« RosarioSleeping Is Giving In »

The Second World

The defining characteristic of a Second World country is the non-absorbent napkin.

From Moscow to Valparaiso, if your café napkin is a square of waxed paper that takes grease from your lips and spreads it to the rest of your face, you can be certain of encountering the whole constellation of other traits common to those industrialized countries where people make less than $20,000 a year (specifically: clean but strong-tasting running water, the Ford Fiesta or its local equivalent, new trains on old tracks, pavement as an ongoing process rather than an accomplished fact, metal buckets on dirty ropes, dogs of uncertain provenance, merchants hosing down their section of sidewalk, manhole covers left open, sixty-eight satellite dishes on one roof, cheap plastic washing machines that fit in a bathtub, paper currency that rapidly gets filthy, a complete absence of vending machines, streets that don't drain, iron fences around suburban homes, good but watery beer, kiosks full of cheap plastic toys, sidewalks with little square lakes where tiles are missing, affordable cigarettes, escalators with wooden steps, the cinder block as the unit of construction, toilet attendants who sell grey toilet paper by the square and receive tips in a little plate, train stations and theatres with fifty glass doors but only one of them open, rectangular buses that belch black smoke, elevators with little inner doors that have to be closed by hand, the complete inability to ever make change).

« RosarioSleeping Is Giving In »

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

2020 Mar Apr Jun Aug Sep Oct
2019 May Jun Jul Aug Dec
2018 Oct Nov Dec
2017 Feb Sep
2016 May Oct
2015 May Jul Nov
2014 Jul Aug
2013 Feb Dec
2012 Feb Sep Nov Dec
2011 Aug
2010 Mar May Jun Jul
2009 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
2008 Jan Apr May Aug Nov
2007 Jan Mar Apr May Jul Dec
2006 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
2005 Jan Feb Mar Apr Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2004 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Oct Nov Dec
2003 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2002 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Your Host

Maciej Cegłowski


Please ask permission before reprinting full-text posts or I will crush you.