Monday, August 18, 2014

Flags in Reading Rainbow's Melody Sheep Remix

Reading Rainbow is a program on PBS that is dedicated to illustrating the joy of reading.  Starring LeVar Burton, it has created a wealth of joy and interest in reading.

Recently a music video was made cutting up splices from Reading Rainbow with the Melody Sheep program, creating a song that taps on the key virtues expounded on Reading Rainbow.  Instead of reading to be smarter than your rival or passing a test, Reading Rainbow focused on the inherent joy of reading minus the academic holier than thou tone typically strewn from the Dr. Smartypants Establishment.  But you don't have to take my word for it.

Reading really is a kind of magic, that allows any person to enter that transcendent timeless dimension.  It is a kind a time travel.

In the first picture behind LeVar an artistic tapestry of sorts can be seen.  Upon the shield is a design that is reflective of simple heraldic traditions. 

In the second picture, LeVar stands in front of some mini table top flags of the world.  One of the flags looks like the flag of Mali, while the others are harder to make out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Flags in the Bob Ross Documentary "Bob Ross the Happy Painter" - 2013

Creating pictures is an ancient form of expression and at the end of the 20th century a simple and joy filled technique spread across the world with the calm and precisely controlled brush strokes of Bob Ross. More than just painting pictures Bob Ross gave the viewer a sermon on the joy of creativity.  Ross added a level of sincerity, peace, and heart into the entertainment sphere of television that usually relies on flashy and over the top wackiness to keep the people engaged and entertained.  During the show, Bob Ross would continually encourage the viewer that anyone could do what he did, in his own words he said, "People continually say [to me - Bob Ross]... I don't have the Talent, Bob, to do what You're doing!  [I - Bob Ross say] That's Baloney!  Talent is a pursued interest. In other words... Anything that you're willing to practice...You Can Do."  

In this documentary traditional flags do not appear but rather the recently popular geopolitical national outline flags appear when they explain Ross's rise to global superstar status as seen in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Ireland Accidentally got filled in as a part of the UK
 Bob Ross is not just an American Treasure, rather he is a Global Treasure.  A rise from humble beginnings, even after his passing on July 4, 1995 the joy of this life continues to inspire creativity across the world. 

Even with a professional big budget, errors sometimes slip in.  I myself am not immune to these slip ups, but the producers of the documentary accidentally flagged Ireland as a part of the UK.  I guess they must have had an old map from before 1931.
Senor Ross, Roberto is also a heroic artist to Mexico, the Rich Coast and Columbia.  In this Geographic Flag Map the producers got the flags correct. 

Although Ross may have looked like a hippie, he was in the Air Force for much of his adult life.  He originally grew up in Florida, but being transferred to Alaska when he was 21 made him become the legend that he was destined to be.

What do Iranians, Turks, and Americans have in common that they love to watch?  Answer: "Happy Clouds and Happy Little Trees" as painted by Bob Ross.  Perhaps at the next peace summit we can get our leaders to take 20 minutes to do a landscape painting around Mr. Ararat?  Amazingly Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting was aired and Iran! What a joy indeed.

 Again they goofed on the map, or rather had a happy accident, this time with the Geographic Flag Map of Japan.  They accidentally coloured Sakhalin under the Japanese fold.  It's the northern most island that kinda' looks like fish. I guess they must have used a really old map again since the Southern Half of this island belonged to Japan before WWII?

No matter, the techniques promoted by Bob Ross allowed anyone to easily enjoy and experience the 'Joy of Painting' or rather the 'Joy of Creativity.'  Bob Ross's show was more than just a painting show.  It was kind of medicine, that only charged you a few minutes of your time and attention.  So powerful was his simple, heartfelt love of nature that his passion for painting allowed the various colours of the world to enter a nexus of joy and peaceful creativity.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Old Rwanda Flag in Gorillas in the Mist - 1988

 The old flag of Rwanda appears briefly in Gorillas in the Mist 1988.  It featured the Pan-African 'Traffic Light' colours of red, yellow, and green.  In the middle is a black capital letter R.

 This film and the life lead by Dian Fossey took place long before the tragedy of the Rwanda Genocide in 1994. After that tragedy Rwanda changed their flag.

Fossey's advocacy to protect the Gorillas of the Central Africa also put herself in peril. She also ended her life on a tragic note, as she was murdered in her cabin.

The filming of the movie made something of a fusion movie-documentary as the film locations were the real locations lived and worked by Fossey.  Many of the cabins and huts you see in this movie were lived in by Dian Fossey.

US and Kentucky Flag in Gorillas in the Mist 1988

The US and state flag of Kentucky make a brief cameo in the film Gorillas in the Mist 1988.  Appearing during the introductory sequence when Louis Leakey meets Dian Fossey.  Leakey was a famous after-runner of Charles Darwin.

