Vexilloid Tabloid #70

The seventieth edition of our newsletter features:

  • The Raven Flag
  • Rotary Club Flag Presentation (Michael Orelove)
  • Flags in Ireland: A Field Report, Installment 3 (Ted Kaye)
  • Face Flags of Washington: Seattle (Scott Mainwaring)
  • New Flag–Reno, Nevada

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.


Canada and Mexico Announce Merger

SAINT-ALPHONSE-RODRIGUEZ, QUEBEC — In a surprise announcement today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proclaimed their mutual withdrawal from NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the merger of their two countries into the Federation of Camexida.  “It just got too difficult dealing with the Trump administration, so we’ve decided to leave NAFTA and join forces,” explained Trudeau. “That Trump, he’s just one bad hombre. Loco… Loquísimo!” added Peña Nieto, in an uncharacteristic display of informality.

The two leaders further revealed that to appease the Quebecois, the capital of the new federation would be developed in the small town of Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez in Quebec (one of the few municipalities in Canada with a Spanish place name) and that Mexico would half-heartedly adopt French as a second official language (due to some lingering resentments around the events of 1861).  A new two-sided flag was revealed to represent the new country, with the Mexican eagle side serving as the front of the flag in even-numbered years, the Canadian maple leaf in odd-numbered years.

Camexidian flag – obverse (even-numbered years), reverse (odd-numbered years).
Camexidian flag – obverse (odd-numbered years), reverse (even-numbered years)

After their short announcement, the two leaders declined to answer any questions from the stunned audience, and left to have a meal of moose meat tacos and huitlacoche poutine.

Vexilloid Tabloid #69

Our latest newsletter features:

  • The Korean Unity Flag (Ted Kaye)
  • Flags in Ireland: A Field Report, Installment 2 (Ted Kaye)
  • Flags for All Seasons, Take 2 (Scott Mainwaring)
  • Flags along I-5 in Oregon (Michael Orelove)

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.


Scottsdale, Arizona Redesign Poll Closes Feb 28

The municipal government of Scottsdale, Arizona — “the West’s most Western town” according to its uninspired current flag — is narrowing in on a redesign and inviting public input. Why? “Scottsdale hopes a new flag will become an immediately recognizable symbol of the proud and accomplished desert community known around the world for its blend of western heritage, natural beauty and modern art and culture.”

Here are the contending proposals. (Interestingly, the web survey shows each proposals at two sizes, to allow the design to be read both close-up and at a more typical viewing distance.)

This design represents the natural beauty and desirableness of Scottsdale’s geography and desert climate. The flag depicts the sun rising over the mountains of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Old Town is represented with the iconic cowboy logo which is also utilized in the City’s logo, seal and current flag. The blue and gray are traditional colors that are prominent in the City’s logo. The “sun-ray” design is borrowed from the Arizona state flag to provide a logical connection between state and city.
Our stark blue sky creates a bold backdrop for our 48-square mile Preserve, making up more than 25% of the city limits. The outline of the mountain is meant to represent a portion of our 181 miles of trails. It’s only fitting to have a majestic sagurao on “West’s Most Western Town” city flag. Incorporated just in 1951, so many of the saguaro’s we see today were here well before then, thus becoming one of our city’s most loved icons.
Having fallen in love with Scottsdale and moved here 3 years ago, these elements are why my husband and I are now permanent residents: the glorious sun, the stark blue sky, the undulating mountains and the magnificent flora. With an average of 314 days of sunshine, who wouldn’t want to live here?! Sunshine makes people happy and should be a key element on our flag. In 1994, the first parcel of land was dedicated as the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This vast treasure, taking up just over 25% of Scottsdale, is a draw for locals and visitors alike as the largest urban park in the U.S. From the spring wildflowers to the ever towering saguaros, the stunning beauty of our flora is unmatched. These 4 elements together make up Scottsdale’s new flag.
Scottsdale, “The West’s Most Western Town”, is synonymous with relaxation, open spaces, natural beauty, blue skies, sunshine, luxury, amazing events, and warm, welcoming people. This flag design reflects this. The American-flag/Arizona-flag blue at the top represents the 300+ days of clear blue skies stretching from horizon to horizon. There is a luxurious gold strip horizontally across the middle. The luscious green at the bottom represents our verdant spring desert, the preserve and the mountains that surround our dale. The white symbol at the center is a simplified version of the city seal, and is both a cowboy’s spur and a sun. It has ten points to spell out the name SCOTTSDALE.
The blue triangle represents the McDowell Mountains as seen from a distance. The compass rose represents the travel industry, which makes up a large part of Scottsdale’s economy. Its white color symbolizes the cleanliness of the city. The three stripes are arranged to represent a sunset. The red stripe represents the beauty of Scottsdale and the surrounding desert. The orange stripe pays homage to Scottsdale’s original name, Orangedale, and to the citrus trees planted upon its founding. The yellow stripe represents the abundant sunshine. The yellow and blue were borrowed from the coat of arms of the city’s founder, Winfield Scott. All colors but orange and white are the same shades used on the Arizona state flag.
The Scottsdale flag consists of 4 red mountain peaks representing the McDowell Mountains with the Saddleback Mountain in the middle and the highest peak in the east (far left side of flag). The McDowell Mountain preserve is central to Scottsdale wildlife and resident activities. The weld-yellow sky is symbolic of Arizona’s beautiful sunsets. The blue at the bottom of the flag represents the Salt-River which runs through the southern border of Scottsdale. In the center is Scottsdale’s official city seal, a rider astride a bucking horse, which symbolizes the deep roots in the old west and western activities. The Scottsdale flag resembles the Arizona flag in color scheme which allows it to be more easily recognized by Arizona residents or people visiting from out of state.
The icons of the cactus and the mountain range were chosen to represent the beautiful horizons and mountain ranges surrounding Scottsdale. Highlighted are the breathtaking, radiant sunsets, represented by the blaze of orange and yellow. The deep royal blue was chosen to create a visceral connection to the depth of elegance within Scottsdale.
The middle of the flag features a sunburst in the middle of a pure white Giant Saguaro blossom, our state flower and a favorite of Scottsdale. Around the white flower blossom is a circle of bold deep blue and white rope representing our wild west heritage and lifestyle. The background is split horizontally with a golden tan on the bottom representing our arid desert landscape and a deep blue representing our year round beautiful skies. The blue is similar to our state, county, and country flags.
This City of Scottsdale flag design is based on a petroglyph originally found on the west side of the McDowell Mountains near DC Ranch. In 1937, Frank Lloyd Wright relocated the boulder to Taliesin West, inspiring its symbol. It reflects the artistry of Scottsdale residents, ancient and modern. The clasping hands symbolize the collaborative spirit that has taken place in Scottsdale through the years resulting in such community amenities as the Indian Bend Wash and the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The blue background is the same as in the Arizona and United States flags and reflects the municipal connection to the state and federal governments. The brown represents the color of the Sonoran Desert and the McDowell Mountains. The blue lines also symbolize the canals and washes, and the brown lines symbolize the mountains that surround the community. The negative space between the clasping hands creates an “S” for Scottsdale.
This flag design option portrays a version of the most prominent symbol of Scottsdale, in a simple but powerful form of the Cowboy and Horse. The blue represents the blue skies typical of Scottsdale and city color of blue. The copper represents the southwest, copper state, and the iconic sunsets.

