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. “We can be everything the United States is and more. And that’s what I promise to dedicate the remaining years of my term to.” Harper was elected in 2006 and again in 2011.
At almost 4 million square miles, Canada is the second largest country in the world by geography, but much of its land is iced over and of limited use except in making snow cones, of which the country is the largest supplier in the world. It also has the world’s largest collection on Inuit stone markers, known as inuksuks, but no one cares, because they’re not anything to brag about.
The country also has a large number of rock bands that people love to hate, including the most hated band of all time, Rush, and its already forgotten cousin, Nickelback. Corey Hart also comes in for quite a bit of ribbing.
But in ways that set the United States apart—its crazy gun crime, declining academic achievement, rising religious fanaticism, and, thanks to its food manufacturers, its addiction to sugar, fat, and salt—Canada has always been a laggard.
“We know we have work to do, and that’s why the release of my 10 goals will be the defining act of my administration,” says Harper. “By always having the goals before us, we can ask ourselves each day whether we’re getting closer to the United States. Am I still too wedded to reason and rationality? Then I need to work on my fundamentalism. And I eating foods that are too healthy? Then I need to buy more American food products. Are my children learning too much math and science? Then I need to put them in front of the TV more.
“The bottom line is, we know what the bottom line is, so we always have something to work toward, which is why I’m heading to the House of Commons right now to see if there’s a social wedge issue like gun control, abortion, or same-sex marriage that we can have gridlock over. This isn’t just about Canadian citizens stepping up; it’s about lawmakers stepping up, too.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (modified): ep and ps (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
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.
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.” 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.
Trent Sanders says he had no idea the world was filled with other people like him until someone pointed it out after he had been driving around town with music blasting out of his car. “It was like a light went off in my head,” says Sanders, 25. “I was just driving around like I always do and while I was sitting at a stop light this guy pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and yelled, ‘Other people live in this world, asshole! Not everyone wants to listen to your f**ing music!’ Then the light turned green and he peeled off. And I just sat there, stunned.” Sanders says he just automatically assumed he was the only person in the world, which is why he thought it was perfectly okay for him to blast his music while he drives around. “Did I know other people were driving around, too, some trying to listen to their own music? I confess, I did not.” More.
When John and Lucy Wong had Angie three months ago, nothing was too good for her. Now their daughter is the first on her block to have a carriage with a built-in TV, so she can watch educational and other programming even when she’s out enjoying a stroll with mom or dad. “Why just have her watch TV when she’s in her crib?” says Lucy, 24, a marketing assistant with a financial services company in Atlanta. “Going outside for walks is the perfect time to have her watch TV, too.” Although pediatricians generally discourage screen time for children before they reach two years old, parents like the Wongs say such advice doesn’t apply to them. “That’s for people who just throw their child in front of the TV for babysitting,” says Wong. “We don’t do that. We’re always educating our daughter. More.
Allan Harper just did some stretching, a sit-up, a couple of push-ups, and jogged around the block in his first workout in almost a decade, but unfortunately there’s not the slightest improvement in his body—as far as he can see. “It’s not that I expected to look like Charles Atlas or anything, but I thought I’d look a little tighter or something,” says Harper a 39-year-old policy analyst in Washington. Harper’s been meaning to get back into workout mode for years, especially since several of his friends have taken up running and his girlfriend is starting to make snide remarks about his weight. But it’s hard to get started. “I don’t want to just start doing some sit-ups, you know? I want to build it into my lifestyle.” More.
NEW YORK CITY — With rising prosperity around the world, more people each year are becoming addicted to alcohol, and that’s opening up a readership niche DI Publishing hopes to fill with the launch of Today’s Alcoholic, a monthly magazine for people who drink because they have to. “Millions of people are becoming dependent on alcohol each year,” says Brian Cooper, CEO of DI Publishing here. “That’s millions of potential new readers, so we think we’re hitting the sweet spot in publishing with our new title.” Each month, Today’s Alcoholic features practical help for readers on taking control of their addiction. The magazine’s debut issue, for September, features articles on minimizing hangovers, hiding alcohol breath, and finding over-the-counter remedies that can reduce the shakes when one has to be away from alcohol for a long period of time. More.
Saying “it just makes sense,” delegates from around the world overwhelmingly passed a resolution blaming all of the world’s woes on the United States. “Whereas the United States continues to have, albeit barely, the largest economy in the world, and
“Whereas the United States makes a lot of mistakes that everyone in the world knows about, and
“Whereas the United States has been involved in some capacity in all regions of the world for several decades, and
“Whereas the United States is in a state of decline and is clearly failing in all respects,
“We hereby resolve to levy blame for everything that is wrong in the world today on the United States of America. Happy New Year.” The vote was devastatingly lopsided, with delegates from 156 countries voting in favor and only one, the United Kingdom, voting against. Two countries, Canada and Israel, abstained. 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.
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.
Ultra hard-righter Ayn Rand, one of the most influential voices in American politics in the last 50 years, was a nobody until a cabal of Canadian expatriates made her a star in a quest to destablize the United States so that Canada could gain a geo-political edge over its southern neighbor, according to a blockbuster book released yesterday. “People think of Canada as this quiet, do-gooder country that goes the extra mile to get along with its much bigger neighbor,” says Samuel Harper, a political science professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Harper is author of Ayn Rand Conspiracy: How Canada Unleashed the World’s Kookiest Political Philosopher on an Unsuspecting United States (Basic Books: 2014), which landed on the New York Times bestseller list upon its debut. More.
Saying their favorite band has become too commercial since it was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last April, fans of Canadian power trio Rush say it’s time to make a push for their removal. “We were instrumental in getting the band inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first place, thanks to our years of persistence, but now we see we made a mistake,” says Randy Powers, a fan from Pittsburgh who has launched a petition drive calling for Rush’s removal from the Cleveland institution. “Bobbleheads, T-shirts, refrigerators—it’s just all too much. We don’t mind the band trying to make a buck. It’s hard to do that now with people so easily downloading or streaming music on the Internet. But enough is enough.” More.
Cowed by the recent success and outpouring of affection for the Canadian rock trio Rush, music critics have largely refrained from laying a glove on the band, which first hit the music scene in 1974 and today is enjoying something of a renaissance as it basks in the success of its most recent album Clockwork Angels. But several music critics, including most prominently Adam Carter of Rolling Stone, are bucking the trend and slamming the band for its pretentious lyrics, over-wrought drumming, and, most of all, the screeching vocals of bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee. “I know it’s fashionable for one to pay one’s respects to ‘legendary’ progressive rockers Rush, but I just can’t hop onto this bandwagon,” Carter says in his blog, Rock in/Site. “No one can tell me Geddy Lee has somehow learned how to sing. In fact, I would venture to say More.
NEW YORK CITY—With the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and the middle class getting hollowed out, more households than ever are settling in for long-term decline. To capture this large and growing market segment, DI Publications has launched Dumb & Poor, a lifestyle magazine for people struggling with low income and low IQ. “Research has shown there’s a correlation between IQ and success, so we know there must be a growing number of dumb people in the United States, since the country’s lower class is expanding so quickly,” says Brian Cooper, CEO of DI Publications. The inaugural issue released this month and already the magazine is a big hit with its target audience, according to the publisher. The magazine’s initial print run of 300,000 has sold out and a second printing has been ordered. More.