AJ Valliant Arbitrarily Ranks: Nations that broke my heart

December 14, 2006

Oh my babies, my beloved readers, it’s with a heavy heart and tear soaked keyboard that I bring you this edition of “AJ Valliant Arbitrarily Ranks: the nations of the world.” For today I rank the countries that broke my heart: Russia, Ireland, Kamchatka. I haven’t the strength for more of an intro.


The system goes as such: I rank each country by a highly scientific set of criteria I have chosen, producing an end score that reflects my assessment of them. Note: this is the assessment of the Country as gestalt entity, and not necessarily a reflection of the individuals that make up that country.

The categories break down as such (The higher the score, the more favourable the review)


  • 0 to10 points
  • How much style, panache, edginess, and distinct character that nation has.

What have they ever done for me or against me

  • 0 to 10 points
  • What has the country as 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 both international affairs and aggregate citizen’s behaviour, comport itself as a stand-up country or jerkass nation.

General livability

  • 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.


Style: Soviet union 9, Russia 3

Oh ye Red Menace, scions of the great failed socialist experiment, purveyors of doom, great musty dragon collapsed upon itself… I salute you with my scorn and weep for your decay. Somehow in less than a generation they went from icy, masterful, defacto rulers of half the world, to a frozen third world country run by drunken industrial warlords and frosty mail-order brides. It’s hard to pull off fur hats and a superior attitude when your space agency has to rely on a Backstreet Boy for funding.

Flag: 1 Russia, Commie Town 10

I can’t take it anymore, three bar flags are fucking ugly and I won’t stand for it. Not only are the creators unoriginal, but it makes me look unoriginal since I have to review the same thing eighty fucking times. In Russia’s case the ugliness is compounded since their old flag was the most stylish, menacing, and impactful bit of nation tarp ever unfurled.

Non Jerk Factor: Soviet Union 1 / Russia 2

Oh man, where do I start? These guys were jerks to a degree, and on a scale that has rarely been achieved in human history. They almost ended all life on planet a couple times, engaged in programs that wiped out millions of there own people, cheated at the Olympics, faked the moon landing, burnt down Chechnya, poisoned dudes left and right, and their Champion killed the showboating (but beloved) Apollo Creed.

What have they ever done for me, or against me: 3

Aside from the almost snuffing out humanity thing, their existence means Canada is only the second largest country by area in the world. On the plus side of the ledger they have produced some awesome MMA fighter (Fedor, Igor, Kharitonov), some excellent hockey players, and some very cool people to hang out with.

(ed — I think he means the mail-order brides)

General liveability: 3

Cold, deprivation, bad economy, massive government corruption and influence peddling. Black market run by mafia that is almost equal in scale to legitimate enterprise, unhealthy fascination with techno music; Russia is just this side of a crap shack these days. They also share the “women are super hot early in life but go down hill rapidly and without warning” phenomena with Mediterranean folks.

Wildcard: +7

I actually kind of miss the Cold War. Things made a lot more sense then, and there was almost an “apocalyptic gentleman’s wager” quality to the whole thing. Ah my old enemy, and beloved nemesis… how I miss you.

Score and Assessment: Soviet Union :33 / Russia: 17

Back in the U.S.S.R, they didn’t know how lucky they (w)are. Russia was as badassed and cool as nation could be, before the 80’s hollowed it out (like it did so many things) and left it for dead. These days it is a sketchy hobo version of its from grandeur; still dangerous, but ultimately depressing and doomed to dying alone with an infected toe.

P.S.: Why is it that despotic regimes always have so much cooler flags that more moderate nations?



Style: 10

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 lives and breathes it. Drenched in the beauty of broken men, noble failures, and choices so poor the air shimmers, Ireland thrums and pulses a bittersweet ache purely its own.

Flag: 1

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.”

Non Jerk Factor: 4

Now this a little tricky as the Irish are clearly a sullen, hostile, and judgemental people, but mostly that is turned inwards to fuel our engine of shame and self-destruction. The rage and aggression that does escape, tends to be directed at other Irish people, the filth of the Earth British occupiers, and anyone foolish enough to wander into our pubs. Ireland was the only European nation with a coastline to never colonize or invaded anyone, ever. So while we treat ourselves fairly shabby, unless outside forces seek us we’re pretty harmless.

The blood is jerky though. How jerky… so jerky that a third generation Canadian descendant could get riled up enough, just writing an article, that he will likely punch the next English person he sees square in the face, just to even things up a little. Limey pricks.

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 a fairly pissed off about that whole flag thing.)

General liveability: 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 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. You see if you direct your gaze Northward you’ll catch the stink of the hated British, and their Ulster Lackeys, that serves 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.

Wildcard: -10

It’s the Irish lot to suffer, and who am I to take that from them?

Score and Assessment: 16

The score is only16, but it’s a glorious 16. The kind of 16 you’d smash across your neighbours face, then use to bar the door while you wrote an epic poem on the back of 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


Style: 7

Not a lot of people know this but one wonderful summer, of ’93 I think, I worked as an intern on a Kamchatkan Honey Moss farm for the summer. I remember the soft and sweet smell of our harvest, the bales 20 feet around yet weighing only 14 lbs. How I loved the golden meadows and ever warm valleys. The surrounding arctic cold mitigated by geothermal hot springs, where we would all sit out naked and allow the mystic fumes to expand out consciousness… until the giant bees arrived to collect the bales, driving us beneath the scalding water until they left. “Weeesha, Weeesha, AJ… the Bees they come!” Ahh, they surely would have killed me if they could.

