War of the Wheels: An Update on Ontario’s Vehicular War

Spring it seems is finally here, and with bicyclists returning to the roads, so is an increase in commuter hostility. But this spring things have taken a turn for the worst. This year Southern Ontario has seen a violent confrontation between vehicle operators, so-called “Guzzlers” and bicyclists, otherwise known as “Rusties.” In a Waterloo Honk exclusive, our reporters get to the bottom of what is becoming known as “The Great Vehicular War.”

For most of us, this was a complete surprise. Although, in hindsight, the root causes are crystal clear: vulgar gestures on busy roads, rush hour rage, narrow lanes, all these things contributed to the conflict. It was only a matter of time before all out war broke loose.

The Beginning of the Conflict
City streets are in a state of confusion and chaos — some speculate the Rusties are especially uneasy due to the possibility of Rob Ford’s re-election — but there is one thing each side agrees upon: it all started with the middle finger. Unfortunately that’s where the agreement ends. Who flipped who? The Rusty or the Guzzler? No one knows for sure. But it all went downhill from there. The infamous exchange took place in downtown Toronto. Two commuters verbally brawled for over an hour, causing major traffic congestion. Soon others joined in. Tweets were tweeted, texts were texted. Before long, Toronto’s downtown core was reduced to G20-style pandemonium.

Cyclists joined forces with the pedestrians and established key areas of control in the downtown core. The vehicle operators quickly mobilized in the greater suburban areas. Most combat occurs on the boundaries of these two territories.

Battle ground Toronto
Our correspondent in Toronto managed to interview one Rusty (who wished to remain anonymous) during skirmishes along Bloor St. His face was covered with cloth: “to protect from the emissions,” he said. “They’re throwing everything they got at us, like half-full slurpies or McDonald’s garbage. My buddy got hit with a Timbit just yesterday.” The Rusty talked about the casualties of war as he removed chrome air-valve caps from a nearby BMW. He then proceeded to swap them for the plain black caps on his bicycle tires. “It’s hard to find nice ones like these. I’d love to see the look on this Guzzler’s face when he realizes his fancy shmancy car only has the plain black valve caps,” he chuckled.

The interview abruptly ended when the two suddenly became targets of a drive-by attack. Shouts were heard amidst a barrage of eggs: “Get off the roads you hippies!”

The war quickly spread throughout the GTA, pulling Hamilton into the chaos. But the Rusties have maintained control of the GO Lakeshore train route, which is now seen as a key strategic supply line. A leaked photo indicates that the Guzzlers are preparing for a major aqua offensive from Lake Ontario, codenamed Operation Eco-Unfriendly.

 Leaked photo of Guzzlers staging operation Eco-Unfriendly in front of Toronto, obviously.

Leaked photo of Guzzlers staging operation Eco-Unfriendly in front of Toronto, obviously.

The war spreads
In the meantime the Tricity has toppled into its own war of the wheels. Cambridge was quickly conquered by the Guzzlers, along with the North end of Waterloo. Kitchener has become a Rusty stronghold, but without reinforcements from Hamilton, it is expected that the base will not hold out for much longer.

We managed to contact a Guzzler in Cambridge. “It’s about time we had a showdown with those weenies,” he replied in regards to the War. “The only thing is, the road-market has become volatile as a result.” When asked if he owned roads he replied, “yes, I own a large swath of Hespeler, pretty much everything north of Bishop.” The Honk was surprised to learn that Guzzlers have indeed purchased most roads throughout the Waterloo Region, which explains why they get so angry when bicyclists use them.

Reports are coming in from Kitchener of cars parked in dedicated bicycle lanes, with some suspiciously leaving banana peels in the bike lane after departing. One Kitchenerite reported that Guzzlers are opening their vehicle doors irresponsibly fast. “They park on the side of the a road and they open their door without checking. They’re definitely trying to catch bicyclists off-guard.”

She said she’s been doing her part to contribute to the war effort. “I take my time crossing roads at stop signs,” she whispered, “and the cars have to wait extra long for me.”

