Friday, March 30, 2018

A Spirited Dispute

Thought for the day:  Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. [Benjamin Franklin]

[image courtesy of Seniorark]
That ol' Ben Franklin was a smart dude. No doubt, we should all wrestle our vices into submission, and being friends with our neighbors is undoubtedly a good idea, but somehow, I don't think most men would appreciate their ladies looking for a better man each year...

But neighbors... some neighbors make it really hard to get along, don't they? The loud inconsiderate ones who party into the wee hours of the morning, (Without inviting YOU!) the ones who blithely allow (Nay... encourage!) their dogs to evacuate on your lawn every day, the ones who borrow, borrow, borrow and never ever return. You know the kind. Robert Frost told us Good fences make good neighbors, but some people are so belligerent and difficult to get along with, they find a way to try our patience, fence or no fence.

And then... consider some of our world-wide neighbors. In far too many cases, inane disputes between countries have led to wars. And then... there's Canada.

Canadians are extraordinarily tolerant and polite. I can't imagine our neighbors to the north going to war for a frivolous reason. I mean... just look at how they protest:


Q. How do you get a Canadian to apologize?
A. Step on his foot.

Q. How many Canadians does it take to change a light bulb?
A. None. They don't change light bulbs; they accept them just the way they are

So would it surprise you to know that Canada and Denmark have been at odds for decades?

[image courtesy of Toubletap/Wikipedia]
What's their bone of contention, you ask?

Um, a rock.

Yeah, a rock... a BIG rock, but pretty much a rock, nonetheless.

Its name is Hans Island, and it's an uninhabited rock about half a mile in diameter and completely devoid of vegetation. It lies in the middle of Nares Strait, which separates some Canadian islands from Greenland, which, of course, belongs to Denmark.

The problem is, that strait is approximately twenty miles wide at its widest, and according to international law, any country can claim any territories within twelve miles of their shores. So... both Canada and Denmark claim this frigid hunk of Arctic rock as their own.

[wikimedia]
In 1973, the two countries signed a treaty to create a boundary between their territories, but the folks who drew the imaginary line down the middle of the strait kinda chickened out when they encountered the rock right in the center. They hopped over it without assigning ownership to either country.

So... both countries claim it. How do these two countries fight their battle over this rocky island?

With great spirits and a touch of humor.

[Image courtesy of Royal Danish Navy, 2002]
From time to time, the navies from each of these countries pay a visit to this barren chunk of rock.

When the Danes visit, they hoist their flag and erect a sign saying, Welcome to this Danish island.

And... they bury a fine bottle of Danish schnapps.







[Image courtesy of NY Times/Wikimedia]



And when the Canadians visit, they remove the Danish flag and hoist a Canadian one. They also exchange the sign for one that reads, Welcome to Canada... and they dig up the schnapps and replace it with a nice bottle of Canadian Club whiskey.

It's rather nice to hear about a dispute being handled with firewater instead of firepower, isn't it? These guys exchange shots... but it's the kind that warm a man's heart on a frigid Arctic day.

There's an old Danish proverb that says, No one is rich enough to do without a neighbor. I'd say these two countries take this to heart. These fellow NATO members continue to be good neighbors, in spite of a silly little dispute over a rock. Somehow, if oil should suddenly be found at this location, I have a feeling these countries will work that out amicably, too. After all, that's what friends do.




                                Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


69 comments:

  1. I like the story about the island! I am blessed here with good neighbours - quiet, friendly and helpful, and that's worth a lot. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

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    1. I'm glad you liked the story. :)

      You're right. Good neighbors are worth a LOT. You have a wonderful weekend, too. Hugs back atcha.

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  2. Smiling at a territorial dispute handled in such a polite way.
    And mourning the loss of a very good neighbour this week. He will be missed.

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    1. Me, too. I wish all countries could resolved their disputes that way.

      I'm so sorry for your loss. A very good neighbor feels like family.

