Archive for March, 2003

Famous Belgians

Monday, March 31st, 2003

Never one to resist a challenge, even when it was not directed at me. Even when I read about it in the comments page of somebody else’s site… Ahem, anyway, the challenge laid down by Joe at it always rains in Wales was to name 10 famous Belgians. Here’s the exchange:

that’s harsh …. naming 10 famous belgians off the top of your head really isn’t that difficult you know …
but just don’t, whatever you do, marry one.
03.02.03 @ 07:02:34

Go on then, I dare you!
08.02.03 @ 00:47:20

Now one of the few benefits of living five years in Belgium is that I am more aware than your average joe (no pun intended) of quite a few well-known Belgians. I wouldn’t go so far as to say “famous”, but then again it depends on your definition. So here’s my list:
René Magritte
Hieronymus Bosch
Audrey Hepburn
Plastic Bertrand
Georges Simenon
Liz Claiborne
Jacques Brel
Eddie Merckx

Now it’s over to you. Have I missed anyone? Any dispute over this list of ten?

Update: You might like to visit Famous Belgians for a longer list list (currently at 259).

CNN/Reuters News

Monday, March 31st, 2003

Reports have filtered out early this morning that US forces have swooped on an Iraqi Primary School and detained 6th Grade teacher Mohammed Al-Hazar. Sources indicate that, advice when arrested, sickness Al-Hazar was in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square and a calculator. US President George W Bush argued that this was clear and overwhelming evidence that Iraq indeed possessed weapons of maths instruction.

Imagine being loved this much

Monday, March 31st, 2003

I’ve been reading the tributes to writer Amanda Davis who died recently. Thanks to rabbitblog for the link. And making me think.

More from Moore

Monday, March 31st, 2003

He’s now working on a documentary investigating “the murky relationship” between former US president George Bush senior, and the family of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Michael Moore, whose last documentary film, Bowling for Columbine, won an Oscar, has been given the go-ahead to shoot his next film “Fahrenheit 911”. Mel Gibson’s company Icon is putting up the cash for the movie, which concentrates on the US government’s past links with the family of Osama Bin Laden.


Groucho Marx

Monday, March 31st, 2003

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog, it’s probably too dark to read.

– Groucho Marx

If this is “dumbing down”

Sunday, March 30th, 2003

Then more please!

Photo of Andrew Graham Dixon with magnifying glass, behind him a detail from Vermeer's painting 'Girl with a pearl earring'

There was a wonderful programme on the BBC last night, The Madness of Vermeer.

The presenter (Andrew Graham Dixon) really loves Vermeer’s paintings and it showed in his presentation of the man (and his family) behind the paintings. I’ve just been googling for more information on Vermeer’s grandparents and the curator of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (who rejoices in the wonderful name of Toco Dibbits) when I came across Jonathan Janson who paints pictures like this and this:

Painting by Jonathan Janson in the style of Vermeer but girl holds a cell phone

Now all we need is a similar programme about Pieter de Hooch.

Ebay in the news

Sunday, March 30th, 2003

This would be funny if it wasn’t so terribly sad.

Last Belgian story of the day (honest)

Saturday, March 29th, 2003

From Ananova comes this:

Belgian drink-driver found ‘grazing’

A Belgian drink-driver was found eating grass in a field. He told a judge that he was fond of its taste.
Witnesses said they saw Jurgen Tersago, from Aalst, crawl out of his car on his hands and knees.
He crawled into a field, in Berlare, and began eating the grass. When police arrived he was still on his knees and grunting like a pig.
Police took him to hospital where tests revealed he was over the drink-drive limit, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
In court, Tersago told the judge: “I like eating grass, especially when I’m drunk. It tastes like spinach.”
He was fined $680 and banned from driving for 45 days.

You have been warned

Saturday, March 29th, 2003

If you’re planning a trip to Belgium in the near future you might want to avoid the town of Kruibeke, south of Antwerp. The mayor, bless him, has set up a Department of Tenderness to “encourage people to be nicer to each other”.
Kruibeke mayor Antoine Denert, who allocates civic duties, said he would make it his personal responsibility. “People don’t cuddle anymore and that’s the reason why there are so many conflicts,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I will set an example and start in my own village by caressing, cuddling and kissing as many people as possible.”
People of Kruibeke – you have been warned…

‘Time-Traveler’ busted for insider trading

Saturday, March 29th, 2003

Thanks to Harry Stone for this excellent story:

NEW YORK — Federal investigators have arrested an enigmatic Wall Street wiz on insider-trading charges — and incredibly, he claims to be a time-traveler from the year 2256!

Sources at the Security and Exchange Commission confirm that 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin offered the bizarre explanation for his uncanny success in the stock market after being led off in handcuffs on January 28.

“We don’t believe this guy’s story — he’s either a lunatic or a pathological liar,” says an SEC insider.

“But the fact is, with an initial investment of only $800, in two weeks’ time he had a portfolio valued at over $350 million. Every trade he made capitalized on unexpected business developments, which simply can’t be pure luck. The only way he could pull it off is with illegal inside information. He’s going to sit in a jail cell on Rikers Island until he agrees to give up his sources.”

The past year of nose-diving stock prices has left most investors crying in their beer. So when Carlssin made a flurry of 126 high-risk trades and came out the winner every time, it raised the eyebrows of Wall Street watchdogs.

“If a company’s stock rose due to a merger or technological breakthrough that was supposed to be secret, Mr. Carlssin somehow knew about it in advance,” says the SEC source close to the hush-hush, ongoing investigation.

When investigators hauled Carlssin in for questioning, they got more than they bargained for: A mind-boggling four-hour confession.

Carlssin declared that he had traveled back in time from over 200 years in the future, when it is common knowledge that our era experienced one of the worst stock plunges in history. Yet anyone armed with knowledge of the handful of stocks destined to go through the roof could make a fortune.

“It was just too tempting to resist,” Carlssin allegedly said in his videotaped confession. “I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn’t look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment.”

In a bid for leniency, Carlssin has reportedly offered to divulge “historical facts” such as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and a cure for AIDS.

All he wants is to be allowed to return to the future in his “time craft.”

However, he refuses to reveal the location of the machine or discuss how it works, supposedly out of fear the technology could “fall into the wrong hands.”

Officials are quite confident the “time-traveler’s” claims are bogus. Yet the SEC source admits, “No one can find any record of any Andrew Carlssin existing anywhere before December 2002.”

So who do you think will take the lead role when Hollywood snaps up the movie rights? Kevin Spacey’s already done K-Pax so…

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