Living in the Czech Republic

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Hey there . . . long time no see!

It`s been a long time that I didn`t write on my Brno blog, but lately I am just too busy to find time also for blogging. Being overworked and stressed a lot, I took 2 weeks off now, just for myself, to get things done in my life and in my head.

I moved out recently from my old flat, was enough to live in an old apartment with almost no furniture. The only thing that I will miss is the quiet area of Medlanky and the proximity of Tukan London Pub, where we used to organise every second weekend the Boyz Night Out with my peeps, eating good zebra (don`t worry, zebra is the czech word for pork ribs, they grill it good) or Jenifer (J`s definition of fish&chips, because smells like his ex girlfriend).

Anyway, now I am living in a big family house on the outskirts of Brno, residential area, up on a hill from where I have a beautifull view and nothing compares to sunday sunny mornings, when I move out to the balcony with my fresh made coffee and orange juice, followed by some fresh baked croissants, made by my buddy Matt.

Don`t gonna talk to much about work, just wanna say that yesterday was officially my last day with my old team, from now on gonna work just with my old team, I have to concentrate on new things. Started to do my trainings on SAP Tools, especially the Quality Management part, soon gonna prepare myself for Six-Sigma and Lean certification too, but that requires a lot of time to learn. Also I am waiting for my ITIL V3 (Service Management – IT Infrastructure) formation to be approved, but it looks like gonna start it in january or february 2012. In the meantime I am getting new job offers from AT&T, Apple,Bloomberg`s and InteRoute but I don`t want to leave IBM now.(and all what they ofering is an IT Specialist job, not even a TL or Account Delivery Leader, so why should I move?)  I got all my friends there, but what keeps me there is the possibility to move higher and we`ll see what happens in the future.My new team is interrresting and the job is challenging, but I wish I could have more time for my learnings.

Private life? Same shit as ever, nothing changed. I prefer to concentrate on my work and studies or sometimes just to relax and do nothing. I think that things have changed a lot. During I was a student, had all the girls and never skipped an opportunity to score, but now . . . it just doesn`t seem to work anymore.Ehh, who cares. We`ll see.

Still in love with Brno and the Czech Republic altough it is obvious that the country faces economical difficulties, but it`s waaaaaay better to live here as it was back in Romania. Who is in Brno this week and enjoys coffe, from today The Brno Coffee Week started, click on this link, one of the few websites in english, here in the CZ.

I think this is it for today, gonna go to swim now, talk to you later!

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Romania’s Orphans Face Widespread Abuse, Group Says

Children tied to cribs and chairs, often cold, underfed and smeared with their own feces: Romania has tried over the last decade to erase those images of its orphanages seen around the world.

But thousands of children in government-run institutions are still living in conditions that are little changed from a decade ago, investigators for Mental Disability Rights International found.

Writing in a report to be released today, just days before theEuropean Union issues its final assessment on whether Romania has met human rights and other membership standards, researchers described an eerie silence in a ward where 65 abandoned children were housed, because “children who do not receive attention when they cry learn to stop crying.”

In an adult psychiatric hospital, investigators found some children wrapped head to toe in sheets used as full-body restraints. When the staff agreed to remove the sheet on a 17-year-old girl, the report states, “her skin came off with the sheet, leaving a raw open wound beneath it.”

“It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in 13 years of doing this work,” said Eric Rosenthal, executive director of Mental Disability Rights International, a Washington-based group, and the co-author of the report.

Mr. Rosenthal’s group is urging the European Union to insist that Romania take immediate action to end the abuse before next year, when the country hopes to join the union.

The strategy has worked before. In September 2005, as Turkey began formal talks to join the European Union, Mental Disability Rights International released a report on the use of electroshock therapy without anesthesia in Turkish psychiatric hospitals. Turkey has since ended the practice at its main psychiatric hospital in Istanbul and is addressing other problems raised in the report.

Simona Pella, an official at Romania’s National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights, said she had not yet seen the report, but disputed its findings.

“We are talking about a report made by a nongovernmental organization, and it’s their opinion,” Ms. Pella said by telephone from Bucharest. “They are not talking about facts in all of Romania, just about some cases in two counties.”

While the number of children in the country’s orphanages has dropped to about 30,000 from 170,000 in the early 1990’s, many children, particularly those with mental or physical disabilities, have simply been moved into less visible, though equally appalling, institutions, including adult psychiatric hospitals, Mental Disability Rights International found.

“Romania was rushing to show that it had decreased its orphanage population, but it left children with disabilities behind,” Mr. Rosenthal said in New York on Monday. He said there was no way to estimate how many children were living in the conditions described in the report.

