Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Horsing around with Newness

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

horn blowingYou may well know, Dear Reader, that we seldom toot our own horn in these postings. However (you were waiting for it), toot toot.

 

 

 

You know this is the beginning of yet another trip around our favorite star (aka New Year) and it’s just about to begin another Year of the Horse for our Asian friends. But allow us to digress: This is the clever Chinese word for horse;Chinese character for horse with a little imagination, one can almost see the animal in the character, as this artist shows.2014 Year of the horse graphic

Of course with a little more imagination, it could even look like a flag. (Or, with even more imagination  it could look like just about anything, but we digress from our digression.)

We thought it would be appropriate to remind you of some of the newest products now available for your amusement. These have all been added to our website in the past 6 months.

Yes, yes. We keep adding to our utterly amazing line of embroidered patches.

A couple of patches we probably should have had up long ago:

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smALL FEBRUARY?

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Saxon Emblems of the Month of February
February? The smALLest month of all? Wow. There sure seem to be a lot of special things packed into these 28 (this year) days.

1. National Freedom Day WTF? (Wave That Flag)
1. Also St. Brigid’s Day in Ireland
1. Also Imbolg (you remember, that Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring)
2. Groundhog Day
2. Also Candlemas, lest we forget
10. Asian (some say “Chinese”) New Year of the Snake
12. Lincoln’s Birthday. Remember him?
12. Also Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday. Wait. Lincoln wasn’t fat.
13. Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent.
14. St. Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget the Saint part.
18. President’s Day. All of ’em?
22. Washington’s Birthday. The other one.
24. Purim

Lots of Independence Days. For example:
4. Sri Lanka
22. Saint Lucia
24. Estonia
27. Dominican Republic

And, generally, American Heart Month, Black History Month, Children’s Dental Health Month (no, really), National Bird-Feeding Month (yes, really), there must be more. Oh, yes, let’s not forget the Super Bowl.

And let’s remember those two FLAG days too:
15. Canada
24. Mexico

The month was named after the Latin term februum, meaning purification. Seems there was this Roman purification ritual called Februa held on the full moon around this time of year. See this theme in any of those special days mentioned above?

Not to overwork the phrase, but Wow. That’s a lot for the smALLest month.

February 2013

 

French Flag Puzzle?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Don’t you just love it when three of your passionate interests collide? (Perhaps that’s not the mot juste considering our last two posts.)

We like to start off our Sunday Mornings with NPR’s Sunday Puzzle with Will Shortz.

NPR's Sunday PuzzleImagine our surprise when today’s “On-air Challenge” was entitled “Saluting The Flag” and the contestant was from Portland, Oregon (our nearest large-ish city)!

Frankly, as On-air Challenges go, it wasn’t one of their hardest, but thematically, it fit well with today (and tomorrow’s) honoring of Veterans Day. (Thank you, Vets!) View the Car Badges, Decals, Flags, Keyrings, Mini Banners, Mugs, Patches, Pins, Posters, Sunglasses, Ties, Umbrellas and Windsocks on your smALL FLAGs store showcase site.

Another Sunday tradition of ours is doing the big New York Times Crossword. (Thank you again, Will Shortz.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

All the fun ones were French words pronounced and used as though they were English words. Really fun!

Now I ask you, what could be more fun? Puzzles, Flags and Languages. What a great way to spend 11/11. (Almost at 11:11.)

A SECOND Derailment?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Second derailment

As unbelievable as it may be, apparently lightning really can strike twice. Alright, not exactly in the same place, but really … TWO train derailments of shipments of our flags in the same summer?

Also odd, the Rapid City Journal referred to this one as a derailment, although the train actually crashed into a cement truck. Isn’t that a train crash?

This one actually caused us to create a new board on our Pinterest site: Flag disasters. How droll.

What’s Right about the US Flag? What’s Left?

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Harper's April 2012 cover - detailWhat’s wrong with this picture? OK. Let me back up. The above image is from the cover of the April issue of the second-oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States. (Scientific American is the oldest, but it’s not as likely they have a flag on their cover often.) That said, this artwork by one Michael Mitra really shocked us. [Yes, we cropped out the part the editors and artist thought was controversial.] No, what torqued our jaws was the alignment of the flag backdrop. It even inspired us to add a new question regarding Flag Etiquette on our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. It, in turn, offers a link to the CRS Report for Congress entitled The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions. In that document, §7 (i) clearly states:

When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

Well, to be fair, the image does show the proper use of the little Lapel Pin. (Of course we sell those.) The CRS Report states:

… the Code recognized the wearing of a flag patch or pin on the left side (near the heart) …

So is all this much ado about nothing? We think not, but would enjoy your comments.

