Saturday, January 1 - The new season of The Apprentice will feature high school graduates competing against college grads. The original concept included a team of elementary school children, but no kid would participate when told that the grand prize was a job. “What‘s so great about wining something you‘re going to have to do for the rest of your life anyway,” one nine year old commented. “People go on reality TV so they don’t have to work. Look at Nick and Jessica.”
Sunday, January 2 - Faced with flagging ratings, the National Basketball Association stops holding games and instead broadcasts footage of Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, and other NBA Superstars locked in the Big Brother house. Ex-Toronto Raptor Vince Carter is scheduled to appear on the show but demands a trade to Survivor, where he is immediately sidelined with a foot injury.
COMMENTARY: This was going to be the start of a running joke involving NBA stars in the Big Brother house ("Tim Duncan performs kidney surgery on Alonzo Mourning while Steve Nash assists"...hilarious). But nobody in Edmonton cares about the NBA but me, so I dropped the idea.
Monday, January 3 - More questions arise over Canada’s national security and immigration policies when several al-Quaeda members are discovered giving lap dances at a Montreal nightclub.
Tuesday, January 4 - Under pressure from city council, Edmonton Police Services announces the hiring of a new watchdog. Her name is Bitzi, and according to one police spokesman “was the cutest one in the litter.”
Wednesday, January 5 - In B.C., Vancouver announced a new program to help drug addicts by providing them with free heroin. I guess they wanted to put an end to the marijuana jokes.
COMMENTARY: I scrapped a deodorant joke for this one, which I loved. I heard through the grapevine that Misty Harris, another writer, loved the original joke and was sorry to see it go. I stuck the deodorant joke back in on January 26, and a few people really liked it. Great comic judgment on my part [end sarcasm font].
Thursday, January 6 - Prime Minister Paul Martin reiterates his offer to help in negotiations between NHL owners and players. Both sides--perhaps recalling how Paul Martin got to be Prime Minister--respectfully decline.
Friday, January 7 - More trouble in the EPS as new police watchdog Bitzi refuses to ‘go on the paper.’ “I don’t understand it,” a police spokesman was quoted as saying. “Everyone else on the force has been doing it for years.”
COMMENTARY: My mom loved the dog jokes, although I think it was the accompanying picture that really did it for her.
Saturday, January 8 - Ed writer Dan Brodribb’s attempt to join the metrosexual revolution is foiled by his inability to navigate the style.com homepage. Not that it matters: while Buddhist Punk’s Spring line brings back fond memories of a 1988 Aerosmith concert, the only way he would wear haute couture is if Michael Kors issued a Green Lantern t-shirt.
COMMENTARY: An aquaintance of mine named Maria inspired this joke, and yes, I really did have trouble with the website.
Sunday, January 9 - The provincial government unveils its progressive initiative aimed at those with mental illnesses. “We’re going to drill holes in their heads and let out the bad spirits,” Premier Klein announced. “And don’t give me that malarkey about U.S.-style health care. Many European countries do things this way. I wrote a paper on it once.”
COMMENTARY: I never liked the tag about the paper. It felt like a cheap shot at Premier Klein, who had months earlier gotten in trouble for copying a term paper off the Internet, and dated to boot.
Monday, January 10 - In the interests of public safety, the government considers forcing tobacco companies to issue ‘fire-proof’ cigarettes. If successful, the next step towards a safer public is legislating the ’acceleration-proof’ automobile. Finally, the Dodge Neon is ahead of the curve.
Tuesday, January 11 - At the Londonderry Yuk Yuks, local comedian Nick Roy nearly incites a riot by making disparaging remarks about Canadian hockey icon Don Cherry’s fashion sense, claiming “he (Cherry) dresses like a Batman villain without super-powers.” Do ANY Batman villains have super-powers?
COMMENTARY: Not many of them do. I would say Clayface, and possibly Killer Croc, depending on your definition of super-powers. Any Batman fans out there who can fill me in?
Wednesday, 12 - The latest U.S. missile shield test fails when a robotic voice declares, “All your base are [sic] belong to us.” Federal officials name former Democratic presidential candidate and internet creator Al Gore as ‘a person of interest’ in the case.
COMMENTARY: My first Al Gore joke. The 'base belong to us' was inspired by a website that a friend of mine named Ray showed me which had been inspired in turn by the hideously poor translation of the Zero Wing videogame.
Thursday, January 13 - After several cities are gutted by flames, inspectors discover the cause is not arson, but smokers seeking a way to light their fire-proof cigarettes.
Friday, January 14 - Michael Kors unveils his new ready-to-wear line. Models include Batman villains The Riddler and R’as al Ghul, hockey commentator Don Cherry, and comedian Nick Roy. No super-powers are in evidence, unless you count the way Mr. al Ghul manages to keep his skin baby-soft and wrinkle-free.
COMMENTARY: My editor suggested taking R'as out of the joke, as no one would know who he was. To those people who do, the joke is a lot funnier, so I fought for it and won. Was it worth it?
Saturday, January 15 - Prince Harry apologizes for wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party, explaining that it was a last minute substitution. “I wanted to be Gene Simmons from KISS, but couldn’t get the make-up right.”
Sunday, January 16 - No news today. When a woman’s relationship ends, she often changes her hair, and the more drastic the change, the nastier the break-up. If a female friend shows up at your apartment at 3am and she’s gone from Sarah Jessica Parker to Randy Moss, you better have ice cream.