Flag: 10

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 giants 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 universe. 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 ownership of land, that it’s absurdly easy to seize their territory. The only thing that has saved them is that so many people are seizing them at a given time (like monkeys fighting over a hot dog) that the seizers inevitably wind up going to war with each other. Thus Kamchatka has the been the source of over the 70% of the European/Asian wars in the past three hundred years. This knowledge pains them so deeply they send fruit and moss basket 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 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 liveability: 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 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 [1] that fly overhead, landing to take the children to safety when invaders come. So beautiful.

Wildcard: 7

Their simple magnificence can be best summed up in 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.

[1] A large, vaguely magical, immensely decent, and mostly vanished, bird.



29 Responses to “AJ Valliant Arbitrarily Ranks: Nations that broke my heart”

  1. Yuri Golenishchev Says:

    You come to Petropavlovsk, I have Uma make you our famous bear heart and honey grechka.

  2. sabre tooth Says:

    You are so dead on with the irish bit! This explains so much!

  3. Damn, I haven’t had grechka of any sort in years, let alone honey! Also I hear if you eat the heart of a bear you get it’s strength and courage… mind, given the cowardly and traumatized bears of Kamchatka that benefit may be suspect. I bet it’s still delicious though.

  4. Yeah, the Ireland ranking was pretty amazing, AJ.

  5. I was drunk when I wrote the Irish bit; felt it was thematically imbuitive.

  6. Asians can become intoxicated just by reading about other people having been drunk. Ask my supercomputer, he’ll tell you.

  7. thekenji Says:

    Ohhhh, I’m getting more and more wasted just looking at your irish faces

  8. w0rmwood Says:

    psst – those aren’t their faces…

  9. Polakscot Says:

    Of course, the good old island of England, North Americans always amaze me with astounding lacks of knowledge or do you choose to forget the other two countries on the same island.

  10. “North Americans always amaze me with astounding lacks of knowledge or do you choose to forget the other two countries on the same island.”

    Now you are just being ridiculous. How could you fit three countries on an Island? It would surely crush the turtle that holds it up. It’s no wonder you guys lost world war II.

  11. Karing Linguist Says:

    Poor Scotland, it’s not your fault you’re not a real country :( At least what you lack in reknown you make up for in not being able to speak any language.

  12. w()rmwood Says:

    ok hold on …

    am I this ignorant?

    “North Americans always amaze me with astounding lacks of knowledge or do you choose to forget the other two countries on the same island.”

    Arent Scotland, Ireland and England three completely seperate islands? Conquered and eventually held under the common banner of the ‘british empire,’ but still not physically connected by any land…

    I mean i guess looking at the map, the water seperating Scotland and England is pretty thin … but technically doesnt that still make Scotland a seperate island?

    Also, I know Ireland is composed of ‘Ireland’ and ‘North Ireland’ but is it really fair to consider the latter as simply England? I again understand it is part of England politically, but I’m pretty sure there is a sense of seperation in terms of culture and history… Similarly, when i visited Scotland, while technically part of Great Britain, there was certainly a distinct sense of self … including a distinct looking currency, that while attached to and the same value as the British Pound, does qualify as seperate money.

  13. inamorty Says:

    Just to point-out, the flag you have there is from the Ivory Coast.. not Ireland!
    Correct entirely about its unbound lack of style but fuck it, it’s just a flag.
    Just a note on the liveability here, had a few jars last night in the local pub. 30 notes that set me back. It might be prospering but fuck me its expensive.

    BTW w()rmwood, unless you’re taking the piss, ignorant is a very appropriate word, ha ha. But then again with the way global warming is progressing (allegedly), Scotland may yet be an island..

  14. “Correct entirely about its unbound lack of style but fuck it, it’s just a flag.”

    Why I love the Irish.
    They understand the finer points, but they don’t waste time worrying about them.
    Also more affronted by the rising price of lager, than being confused with the Ivory Coast.

  15. w()rmwood Says:


    nope, i wasnt kidding .. i really did have it in my head that scotland was seperated from England by water.

    sigh… oh well … learn something new every day…

    I still dont really get the other comment, as I am still pretty secure in the fact that Ireland is indeed an island..


  16. *points upwards*
    He has a Masters degree.

    Wales is also part of Great Britian.
    They have the best longbows and the craziest town names.

  17. w()rmwood Says:

    Worse then that … i half way done my PhD …

    but ya … Wales .. i forgot about them.

    My wife is going to beat me over this.


  18. Dr. Entropic Says:

    Man, I think we need a new super computer.
    We just got Scotlowned.

  19. w()rmwood's wife Says:

    I just need to let y’all know that I did give my hubby a proper (what we like to call in the South) “learnin'”. He won’t be confusing Wales and Scotland for separate islands anytime soon. Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau! *walks away singing at the top of her lungs, drunk*

  20. engtech Says:

    I think wormwood got pegged.

  21. Dr. Knowitall Says:

    And may I remind everyone, while we’re at it, that there are two other oft forgotten Celtic nations in Britain: Manx and Cornwall. Sadly, I think these two nations are entirely comprised of one very tiny chicken and her cousin/husband Mr. Smith, who walks with a pronounced limp, whose only prized possesion is a pitchfork, and who has brought nothing but disgrace to the depopulated nations after taking the common English surname to replace his Cornish hyphenated surname of birth, Spargo-Tangye.

  22. Polakscot Says:

    Sorry Karing Linguist never heard of Gaelic before? Also we are a seperate country but share a sovereign, and as such have a different legal structure and laws from England and Wales.

  23. Coffee Man Says:

    Karing Linguist,you’re wrong. They did give us man skirts with no underroos. You’ve gotta be pleased about that.

  24. Man Skirts are no small contribution…uh…no it’s too easy.

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