Romania’s orphanages are a legacy of Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule. He banned birth control and left under-financed state institutions to care for the wave of abandoned children that followed. After he was assassinated in 1989, as Communist rule ended, the horrors of the system were exposed to the world.

Much has improved since then. Foreign aid organizations rushed in, and European and American advisers worked with Romania’s new government to help put abandoned children up for adoption or place them in foster homes. In January 2005, intending to bring the country in line with European Union practices, Romania passed a law that prohibited placing children under 3 in institutions unless they were “severely disabled.” The law also blocked foreign adoptions in the hope of cutting down on child trafficking.

But, according to the report, about 9,000 babies are deserted in Romania every year, one of the highest rates in Europe. The country’s foster care and adoption programs strain to keep up with the number of children who need their help.

As a result, abandoned children with even mild disabilities and some with none at all are being kept in maternity wards or other hospital-associated institutions until they are old enough to be moved to an orphanage or other institution. In February, investigators for the group found 65 infants, some without any disability, being cared for by three people at a “nutritional recuperation center” in the western city of Timisoara.

The children were confined to their cribs most of the time, the report states. Some of the older ones rocked back and forth, banging their heads or “making the rhythmic sounds from dislocated jaws common in children left lying down for extended periods,” the report said.

Karen Green McGowan, a registered nurse who assessed many of the children cited in the report, said the early neglect led to disabilities later on, making it likely that many otherwise normal children would end up institutionalized for life.

“What they’re doing there, in my opinion, is manufacturing disability,” Ms. Green McGowan said. “By the time they’re in their teens, these kids are being moved into institutions.”

Ms. Pella, the government official, said that her figures showed that 5,000 children are abandoned each year but that half are eventually reunited with their families. Foster care and adoption programs handle the rest, she said. Only those who require medical care stay in the hospital or are institutionalized, she said.

But the report documents several cases of older children, some kept in permanent restraints, in adult facilities, including the St. Pantelimon adult psychiatric hospital in the eastern city of Braila.

“We found 46 children in Braila, one near death, that looked like they were from Auschwitz, just skin and bones,” Mr. Rosenthal said.

They found bed ridden teenagers “so emaciated that they looked like they were 3 or 4 years old,” their limbs atrophied and contorted from disuse.

Instead of giving the children attention, the report states, the hospital staff tied them down.

After Mental Disability Rights International and a Romanian organization notified the government of the situation, the children were moved to two smaller institutions for children, the report stated. But the more disabled of them remained isolated, without even a bathroom for toilet training. All of them, up to the age of 17, use diapers.

Source : NYTimes

Weekend cuccina

We all know how it is during the week, we don`t have time to cook, we just eat at the menza and in the evening at some fast-food or at the pub some koleno or zebra, but in the weekend I always try to cook something new, experiencing new tastes, exotic flavours. In december I was in an indian restaurant here in Brno, they had very good food, but after that I didn`t have the time and opportunity to go there again (I called in a saturday morning to reserve us some tables, but there was everything reserved already), so I remained just with the longing for indian, spicy foods. Then I started to read about the specialities of indian kitchen, spices, techniques and recipes. So I decided to make some Daal this weekend, being the basis food of indian kitchen, made out of dried lentils, in this case  it was yellow ones, not the red or black ones that you can buy also in Tesco or Billa.

So, let`s see, how I managed to make some Daal. I can tell you it was tasty, but not as tasty as the original one that we were eating at the restaurant (pretty obvious that I`m not an indian chef). We need some lentils (around 200 gr), a half of onion cut in little pieces, 2 pieces of garlic, olive oil, curry powder and I used also some powder chilli, not much tough, but without chilli it doesn`t have that good taste. I also selected a few pieces of bruxelles cabbage and carrot slices, makes the daal more colourfull and tasty.

 

Before beginning “Operatin Daal” I put the lentils in water, so that they become more softer and left it like that for 35-40 minutes. Then I was cutting the onion and garlic in pieces and put it in the hot oil. Then I took some chilli and the lentils, put it on the already made onions and i turned around 400 ml of water on it.

After boiling this together for about 30 minutes, I took out the lentils and took them separately in two bowls. It is not usual to do so, I did this because the half of the lentils I turmixed together with the curry powder, some lemon juice and mediterran salt so that it becomes more creamy. Then I mixed again together in a bowl, the whole cooked lentils and the turmixed lentils. I took another bowl, put some oil and 2 spoons of white flour in it, made it brown and then put the lentils again in that bowl with some more chilli, bruxelles cabbage and the carrots. Left it cooking for about 35 minutes and voilá, Daal á lá BigJoe was ready.

Soooooooooooooo, this was my very own and very first type of Daal, I hope you guys and girls also want to taste it and try it out, it is really gooooood, don`t be afraid of cooking it 🙂

Bon appetit! बोन एपीटिट!