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  3. It's lucky that neither of those two peaceful countries have Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister; she would have sent an invasion fleet against the other side!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s verdant Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. HA! Methinks you exaggerate. :)

      Now, Trump, on the other hand...

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  4. Very silly but at least they are having fun with their fight over the rock.

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    1. We could use a little more silliness in the world. :) People and countries tend to take themselves too seriously these days.

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  5. lol never knew we were in such a dispute over a rock. Sure the right way to dispute though, having fun with it and not taking out the missiles against each other.

    Some neighbors are super duper annoying though. Especially in apartment buildings.

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    1. Yep, it's definitely the best way to wage a "war."

      Having a bad neighbor in an apartment building would be the worst! Something about those thin walls...

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  6. trading booze...that'll work. One man's ceiling is another man's floor - a good Paul Simon song to listen to in regards to neighbors. Or watch the movie Neighbors - yikes, even if it is with Zac Epron's shirt off a lot.
    Happy Good Friday, neighbor from another blog

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    1. Trading booze is a clever way for those sailors to keep their spirits up in that cold climate.

      Happy Good Friday to you, too. Have a great weekend. (Since Easter is also April Fool's Day this year, I wonder what kind of "treats" the bunny will leave...)

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  7. We used to go to Florida every summer and most of the people we met were Canadians. They were all friendly and nice people. It is good that we have such rock solid good neighbors to our north.

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    1. We've met a lot of Canadians in Florida, too. They were also really easy to spot. They'd be the ones basking in the sunshine and splashing in the water when the rest of us were bundled up in jackets and long pants. :)

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  8. It sounds like they actually did find a way to be good neighbors. It would be wonderful if we all could. Thankfully I do have good neighbors here who are respectful of others. We are so close by to one another it would be terrible if they were not. I have come to appreciate fences but none are allowed here. Ben Franklin is a favorite of mine and he had a lot of wisdom to impart to others for sure. May we all be better men and women.

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    1. I grew up in a row home, where the walls were paper-thin and we had a lot of people living in very close proximity. No air-conditioning, either, for the most part, so people hung out on their porches on summer evenings. Neighbors were more than neighbors back then. They were friends.

      We have no complaints about our neighbors now, either, but they don't stay around very long. It seems like most people in our neighborhood move away after a year or two. We've been here since '71 and see no reason to leave. Other people might call the houses in our area "starter homes," but we just call it "home." :)

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  9. What a great story! I had no idea. The Canadian riot sign is classic. :D

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed hearing about the story.

      Ya gotta love that kind of riot!

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  10. Maybe one year they could switch it up to maple syrup and chocolate.

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    1. HA! Sounds like a good plan, but those things wouldn't warm their innards nearly as well. :)

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  11. Hi Susan - what a great post ... and yes the Canadians are empathetic and polite - and I loved this story ... take care and have a fun Easter with friends and family - though that topiary piece is great fun ... but not to see all the time!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the story.

      You have a wonderful Easter, too. Cheers!

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  12. Great post I was left thinking that maybe this was the inspiration behind Simon and Garfunkel's monster hit, "I Am a Rock". :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Thanks. HA! Nice thought.

      Greetings back atcha.

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  13. That is the kind of dispute I could throw myself into without regret. Exchanging antifreeze is a good idea.

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  14. I think their proposed 'solution' is a HOOT! I wonder if there's not a lengthy list of chaps volunteering to change the colors. :)

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    1. HA! Me, too!

      You're probably right about the list of volunteers hankering to raise the flag... and a wee glass. :)

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  15. First of all I love your heading photos. Beautiful.
    Love the Danish and Canadian Battle of the Rock.
    Great post today.

    Happy Easter
    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Isn't that picture gorgeous? I got it from Morguefile, and it's of the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney, Australia. It seemed to fit the post. :)

      Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Happy Easter to you, too. Cheers!

