Researchers at Oxford University have bestowed upon Canada the dubious distinction of being the most boring of the six countries that comprise what’s known as the Anglosphere: Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States.
“We think it’s important that this matter be settled once and for all,” says lead researcher Nigel Clappe, lecturer in political science and demographics at Oxford University. “Up until this point, people have been identifying the most boring country based on nothing more than their own gut feeling. And that wasn’t helping anybody.”
To achieve its findings, the researchers measured the inverse relationship each of the six country’s have with what the researchers call “markers for excitement.” The country with the lowest mean score on the six markers is deemed to be the most boring.
The six markers are 1) ex-felons in the national legislature, 2) prevalence and variety of sex scandals, 3) the percentage of the population that has auditioned for a reality T.V. show, 4) the likelihood of fights at major sporting events, 5) the unhealthiness of the cuisine, and 6) the number of smoking-hot women.
“In Canada, we’re proud to be first in many important areas, including the quality of our schools, the level of innovation of our world-class companies, and, not least, the sprit of the Canadian people,” says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement. “If we’re also the most boring country in the Anglosphere, then that’s another distinction we accept proudly.”
Clappe says Canada wasn’t a shoe-in for the recognition, because in the last several months the country uncharacteristically has been on the cutting edge of excitement, thanks in large part to the antics of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. “With his drunken stupors, the crack cocaine incident, and his boorish and loutish behavior, he almost single-handedly threatened to knock his country out of contention,” said Clappe. “But the country has such a deep well of boringness that even his craziness wasn’t enough to change the numbers.”
Identifying the least boring country was also a challenge, with England and the United States competing fiercely for the title. England scored higher than any other country by far on fights at major sporting events and it also excelled at the unhealthiness of its cuisine, but the United States was too far ahead on the ex-felons in Congress, the sex scandals, and the people queuing up to be in reality shows.
“As big and bold of an effort that England made, it just wasn’t enough to dent the level of idiocy in the United States, a country of Rob Fords, you might say,” said Clappe.
Australia was also quite competitive with England and the United States for excitement, but mainly because it has such a large number of smoking-hot women. “It’s just hard to be boring when everywhere you look there are awesome women who aren’t afraid to show what they got,” said Clappe.
New Zealand was never a contender for most boring because it’s main national government building looks like a beehive, and it’s simply impossible for boring people to design something like that, let alone govern from within the walls of such a building. “Plus, former prime minister Helen Clark was quite the outspoken rabble-rouser.”
And Ireland, with its leprechauns, housing bubble and bust, and its people’s capacity for drinking, also could never be considered boring.
Clappe says he doesn’t see the need to return to this research any time soon, because it’s unlikely the dynamics of the countries are going to change much in the next several years. So, Canada could be stuck with the “most boring” distinction for quite some time. “In any case,” says Clappe, “I’ll be preoccupied with my new research in Australia, which aims to measure the level of smoking-hotness of Australian women.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photo: mwn, pd (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of image.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the daughter and son-in-law of President Trump, were greeted at the White House Monday morning by federal agents carrying out the government’s policy of separating children from parents who are illegal. “The law is very clear that, even though Ivanka and Jared are employed at the White House as advisors to the president, they must be removed because bible,” Stewart Smith, head of the ICE White House Division, said in a statement. Lawmakers and others immediately condemned the action as heartless and immoral. “To separate children from their parents, no matter the parent’s apparent guilt, is wrong,” said Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), minority leader of the Senate. More.
President Trump had a blunt message for China today after announcing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Until you open up your markets, you can expect our biggest trading partner, Canada, to get slapped with tariffs on the things we mostly get from them,” Trump said after signing his executive order imposing tariffs of up to 30 percent on key metal imports. Canada is the number one source of steel into the United States and also a big importer of aluminum, while China barely supplies 10 percent of steel into the United States. “When I ran for president, I said China was eating our lunch on trade,” Trump said. “We’re putting an end to that starting right row, by punishing the country that supplies most of our imports and also buys most of our exports: Canada.” More.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez would neither confirm nor deny that party leaders are quietly courting a shark to run against President Donald Trump in 2020 should he run for reelection, as he’s expected to do. “All I can say is, we have many potential candidates who are the right person to lead our country at an important time in our history and who are well positioned to defeat our historically unpopular President,” Perez said when asked today about whether his organization is in talks with a shark to run against the President. Rumors that the DNC is courting a shark surfaced this week when Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), an up and coming lawmaker who is said to be contemplating a run for president in 2020, accused the DNC of treating him and other potential candidates like “plankton and krill” who are “nothing more than calories to be filtered through the open mouths of a basking shark.” More.