 

 

Changes

When I woke up this morning (before six a.m.), a big smile was on my face.When I took a shower i was whistling “que sera,sera”. On the tram on my way to work I was smiling to people. Oana asked how do I feel, answered her that my soul is full with happiness this morning, a happiness that I cannot define, but it is there and it makes my day. I felt this long time ago, maybe around six years ago.

You brought back the sunshine, thank you for that, I like you very much.

Redemption in Angels Nest

It took him 10 years to get out from jail. At first he was sentenced to 99 years of imprisonment for killing a three membered family, mother, father and a nine year old child. But thanks to the land of possibilities, procedural errors and trial fairness, his lawyer discovered some mistakes made by the prosecutor during his trial and after 10 years he was pardonned.

What a country,heh,bunch of idiots! said he walking out from prison and spitting on the sidewalk. His hair was longer than usual, you could just see two dark glowing eyes, sources of pain, hatred and destruction. He got into a taxi and drove to a fifth category, dirty suburban hotel, it looked like it smelled, like fermented cat piss and rotten fish. Ideal place for rats, maybe this why he came here. In front of the so called hotel a young women was sitting on the floor, her head tilted back, eyes rolled in blood, white foam on her mouth and she was humming some old indian chant, a tribal warhymn of the cherokees, it was obvious she shot too much heroin, maybe she wont live till morning.As he walked  in this place of ingrace, called Angels Nest(how ironic) just an old women was at the reception, she almost had no hair of her own, so she wore fake hairs, but it was way too obvious that they are not hers. Her mouth was painted with gloomy red lipstick, but when she smiled you could see that she barely has some teeth in her mouth left. It was like a demon from hell, eating souls, sucking out lifes from worthless, lost peoples who live in this hopeless area.

He got the room number 13, was smiling about that, this must be his lucky number, just got away with killing those people.It was nothing personal, just too much whisky and cocaine and too damn weak to resist the temptation of having some raw fun, living out all the animalic instincts. In the end there was no choice, they had to die. Anyway, they are in a better place then this shitty world.

He instantly fell asleep on the dirty matress, covered with stains of blood and other unidentified body fluids. In his dreams he saw the door of his hotel room, with a bright, shining, almost transcendental lights coming from inside and a child chorus singing :

On the day I die, I know where I’m gonna go
Me and Jesus got that part worked out
I’ll wait at the gates ’til his face I see
And stand in a long line of sinners like me
I’ll stand in a long line of sinners like me

In the morning police said it was suicide, they barely could cut him from the rope, the most bizarre it was that apparently he carved in his flesh on the left side of his chest the number 3. And he had a bright smile on his face, that is unexplicable too. Anyway, another lost soul in Angels Nest.Nobody cares about it…again.

Innocence takes his revenge

These walls are so well known by him, he can still feel the smell of freshly painted walls, he has every little portion of this concrete building in his mind and knew what to find after every corner. The grey stripes on the floor are still there, they were made by the wheelchaired kids, who lived together with him in this orphanage 9 years ago.

Orphanage…How weird that a place where unwanted children are dropped off, its called home. Somebody throws you away, because you came in a bad moment and bad place to the world and you never see them again.Maybe it is even better so.Then you must to grow up in an institution run by the state or the church, called orphanage. And you never knew what a real home means, you never had your own room, your own favourite toys, you were never taken sundays to eat ice cream after church and as time goes by, you start to realize, that THIS is your HOME.

He remembers Father Antonio, how could he forget him? This catholic priest was like a father for every orphan child in this orphanage. Every child fellt something for him, but they did not realize what that is. It was called love, but nobody ever loved them so they did not even know the meaning of the word. Untill one day everything changed…

Suddenly he got himself together and started walking trough the white corridor but then he stopped. On the wall there was a picture of Saint Mary holding the baby Jesus in his arms. Is this like being protected by motherly love? He grabbed the picture and turned it around, did not wanted to see nothing that can make him change his mind. He came for a reason and nobody will make him deviate from his plan…

After two turns, one to the right after the big classrom and one to left before the wardrobes he stopped in front of a big wallnut door, also fresh covered with some antivermin liquid, he could feel the strong smell of gasoline on it. His heart started to beat very fast, he began to sweat and grabbed something in the inner pocket of his coat. As he moved his hand, his wrists became visible, bearing multiple cutmarks, as tiny little tattoed lines. Suddenly he made two steps in the back, like somebody who realized that he is gonna do something horrible. Then he looked at his wrists, he tried to kill himself four times over the years, but unfortunately never succeeded.The first time he cut himself accidentally when running away from this room in which front he stands now. He ran in to the bathroom and hit the mirror with his fists. A piece of mirror cut his wrist, everything was full of blood in a matter of seconds. Then he decided it is time to die. He was 14 years old. They found him right on time.

