I Like Flags

Watching sport where there is more than one country involved gets me a bit excited… sometimes. Moreso when it’s something like the Olympics, or the World Cup (or Eurovison). I love watching sport. I love the excitement, the suspense, the booze and snacks…

I also love the flags.

(and the national anthems, but that’s another story)

Call me strange, but that kind of thing interests me. I like design. After watching yet another multinational tournament, I started to look up a few of the flags and found a whole new world (trying really hard not to burst into song here) of weird and wonderful flags of all nations.

I used to know all the European flags as a kid, after spending a good 6 months travelling around the continent. There isn’t much from Europe in this crop, but I did manage to come up with some of the more interesting, beautiful, ugly and slightly odd flags from around the world.

I’m possibly going to entertain nobody but myself here… but I’m kind of used to that, being an only child and all. If you want to play with me, you can come along. I don’t mind at all. I know I’m not the only geeky geek in the house…

I’ve narrowed it down to my Top 20.

It would be less, but I had enough trouble narrowing it down to this many.

So, without further ado…. and in no particular order….

BELIZE
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Aaaand first off the mark we have Belize. That wreath reminds me of one of those optical illusions where if you stare at the dot in the middle the circle starts moving around. Check it out! It’s moving! Except there is no dot in the middle.
What we have here is ebony and ivory working in perfect harmony… yet a bit apart. Or are they side by side? It says something about the country. They work the land. That’s what they do. Anyone got a problem with that? I don’t think you’d wanna fight those guys.. You might end up with a shovel in the head.

This flag also looks a bit like a corporate logo for a Latin American Kibbutz (?) Huhhh.

BAHRAIN
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Aww. It looks like the Burger King is having a bit of a nap. Other than that, I guess it’s quite striking, if a bit on the nautical side.

Sweet dreams, Burger King. When you wake, I’ll have a Whopper with cheese, add bacon. Thanks.

GEORGIA
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I’d love to live under this flag. It brings to mind all things medieval and knights of old. How wonderful. I also think it says, “Don’t fuck with us!”…and having met a few Georgian rugby players, I wouldn’t be doing anything of the sort.

GIBRALTAR
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Speaking of things medieval, come in Wizard of Id!

The King is a fink…!

How cool is that flag?

TUVALU
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One of the world’s smallest independant nations. A group of nine islands, smack bang in the middle of the Pacific. About halfway between Hawaii and Australia. So, if you’re ever trying to swim across, remember you have a rest stop. Isn’t that nice to know? I’m sure they have coconuts.

This flag makes me giggle every time I look at it because it looks like a drunk Aussie has tried to draw the Australian flag. Either that, or it’s the end result of a game of ‘Pin The Stars On The Southern Cross’…

ANTARCTICA
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Who knew that Antarctica has its own flag?

Part Rorsarch Ink Blot Test, part rhinoceros head…. you figure it out. The penguins must be pleased.

ANDORRA
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I like this one because it has moo cows on it. Any flag with moo cows on it is alright with me.

“Hello, we are from Andorra and we have cows”. Fantastic.

SWAZILAND
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Ah.. here we have Africa tapping into their rich visual heritage. It makes a strong statement about the country it’s representing. It’s a fine flag all ’round, but really I just like saying SWAZILAND.

Oh, and Richard E. Grant comes from Swaziland and Richard E. Grant rules. The end.

HONG KONG
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This flag must always be flown in conjunction with the Chinese flag and it’s not a Hibiscus flower, it’s a Bauhinia Blakensis. Okay? Good. I’m glad we’ve got that sorted. It is rather pretty though, don’t you think?

Can someone email this to Waldeck’s Garden Centre? I think they need a new logo.

LEBANON
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Ah, yes. I always think of lush, green trees when I think of Lebanon. Doesn’t everyone? An interesting, paradoxically peaceful symbol in a country that is effectively a bloody mess. I went there as a child and I don’t remember much except a lot of concrete and men with big guns.

I mean, I know the Cedar is native to Lebanon, but who are they trying to fool, exactly? Wishful thinking, perhaps…

GREENLAND
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I think this flag is hot. I dig it for it’s retro 60’s/70’s interior design sensibilities. It would make some fabulous wallpaper, no?

NEPAL
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Trust Nepal to think outside the square. The only national flag on the planet that isn’t a horizontal rectangle. They’re dancing to their own tune and it shows. Good on ya Nepal!

ISLE OF MAN
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Freaky freak show!! Haha! I LOVE this flag. This is my favourite. It has a sense of humour. How good is that? I also love that it’s rich in Anglo/Celtic mythology. Rock on.

TURKMENISTAN
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Just like the old Silk Road from Europe to Asia… or possibly a Persian carpet runner I once owned….

