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Showing posts from July, 2016

This Week In Vexillology #175

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A late-breaking Sunday edition of This Week In Vexillology- and we're sticking around central Asia, this time to take a look at the flag of another former Soviet Republic- Azerbaijan!
Balanced on the frontier between Iran and Russia, it's not that surprising that Azerbaijan has changed hands a few times down the centuries as various dynasties and kingdoms rose and fell, but it wasn't until The Qajar Dynasty lost the Russo-Persian War in the early 19th Century (you know the one, right?) that the area came under the control of the Russian Empire. That last about a century or so until the Russian Empire collapsed at the tail end of World War I and the ever so brief union of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan took place- the- wait for it- Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.

Needless to say, that didn't last long and Azerbaijan declared the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in May of 1918. Lots of impressive milestones were set by the ADR right off the bat: it was the …

Just Take My Money Already

Look, I'm not going to bother to link to all the cool trailers that dropped at Comic-Con. If you're reading this, I'm going to assume that you know how to work the internet and can look shit up for yourselves. (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, Doctor Strange all looked amazing- in addition to, Season 2 of The Expanse- gotta finish Season 1 at some point, and Season 3 of The Flash.)

But let's talk the highlights of the week:

Wonder Woman

Just take my damn money already. There's absolutely nothing that I don't like about this trailer. I love, love, love that it's a period piece- and a World War I period piece no less. I don't really have a lot of knowledge about the source material for Wonder Woman (I know she's an Amazon, I know she comes from Thermiscyra?? I know her name is Diana- that's about it.) but it seems to draw heavily on Greek Mythology, and as a long time lover of Greek mythology, I'm a huge fan of that.

As for Wonder Woman her…

The Lesser of Two Evils Is Still Evil

I see both sides are already gearing up to tear into people that don't want to fall in line with either of their less than awesome candidates. On the right, Ace of Spades weighed in by telling the #NeverTrump crowd firmly:
Yes, #NeverTrumpers, You Are In Fact Morally Responsible for the Hillary Clinton Presidency You're Agitating For In other words, shut your ass up and get in line. Ace at least acknowledges that Trump has shortcomings but views Hillary Clinton the way most people on the right do, as evil personified. Now, personally, I don't think Hillary Clinton as president will be THE END OF ALL THINGS as many on the right are predicting. Is she corrupt? Probably. Is she an Establishment politician through and through? Absolutely. If she getting my vote? Not at all. And you have to consider that with the Republican advantage built-in at the state level plus a likely Republican Congress, how much is a Democratic President going to get done?

Not enough to cause Armageddon…

The Veepstakes

The Republicans:  Well, the dumpster fire continues, as Donald Trump has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, resurrecting some kind of hellish pre-decimalization coin from the UK- the horror of Trumppence descending upon us all now looms.

On the face of it, who cares? I mean, I'm not voting for him, so why cares who he picks? But Mike Pence was a particularly uninspiring choice that makes it seem like he's bending to political consultants instead of thinking outside the box. I thought hell would have frozen over before I typed these words, but I agree with Ann Coulter. Pence was his first mistake. Leaving aside his odious record on reproductive rights (because pretty much any Republican Governor will probably hew close to pro-life- or rather, pro-birth orthodoxy) he pushed this religious liberty crap* that makes me not want to vote Republican ever (which, hint hint Republicans should be considered a major problem if you want to you know, matter, or win el…

This Week In Vexillology #174

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Well, I was hoping I could embed this, but for some reason I can't, but who cares? (Great movie and this clip makes me laugh every single time.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXj8qt9S60U

While we're not taking the road to Dushanbe This Week In Vexillology, we are taking the Road to Tashkent with one of the Asian Stans that we haven't (for some reason) gotten around to yet. If you were wondering just which Stan, well, it's the Uzbeki one:
The flag of Uzbekistan was adopted on November 18th, 1991 for civil and state usage following the collapse of the Soviet Union- they were the first of the Asian Stans to lock-in a new flag, declaring independence on September 1, 1991 and getting a new flag by mid-November. Happily, there's lots of symbolism for us to break down here:

The white stands for peace and unity, while the blue represents the water and the sky- and is also alluding to the flag of Timur, who ruled over the area in the 14th Century. Green officially stands f…

MLS Quest: The Summer of Soccer

With the end of the Euros, we're officially two-thirds of the way through the grandiosely titled 'SUMMER OF SOCCER' and it's been interesting so far. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't get to watch as much of either the Copa or the Euros as I would have liked, but there's been a lot of interesting things going down out there in the sport, so here's what I've learned so far:

1. Chile might be my new favorite South American team. While the first half of the Copa America Final might have resembled a UFC Match, the second half, Chile (and Argentina) calmed things down and Chile pulled out a gritty performance that eventually forced penalty kicks- and like in 2015, they managed to pull out the win in the shootout. Consider me a fan of La Roja.

