(This was original written in 2006 some there may be some historical anachronisms)
Once upon a time I had another site that was judged by the world and in return…judged the world. A painstaking criteria was developed to assess and compare each nation against the perfect dream of them I held in my heart. Below are the three that cut me the deepest, polished a tad for current editorial standards.
The system goes as such: I rank each country by a highly scientific set of criteria producing an end score that reflects my assessment of them. Note, this is a assessment of the Country as a gestalt entity, and not necessarily a representation of the individuals that make up said country. Though, if all your friends suck odds are…
The categories break down like so (The higher the score, the more favorable the review)
- 0 to10 points
- How much style, panache, edginess, and distinct character does the nation bring to the table.
What have they ever done for me or against me
- 0 to 10 points
- What has the country as a whole ever done for/against me, AJ Valliant.
- 0 to10 points
- How cool/decent vs pathetic/boring is their flag.
Non Jerk Factor
- 0 to10 points
- Does the nation, in affairs international and domestic, comport itself as a stand-up country or jerkass nation.
- 0 to 10 points
- How pleasant it is to actually live in said country.
- -10 to +10 points
- Potential bonus/minus points for whatever the hell I chose.
Lets get down to business.
Beloved homeland, supplier of half my better nature and all of my poorer, won’t you let me come home darling? I didn’t mean the things I said. Other nations write tragic poetry, Ireland embodies it. And also writes it. Drenched in the beauty of broken men, noble failures, and choices so poor the air shimmers, Ireland thrums and pulses with a bittersweet ache purely its own.
Goddamn you Ireland, god damn you to hell! Are trying to humiliate me in front my friends? After I talk up how lyric and poignant your culture is you give me a three bar orange, green, and white flag. Why not just have it be a big banner that says “fuck you AJ, you’ll die alone and choking on piss.”
Non Jerk Factor: 4
Now this a little tricky as the Irish are a sullen, hostile, and judgmental people, but mostly we turn that inwards to fuel our shame and self-destruction. Hell, Ireland is the only European nation with a coastline to never colonize or invade anyone, ever. Our constant inner turmoil makes it hard to commit to a naval presence, and that bastard O’Donnell just can’t keep his mouth shut.
The blood is wild and cruel though. Cruel enough a fifth generation Canadian who’s at best half Irish by blood and all of it protestant still listens to IRA fight songs while drinking and fantasizes about joining the cause, and wild enough the inherent logical contradiction only further inflames my hatred for the British.
What have they ever done for me or against me: 6
Birthed my blood line, infused me with my ironic sense of humour, self-deprecation, and boundless roguish charisma. Mind, they also spiritually inflicted upon me my romantic instincts, non-existent judgment, and tendency to keen at the moors. God I’m a mess.
(I’m knocking off a few points since I’m still pissed off about that whole flag thing.)
General Livability: 6
Great grassy hills, lovely red-haired lasses, a thriving economy, two pubs for every drunken husband, and a sad song in every heart. “Why it must be a paradise. I thought the Irish weren’t allowed to be happy?” you’d say. And you would be right… the Irish aren’t allowed to be happy. If you direct your gaze Northward you’ll catch the stink of the hated British, and their Ulster Lackeys, that serve to stain the peace and joy of any honest Irish heart. Our brothers have been turned against us by the crooked-toothed, empire-losing, every-town-has-its-own-goddamn accent, British. Until the day the Irish stand as one nation, and the Island of England is sunk (driving the former English into France as mutual punishment), all True sons of Éire must remain forever melancholy.
It’s the Irish lot to suffer, and who am I to take that from them?
Score and Assessment: 16
The score is only 16, but it’s a glorious 16. The kind of 16 you’d smash across your neighbors face and then use the jagged end to bar the door while you recited an epic poem to his wife, who you’ve secretly loved since you were nine, only you didn’t want to burden her with your damaged heart… but she always loved you too even if she felt she had to do right by her family. Ahhh, there’s the ache, at least they can’t take away my sweet, sweet, pain
North Korea’s style begins and ends with their beloved leader, Kim Jong Il, the most craziest nigga on the world stage. It’s like Joseph Stalin and Michael Jackson got together and decided to create the despot equivalent of Neverland Ranch. While brutal and repressive, there is something about his berzerko, hyper-megalomaniacal reality disconnect that that I find captivating. Maximum style points.
What have they ever done for me/to me: 7
No world leader/nation has provided me with more absurd sound bites, drama, and magnificent what the fuck? moments than North Korea. Come on: they told Australia they would “turn the sky to fire” because Australia conducted navel maneuvers a thousand miles away. They make Iran seem like Switzerland. It’s like someone gave Yosemite Sam control of a country and that is goddamn entertaining.
