…tell them I said something.

Moran Monday

“People still have the idea that [America is] the promised land — somewhere like California where everything is fruitful and abundant. But…Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California. There’s a perfectly ordinary English sentence. Do you know how that happened? ‘Cause I’ll tell you — you know how he got into that position? He got there, by lifting things. Now you and me, we avoid lifting things. It’s unpleasant. Especially heavy things! And you lift something when you have to. Piano falls on Granny, you lift the piano…because Granny has mixed feelings about the whole situation. Sunday lunch continues. He didn’t do any of that! He went right over to the heavy thing, and lifted it and put it back down and didn’t move it anywhere! And then he lifted it again — hundreds of times! — and said to the people who had stopped to observe this aberrant behavior, ‘Look at how good I am at lifting the heavy thing in my underpants.’ Now that sounds a little dim. But it was they who said, ‘You’re the man. You’re the one we want dealing with immigration and water rates and taxes and all that kind of shit.’ What we need to know is, how bad was his predecessor at that job? He must have been someone who came to work covered in children’s blood every morning.”

-Dylan Moran

“Cheese is the celebration of what happens when milk goes off big time style-y.” -Stephen Fry

Who’s a motherfuter?

motherfuter

10 Christmas Songs That Don’t Suck

Confession: I’m one of those odd ducks who plays Christmas music in July. In fact, that’s not even much of a confession, as “confession” implies some level of guilt. Christmas music can be really beautiful or fun…it can also be really crap-tastic. I mean, how many artists pump out some generic Christmas album just to make a quick buck around the holidays? Loads.

So in the interest of fostering a greater appreciation for Christmas music (because, yeah…that’s needed) I present 10 songs that should be on your holiday playlist. Or your jamming in the car with the windows down playlist. Don’t let the seasons dictate your life, man!

 

1. “Hooray for Santa Claus!” by Roy Alfred and Milton Delugg

No worries if you didn’t recognize this one…but many, many bonus points if you did! It’s from the opening credit sequence from the cult classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Although be warned: the first couple times you hear the song, you’ll probably hate it. But stick with it and eventually the shouting children’s choir becomes bearable, even sweet. Also, there’s no denying those swinging 60′s horns. Although why the song isn’t called “Santy Claus” (because that’s clearly what they’re saying) is still a bit of a mystery.

 

2. “Merry Christmas Everybody” by Oasis

Too many Christmas songs rot your teeth and rattle your head with their sweetness and boisterous-ness. (See above.) And while there are plenty of lovely sad Christmas songs to go around (see below) it’s sometimes hard to find a song that hits the Goldilocks sweet spot. Oasis accomplishes it here with their subdued take on “Merry Christmas Everybody.” It might be a bit more down-beat than grandma will like, but when you’re alone and kicking back with your (spiked) hot chocolate with nothing to do but admire your pile of freshly wrapped presents…well, this song is just perfect.

 

3. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Belle and Sebastian

Here’s something for grandma! A nice religious ditty she’ll recognize but done in a stripped down and breathy way that won’t make you feel like you’re stuck sitting in a pew. Sometimes, less really is more. (Did you hear that, Mormon Tabernacle Choir? No, I suspect not.)

 

4. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” by the Barenaked Ladies ft. Sarah McLachlan

Picking up the tempo a bit are the Barenaked Ladies (or BNL — yes Jeff, they’re that fundamental!) with their vaguely hoedown-ish take on two holiday classics. Reigning in the BNL boys sillyness a bit is Sarah McLachlan, taking a break from those depressing dog commercials. Props to everyone involved for tackling two of the more serious (and religious) holiday songs and making them fun for everyone.

 

5. “Carol of the Bells” by The Piano Guys

Sometimes, you don’t need words. All you need is a cello…well, maybe twelve cellos. All of the stuff by The Piano Guys is awesome (honorable mention for their “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”) but this track in particular is amazing. Even if you’re not a big “classical music” fan, the strings on this are so intense you can help but get into it. Case in point: I had my holiday party the other day — a rather raucous affair — and when this song came on everyone stopped to listen…and then proceeded to jam out to it by playing air violins. (We were pretty deep into the wine at this point, thus the air violins instead of air cellos.)