He took a deep breath, knocked once  and opened the door without waiting that somebody answers from the inside. As he entered the spacious white room with pictures of saints and a little library on the left side, he saw Father Antonio at the desk looking at him surprised and with a cigarette in his hands, writing a letter. In that second he gathered all the power of mistreated, misled and upset orphans in the world. He was the living revenge, the boiling sorrow of empty souls, the dark side of non enlightened lost minds. The gun was pointed directly to the forehead of the little, old, scared priest.

Ave Maria, Pater Antionio! and the bullet flew out on the window, trough the head of the old man.

Innocence took his revenge.

15 Bizarre Human Activities

Travel broadens the mind. At least that’s what they say. And with the holidays approaching, one’s mind inevitably turns to travel. For many, this means the annual pilgrimage home for big, turkey-laced family gatherings. For others, as witnessed by the film Four Christmases, others take advantage of the opportunity to skip the predictable fights and family drama, and opt instead for a spot of globe trotting. Depending on where and when you go, you‘re sure to discover stranger things than kissing under the mistletoe. Take a look at some of the bizarre things you‘ll find.

 

Thailand

 

1. Thailand – You think your family’s complicated? Try being a member of the royal family of Thailand. Deeply revered by the Thai people, the royal family speak a private and ancient language known only to themselves and a privileged few.

 

Scotland

 

2. Scotland – Ever wonder why you sing ‘Auld Land Syne’ on New Years Eve? The poem was written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns, and is sung at the time of year when Scots go wild. The Scottish New Year celebration, called Hogmanay, includes some of the most unique traditions you’ll ever come across, such as settling debts, ‘first footing,’ and the ‘Burning of the Clavie.’ The Clavie, a barrel of tar and wood shavings, is nailed to a post, set alight, then carried clockwise around the town, until set to burn on a hillside stone alter.

 

Botswana

 

3. Botswana – New Years is also important to the Tswana People , who believe that married couples must have sex at midnight on New Years Day to ensure a prosperous year. And many divorces soon follow, if one of them fails to report for the ceremony.

 

Czech Republic

 

4. Czech Republic – Have you ever wanted to bathe in beer? Now you can. In the Czech Republic, beer baths are becoming a very popular restorative cure at spas and other health facilities. Rejuvenating for the nerves and skin, patrons relax and soak in barrel-shaped tubs filled with a special dark brew. So now you can take a bath and come out smelling like a drunk! Sounds great.

 

china

 

5. China – You expect to eat strange and exotic foods when you travel, but in southern Hunan you can enjoy something you haven’t had since you were a baby: Breast Milk. Supplied by local women nursing babies, restaurants prepare distinctive cuisine dishes made with human milk, full of flavor and maternal love.

 

spain

 

6. Spain – On the last Wednesday of August, the streets of Buñol in the Valencia region of Spain run red…with tomatoes. The celebration of La Tomatina is a week long tomato festival, culminating in the ultimate food fight: Tens of thousands of people and more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.

 

italy

 

7. Italy – From Italian cuisine we’ve come to expect pasta and wine. But the Friday before Lent, the citizens of Ponti will be eating an omelet made from 1000 eggs. This notorious pre-Lent bender allows everyone to enjoy rich foods before the Lenten fast. Makes you wonder how they find a big enough frying pan.

 

france

 

8. Mauritania – Obesity is so revered in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, that young girls are routinely force-fed as part of a severe beauty regime. Mauritanian girls cannot hope to catch husbands unless they weigh as much as 60 to 100 kg, and are punished if they do not eat. Wife-fattening farms and appetite stimulating drugs are not uncommon.

 

france

 

9. France – November 25th is the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of unmarried ladies. In France, women pray at the statue of St. Catherine for husbands, and honor ‘Catherinettes,’ unmarried women over 25, with cards and gifts of hats or crowns. The tradition of the St. Catherine bonnet has led fashion houses to display their hats in big parades.

 

south Africa

 

10. North Korea – The Catherinettes would have nothing to worry about in North Korea, as marriage is forbidden by law until the age of 25 for women and 27 for men. The prohibition allows citizens to complete compulsory military service and other civic duties.

 

south Africa

 

11. South Africa – Polygamy, an outrage in Western culture, is widely practiced throughout Africa. Among the Zulus, three isn’t a crowd, and a chief is permitted to have as many wives as he can afford.

 

 

 

England

 

12. England – If you’re thinking of taking up a new sport, try England, where in addition to cricket and rugby, you’ll discover a sport unlike any other: Cheese Rolling. In Brockworth, Gloucestershire, crowds gather to the top of the famous Cooper’s Hill. A round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. But cheese rolling can even be dangerous, as speeds increase to 70 mph, enough to knock over and injure spectators.

