Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shock Your Waitress

Shock collars, widely used for training bird dogs, have now found widespread use in the Republic of Estonia. In a new program supported by EU structural funds, half of Estonian waitresses will be outfitted with shock collars. "The other half," says scientist David Roskolnikov, "are control."
Long known as the Capital of Poor Service, where waitresses are slow to think and slower to move, Estonian government has embraced the program and believe it will result in greater long-term tourism revenue. Scientist Roskolnikov and his partners will be analyzing the revenue generated by collar-wearers and non-collar-wearers, hoping the data shows that waitresses working in a state of fear produce significantly more revenue. Roskolnikov, a doctoral student at the University of Moscow, says he tried the project in Latvia but it failed. "The girls immediately chewed through the collars and escaped." Roskolnikov's other worry is criticism from the scientific community about his methodology. He has tried to lay down clear rules for delivery shocks, "but my peers say you can never really control that. It's the 'who will guard the guards' dilemma." The scientist believes he has circumvented the problem by placing a shock switch on every table in each restaurant so that the customers may deliver the shocks themselves. "After all," he notes, "the customer is always right, right?"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Enemas with the Stars

We've danced with the stars. We've sung with the stars. Today, Estonia's channel 3 announced its newest program, Enemas with the Stars. "Dancing and singing certainly brought us closer to our stars," said Anna Alandav, Viasat's regional spokesman. "Now, Estonia's Channel 3 brings the viewer even closer."
The program, which began this week, lets viewers participate first-hand in enemas and rectal exams via modern digital technology. Viewers, voting by SMS messaging via cell phones, instruct the doctor whether to "probe deeper," "remove the polyp," or "crack a fart joke." Home viewers see everything the doctor sees on their television screen via the latest in rectal camera technology, and if a star proves especially arrogant, viewers may instruct the doctor to use a camera tube which has been stored in a freezer.
"Since Estonia is the e-state and since it has more insufferable stars per capita than any other nation on earth, it was only natural to launch this show here," said Alandav. Viasat says after the Estonian pilot, the program will be made available to other Viasat markets. "Stars are gods on earth whose every utterance or bodily discharge we monitor to bring significance to our own meaningless lives," said Alandav. "So who would not want to watch this program?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cuddle Parties Reach Baltic

Billed as a way to allow participants to experience non-sexual group intimacy, the cuddle party has finally reached the Baltic. Edgars Lazo, director of the Latvian Cuddle Party Association, organized the first all-Baltic cuddle party which took place at his home in Jurmala this past weekend. "Neighbors thought it was an orgy which is wasn't," stated Lazo in a police report. "Well, it at least wasn't supposed to be."
Witnesses' sworn statements demonstrate that while the guests showed up prepared to simply cuddle, once the physical contact begun they could not control themselves. "All it took was one buy to start bumping and grinding and it was game over," reported one participant. The Latvian police say orgies in Latvia are neither unusual nor illegal and the state lacks grounds for legal action. However, the International Cuddling Association, has begun proceedings to bar Balts from organizing cuddle parties. "Cuddle parties are about cuddling," said certified cuddle party facilitator Linda Jean Borfirst, who was on hand at the Latvian-organized event as the cuddle party lifeguard and later reported the Latvians to the ICA. "Rule one of the cuddle party is that pajamas stay on at all times. Rule 12 is to show up on time," said Borfirst. "Latvians broke these plus rules two through 11." Latvia's next cuddle party, also referred to as a "puppy pile party" or "contact comfort gathering," is scheduled for this Saturday in front of the Freedom Monument, weather permitting.
In Latvia (above), cuddling led to pajamaless penetration. Veterans claim this violates the spirit of cuddling.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Latvian President Sends Love Gram To Lithuanians

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers today held a press conference to congratulate the Lithuanian nation on the 20th anniversary of the restoration of that country's independence, and to call for renewed unity between Latvia and Lithuania, according to Diena. In his address, Zatlers looked back at the events leading to the restoration of Lithuania's independence, and said Lithuania was a leader in the Baltics and an example to other nations in their struggle for freedom.
Then President Zatlers read from a letter he had personally sent to President Grybauskaite of Lithuania: "Dear brothers, Lithuanians! We have achieved much more than we could dream of back in 1990, and yet we have not drifted apart. You are our brothers, and we love you like brothers. And I beg you; whenever you feel depressed or miserable, pay a visit to us in Latvia, and we will show you, dear brothers, what real misery is. And while you’re here, why not enjoy some of our delicious Lido shashliki, and drink our fresh and tasty Latvian Uzavas beer. Have a look at our women, who are so much prettier than your own. Stay in one of our hotels. We have many, and they’re all owned by Norwegians now. And bright and early the next morning, like good brothers should do, you can go right back home. Cause you seem a little Polish to us, and we don’t understand the words coming out from your mouth. Long live Lithuania, long live Latvia!"
Photo: President Grybauskaite (right), celebrates independence with President Zatlers (middle), and her personal secretary Sammy (left).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Latvia Seizes 10,000,000 Contraband Smokes

Latvia's State Revenue Service Customs Control officers seized over 10 million L&M cigarettes with bogus labels in what is the biggest contraband bust so far this year, according to Cas. The cigarettes were discovered in a container in the Riga Commercial Freeport last Thursday. The container originated in China. "This is a windfall for the state revenue service," said Customs Control spokesman Peteris Pipetava.
The State Revenue Service will sell the cigarettes through its network of leather jacketed sales agents in the Riga central market, the train station, and through authorized taxi drivers. Pipetava promises that future deliveries of contraband smokes will be ordered from China directly by the State Revenue Service in order to cut out the middleman. "These actions are sanctioned by Latvia's IMF agreement, which encourages us to raise new channels of revenue. We are now accepting orders for contraband smokes: 10 cartons minimum order, cash payment only." Photo: Peteris Pipetava holds contraband cigarettes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Estonians Win Oscar for Best News Outfits

