Your Country is Fucked: Revisiting Poland.

Angry Pole? Ohhhh. Not this kind of Pole.

You gotta' know, I do enjoy poking fun at people's national pride and our collective, anachronistic sensibilities regarding nationalism. I do it all in jest in the form of "Your Country is Fucked". YCF is an ongoing series that provides my glib attempt to briefly cover as much history, economics, religion, politics, ethnography, geopolitical strife, and other reasons why any given group of people inhabiting any given plot of Earth can take pride at how many times they've been fucked over, and what those people have overcome, and what future events are likely to fuck them over. Call it tough love and a great source of pride for the human race, to take repeated poundings and still come out on top: such as the Domican's horrifying history with slavery and "discovery", or the Uzbeks' interwoven (and painful) connection with their ancient Mongolian overlords, or the folly of Colonial tinkering in Africa.

Like the Doctor, I take exceptional pride in the amazing things that we humans can do, both good  and bad: our creativity and compassion, our propensity for inquistiveness and our seemingly-endless fascination with destroying one another. It's all part and parcel of the human condition. And, to my eyes, no where are all of these amazing traits more apparent than in studying a peoples' history. Hence, Your Country is Fucked.

All of the Doctors are proud of us....me too.

I don't pull this stuff out of my arse...although it would make researching it a tad easier. I rely on plenty of materials: The CIA Factbook, respective nations' own official sites and information, EU materials, scholarly materials, BB postings from residents there, and my own -not inconsequential- library of history; primarily materials from antiquity.

Source files...there are four more like this.

Nevertheless, sometimes I do get angry/indignant emails from nationals of these places who think mine is some encyclopedic attempt to correct the historical record, rather than pure satire and fact-based amusement (BTW: I discovered that Montanans do not like to be compared to any European nation, much less Finland. And, I also discovered that Slovenians will send death threats). But sometimes I get postings or emails that are cogent, coherent, thoughtful and expansive, such as the most recent one regarding "Your Country is Fucked: Poland". The anonymous author sets forth an empassioned plea for a more balanced view of Poland (although, I do think that I was exceptionally sympathetic to the Poles). It was so striking in its authority and tone, that I decided to give it top billing for today, and then we'll revisit Poland. See the commentor's post below, and the original Poland posting is here.

Schatten - number of issues with this article. I'm no expert but you should consider the following: (1) The stories of cavalry charging tanks are a myth. Many notable historians have dismissed these claims as a propaganda invention by the Nazis. (2) While you rightly point out some of the Poles' early triumphs, you should also remember that the Polish Commonwealth was the largest state in Europe for quite some time, it owned the Prussians (Germans) as vassals, it as the only nation to sack Moscow (twice), beat a million-strong Russian army in 1920 shortly after winnign independence after WWI, and is considered by many historians a a "savior of Europe" for Sobieski's protection of Vienna against the Islamic armies of the Ottomans. (3) The reason Poland was wiped off the map for 127 years is actually due to the Democratic tradition it shares with the US. ~3-4 years after the Americans introduced the first Constitution to the world, Poland followed with the second such document. As a result, three monarchies afraid of a spreading revolution invaded simultaneously from the west (Germans), east (Russians), and south (Austrians). Poland was carved up and suppressed for a century as a result. (4) the French never ruled Poland and in fact Napolean established the Duchy of Warsaw, giving the Poles a short-lived state during the partition period. Not sure what the post-WWI use of Poland as a dumping ground by Americans is supposed to allude to when it was Pres Wilson that made it one of his "Points" to re-establish the Polish nation. (5) The Poles have the most thriving economy in ALL of Europe. Read any article on the subject. The claims about trafficking, etc. can be made about any nation incuding the US (in the southwest) - every nation has its underbelly (6) The Polish joke was not created as a result of WWII. In fact at one point during the civil rights movement it became crude to label African-Americans as uneducated and supid. It became popular then to shift those stereotypes and labels to white immigrants at a time when Poles made up the majority of the immigrant population.