 

6. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Chris Martin

In the interest of full disclosure, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is my favorite Christmas song if it is sung with the original ending: “until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” The reasons why the line was swapped out for “hang a shining star upon the highest bough” are well detailed in this article, but this gist of it is that the idea of muddling through wasn’t jolly enough for a Christmas song. I, for one, happen to like depressing and moody Christmas songs; besides the whole hanging a star on a bough thing doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Now while Martin sticks with the happier (read: wrong) lyric, the lone piano and his trademark falsetto make the song plenty moody to earn a spot on this list. (I’m not sure if Martin should be credited or Coldplay, but since it’s pretty much just him, he gets the honors. If you’re looking for a good Coldplay Christmas song, I recommend “Holiday Lights” which just missed making it on this list. Additionally, if you’re looking for a version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with the proper lyrics, I recommend Judy Garland’s — a true classic.)

 

7. “Christmas Time Is Here (Alternate Vocal Take)” by Vince Guaraldi

As a massive “Peanuts” fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t include something from A Charlie Brown Christmas. While the original “Christmas Time Is Here” is a perfectly fine song, I slightly prefer the alternate vocal version. Instead of singing the lyrics, the children just sorta “oooh” through the song. The result manages to be uplifting and downbeat at the same time — something that seems very Charlie Brown.

(Unfortunately, I was unable to track down the alternate take online. I’ve linked to an instrumental version of the song, which is also very good, in a cool jazz sort of way. But really, you should just buy the entire album because every song is excellent.)

 

8. “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” by CeeLo Green ft. Straight No Chaser

Okay, if you’re going to do a silly song, you better do it well. And who would’ve known, but Green’s voice is absolutely perfect for this. Additionally, this a cappella song features some really amazing barbershop vocals by Straight No Chaser. I never would have thought “You’re a Mean One” would be on my playlist but everything just works. (And no, I have no idea what’s going on in that video. Just ignore it and enjoy the song.)

 

9. “In Dulci Jubilo” by Swimming

This is one of those Christmas songs you’ve heard, the tune sounds familiar, but hell if you can sing along. (See also, “Carol of the Bells.”) This is a pretty traditional carol (like, Middle Ages traditional) whose title translates to “the sweet rejoicing.” This version is very upbeat and shiny — conjuring up images of skating on a sunny day. A fun and refreshing song.

 

10. “White Wine in the Sun” by Tim Minchin

This is the song I post every year around Christmastime on Facebook, usually with the description, “The only Christmas song you’ll ever need.” I stand by that ruling. If you listen to no other song on the list, listen to this one. Yes, Minchin is an atheist singing about how much he likes Christmas, which you may find a little strange. And yes, he takes some jabs at religion and consumerism, which you may find a little off-putting. But the meat of the song — family, friends, being with people you love in places where you feel safe — are what the holidays are really about, no matter what religion (or lack thereof) you follow. The emotion in his voice is incredibly moving. As an atheist who loves Christmas but had a hard time reconciling those two things, I appreciate how this songs makes sense of it all.

Wishing you all some white wine in the sun!

Judging Flags: Benin, Bermuda, & Bhutan

Country: Benin

What’s Going On? It’s a tricolor for sure, but the blocks are stacked wrong. Well, not “wrong” but you know…

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The green symbolizes hope and revival while the yellow is for wealth and the red for courage.

What’s Good About It? Green, yellow, and red pop up a lot on African flags as the colors represent the Pan-Africanist movement (sometimes black is thrown in as well). These colors are also the colors of the flag of Ethiopia, the only country not to be colonized by Europeans during the Days Of The White Dude Taking Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To Him, making this flag a bit of an homage.

What’s Bad About It? It reminds me a bit of those flags you see on the side of sailboats, the ones that mean different letters of the alphabet.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Knows better than to stick a huge AK-47 right on the front of its flag.”

Score: 3.4

At least it’s better than the flag of the People’s Republic of Benin, 1975-1990. That shit is just sad looking.

 

Country: Bermuda (overseas territory of the United Kingdom)

What’s Going On? My oh my, it’s (red) ensign time. (We all remember our discussion on British ensign flags, yes?) The Bermudans have defaced their flag with a red…uh, animal of some sort (I’d say lion but check out those feet!) holding up a picture of a boat sinking. Fun.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The Bermudian Coat of Arms depicts a red lion (really?) and the 1609 sinking of the ship Sea Venture. Said sinking led the Brits on board to abandon their plan of settling in Virginia and go with Plan B: Bermuda. In the long run, I think we can all agree that was one fortunate ship sinking.  (Or to put it in the Latin that appears on the coat of arms but not on this flag: quo fata farunt — “wither the fates carry.”)