MYANMAR
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The country formerly known as Burma. They have corn! Is it corn? Does Burma grow a lot of corn? If they don’t grow a lot of corn, you’d have to wonder why the hell they have a head of corn on their flag … What’s all that about?

LESOTHO
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Hehe… The national emblem of Lesotho is a finger puppet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I like finger puppets. Finger puppets are fun.

Either that, or the ol’ Rorsach Ink Blot Test is back…

KIRIBATI
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What’s this? Kiribati sinking beneath the waves of the Pacific due to the effects of Global Warming?

Oh, well. At least the bird looks like he’s having fun….

SAUDI ARABIA
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Does anyone here speak Arabic? So accessible, as you would kind of expect, really.

Oh, oh… I just took a crash course in Arabic. It is apparently the Muslim creed, “There is no god but God; Muhammed is the Messenger of God”. Consider yourself told.

TIBET
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I like this one. A little psychedelic, complete with oddly coloured sunbeams, swirls and spooky green monsters… and strangely asymmetrical with the unfinished yellow border…

Tibet’s flag is of course, due to its national state of limbo, unrecognised. I dunno, it looks pretty recognisable to me…

UGANDA
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A German (?) cock in Africa, from the country that gave us Idi Amin. There has to be some connection there. 500,000 dead Ugandan’s can’t be wrong…

Interesting that the recent film didn’t depict him feeding homosexual’s their own penises…. Or that he was stark raving bonkers due to a nasty case of Syphillis? Or did it? I didn’t see it..

So, there you have it.

So, go on…. tell me your favourite.

Or… have I just completely out-geeked myself? Hah!

Vinyl Beauties 2

I love vinyl.

I have loads of it. So much that it’s becoming a bit of a problem, because I move house so often… but I can’t seem to part with any of my records.

More about that here:

Vinyl Beauties – Part 1

And here is Part Deux. Not before time, I know. I’ve gathered such a huge collection of dodgy album covers online, that it may take me a year to post them all….

Yay!

I chose these ones at random.  I closed my eyes and clicked.

First off the block we have:


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Is her neck broken? Or perhaps her back?

I’ve been doing aerobics on and off for 20 years and I can quite safely say that this particular move has never been part of any routine I’ve followed. In fact, I used to throw my head around like that when I was dancing in my misspent youth, and all the favours it did me, was ongoing neck and back problems. I wonder how she’s doing these days..?

Is my interpretation of digital timing wrong, or is that a 20 second workout? Ah, 20 minutes. Oh, well… if I’d end up with a body like hers, I might just try it…

It was seen on TV, after all…

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Astronauts in gaily coloured suits and multicoloured women from outer space (those curly antennae never work well, in my experence). Apparently they’re thrilling the ladies with gifts. What those gifts are, are anyone’s guess. I think they’re cocktails…? In brandy balloons. Hey, brandy is brown, man! I hate being misrepresented, don’t you?

I’m always up for an escapade, though. Especially in space.

I bags being the pink lady…

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Nice to be with you too, Jim. Didn’t your mother ever tell you it was rude to point?

Smug bastard.

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Their name is Omega, in case you didn’t get it from the prominently placed symbol. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, because it wasn’t the first thing I noticed…

I think they guy with the blond frizz and I have the same hairdresser….

Is the guy on the right wearing a frock? It’s all very odd. They must be Scandinavian.

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Just because I’ve been so active in my garden this week, I had to choose this one (the only one I actually chose). I always play music whist I’m pottering amongst the living things, but I hadn’t considered playing them Dr George’s music when I’m not around. Maybe that’s why my snow peas died overnight?

Does the fact he is a doctor, have any bearing on his horticultural skills? Maybe he’s a Doctor of Wilting Indoor Plants…

Arright. That’s it for another episode, my lovelies.

Feel free to make your own interpretations…

Song Of The Day – Scott Matthews – Elusive

Tiptoe Thru The Tulips (with me)

Alright, alright. I admit it. There’s not a lot of tiptoeing going on here, nor much in the way of tulips, for that matter….

… but I did spend a lovely couple of hours in the garden yesterday, planting some bulbs which had been sitting in the fridge for longer than the required 6 weeks. I’ve also just found out that they aren’t supposed to be stored in the crisper along with fruit and vegetables, as the fruit and veg gives of ethelyne gas which wrecks the bulbs.

Oops.

In case you can’t tell. I’m a novice gardener. The last time I planted a bulb was as part of a school project when I was 7 years old. Actually, that was the only time I’ve ever planted a flower…

Fingers crossed for these little beauties:

I mixed the pink and red tulips together and planted the rest in separate pots. Aren’t they the prettiest things?

Of course, now I know that you’re not supposed to store them with vegetables, you may see another photoblog with the bulbs looking exactly the same at the end of winter. [worried look] Fingers crossed…

See, I went to all this trouble…..