Louis Leakey like his ancestors from several millennia earlier was born in Africa, specifically in Kenya when it was known as British East Africa on August 7, 1903.  His family originally came to the area as Christian Missionaries, later to discover evidence for the biological inter-connectivity between apes and humans.

Kentucky belongs in the class of US states to parallel to Africa.  Just the southern counties of Kentucky are parallel to Africa, while the northern counties are parallel to Southern Europe.  Coincidentally the two most famous son's of Kentucky: Jefferson Davis was from a county parallel to Africa, but Abraham Lincoln from a county parallel to Europe.  Nonetheless, the Kentucky state flag appears every so briefly in this film.

Congo Flag in Gorillas in the Mist

 Gorillas in the Mist 1988 is a Hollywood Grand Slam that tells an exciting story, sends a message, educates, and brings it home from far away.  This film tells the true, heroic, tragic and soul stirring story of Dian Fossey from San Francisco, California.   Fossey studied the mountain gorillas of Central Africa.  Her work and dedication to these still endangered cousins of humanity ensured that the world became aware of their perilous situation facing extinction, as caused by the greed and the political war mongering of modern mankind.

The movie has several vexillologically important flags.  When Fossey, played by Sigourney Weaver, arrives in Greater Congo, DR a unique flag representing this nation can be seen at the airport.  It is composed of a central white star on a background of green and black divided vertically in the middle, with the fly being black and the hoist being green. The flag also appears on the right side of a jeep.The best shot of this fictional Democratic Republic of Congo flag also appears during the break out of civil war at the Bugani border.

The subject matter of this movie makes it a great case study for any environmental studies class.

Note that Greater Congo, DR did not use such a flag in its history.  Perhaps the makers of the film chose a unique design for artistic and politically correct purposes?


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Texas Flag in the Dallas Buyers Club - 2013

The American Cowboy may seem like something from fairytale land, but the story of Ron Woodroof shows that the righteous Han Solo smuggler-outlaw is still something of a very real force in America.  Woodroof's story was retold last year by Jean-Marc Vallee with the Focus Feature film of the Dallas Buyers Club.

In the early days of the AIDS crisis fear and homophobia was the prevailing mood of the media and public mind.  In this ugly fear hyped climate the story of Dallas Buyers Club played out in the life of a straight shooting Texan Cowboy who contracted the disease through heterosexual means, Ron Woodroof in 1985.

Woodroof smuggled medicine through unconventional and illegal means from Mexico and brazenly stretched the truth, fearless of the unjust laws of his time.  Of vexillological value are the flags that appear in this work of art that has a highest of high levels of truthiness. Texans love their flags and it appears many times in the film.

 Often the Texas flag can be found a flying next to the Confederate Flag in any kind of Texan Saloon in the South.  Here Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof back in 1985.

Even on a mundane medical announcement board you can see the flag of Texas.  The state flag of Texas is one of the most charming and beautiful flags in the Union. 

 Here, Ron fights against the Establishment that wants his Buyers Club out of business.  But Ron's alternative methods surely extended and positively impacted the lives of thousands of HIV patients in Texas during the 1980s.   

Monday, August 4, 2014

US Flag in High Noon - 1952

Gary Cooper stars as Marshall Will Cane the Lone Lawman facing down his Vengeful Evil Foe - High Noon 1952

 In 1952 the US flag made an appearance in one of the classic game changer gems of Hollywood Cinema.  Breaking with tradition can be a risky move, but sometimes it pays off.  More than just a change up on Western Action, High Noon 1952  presents hard moral choices.  Besides adding a layer of depth to a popcorn action genre, it showed a romantic relationship between a strong willed and fiercely independently minded Mexican woman with two white Southern Men.

37 Stars indicates the time period between 1867-1876
Besides a man facing a moral dilemma, so to would a young woman, Amy Flower Kane, played by Grace Kelly.   Amy is a pacifist Quaker, but she has a chance to save her man's life by breaking with her religious standards.  Amy chooses to stand her personal ground and draw lead.  A woman with a gun was taken as offensive to many  men of that era, in an era when it was not socially acceptable for women to wear pants, which was tantamount to cross dressing, until after the 1960s.

Hard it is now to appreciate this type of movie if you are younger than the Baby Boomer Generation, but it was still a smash hit for its hard hitting edgy themes and style.  It was considered one of Ronald Regan's favorite films. 

The debate between war and peace is not a new subject, ever so ancient.  But note this movie was created and released in the middle of the Korean War.

Notice Bonnet Ribbons on Grace Kelly
Subsequently, making such a movie caused a political backlash. So controversial was this film that persons involved in its production were BLACK LISTED by cowardly fearful Hollywood Bosses.  Coincidentally this movie showed the social dilemma between men of honor and men who make excuses.

High Noon puts into sharp focus the two-footer stand on your own two feet philosophy, in contrast to the weak minded cowardly element that often rules men and women in the face of evil.