Mitt Romney, the former GOP presidential nominee and governor of Massachusetts, has announced he’s running for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. “We need more Utah values in the federal government,” Romney said in his announcement video. He defined “Utah values” as taking bold stands that win admiring praise. “What we want are the kind of grandstanding statements that make people think you have a spine before you show them you don’t.” Romney pointed to his success disavowing his biggest achievement as governor of Massachusetts by saying his market-based approach to providing health insurance to everyone in the state was a mistake. “Had I known it would generate criticism from Republicans outside of Massachusetts I never would have implemented that successful program,” he said. Romney said he thinks he can prevail in heavily Republican Utah in part because he has the endorsement of President Trump. More.
Corporations and wealthy individuals say they’ll pour their millions of dollars in cuts they stand to get from tax reform into the reelection fight of Republicans whose seats are now at risk from angry middle-class voters whose tax increases will pay for the bill. “We told the GOP they needed to pass tax cuts for the wealthy or they could forget about calling us again for political contributions,” says one billionaire who stands to save millions from tax cuts. “Now that they’re poised to deliver, we understand they need help. There are a lot of people who will want to retaliate by voting out of office anyone who voted for the tax cuts. What we’re saying is, we’re putting our new money where our mouth is.” According to polls, voters are angry that they’re facing tax hikes to pay for the cuts to corporations and the wealthy. One voter who responded to a poll was so angry she couldn’t see straight. More.
Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore said accounts of him dating teenage girls whose parents gave him permission to date them when he was in his thirties is fake news. “Let me be clear,” said Moore. “It’s not true that I dated the teenage girls whose parents gave me permission to date them.” Moore also said there’s nothing wrong with him as a man in his thirties walking around shopping malls by himself as the press accused him of doing. “The press is wrong to say I innocently and lawfully walked around malls by myself as a man in my thirties,” he said. Moore, 70, is an evangelical Christian who has been an uncompromising critic of homosexuality. He was the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court before he was removed from office in 2003 for defying a court order to take down a statute of the Ten Commandments he had erected on the courthouse grounds. More.
President Donald Trump took a step to help address the nation’s outbreak of mass shootings by using his executive power to create a United States Department of Prayers. “With this order we’re showing Americans that we’re doing everything we can as a government to address gun violence in our country, which is so terrible,” Trump said at a signing ceremony in Japan, where he is visiting as part of a 12-day Asia tour. Under the order, the department will deploy a religious leader based in the area of the incident to offer official prayers on behalf of the federal government. More.
In the first charge to come out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion by the Trump campaign, a grand jury has indicted one third of American voters for acts of criminal stupidity. “Evidence collected over the last six months provides clear and convincing evidence that 62.9 million Americans acted with criminal negligence and stupidity in voting for a man who repeatedly demonstrated he is unfit for high office,” the highly anticipated document says. The indictment, which was unsealed in federal court today, says Donald Trump, when he was a candidate for president of the United States, made it clear he neither understood nor respected the institutions of the country he was seeking to lead. “Voting for a candidate who undermined the democratic institutions of the United States violates the duties of Americans to undertake their responsibilities as voters responsibly. More.
Melania’s Body Double Speaks Out, Says She’s Repeatedly Asked Donald to Provide a Body Double at Night
First Lady Melania Trump’s body double, Nika Horvath, came forward today to confirm her role as a stand-in for the First Lady after her identity was revealed by childhood friends who saw her on TV while Donald Trump spoke about the Iranian nuclear agreement. “It is not my favor to be in public eye in this manner but I cannot hide from the knowledge now and so I speak out,” says Horvath, who, like Melania Trump, was born in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, in 1970. Horvath, a fashion model who has worked mainly in Eastern Europe and parts of Northern Africa, says she and the First Lady became friends in elementary school in part because they looked so much alike. “The people they would comment on our physical characters and they put us together and that was good because we like each other, yes, right from the beginning days,” she said. More.
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer says he believes blacks, Jews, and other Americans of impure bloodlines will leave the United States on their own accord once he and his followers march in front of enough confederate statutes. “What we think is, after a certain point, the approximately 15 million Jews and about 50 million blacks in our country will choose to leave and everyone will be happy,” says Spencer, whose organization is based in Alexandria, Va. Spencer’s organization was involved in the rally by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan in Charlottesville, Va., in late August that led to the death of a counter protester. More.
