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.