Miles of Secret Tunnels Unearthed By Pothole in Waterloo

One man's sandbox is another man's entrance into a 14 mile long underground tunnel (Photo credit: http://roadcyclinguk.com/)

One man’s sandbox is another man’s entrance into a 14 mile long underground tunnel (Photo credit: http://roadcyclinguk.com/)

Waterloo’s pothole “problem” has generated a lot of upset in the past few months. But Waterloo residents might be pleased to hear that one pothole has uncovered one of the most exciting discoveries the city has made since inventing the Euro. As of this morning it’s official: 14 miles of underground tunnels have been discovered below the city of Waterloo.

We spoke with the woman who made the discovery, Lori Larsen, a savvy librarian and proud mother of 3. “The kids had been using the pothole as a sandbox for the past few summers, just work with what you have, you know? Well this year we decided to convert the thing into a wading pool instead, and boy did we get a surprise!”

While trying to dig up the accumulation of sand and asphalt from the small pit, Lori pushed through the top layer of a mysterious tunnel – only one meter below the surface of the earth.

“I dare near fell right through!”

Pothole theories abound

While the origin and purpose of the Waterloo Tunnels remains a mystery to scholars and public service officers alike, many theories have arisen. The Waterloo Historic Society posists that the tunnels were dug by Abraham Erb, the first settler in the area, to transport illicit German erotica to St. Jacobs. Contrasting this theory, the rival Historical Society of Waterloo says that they are most likely bunkers built by residents of the town during to War of 1812 to hide their cider and quilts from rampaging Americans.

Meanwhile a group of student historians and archaeologists from Laurier posit these tunnels are the remains of “Old Waterloo,” a little known mythical city from the past. Many others believe the tunnels are proof of alien life forms, while still others fear that Kitchener is trying to infiltrate Waterloo from the bottom up.

No matter the reason, employees of the City of Waterloo are currently excavating the tunnels to determine their safety, and the plausibility of utilizing this new space in a productive way.

“Perhaps an underground shopping centre, or a new chain of mud spas,” says Devin Sharp, project manager. “Whatever the case, we are grateful that Lori and her family nurtured their pothole so lovingly in order to give the City of Waterloo this gift.”

For the time being, residents of Waterloo are strongly discouraged from exploring the tunnels on their own. “The structure just isn’t safe enough yet, and we haven’t completely ruled out the alien life form theory. But sit tight Waterloo, there are plans in the works for a free walking tour [of the tunnels] by June 2014.”

Would you be interested in participating in a walking tour of Waterloo’s Tunnel Network? Let us know in the comments.


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New CostCo Wholesale Means LRT Extension

Proposed LRT with appropriate safety barrier.

Proposed LRT with appropriate safety barrier.

In response to public concerns about the possible increase of traffic at the west end Erb St. due to the new CostCo, City council has approved an extension of Light Rail Transit. “We really see a need to make this as consumer friendly as possible,” said Geoff Ishida, Costco VP, “We at CostCo Wholesale hear your concerns (about traffic congestion) and are willing to negotiate an extension of the LRT to include this new CostCo location. Rapid transit and CostCo have a bright future for the taxpayers of KW.”

Conflicted Public Response
Some people who attended the council meeting left feeling very conflicted. “I hate LRT,” said Waterloo resident Bill McFlaggen, “But I also hate getting stuck in traffic. I just feel very conflicted right now. I want to write an angry letter, but I don’t know who I’m angry at.” While Jaime Fforde said he changed his mind completely. “I was totally opposed to the CostCo, ‘cause it’s big and a boxstore and I’m not into boxstores right now, but if they support public transport, then they can’t be that bad, right?”

Great Canadian Mall Train Link Up
It would seem that this extension of the LRT will be part of Great Canadian Mall train plan that LRT consumer resource manager, Jerry Wether spoke to the Waterloo Honk about in February of 2013. Ms. Wether said that the LRT will become part of a national mall train project that seeks to connect malls across Canada. In and email Ms. Wether’s office informed the Waterloo Honk that “the connecting of the Waterloo Region to the LRT will include both Waterloo Region malls and CostCo Wholesale stores because they gave us a lot of money in a totally above board kind of way.”