The ‘strait’ scoop on Detroit’s flag

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Found another rabbit hole to explore. A short while back, and perhaps still going on, there were some TV commercials touting a particular Motown (as in “Motor Town”) manufacturer of automobiles. While, most likely, other viewers were admiring the styling of the commercial, yours truly noticed the tiniest fluttering of a then-unfamiliar flag down in the corner of perhaps a frame or two of the commercial.

Flag of Detroit

Pretty isn’t it?

Turns out, this is the flag of the city of Detroit, Michigan (surprise!) and was designed in 1907 by one David E. Heineman; it wasn’t officially adopted as the city’s flag until 1948. The original design had the seal as an oval. Apparently sometime in the early 1970s, the design was redone and the seal was made into a circle. Don’t ask. Ever wanting to tinker with things, those Detroiters (Anyone know the correct demonym? Remember last post talking about that?) changed the seal again around a dozen years ago to reduce the number of colors. Again, don’t ask.

The background is what we vexillologists call “quartered”. (Pretty tricky technical term there, eh?) The sections represent the countries that controlled the city at various times. Actually, there were only three countries (France – from 1701, Britain – 1760-96 and the US), but dividing it into three sections didn’t seem to be an option. So, France is shown on the bottom left (the “lower hoist” – to us geeks) with five of their cute little fleurs-de-lis (yes, that’s correct; they’re cute). Britain gets the upper right (oops; the “upper fly”. Got it?) with three of their little lions. And the Stars and Stripes (well thirteen of each of course – for the original colonies) take over the other two quadrants (You got it: the “upper hoist” and the “lower fly”. That wasn’t so hard, was it?).

Now about that seal. Back in 1805 the entire town, as it was then, burned to the ground – save one building. (Do your own research on that.) So the woman on the left is looking at the charred rubble, pretty bummed. Under the rubble is the Latin (always has to be Latin doesn’t it – makes it classier) Speramus Meliora meaning “We hope for better things.” The woman on the right is saying, “Buck up, sis” and gesturing to the new city that will be built. Under that is the Latin Resurget Cineribus, “It will rise from the ashes.” Nice attitude.

So why is ‘strait’ in quotes in the title of this post? Please excuse the little pun. The straitsYou see, in French the words ‘Détroit’ and ‘Détroits’ mean strait or straits. (Remember, the French were the ones who established the first (European) fort there.) Check out the straights between Lake Erie, Lake St. Claire and Lake Huron. So Detroit was a pretty good name for the place. Don’t you think?

By the way, this little picture is shown on the right, or in French, á droite. Don’t confuse that with Detroit. Now you know about those tinkerers – and their flag.

Princess Grace and the Monégasque – and Poland?

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Grace KelleyA few nights ago, Oregon Public Broadcasting showed an olde (1987) video about the lovely, late Princess Grace of Monaco. Thank you, OPB. During the show the word Monégasque was mentioned – more than a few times. Well it turns out that Monégasque is the demonym or gentilic for those folks who live in Monaco; it also refers to their language, etc. (For a related issue, research the difference between the words Toponymy and Ethnonym.) Note: this is driving spell check crazy too. For your edification, there’s a lovely reference to the Monégasque language on reference.com.

Although fascinated by the language, we were of course, Dear Reader, all ready to apply it to the national flag of Monaco. So, first a little background: Grace Kelley married into the Grimaldi family. Their heraldic colors of red and white are attested as far back as 1339. The national flag was adopted on April 4th, in that palindromic year of 1881. So far, so good. They, well not Grace, of course, selected the proportions of 4:5, so, it looks like this:

Flag of Monaco

Flag of Monaco - proportions 4:5

Nice. Simple. However, on August 1st of that not quite palindromic year 1919, the Polish Parliament, of all folks, adopted the national flag of Poland.

Flag of Poland

Flag of Poland - proportions 8:5

Fairly similar, would you say? Ah, but notice the proportions: 5:8 is so different from 4:5. Right? Well, to be fair, Poland had been using those same red and white colors since the XVII-XIX centuries. Still not as long as the Monégasque, but quite a while. Yet, the location of those colors was not always fixed. That is, sometimes the red was on the top! Furthermore, sometimes the flag includes an Eagle from the state seal. (No eagle-seal animal jokes here now.) Lots of controversy about the length and color of the bird’s talons, arrangement of feathers, crown or no crown, etc. (No worries, we carry flags and patches of Poland’s flag both with and without the eagle.)

End of controversy? Oh, no, Dear Reader. On the 17th of August, 1947 (no jokes), Indonesia – yes that nation on the other side of the globe from both Monaco and Poland – decided to adopt their flag.

Flag of Indonesia

Flag of Indonesia - proportions 3:2

Now the Indonesian national flag is called “Sang Saka Merah Putih”. (Guess that’s because “Merah-Poetih” means “Red-White”. Go figure.) At least no eagles or suchlike.