Tipp and Täpp, news readers from Estonia's channel 3, are known locally for their his-and-hers color-coordinated news-reading outfits. But now, they're known internationally.
In an effort to expand viewership of the Academy Awards, not only were nominees expanded from five to ten, but additional categories were added, including Best Color-Coordinated Outfits for an Eastern European Station.
"This is truly surprise," said Tipp, watching the ceremony from a satellite television in the Stockmann department store (the awards were not televised in Estonia). "It's an honor, too. Täpp and I have worked very hard to coordinate our outfits." The two may be seen every night wearing mostly primary colors and posing thought-provoking questions on screen to which viewers may respond to via SMS voting such as, "Do you or your relatives fear snow damage to your property?" and "Do you ever search through dumpsters looking for compromising documents about your neighbors?"
Tipp and Täpp co-authored the textbook, Responsible Journalism for Pre-teens, and are at work on a new book about pretexts which enable getting free clothing from local retailers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

35-year-old Estonian Man Still Lives with Mother

"I am never moving out," said 35-year-old Taivo Kroonberg of the 40-square-meter apartment he shares with his mother Hilde. "Even when I marry we're all just going to move in here. Mother does her thing. I do mine." Kroonberg's thing is contemplating the beauty of complex algorithms, which he does in the daytime hours when his mother is away working at R-kiosk to support the two of them. But Hilde doesn't mind.
"Taivo created a wonderful clock on the base-seven number system, and he has computed pi by hand to the two-millionth place to the right of the decimal on the wall over there," said Hilde, directing a journalist's attention to tiny, hand-scrawled digits filling the wall's surface. "Some say he's wasting his life, but those people just don't understand Taivo." She resists criticism that Estonia coddles its men and says this is simply the way of a patriarchal culture.
Hilde says her routine rarely varies. She cooks for Taivo before leaving for work, returns on public transport to cook him lunch, then returns promptly at six p.m. to prepare his dinner. On weekends she does his laundry in a plastic tub in the bathroom and changes the rags used as doormats in the stairwell. "I'm doing it for Taivo, of course," says Hilde. "But I'm also doing it for Estonia. I want to see our country become great."
Hilde Kroonberg (above) says she keeps Taivo "right and regular."

East European Cheese Determined to be All Same

A recent European Union study has confirmed what Baltic peoples have long wanted to deny: their cheese is all the same. The study, conducted in connection with the McKinsey consulting group, reveals that all cheese manufactured in Eastern Europe is "uniformly yellow with a taste which does not differ from one varietal to another." "There is no 'variety' in 'varietal,'" the study concluded.
"This is simply not true," said Lithuania's Maxima supermarket chain director Mikas Fetaloticius at a press conference held behind his store's cheese counter. "As anyone can see, the cheese on my left is a light yellow, while the cheese on my right is one pantone degree darker. The cheese in the middle," noted Fetaloticius, "has holes so it is therefore Swiss." Maxima's parent company, VP Market, has vowed to finance its own study which will "prove conclusively the sophistication and subtleties of the Eastern European cheese."
The misunderstood cheese: Eastern European cheese (left) has long only been appreciated by the elite few.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Estonia Rewards Olympic Victors

Estonia's Silver Medal winner Kristina Šmigun-Vähi will receive a plot of land in Haabersti and 1.1 million Estonian kroons--approximately 95,000 USD--from the state for her victory in the women's ten-kilometer cross country freestyle skiing event. Her trainer/father will receive 550,000 kroons. Šmigun-Vähi's teammate Tatjana Mannima who finished 58th, will receive a month's supply of free sausages from the Rakvere Meat Factory, Šmigun-Vähi's principal sponsor. "Tanya and I are like sisters," Šmigun-Vähi told CNN, "and so I felt bad for her getting nothing. So I decided to organize some sausage."
Other Estonians who participated in the event but did not finish in top 78 will receive, according to a government press release, "jackshit."
Šmigun-Vähi (left) and teammate Mannima (right) share a love of sausage.

Estonian Olympic Attendees Honored with Statues

Such is the reverence for Olympics in this small northern country. While in other countries, Olympic victories are greeted with temporary enthusiasm, Estonia bestows permanent honors on those who even attend the Olympics as spectators. The Estonian state has asked anyone who possesses an Olympic Games entrance day pass to contact it so that sculptor Tauno Kangro may begin creating a likeness of that individual. If the day pass is unavailable, the state will accept any restaurant receipt from Canada dated during or around the Olympic festival.
"There aren't many more than a million people worldwide who call themselves Estonian," said the state's Olympic Sculpture Committee chairman Karl Kivi. "So if we make some statues of some of them and scatter them around the country, then it'll appear we have more citizens and we'll get more respect." Several years ago the Estonian state attempted to encourage births of Estonian children by making it financially attractive to mothers, but the program failed. "The Estonian population is still on the decline," said Kivi. "This program is a sure fix." Kivi noted that each statue would have the right to vote as long as it voted Centre Party.
This way to the Olympic Village (above): a statue points the way.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Russia Claims Olympics' Final Gold Medal

"I took big breath, closed my eyes tight and thought of Mother Russia." This is how Victor Brinov, Captain of Russia's Gold Medal winning men's synchronized swimming team described the long moments he spent under water in the frigid environment of Whistler's Ice Water Dome. "Yes it was little cold," he admitted, "But not cold like Novosibirsk."
The last competition of the Vancouver Winter Olympics was also the newest demonstration sport: Men's Synchronized Swimming. Foregoing the comforting heated pools of women's synchronized swimming, the men's competition is held in freezing temperatures. Some say it is the ultimate macho sport. And the Russian men won it walking away. Stung by recent revelations that Russia had lost badly to an all gay Canadian hockey team, Russia's Izvestia trumpeted the swimming result. "Russia have (sic) proven their athletic superiority over Canada. Is historic victory for all Russia," quipped Brinov in an interview with Izvestia news yesterday.
Canada took silver in the event, silencing critics who labeled them as warm water mama's boys. The French team seemed destined for bronze, but were disqualified for refusing to enter the water for their second of two required performances. "The Russians are not athletic. Their secret warmth is found at the bottom of a vodka bottle." accused the French captain Jean-Jacques Esprit as he shivered at poolside in his bathrobe and slippers.
Photo: Russian swimmer Victor Brinov and comrades share a light hearted moment after their gold medal winning performance.