In regards to concerns raised over customers’ ability to transport large bulk purchases back to their home, an extra large caboose car will be added to the Waterloo LRT. Use of the caboose will be restricted to card holders only, and free samples will be provided.

Construction on the LRT extension is scheduled to begin November of 2015.

Bouncy Castle City Bus (plus 66 others) Released For New Years Eve by The City of Waterloo

Interior of a party bus

Preparations for the “I’ve Got 99 Cats Bus” are right on schedule. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do Bouncy Castles, Slime Ball Pits, and Karaoke Saunas have in common? Nothing. But tonight they are 3 of 67 themes from The City of Waterloo’s New Years Eve Bus Initiative.

In an effort to discourage drinking and driving this New Years Eve, The City of Waterloo will be throwing 67 simultaneous public transit parties – each hosted on a separate city bus. Each bus will be host to a unique party, including Slip n’ Slide Bus, Pillow Fight Bus, Strobe Light Bus, and many more.

“Each party is inspired by the spirit of the City: exciting, innovative, and full of weirdos,” explains Stephen Scotty, the true mastermind behind the Party Bus Initiative.

Research has shown that last year over 80% of young people chose not to ride the bus on NYE, selecting “too boring” as the number one reason.

“I’d like to see the results of that survey after this year,” scoffs Scotty.

The buses will be released at 8pm this evening, and will be running according to their regular schedules. Keep an eye out for your favourite city councillors who will be stuck on the buses all evening, as  imposed by their official civic duties.

“I just hope I don’t get assigned to the Bouncy Castle Zoo Bus,” states the Deputy Major.

Other buses include:
Piranha Aquarium Bus
Glow in the Dark Petting Zoo Bus
Karaoke Sauna Bus
Butterfly Conservatory Bus
99 Cats Bus
Magma Bus
Snakes on a Bus Bus
Everything is Orange Bus
Science Experiment Bus
Open Air Bus
Snuggie Bus
Mumford and Sons Cover Band Bus
Bus of The Living Dead Bus
Magic School Bus Bus
No Chairs Bus
Pancakes and Coffee Bus
Make Your Own Dreamcatcher Bus
Nap Bus
Monkey Bus
Riding With The Dinosaurs 3D Bus
Nickleback Bus

Don’t drink and drive; drink and ride the Party Bus. You’ll be glad you did.
Happy New Year from The Waterloo Honk. Stay safe tonight!

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Bat Cave Therapy Project on Rocky Ground

The University of Waterloo's plans to install a Bat Cave for Terror Therapy seemed great at first. However after slight student protest, plans seem to be up in the air.

The University of Waterloo’s plans to install a Bat Cave for Terror Therapy seemed problem-free a few weeks ago. However after slight student protest, plans seem to be up in the air.

Yesterday the University of Waterloo revealed that the Bat Cave initiative, announced a year ago, has a possible opening date for the winter exam period of 2014. However, the great minds behind the Bat Cave Therapy project will have to overcome many obstacles in the upcoming week. Bat Cave Therapy is theorized to cause a boost in adrenaline, causing a sensation of primal terror, which is intended to put the terror experienced during exam into perspective. But with a projected cost of $155,000, the therapy project was met with immediate criticism from both students who felt that the project was too expensive, and faculty, who felt that the project not innovative enough.

The Centre for Innovative Stress Reduction (or CISR), a joint project with Brock University, issued the following statement earlier this week: “the Bat Cave project has hit several potentially fatal walls.” These “fatal walls” were not listed in the statement, but an anonymous email to the Waterloo Honk said that one of the major setbacks in the project was the discovery that not all bats drink blood. “We just figured they all did. Fruit munching bats are way less scary.”

Students Unsatisfied with Delays

Responses among students were varied. The majority of Arts students were critical of both the grammar and poor use of metaphor. Some did voice concerns that the Bat Cave would only be open to Math and Engineering students.