What’s Good About It? Oof, not much. Although having to work within the ensign parameters doesn’t make for a very fair fight.

What’s Bad About It? Well, depicting what many would consider to be a disaster on your flag is an interesting choice, fates aside. But everyone on the boat — including the dog! — survived, so maybe this was actually a happy occasion..?

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? n/a

Score: 2.2

Unlike other British territories, there doesn’t appear to be any “indigenous” flag option, which makes me think that Bermudans don’t care much about flag design. Then again, if I lived on a tropical island with pink sand beaches, maybe I wouldn’t care either…and this series would be titled “Judging Beaches” instead.

 

Country: Bhutan

What’s Going On? A dragon — cool! 1970s color scheme — groovy!

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Orange represents Buddhism and yellow represents the ruling dynasty. The dragon is called Druk the Thunder Dragon. Druk is the sorta the mascot of Bhutan; the jewels he’s holding onto symbolize wealth while his white color symbolizes purity…two things that don’t always go together.

What’s Good About It? You mean besides the dragon? The diagonal background is different. And I like how it’s split equally between religion and the government — it shows the importance of both in Bhutanese life.

What’s Bad About It? I would be willing to accept the dragon — despite breaking all the rules regarding simplicity — if he had been colored in. I get you want to represent purity but the flag sorta looks like someone colored in the background but then didn’t want to tackle the tricky dragon in their coloring book. And cards on the table, a more stylistic rendition of a dragon would be better.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The dragon gives wisdom to those humble enough to receive it.”

Score: 3.1

I think this is the first time a religion other than Islam has been represented on a flag. (You could argue the “Union Jack” is an amalgamation of many crosses, but it doesn’t really have religious meaning anymore.) As for animals this is our first dragon, following a couple of eagles, a few dolphins, some cattle, and a creepy shipwreck-obsessed lion.

Judging Flags: Belgium & Belize

Country: Belgium

What’s Going On? It’s a tricolor. But it’s more square-y so that’s interesting…right?

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Apparently the vertical design is based on the French flag, so if you’re looking for someone to blame for another boring vertical tricolor, you found le bouc émissaire. The colors come from the duchy of Brabant’s coat of arms, which features a yellow lion with a red tongue and claws against a black background.

What’s Good About It? Well, it’s got to look better than a yellow lion with a red tongue and claws against a black background.

What’s Bad About It? Nothing really. Well, except that people might think, “That German flag is hung weird.”

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The flag of Belgium can be broken off and shared with two other friends.”

Score: 3.0

Loyal visitors will note that I haven’t done a flag post in awhile. Apologies. I started two new jobs which has kept me rather busy. I must say that it was a bit of a downer to come back to yet another tricolor. But don’t worry — things are about to get sexy…

 

Country: Belize

What’s Going On? THERE ARE SHIRTLESS MEN HOLDING WEAPONS ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING FLAG. I didn’t even know this was something I wanted but now that I see it…I can’t imagine living without it!

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Besides the dudes in Dockers hanging out with their ax and sword? (That is a sword, right?) Does anything else even matter? Alright fine…the red and blue derive from the two main political parties in Belize. There are fifty green mahogany (apparently) leaves in a circle which represent…leaves, I wanna say? The two dudes are apparently workers and all the tools and whatnot refer to the fact that Belize’s main industry — when originally settled by the British — was logging. The motto reads, “I flourish in the shade.”

What’s Good About It? I take back all the mean things I’ve said about how crests/coats of arms are lame and how simplicity is paramount in flag design, blah blah blah. This is amazing. Who is going to forget the flag with the two shirtless guys on it holding edged weapons?

What’s Bad About It? Okay fine, it might not be easy to replicate, which is a minus. And all the other flags are probably taunting the Belize flag, “Put a shirt on!” or “Get a room you two!”

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Currently located at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.”

