A Vexillological Moment


Awareness of the outside world. National Archives: Did You Know… Independence Day Should Actually Be July 2? 2005.

The Photo
Back in the mid-90s, I volunteered briefly with the local Red Cross. There had been a tornado to the north. Could I go up and take pictures? Why, yes I could.

I remember feeling bad about having such a good(?) time.

Photographically, it was fantastic. Dramatic incident at every turn. It was hard to take a bad picture. We were outside, on clear and sunny day. Technical issues were non-existent. The area was still closed to the public. No encountering people dealing with life-changing grief. It was easy to get caught up in the the photography and forget the cost.

This was pre-digital, so the originals are around somewhere. They may have been shot as slides that the RC developed. Raise your hand if you remember having to develop film. If they were slides, I would have printed up a handful that I liked. Mental archives pull up a photo of a Red Cross volunteer serving rescue workers.

At banquet shortly after, a general slideshow featured many of the photos I had taken that day. I remember being quite pleased/flattered.

The Calendar
Around that time, we decided our Christmas present to family members would be a calendar using our own photos. We scanned every photo, designed every box, and placed every number. It was a beast.

Calendar-creating programs came out shortly after, so I got the feeling that the recipients never appreciated the effort that went into making the *!@# things and the whole project sunk without a trace.

And now it lives on as a blog post 25 years later.

The Rabbit Hole
Good Flag, Bad Flag, 16-page booklet complied by Ted Kay, available as free download from NAVA.org. A quick and well-illustrated overview of five principles of flag design with examples of good and bad.

A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols, by Tim Marshall, 2017. Full disclosure. I read and was quite taken with the first book, see below. I have started but not finished the flag book. Given the title, one can reasonably expect a certain level of confrontation in the text. This was more negativity than I was up for at that moment. All his books are/will be in my TBR pile, including a probable rereading of book 1.

Politics of Place series by Tim Marshall (S&S publisher page, Twitter)

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World 2015

A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols 2017.

The Age of Walls: How Barriers Between Nations Are Changing Our World 2018

The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World 2021

Stay safe. Stay sane.

4 thoughts on “A Vexillological Moment

  1. I remember the calendar very well, still have it. I was very impressed at the time, still am.

  2. I stand corrected. You have always been appreciative of the project. This got/gets lost in the overwhelming wave of indifference from all other quarters.

    1. That’s what Moms do. In my case, you are easy to appreciate so I have a soft job.

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