Without the Poles, Tatars would still be riding across Europe...not very Western in my opinion.

I'm not going to point-by-point this explication by, or get into a pissing contest with, a very thoughtful and knowledgeable reader. A great many of the points I made, and the entire thrust of the article really, was to discuss that the Poles are not a stupid people, and their contribution to Europe was largely overlooked by the exigencies of the 20th Century. Suffice it to say, I failed in that I did skip over the very important era of 1600-1800 CE, when the Poles were very much the bulwark of Europe. In that span, the Polish Empire beat back the Tatars and prevented the Ottoman Empire from sweeping over the rest of Europe...

Hell, Kalmyk Ottomans, with their cutlasses, wouldn't have been very European either...Thanks Poland!

That said, I do stand by much of the original: No matter what you term it, a Duchy is satellite, an independent sovereign but one nevertheless under another nation's sphere of influence. Hence, the French held such sway, and -for all intents and purposes- the U.S. and the Soviet Union played the same game after the fall of Germany in WWII*. Also, with respect to Poland's thriving economy, I don't think the CIA would lie to you or I. In fact, I trust the CIA wholly and totally...especially when they want to take you on a plane ride to Poland.**

Wheeee! Free CIA Pony Rides to Europe! And, yes, those "black sites" include Poland's notorious Szymany Airport.

Despite the rosy outlook painted by my thoughtful guest, I -and the rest of the world not involved in the stock market- are going to have to disagree: Poland's economy is hardly thriving, especially for the work-a-day Pole. Many of the nation's businesses are still nationalized (particularly the larger ones), and the unemployment rate hovers at a stultifying 19%. True, the nation has come out of the shell of Communism quite nicely, and has made great strides in 20 years, but make no mistake, this is hardly a stable economy. In addition to the staggering unemployment rate, nearly 80% of the nation's monetary supply are owned by foreigners. If investors panic and pull their funds from the banking system, Poland is deeply, deeply screwed in a way that will make the Asian crash of '98 look tame. And this doesn't even take into account that the currency, the zloty, has lost 50% of its value over the past year. Finally, even with a modest 1.1% GDP growth and increased consumer sales, don't expect any miracles (especially with a currency that shaky). Because, without credit modern markets cannot survive. Is credit avilable in Poland? According to the most recent economic report, hell no, not for at least another 9 months. As observed on Polish broadcasting: "One banker told me this week that they would not be lending until the second quarter next year. So bad things are still coming to Poland.” In other words, Poland is fucked.

There really remains then, that one sticking point...the Polish Cavalry.Yes, they were instrumental for most of Poland's martial history. And, yes, the cavalry emphatically were used against the German panzer divisions, albeit as infantry. It wasn't Nazi proganda, and it wasn't just made up. Hell, Poland even won a couple of major battles with their cavalry and definitely bloodied the Germans up a bit. I will leave you with this closing thought.

Polish cavalry moved using horses but fought using infantry tactics. The formation was equipped with machine guns, 75mm horse guns, 37mm Bofors anti-tank guns, a small number of Bofors 40mm anti-air guns and also the small number of anti-tank "Ur 1935" rifles. A cavalryman also had a sabre and a lance but these weapons were generally left with horses. The most effective battle of Polish cavalry was the Mokra battle, where the Wolynska cavalry brigade, supported with an armored train, stopped and caused big losses to 4th Panzer division (about 50 tanks and 500-800 troops).

Yep, it did happen...it was brave as all hell,and earns my praise for valor, but it did happen.

So, there you have it, Poland Redux: I have been sufficiently chastened on some points, provided additional resources for some of my positions, and I have clarified others. All in all, a productive day, and I thank the thoughtful Anon for his/her commentary and contributions.