Score: 3.8

Confession: I feel moderately bad giving this a higher rating. But I gotta give Belize props for putting together one ridiculous flag. Not only do you have human figures on your flag (which is weird/rare enough) but you put them in Dockers with belts and give them six-packs. (You can see a more detailed image here. And by the bye, do these guys have names?) And if having shirtless men wasn’t pimp enough, there’s that motto:  “I flourish in the shade.” That’s just swag, and I don’t use that word very often. (Mostly because I’m a white girl from the suburbs but you get my point.) So in other words — I guess I don’t feel bad about recognizing a truly original flag. Well done, Belize. Well done.

Judging Flags: Bangladesh, Barbados, & Belarus

Country: Bangladesh

What’s Going On? Japan is apparently celebrating Christmas, albeit a bit to the left.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  It’s a sun, silly! A rising sun that represents the “sacrifice to achieve independence.” The green is for the “lush” Bangladeshi vegetation. (Kinda skeeved out that the CIA World Factbook uses the word “lush.”)

What’s Good About It? Well, it’s a simple design in pleasing colors. And I like that the red circle is shifted to the left a bit…

What’s Bad About It? …well, I like it and I don’t like it. Part of me thinks that there needs to be a reason for doing so. Or it should be shifted further to the left so it looks more intentional.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Blood seeps out over the fertile lowlands with surprising precision.” (Fuck.)

Score: 3.5

Apparently, the Bangladeshi flag used to have a map on it in the middle of the red bit, but this was dropped because it was too difficult to replicate on both sides of the fabric. For the record, I dislike maps on flags. (And I freakin’ LOVE maps.) But on a flag? It just doesn’t work. It’s not as bad as a seal or coat of arms but still…it’s pretty bad. Points to the Bangladeshis for realizing this and making the appropriate changes.

 

Country: Barbados

What’s Going On? Apparently, Poseidon is a fan of tribands.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  The blue — I’m sorry, the ultramarine – represents the sea and the sky. (Not sure if that’s left to right or right to left. Or maybe they both represent both. Am I over-thinking this?) The gold is for the sands of Barbados. The trident represents independence and a break with the past, as the colonial coat of arms had a complete trident.

What’s Good About It? And here I was, all ready to be shitty about the fact that this flag has a trident on it, make lots of Poseidon jokes and…turns out the reason for it’s inclusion on the flag is pretty cool. I don’t know if it looks like a “broken” trident per se, but having an obviously busted trident on the flag may have been weirder. And besides — it’s memorable! Name another flag that has a trident on it. Exactly. Keep your stars and crescents — Barbados is rocking the motherfucking trident.

What’s Bad About It? People like me will still make obvious jokes. (Also, the more I look at it, the trident looks like the Greek letters you’d see on the front of a fraternity house.) Additionally, I’m getting a little tired of all these island countries doing variations of blue and yellow for the sea and sand. I mean, I guess it’s okay — it makes for a convenient shorthand.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The god Neptune is in his third term as secretary of state.”

Score: 4.3

And besides, it’s not Poseidon’s or Neptune’s or the dad from The Little Mermaid‘s trident anyway. It’s this bitch’s.

 

Country: Belarus

What’s Going On? Not only Christmas colors, but an ugly sweater contest is breaking out on the hoist side!

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  Relax, I don’t think it’s “ugly.” The red and white pattern is “Belarusian national ornamentation.” The red band represents past struggles and the green represents hope for the future…and forests. Because Belarus has forests. Good to know.

What’s Good About It? I know I’m always going on about simplicity in flag design, but I sorta like that design on the hoist side. It feels old-school in a good way.

What’s Bad About It? I know that red and green is a popular color combination — but it just looks so Christmas-y! I’m not deducting points for it but…oye.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? This flag is proudly hung all over the country.”

Score: 3.4

And I found a mistake in the CIA World Factbook! The flag depicted above was redesigned in 2012, and those silly sods at the CIA still have the old version up on their site. (Man, I bet they’re embarrassed!) The new design looks very similar, but the “Belarusian national ornamentation” on the hoist side is more 8-bit looking. It also kinda looks like a tile floor. Either way, not sure if I care for the redesign…but props for being the newest flag on the block!

Judging Flags: The Bahamas & Bahrain

Country: Bahamas, The

What’s Going On? I see  your triband, and I raise you a sideways triangle.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  The blue represents — oh, I’m sorry — the aquamarine represents the sea surrounding the golden (yellow) beaches of The Bahamas. The black triangle symbolizes the Bahamian people, the shape in particular “pointing” to the development of the resources of the land and sea.

