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).

BBN Named "Biggest Whores, February"

In a monthly competition sponsored by the International Newspaper Press Association, BBN Estonia has been named "Biggest Whores, February 2010" for their treatment of the story of the portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci arriving in Estonia via Air Baltic.
"Can you get any lazier than just running a press release?" asked INPA spokesman David Carpathian. "BBN turned a wonderful story about a discovered portrait--indeed, a historic occasion--into a plug for some insignificant Baltic airline. It is shame at a whole new level." BBN's February 5th headline read Leonardo da Vinci Booked for AirBaltic Flight, with a story not choosing to mention the historical significance of the event until its final paragraph. "Usually we wait until the beginning of the following month to give the award for the previous month," said the newspaper association's Carpathian, "but this time a whole new level of whoredom was reached and we felt compelled to give the award before even ten days of the month were out."
BBN will receive ten boxes of XL t-shirts bearing the words "Press Whore" and a free AirBaltic pen and pencil set for each member of the staff.

Latvian Political Parties Update Image

Two of Latvia’s ruling coalition parties - New Era and Civic Union – have decided to merge. The formation, approved by Civic Union on Saturday, will be called Unity. New Era members will vote on the merger February 13. Explaining the name choice, Unity spokesman Sandijs Savieniba said “We tried to join our names together, like NEWCIVIC ERAUNION, but that sounded like a Japanese car commercial.” On hearing the news, other Latvian political parties rushed to update their images. The party of Aivars Lembergs, the Union of Greens and Farmers was first. Zals Zemnieks, their spokesman, said, “We thought our new name could be Greens & Farmers, Ha Ha Ha, cause who ever heard of Greens teaming up with Farmers? We needed something to capture that 'out there' image we cherish. And after more than nine minutes of debate, we’ve selected Planet Zog, and the motto It’s not a place; it’s a party.
Andris Skele’s office announced that his People’s Party has changed their name to Robin Hood & His Merry Men, “Because,” said spokesman Barons Bledis, “like Robin Hood, we steal from the rich and give to the poor.” Asked what they give to the poor, Bledis said “Usually, a swift kick up the ars to help them get up, get a job and stop sucking off society's tit. Lazy buggers. I hate the poor,” he muttered under his breath.
Latvia’s First Party / Latvia’s Way issued a press release saying, “Name changes are mere political grandstanding, and we refuse to participate in this charade.” The statement was signed by First Party’s leader, L. Ron Hubbard, formerly known as Ainars Slesers.

Estonians Name Children After Security Codes

"This is Europe's newest trend," said Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, "and it was all Estonia's idea!" Eurostat data shows that ninety percent of Estonian mothers have registered their newborns' names following the first security code required for posting commentary on a website they encountered after birth.
"I've named my new baby Gughtwr," beamed an Estonian mother in the Pelgulinn Children's Hospital. "I think it's a beautiful name, and it's uniquely European." Evelin, the mother in the bed next to her had named her newborn Fwoamqd. "Some of the names with numbers are a bit harder to pronounce," said Evelin, "but they're beautiful, too."
Estonian Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi says he is not worried that numbers incorporated into a child's name will make use of the Estonian ID card more difficult. "We have the world's best programmers, and we'll find a way around it." Ligi himself recently named his newborn Cran9FtZigfot, which he said he found on the BBN site he regularly spams with English comments.
Jürgen Ligi's new baby, Cran9FTZigfot, pictured in its first week.

Obama, Ilves, Putin Join in Speechmaking Pact

Barack Obama, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and Vladimir Putin have signed an agreement to all use the same three sentences somewhere in their next official national addresses. What kind of an animal could have done such a thing? will be the opening sentence of each head of state's speech.
"We kind of got to talking about speeches over a beer," said Obama, "and decided wouldn't it be fun if we all had to work the same three sentences into a speech. That 'animal' line was Ilves' and I think it's a pretty good one." Obama himself then offered the second, The beast will have its day. "I was unsure," said Obama, "whether Ilves was taking a shot at Russia or whether he just likes Hollywood movie trailers, but in either case I wanted to stick to the theme." Putin, for his part, followed with There are those who would use this power to destroy the world. "I thought that one was kind of ominous and dark, but what the hell, you know he's Russian," said Obama. All three leaders' speeches will debut in February and be available on their websites.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Study Proves Estonians Friendly