Insult to Injury: Russia Beaten by All-gay Canadian Team

For a proud Russian it's not easy to lose to Canada. It's even harder to handle when the team that beats you is all gay. In a surprise announcement yesterday, Canada's Olympic Committee head Marcel Aubut, disclosed that the hockey team who had handed a 7-3 loss to Russia was, in fact, all gay: "We didn't want to release the information sooner, because we know the Slavic mentality about these things, but Russia was beaten by an all-gay team." Aubut, a former gay hockey player himself, said he wanted to avoid taunting of his players by the Russian team. "Some of the greatest warriors in ancient Greece were gay," said Aubut, "but you know how Russia is--they just black out or change whatever part of history they don't want to hear about." Canada has long recognized the importance of gay teams and started a tolerance program in secondary schools featuring the slogan, We're gay, We skate, Get used to it! "What Russia doesn't realize," said Aubut, "is that gays have handed them most of their hockey losses throughout history. 1980, the Americans. All gay."
The Kremlin did not respond to requests for interviews in connection to this article.
Above left: The Canadian hockey team practices nude. Coaches say it builds esprit de corps. At right, "checking" has always been hockey code for anal sex.

Lukashenko to Take Over Russia's Olympic Program

Smarting after only three Gold medals in Vancouver and a 7-3 hockey loss to Canada, Russia's President Dmitri Medvedev is changing horses to prepare for Sochi 2014. Those who failed Russia "must have the courage to resign," said Medvedev. "If they do not have this resolve, we will help them."
Replacing Russia's Olympic Committee will be a one-man committee headed by Belarus' dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko. "Mr. Lukashenko's commitment to athletics is beyond question," said Medvedev, referencing the Belarussian dictator's practice of training daily with his country's hockey team. "Now, Mr. Lukashenko will train with all Russian athletes in all sports."
Lukashenko, known in the slavic world as "L-Daddy," has a reputation for quick decisions and fast results. In his own country of Belarus, he is famous for the No Child Left Behind Hockey Program, which offers steroidal supplements to athletic diets in children from age seven. He is also known for cutting off electricity, gas, and water to the housing blocks of losing athletes in order to create peer pressure to perform. "Mr. Lukashenko's way of working is the old Russian way of working," said Medvedev. "We count on him to bring back the old glory of Russia."
Lukashenko (in uniform at left) will personally prepare Russia's athletes for 2014.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Estonian Indifferent to Chile's Plight

"Earthquake schmerthquake," remarked Estonian Robert Raputav, when approached by the Gallup organization and asked for comment on Chile. "Will this affect the price of wine?" Despite record column-inch coverage in the New York Times and other international newspapers, Chile's earthquake has passed virtually unnoticed in this bucolic nation of 1.4 million. "Chile?" remarked a member of Estonia's parliament who insisted on anonymity. "Where was Chile when the Estonia sank? What kind of coverage did they give us then?"
Local papers focused mainly on the possible bankruptcy of a seat-belt manufacturer and the marriage of a local singing sensation into a family of reptiles who are known for owning their own Robinson helicopter.
Robert Raputav (left) says he will have no problem switching to other South American wines.

Lithuania Medals!

Under pressure in the face of other Baltic medal wins (Estonia a Silver, Latvia two Silvers), Lithuanian athletes came through for their homeland. In the final event held during the closing ceremonies, Lithuanian chainsaw ice sculptor Karla Karvelotiene cut her way to a Bronze. Sawing swiftly against other athletes from countries such as Belarus, Sweden, and the darkhorse Somalia, Karvelotiene cut a life-sized image of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. "I really wanted to tug on the judges heart strings," she said. But the athlete was in for quite a surprise when every other prop at the closing ceremonies turned out to feature a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. "They were everywhere and I was really worried that mine would get lost in the crowd." But there was no need to worry. Since ice sculpture is the Olympics newest event, Karvelotiene was surrounded by TV cameras the entire time.
Karvelotiene is the only girl in a family of ten athletes in the Vilnius suburbs, her brothers vying to make the Summer Olympics' first male synchronized swimming team. The exposure received by Karvelotiene has already brought her invitations to enter ice sculpture competitions in Pskov, Minsk, and Dnepropetrovsk. Lithuanian authorities say that for one full month the statue of Lenin will be removed from in front of the parliament building and be replaced by a statue of Karvelotiene with her chainsaw.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lithuanian Skater Refuses to Shave Armpit Hair