Monday, January 17 - Following a controversial election, former Democratic presidential candidate and Internet creator Al Gore becomes ruler of Atlantis. Denying any ulterior motives, he announces plans to invade the U.S., find their weapons of mass destruction, and restore democracy to the American people.
Tuesday, January 18 - The Canadian government asserts that problems with the Canadian military stem, not from underfunding, but from inefficient use of resources. The carrying capacity of troop transports could be doubled for example, by having a second soldier sit on the handlebars.
COMMENTARY: I really like this one. Don't ask me why.
Wednesday 19 - After another failed meeting with the Federal government over resource revenues, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams orders every phone in the province left off the hook “in case the bastard phones back.” On the plus side, his hair has never looked better.
Thursday 20 - Al Gore unleashes his robot army on the U.S., only to have them destroyed by Ron Artest and the Indiana Pacers basketball team. Republican officials downplay the invasion asking, “When was the last time a Democrat won anything?” David Stern interprets the Pacers actions as 'on-court behaviour' and suspends him "until such time that he is dead."
Friday, January 21 - The Woodsman, a movie in which Kevin Bacon plays a pedophile opens in theatres, leading to an uncomfortable conversation with my mother, who thought it was a sequel to the Wizard of Oz.
COMMENTARY: I had to get special permission from my mom to use this joke, as she really is an elementary school teacher and I didn't want to get her in trouble. My sister loved this one.
Saturday, January 22 - A Royal Canadian Legion is forced to pull a radio ad after accidentally using a Nazi anthem as background music. Would making a Prince Harry joke here be considered piling on?
Sunday, January 23 - A prominent right-wing spokesperson weighs in with a surprising opinion on gay marriage: “They should legalize same-sex weddings…and criminalize same-sex divorce. Why should homosexuals be less miserable than the rest of us? Let's see how gay they are after thirty years of marriage."
COMMENTARY: Actually, the person being quoted is my dad. I just didn't have time to get his approval before sticking it in.
Monday, January 24 - This month in Cosmo: His Butt--What Your Guy's Bum Shape Reveals about his Personality. Some days this feature writes itself.
Tuesday, January 25 - Some Kind of Monster, a documentary about heavy-metal band Metalllica getting in touch with their feelings is released on DVD. I have mixed feelings on this. While I applaud any man with the courage to ask for help when he needs it, I can't help but wonder how much greater Metallica's legacy would be had they all perished in flames after recording 'Master of Puppets.'
COMMENTARY: I had a more controversial version of this joke which referred to the bus crash which killed their original bass player Cliff Burton, but I was afraid of a bunch of pissed off Metallica fans spamming my e-mail account. I forgot no one actually reads my feature.
Wednesday, January 26 - Under unrelenting pressure from Misty Harris, ed writer Dan Brodribb continues to pursue the metrosexual bandwagon. His latest deodorant is strong enough for a man, but leaves him smelling like a woman. I would not normally wear this, but after learning what my bum-shape says about my personality, I need all the help I can get.
COMMENTARY: This was the deodorant joke I alluded to back in the January 5 commentary. The bum-shape tag was added on.
Thursday, January 27 - http://www.freestanley.com/. No matter how this story ends, it would make a great movie. Do you think Sean Connery would play Michael Payne?
Friday, January 28 - Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams comes under fire for legal bills incurred over his fight with the feds over resource royalties. Maybe Paul Martin would foot the bill if Williams left a horse's head on the PMs pillow. It worked for Alfonso Gagliano.
Saturday, January 29 - Blockbuster pledges to abolish late fees, just in time for the DVD release of "The Karate Kid Collection" on February 1. Now customers with delinquent accounts will be kidnapped by the Cobra Kai, tied down, and forced to watch 96 straight hours of Blockbuster commercials featuring that stupid talking rabbit and his gerbil friend.
Sunday, January 30 - U.S. officials suspect sabotage when the electronic voting system in Iraq starts counting NBA all-star ballots resulting in Utah Jazz forward becoming the country's new leader. Says one official: "There's no way we're putting a Russian in charge of Middle-East oil reserves, I don't care how good his fantasy stats are." Meanwhile, from his underwater base, Al Gore laughs and laughs and laughs.
COMMENTARY: I love the Utah Jazz, so I really wanted this joke, but I was afraid the elections would turn into a bloodbath and I'd have to pull it so I had an alternate joke about going to see the movie 'Alone in the Dark' and being the only person in the theatre, making the film aptly titled. I later found out that the NBA/Iraq ballot joke was done on a talk show right before this issue went to press and was horrified that I might come off as a 'joke thief' (Yes, these are the things that keep me up at three in the morning). To make matters worse, my 'Alone in the Dark' joke also appeared on late night TV, so either way, I was hooped.
A final post-script to this story. The Al Gore tag got cut when this joke originally appeared, probably for length. The completist in me stuck it back in, but don't be surprised if it vanishes again as I continue to edit this thing.
Monday, January 31 - While visiting a friend and his six-month old daugther, ed writer Dan Brodribb is horrified to hear the following words come out of his mouth: "Isn't that cute. The color of her soother matches her outfit." I need more guy friends.
COMMENTARY: This is a true story. The six-month old in question is Rachel, my childhood friend Tim's daughter. He's a lucky man.