Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Ten years ago I gave my first vexillologial presentation in Fukuoka Prefecture, by accident. At the Fukuoka Prefecture Mid Year Seminar I gave workshop number 5, Effective Use of the Text.
You can see the Fukuoka
prefectural symbol on cover
of Mid-Year Seminar Pamphlet
Many foreign English Teachers often found the assigned English texts less than effective. However, I pointed out that the dry text can be used as model to write your own lessons.
A primary directive of being a JET was cultural exchange. English Teachers in Japan can fall into the trap of simply rehashing text materials or becoming a living tape recorder. Teachers were encouraged to dig into their own culture and model lessons about their nation, cultural holidays, or whatever. Using a personal cultural holiday that each JET knows intimately: Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, Canada Day, so long as a love and sincerity was behind the motivation. Any subject could easily be turned into a lesson: vocab, worksheet, quiz!
During this workshop, I did something very bizarre, that foreshadowed my vexillological calling. I modeled a lesson about flags of Korea. During the lesson I made a Japanese flag out of construction paper and turned it into a South Korean flag by adding blue paper and drawing the black Yin-Yang trigrams in each corner. Amazingly none of the Japanese teachers present made a comment. Whatever emotions they may have felt on the inside they chose not to voice it. Oddly enough, two years later Korea and Japan hosted the world cup in Asia for the first time and did it together!
(click picture to see other JET colleagues)
Friday, July 23, 2010
One of the most fascinating flags at NAVA #42 was the flag proposal drawn by Steven Austin. He chose the colours of red, green and white in honor of the Mexican Flag. The stripes were a homage to the American-Mexicans. Finally the canton, in the upper left, is a modified union jack representing the British Heritage of the newly soon to be most dominant immigrants of Texas.
It was a privilege to see living history. Reading and hearing so much about Austin this and Austin that, and finally seeing the hand writing and art work of Austin himself was... amazingly graceful.
(with out sketches on the star)
Interested in flags? Come join us! NAVA's Website : www.nava.org/
Commentary is Charles Spain, a former NAVA President
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The US Flag has become a ubiquitous emblem waving in the background of cable news networks. One amazingly effective, over the top, and delightful use of the US Flag takes place on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
In the show's introduction Steven Colbert jumps off a 'SCILF' while holding the US flag. He then swoops through the air while all sorts of capitalized adjectives that humbly describe himself and the show fly through the air.
Steven lands on the floor like a Gladiator meets Captain America, and the arena comes to life like he is Magneto from the X-Men. It is an funny, effective, and 'Vexillicious' use of the American Flag but perhaps all things are not what they seem?
A covert reporter from Fox News has discovered a subliminal message in Colbert's background. It seems that Mr. Colbert may have a secret Islamic Agenda? The Muslim Crescent with star can be seen in the background. Perhaps he is an operative of Turkey psi-ops corp?
Or perhaps Colbert is an extreme fan of Turkey Meat?
Wanna watch episodes of Colbert? www.colbertnation.com/home
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Five US states have legal claims to bi-national heritage. From 1818 to 1846 Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Western Montana, and a nibble of Wyoming were a part of 'UK-Canada' and the 'USA.' Thus any person in these lands were living simultaneously on US Property and Canadian Property. So if you were born anywhere in this sort of 'DMZ-Neutral Zone', your nationality was a kin to a Siamese Twin with two national heads, the United Kingdom and United States.
The Canadians called this region Columbia District, while the US called it Oregon Country (USK).
In honor of this strange twilight 28 year period, when Canadian and US History re-merged as one, I have created honorable mention British Columbia Mojo Flags.
Washington B.C. Mojo
Idaho B.C. Mojo
Idaho was once crawling with Canadian Mountain Men: French and English. But now it's American Mountain Man Central. Interesting note is that Sarah Palin was born in Idaho, not Alaska! Thus She is the Mother Mountain Queen of Idaho.
Oregon B.C. Mojo
You say PO-TAE-TOE, I say PO-TAT-TOH or rather Canadians said Columbia and Yanks said Oregon. A good way to get under the skin of Canadians is to bring up the spelling of humor.
A Canadian says to an American: "Didn't you know humour has a 'you' in it?"
The American replies: "No.....I'm sorry....I didn't. We don't include 'you' in our humor, because 'you' are not funny."
Montana B.C. Mojo
The mountains of Montana were once one and one with Canada and the USA.
Wyoming B.C. Mojo
Wyoming's special it's the only state that was both Mexican and Canadian Territory. Thus it is the truest universal cowboy state. Why? Wyoming has the original Mexican Cowboy Mojo, Canadian Horsemanship Mojo, Texan Ranger Republic Mojo, and last but not least Yankee Hustler Mojo!