Let’s all just cross our fingers that Monaco, Poland and Indonesia never go to war against each other. Field identification might be a little tricky. Not to mention that time-honored tradition of flying ones flag upside-down to indicate distress. Goodness.

All that from a public television show? My, how the mind can travel.

Frozen fog on Old Glory

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Returning (a little late) from a Solstice fire gathering, I noticed that the flag out front hadn’t been brought in yet. Approaching to furl it up for this longest night, this outdoor flag illumined only by the interior Christmas tree lights, it seemed as though the flag was covered in glitter! Indeed, the frozen fog had clung to the nylon surface of the flag and was truly sparkling. It is certainly beyond my ken, how to produce this effect artificially; I just stood in awe, then tried to capture the moment to share with you all, Dear Readers. Happy New Year!

Atop Astoria during her Bicentennial

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Astoria ColumnOf course it only happens once, so Bicentennials should be big deals. Hopefully it was for Astoria, Oregon. Yes, it’s been going on all year and now we’re just getting around to telling you about it – or, maybe you knew. Here’s the story:

We were spending a few days at the Oregon Coast earlier this year and decided to stop by Astoria. There’s a lot to see in Astoria, the earliest permanent settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Our favorite spot is the Astoria Column.

Here’s a 360° view from the top:

Before ascending the 164 internal steps to the top, we noticed a couple of balsa wood airplanes at the base. (They sell these at the gift shop.) They were in pretty good shape, except one was missing its vertical stabilizer. No worries. Once atop the column, I took a post card and snipped a little off, plus a bit for a wedge. Here’s the postcard (the original plus the cut up one):

Astoria Postcard - obverse Astoria Postcard - reverse

The end result was our little intrepid flyer:

Our intrepid flyer

Of course the proof of the pudding is in the flying, to mix metaphors, so we had to try it out. Of course it flew like a little champion – for 24 seconds:

Here’s the funny part: we had resumed our gawking at the beautiful scenery and frankly weren’t in any hurry to take those 164 steps back down. As luck would have it, more tourists arrived at the top – including a woman who had found our little flyer and brought it up with her! I showed her the postcard from which I had cut the stabilizer and she was gracious enough to offer it back. Its second voyage was every bit as successful as its first. But wait – there’s more.

When we finally got back to the ground, guess what we found just in front of the entrance, waiting for us? Of course, our little flyer. This time we took it home for a souvenir – and the postcards naturally. All so we could (eventually) write this little post for your entertainment pleasure.

Remember, Dear Reader, perhaps you weren’t able to climb the Astoria Column during Astoria’s Bicentennial and perhaps you can’t always fly a plane, but you can always fly your flag!

smALL FLAGs for Small Countries

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Wedding BellsWhat a clever notion: a customer in the UK came up with the idea that, rather than have “name cards” identifying seating arrangements at a wedding reception, he wanted to use flags to show folks where to sit. Guests will be given a country and then they find their seat – identified by a flag of that country. What fun!

However, and here was a little rub, to mitigate or minimize any biases which guests might have, he asked us for flags for the 52 least populated countries. Well, as the old advertising jingle used to put it, “special orders don’t upset us.” display of smALL FLAGsWe went right to our old friend Wikipedia to get a list of countries showing their population; downloaded that, sorted it in inverse sequence by population and voila! We had our list. Shipping to the UK? No problem. We do it all the time.

Speaking of small county flags, please be aware that we’re now offering flags of the one which Libya used from 1951 to 1969 – and some still do. Flag of Libya - 1951-1969Just now, it’s available in 3×5′ polyester; but you can bet that if the “insurgents” have their way, it will soon be available in many other sizes as well. By the way, politics aside,  most would have to agree that, esthetically at least, this design is certainly more interesting than the one that Gaddafi introduced in 1977. Gaddafi's Libyan flag of 1977Your call. It was/is the only national flag with just one color and no design, insignia, or other details. (Oddly perhaps, we carry this design – if it could be called that – in a wide variety of sizes.)

You were further aware, of course, that Lybia is most certainly not one of those “least populated countries” mentioned above with a whopping 6,355,000 souls calling it home.

Well as long as you’ve read this far, we may as well mention yet another new flag from (sort of) that region of the world. Flag of South SudanThe newest country in the world is now considered to be South Sudan. They were admitted into the United Nations on July 14th of this year. We’re proud to now be able to offer this newest flag in a variety of sizes. However, our 4×6″ versions won’t be available until mid-September. Sigh. Your collection may have to wait just a bit longer.

Oh yes, also not one of those “least populated countries”. 8,260,490 people here. smALL planet indeed!