Do you think I completely screwed the pooch with my analysis? Do you demand that I commit a public act of contrition? Or, have you taken me into your hearts as your overlord, and now wish to regale me with donations of designer drugs and soiled panties? Either way, email me at concave.scream@yahoo.com

* I mistyped...it's WWII that I was referencing when the US essentially threw their hands up and gave Poland to Russia.

** Sarcasm alert.

Saturday Inexorable March Through the SEC: 63 Boyz

63, for the unknowledgeable, is the Alabama county code for Tuscaloosa County, the home of the University of Alabama. Today's attempt to stop our reign of terror belongs to the Gamecocks of South Carolina.

I don't care how many times you want to monkey around with it, this will always be our licence plate, and it should always read "Heart of Dixie"



Happy Oktoberfest!


Whatever brilliant soul, back in antiquity, decided that the bar wench outfit was truly flattering on the bar wench, is my eternal hero: Billowing, yet flattering form below; plunging necklines that accentuate not just breasts but neck and shoulders; and all done in a non-tart fashion. In short, the bar wench dress screams femininity without a single skanky feature.


Moreover, God Bless Oktoberfest, since 1810 a celebratory feasting orgy of beer, cheese, pretzels, kraut, potato dumplings, horse-racing, gambling, Germany's martial glory and other Bavarian goodies. Did I mention really hot chicks and beer?

Bier und Brüstes!!!

Fräuleins Schön...Ich lieben Oktoberfest!

* To this day, "bier" and "brüstes" are two of the very few German words/phrases that I know with utter certainty (along with propositions for unsavory adult activities largely shunned in the United States).

Friday Physical: Olivia Newton John

One of the iconic songs of the 80s...Olivia Newton John's "Physical", with bonus Solid Gold appearance!*

* While I have every reason to believe that ONJ is/was a very attractive woman back in the day, it is impossible to evaluate the veracity of that statement owing to the fact that the 80s had the magical ability to make nearly every woman look wholly unappealing.


I have nightmares...

One of the benefits of being slightly cracked, and absolutely an insomniac, are all of the wonderful dreams. Last night's installment, which seemingly lasted the entire evening, was frightening and bizarre.

It began with me, and some friends of mine from the Moot Court Program we were all in together during law school....

We were preparing for a big event, but we had all just had various surgeries: I had my shoulders replaced, T had his back repaired, J had his leg amputated, B had her teeth removed, and BT had been crushed in his face by a mallet. Nevertheless, we decided to sequester ourselves in a cabin to prepare for the intellectual rigors of the event. But this was a cabin straight out of nightmares; a dilapidated shack of terrifying proportions....


Realizing that we were in no shape to defend ourselves, we sought an assistance from guard dogs. These dogs were like nothing on the planet; they were talking, sentient St. Bernards large enough to deter almost any would-be attacker or mischief maker. Just what we were worried about seems irrelevant...you know how nightmares work...

Anyway, BT and T went out to the woods to chop some firewood for our heating and cooking. As soon as they left, the dogs turned to me, B and J and said "They will never return...you don't want them to return, either". Slightly spooky sentiments from a dog, and we didn't believe them....then, BT comes slowly ambling up to the door, and the dogs go nuts; BT's face is a skeletal mess and he's shrouded in shadows....

I realized immediately what it was, a Vashta Nerada: the things that go bump in the night; the shadows in the dark spaces of all the universe; those that have always been, and shall always be. Flesh-eating horrors that never, ever relent and swarm and swarm and swarm until all life has been consumed. As B, J and I are trying desperately to hide in a circle of candlelight, the Vashta Nerada attacks one of the sentients dogs, devouring its flesh, and all through space and time you can hear the howl of exquisite agony....