2. Portugal was dreadful to watch throughout the tournament, but losing Cristiano Ronaldo early in the final seemed to liberate them somewhat. The French never pressed their advantage and I think the more tim…

Boozehound Unfiltered: The Ginquest, Part 1

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I'm a whiskey guy, but there's only so much whiskey in the world and I'm trying desperately to work my way through an excess of whiskey crowding my own liquor cabinet- so with no new whiskies around to dig into, that left me with a dearth of Boozehound choices. Happily, the Madre supplied a topic- and it's perfect for the height of summer. Behold, the inside of the Parentals Liquor Cabinet:
If you're counting the gins, then you're not alone. I'm pretty sure the Madre is up to about nine gins now- since the gin and tonic has long been a family go-to cocktail- I decided to take a sharp left turn and plunge headlong into the world of gin. Yes, I'm starting The Ginquest- Part 1 with Magellan's Gin: But, before we get to that, we've got to answer the basic question. Just what the hell is gin? As always, I began the Ginquest with a stop at the Font of All Knowledge, Wikipedia and the extensive wiki-page for gin, which includes an extensive history on …

Let's Play Our Game

Yes! Best. News. Ever.  No, I'm not talking about the shenanigans of the Republican National Convention- the Big 12 has finally gotten it's act together and given me the best early Christmas present ever: a decision to move forward with expansion! Which means I can indulge in mindless and exciting speculation until they make a decision and prove me wrong.

I have a feeling (yes, a feeling) that a combination of Oklahoma, the announcement of an ACC Network being developed/launched by ESPN and the silly, stupid amounts of money the Big Ten is making off of their television deal forced the hand of the Big 12. I think, given a choice, Texas probably would have kept the status quo and been the big fish in the pond, but the plate tectonics of college football and cable television continue to shift and that means you expand or inevitably die. (While the other conferences say they're done, that's horseshit and everyone knows it. The Big Ten is doing looking at expansion when Ji…

Squawk Box: Summer of Frasier

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The Missus makes fun of my love of Frasier, but it dates back to college. Along with Friends, Frasier was one of those shows that you could always find on television, somewhere, some channel pretty much any time of time- kind of like Seinfeld. When it dropped on Netflix, I burned through about eight seasons of it before I got bored and gave up. (There are eleven seasons total, so it was somewhat understandable.) But now, I'm back and I'm going to blame a podcast for starting me on this journey once again.

I've been listening to the Nerdist Podcast for awhile now and Matt Mira shows up now and again and occasional drops references to his other podcasts- James Bonding (all about what you'd expect- James Bond) and his Frasier Podcast, Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs. Finally, I bit and listened to an episode.

First of all, apropos of nothing- he's a double act for his Frasier Podcast- none other than Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) is along for the ride. Well, mayb…

This Week In Vexillology #173

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This Week In Vexillology, we're wrapping up our Caribbean tour with the flag of Dominica... (for the geographically non-inclined: there's the Dominican Republic and Dominica. Two separate countries. This is the flag of the latter.)


Adopted on November 3, 1978 as a civil and state flag, the green field represents the lush vegetation of the island. The cross stands for the Trinity and Christianity- the three colors in the cross stand for the indigenous population, the fertile soil and the pure water. The ten green stars are for the ten parishes of the country and the red disc at the center stands for social justice.

The parrot at the center is the national emblem- specifically, the sisserou parrot, which is an endangered species without only 250-350 left. The parrot is sometimes blue and sometimes purple- which the actual color of the parrot, but here's the crazy thing. Of all the flags in the world, Dominica's is the only one that uses the color purple. Nicaragua's …

Let's Talk Turkey

Coups and interventions by the military into Turkish politics aren't exactly new. It has been awhile since the military dipped its toe in the political pool- 1997, to be exact- but before that, 1993, 1980, 1971 and 1960 all saw interventions of one kind or another, so this wasn't exactly shocking- even though it seemed to catch everyone by surprise.
It's more or less over by now- CNN is still saying that it's 'unclear who has control' but President Erdogan is back in the country and it seems to be unraveling pretty quickly. But in terms of coup d'etats, this one seemed to have some momentum going for it- but rumors were rife from the word go that this was a 'faction of the military' and not universally supported by the military and there was word that there was fighting between Security Forces and soldiers almost right away.
I don't think we'll know for sure for awhile, but it seems like they didn't move fast enough. They needed to shutdo…

Does Not Compute

I feel like an alien sometimes and I'm starting to wonder if it's just the good manners hammered into me by my parents as a child. That's not to say that I didn't have my moments as a callow youth. Tact escapes me sometimes. I'm not perfect, nobody is, but sometimes I run into things out there in the world that simply don't compute in my brain.

