“O long may it wave”

July 4th, 2016

US Flag waving on pole.

Yes, yes. Today is Independence Day here in the United States. Many have forgotten that this is more than national BBQ and Big Noises Day. But there is one emblem that reminds us of the importance of this day: our flag.

Our friends at Dictionary.com have a very nice blog about our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, and they give all the lyrics to ALL the verses of that song. These in particular popped out at us:

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave

Nice sentiments. But the true mettle of a people is not in its symbols, but in its deeds. Be a good citizen.

Also of note in a quick trip around the ‘hood, were a few neighbors’ good intentions. Some examples:

 

US Flag wrapped on roofUS Flag wrapped around poleNice US Flag wrapped

Which way do flags?

January 29th, 2016

Flags of the Arab world

Recently stumbled upon a blog from The Economist, posted April 1st, 2015. Still pertinent, with an interesting vexillogical slant: “Notably, no actor [country] in the region is offering a completely new flag …”.

Along those line, I recently read that flags with Arabic writing on them (or, presumably, any script written from right to left?) should really have its hoisting edge on the right of the design so the script runs the same way the wind blows. Makes sense. Yet, in all the images I could find on the web for, say, the flags of Saudi Arabia or Iraq actually flying from a pole – not just the graphic, that’s just not so. They all appear to have the hoisting edge on the left, like every other flag. Hmmm.

Also, did you ever notice how many States of the United States have the name of the state on the flag?  Sometimes more that once! [We noticed as we were finally finishing up our project of having EVERY STATE NOW AVAILABLE AS A MINI PATCH. About a year-long project, so, yes, we’re bragging.] Here are a few examples:

Mini Patch of ArkansasMini Patch of IowaMini Patch of OregonMini Patch of Wisconsin

 

 

 

You can bet all their hoisting edges are on the left!

Moo Kay Holiday?

September 25th, 2015

Celebrated the Autumnal Equinox recently. Chatting with a Chinese friend today, I jokingly asked how his Yom Kippur and Eid went. He didn’t miss a beat and said he was looking forward to celebrating what sounded like the “Moo Kay Holiday”. Not wishing to sound too stupid, and not knowing the proper felicitation for that particular holiday, I wished him well and we exchanged goodbyes. Of course the frantic search began. First how to spell it? Mu Cai? Moo Ke?

Finally, after much trial and error, I discovered that he was referring to the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival where part of the celebration involves eating Moon Cakes.

And of course, there’s always sweet cakes at Yom Kippur, but did you ever notice the similarity between maamoul crumbly cookies eaten at Eid and moon cakes? Yum. It’s fall!

Maamoul

Maamoul

Mooncakes

Mooncakes

 

 

Coincidence?

 

 

But wait. There’s more! As an additional treat for the Mid-Autumn Festival, this Sunday, the 27th, there will be a Rare ‘Supermoon’ Lunar Eclipse. Happy munching!

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Flags Down Under!

August 30th, 2015

Have anything special planned for this week? How about a trip to the land of OZ?

Starting tomorrow, the International Congress of Vexillology (yes, there really is such an organization) is holding their 26th (yes, 26th!) annual event for flag nuts, like us, from all over. Unfortunately, registration closed a couple of weeks ago, but we just thought you’d like to know what’s up down under and perhaps put it on your calendar for next year.

Meanwhile, check out their informative website.

Did you know that Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most heavily populated city in Australia? Oh, you did? Well did you know that we offer a standard rectangle patch of New South Wales? No, of course not. It’s not yet on our website; but coming soon!

New South Wales

 

History, Music, and FLAGS!

July 31st, 2015

What a gift friends are! One recently gave us another flag (related) book, National Anthems for the United Nations and their Allies, copyright (get this) 1943, by The Boston Music Company. They’re still in business, but apparently this title is no longer in print. National Anthems of the United Nations and their AlliesSo to appreciate this, one needs to put oneself in the mind-set of the early WWII world. From the opening page:

Ardent and eternal as is the yearning for peace in all civilized nations, it is the perils confronted, the sufferings endured, the heroic sacrifices made in time of war which crystalize and intensify those feelings which human beings from time immemorial have termed, each in their own language, PATRIOTISM.