What’s Good About It? Loads! Nice, clean design with symbolism that is obvious (the sea and sand bit) and not so obvious (the black triangle). The colors work well together — props for going with aquamarine and not regular blue — and I’m really digging how that triangle is superimposed over the traditional (read: boring) triband.

What’s Bad About It? If you tilt your head to the right, it looks sorta like the pyramid at the Luxor in Las Vegas. (I honestly couldn’t think of anything bad to say about this flag, so I figured I’d throw that in.)

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Bahamas’ national instructions for making a bed.”

Score: 4.9

Just a super-cool flag. I noticed that it was adopted in 1973, making it our newest flag thus far — it’s also our highest rated flag taking over for Antigua and Barbuda which scored a 4.8. Man, these island countries are crushing it!

 

Country: Bahrain

What’s Going On? A zigzag! That’s new! Unless it’s sharp teeth biting into something that symbolizes blood.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  According to the good people at CIA World Factbook, red is the “traditional color of Gulf States,” thus its inclusion on this flag. No word on the white, except that the five white points are for the five pillars of Islam.

What’s Good About It? Well, zigzags are rather uncommon so this definitely stands out. I’d knock it for being too plain, but when you have a big zigzag-y edge like that, adding anything else probably isn’t a smart idea.

What’s Bad About It? I don’t know…something about zigzags doesn’t seem very “flag-like.” It feels almost too whimsical for a flag.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Utilizes the ancient flag-making technique of zigzags.”

Score: 3.7

Apparently, Bahrain’s flag use to be just solid red (you’re not the only one, former flag of Libya!) and a white stripe on the hoist side was added in 1820 after a peace treaty was signed with the UK. In the 1930s a “serrated edge” was added to distinguish the Baharaini from similar-looking flags in the neighborhood. Also, the original serrated edge flag had twenty-eight points (which makes it rather ugly looking) but it was reduced to eight points forty years later. In 2002, it was reduced to five so that they could represent the five pillars of Islam. (And just like that, The Bahamas is no longer the newest flag on the block.)

Judging Flags: Austria & Azerbaijan

Country: Austria

What’s Going On? I guess this isn’t a tricolor but a dualcolor, assuming that’s a thing.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  This flag is, per the CIA World Factbook, “certainly one of the oldest — if not the oldest — national banner in the world.” And they mean OLD…like, the third fucking crusade old. As the story goes, in 1191 Duke Leopold V got his white tunic all blood splattered during battle (no word on if it was his blood or the blood of those he vanquished) and when he took off his belt it revealed a clean white horizontal band and voila — you got yourself a flag!

What’s Good About It? Well, it’s got loads of bloody, horrible history…so that’s fun.

What’s Bad About It? Do you really want your flag to basically be a stylized version of a blood-soaked shirt? And according to the CIA (and a quick internet search), the colors don’t have any other symbolism or meanings: it’s basically the first half of a really grim Tide commercial.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Please send new flag ideas to: Austria, P.O. Box 2183.”

Score: 3.2

I feel kinda bad giving this a lower rating (while still technically above average) but there’s just not a lot going on here. And I couldn’t say for sure that I would’ve been able to identify this as Austria’s flag before as there are a lot of similar styles out there. Maybe Austria shouldn’t have gone with a stylized look but rather had red splattered on a white field — now that would be memorable. (Side note: this flag is considered a triband as it contains three parallel bands of color, but not a tricolor as it only has two colors. “Dualcolor” is, shockingly, not a thing.)

 

Country: Azerbaijan

What’s Going On? A tricolor with some star and crescent action. Interestingly, these are the three colors I used when making a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake for my friend’s son. (Apologies for using the word “interestingly” wrongly in the previous sentence.)

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  The blue is for Azerbaijan’s Turkic heritage, the red is for progress and modernization (Not blood? Are you sure?), and the green is for Islam. And in case the symbolism of the green is lost on you, there’s a lovely crescent to really drive the point home. The eight pointed star is for the “eight Turkic peoples of the world” (whatever that means). There’s also a possibility that the star has eight points because when written in Arabic, “Azerbaijan” has eight letters, but that sounds like someone just making shit up.