"I am actually a very talented performer," says Lithuanian figure skater Kristina Orbakaite. "I just wish people would stop talking about my armpit hair." But people will not stop, and as Orbakaite stepped on to the ice yesterday for her performance in the women's short event, a disturbing quiet descended over the crowd. "It's the armpit hair girl," spectators whispered.
"I'd like that they stop," says Orbakaite. "I could shave but, come on. It's time people get past it and see me as a skater." The Lithuanian government has made entreaties to the skating star, going so far as to organize a personal appeal from President Dalia Grybauskaite in the Olympic locker room. "If we wish the world not to see us as an Eastern European nation," the president reportedly told the young lady, "then our top skater should not have fur bushes under her arms."
The population of Lithuania, though, does not agree, and the Orbakaite style can be seen everywhere on the streets of Vilnius, where an estimated 95 percent of the women have stopped shaving their armpits. "I think it's disgusting," said a visiting American male tourist. "I've heard that Lithuanian chicks were hot, but this ruins it for me." The Catholic Church, however, is quite happy with the trend and the Cardinal of Lithuania has made multiple trips to the Vatican to promote the fashion as a prophylactic device and to seek a sponsorship for Orbakaite who recently lost support from Lithuania's largest spray-on hair removal maker. "I'm not shaving my fur bushes," Orbakaite told ESPN after skating to perfect tens, thrusting her arms in the air to express her joy.
Orbakaite (above) says armpit hair is girlicious.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Latvia Strikes Deal to Buy Hummer

Confessing that "our bling-dependent, simple-minded citizenry cannot exist without them," Valdis Zatlers, the President of Latvia, announced a deal to buy Hummer from General Motors. Negotiated in the eleventh hour after GM failed to reach a deal with Chinese heavy equipment maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines, Zatlers said he was wearing pajamas in bed and smoking a cigar as he did the deal over the Latvian LMT mobile telephone network and not the Estonian product Skype. "The initial idea," said Zatlers, "is to gut the Occupation Museum and turn it into a first-class Hummer showroom," but the president allowed that many other ideas were on the table, as well.
Latvian businessmen were quick to offer kudos to the state for striking the deal, seeing opportunities to sell vast quantities of the vehicle in Russia. "Did you know," said businessman Edgars Lazo, "that Russia does not have a paved road connecting one end of its country to the other? It's true. Look it up. Thanks to the Latvia Hummer, Ivan in St. Petersburg will now be able to visit his cousin in Vladivostok. Can Skype do that? I don't think so."
Valdis Zatlers' personal lime-green Hummer with smoked glass and Asanti alloy urban wheels.

Happy Story for Reader Epp

Bruised from comments by frustrated readers Epp ("why must you write about silly things") and Tony ("'re a consummate idiot"), the Livonian Chronicle purchased spellcheck yesterday and found nothing wrong with its stories. "I knew there were no spelling errors in our stories," said Chronicle editor Henry. "Spellcheck is really a tool for morons. But when you have people like Epp calling up and asking, then you've got to check and double check your work."
After a marathon negotiation session with Epp about the newspaper's tendency to publish silliness, the paper agreed to publish at least one story daily featuring a smiley face and some "positive, tourist-oriented facts about Estonia," including blatant use of the government's happy slogans, "Welcome to Estonia" and "Positively Surprising."
This variation of the smiley face (above) was invented in Estonia, though the nation allows free use through an open-use clause in its patent.

Russian Hockey: How a Loss Becomes a Victory

“Same thing like if it was the Canadians,” Russian player Ilya Bryzgalov said when asked the ramifications of Russia's quarterfinals loss to Canada in hockey. “It’s a disaster. End of the world.” But it was only the end of the world in the West where viewers witnessed Canada thrash Russia 7-3. In Russia, Olympic hockey viewers were treated to a 8-0 victory over the Canadians with carefully edited footage plus a corps of skater/actors on call to deliver critical needed goals.
"Much like what the Americans did with Neil Armstrong's moonwalk, we recreated the Olympic stadium right here in this Moscow studio," said Ivan Klyzhevoski, mastermind behind the Russian victory. "Right here is where Coach Vyacheslav Bykov shed a tear after the victory." Klyzhevoski said Coach Bykov's speech was pre-recorded and followed closely a script sent to him by Kremlin administrators.
Asked if allowing foreign journalists in to cover the faked victory wasn't defeating the purpose, Klyzhevoski remarked, "When Russian citizens hear that you are reporting a victory for Canada, they will know that it is you who are making propaganda. Russia does not lose in hockey." Klyzhevoski concluded the tour of the stadium "where Russia will win the Vancouver Gold" with the Russian tradition of the bling chest, each journalist encouraged to stick one hand into a chest of gold necklaces keeping whatever that hand could hold.
Ilya Bryzgalov (above) celebrates Russia's 8-0 victory over Canada.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tallinn Airport Lowers Landing Fees, Accepts Coupons

In response to Vilnius Airport's surprise announcement that it had usurped the slow moving Estonians to win a master franchise agreement to open Riga Airports across the Baltic states, Tallinn Airport announced yesterday that it will reduce landing fees starting in April, Äripäev Online reports. The fees will be reduced from 155 kroons per ton, to EEK 25.99 per aircraft. Aircraft ordering an extra large soft drink can reduce this fee further, and Tallinn Airport will also accept competitors' coupons, for a limited time only.
In addition, the flight crew and passengers of each aircraft will receive free King Masks (pictured), while supplies last. Äripäev online expressed it's hope that this would mean also cheaper plane tickets, but nobody gives a fuck what they think.
Photo of Tallinn Airport Promotional Coupon "Land Your Plane, Get a King Mask!"