As with many of these redesign efforts, it is worth asking whether deciding between these specific options through a public poll will lead to a better result (a more widely adopted flag) than would hiring a design professional to produce a final design after taking these amateur ideas into thoughtful consideration.

(Also, Oregonians will beg to differ: Port Orford, Oregon and obviously not Scottsdale is the literally most western incorporated settlement in the continental US.)

Re-Imagining the Royal and Vice-Regal Flags of the Commonwealth

From the August 2017 Vexilloid Tabloid #65
By Max Liberman

Queen Elizabeth II reigns as monarch of 16 sovereign and independent countries.  Although they share the same person as queen, each country’s throne is legally distinct:  she is simultaneously and separately Queen of the United Kingdom, Queen of Australia, Queen of Papua New Guinea, etc.

Some of these countries have adopted royal standards for the monarch’s personal use, usually a banner of the national coat of arms, defaced with Elizabeth’s  personal badge of a crowned “E” in a wreath of roses.

The royal standard of New Zealand, shown below, is a typical example.

New Zealand royal standard.

Since the queen lives in the United Kingdom, in her other 15 realms she is represented by a governor-general, who fulfills the day-to-day functions of the head of state.

Most of these viceroys (governors-general) fly nearly-identical flags:  blue, with the lion-and-crown crest from the British royal arms above a scroll bearing the country’s name.

Flag of the governor-general of Belize.

The flag of the governor-general of Belize is shown above.

From a heraldic and constitutional perspective, the symbolism of all this is not very satisfying.  The crowned-“E” badge serves as an armorial mark of difference, indicating that someone other than the actual bearer of the coat of arms is represented.  But as monarch, the queen is the personal embodiment of the state; the nation’s arms are her arms, and there is no reason for a person to bear his or her own arms differenced.

In accordance with heraldic custom, I suggest that in each realm she should use a banner of the  national arms without defacement or difference—as illustrated by proposed standards for the Queen of Grenada, the Queen of Tuvalu, and the Queen of Canada below.

Proposed Grenadian royal standard.
Proposed Tuvaluan royal standard.
Proposed Canadian royal standard.

What of the governors-general? They do not represent the United Kingdom or the British government, so there seems little justification for their flags bearing the crest of the British monarch.  Rather, since each governor-general is the personal representative of his or her own country’s queen, I propose that he or she should fly a differenced version of that country’s royal standard.

A bordure ermine for difference might be especially suitable; this has often been employed in heraldry as a mark of difference, and is used today in the United Kingdom by members of the royal family without banners of their own.  Proposed flags for the governors-general of New Zealand and Barbados are pictured here.

Proposed flag of the governor-general of New Zealand.
Proposed flag of the governor-general of Barbados.