CLICK HERE TO SEE HUDSON BAY CO HERITAGE FLAGS
Monday, July 19, 2010
The commercial recreates a revolutionary battle scene between the Continental Army and British Forces. But the surprise comes, when General Washington charges British lines in a Dodge Challenger with two other cars in formation. This causes the British to break their lines and scatter unto the hills.
Washington aiming to show
the Empire what it's all about
More than 5 years ago I was on the Dodge team with a Dodge Neon. I suppose I would've been scout or in the picket lines? Thus persons with Ram Dodge trucks would be artillery. Persons with Challengers would be a part of the cavalry. But if you had Dodge Van you'd be the proverbial supply wagon or medical tent.
This commercial plays with American Patriotism via a joyful, deadpan, over the top absurdity, that tickles the soul. The one drawback is that this commercial would alienate UK or Canadian customers. Maybe a Canadian company will make a video about the War of 1812? If Ford really wanted to tap the Southern Truck Market: a Civil War battle scene with trucks? Why the hell not...this is America?
Commercial of Washington Charging with his Challenger
This battle scene is most likely supposed to be in New Jersey. New Jersey was good to Washington, as Washington claimed his earliest and hard won victories in Jersey.
Like General Robert E. Lee, both honorable Virginians retreated from Pennsylvania battle fields. Lee lost at Gettysburg on July 4, 1861 and Washington lost at the Battle of Brandywine Creek on September 11, 1777. New York also gave the boot to Washington at the battle of Manhattan, but New Jersey lifted the spirit and confidence of Washington.
After the bitter winter of Valley Forge, the revolution was definitely running low on gas. But Washington's victory at Trenton, NJ on Christmas Day 1776 revved up the American Spirit. Washington had several more victories in New Jersey as well: Princeton, Monmouth, and Trenton for a second time. The important thing to note is, Washington was doing it all on his own, before France and Spain jumped on the bandwagon.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
In the middle is the original video game hero Mario who became famous with Donkey Kong.
On the right side is his true brother Luigi who became famous in the underworld with Mario Brothers while working in the sewers.
Finally on the sinister-left side is Wario, the mean anti-hero of Mario. We still don't know his exact relation to Mario and Luigi. But I think Wario is perhaps 1/2 a brother because of his pointy ears? Maybe he's half Vulcan or something?
But vexillologically speaking the flag of Italy is on the background!
Below is a catchy retro Nintendo commerical made with late 80s-early 90s funk....
Friday, July 16, 2010
In the Vexillological scholarly journal, The Raven: volume 14 – 2007, an article was written by Laura K. Kidd. It was entitled: Wave It or Wear It? The United States Flag as a Fashion Icon. Laura's article is a whitty and insightful essay that showcases the use of the American flag on clothing. I definitely recommend its reading.
Kidd makes a fascinating discovery on the 'yin yang shift' of the left and right opinions in the use of the American Flag since the 'Anglo-Saxon Cultural Revolution of 1961.'
On an illustration in black and white shows that ‘the first commemorative textile with a flag motif is a linen kerchief printed to honor General George Washington.’ (The Raven) The inscription around General Washington read from twelve o' clock reads:
(click on any pic to see a larger clearer image)
The original source of this illustration is from a book by Herbert Ridgeway Collins: Threads of History: Americana Recorded on Cloth 1775 to the Present, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, 1979.
There are two flags on this kerchief that caught my eye: a flag that seems to have a rising sun design, like Japan, in the upper left corner; and a 25 striped flag that has 13 horizontal red and 12 white stripes.
Is it a Colonial Red Ensign or a some sort of unknown 13 Ray Ensign?
The flag with the 'rising sun' design is described as a ‘Colonial Red Ensign.’ However on close examination with my computer, that description does not seem to fit. The exquisite work in the kerchief reveals the designer had an attentive eye for detail. Thus if it were a 'Colonial Red Ensign' it would and should look like one, but it doesn't. Furthermore the 13 darkly coloured rays do not match with a theoretical lazy version of UK flag. Otherwise it would make more sense to have 12 rays rather than 13.
4 rays for the red cross of England + 8 rays for the eight blue triangles of Scotland = 12 coloured rays
13 is a patriotic number anyways. Perhaps it was not the intention of the designer to make a Colonial Red Ensign? Maybe this flag is an undocumented or personal revolutionary flag?