Vilnius Awarded Riga Airport Franchise

Latvian airline airBaltic announced the launch of construction of a new terminal at the Riga airport which will allow it to service seven million passengers per year within five years, a 50% increase over current traffic, Verslo zinios writes. At a press conference in Riga, Air Baltic spokesman Laimonis Lidotajs said there were other expansion plans. "I am pleased to announce that Lithuania has been awarded the franchise for Riga Airport in Vilnius, which shall be known as Rigas Airportevicius Vilniaus.
Vilnius Airport spokesman Mindaugas Meibakicius said "Riga airport is the only real airport in the Baltic states. Now with this franchise, we can finally have our own real airport. It'll be great; like having a McDonald's franchise, only bigger, and there's no drive. Welcome to Rigas Airportevicius Vilniaus, may I take your order?" he asked brightly.
Proceedings were interrupted by Tallinn airport representative Kairi Kade, who accused Vilnius of stealing Tallinn's idea. "This is Tallinn's idea, which we've been working on since our airport was designed in 1978 as a large McDonalds, and they've stolen it," she said slowly, pointing at Meibakicius. "And we have developed a drive," she said, blowing a raspberry at Meibakicius. As reporters showered her with questions, Kade refuted claims that Tallinn had optioned a Hesburger Airport franchise as a backup plan. "That's not true," she said, "there isn't enough mayonnaise in this entire country for a Hesburger Airport."
Riga's new airport terminal is photographed on left. Tallinn's McDonalds-esque airport, with jet approaching the "drive" window, is on the right.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

AirBaltic's New Acquisition Tactic: Hinting

"Let's say I'm a girl who likes a boy but I don't want to approach him directly so I might tell a good friend or I might go the media and just hint around about it or maybe I'd hire a PR firm or you just never know," said Janis Vanags, Vice President of AirBaltic who seemed to suggest last week that his airline would be interested in purchasing a portion of Estonian Air. Estonia's national airline is owned by SAS (49%), the Estonian state (34%), and the investment bank Cresco (17%). Vanags added that "a certain girl might be willing to go to prom if one of three boys would ask her. And they don't even have to ask nicely."
Estonian Air's spokesman Lauri Lennuk, when contacted by the Livonian Chronicle, said that "the girl has not been direct enough about her interest and therefore the boy lacks sufficient grounds to approach with dignity. You can't just go straight up to a girl and ask, you know." SAS, for its part, characterized itself as "one of those slutty girls who is only interested in cash, so if a certain boy is interested then he should just like buy me a flash car or something." Cresco, when confronted with the analogy and dialogue to date, was unsure whether AirBaltic was the boy or the girl in the scenario. "Aren't we making something rather simple into something quite complicated?" asked Cresco's spokesman. "These tiny airlines really aren't worth their weight in drama." AirBaltic's Vanags said his airline would "continue to make itself look pretty in hopes that a relationship could be consumated."
AirBaltic employees (above) want to share their love and happiness with Estonian Air.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Estonians Finish Well in Ice Dancing Pairs

Skating to "Theme from Love Story" arranged as a dirge for organ, Estonia's President and First Lady completed their first Olympic pairs ice dancing competition with high marks from the judges. Mostly, they received praise for their costumes. "The whole Dracula get-up was just stunning," remarked a Romanian judge. "They showed lots of flash and flare. The candelabras were huge." As the First Pair glided across the ice, wind machines caused their capes to extend, prompting one teenage spectator to shriek, "It's Batman, mommy!"
Asked from which gumball machine he got his gold-colored medallion, President Ilves removed it and gave it to an admiring young fan. "This whole depressing Eastern European theme is just way out there," said the fan, who identified himself as Dave from Toronto. "I'd really like to visit that place and see if everybody is as cool as the First Pair. I'm told you can walk right up to their house if you want and just ring the doorbell. Whoa! That's just way out there! Try doing that at Brian Mulroney's house."
The First Pair will return to Estonia for the independence ball but will return to Vancouver in time for their other event, curling.
The First Pair (above) skated boldly to dirge arrangement for organ.

Russia to Execute Its Non-medalist Olympic Athletes

Ranking only seventh in the medal count, Russia's Olympic Committee announced today that athletes not winning medals would be executed upon their return to Russia. "Seventh place is simply not acceptable for Russia," said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. "To some this measure may seem Draconian but the Russian people understand."
"I understand," said Sergei Dmitrovich, a Russian citizen in the arctic village of Umba who was watching the Olympics at the village's only working television. "I believe in the end this new policy will make us stronger." A recent survey showed that 90 percent of Russians favored what is locally termed the Death to Losers Policy. "I'm a farmer," said Dmitri Sergeiyevich reached by phone in Russia's Volga region. "If I don't meet my quotas I pay a penalty. Why should it be different for athletes?" Prime Minister Putin seemed not worried that the state's new policy might increase defections, noting "Who'd take fourth-place finisher when even Belarus can medal?"
"Ask no quarter. Give none." Vladimir Putin (above) on Russia's new Olympic policy.

Theatre Bans Guns, Knives

In a move unprecedented in the region, Tallinn's Coca-Cola Plaza Cinema placed a sign in the lobby banning firearms in the movie theatre. In Estonia, a country where Kalashnikov assault rifles are as ubiquitous as cabriolets in California, the sign has proved a bone of contention. "I will not see movies here anymore," said moviegoer Peeter Püss, who refused to check both his Makarov pistol and Kalashnikov rifle.
Other cinema complexes in the region have no such signs, and Püss, as well as a growing band of moviegoers, are making an exodus to Cinnamon Cinemas at Solaris, the newer and still firearm-friendly movie house. "What fun is a Schwarzenegger film without your sidearm?" asked Püss. "Solaris understands me as a man and as a consumer."
The firearm ban is just one episode of growing pains plaguing the small nation after its recent EU- and NATO ascension. "Some say we can't adopt the euro if we're all carrying around guns and shooting them into the air all the time. I find that claim ridiculous," said Estonia's Prime Minister Andrus Ansip yesterday as he finished the Tartu Marathon, having skied 60 kilometers with a Kalashnikov strapped to each shoulder. "What harm does this do?" asked the prime minister, squeezing off a dozen rounds of burst fire into the air as women and children ran for cover. "What? Would you rather have Estonian men drink?"
Coca-Cola Plaza's sign (above) bans knives, guns, and other cultural items treasured by Estonians.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vancouver: Latvians Awarded Austria's Medals

Due to a remarkable similarity in flags, the Latvian Olympic Team has been awarded all four medals technically won by Austria. In what the Austrians are claiming an administrative snafu, Latvia has taken its three Gold and one Bronze medal. A spokesman for the Latvian delegation has argued that "possession is 99 percent of the law," and says the Latvians plan to keep the medals.
Austria's president Heinz Fischer says he wants the medals back. "First Latvia stole our flag. Now they have stolen our medals." Fischer spent yesterday in meetings with Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, but little headway was made. "I think Austria make Super-G mountain out of a little gerbil hill. This is really nothings special," said Zatlers in a televised interview.
The Austrian flag (left) and Latvia's flag (right) are often confused.