“I mean if a hundred some people came out to support those socialists at WPIRG last term, I really don’t see why we can’t mobilize students to support the Bat Cave,” said the head of the Business Outreach and Economic Student Union. Three members of BORESU, including one very lost looking German exchange student, protested outside the University of Waterloo President’s office for over an hour until a cleaning lady informed them the President was not in the building.

Project Manager Britanica Smith was very uncooperative when the Waterloo Honk attempted to contact her by phone over the holidays. She inexplicably refused to answer any of the Honk’s questions even when contacted at home on Christmas Eve, saying merely “where did you get this number?”

What do you think? Could Bat Cave Therapy be Waterloo’s most innovative achievement yet?

City Councillor Excited to Taste the New LRT

By Sigurdas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a light meal, not light rail.

In an exclusive interview for the Honk, Julie Dodge — city Councillor for Kitchener — expressed her personal interest in the new LRT. “I think it’s a great idea,” she started, “my morning commute has been getting dull.”

Honk: So you do use public transit?

Dodge: Oh yes, there is a bus stop about five minutes from my house, and it’s right beside a local Tim Hortons. I usually stop there to get a breakfast sandwich. I like it when they switch things up and add new items to the menu.

Honk: Will the LRT shorten your daily commute?

Dodge: Well, I suppose, maybe. That depends on how long it takes to make. And there will probably be bigger lineups because everyone will want to try it out.

Honk: Some vehicle-owners complain about being disregarded because of the LRT.

Dodge: Really? Well, to me, that’s ridiculous. They already have one lane dedicated for them, and they usually get served before walkers anyways. It’s not that hard to park and walk in.

Honk: Some critics complain that the LRT will be too much of a burden for taxpayers. Do you think that it’s worth it?

Dodge: A burden to taxpayers? Tim Hortons is footing the bill, obviously. And we’ll see if it’s worth it. If it tastes good, then yes, if not, then they’ll probably just scrap it.

Honk: Since when has Tim Hortons been a sponsor of the LRT?

Dodge: I believe they’ve been involved since the beginning, they did invent it of course.

Honk: Do you know what LRT stands for?

Dodge: No, to be honest. I think Lettuce, Radish, Tomato. Maybe it’s a vegetarian spin on the BLT. Tim Hortons must be trying to widen their market share.

Honk: Okay Julie thanks for your time.

Dodge: Thank-you! I’ve always admired your professionalism. You guys are so much more informative than that other Waterloo paper, the Vinyl.

Plagiarism at UW, Again!

Plagiarism strikes again!
After last year’s shocking scandal that involved a University of Waterloo professor caught plagiarizing his engineering research article, UW is once again under scrutiny.

This time, though, it’s not a research article that’s been plagiarized, but rather the anti-plagiarism campaign which launched after the fallout.


So long as you cite your sources!

In efforts to rehabilitate its reputation, the University of Waterloo increasingly publicized its anti-plagiarism campaign. A survey was released with a dual purpose: to gauge student comprehension of plagiarism rules, and to advocate the new motto for academic integrity. The Academic Oversight Committee for Innovative Integrity was in charge of this rebranding exercise. But it was recently revealed that their anti-plagiarism campaign was itself plagiarized off of a similar anti-plagiarism campaign from the University of West Conyai.

Not tho’ the students knew someone had blundered…
One UWC student commented, “when I saw the motto ‘work, study, play, with integrity,’ I knew it was a word for word copy of our own academic integrity jingle. I mean I’ve seen it on all UWC’s administrative material, from the college drop out information packages to the late registration forms. It even gets mentioned during graduation! Like, geez. You can’t just copy us. That’s twisted and dark.”

To make matters worse, UW students have noticed that the campaign failed to cite information suspiciously similar to the Wikipedia article on plagiarism. “I thought Wikipedia wasn’t an academic source,” said UW student, Jacob Riley. “Are we allowed to use it for essays now?”

What’s next for the AOCIII?
UW has refused to comment, citing issues of publicity. Citing issues indeed. Unofficially a member of the AOCIII commented that they were “heartbroken.”

Rumour has it that the AOCIII members involved in the campaign will be suspended for four months. After which, they will be reinstated at the university with full-pay.