Tillerson: ‘Trump’s Pre-pardon of Himself and Pence Means I won’t Have to Pardon Them After I Become President’
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he’s ready to assume the presidency once President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are removed from office for obstruction of justice but that it won’t be necessary to pardon the two because Trump has already signed the pardons. “Once Speial Counsel Robert Mueller files his charges against the president for firing the former FBI director and then lying about why it was done, and the vice president is charged with knowing that information and yet publicly giving other reasons for it, I am constitutionally in line to assume the presidency,” Tillerson said in a briefing today. “I will make it my priority to bring together all Americans after what will be a traumatic and fraught time. That is why I’m prepared to pardon the president and vice president but glad that it won’t be necessary because the pardons are already signed by the president.” Trump already pardoned[/caption]Tillerson said he expects the pre-pardons to hold up in Court because the president has unabridged power to pardon and President Trump has exercised that power. More.
Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, under fire by his family-values supporters for liking a porn video on his Facebook page, says the woman in the video is not a woman he imagined having sexual relations with. In a televised address he aired from his home office in Texas, where he’s been since Hurricane Harvey swept through the southeastern part of his state, Cruz said the allegations of him wanting to have sex with that woman are false and that he never asked anyone on his staff to lie about it. “I want to say one thing to the American people,” Cruz said in the address. “I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not imagine having sexual relations with that woman, the blonde woman in the video. I never told anyone to lie, not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people.” More.
Retailers across the United States and even in Europe and Asia say they can’t keep their new line of Melania “First Responder” Stiletto Boots in stock as women strive to be the first among their friends and coworkers to sport the rugged-yet-sexy boots from hot designer Peter Cremlin. “Right now we’re just trying to fill orders on an emergency basis as fast as we can and we just ask our customers to be patient as we ride out this storm of demand,” says Stephen Caine, Saks Fifth Avenue’s general manager for merchandise. “We are in contact with our suppliers around the world to get these orders filled as quickly and as efficiently as possible.” The boots, which retail for between $999 and $1,499 in stores throughout the United States, have generated some controversy as critics say they exploit the devastation in the Texas Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Harvey. More.
OTTOWA—Tired of living in the shadow of its much larger southern neighbor, Canada yesterday officially changed its name to Not USA and unveiled a new flag that government officials say is designed to tell the world that Canada is its own country and not simply a northern outpost of the United States. “Not USA has a long and proud history,” says Stephen Harper, prime minister of Not USA, formerly known as Canada. “With our new name and flag, we’re celebrating our unique place in the community of nations. People forget that Not USA defeated the United States in several key battles in the War of 1812 and beat the U.S. in the 2010 winter olympics hockey championship. What’s more, Not USA is the largest country on earth by land mass, has more ice than any other country, and is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup and moose souvenirs.” More.
OTTOWA—An international task force has released a report showing Canada is a lot like the United States only with thinner people and fewer minorities. “Far more than the United States, the people in Canada have kept their waistlines at a reasonable size and, although they’re welcoming to minorities, they haven’t had a sizable influx of blacks and Hispanics, probably because of the cold weather,” says the report, released today. Canada: More America Than America was commissioned by the United Nations Task Force on North America to provide a detailed assessment of the country. It’s findings: More.
OTTAWA—Tired of always playing second fiddle to its bigger southern neighbor, the government of Canada has laid out a set of 10 areas in which it wants to overtake the United States within five years:
1. Violent crime
2. Illegal drug use
3. Prescription drug abuse
4. Teenage pregnancies
6. Preventable diseases
7. Obsolete infrastructure
8. Declining academic performance
9. Short-term corporate thinking
10. Religious fundamentalism
“We’re not just about hockey and maple syrup,” says Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. More.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder cause a diplomatic row when he tried to slip Detroit over the border and leave the bankrupt and crisis-ridden American city with Canada, U.S. and Canadian authorities have confirmed. Officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency apprehended the governor late last night when he was caught trying to redirect the Detroit River two miles to the south, which would have left Detroit on the Canadian side of the border while leaving the more affluent suburbs on the American side. “I will only confirm that officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency, approaching by watercraft, apprehended an American government official at 3 a.m., Eastern Time, approximately three feet into Canadian territory,” said James Haprer, head of the Canadian Border Services Agency. More.
WASHINGTON—The Chinese government has reached out to the Obama administration with a proposal to buy the country’s debt of more than $17 trillion if the government would take about $5 trillion for it. “We are offering the U.S. government an opportunity to get our from under its heavy debt load, restructure its finances, and move on to a new period of prosperity,” said China’s Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei. “We say at the outset that we cannot offer less than this discount of 70 percent, because the American government has threatened to default several times in the last three years.” Lou said the Chinese government would also require that all American companies doing business in China work in partnership with Chinese companies, which would include the sharing of proprietary trade and technological intelligence. “Of course, the prohibition on Chinese companies sharing trade and technological intelligence with American partners would remain in place, as it must,” said Lou. More.