Vanished Celebrities Surface in Latvia

After a decade-long search, the Center for Vanished Celebrities has located six American celebrities in a remote Latvian village. Jan-Michael Vincent, Catherine Bach, Gil Gerard, Bronson Pinchot, Shelley Long, and Joe Piscopo were located yesterday in the northern Latvian city of Cesis, where they are all cast members in a local production of High School Musical. "It's a peaceful life here," said Catherine Bach, formerly Daisy on The Dukes of Hazzard. "Nobody really bothers us, because nobody recognizes us. I think the only TV show Latvians have ever seen is The Bold and the Beautiful and not even Bronson starred in that." Gil Gerard echoed the sentiment. "People always expected me to chase purse snatchers or beat up gang members on the subway," says Gerard of his time in New York. "They couldn't understand that I wasn't Buck Rogers."
So the six came together in 1991 to form Cesis Actors Studio, and they've been producing plays ever since. "We just finished a run of Henry the Fifth," said Jan-Michael Vincent. "I had a little trouble with my part, so they let me play Henry as the Airwolf guy would have played him. I got to wear a flight suit." Shelley Long, who played Katherine, was unavailable for this interview due to the flu, and had to step down from her part due to the same. Joe Piscopo, however, filled her shoes. "A man playing a woman in Latvia is not all that common, though it certainly was de rigueur in Shakespeare's day," noted Piscopo. "I think the Cesis paper probably covered us even more because of that, so it was good for the show."
The CAS crew says they are not running from publicity but are simply "basking in the old world culture of Europe for a spell," according to Bronson Pinchot. "We've started negotiations with Baltic television and it seems they are keenly interested in our talents."
Catherine Bach (above) on stage with the Cesis Actors Studio.

US, Estonia Partner in Magazine

The new international magazine Best Of publishes only lists. "It's what the world wants," says Conde Nast Vice President Tom Florio who will serve as the magazine's publisher. It may be what America wants, but to save money Estonia will be producing the magazine. "Estonia has great experience with trashy magazines and journalism which the Americans want very much to mine. We will add our resources to your expertise and produce a solid international media property."
The first page of Best Of forms a pact with readers. "Other than the one you're currently reading, we will never publish a single complete sentence," writes editor Anna Wintour, who will set aside some of her responsibilities with Vogue to take over Best Of. True to her no-complete-sentence promise, Wintour adds that "We promise lists more lists what America wants." Publisher Florio says the no-complete-sentence policy also makes it easier to use foreign writers. "Eastern Europeans can actually write our magazine for us! Watch us put even more American journalists out of work!"
Best Of's first issue includes hot lists like "Best heels over six inches," "Loudest iPod models for public transport," "Best cars for wannabe oligarchs," "Best excuses to raise taxes in poor countries." In a special 'America' section, offerings abound: "Best ways to make your rifle automatic," "Most Successful Lawsuits," "Best Lines to Get Fast Emergency Room Care," and "Best body cavities to smuggle in discount meds from Canada."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cannibalism on Decline in Southern Estonia

Thanks in part to the EU-funded "Try Store-bought Meat" initiative, Estonians in the remote southern province of Võrumaa are turning away from cannibalism. "For the first time in ten years we've seen a trend away from consuming human flesh," said UN scientist David Rothenfirth. While Estonians from Võrumaa do not kill and eat other human beings, they do eat the flesh from humans who have died of both natural- and un-natural causes. This Võrumaa practice is an ancient cultural tradition which is noted on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Scientist Rothenfirth has been following the practice since Estonia's independence in 1991. In partnership with the EU, Rothenfirth produced television commercials where a large stuffed animal called Mummi (representative of an Estonian cartoon icon) refuses to eat the flesh of her dead parents. "The spots are really quite moving," added Rothenfirth. "They've truly made an impact on kids." But not on adults, as elder Võrumaalased continue to consume human flesh. But Rothenfirth believes in the data: "As the elderly die off, I am convinced this vile practice will end."
Rothenfirth is eager to try a similar program in Latvia and Lithuania where the incidence of cannibalism is even higher. "Lithuanians, in particular," noted the scientist, "will eat human flesh indiscriminately. It's so bad that tourism has suffered. Even the Poles won't go there anymore."
The mummi (above) is Estonia's anti-cannibalism poster child.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sweden's Kalla to Give Up Acting

"My Hollywood stunt career is over," said Sweden's Charlotte Kalla after winning the gold in the women's 10k freestyle cross-country skiing event. "I no longer have need to sit for hours in a makeup room in order to simply fulfill others' fantasies." Kalla says she will instead open the Charlotte Kalla Ski School and Dance Academy, from which she will sell autographs, logoed t-shirts, and Olympic paraphernalia she has collected from other athletes.

Vancouver: 'Too Damned Many Asians'?