University of California at Berkeley scientist Ron Chalfant (left) has proven Estonians are indeed friendly. "That whole withdrawn thing is an act," says Chalfant, who recently published the results of his experiments in the academic journal International Stoic.
Chalfant's work centered around former Soviet peoples' rigid adherence to assigned seating. "My idea was to put a leper in an advanced stage of the disease in a not-so-good seat in a movie theatre and then assign an Estonian the seat right next to him. In an otherwise empty theatre, would the Estonian choose another seat?" The Estonians, in fact, insisted on sitting next to the leper, even in cases where the leper's skin would fall off as Dolby Surround Sound shook the theatre. Chalfant then repeated his leper/Estonian experiment in other venues such as empty buses and trains. "In all cases, the Estonians insist on sitting next to the leper," said Chalfant.
Chalfant's peers argued that the experiments proved only that Estonians are lovers of silly rules, but Chalfant dismisses those concerns noting that in stage two of his experiment when the leper struck up a conversation, Estonians participated. "What did the leper say to the prostitute?" was one of the conversation starters offered by the lepers in the movie theatres. "The answer is," said Chalfant, "'Keep the tip!' Pretty funny, huh? But it's still science!" Dr. Chalfant will join Tartu University as a guest faculty member in the spring.

Smigun Takes Early Lead in Portrait Photography

Unlike Kristina Smigun, Karel Tammjärv doesn't have sponsors which make an attractive portrait possible. "My buddy Aivar took it," he said referring to his teammate Aivar Rehemaa. "And I took his. Maybe we look more or less alike because we used the same camera. Or maybe we just look more or less alike. That's what my mom says, anyway, not that you asked for this long of an explanation or anything."
Kristina Smigun, however, former multiple Olympic Gold winner, is sponsored by Rakvere Meat Factory and skis in the name of link sausage. This year she will ski with one four-inch blood sausage hanging out a hole cut in the rear of her pants. "Yes, I know what it looks like," she said when reached via telephone, "but it really does get noticed and it sells a lot of sausage and that's why I'm able to have the quality of Olympic portrait I have when my teammates have ones taken by Aivar." After pausing to visibly consume an A. le Coq energy drink in front of a Norwegian television camera, Smigun added, "No offense meant, Aivar."
The Estonian team arrived in Vancouver yesterday for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Read the Livonian Chronicle for in-depth and exclusive coverage of Balts at the Vancouver Olympics.
Smigun (above left) was able to afford Sears Portrait Studios quality, while Tammjärv and Rehemaa took their photos with a borrowed one-megapixel Sony.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ansip Resigns Post to Captain Solaris

"I always knew he was different than other children," said Vesta Ansip, in a 1994 interview about her son, then Tartu Mayor Andrus Ansip. "He was of course physically different, but he also didn't like to play with other children. He wanted to stay inside and plot vectors, ponder equations about weight versus mass, and build small-scale nuclear engines to power the riding lawnmower he built for his father. It was the only riding lawn mower in the entire Soviet Union." Vesta Ansip said her son did take an interest in physical activities, but they centered around "pinching other children's faces in a manner which would make them writhe in pain and toss about on the floor like they were epileptic," a skill later to come in useful for his rise through Estonia's Reform Party.
Early this morning, the Prime Minister held a news conference to announce that as of March 1st he will step aside as PM in order to serve as captain aboard the Solaris Keskus. "Something about the name 'Solaris' I have always found attractive," said Ansip, reading from a prepared statement in order to keep emotion from overcoming him. "It is with a certain amount of sadness I leave parliament, but the opportunity to command a vessel like Solaris comes only once in a lifetime." Fleet representatives were on hand to present Mr. Ansip with his new purple velour uniform and shiny gold captain's bars. A fleet representative who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the fleet rejected Ansip's request to rename Solaris 'the Kirov', but that negotiations were otherwise without obstacle.
Ansip (left) in university days. Today (right) he takes Solaris' helm.

Grybauskaite & Obama: Whose Idea Was It?

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite plans to visit Washington and her staff is seeking a meeting with President Barack Obama. The presidential adviser on foreign policy Darius Semaska says the meeting was suggested on the initiative of Grybauskaite. "Do you think that in relations with such countries as Lithuania, President Obama shows initiative?" asked Semaska. Obama may not have taken the initiative on this meeting, but the White House confirms that Grybauskaite has already been invited to the daily pick-up basketball game. "We've had Lithuanians play before," said Obama when reached on his Blackberry by the Livonian Chronicle. "They're always good shooters. I understand Grybauskaite isn't tall, but if she's Lithuanian she'll know how to box out." The President said small wagers are often placed on the game and that Grybauskaite might consider to bet her reconstruction budget in Ghor province. "If she shoots two for two from the line, then I agree the US will fully finance Lithuania's efforts in Ghor" Obama said. "But if she misses, then she's got to come here and work in the White House kitchen for two weeks and make those little zeppelini thingies. You don't get fairer than that," said the president.
Grybauskaite will be the first woman to play in the weekly White House basketball game (above).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Latvia to take one Guantanamo prisoner