Thus it is that almost all National Anthems are martial songs. …

Goodness!. Well, enough of that for a while. Now to the bonus of this little gift: included in the book was a two-page foldout of flags, divided into “UNITED NATIONS” and “ASSOCIATED POWERS”. What a score. (Excuse the pun: score-anthems. Get it?)

Flags of Allies

The anthems in the book’s index are not quite so arranged, listing 31 anthems of “THE UNITED NATIONS” (we won’t list them here), followed by those of 16 “ASSOCIATED POWERS”. We will list them here as they are called out in this footnote in the index:

Free Denmark and Fighting France are officially at war with the Axis; Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have broken off diplomatic relations with Germany, and like the people of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Iran, Latvia, Liberia, and Lithuania, are actively assisting the United Nations.

The two countries that really caught our interest were Free Denmark and Fighting France (formerly known as Free France). Of the former, our usually reliable friends at WikipediA were virtually silent. But there was a boatload of information on Free France, including this little graphic of its flag with its Croix de Lorraine.Flag of Free France The flag shown on the foldout with the “rhomboid field” is actually the Free French naval jack and French naval honour jack. (More on that in the same Wiki article.)

As a last note (sorry), we glanced at the last page of anthems: Ethiopia. At the bottom, this footnote:

Wartime transportation difficulties made it impossible to  obtain from Ethiopia a copy of this Anthem in time to include it in the first edition. We are glad to be able to add it to this revised edition but technical printing problems compel us to place it on the last page instead of in it alphabetical position in the book.

Fascinating.

Flags and Dawn and Dusk?

June 30th, 2015
Micro Patch of Estonia

Micro Patch of Estonia
Approximate size
¾x1¼” (2×3.5cm)

Whilst doing a bit of research for one of our latest Micro Patches (Estonia – coming soon!), we stumbled upon a thought provoking tidbit:

“The flag atop Pikk Hermann Tower on Toompea hill in Tallinn is raised every morning at dawn, but not before seven o’clock; it is lowered at sunset, but not later than ten o’clock. The flags on other buildings are scheduled by local government codes.”

Well, naturally we were sidetracked into reading a bit about the Pikk Hermann Tower from a rather skimpy article from our friends at WikiPediA – for example that flag is only 95 metres (OK, yards) above sea level. Goodness, the photo credits are nearly as long as the article. Thank you, Ivar.

"Pikk Hermann" by Ivar Leidus - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 ee via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pikk_Hermann.jpg#/media/File:Pikk_Hermann.jpg

“Pikk Hermann” by Ivar Leidus – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 ee via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pikk_Hermann.jpg#/media/File:Pikk_Hermann.jpg

Waving flag of EstoniaBut it wasn’t really the information about the Estonian flag, beautiful as it is, that we found fascinating. We’d just never really thought about what time “dawn” and “dusk” were in those northern latitudes, the “Land of the Midnight Sun” – as regards to flag protocol. Really, in the summer time (hope you all enjoyed our recent Solstice), when the sun never sets up north, how would one know at what time to hoist ones flag? Or to retire it at a “non-sunset”?

Well, now the answer is simple: if the sun just isn’t going to set or rise, hoist it at 7AM and retire it at 10PM. On the other hand, in those darker months, when the sun never rises, the same rule holds: up at 7, down at 10 – even in the dark, we suppose. Gosh. Hope they’re well lit. (Did you know we offered flag lighting systems?)

We haven’t yet researched it, but assume similar protocol exists for Scandinavian and other northern countries. Make sense?

Hmmm. Wonder if there’s a similar issue in the far southern climes, like the tip of Argentina or Antartica. Don’t hear much about that, do we?

Flag Daze

May 31st, 2015

OK. It’s most likely summer-ish somewhere in the world at any given time. Here, in the northern hemisphere it’s getting on to that time of year now and, of course it’s flag flying season for some; for others, it’s year-round. In any event, when we think of flags, we often think international flags. Elsewhere, we’ve noted that the single obvious symbol that represents a nation is its flag. However (most) countries also have mottos. Yes, it’s true!