"Vancouver is nice except there are too damned many Asians," said Estonian hockey star Karl Kepp in a televised interview with Russia's channel Rossiya 1. Immediately, the Russian propaganda machine attempted to turn Kepp's interview into an international scandal. Russia's daily Pravda, published the interview and used Latin letters to misspell Estonia: eSStonia. "They put words in my mouth," Kepp later said in a prepared statement. "What I was talking about was the colorful mosaic of Vancouver as it was enriched by the Hong Kong exodus and later establishment of such rich cultural treasures like the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden." Kepp said that he, as an Estonian, could appreciate other cultures due to "Estonia's limestone escarpment, its winter capital of Otepää, and centuries of mudbath tradition in our beach city of Pärnu." An Estonian government spokesman added that mudbaths were 50 percent off on Wednesdays in Pärnu for speakers of Cantonese or Mandarin.
Estonian hockey star Karl Kepp (above) says he was misquoted. "Slanteyes are okay with me," he later said.

Latvian Finishes 70th: Gets Medal

"Well, it wasn't a real medal," modestly noted Latvian cross-country skier Anete Brice who finished 70th in the women's 10-kilometer freestyle. "It was the cardboard medal which comes on a bottle of Zelonaya Marka vodka which President Zatlers had just finished. He took it off the bottleneck and hung it around a button on my coat."
Brice's 70th-place finish is the highest finish ever recorded for Latvia, three places better than its 1988 finish in Seoul, Korea. "What this shows," said Latvia's ski coach Maris Lazo, "is that our 'Just Show Up' program is producing results. Latvia's flag will proudly fly today." As Latvia's President Zatlers awarded Brice the Zelonaya Marka medal his wife produced a small Latvian flag from her pocket and hummed the anthem. Brice is a native of Cesis, Latvia, and was awarded a seven-year-old Citroen by the Latvian parliament only moments after her victory. According to Latvian custom the automobile's windows will be smoked and after-market alloy wheels installed.

Norway: 'Poor Countries Should Not Compete'

Not seconds after Estonia's Kristina Smigun finished second for a Silver in the women's 10-kilometer freestyle, the Norwegians were flinging accusations of unfairness. "It's not right," said Thor Thorssen of Norway's Olympic Committee. "Estonia is a country whose GDP is a fraction of Sweden's whose GDP is a fraction of Norway's. How could two poor countries both beat us?" Thorssen was referring to Sweden's Charlotte Kalla and Norway's Marit Bjoergen who finished Gold and Bronze, respectively. "In the future," said Thorssen, "I don't think countries with low GDPs should be allowed to participate in the Olympics. Not everyone can have the euro, why do they let just anybody into the Olympics?"
Thorssen added that if the games had been in Norway the Estonian competitors would have been forcibly removed to insane asylums "like we did with that Abba girl's mom--she got what was coming to her." The Norwegian added that "little Swedish girl was just lucky her government didn't sterilize her mother for her having an Estonian last name. Since when has 'Kalla' been Swedish?"
Thorssen (left) was later forcibly removed from Olympic grounds for trying to sterilize athletes from low-GDP countries. Smigun (right) says she still believes in quality portrait photography.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Canada Eschews Modesty, Latvia Follows Suit

It might be natural for a host country to want to win, but it's not natural for Canadians. "We're used to second place," Canada's Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, told NBC News last Sunday. "We're always living in the shadow of the United States." Which is why Canada introduced its "Own the Podium" program, an attempt to dominate the games on its home turf and beat back American hegemony. "We are the Master Olympic Race," said Trudeau. "And it is time we put aside our Canadian modesty and beat our hairless chests like Tarzan. We shall own the podium."
Canada's program has been frequently contrasted with the Baltic programs, namely Latvia's "Just Show Up" Olympic initiative and Lithuania's slightly more cumbersome "If We Do Win a Medal Let's Hope They Fly the Right Flag" program. Estonia's program is called "See Our Sausage" and pins its hopes on an unknown corporate sponsor rocketing to international recognition when Kristina Smigun wins Gold. "Everyone will know about Rakvere Meat Factory," said Rakvere Lihakombinaat's director, Lauri Liha. "Everyone will see our sausage."
Above: Canada PM Trudeau in typical modest pose.

Wintour Calls Estonian Olympic Uniforms "Gay"

Anna Wintour, Vogue magazine's editor-in-chief, was present for the Vancouver Olympics' opening ceremonies and watched the parade with her sartorial eye. "I could understand it," she wrote on her Vogue blog, "if all the Estonian athletes were rich and would just throw their uniforms away after the games. They should be wearing something more versatile than these gay-looking Abominable Snowman costumes. I mean, Estonia's a cold country so maybe they'll want to wear the coats out to dinner."
Wintour came under immediate fire from Baltika Clothing's Director of Design and Estonian First Lady, Evelin Ilves. "I designed the outfits for our athletes modeled on the colors and styles I like to wear while rollerblading," said Ilves, when reached for comment. "So I don't see what Anna Wintour is complaining about. There's nothing gay about them." Estonian athletes, however, reported having "gay" shouted at them as they walked through the streets of Vancouver's Olympic Village. "I stopped wearing the uniform," said Estonian cross country skier Martin Moes. "Since I switched to my coat from the Humana second-hand shop, the other athletes have stopped picking fights with me."
Anna Wintour, left, and Estonia's luge uniform, right. Abominable Snowman coat photos not available.