Fairly run of the mill, but reasonably aesthetically pleasing. I think he dropped the ball by not having a golden hairpiece surrounded by chorus of angels on it somewhere.
Non Jerk Factor: 5
At first thought this seems a sure 0, the guy threatens to cast the world into nuclear winter every time his cable goes down. The thing is he’s pretty much all talk, aside from testing some long range missiles and possible Uranium enrichment. He loses the maximum five for jerkiness to his own people, but beyond that his only external impact is rhetorical (and possibly plunging the world into Nuclear Armageddon, which would lower this score all the way down to 0).
General livability: 1
Constant starvation. No freedom of movement or expression. No contact with the outside world. General unrelenting drudgery. On the plus side every home gets a snappy portrait of Kim.
Wildcard: + 7
What can I say, that bad wig/giant sunglasses/jump suit combo revs my engine.
Score and assessment: 35
I know they’re evil, they really are, but they’re the international equivalent of the slow kid in public school that you would rile up at recess just to see what happens. There is a chance someone I like could be hit by his metal lunchbox, but there is also a chance he will hold down the fat kid and hump him till they both start crying, and that is just too funny to pass up.
 R.I.P O.D.B
Not a lot of people know this, but one wonderful summer I worked as an intern on a Kamchatkan Honey Moss farm. I remember how the soft sweet bales would tumble across the meadow, thirty feet high and weighing all of 14 lbs. How I loved the golden fields and ever warm valleys, the surrounding arctic cold mitigated by geothermal hot springs. Come sundown we’d gather to smell our harvest and talk, buck naked and covered in mud, the mystic fumes of the springs expanding our consciousness… until the giant bees arrived to collect the bales, driving us into the scalding spring water until they left. “Weeesha, Weeesha, AJ… the Bees they come!” . Ahh, they surely would have killed me if they could.
See, now this is what I am talking about, a flag with some class and action to it.
Kamchatka’s flag illustrates the mixed fear and veneration they have for the giant bees, while serving as a visual metaphor for the worlds constant attacks upon them.
Non Jerk Factor: 10
Like a Tibet that isn’t asking for it, Kamchatka stands as the single most unjustly oppressed and tormented nation in the history of the world. Russian oligarchs plunder their natural resources, seducing the trusting Kamchatkans with promises of future compensation. Waves of Chinese peasants swap out their unwanted daughters, changeling-like, for sturdy Kamchatkan lads. Mustachioed German zeppelin Barons lure away the Kamchatkan Giant Bees with promises of real honey and air show glory.
They have been conquered one hundred and forty seven times, by thirty seven different nations, two of which did so by mail. Tragically the Kamchatkans are such a warm, loving, and guileless people, with no real concept of land ownership, that it’s absurdly easy to seize their territory. The sole reason for their continued, if sporadic, autonomy is the frequent occurrence of multiple nations launching takeover attempts on the same day. Like monkeys fighting over a hot dog the aggressors lose track of Kamchatka and tear viciously at each other. Thus Kamchatka has the been the source of over 70% of the European and Asian wars of the past three hundred years. This knowledge pains them so deeply that they send fruit and moss baskets to the citizens of any afflicted nation.
What have they ever done for me or against me: 9
They taught me how to love, how to laugh, and how to ride a giant bee into a battle that I had no hope of surviving. I keep a folded moss blanket, the softest of soft materials, in the chest in my office to remind me of my beloved Kamchatkan brothers and sisters. I also keep a pistol in same chest, that I will someday to use to execute the nefarious Chairman Zhang, architect of most of Kamchatka’s woes!
General livability: 7
Were it not for the constant brutal warfare Kamchatka would truly be paradise on Earth. There are no laws, as the inhabitants are so naturally courteous and fair that regulation is unnecessary. It’s warm, but not too warm, year round due to geothermal heat. Flowers grow ten feet high and smell of baked good; as do the women. I weep to think of the Fjords of Kamchatka, the purple blue sky over the mountains, the last few magnificent Koomarswamajay  that fly overhead, landing to take the children to safety when invaders come. So beautiful.
Their simple magnificence can be best summed up in the last few lines of their national anthem
Kamchatka, Kamchatka, Our bees as large as bears
Kamchatka, Kamchatka, Our bears they fear the bees
Kamchatka, Kamchatka, It seems that only AJ cares
Kamchatka, Kamchatka, Someday we will be free
Score and Assessment: 50
I swear to you Kamchatka, someday I shall set you free.
 A large, vaguely magical, immensely decent, and mostly vanished, bird.