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Puffins Pooped, Duffy Scooped, Canadians Hooped

And more fast rewinding of 2008. Happy New Year everyone!

Mark Leiren-Young 1 Jan

Mark Leiren-Young is a Vancouver screenwriter, playwright and journalist, and files his "Fast Rewind" summary of the news for The Tyee at the end of every month. His podcast interviews with notables about "Trees and Us" also appear on The Tyee.

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Cartoon by Ingrid Rice.

America went to the polls to vote for a new president. Canadians went to the polls to vote for "none of the above."

Barack Obama won by a landslide, Steve Harper won by default.

The top stories in Ottawa were Opposition leaders hugging, Young People Fucking and Old People Being Appointed to Senate.

Canadians learned the word "prorogue," but forgot the meaning of parliamentary democracy. Yes, Virginia (and Mike Duffy), coalitions are legal.

The streets iced up and Canada slipped into a recession.

The ReformaTories proved their opposition to Senate appointments by appointing 18 new Senators at $130,000 a year.

The B.C. Liberal government formed a forestry roundtable, that was promptly eaten by beetles.

Peter Ladner stuck a spoke in Sam Sullivan's wheelchair and Vancouver's NPA became the No Popularity Association before being whipped at the polls by Mayor Smoothie.

Roberto Luongo pulled his groin and Canucks fans everywhere said "ouch."

Hockey star Sean Avery crushed his career in a few sloppy seconds of TV time.

The CBC Radio Orchestra disbanded, while Ballet B.C. stumbled.

Maple Leaf Foods replaced the maple leaf logo with an image of hemlock.

China threw a really big party for U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps.

Americans declared that racism was finally dead -- when O.J. Simpson was finally convicted of something by a jury.

U.S. president George Bush was shoed out of Iraq, before being kicked out of office.

American politics imitated the final season of The West Wing, as the candidate who inspired Matt Santos (really) beat the candidate who appeared to be based on John McCain. Meanwhile West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin confessed that there weren't enough magic mushrooms in the world for him to have dreamed up Sarah Palin.

CNN replaced guests with holograms, explaining once again all Americans with a college education now get their news from Jon Stewart.

The Dark Knight topped the box office and Hannah Montana went topless.

Dog movies ruled the box office while most would-be blockbusters were dogs.

Teen girls were lost in the Twilight zone, and teen boys were lost in dreams of Katy Perry tasting another girl's cherry Chap Stick.

David Duchovny went to rehab for sex addiction, Amy Winehouse went to rehab for everything else.

Spider-Man's marriage ended and Jennifer Aniston blamed Angelina Jolie.

Guns and Roses tanked like Tiananmen squared. Their long-forgotten album, Chinese Democracy was about as well received as democracy in China.

Harold Pinter reached his final pause, George Carlin uttered his last dirty word, Charlton Heston met Moses, Bobby Fischer lost the chess game with the Reaper, Paul Newman finally went to Bolivia, and Deep Throat gave his last quote.

Now kick off your Crocs, break out the sweater vest, set Tasers on stun, and update your Facebook status while Twittering on your iPhones as the past is prorogued....

Coalition of the wilting

Alleged Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and NDP pit boss Jack Layton teamed up to take over the country, with the help of BlocHead Gilles Duceppe. ReformaTory leader Steve Harper immediately declared this an insult to democracy because he wasn't allowed to do it when Paul Martin was elected. And yes, he tried....

Governor General Michaëlle Jean declared she was pro-rogue when she prorogued Parliament even though the ReformaTories no longer had enough votes to pass go, never mind a budget. A chastened Steve Harper immediately appointed 18 senators and a Supreme Court justice and stole all the food from the parliamentary mini-bar.

Senior CTV reporter Mike Duffy was appointed to the Senate as a Conservative. No word on whether Conservative Preston Manning was appointed as CTV's new unbiased political reporter.

Thanks to their chief campaign strategist, Stéphane Dion, the ReformaTories appeared to be on track for a majority government until declaring culture "a niche issue" and reminding Quebeckers why they thought Harper was a Philistine. Artists across Canada celebrated Steve's defeat at a series of taxpayer-funded galas.

Ask not for whom the puffin pooped...

The Liberals finally admitted that Stéphane Dion was never actually their party leader and his entire candidacy was simply part of an elaborate comedy sketch to celebrate the final season of the Royal Canadian Air Farce. "Dion" confessed that his whole stint as leader was an elaborate prank, right after releasing his official statement about "the coalition" on a video that was apparently shot underwater, with a cell phone. Dion then removed his latex mask, revealed he was actually Luba Goy and confessed that Michael Ignatieff was elected at the last leadership campaign by a huge margin. Seriously, tell me that isn't at least as plausible as the idea that Canada's "natural governing party" would elect a leader who spoke English so badly he made Jean Chrétien sound like Barack Obama and was less popular in Quebec than genital warts?