Russia Last in Vancouver Medal Count

"We're not exactly last," said President Dmitri Medvedev, interviewed in the stands. "We are tied for last with those who have won medals. There are many countries who have won zero medals." True enough: Russia is tied for last with nine other countries, the United States leading the medal race with six.
Latvia has yet to win a medal, though after a death in the luge event, their maintenance workers from Sigulda were flown in to slow down the track. "We thought if anyone can make a fast track slow it would be the Latvians," said Sliding Center chief Rene Antoine, as he collected the empty bottles left behind by the Latvian workers. The Lithuanian team, also medal-less, has set a record for number of bars of soap stolen from hotels, though Vancouver organizers say no medal will be awarded. Estonia's Kristina Smigun is readying herself for the cross country skiing events and was seen yesterday training on the course with a large banner reading Will Ski for Sausage. Smigun is sponsored by the Rakvere Meat Factory from Rakvere, Estonia. Smigun spent time laughing and joking with other nations' athletes while distributing buttons reading Ask me about my sausage.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nordic Passengers Demand More from EA

Estonian Air recently announcd that it would bring back free on-board food on longer flights as a way to differentiate itself in a market full of budget airlines. However, a passenger rights group, the Nordic Citizens Air Travelers Association, has called for more. "We want the tourist class stewardesses to wear tighter outfits and let us pat them on the buttocks," says Stig Larsson, chairman of the rights group. "In first class we want the return of the Mile High Club and bra-less, open-bloused Ukrainian flight attendants who are all under 30 years old, and none of those big American-type stewardesses over 50 with the saggy boobs. We want an extra large welcome beer on early morning flights, free shuttle service to the Xclub upon landing at Ülemiste, and Finnish and Swedish flags displayed on every seatback."
Estonian Air management said NCATA's proposals were interesting and would be seriously considered in the name of doing its best for all its Scandinavian and Nordic passengers. NCATA's Larsson suggested the airline might also consider discounting seats on flights which are otherwise empty but noted "that's just a wild business idea from a crazy, drunken Swede."

Putin, Ansip Meet at Baltic Summit

At the costume party preamble to the Baltic Sea Action Summit, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin struck up a conversation with Estonia's PM Andrus Ansip. "We talked about sea life and how fragile the Baltic Sea is," said Putin, who was dressed as Bruce Willis after he had just saved the world.
"He had a great costume," said Ansip. "A wife-beater tshirt, a handgun, and his arms all glistening with sweat. I didn't recognize it was Putin until he said Russia should have no restrictions on catching herring. When I did realize it was him, I turned and walked away of course. So please don't anyone be angry who is reading this in my home country," the Estonian Prime Minister added. "I really did try to snub him."
Putin said that he recognized the Estonian Prime Minister all along -- "who else would dress as a Setu woman?" -- and approached him in good faith. "Mr. Ansip and I should discuss many matters but the Estonians simply refuse to talk."
Also at the party were Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf (dressed as a Nazi General), Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite (peasant girl), and Latvian President Valdis Zatlers (porn-actor physician).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Museum Named Employer of Year for Old Soviet Hags

Tallinn's Kadriorg Museum has been named Employer of the Year for Old Soviet Hags by the International Association of Art Museums. Kadriorg also finished second in the category of Most Self-righteous Coat Attendants. "We're of course very proud of this honor," said museum director Viviann Vihane. "We work hard every day to earn the title." Vihane credits her number of overly grumpy Soviet-era employees to her recruitment program. "I haunt bus- and rail stations and other like venues looking for disgruntled sixty-year-olds who work as bathroom attendants. I find these often have the prerequisite amount of hate inside them to qualify for work at Kadriorg."
Vihane noted that all her employees are trained in "giving art lovers the evil eye" and undergo an intense "suspicious state of mind" orientation session where they learn to enlarge the chips on their shoulders. "All our workers are committed to making the visitor feel that he or she is lower than grass," boasted Vihane. "And you can't find that just anywhere, certainly not at KUMU."

Salinger Called a "Goddam Whiner"

Known for calling a spade a spade, the Estonian Society of Literature has published an open letter in the New York Times, calling on the many who are eulogizing the writer J.D. Salinger to "stop kissing his butt so much by mentioning all his goddam whining." The letter acknowledges that " is true he wrote one of America's three perfect books [Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby the other two], but this whole hermit act and bitching about being famous is tiresome." The ESL notes that "eulogy is one thing, hagiography completely another."
In the open letter, ESL cites multiple incidents reported by the New Yorker's coverage where the magazine chronicles Salinger's annoyance with every other writer on the planet, including Truman Capote, Kenneth Tynan, John Grisham, and Tony Robbins. "Could we all just stop and take a breath," reads the ESL's open letter, "and consider the implications of the fact that the man did not like Audrey Hepburn?" The ESL calls for "a complete and immediate end" to the airtime devoted to the "bitchy, pissy, whiney, and negative side of Salinger."
Salinger, above, ice pick in hand, destroys a neighbor child's soccer ball when it landed in his yard.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Latvian National Library A Tragic Accident

According to anonymous Latvian surveys, 50 percent of accidents in the workplace are never reported, says the State Labor Inspectorate's Deputy Director Dagnija Darba. “In most cases, this is because employees fear losing their jobs, or are blind drunk, slice off a finger and wake up two days later and can't find it.” Darba points out. “That would explain the body parts I find scattered about the shop floor,” said Sam Stump, manager at the Jelgava Glass Shard factory. “And I guess those pools of blood aren't Haitian voodoo rituals after all," he said, scratching his head. According to glass cutter Penelope Parkapeja this isn’t news. “Accidents happen all the time that are unreported,” she said. “Always have. I myself resulted from an accident 24 years ago, that happened to my mother while working here. My whole miserable life could've been avoided had only someone reported that knee trembler she got in the broom closet.”
Boris Buvnieks, a foreman on the construction site of the new Latvian National Library, agrees. He said “I have it on good authority that the National Library architect Gunars Birkerts suffered a horrible epileptic seizure while designing this building, pen in hand. He jerked around scribbling uncontrollably before he passed out. Nobody reported that accident, the Latvians mistook his epileptic fit for intentional design and now lookit – I gotta build the damn thing! Tell me that Popeye cartoon ship, that giant oozing slug of a building is not an accident,” he said, wiping a tear angrily from his cheek.
Above, fotos of Latvian National Library, and of a slug (the library is on the left).