Our good friends at WikipediA have a pretty interesting page about those mottos, and a couple of things pop out at us from that page.

One is that some countries don’t have a national motto! Imagine. And where’s Eddie Izzard on this important issue? “No motto – no country!” Perhaps someone should sponsor a contest for those unfortunate lands.

Secondly, is the obvious use of flags to identify the countries listed. Why do we do this? Of course a little bit of color often livens up any display, but really can you alphabetize colors and patterns? Perhaps the alphabet gets one close and then looking for the flag pattern (assuming that’s known) makes the final search a bit easier. Surely one doesn’t scan a couple of hundred flag designs looking for one in particular – does one?

Of note is WikipediA’s selection of Brazil/Brasil whose flag also has their motto. It’s a two-fer.

Brazil - flag and motto

The national motto of Brazil, Ordem e progresso (Order and progress), is inscribed on the Brazilian flag.

Mini Micro Moon?

April 3rd, 2015

Super vs Micro or Mini MoonSkyORB3D, one of our favorite smart phone apps, notified us this afternoon of the occurrence of the “Mini Moon”. An unfamiliar phrase always demands investigation; yet surprisingly, our old friend, Wikipedia had nothing to offer – at the time of this writing. Fortunately, the Internet is wide and deep. Soon, we came across a nice description on timeanddate.com:

When a full Moon coincides with the Moon’s position at apogee, it is referred to as a micro Moon or a mini Moon.

Apparently, they only appear once a year. It was a little confusing that Time and Date (and most other sites) peg the date on March 5th of this year, yet SkyORB3D notified us at 13:00 today (03APRIL15). Well, that’s close.

But of course, Dear Reader, you ask, “What’s this all have to do with FLAGS?” Fair enough. Frankly, when we saw Mini and Micro together in the same context (other than skirt styles of the 60’s), it naturally reminded us of our ever-popular Mini and Micro Patches, to which we have been adding steadily. Heavens! They’re stellar!

Mini Patch of Canada

Mini Patch of Canada

Micro Patch of Brazil

Micro Patch of Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to see something smaller? (In patches, not moons.) Stay tuned.

You’re so Vane, I’ll bet you think this Flag is about you.

January 11th, 2015
Weathervane

OK. Technically, “weathercock” means “a weather vane in the form of a cock”, but we thought this image was way cooler.

Several months ago, one of our favorite websites, Dictionary.com, had as their “Word for the Day”, the word “Vane“. (Not to be confused with vain or vein.) Seems pretty simple.

Although there are a few definitions, most all of them pertain to something that moves in the wind. But wait. There’s more.

One of our other favorite sites, the Online Etymology Dictionary, gives a little more depth to the discussion, to wit:

[“Vane” entered the English language] early [in the] 15[th ] c[entury]., [as a ]southern England alteration … of fane “flag, banner.”

Darth VaderYou knew of course, Dear Reader, that “F” and “V” were/are often confused. Consider – SPOILER ALERT – Darth Vader <- “Dark Father”.

Alas, once again, I digress.

It seems that “fane”, meaning “weathercock”, came to us late in the 14th century, from the Old English fana “flag, banner”, from Proto-Germanic *fanon” (cf. Old Frisian fana, Gothic fana “piece of cloth”, Old High German fano, German Fahne “flag, standard”); possibly cognate with Latin pannus “piece of cloth” (see pane). (Not, we presume, to be confused with pain.)

Now we here at smALL FLAGs eschew job titles, but in some places that seems to be required: consequently, I’ve long used the title “Fahnen Meister”. Get it? Fade to dark.

smALL Patches for a better world?

August 18th, 2014

Troop 729 post card - front

What a treat in this modern day of electronic communications to receive an actual post card – and from South Korea! How cool is that? This may be the nicest Thank You card we’ve ever received.

Troop 729 post card - back

(Author’s name was digitally smudged for privacy.)

If you ever dare to think there’s not much good on this earth, just take a look at the photo collection of this troop of young Americans. Heart warming is not strong enough a phrase; it’s really uplifting, inspiring, and gives me hope that our future will be in good hands.

Troop 729 in Korea

Heck of an organization, this STN. Check ’em out. Consider a donation. It’s your future.