 

Paraguay

 

13. Paraguay – Anyone who’s seen the Shrek sequels has fallen in love with the swashbuckling Puss n’ Boots. But today we tend to think of dueling as silly and archaic. Not to mention dangerous. Surprisingly enough, dueling is still legal in Paraguay, provided that the participants are registered blood donors.

 

iceland

 

14. Iceland – Beware of the Dog, or rather, the Dog ban. In the capital city of Reykjavik, it is illegal to own a dog. Probably not an issue unless you travel with one as an accessory, like Paris Hilton. But it’s well worth leaving it at home, for the beauty Iceland has to offer.

 

india

 

15. India – The celebration of Holi, a thanksgiving festival in India, is a time a fraternity and levity. Known as the Festival of Colors, people dress in white clothing and stain each other with colored powders and tinted water throughout the streets.

brainZ

George Carlin : 7 dirty words

Politically correct fairytailes

Just a collection of politically correct fairytales.Have fun.

Little Red Riding Hood – A Politically Correct Fairy Tale

There once was a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother on the edge of a large wood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother’s house — not because this was womyn’s work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community. Furthermore, her grandmother was not sick, but rather was in full physical and mental health and was fully capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.

So Red Riding Hood set off with her basket of food through the woods. Many people she knew believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place and never set foot in it. Red Riding Hood, however, was confident…

On her way to Grandma’s house, Red Riding Hood was accosted by a Wolf, who asked her what was in her basket. She replied, “Some healthful snacks for my grandmother, who is certainly capable of taking care of herself as a mature adult.”

The Wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.”

Red Riding Hood walked on along the main path. But, because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the Wolf knew of a quicker route to Grandma’s house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, an entirely valid course of action for a carnivore such as himself. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on grandma’s nightclothes and crawled into bed.

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, “Grandma, I have brought you some fat-free, sodium-free snacks to salute you in your role of a wise and nurturing matriarch.”

From the bed, the Wolf said softly, “Come closer, child, so that I might see you.”

Red Riding Hood said, “Oh, I forgot you are as optically challenged as a bat. Grandma, what big eyes you have!”

“They have seen much, and forgiven much, my dear.”

“Grandma, what a big nose you have — only relatively, of course, and certainly attractive in its own way.”

“It has smelled much, and forgiven much, my dear.”

“Grandma, what big teeth you have!”

The Wolf said, “I am happy with and what I am,” and leaped out of bed. He grabbed Red Riding Hood in his claws, intent on devouring her. Red Riding Hood screamed, not out of alarm at the Wolf’s apparent tendency toward cross-dressing, but because of his willful invasion of her personal space.

Her screams were heard by a passing woodchopper-person (or log-fuel technician, as he preferred to be called). When he burst into the cottage, he saw the melee and tried to intervene. But as he raised his ax, Red Riding and the Wolf both stopped.

“And what do you think you’re doing?” asked Red Riding Hood.

The woodchopper-person blinked and tried to answer, but no words came to him.

“Bursting in here like a Neanderthal, trusting your weapon to do your thinking for you!” she said. “Sexist! Speciesist! How dare you assume that womyn and wolves can’t solve their own problems without a man’s help!”

When she heard Red Riding Hood’s speech, Grandma jumped out of the mouth, took the woodchopper-person’s axe, and cut his head off. After this ordeal, Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and the Wolf felt a certain commonality of purpose. They decided to set up an alternative household based on mutual respect and cooperation, and they lived together in the woods happily ever after.

—————————————————————————————————-

Snow White

Once there was a young princess who was not at all unpleasant to look at and had a temperament that many found to be more pleasant than most other people’s. Her nickname was Snow White. After her mother’s death, her father, the king asked another wommon to be his queen. Snow white did her best to please her new mother-of step, but a cold distance remained between them.

The queen’s prized possession was a magic mirror that would answer truthfully any question asked it. Now, years of social conditioning in a male hierarchial dictatorship had left the queen very insecure about her own self-worth. Physical beauty was the one standard she cared about now, and she defined herself solely in regard to her personal appearance. So every morning the queen would ask the mirror:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who’s the fairest one of all?”

Her mirror would anwer:

“For all it’s worth, O my queen, Your beauty is the fairest to be seen.”
That dialogue went on regularly until once when the queen was having a bad hair day and was desperately in need of support, she asked the usual question and the mirror answered:

“Alas, if worth be based on beauty, Snow White has surpassed you, cutie.”