What’s Good About It? The color combination is pretty unique, and the celestial motifs help separate it even more from the torrent of tricolors out there.

What’s Bad About It? Nothing really. Although I can see myself getting bored of crescents and stars eventually.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The flag of Azerbaijan does not strike fear into the hearts of infidels at all.”

Score: 3.4

I know very little about Azerbaijan, but for some reason I keep thinking this flag looks too colorful. They need a more serious flag like our old friends the Albanians.

And just like that we’re done with the A’s! Onward to the B’s: who will win in a Caribbean smack-down between the Bahamas, Barbados, and Bermuda?  Just how annoying is Bhutan’s flag? And which B country’s flag made my eyes jump out of my head in protest? Stay tuned!

Judging Flags: Armenia, Aruba, & Australia

Country: Armenia

What’s Going On? A tricolor in lovely autumnal colors.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On?  Red is the blood shed for liberty, blue is for the Armenian skies (as well as hope), orange is for the Armenian lands and the courage of the workers who farm it. (Apparently there’s a lot of blood-thirsty dragons who roam Armenian farm fields.)

What’s Good About It? Who doesn’t love a tricolor? And the colors are fairly unique, as far as tricolors go.

What’s Bad About It? Well, it’s not “bad” per se, but the colors sort of remind me of the sweater that Ernie (of Bert and Ernie fame) wears.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “This flag hung in the UN janitor’s closet for 52 years before being identified.”

Score: 3.8

Could tricolors be a bad thing? Or at least a boring thing? Although a list of the top ten most recognizable flags probably contains quite a few tricolors. Cards on the table: I’m just afraid that I’ll run out of things to say about tricolors.

Country: Aruba (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands — who knew?)

What’s Going On? A blue flag with some oddly placed stripes and a star.

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The blue is the Caribbean Sea and skies, the stripes are the island’s two main industries: tourism and mining. The star has got a shit-ton going on: it’s the island of Aruba (with it’s red soil and rimmed with white beaches), its four points represent the four languages spoken on the island as well as the four points on the compass, indicating that Aruba’s inhabitants come from all over the world.

What’s Good About It? I like all the symbolism. The star is a bit over-loaded, but all of the things it stands for works.

What’s Bad About It? The overall layout is a bit odd looking. I’d redesign it with the star in the middle and the yellow stripes on either side. What can I say? I like symmetry in flags.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? n/a

Score: 3.7

I’ve been using the CIA World Factbook for my flag facts, since things like colors can be reinterpreted over time. But according to Wikipedia, the colors of the star also represent the “blood shed by Arubians, the Indian inhabitants, during the French pass war, and patriotic love” (I’m sorry, what now?) and “purity, honesty and the white beaches of Aruba.” You know, there comes a point when you really should put on another star. (Although the star is apparently unusual as far as flags go, since it only has four points. Must keep an eye out for any other four-pointed stars.)

Country: Australia

What’s Going On? The Blue Ensign is back! And this time it’s decorated with an array of lovely stars! (None of them four-pointed though!)

Sure, But What’s Really Going On? I say “decorated” but what I really mean is “defaced,” which is the proper term. The biggest star is the Commonwealth (or Federation) Star representing Australia (as opposed to the flag which represents Australia to the extent that a flag with another country’s flag depicted prominently on it can). Six points on the star represent the six original states in Australia with the seventh point covering all of the country’s internal and external territories. (I hope they don’t mind sharing!) The other stars represent the Southern Cross (the southern hemisphere’s Big Dipper).

What’s Good About It? As far as Ensigns go, this is a pretty good one. The stars work well with the blue.

What’s Bad About It? I guess I’m not sure why the Southern Cross is included, except to advertise Australia’s southern hemisphere-ness. I guess given that only 10% of the world’s population lives there is something to be proud of.

What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The Australian flag was inspired by watching the British flag at night.” (Lol.)

Score: 4.1

I think this flag is a good example of how to work within the parameters of the Ensign design. Although apparently there’s a small but vocal group of people advocating for changing the flag, specifically loosing the Union Jack bit. I understand that but there seems to be an expiration date on when you can change your flag. At this point, it’s so well-recognized as Australia that a change might be risky. However, I do like this alternative that’s been proposed.

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