Case in point: street harassment in Iowa City. When I first heard that a group of local activists were raising awareness about the problem, I'll admit: I rolled my eyes. But then, I stopped myself- because, I'm a dude and just because I've never seen street harassment doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I mean, how am I going to know? Right?

So, this Facebook post has been making the rounds locally. It's 5,000 words long, it deals with the realities of being Black In The Midwest and it's a good read- in fact, it's probably an important read given what's going out there in the world, but it …

Knife Fights Across The Pond

So, if you thought American Politics was a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment, well, it's getting positively vicious on the other side of the pond. In the wake of the Brexit Vote and Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation, the Tories began the process of selecting a new leader which makes UFC 200 look like a kindergarten slap fight. Let's examine the series of events, shall we?

In the immediate wake of the vote, Boris Johnson (hereafter, Boris With The Crazy Hair) was assumed to be the dude. It was a prospect that horrified many, but people were really betting heavily on Boris With The Crazy Hair to be the next Prime Minister. Unfortunately, many people also viewed him as well, a scheming opportunist who wanted to Prime Minister so badly he dragged the UK out of the EU by a nose hair so he could get a shot at the job.

As with most things, Boris With The Crazy Hair was not to be. After all, 'he who wields the knife, never wears the crown.' Enter Michael Gove, …

Bookshot #89: This Kind of War

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I snagged this off of Kindle ages ago, when, having burned through the first half of M*A*S*H, it suddenly occurred to me that I knew very little about the actual Korean War itself. While it may seem like a good time on the television screen, outside of the Pusan Perimeter, the landings at Inchon and the perils of getting too close to the Yalu River I didn't know much else. This Kind Of War was an attempt to remedy that.

What I found out was that Korea was a bloodier and more controversial conflict than I think I had ever imagined. There's lots of echoes from the past that prove remarkable timely and T.R. Fehrenbach pulls no punches in recounting the missteps and mistakes that lead America into an ill-defined war that it was ill-prepared for, despite flaring up a bare five years after the end of the Second World War.

Some digging on the interwebs reveals that Fehrenbach was actually a Korean War vet- which I don't think I knew, but also explains some of the editorializing t…

This Week In Vexillology #172

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We're back on our regular scheduled programming this week and back in the Caribbean, because let's face it- where else would you want to be? And this week, we've got the flag of Barbados!

Adopted on November 30th, 1966- the island's first independence day, it's described as a 'vertical triband' which confused me for a second, but now makes a certain amount of sense- after all- it's not a tricolor, but it does have three distinct bands, which would, after all, make it a triband and not something else. The two blue bands- ultramarine according to the Wikipedia description, stand for the ocean surrounding the country and the the sky- the gold band in the middle represents the sand.

The black trident head gives the flag its name- 'The Broken Trident' and the missing staff of the trident is significant because it turns out the old colonial badge of Barbados had Brittania holding the trident- so breaking the trident represents a break from its status …

Unfinished

What I don't know generally outweighs what I do know for a lot of shit that goes down in this world and when that's the case I tend to ask more questions, listen as hard as I can, read as much as I can and try my best to understand. I don't- generally- express my opinions on social media because I have never in my life seen an well-reasoned, thoughtful, intelligent debate ever happen on Facebook or Twitter.

Trying to understand is sort of the best I can do. I'm a straight, white male, solidly middle-class and I have no idea whatsoever what it's like to be a minority in this country. I don't want to say things like 'I understand the rage and the pain' because I don't. And saying that makes it about me instead of about the people who live with this stuff on a day to day basis and I don't want to do that either.

But I also work in Law Enforcement. I'm not a cop, but I know cops. I see them go out and do their job every day and I'm fortunate…

This Week In Vexillology: 4th of July Special

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This Week In Vexillology, just in time for the holiday weekend, we're once again taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to look all the way back at a couple of historical flags of the American Revolution- and another flag (sort of random, I know- but fitting given the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.) So, lots of history-- here we go:


These days more often associated with the Tea Party and the libertarian end of the right-wing, this flag is often seen being waved by folks like The American Outlaws as well- but the idea of the rattlesnake being one of our national symbols (which is news to me, as well, so hey- you learn something new everyday) dates all the way back to the 1750s where Ben Franklin had the satirical notion of sending rattlesnakes to England, since the policy of Great Britain had been to send the convicted criminals to the Americas.

The first political cartoon in an American newspaper hit shortly thereafter- a snake cut into eight sectio…