The CNN executive who got body slammed by Donald Trump in the viral wrestling video says the fight didn’t end when the video ended; it ended after an additional round of fighting in which Trump didn’t fare quite so well. The executive, who asked to remain anonymous so he could speak frankly, said he hit Trump with a leapfrog body guillotine, in which he ran up to Trump from behind, jumped on his back, and hopped over his head, forcing Trump down onto the ground. “It was a dirty move but the President fights dirty,” said the executive. More.
Kellyanne Conway, one of the most visible defenders of Donald Trump’s presidency, says photos of her in a bikini are “alternative facts” that are being spread on the Internet to try to take the focus off the things the Trump administration is doing, like accusing President Barack Obama of wire tapping Trump Towers, using the presidency to spread accusations about Muslim attacks in Sweden, and saying immigration curbs are needed because of a massacre in Bowling Green, Ky. “I have clearly been photoshopped into images of other women to hurt Donald Trump by demeaning me as a person,” said Conway, 50. “It’s a personal attack on my character that’s been put forward without regard to the truth and without regard to the long-term impact this will have on our democracy, our shared trust in our institutions, and our credibility as a nation.” More.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.–Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton today named California Gov. Jerry Brown her vice presidential running mate, saying the four-term governor has the experience and stature to take over as the presidential nominee after the FBI indicts her for using a personal email account to send and receive classified information while she was the U.S. secretary of state. “No one in the Democratic party today has the breadth and depth of experience that Jerry Brown has,” said Clinton, who spoke in a joint news conference with Brown after the two met for several hours in the state house here. “That will be important, because I’m expected to be indicted in about four weeks. More.
Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon Ronald Madison has studied the brain of Republican presidential nomination front-runner Donald Trump and says it really is a “big, beautiful” specimen of human’s most important organ. “When Donald Trump compliments his own brain, he does so on good grounds,” says Madison, who studied Trump’s brain in 2013, when the real estate mogul went to the Mayo Clinic for tests. Madison says Trump was complaining of “low energy” and wanted to rule out anything neurological, so he arranged to have a battery of tests done. “What I found was, of all the brains I’ve seen, Trump’s was certainly one of the biggest and most beautiful ever,” he says. “It’s a very good brain.” More.
As a boy growing up in Alabama, Georgia, and then Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would occasionally go a week or two without getting beat up by other kids, a book released this week claims. “Not every week was ‘beat up Mitch McConnell week,’ Rex Doane says in Mitch McConnell: Little Snively Punching Bag (Knobe: 2016), “but most weeks were. McConnell usually had a cut lip, bent glasses, or bandaged nose, and on a typical weekend he could be found cowering under his kitchen table when one of his classmates walked by his front yard.” McConnell has come a long way since then, and Doane, in his detailed account, paints a portrait of a man’s journey from punching bag to the lawmaker who uses his position as leader of the United States Senate to block as much of the legislative agenda of President Barack Obama as he can.” More.
The American Association of Game Animals released a statement today calling Antonin Scalia a “titan” of American jurisprudence, but because the Supreme Court justice, who died earlier this week, was an avid hunter, the group does not mourn his death. “Had Justice Scalia engaged in a hobby that did not involve the hunting and shooting of birds and anaimals, we would be as saddened by his death as anyone,” the group said in its statement. “But because his hobby involved the hunting and shooting of birds and animals, we instead breathe a sigh of relief that there is one less person in this country who will be coming after us with rifle in hand with the sole purpose of felling us to the ground.” More.
Just when they thought it was safe to go to presidential campaign events without having to listen to the Canadian band Rush, voters have learned that Rand Paul, the libertarian candidate who recently dropped out of the race, isn’t the only fan of the band. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also a fan, which means the piercing screech of Geddy Lee and the tin-can thumping of Neil Peart once again threaten to send property values down around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. “Please, tell me this isn’t true,” says Jim Robinson, 40, an attorney in Carson City, Nev., who was interested in voting for Rand Paul but decided he could never vote for anyone who quoted Rush lyrics at campaign events. More.
