Category Archives: Flags

Flag Facts

We haven’t talked flags in a while, so let’s jump back into some vexillogical discussion.

In our previous flag post we established that the St. Pierre & Miquelon flag reigned supreme as the fairest of them all, and we pointed out some other beauties as well.

The magnifieent flag of St. Pierre & Miquelon.

The magnificent flag of St. Pierre & Miquelon.

Today we’re talking more about decoding flag imagery. While some of the world’s flags are pretty straightforward, many are a bit more coy and need some deciphering.

Pretty straightforward: "We're Guam, we have a beach."

Pretty straightforward: “We’re Guam, we have a beach.”

Bhutan flag featuring Druk the Thunder Dragon.

Bhutan flag featuring Druk the Thunder Dragon.

Bhutan – With absolutely no offense toward the majestic bald eagle, I’m not sure any country has a cooler national representative than the ‘Thunder Dragon.’ Here, we see the mighty Druk, as Thunder Dragon is called, on a yellow and orange background. The orange represents Buddhism while yellow is a nod to the country’s monarchy.

Look a bit closer and you can see that Druk is also clutching some things in his talons here. I thought they were bowling balls or maybe large cherries at first glance, but it turns out they are gems, which represent the country’s wealth. This seems a bit incongruous with Bhutan’s “gross national happiness” policy, but Druk does what Druk wants I suppose.

I also just noticed that the gems could be construed as wheels. In which case Druk looks like a super-aggressive tricycle for the baddest kids on the block. Continue reading

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F in the 2012 Olympic Games

It’s time once again time for that glorious spectacle, that quadrennial global showcase of sport, pomp, cultural pride and advertising: the Summer Olympics! It’s a time when we’re reminded that there are indeed people in other countries who competitively run, play ping pong, shoot, choreograph their dancing in the pool, throw stuff and jump on trampolines just like we do.

Of course the USA will win a boatload of medals and make a tremendous showing as always; no real concerns there. So let’s discuss what really matters here: how F is going to fare at the games in London. Here’s our breakdown of all our F representatives.

Fiji’s flag via Wikipedia.

Fiji – 8 competitors qualified in 6 different sports. Look for strong Fijian showings in archery, the javelin throw, judo, shooting (let’s go Glenn Kable in the Trap Shoot!), swimming and weightlifting. Just wait until rugby becomes an Olympic sport, then you’re all in big trouble! Fiji is currently #14 in the world. Continue reading

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Five Disappointing Countries

The world is an unforgiving place. One day, you’re on top: you got the power, the land, abundant resources, strategic advantages over neighboring countries, compliant subjects, and vanquished foes far and wide. It seems like the good times will last forever. But they never do.

All empires wax and wane, but let’s be honest; some declines have been more disappointing than others…

1. Portugal – To be fair, for such a tiny, sardine-powered nation to have ever accomplished the level of world domination they did is quite impressive. There was a time in the 15-16th centuries when they ruled the seas like none other – they navigated the crap out of planet earth, plundering untold riches and carving out territories in India, Brazil and throughout Africa along the way.

But let’s face it, what a free-fall it’s been for them the past several centuries. Today’s Portugal is mostly famous for its debt problems, the legalization of drugs, and a soccer team that can never quite win the big one. Vasco de Gama must be forlornly navigating around in his grave. Continue reading

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Fantastic Flaggery

Flags have long been a passion of mine. First it was the flag cards, then it was patches + pins, and then shirts. And then it was shirts with slogans, which led to the activism phase (Free Trans-Dniester!), and the equally annoying snarky phase (Icelander – I barely know her!) etc.

With all that behind us, I’ve now come to a place where I just enjoy flags and flaggery in general (or vexillology if you wanna be fancy about it). “What do the colors mean? Why is that bird there? Is that a crustacean on your flag? That sun with a face is weird.”

It’s all so interesting how nations choose to portray themselves. A flag says what you want the rest of the world to know about you.

They don’t make em like they used to. Thank you ancient Kingdom of Benin.

Here is a list of a few all-time favorites. Let’s just make this a list of best currently-used flags, as a list of best all-time flags would open Pandora’s Box for every eccentric country/nation-state to ever use the flag medium to make known their most charming attributes.

8. Zambia – I’m sure this flag is rich with symbolism, but it mainly just reminds me of Contra.

7. Turks + Caicos – Fantastic stuff here – you’ve got a mangled looking conch shell, with what appears to be a trilobite and shuttlecock.

There’s a great sub-genre of former colonial possession-flags where the Union Jack hogs like 20% of the flag, so they just fill the rest with a bunch of random indigenous stuff. Continue reading

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Funafuti

One of only two world capitals starting with F, (sorry Freetown, maybe next time), Funafuti’s got a lot going for it. Great weather, beautiful beaches; and good luck finding a more hilarious world capital name.

So here’s to you Tuvalu, nicely done. But don’t get a big head and rest on your laurels, there are new countries being created all over the place with pretty funny capital names.

Funafuti, capital of Tuvalu.

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