Monday, April 24, 2006


I haven't blogged lately. I could say that it's because I've been busy, but the only thing I've been busy with lately is playing Fable and reading Stephen King books that I've read once already. So I haven't been busy, and I haven't been blogging, either.

I've been spending too much time procrastinating, and not nearly doing the things that need to be done. To begin with, I need to start running again, or at the very least start taking my bike to work. I've had pretty solid success changing my eating habits, but it's not going to be enough without regular exercise. That, and I need to stop having a half-pot of coffee each morning in lieu of, you know, water.

But, hey, at least I'm eating whole wheat pasta with turkey instead of some of my previous favorite dishes, such as butter fries or sugar pudding. (I'm not kidding. I used to eat these things. Butter fries are french fries fried in butter, and sugar pudding is chocolate pudding with extra sugar in it.)

I feel the need to travel, but I'm not feeling the draw of any particular destination at the moment. I also lack the motivation required to plan a trip. I have a feeling this will change within another month or two, but it could just signal a temporary hold to my previous unabated wanderlust. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that if you're going to travel, the place you're going to travel should pull you like some kind of nuclear-powered super magnet. And I'm not feeling that at the moment.

It's probably because I've visited most of the places that held appeal for a week-long trip. As I get older, I may come to appreciate new destinations, but I have less and less desire to participate in the degrading and uncomfortable procedure that goes with modern air travel, nor do I enjoy the stretch of highway between Ottawa and either Toronto or Montreal. Thirty hours of return-trip travel to get away for a week? Uh... not so much. Clearly, I need to find a new destination... or start thinking about taking a two-week-long vacation.

What is appealing to me is the resumption of cottage season. As much as I whined about how badly I wanted a job, there are certain aspects of cottage life that got into my blood and have stayed there in a big way. I miss having a leisurely breakfast on the porch, where I wash down eggs and English muffins with a mug of coffee and a few puffs on a pipe. I miss looking up from a book to see a sunset so stunning that I have no choice but to run outside with my camera, and start snapping photos like an idiot. I miss hearing the loons while I'm sleeping. And I really, really miss spending sunny afternoons gently flowing out to the centre of the lake with a cigar in one hand and a beer in the other.

This made me laugh really hard. A family in the U.S. was told that they couldn't put up a six-foot-tall privacy fence as it didn't fit the "look and feel" of their township, so they opted to protest the decision by putting up legal (and really gaudy) decorations to protest. Boo to cronyism! Yay for skeltons on toilets!

I watched CTV's question period the other night, and one of the things that came up was the accusation of "price fixing" against Canadian oil companies by the NDP's MP featured on the show. I used to like the NDP, but am a little scared of the way they're genuinely hostile against business interests. I can see being pro-worker, but it should be at the cost of being anti-business. Anyhoo, the NDP MP seemed convinced that Canadian oil companies were part of some big price-fixing conspiracy to stick it to Canadians, and demanded an investigation.

This, to me, is pretty damned ridiculous. Okay, I could see if there were some massive multinationals buying oil futures, how that would restrict the supply and create an artificial price hike. But CANADIAN firms? It's a little like blaming the neighbourhood's obnoxious six-year-old for flipping your car. He may have thought about it, but I doubt he had the means to do so.

Supply and demand works thusly: when demand increases and supply is inflexible (ie. You can't just ramp up production overnight), price goes up. Demand is also rather inflexible (ie. there are no ready substitues for gasoline, and people still need to get from A to B), so prices remain high. Canadian fuel prices have certainly risen, but not out of line from what's happened in the U.S. and Europe.

Conspiracy theories may be a good way to score political points, but I shall quoth some of Jerold P. Maguire: "Show me the money." If a first year university student has to use citations, the NDP should be no different.

So, how do we handle the looming fuel shortage? Well, perhaps if we had a more robust foreign policy, we could actually work to mediate the situations in Iran and Nigeria. Failing that, how about we tax high-consumption vehicles and subsidize low-consumption vehicles? Why not levy a tax on Escalades and 94 octane gasoline? It's not as though these things are a necessity. Perhaps this is hypocritical from someone who drives an SUV, but then again, I'd be willing to pay the taxes to subsidize the clean technology...

Dropping the tax on fuel in general is a bad idea. The lower price is going to just increase demand, which in turn is going to worsen the shortage. If anything, they should be adding an additional tax on fuel, then giving tax relief or other subsidies to low income Canadians.

Okay, I'm sleepy now and done spouting off for one night. Time to put out the recycing and crack open "The Stand" for a little late-night reading...


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