked out their inadequate displays entirely, as if to say: if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Still others displayed “OVL”, which some readers speculated stood for “OVERLOAD”.

(Update: coming home from work yesterday, I found that gas is now over a buck a litre in Waterloo Region, with most of the stations with inadequate signage choosing to blank the numbers out and installing temporary signs at the curb. In other news, Grand River Transit has announced an expansion of their express bus service starting the day after Labour Day. To prepare the way for the proposed LRT, buses will run from Conestoga Mall at the north end of Waterloo to Ainslie Street Terminal in Downtown Galt. Stops enroute will be Parkside/Weber, RIM Tech Park, UW, Wilfred Laurier, Uptown Waterloo, Grand River Hospital, Downtown Kitchener, Charles/Ottawa, Fairview Mall, Sportsworld, Cambridge Power Centre and Cambridge Centre Mall. Service will operate every fifteen minutes during rush hours and thirty minutes midday. No Saturday service yet. However, it still strikes me as a very good alternative to the private automobile…)

Sign of the Times

After I wrote this post, I had an e-mail conversation with my wife

Erin: bad news about bombings from Bangladesh…? What on earth … ?

Me: Bangladesh? Don’t you mean Baghdad?

Erin: Nope, I mean Bangladesh. 200 simultaneous small explosions across the country. Much panic, some injuries, but only one reported death (God’s blessing…). To which my reaction is mostly Bangledesh?

Me: CNN’s not reporting it. It’s been pushed off by news of 43 dead in a bus station bombing in Baghdad.

Turns out, CNN was reporting it, but it had been pushed back by the news from Baghdad. Don’t see why, though:

Bomb blasts shake Bangladesh

Wednesday, August 17, 2005; Posted: 7:48 a.m. EDT (11:48 GMT)

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CNN) — A series of bombs exploded nearly simultaneously in dozens of cities across Bangladesh Wednesday, striking regional capitals as well as the national capital, Dhaka, authorities said.

According to police, at least 115 people were injured with 350 bombs detonating. Bangladeshi media reported at least one fatality.

“These are planned incidents,” said Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babr. “We had intelligence report(s) about such plan but that expired a few days back.”

Bangladeshi authorities said they had received reports of bomb blasts from 36 districts across the country.

Jamayetul Mujahedin, an Islamic militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks in leaflets distributed around many of the blast sites.

Most of the bombs exploded in quick succession in and around the government facilities, police said.

You would think that over 350 coordinated explosions anywhere would make a bit more news, wouldn’t you?

Why Rock the Boat?

In my most recent Conservative Party Critique, the Original Doctor Damage asks a fair question:

I am always puzzled by your ongoing desire to replace the Libs (which has now become a sort of burning desperation). Most of us out here just want the government to leave us alone and not embarrass us on the world stage. The Libs have managed this quite well. To gain power, the opposition will have to put forward a plausible alternative, which so far they have not.

I would say that it is not a desperation to replace the Liberals as it is a desperation for better government. Have the Liberals fallen to the point where they need to be replaced, right now, by the current brand of the Conservative Party? In my opinion, no. Far from it. The point of my many articles on the Conservative party has to been to say, in many cases, the CPC has not put forward a plausible alternative. But if that’s the only reason we’re keeping the Liberals in power, then we’re in trouble.

The Martin government has embarrassed us on the world stage. The Economist calls our prime minister “Mr. Dithers”. He has bungled the issue of Ballistic Missile Defense so badly that even those who are happiest with the ultimate outcome (Canada’s refusal to back this unworkable boondoogle) are incensed with the manner with which it was done. The Gomery Inquiry and the Auditor General have brought to light serious lapses in the government’s management of our tax dollars. If Joe Clark and his Progressive Conservatives were still around, it’s likely that he would be prime minister by now. The fact that he is not, should not give the Liberals a pass.

History has shown that the Liberals are at their worst when they think they can’t lose. Chretien’s attitude when the right-wing vote was split against him incensed me. And there is a real danger, here, that without a credible opposition ready to step in, the quality of our government could deteriorate further, opening the possibility off a more radical shift in government in the future when the Canadian public decides that enough is enough and damn the consequences. This happened in 1976 when the Liberals under Bourassa were toppled by the Parti Quebecois. It happened in 1998 when the Liberals under Petersen were toppled by Bob Rae’s NDP.

I have no desire to see the current brand of the Liberals toppled by a socially-conservative, hard-right Conservative party, so it is my desire that a more credible opposition appears, maybe through the Greens, or through a more libertarian-oriented Conservative Party, or a fiscally conservative NDP, or some other alternative that gives Canadians a reason to vote for something, rather than an outlet to vote against the Liberals.

I think a democracy functions best when governments change, and no party gets to the point of thinking that their interest and the national interest coincide. I believe the Liberals need to be defeated by a credible, socially progressive alternative, so that they can spend some time in the political wilderness in order to get hungry once again. I believe it’s good for Canada and, ultimately, I believe it will be good for the Liberal party as well.

Writing Update

Some good news and bad news on the writing front, but mostly I’m just ticking along with the edits to Rosemary and Time. My fourth column for the Community Editorial Board ran in Monday’s edition of our local paper, The Record, and I think it’s my strongest. Because it mentioned the University of Waterloo a lot, it got selected as part of the University’s daily news feed, making me a minor celebrity here, so that’s nice (I’ll post the PDF on my portfolio page shortly). Also, I finally cleared my last interview for my three restaurants article, getting a number of quotes that were pure gold. The write-up follows tonight.

On the other hand, I’ve encountered three rejections. Sealwife, a short story that’s now over a year old (hard to believe time flies so fast) got rejected by On Spec on Monday. Oh, well. I did get some editorial comments on the story, however, so I’ll take that as a good sign. I think the big problem is that Sealwife is written as a young adult story and I’d submitted it to a magazine that specializes in more adult works. Does anybody out there have any suggestions for markets?

After expressing some interest in an article about the history of terrorism on the TTC, the Globe and Mail decided to pass, although they said if the security situation changes, they may call me. I tried pitching it to Metro newspaper that same day but they turned me down, saying they didn’t have the budget for it. I think I’ll try Eye and Now next. Worst comes to worst, I”ll run it either here or on Transit Toronto.

So, that’s a bit discouraging, but (not) disablingly so. Work continues on my article for Business Edge.

Feedster Needs, this, apparently

No Need to Click Here - I’m just claiming my feed at Feedster

No Need to Click Here - I’m just claiming my feed at Feedster feedster:0d725d072b8d88b161f7a0a61c79463a

No Need to Click Here - I’m just claiming my feed at Feedster feedster:ae67cd32cb90b7f7832373b261f48baa

And there goes one of the oddest ways to claim just about anything.

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