Just when you think the whole #%%## world has completely lost its sense of humor, this:

Sep 18th, 2007 | BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at this week was an unusual item: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)."

The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country's political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians.

"I wanted to attract attention," said Gerrit Six, the teacher and former journalist who posted the ad. "You almost have to throw rock through a window to get attention for Belgium."

Six placed the advertisement on Saturday, offering free delivery, but pointing out that the country was coming secondhand and that potential buyers would have to take on over $300 billion (euro220 billion) in national debt.


Given that the only Belgians generally known outside the lowlands are the abominable (but crime-solving) Hercule Poirot and the even more abominable Maurice Maeterlinck (1862 - 1949) who, despite being a Nobel Laureate (mostly for his 1901 book Life of a Bee, plagiarized an entire book(The Soul of the White Ant -- i.e., termites -- 1928) from Eugene Marais (1871 - 1936), a South African middle-school teacher, poet, and scientist, renamed it The Life of the White Ant (1926), and got away with it since the original was written in Afrikaans, close enough to Flemish to be intelligible to Maeterlinck, but far enough away from other languages to insure the relative obscurity of the original. Marais, who also wrote the amazingly wonderful The Soul of the Ape. about his companionship with a pack of baboons for the first four years after the end of the Boer War (anticipating later work by Leakey and Dart on human evolution). Marais considered suing him, but a middle-school South African vs a Nobel Laureate? He opted instead for morphine and, ultimately, suicide.

So, after this digression, it's wonderful to realize that some Belgians have arelatively puckish sense of humor. Thank you Mr. Six.


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