Latvia will take one former Guantanamo bay prisoner, a closed session of the government decided Tuesday(see foto). According to unofficial information, the man is a citizen of Uzbekistan detained at the border with Pakistan. Although he has apparently never been involved in terrorism, he did cheat at Gitmo Prison Poker, has over 600 unpaid parking fines in Tashkent, and has never once brushed his teeth.
"We are pleased - particularly at this time - to play our role as a valued ally of the United States," said Latvian Ministry of Defense spokesman Vergu Uzraugs. Asked what is special about this time, Uzraugs answered, "it's Winter, we've received 7 meters of snow, and we've got 400 pensioner women keeping the streets of Riga clear. Those lazy old bags need help," Uzraugs said, picking his teeth with a paperclip. "Yessir, ole Waziristan there will have a shovel stuck to his hand so fast it'll make the diaper on his head spin 'round." Uzraugs has applied to accept 25 more Guantanamo detainees, "as long as they can operate a Mexican backhoe," he said. The captive's upkeep, rehabilitation, and Fiskars brand galvanized snow shovel will be paid for by the United States.

Snow brings chaos to Riga

Unusually heavy snow fell in Riga on Monday, covering the city in a 50 cm blanket of snow - a 15 year high. The storm caused chaos in the streets of the capital, snarling public transportation and stopping traffic. In response, a massive snow removal effort is planned in the city, according to Riga Deputy Mayor Ainars Slesers.
Riga Satiksmes (Transport) Department spokesman Maris Marsrut said "The process is simple. First, we select a committee of 37 snow removal experts, which takes a week or two. Then we collect 37 opinions on how many old pensioner ladies we should employ and what color snow shovels they should be forced to buy. Gradually, we narrow this down to 5 options, and do rock, paper scissors to pick the best choice. Next, we invite Mr. Slesers to attend a committee meeting, make a compelling and sophisticated multi media presentation to him of our final recommendation, which he discards out of hand. Then, we do whatever he thinks is best," said Marsrut happily, adding "that way we include everyone in the process. It's very democratic."
Asked for comment, Slesers' office responded via email that Mr. Slesers is confident of a rapid resolution, and isn't at all concerned about failure, as he travels the 1.3 km from his home to city hall by helicopter.

Restaurant Owner to be Shot at Dawn

"I still don't understand what I did," said Hillar Halb, owner of Kaleva Kartul, as his hands were bound behind his back and he was led from the courtroom to await execution at dawn. "I didn't think my restaurant was that bad."
But his restaurant was that bad. Guide Michelin judges, in Tallinn for a reconnaissance mission to determine whether to begin to rate the city's restaurants, stopped off at Halb's potato restaurant for a snack. "I thought 'potato, Baltic, you know,' that it just makes sense," said the Michelin judge who by rules of his organization could not identify himself. "But Estonians obviously cannot even properly cook a potato." The Michelin judge, on his blog, Vomitorium, described Kaleva Kartul as "a rare combination of pulverized potato, randomly-selected decor, and non-stop techno music which all amounts to an offense against mankind not witnessed in this magnitude since the Holocaust." The Michelin judge noted that the decor was particularly bizarre: "It's like this place was designed by a committee where every single member was tripping on some different substance."
Halb's sentence was stayed by an executive order but is expected to be carried out forthwith. For his last meal, he did not order from his own restaurant.

Ansip: Paul Krugman can't find ass with both hands

Fueled by a combination of high-caffeine Nordic coffee and John Dizard's January 31 denunciation of Paul Krugman's statement that Estonia would follow the path of Argentina into a devaluation of currency, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip stood before parliament yesterday and tore into Krugman. "Dizard is right that Krugman opened his mouth without sufficient information on Estonia," said the PM, rocking back and forth on his feet as members of parliament egged him on by shouting "Amen" and "I hear you, brother." Ansip noted that "Krugman has never been to Estonia and couldn't find his own ass with both hands," adding, "but if he ever does come here we'll certainly do our best to kiss his ass, though. Any press is good press."
Ansip of Krugman (left): "Nobel, my ass. But I have to admit he's photogenic."