At this, the queen flew into a rage. She ordered the royal woodsperson to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. The woodsperson, a kind soul, sadly agreed to these orders, and led the girl, who was actually now a young wommon, into the middle of the forest. He told Snow White of the oppressive and unsisterly order of the queen and told her to run as deeply as she could into the forest.

Snow White ran deep into the woods. Just when she thought she had fled as far as she could form civilization and its unhealthy influences, she stumbled upon a cottage. Inside she saw seven tiny beds, set in a row and all unmade. The beds looked so inviting that the tired youngster curled up on one and immediately fell asleep.

When she awoke several hours later, she saw the faces of seven bearded, vertically challenged men surrounding the bed. She sat up with a start and gasped. One of the men said, “You see that? Just like a flighty woman: resting peacefully one minute, up and screaming the next.”

When Snow White finally regained her senses, she begged, “Please, please don’t kill me. I meant no harm by sleeping on your bed. I thought no one would ever notice.”

“Don’t try to play victim with us, kid!” Snarled one man.

“Yes, we are known as the seven towering giants!” cried another, “And we are dedicated stewards of the earth and live here in harmony with nature. To make ends meet, we also conduct retreats for those who need to get in touch with their primitive masculine identities.”

“So what does that involve,” asked Snow White, “aside from drinking milk straight from the carton?”

“Your sarcasm is ill-advised,” warned the leader of the Seven Towering Giants. “My fellow giants want to get rid of our corrupting feminine presence, and I might not be able to stop them, understand? My men, we must speak our hearts openly and honestly. Let us adjourn to the sweat lodge!”

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the queen rejoiced at the thought that her rival in beauty had been eliminated. She puttered around her boudoir reading Elle and Glamour, and indulged herself with three whole pieces of chocolate without purging. Later, she confidently strolled up to her magic mirror and asked her same, sad question:

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who’s the fairest one of all?”

The mirror replied,

“Your weight is perfect for your shape and height, But for sheer OOOOMPH!, you can’t beat Snow White.”

At this news, the queen clenched her fists and screamed at the top of her lungs. For years, her insecurities had been eating away at her until now they turned her into someone who was morally out of the mainstream. With cunning and malice, she began to devise a plan to ensure the nonviability of her daughter-of-step.

A few days later, there was a knock on the door of the cottage. Snow White opened the door to find a chronologically gifted woman with a basket in her hand. By the look of her clothes, she was apparently unfettered by the confines of regular employment.

“Help a woman of unreliable income, dearie,” she said, “and buy one of my apples.”

Snow White thought for a moment. In protest against agribusiness conglomerates, she had a personal rule against buying food from middlepersons. but her heart went out to the economically marginalized woman, so she said yes. Little did she know this apple was poisoned.

The queen burst into tears.

“Why, what’s the matter?” asked Snow White.

“You’re so young and beautiful.” sobbed the queen. “How do you stay in such perfect shape?”

“Well, I meditate, work out in step aerobics three hours a day, and eat only half-portions of anything placed in front of me. Would you like me to show you?”

“Oh, yes, yes, please,” said the queen. So they started out with 30 minutes of simple hatha yoga meditation, then worked out on step for another hour. As they relaxed afterward, Snow White cut her apple in half and gave a piece to the queen. Without thinking, the queen bit into it, and both of them fell into a deep sleep.

Later that day, the Seven Towering Giants returned from a retreat in the woods, elaborately decked out in animal skins, feathers, and mud. With them was a prince from a nearby kingdom, who had come on this male retreat to find a cure for his impotence (or, as he preferred to call it, his involuntary suspension from phallocentric activity.) They were all laughing and high-fiving until they saw the bodies stopped short.

“What has happened?” asked the prince.

“Apparently our house guest and this other woman got into some sort of catfight and killed each other,” surmised one giant.

“You know,” said the prince, “this might sound a little sick, but I trust you guys. I find that younger one attractive. Extremely attractive. Would you fellows mind…um…waiting outside while I…?”

“Stop right there!” said the leader of the giants. “These half-eaten apple pieces, that filthy-costume–this has all the earmarks of some sort of magic spell. They’re not really dead at all.”

“Whew,” sighed the prince, “that makes me feel better. So, could you guys take five and let me…?”

“Hold it, Prince,” said the leader. “Does Snow White make you feel like a man again?”

“She certainly does. Now, could you guys…?”

“Don’t touch her! You’ll break the spell.”

Then the pieces of poisoned apple fell from the mouths of Snow White and the queen, and they awoke from the spell.

“What do you think you’re doing? Put us down!” they shouted. The giants were so startled they almost dropped the womyn to the floor.

“That’s the most sickening thing I have ever heard!” shouted the queen. “Offering us around like pieces of property!”

“And you,” said Snow White to the prince, “trying to make it with a girl in a coma! Yuck!”