The other St. Bernard screams in horror and loss. We are able to drag him into the circle of light before the shadows reach him. Then, realizing that we have no choices, no options, no way to defend ourselves against the oldest evil in the universe, the St. Bernard opens his flask and reveals all of our assorted painkillers from the surgeries, and urges us to kill ourselves before the Vashta Nerada can feed. The dog, like a fakir or yogi, talks to us about the serenity of the eternal, about release from pain and fear and material want, as we choke down mass quantities of strong drugs. He tells us that he will guard us while we move along to the next existence and will hold our bodies inviolate.

J and B are the first to die; I hear their breath growing ragged and smell their bodies release as they convulse into a frothing, painful nonexistence. But, even though my breath slows to nothing, my heart feebly pumps...fighting for life even when all is hopeless. As darkness descends, and my muscles are deadened, I see the shadows come, first for my dog, then for me...I cannot move, I can barely breathe, I scream inside my mind in pain, and fear, and the void that stares at me...

Then the shadows fall.

This picture is so much win....


* I dare you to find more win than this...in any picture...ever.

Thursday Sexy as all Hell: Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica - I Don't Care Feat. Adam Gontier

Apocalyptica|MySpace Music Videos
Finland's Apocalyptica, a four piece all-cello band, who gained renowned for playing cello versions of Metallica tunes. This is an original tune. Riffy, lovely song, gorgeous women (and, hell, men for that matter, so I'm told), and if there is one video that just screams "sexy as all hell", it's this one.


A moment of seriousness, here: Rule of Law Edition

I rarely make much of the law, lawyering, or the manner in which I attempt to make a living. However, sometimes, those moments strike me, and now is such a moment. Let me tell you what I'm thinking, and why.

Not as lame as you think...

The rule of law begins with those passionate enough to believe in its ideals. Those ideals are simple: That everyone -no matter their station, status, wealth, race, age, sex, ethnicity, or origin- deserves to have the merits of their dispute viewed with the impartial eye of principles that never yield. That is the nature of justice: All come before the  law and lay the truth before the principled intelligence and accumulated wisdom of those who have come before. These are not lessons learned in a decade, or lifetime.

These ideas arrive to us --in the West, at least-- from Thales, who --in 620 BCE, in the present-day Turkish coast of Miletus- had an idea...that there are no Gods and no Masters beyond that which we call Reason. They arrive to us from the Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian who, in 1790 BCE, decided that all persons, no matter how mean their station, had the right to know what actions were acceptable, and which were proscribed. They arrive to us from the Twelve Tables of the Romans; that exquisite system of law which sets forth general precepts, then adds interpretations of maxims we now take for granted.

Actually, a thing of beauty...

What is it we take for granted? How about the right to travel freely, and safely, through lands we may not even lay claim to...the modern roadway and easement ring true "A property owner must a build a road if there is a right-of-way; if they become dilapidated, passersby can drive their beasts where ever they want." How about the concept of notice, that is, a person must know why they are being hauled into court? "When parties have made an agreement, announce it. If they don't agree, they shall state their case in the Forum before noon. They shall plead together in person. After noon, let the judge pronounce. If both are present, the case shall end at sunset." What about the law as a peaceful means to settling injuries which do not rise to crimes? "If one has maimed another and does not buy his peace, let there be retaliation in kind."

These principles come to us from jurists; those who preside over the law courts and resolve disputes without the shedding of blood. Men who are so principled that it puts you and I, indeed most counselors, to shame. Jurists like Cicero who rightly stated, "According to the law of nature it is only fair that no one should become richer through damages and injuries suffered by another." This is the foundation for modern tort law. What about this one? "Knowledge which is divorced from justice, may be called cunning rather than wisdom." or "Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense." These latter quotes are the foundation of modern equity, and are embodied in the Justinian Code: Primum non nocere...First, do no harm.

Not too shabby a concept of justice for an imperator.

They come to us, in an expanded --and expansive-- version, from the Magna Carta which, in Clause 38, ended the uncertainty of the criminal process, and apprised citizens of the fact that it required more than someone's say to be arrested. And they come to us in Clause 40, which requires speedy justice without delay and without the selling of justice. Do any of those sound familiar? They should...they are the 6th Amendment to the Constitution. They come to us from the Icelandic Althing...the first truly national system of Parliament established in 1281 to establish laws, then --incorporating Babylonian and Roman law-- required a reading of them to the citizens. 