For the governor-general of Jamaica, ermine will not do, since the field of the Jamaican royal standard is already white.  In this case, I suggest a bordure compony of the national colors of green, gold and black.

Proposed flag of the governor-general of Jamaica.

Something similar could be done in the Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (see below), and St. Kitts and Nevis, where the same problem arises.

Proposed flag of the governor-general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Australia (below) and Tuvalu present another problem—how should the vice-regal flag be differenced when the royal arms already have a bordure?

Current Australian royal standard.

The overall result, in my view, is a series of flags which clearly denote each realm’s independence and distinct national identity, combining existing national symbolism and centuries-old heraldic principles to accurately reflect today’s constitutional realities.

Queen Elizabeth II’s personal flag.

Chicago Flags Finds a New Home in Gresham

From the August 2017 Vexilloid Tabloid #65
By Michael Orelove

About two years ago I wrote a  letter to the Chicago Fire Department requesting an old Chicago flag that had flown over a fire station.  I just received the flag.

It flew over Engine 83 which was 2.6 miles from where I used to live in Chicago.

Michael Orelove at Troutdale Fire Station 75.

I wanted to find a new home for the flag so I went to Troutdale Fire Station 75 and asked if they knew any firefighters with a Chicago connection.  They referred me to Joe Griffin of Gresham Fire Station 76.

I connected with Joe, who has family in Chicago and goes to back there about once a year.  I gave him the flag.

Joe Griffin and fellow firefighters at Gresham Fire Station 76.

As with other flags the stars and stripes represent different things.  On the Chicago flag each point of the stars has a different meaning.  For example, the second red star represents the Chicago Fire of 8–10 October 1871.  The points of the second star signify religion, education, esthetics, justice, beneficence, and civic pride.

Chicago adopted the original version of the flag in 1917.  Since then, it has added stars, and now flies extensively throughout the city.  The design has been voted one of the best in the country and has inspired other city flags.




Flag Burning in Portland

From the August 2017 Vexilloid Tabloid #65

As the recent 4th-of-July-weekend Blues Festival began, Portlanders continued their tradition of protest, often using flags.  At times that involved burning them.

The right-wing group Patriot Prayer planned a two-hour “Freedom March” at Tom McCall Waterfront Park with “a small amount of speeches to promote freedom   and courage”.  On Facebook it said “Fear will not silence Americans in these liberal strongholds.  Please bring your best behavior.”

Members of the Rose City Antifa burn a flag at the Portland Waterfront, 30 June 2017. Sarah Silbiger / The Oregonian

The opposition group Rose City Antifa [anti-fascist] organized an opposition rally called “Enough: Stop Patriot Prayer Now!”  On Facebook it said “We will not allow our community to be overrun by fascists and those who make excuses for them.”

Most demonstrators had passionate but peaceful conversations.   However, one fight started after some Antifa protesters burned flags.  One man tried to hit others with a broken flag pole.

Anti-Trump protesters burn an upside-down flag downtown, 20 January 2017. Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian

This behavior follows an incident where anti-Trump protesters burned American flags (and one Texas flag) in Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown on 20 January, Inauguration Day.

Eric Post

In response to that event, veteran Eric Post went to Willamette National Cemetery and recorded an emotional Facebook video at gravesites of Medal of Honor winners, inviting protesters to take a tour.  It went viral, with over 2 million views in three days.




Vexilloid Tabloid #68


Our first newsletter of 2018 (Issue 68) features:

  • Of Arms and Silks (David Ferriday)
  • Flags in Ireland: A Field Report, Installment 1 (Ted Kaye)
  • A New Flag for Coral Springs, Florida (Scott Mainwaring)
  • Forthcoming Books (Scott Mainwaring)
  • Sutherlin — City of Flags (Michael Orelove)

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz.




Vexilloid Tabloid #67

Travel into the future with our December newsletter available now here in November!

Issue 67 features:

  • A Theory of City SOB Flags (Ted Kaye)
  • The Flag Fusions of Pedro Lasch (Scott Mainwaring)
  • A New Flag for Burlington, Vermont (Ted Kaye)
  • Travels with Flags (Michael Orelove)
  • Oregon Flag Registry Update

And, as always highlights from our last meeting, a roundup of flag news and notes, sightings of the Portland city flag, and the What’s That Flag quiz. Keen eyed readers may also spot a terrible flag joke, not counting the visual pun below (and, please, send us better ones!).



Vexilloid Tabloid #66

Here is the 66th edition of our club newsletter, The Vexilloid Tabloid, founded in 1999 by the late, great John Hood.  Our October 2017 edition features:

  • When Cities Reject Their New Flags (Ted Kaye)
  • 100 Days Action Resistance Flag (Cristina Victor)
  • The Mt. Rushmore State (Michael Orelove)
  • Vexiday: The Second World Vexillology Day in Portland (Scott Mainwaring)
  • ICV 27 Report–London 2017 (Ted Kaye)
  • A Flag to Commemorate the Arts and Sciences (David Ferriday)
  • The International Vegan Flag (John Niggley)