There was much shouting and name-calling, but the queen eventually had her way. Before the Seven Towering Giants could be evicted from their home, though, they packed up their sweat lodge and moved deeper into the woods. The prince stayed on at the spa as a cute but harmless tennis pro. And Snow White and the queen became good friends and earned world-wide fame for their contributions to sisterhood. The giants were never heard from again, save for little muddy footprints that were sometimes found in the morning outside the windows of the spa`s locker room.

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Three Little Pigs

Once there were 3 little pigs who lived together in mutual respect and in harmony with their environment. Using materials that were indigenous to the area they each built a beautiful house. One pig built a house of straw, one a house of sticks, and one a house of dung, clay and creeper vines shaped into bricks and baked in a small kiln. When they were finished, the pigs were satisfied with their work and settled back to live in peace and self-determination.

But their idyll was soon shattered. One day, along came a big, bad wolf with expansionist ideas. He saw the pigs and grew very hungry in both a physical and ideological sense.

When the pigs saw the wolf, they ran into the house of straw. The wolf ran up to the house and banged on the door, shouting, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!”

The pigs shouted back, “Your gunboat tactics hold no fear for pigs defending their homes and culture.”

But the wolf wasn’t to be denied what he thought was his manifest destiny. So he huffed and puffed and blew down the house of straw. The frightened pigs ran to the house of sticks, with the wolf in hot pursuit. Where the house had stood, other wolves bought up the land and started a banana plantation.

At the house of sticks, the wolf again banged on the door and shouted, “Little, pigs, little pigs, let me in!”

The pigs shouted back, “Go to hell, you carnivorous, imperialistic oppressor!”

At this the wolf huffed and puffed and blew down the house of sticks. The pigs ran to the house of bricks, with the wolf close at their heels. Where the house of sticks had stood, other wolves built a time-share condo resort complex for vacationing wolves, with each unit a fibreglass reconstruction of the house of sticks, as well as native curio shops, snorkelling and dolphin shows.

At the house of bricks, the wolf again banged on the door and shouted, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!”

This time in response, the pigs sang songs of solidarity and wrote letters of protest to the United Nations.

By now the wolf was getting angry at the pigs’ refusal to see the situation from the carnivore’s point of view. So he huffed and puffed, and huffed and puffed, then grabbed his chest and fell over dead from a massive heart attack brought on from eating too many fatty foods.

The three little pigs rejoiced that justice had triumphed and did a little dance around the corpse of the wolf. Their next step was to liberate their homeland. They gathered together a band of other pigs who had been forced off their lands. This new brigade of porcinistas attacked the resort complex with machine-guns and rocket launchers and slaughtered the cruel wolf oppressors, sending a clear signal to the rest of the hemisphere not to meddle in their internal affairs. Then the pigs set up a model socialist democracy with free education, universal health care and affordable housing for everyone. {My note: well it is a fairy tale after all.}

Please note: The wolf in this story was a metaphorical construct. No actual wolves were harmed in the writing of the story.

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Cinderella

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a noble gentleman and his (without denoting any real possession) dear daughter. She was very beautiful – her breasts were centrally located and she was cosmetically gifted.

He loved her very much, and he was worried that she was lonely, as her mother was metabolically challenged, and dwelled 6 feet underground. So the gentleman conjoined in a purely egalitarian partnership with a lady who had (without denoting any real possession) two daughters of her own, figuring that they’d be kind and sweet to his own lovely offspring.

Instead, they made her do all the domestic labour, and made her wear the clothes a financially disadvantaged person (or perdaughter) would. Both girls were aesthetically different and had a more challenging odour than would be normal, as well as having their own unique, rather liberal, moral codes, allowing them to bully and taunt the poor girl and make her do all the chores. The poor child would spend her days in the cellar, peeling potatoes, sat in a hunch in the corner by the chimney, and for this reason the sisters nicknamed her ‘Cinderella’.

One day, it was announced that one of the most financially advantaged people in the town, the King’s son, was going to throw a big ball. The sisters were asked to go, and they were so excited they ran around for days, laughing hersterically. They bought themselves fancy dresses that were so stuffed with jewels they stood up by themselves, and spent days and days talking about all the people of important social status that they planned to meet.

The great day arrived, and Cinderella found herself in the cellar by herself. “I wish I could go to the ball,” she said to herself. “I bet I could pull that prince – I’m far prettier than those two unconventional-looking, loved-by-spots, 300-pound dinosaurs. I’m far more preferable to men.” The two sisters departed, and Cinderella stayed at home and moaned to the silence.

It was not long until there was a big puff of blue smoke and a rather festively-formed, full-figured, gravitationally-powerful woman appeared. It was her fairy godmother. Cinderella recognised her at once.

