Date:         Sat, 4 Mar 2000 23:15:09 -0600
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 2 MARCH 00 -- THE GREAT GAS OUT
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               TOURBUS Volume 5, Number 72 -- 2 March 2000
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    The Great Gas Out
Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from the practically vacant
city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Everyone went down to Mobile or New
Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend.)
I have some disturbing news to share with you.  After spending a good
portion of the last millennium endeavoring to get my bachelors degree
in economics, I now know how I want to spend the rest of this
next millennium: GRAD SCHOOL!  Yes, folks, your fearless bus driver
has applied for admission to the graduate school at Pepperdine.  :)
I probably won't get in.  Remember all those times I told you I was a
"poor college student?"  Well, I wasn't just referring to my financial
status.  I really was a POOR college student.  So, if you know anyone
at Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and
especially if you know anyone associated with their Online Master of
Arts in Educational Technology program, feel free to put in a good
word for me.  I need all the help I can get.  :P
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  I thank
the folks at "," "Callwave," and "" for making
today's post possible.  As always, please visit our wonderful sponsors
and thank them for keeping the bus rolling!
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On with the show ...
The Great Gas Out, Part Deux
If you live in the United States -- or anywhere else, for that matter
-- you've probably noticed that gasoline (petrol) prices have shot
through the roof recently.  Personally, I blame Canada.  :P
Actually, according to James Surowiecki at, a lot of the
blame belongs to the OPEC oil cartel in general and to Venezuela in
      Although OPEC remains in the American imagination essentially an
      Arab organization, with its meetings ending in those great
      visuals of the sheiks sweeping through palatial hallways in their
      flowing robes, the key player in the output cutbacks that have
      propelled oil prices up near $30 has actually been Venezuela,
      thanks to the work of its new oil minister, Ali Rodriguez.
      Venezuela is OPEC's second-largest producer.  In the past, it's
      also been OPEC's most notorious cheater on the quotas that each
      member is supposed to obey.  But Rodriguez has stayed firm in his
      commitment to the output cutbacks, even as OPEC members have
      started talking about the need to bring prices down.
Surowiecki goes on to argue that Venezuela's newfound wealth is both
false and transitory.  [Reason #127 why TOURBUS is so great: how many
OTHER Internet newsletters make reference to the oil slip hypothesis?]
You can read Surowiecki's entire article -- "Why High Oil Prices Are
Bad ... for the Sellers" -- at

If that address is to long, try 
and look for Surowiecki's article in the Culture section under the
Moneybox heading.  You'd better hurry, though.  Slate only posts
articles for seven days, and this particular article was posted last
Monday.  [I may get into a bunch of trouble for this, but if you can't
find the article on Slate's Web site, let me know -- I'd be happy to
email you a copy (so long as Slate's lawyers don't send me a cease and
desist order).]
Why am I telling you about the OPEC cutbacks?  Well, take a look at
the following email that has been cluttering up people's inboxes for
the past couple of weeks:
      Last year on April 30,1999, a gas out was staged across Canada
      and the U.S. to bring the price of gas down, and it worked.
      It's time to do something about it again.
      This time, lets make it for three days instead of just one. The
      oil cartel decided to slow production to drive up gasoline
      prices.  Lets see how many Canadian\American people we can get to
      ban together for a three day period in April, NOT TO BUY ANY
      GASOLINE, during those three days.
      LETS HAVE A GAS OUT. Do not buy any gasoline from APRIL 7, 2000,
      THROUGH APRIL 9, 2000.  Buy what you need before the dates listed
      above, or after, but try not to buy any during the GAS OUT.  If
      you want to help, just send this to everyone you know and ask
      them to do the same.  We brought the prices down once before, and
      we can do it again!
      Come on North America lets stand together.
Folks, this is yet ANOTHER Internet ruse.  Last year's boycott did NOT
succeed.  After the boycott, gas prices went UP, not down!  Besides,
I've never met Venezuelan oil minister Ali Rodriguez, but I can
guarantee you that he and the rest of the boys in OPEC won't give two
flips if we boycott the gas pumps for three days ... especially if we
fill up our gas tanks with OPEC-supplied gasoline before and after the
boycott!  [I wish TOURBUS was Real Audio-enabled so you could hear how
much I have been giggling over this whole boycott thingy.]
If you want to read more about why the gas out is, in the wonderful
words of Barbara Mikkelson, a "Pain in the Gas," point your Web
browser to .
David "I do NOT look like a magician" Emery also has a great article
on the gas out on his Urban Legends and Folklore site at .
Of course, not everyone is a passenger aboard our little bus of
Internet happiness, so, as David Emery so astutely observes,
      Prepare to find [the gas out email] in your inbox time and time
      again between now and April 7th.  It will rile folks up, it will
      get media play, it may even capture the attention of lawmakers
      -- which wouldn't be a horrible thing.
As for me, from April 7th through the 9th I will be boycotting
Marshmallow Peeps.  They frighten me.  (And so does !)
    The Great Gas Out
Last Saturday afternoon, longtime friend and Mac guru Don Crabb passed
away.  Don was the Associate Director of Graduate and Undergraduate
Studies in Computer Science at The University of Chicago.  He was also
a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, MacWorld, PC magazine, MacTech
and MacToday, as well as being one of my colleagues on WGN Radio's
Steve and Johnnie Show.
As a tribute to Don (and his thong), I thought it would be appropriate
to give the Southern Word a one-week vacation.  :)
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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