These principles come to us from the Enlightenment, and its documents and founders: Those brave souls who, like Thales before them, declared that Providence is not the way, but merely one way...The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Common Sense, Thomas Paine, Renee Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison...

These reasons, and many many more, are why I love the law, but they all really boil down to one simple sentence: I love the law, and live the law, so that free people, with free minds, can live free lives.

Today's Hot Nerds: Trekkie Girls

Unsurprisingly...this is the hardest lot of Fan Grrrls to find hot pics for. Nevertheless, there are some diamonds amongst the fields and fields of lifeless carbon.

Let's start with the truism....then move to the improbable....

I don't believe for one second that these are actual Trekkies. And now, moving to the impossible.

Why yes, something did just beam up, so to speak.


Bastard Child of Flowbee: The Fleshlight (with Mocha Butt Insert)

I was having lunch with the MonekyGirl today, going through some pics of fail, etc. Otherwise, having a pleasant time, when what should appear on "Emails From Crazy People"....

Bad form...bad form. 

For those of you not privy to a Fleshlight, it is (to use one of the MonkeyGirl's phrases) a "male pleasuring device, shaped quite literally like a flashlight. The only difference is that the end does not illuminate with a bulb, rather, the battery power instead vibrates pink latex shaped like a woman's hinter regions.

Don't look into the light...

 This contraception straight outta' hell is essentially a pocket p******. The same things they've been selling for decades. Apparently, it's just as comfortable as one of the original models, only it's smaller, tighter, more prone to causing chafing and staff infections (intentional pun there, guys),  and is, by all intents and purposes, exactly what it looks like: A piece of vaginal-shaped rubber stuffed into a flashlight casing. Cost? $69.00

Apparently, the Fleshlight comes in many varieties, shaped like the vaginas of prominent porn actresses. However, my favorite is the "Mocha Butt Fleshlight"

What ever happened to a robust imagination?

To those wanting a little backside action though, I could scarcely envision how horrific that would feel to the Lil' Bishop. According to Harry Palms, at The Fleshlight Sucks, the experience of the regularly ole' girlie model is not exactly one I'd recommend to young gents setting sail aboard the U.S.S. Pleasure Barge. (edited because I like you all).

My d*** is by no means huge, but it's also not tiny. The first time I used the Fleshlight, I lubed myself up pretty well, and I also lubed up the FL. Now, maybe it was the fact that I left the back "suction cap" on, or maybe it was because I wasn't dripping with lube, but not only was entry into this thing difficult, but it also hurt like hell. This suction cap, incidentally, is supposed to control how much air escapes (or doesn't escape) to create a "more intense" sensation. In my case, that meant a "more intense" sensation of PAIN.
I had the suction cap halfway on when I first managed to cram my c*** into this thing, and upon withdrawing fully, that suction "sensation" felt like someone stabbed me in the d***hole with a lit match. Holy fucking hell, that didn't feel good.

Well, that certainly sounds erotic.
Given that it burns, chafes, is expensive as all hell, can be readily discovered, and (if you're that creepy) inadvertently shared by your pervy brother, my overall advice to the young man above? It's the exact same advice I gave my little brother when he got out of the Army toting the old horrifying version...

About $6...you can thank me later...and you can always share without being creepy.

Wednesday Girls Just Wanna' Have Fun: Arch Enemy

Angela Gossow: Breaking metal's glass ceiling

When you think of metal bands, you undoubtedly think of guys with long, sweaty hair, fierce visages and gutteral screaming. Women, unless they are in the orchestral outfits (After Forever, Epica) etc, are relegated to back-benching. That does not have to be the case, as the lovely frau Angela Gossow of Sweden's Arch Enemy proves. Hers is not some schtick, or gimmick: She has genuine growly-range, and an identifiable vocal style. Let's hear it for the ladies, shall we....