“I really want…”Cinderella started.

“To go to the ball,” finished the godmother. Cinderella nodded. “Despite how much I support your freedom to be emotional, since I’m considering your own success here I would ask you politely to cease crying, lest it hinder you. Now go to the garden and get me a pumpkin.”

Cinderella could not imagine how a pumpkin could help her to get to the ball – unfortunately she was rather intellectually impaired and did not yet appreciate that the fat woman who had appeared out of thin air was magic. Nonetheless, she took herself to the garden and took the biggest pumpkin she could carry back to the fairy godmother, who tapped it with her wand, turning it into a golden coach lined with white satin.

The godmother tapped Cinderella on the head and turned her shabby clothes into a stunning white silk dress. Cinderella was concerned for the fate of the silkworms, but considered how the dress was made – using magic – and decided to forget about it. She looked at herself in the full length mirror, and remarked on her slippers, which were made of glass.

“Now go and get me 6 mice from the luxury mouse-trap with fitted mouse-furniture and a mouse television with specific mouse programming in the kitchen, and a big juicy rat.”

With a touch of the wand, each mouse turned into a horse, and the rat turned into a coach driver. Cinderella grew more concerned.

“Fairy godmother,” Cinderella said, “I am concerned for the wellbeing of these horses and this coach driver. One day they were vermin – not that vermin are lesser life forms, of course, and the next thing you know they’re horses and people, and I don’t plan to pay or feed any of them. Considering they’re working for nothing, exactly where should my morals lie in using them?”

“Shut up and get in the carriage, you selfish brat,” the godmother replied. “Oh, and, if you stay in the palace for one second after midnight, all my magic will vanish and you’ll be cosmetically challenged and in your monetarily inexpensive clothes.”

A few moments later, the coach was rolling down towards the ball with the excited Cinderella inside. She arrived and strode up to the prince, slamming her lips into his and they embraced. For the rest of the night, Cinderella and the prince were constantly in each other’s arms, and the two sisters, who did not recognise their own stepsister, were rather flattered when she spoke some words to them.

The hours flew by so happily that Cinderella did not even notice the time until it the clock began to strike midnight. With a cry of alarm she fled from the room. One of the glass slippers flew from her foot and landed on a crate of beer as she struggled to leave the ball before one second past midnight. The prince hurried after her, but, when he reached the entrance hall, she couldn’t find the beautiful girl – just a cinder-maid in a ragged grey dress.

Cinderella hurried home through the dark streets, overwhelmed with shame.

The next day, there was a great procession of trumpets and drums as a regal possession went through the town, going from place to place, at the head of which sat the king’s son. He held a glass slipper on a red pillow, as a herald announced that any lady in the land who could fit the slipper on her foot and could produce the pair would be to marry the prince, if both parties agreed and if the housework was shared equally. Both sisters tried, but their feet were too spacious to squeeze in. Cinderella begged to try, and, to the scorn of her sisters, the prince agreed.

The slipper slipped easily on, and Cinderella pulled the second glass slipper from her pocket. The prince was overjoyed, and wrapped his arms warmly around the pretty cinder maid.

Cinderella spoke up. “Despite the romantic ending of this story, emotionally I feel a little flat. You have fallen in love with me because the fairy godmother made me look pretty, and I’m not convinced that that is a satisfactory basis for a marriage – you don’t even know me. We have only met on one occasion, and, like in this story, I haven’t even established my true character or personality to you – you have no real idea of how well we’d get along. I know you think you have noble and chivalrous intentions but in the context of this story they just reinforce negative notions about male dominance – you’re a prince, I’m a cinder maid, and I have no real interest in you to be honest – at least, no interest further than a purely financial one. It might be a happy ending because I’ll be royalty, but I want so much more!”

“I know,” the prince replied. “I’m completely loaded. I’ve got big palaces and we wouldn’t even have to see each other really, except when we’re having sex or ‘Deal or No Deal’ is on. I don’t need a woman with personality – just human contact.”

“So there’d be no love in our marriage? You’re really only interested in me because I’m an attractive female? Just a sex object? You Neanderthal!”

“Alas, yes, but trust me, you’ll enjoy it. It’s a massive social step up and you’ll have loads of money. You bloody feminists – Jesus – you’re just as human as I am when it comes down to it. Your life will be fantastic if we get married, and I don’t even care if you go off hunting for other men – so long as we still have sex and watch ‘Deal or No Deal’. I’m really easy to live with. If you marry me right now, you will definitely live happily ever after. It’s your choice though, of course.”

Cinderella told the prince she didn’t want to be objectified by a man, and refused point-blank. She carried on being treated like a source of free labour by her morally challenged step-sisters and died in a home for the mentally impaired.

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