BOOK: "Micro Nations," by John Ryan et al. (Lonely Planet, $14.99)
TARGET AUDIENCE: Tongue-in-cheek rebels and patriots
It sounds like an idea hatched late Saturday night in the freshman dorm by perpetually dateless guys: "Let's start our own country, man, with our own flag and postage stamps . . . " But some really have done it (with varying degrees of seriousness).
Like when the feds blocked U.S. 1 in Florida City, causing citizens of the Keys to secede and declare themselves the Conch Republic. The Maritime Republic of Eastport was an Annapolis neighborhood until a bridge closure threatened local businesses. (Its Declaration of Independence states: "All men and women are created equal, as evidenced by the fact that . . . they all wear the same beat-up deck shoes.") Segway scooter inventor Dean Kamen simply bought his country, an island off Connecticut, and called it the Kingdom of North Dumpling Island (official currency: the dumpling).
There are dozens of such stories here, wryly presented in a guidebook format. (Incidentally, as a revenue venture, issuing postage stamps rarely works.) -- Jerry V. Haines