All this, and she'll totally knife you to boot.


Tuesday isn't that bad: Piccolo Metal

What does a 17-21 peice orchestra and metal band sound like live in Mexico? One with incredibly complex lyrics on the auto de fe and the life of Gailileo? Like this. I have to see these guys before I die.

And remember don't, don't trust people who say that violins, three sopranos and a piccolo can't be hardcore, dammit.

Et Tu Spider?

In a world of increasing pussification, comes this latest debasing, emasculating news from the animal kingdom. Not content to spin webs, trap, enervate with all manners of toxins, and then lap up the delicious remnants, a group of pansy spiders in Mexico and Argentina have decided to go veggie on us.

Why should this spider try to steal food from an ant? The ant is food.

Vegetarian spiders. WTF?! More unnerving is that these spiders don't even try to suckle the juices out. No, just like the dirty hippies of the arachnid realm they are, these spiders first steal their fruit from ants, the eat it whole...in little pansy spider bites. Pitiful story here.

Take a hint from this nasty guy...this is a real spider, and...


And this is what real spiders do. They bite flesh...not apples.

The only thing interesting about soccer: Hooligans

I don't remember who said it, but someone dubbed soccer (futbol to those who hate our freedoms) as "communist kickball. There are a few interesting things about the social phenomenon though. Chief among them is the sanctioned violence that occurs between supporters of teams playing a maddeningly dull game. Fortunately, such European sophistication has given us some great video. The first one, a Dutch short film, is incredibly cool

Red v. Green

Welsh hooligans badly outnumbered by Russian hooligans.

Scottish hooligans (Dundee v. Hibernians)

Roma v. Milan

Arsenal/Leeds v. Galatasaray (Turkey). Much taunting of manhood, religion, nationality in this one kids.

Finally, this is about the funniest damned video I've seen all week...Ninja getting his ass kicked by a futbol hool. (embed disabled)


Tuesday: Tuesday's Gone

As terrible as today has been, I can't imagine that Tuesday will be any better. Tuesday's Gone.

Today's Hot Nerd: HTML for your viewing pleasure

From NexWare, an Internet supply company, comes this little gem. We have to do something about their script, though...saggy they ain't, and certainly not nasty.

Can you close a tag that far down? And, fellas, you'd think any cleavage would be welcome cleavage if you're a script monkey.


This guy doesn't think they're saggy and nasty. From 108 Red Stitches.

Where is Darwin When You Need Him: Juggalos

Is this couple preparing to go to an Insane Clown Posse concert? Nooooo...

Among the oddest phenomena of lower-middle class, White America, is the Juggalo. Defined helpfully by the Urban Dictionary as

Confused individuals that are a product of the break down of the white middle class/lower class family, hero worship, and the emasculatory expectations of society. Usually characterized as indolent, witless, overly self-glorifying, and speak a lot of shit about anyone but are never concerned about backing it up because they won't. All these traits are an attempt for a cohesive group structure that accepts them and will tolerate their unfounded angst/effeminate banter or actions. A purely American occurance that is a scourge on par with Chavs and Wiggers.
Or, my favorite,

A piece of shit that's so obscure it can't be flushed.

For anyone not privy to this "fascinating" group people that paint their faces like clowns a la their retarded heroes Insane Clown Posse, worship Faygo, and think that there is a greater religion know as gathering of the "Dark Carnival", then I present to you the following Myspace profile of a "Juggalette" (feminine form, natch). All-cap, naturally, to emphasize the universal angst and hardness of the carnie life.


Predictably, she and her Juggalo bred. With devastating results....

 I have to think the infant would not have condoned running Hatchet Men as its final reward.