Bob Rae pulled out of the Liberal leadership race after suddenly remembering that he was Bob Rae and polled about as well in Ontario as bird flu and monkey pox.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth "Kermit" May, leader of the Nadir Party, proved she has a sense of humour when her team blamed "vote splitting" for costing her a seat in Parliament.

ReformaTory MP Rod Bruinooge talked about being elected chairman of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, prompting Steve Harper to deny his government would ever reopen the abortion debate in Canada -- at least until after they have a majority.

Tax the axe

B.C. NDP leader Carole James attacked the B.C. Liberals' proposed carbon tax, announcing that if the NDP is elected, she'll not only axe the tax, she'll bring back leaded gasoline. Meanwhile, B.C. NDPers wondered why the provincial Green Party continues to poll at over 10 per cent, despite having less of a public profile than the new NPA.

Gregor Robertson was inaugurated as Vancouver's new mayor while wearing a kilt and, like all good Scotsman, he had nothing underneath it except his Happy Planet. Mayor Smoothie declared that his first priority would be addressing homelessness, which was a little ironic since by definition the homeless don't have addresses.

A national RCMP inquiry warned that all Canada's major airports have been infiltrated by organized crime. On the bright side, none of the criminals at the airports are believed to be armed with Tasers.

A man was punched in the face in downtown Vancouver while singing Christmas carols. The assault was reclassified as a hate crime when it was discovered he was hit while singing, "don we now our gay apparel."

Palintologists ask, 'Can you see Russia from here?'

Fake news became easier to believe than real news when Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose FOX News pin-up Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate. Palin's qualifications apparently consisted of being a hockey mom who didn't read the news or knew whether Africa was a country, a continent or a desert topping, but can see Russia from her house and knows how to shoot a moose.

Proving that racism in America is truly over, a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee sent party members a Christmas CD entitled, "Barack the Magic Negro." Proving he really is magic, Barack seems poised to make the Republican Party disappear.

Former Saturday Night Live star Al Franken appears to have won a Senate seat, paving the way for Stephen Colbert's next presidential run.

Senator Hillary Clinton campaigned so enthusiastically against Barack Obama that she didn't get to be his vice-presidential running mate, but she was on the short list for John McCain's. Obama eventually agreed to appoint Clinton secretary of state after she agreed to stop phoning him at three in the morning.

Trample Me Elmo

A Wal-Mart employee in New York was trampled to death by a stampede of Christmas shoppers. However, customers didn't allow the death to dampen their holiday spirits, and when police tried to clear the store, they kept shopping. On the bright side, the employee's casket was discounted and gift wrapped.

A new study shows that half of all Canadians can't name a Canadian author, which is why Americans only publish people who are already famous, like Joe the Plumber.

The top search on Yahoo Canada of 2008 was for "Runescape" followed by "NHL," begging the question -- Yahoo still exists? I thought everybody used Google.

Meanwhile, the top search on Google Canada was "Facebook," proving Canadians don't know the names of authors because they can't spell. Google users also regularly Googled "Google," proving that Canada really does have a drug problem.

Nuking the fridge and jumping McShark

The TV writers' strike ended, just in time for viewers to forget why they liked watching scripted TV. Seriously... Izzy's dating a dead guy and Hiro's chasing a bike courier? Will someone please ask Tony Soprano to pass the onion rings....

No Country for Old Men was named Best Picture at the 80th Academy Awards, to celebrate the theme of the 2008 Oscars -- "No Oscars for Movies Anyone Saw." Other Best Picture candidates were Atonement, Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood. The combined domestic gross box office numbers for all four films added up to slightly less than the take for Kung Fu Panda. Yes, really, I did the math....

Hugh Jackman was named host of the 2009 Oscars. Although he's not expected to be remotely funny, he should be able to cut speeches short with his Wolverine claws.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did for Indiana Jones what Star Wars: Episode One did for the Star Wars series -- crushed the fond memories of millions of boomer fans. Following complaints from all viewers over the age of seven about the "nuking the fridge" scene, a chastened George Lucas explained that the fridge was originally supposed to be filled with carbonite and the plan was to defrost Indy a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away where he'd get into a bar fight with Hans Solo.

Bye Trev, Welcome Mats

Captain Canuck, Trevor Linden, had his number officially retired and B.C. schoolchildren are now being taught to count: "11, 12, 13, 14, 15, Trevor."

Hockey Night in Canada lost the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, but the real tragedy was when CBC also lost the rights to "he shoots, he scores."

And finally, Mats Sundin became a Canuck just in time for Christmas -- which means when Vancouver win the Stanley Cup this year, thousands of Torontonians in number 13 jerseys will be leaping off window ledges. Six million dollars for a 37-year-old Swede to play half a season -- ridiculous. Traumatizing millions of Maple Leaf fans -- priceless.  [Tyee]

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