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Monthly Blackouts to be Mandated as Means of Getting Citizens' Lazy Asses Off Couches

OTTAWA, ON (SP) — With reliable power restored following mid-August's massive blackout, the federal government has taken the unusual step of mandating general blackouts on the second Thursday of each month, as a means of forcing people to get up off the couch.

During August's blackout, cities across north-eastern North America witnessed something not seen since the early '50s: people walking home from work in droves, playing games in streets and parks, sitting out on front porches chatting with neighbours during the evening, and in general behaving in the sociable way people used to do before TVs, VCRs, DVDs, computers and video game consoles consumed all available after-work and -school hours.

Said Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, "Da citizens of dis country 'ave been spending too much time in front of da boob tube. Da kids, dey don't play in the park or at da 'ockey rink, da way I did when I was growing up in Shawinigan. Today, I am, for me, look at dem: dey are all fat." He went on to blame the decline in civic-mindedness, low voter turnouts, and the general sense of urban alienation on the presence of all the devices in Canadians' homes which discourage getting out and interacting with friends and neighbours.

"Da monthly blackouts, dey will be on every second Tursday, late in da afternoon. Dat way, if we can't get da power back on by Friday, den it is a long weekend, and everyone is 'appy." As an added bonus, the blackouts will force people to reduce (in fact, eliminate) their electricity use for one day a month. This will ease demand on the already over-taxed electricity production and distribution system, albeit in a more drastic and sudden way than is ideal.

"We do often ask people to conserve electricity," said Ron Osborne, President and CEO of Ontario Power Generation. "But do we really expect the average consumer is gonna turn off their air conditioning and TV when they see the guy in Forest Hill with his house still lit up like a Christmas tree, or the office towers downtown with all their lights on? No. So we just flip the big switch to 'off', and everyone gets to do their part at the same time."

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