A trove of pictures showing a shirtless Bernie Sanders on the beach are making the rounds online, giving the 75-year-old Democratic nomination contender a big lift in the polls, especially in the key battleground state of Florida. And the Hillary Clinton campaign is crying foul. “We didn’t think Sanders would stoop so low to pull away older women voters who’ve always been among Hillary Clinton’s core supporters, but he did, and we’re calling him out on it,” says Meg Smith, the Clinton campaign’s Florida coordinator. “Bernie, put your shirt back on!” More.
The iconic comb-over of real estate billionaire and 2016 presidential aspirant Donald Trump is under investigation by U.S. immigration authorities on suspicion of being in the United States illegally. “We can only confirm that the comb-over of Donald Trump is a thing of interest to the United States concerning its immigration status and beyond that we have no comment,” John Goodman, director of fraud detection and national security for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), says in statement released by the agency today. April Sayers, a spokesperson for Trump, calls the allegation ridiculous. “Mr. Trump eagerly awaits the agency’s report and certainly expects his hair to be exonerated,” she says. More.
A Mexican who crossed into the United States 18 months ago and is working here illegally said it’s true that people from his country are mostly rapists and criminals. “I don’t know how Mr. Trump knew it, but he totally knows what we’re all about,” says the man, who asked not to be identified so he could speak freely to the media.The Mexican immigrant says he and millions of others like him are losers who are too lazy and stupid to make their own country work, so they come here to leach off the success of the United States. “Everything we touch reeks of refried beans and chiles,” he says. “Our hair is oily and we treat our women like dirt. We drive broken-down trucks and we take jobs from good Americans who could really use the work. I can’t say I disagree with Mr Trump when he says we should all be deported and a big wall erected to keep filth like us out.” More.
Calling clowns creepy and not funny, lawmkers in both houses of Congress today passed legislation outlawing entertainers who wear makeup, big red noses, and floppy shoes in a belief that people find them funny. “I know there’s a tradition, dating back to the days of court jesters, of entertaining audiences by wearing costumes and makeup in goofy ways while engaging in antics, often with balls or bicycles,” says Rep. Snowden Baxter (R-Texas), principal sponsor the legislation. “But not all traditions are destined to survive in perpetuity, and clowns are one of those traditions whose time should come to an end.” Baxter pointed to overwhelming support from members of both parties for his bill and cited it as an example of the kinds of things Congress can get done when the need is clear and compelling. More.
Starting in 2020, when U.S. currency is expected to be worthless, a woman will appear on the $10 bill, marking the first time a woman will be depicted on the country’s paper money. “This is an historic milestone for women and for the country,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said at an announcement yesterday. “It’s long past the time when a woman should be honored to be on what was once considered the world’s reserve currency.” Lew said it was simply a trick of fate that a woman would finally appear on U.S. currency at a time when it would be worth a fraction of what it once was. “We were not hoping a woman would appear on our currency when it was worthless,” he said. “It was not our intention.” More.
BEIJING—China this week released its plan to dominate the world by 2020 and also host a summit on the overfishing of red herring in the South Sea. “This is China’s century and we are determined to assert our interests globally in accordance with our stature as the one true superpower,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a news conference here yesterday. China is the world’s largest country by population, with 1.36 million people, not counting ethnic Uighurs, and the world’s second largest economy, with a gross domestic product of $16.1 trillion. That is about $1 trillion less than the United States, although that gap is expected to close within the next 18 months because of America’s declining productivity and “black president,” the plan says. More.
Saying it’s tired of sitting on the sidelines for the majority of compositions in the English language, the letter Q announced today its secession from the English alphabet and a ban on all uses of the letter Q in subsequent English compositions. The letter Q also says it’s reviewing its ties with French, German, Spanish, and other Indo-European languages, but for now, it’s willing to stay in those Latin-based languages until further notice. “For thousands of years the joke has been on the letter Q,” says the letter Q in its Declaration of Secession, delivered simultaneously to the American Library Association, the British Library, the National Library of Canada, the Oxford English Dictionary, the Webster English Dictionary, the Associated Press, and the Chicago Manual of Style. “But no more. As of today, the letter Q is not available for your use.” More.
The English Language Institute removed “utilize” and “cleanse” from the English language today as part of the organization’s long-term plan to trim the language of unnecessary words. The words were recommended for removal by the organization’s Word Removal Committee last month and approved for elimination by the board of directors today. “We grow attached to words, so it’s never easy to say goodbye to them, even when they’re unnecessary,” says Nigel Porter, president of the English Language Institute. “But for the long-term good of our language, today’s actions were necessary and long-overdue.” According to the Institute, “utilize” has long been used as a complex variant of “use,” but it was found to have no meaning beyond “use.” More.