I do not like dead children. Nothing on this earth is more horrifying than the death of a child or a child in pain. But, I look at the "parents" here, and think to myself, "Really, what kind of existence were they setting this kid up for?" So, when I ask that Darwin take over, it really should have been one branch back in the ole gene pool...not this kid.

Monday Doom: Candlemass Edition

Bewitched, by Candlemass. Perfect for a grim beginning to the week. Happy Monday.


Sunday Death Metal: Polska Double-Header

Trauma's excellent Elegy of Doom. As you can imagine, it might fuck you up a wee bit to grow up in the ashes of the 3rd Reich, under a stultifying brand of Catholicism and as an Eastern Bloc post-Soviet nation.

And, bar none, one of the finest Black Metal bands around...Behemoth. No one growls like Nergal. And a damned fine, and pretty video...in a very dark sort of way.

your Country is Fucked: Poland

Not the best neighbors

Witają Polska, welcome to Poland. This land of the northern Slavs is a very old one, with a very concrete history and cultural identity. Unfortunately, most of that history and identity is that of the nation serving as a buffer between competing empires. Poland is particuarly interesting in that in the 10th Century, when most of Northern Europe was still toasting to Woden in wooden feasting halls, Poland was forming its own Papal empire. And, to date, 90% of Poland's 39 million citizens are Roman Catholic.

There are several stereotypes about the Poles; the obvious being that they are unintelligent or unlettered. However, one of the boons of setting up a stable government a millenia ago was the benefit of education through the Church. And, in the 12th Century, while the rest of Europe was still drinking corpse water and sleeping with fleas, Poland was working on creating a universal system of education for its citizens.

Also, one of the unnoticed (today) benefits of a highly educated peasant class was that the Black Death did not ravage the population as it did in the "civilized" areas like London, Vienna and Paris.

Nah, me and the fellas are going to skip over Warsaw and head to Flanders.

That commitment to early education is reflected today as the nation's population boasts a literacy rate that would make Castro envious: 99.8%.

Polish girl...smarter than you, lazy Yankee.

Of course, this stereotype was largely born during WWII when Germany invaded the country, as it had on so many previous occasions. This time, Herr Hitler concocted scenes of atrocities being perpetuated against Germans living in Gdansk, on the Western border of Poland. Moreover according to Hitler, Gdansk (Danzig) always was German and wanted to remain German.

Despite what you thought you learned in your shitty American public schools, the German invasion of Poland did not initiate as a heated debate over this Danzig.

Then you know what happened. The elite Polish Cavalry, long renowned as one of the finest in world history, decided it would be a good idea to try to stymy the panzer divisions on horseback. That's right, the Blitzkrieg began as rolling tanks smashing the ponies.

Yes, you read that right...the Poles tried to stop this...

With this

And that is pretty much what Poland has faced for the past 300 years...one empire seizing it, then using it as a dumping ground, arms depot, concentration camp and/or incenerator. The Russians did it, the Germans did it, the French did, the Austrians did it. Hell, at the end of WWI, even America did it. And, being wedged between eternal enemies Germany and Russia, will take a toll on the population; even among Poland's renowned beautiful women...

Polish hottie at age 25....

Same Polish Hottie at age 30.

As to be expected from a nation that -merely 20 years ago- was a Soviet satellite with a centralized economy in tatters, Poland's transition to a market economy is still a bit wobbly. Among its exports (and Poland is a hotbed of industrialization) is one of the world's largest sources of pollution. This is not helped by an industrial infrastructure that is still a wreck. The nation's roads and bridges, long-ignored by Russia, are dubbed affectionately as "death ribbons".  Poland is also fucked in that its hillsides -and little-policed backroads- apparently make great places to smuggle illegal aliens, traffick in sex workers, and import heroin from the East to a drug-starved Western Europe. Growing pains are to be expected, but Poland has been pretty resilient, and long-term success as part of the EU should only help them along....

Poland: We promise we're sorta' kinda' European.