Kidd also states it is possible that, ‘if printed after the passing of the First Flag Act in June 1777, the designer did not use the 'official' United States flag as a design motif. Perhaps the textile designer did not know that there was now an ‘official’ U.S. flag – or the new flag did not have meaning to the designer.'
The second flag of intrigue seems to be an accidental variation of the Son’s of Liberty Flag. The usual Son’s of Liberty flag has 7 red and 6 white stripes for a total of 13. But this Son’s of Liberty flag has 13 red and 12 white stripes for a total of 25. Perhaps the person making the textile made an honest mistake? One can easily get confused upon reading a description that the Son's of Liberty that is supposed to have 13 stripes; one could easily interpret that this meant 13 red stripes, instead of the proper total of 13 stripes via 7 red and 6 white?
Gadsden Flag with clear lettering
Finally it is difficult to make out what is written upon the Gadsden Flag. It seems to say 'DON'T TREAD UPON ME.' However most Gadsden flags read, 'DON'T TREAD ON ME.' So what's the big deal with 'ON' versus 'UPON?' Not much I suppose, it seems to be a common enough mistake. I suppose, 'DON'T TREAD UPON ME,' has a polite tone while 'DON'T TREAD ON ME,' has a more threatening tone.
'Upon' also has a mystical undertone: 'Once Upon a Time' vs. 'Once On a Time.' Perhaps the 'upon me' version could be thought as a polite-cautionary Gadsden Flag, while the 'on me' version is a passionate-threatening Gadsden Flag.
Modern Rendition of the 13 ray colonial ensign:
assuming red and white are used: 13 colonies 13 stripes?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
At Doylestown's Triangle Park, a flag dedicated to fallen veterans flies just below the national banner.
Unlike the popular black POW flag, whose abundance of black conveys a more mournful statement, Doylestown's unique Triangle Park flag is charged with a special kind of purity and hope. Whiteness is the universal symbol of purity, and speaks of glory. Like the flag of Rhode Island that uses white, yellow stars, and the motto 'hope.'
A black machine gun is planted in the ground a with a black helmet on top. This is an echo, intentional or not, of the Japanese Samurai tradition of putting a fallen warriors headdress on a sword after defeat.
This flag spoke to me as if to say, 'mourn us yes, but also remember us..... ponder on our lives, and wonder why we died. By the perpetual grace of providence our lives were sacrificed for the greater good, overcome your sadness and seize the joy that is the perpetual shadow of freedom.... cast away hate and any bitterness and embrace the golden star of hope, forget us not...'
Video of Triangle Park Flag Flying
Mr. Williams combines humor with the American Flag via class, respect, and joy.
follow Mr. Williams, Robert at www.robinwilliams.com/
Monday, July 12, 2010
When Texas gained independence from Mexico, Texas was much larger. According to the map the Lone Star Republic had territory that overlapped five states yet to be created. For nearly a decade (1835-1845) the Republic of Texas' most northern point was more north than Northern California and Southern Massachusetts. Texas even had territory on par with the southern tip of Canada.
Thus in honor of the five states that were is some way a part of the internationally recognized Nation of Texas, I have created five Post-Republic of Texas Mojo Flags for each state.
The pan handle of Oklahoma once belonged to the Republic of Texas, thus it should only be flown in the pan handle. The design is based on the original Oklahoma Flag (46 and red) and the current sky-blue colour of the current Oklahoma Flag.
looked to communistic, even though
Oklahoma is an Indian word for Red Man
New Mexico's Texas Republic Flag is based on the current New Mexican Flag that only uses red and yellow. More than 50% of New Mexico was a part of the Texas Republic.
Kansas' Republic of Texas Flag should only be flown in the south west corner of Kansas. Didja' know Kansas has Texan Heritage? Some states were born out of Mexico, Canada, but five had regions born out of Texas. Once again the colours of Kansas come from the current state flag. And PLEASE do not mess with Kansas' Flag!
At nearly 1/3, a mid-western strip and the south eastern side of Colorado were once Texas Country. I guess this is where the South Park boys get their wild cowboy steak and shameless gumption to humour anyone and anything that should suit their fancy?
Them Colorado boys sure are a shootin' jokes with mighty fine Texan Ranger accuracy and a none to powerful Texas punch. It's no wonder..... they're part Texan after all... waddja' expect?
And trust me.... you don't want to be on the wrong side of Texas.
Finally, Wyoming's Texan Republic Mojo Flag: not exactly in the corner, but in Wyomings' south eastern region, a small portion of Wyoming was once one in body, spirit, and soil with Texas. Thus once upon a time TEXAS had land, more north than Philadelphia, Chicago, NYC, and even Providence, RI.