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  16. Now that is a very civilized way to conduct a dispute :)

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    1. Why, yes it is! Me, hoisting mug of tea: "To civility!"

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  17. I have no doubt that someday there will be a Walmart on Hans Island - - with employees and customers from Canada and Denmark.

    As for the subject of neighbors -
    I had so many neighbors from Hell in Texas, that when I moved to Tennessee I vowed that I never wanted to see another neighbor again. Life in the wilderness has a multitude of inconveniences, but I'll take it. It beats being trapped in the midst of "civilization".

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    1. HA! Nah, no Walmarts allowed. No electricity or plumbing. :)

      Hellish neighbors can sour you on "civilization", but good neighbors are heavenly.

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  18. It's a very pretty rock. I think I'll take it home and (use it as a paperweight) plonk it in my garden. That'll solve the ownership problems.

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    1. HA! The perfect solution! You go, girl! Oh, wait! Maybe I should say: You rock!

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  19. What a briliant story, Susan. Thanks for sharing that.

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  20. ... not so sure whether the Canadian politeness goes for everyone, friend sue ... I have lived in the country for 30 years and certainly received and given helpfulness and kindness and politeness, galore ... for 5 years now I lived and worked in the city and hear just as much ... s..t and f..k language here in Canada then in any other given country/ city I've been to ... anyway ... smiles ... hmmm? ... Love, cat.

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    1. I reckon you can find the sweet and the not-so-sweet in every country of the world. Part of life. But I know which side YOU fall on. :)

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  21. I'll take Canadians or Danes for neighbors any time! The Canadian protest signs reminded me of the movie "Canadian Bacon." If you haven't seen it, you should. It's your kind of humor!

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    1. No, I haven't seen that movie. I'll keep my eyes out for it. Thanks!

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  22. Hahaha! How very polite of them. Cute story. Thanks for sharing it. Hope you have a Happy Easter!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. :)

      Happy Easter to you, too!

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  23. Funny story, thanks for sharing! Wishing you a Happy Easter and hoping you've had a wonderful weekend so far!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. We had lovely Easter. I hope you did, too. :)

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  24. I love those Canadian signs! Canadians are so laid back. Wish I could be more like them at times.

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  25. I've read about this. Do they still do this???

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    1. As far as I know, they do. I don't know how often, though.

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  26. Loving those manners! Make fun not war :-) x

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    1. Me, too! We could use a lot more good manners and civility in the world. And making fun is definitely more... um, fun... :)

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  27. What a fun story! You put a smile on my face to start my day.

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    1. Good! I hope you keep smiling all day. (People will wonder what you're up to...)

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  28. What a relationship! Canadians and Danes! Schnapps and Whiskey! Good times.

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    1. Yeah, too bad more countries don't handle their differences like that. There'd be a lot more good times in the world. :)

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  29. Wonderful story - well, not a story, but you know what I mean. I had never heard of Hans Island, but I will mention this to the chaps in the pub because it's such a fabulous lesson in international relationships. Mind you, the old Danes used to be a rowdy lot, coming over here pillaging, upsetting people and so forth; they're far too busy selling Lego and Lurpak these days.

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    1. I think it's a fabulous lesson in international relationships, too. Settling differences amicably like this... or over a pint or two in the pub... is the way to go.

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  30. When you said they buried the hooch I was about to head to Hans Island but then you said it get dug up. Oh well, I had visions of a free drink or two. Fun post.

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    1. HA! I think I'd rather head to the package goods store than to an Arctic slab of rock. :)

      Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  31. Great, funny, interesting post. Connecting to you via Hilary's I post.

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    1. Thanks, Kim. Thanks for stopping by. Any pal of Hilary's is a pal of mine. :)

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  32. What a fabulous story. You've started off my day with a happy, peaceful vibe. :-)

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    1. Thanks. That's always the best way to start a day. (And end it, too!)

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  33. So funny that they dispute over a rock. But I like the way they handle. I'll take those "shots" any day over ones from fire arms.

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