I got very, very dirty.

Nothing beats sinking your hands into soil..

Oh, well. If worse comes to worst, I still have my other lovelies. Yay for potted vegies! I’m in love with my tomatoes, chillies, onions, baby carrots, spring onions…..

[Spot the dead alien in my pool]

Speaking of tomoatoes…..

Yes, I know it’s just a tomato plant, but it’s MY tomato plant and it’s the first one I’ve ever grown. Well, make that the first six. They’re cherry tomatoes and there are six plants in that pot… and more tomatoes than I can count from here. So sweet and delicious….

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a salad for dinner…. ūüôā

Song Of The Day – Patti Smith – Dancing Barefoot

Ready, Set, EUROVISION!

Pop the champagne and fire up the popcorn maker…. it’s Eurovision!

A high-camp feast of musical mayhem and predictable political prejudices and persuasions. A boon for the bookmakers. An excuse for the European pop music community to drink copious amounts of alcohol and rub uglies. An opportunity for European dancers to grin maniacally and display their interpretive dancing skills. A chance for European set designers to let their penchant for garish colours and flashing lights run free. A night for female performers to wear costumes so brief and wispy so as to get a chill in their kidneys.

Not familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest? Abba had their big break when they won it back in the 70’s with their ostentasiously costumed rendition of ‘Waterloo’.

It is the highlight of my television viewing year. Better even, than the AFL Grand Final. 3 1/2 hours of laugh-til-your-cheeks-hurt, cringe-worthy bliss. This show is FUNNY. F.U.N.N.Y. Thanks, in large part to the wonderful commentary of British tv/radio icon Terry Wogan. Sardonic, dry, and very, very witty with his lovely lilting Irish accent. He ought to be good. He’s been commentating Eurovision for nearly 40 years…

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Every year, Eurovision unintentionally takes on a different theme. Most years at least 90% of the songs feature something in common. Last year just about every person on stage was wearing white. This year, was the year of gothic overtones and pyrotechnics, thanks to the stylings of last year’s winners, Lordi from Finland.

This is the video of Lordi’s winning performace from last year. So much fun. Watch. You won’t regret it. Hard Rock Hallelujah! [how they don’t all go up in flames towards the end, is still quite beyond me…]

Eurovision is watched by over 600 million people worldwide and has a cult following in Australia. We don’t take part in it, for obvious reasons, so we have no vested interest, but the people of Europe take it all terribly seriously, which is funny in itself. We just sit and laugh our boxes off at the supreme kitschness of it all and Sir Wogan’s witticisms.

There are heats and semi-finals in every country that takes part; it goes on and on for months, but the Grand Prix de Europe (er, Grand Final), is open to only 24 countries. The format of the show runs in two parts. First, all 24 countries perform their respective and universally puke-worthy songs. Second half of the programme is the vote. We’ll get to that part.

First, I’ll share some stills of a few choice acts chosen to represent their respective countries:

BULGARIA

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It’s the Bulgarian Sheila E and the Mulletman. Ok, his name isn’t really Mulletman, but he does have rather spectacular hair. It’s all about percussion…

UNITED KINGDOM

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Honestly. CAN they be serious? Just look at them. This lot make Bucks Fizz look like The Beatles. The UK are given a free pass to the Eurovision final every year, along with Germany, France and Spain. Their entries are almost universally TERRIBLE. The thing that concerns me most, is that the songs selected to represent each country are chosen by the general public… I thought Morrissey was supposed to get a gander this year? What happened?!

GERMANY

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Last year, Germany did a Country & Western song, complete with cowboy outfits. This year the flavour was Big Band Swing. In German. How very…. Brecht. Not.

BELARUS

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A chintzy pseudo rock song of the highest order, sung by a young man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Princess Diana. Complete with chorus:

Work your magic

You set my beating heart in motion

Will you cast your loving potion

Over me

I rest my case.

GEORGIA

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Georgia’s first ever Eurovision Grand Final appearance. It wasn’t half bad, either, if not a bit strange to look at. A couple of energetic, spinning Cossacks waving swords about and a pretty woman in a red dress, singing a kind of electro-goth anthem. I guess you had to be there….

MOLDOVA

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This is probably best illustrated by Terry Wogan’s introduction:

“There’s a lot of impetuous head-shaking and scarf-waving, and it’s the outfit of the evening, lads, from Natalia. Altogether now, when she’s finished playing the fiddle, I want you to shout….”PULL UP YOUR TROUSERS!!””

Then, when the song was over:

“We can only hope her mother wasn’t watching that.. [chuckles]. That was quite frightening…”

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

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Aren’t you glad you don’t live there? It would take you ten years just to say where you lived. I include this young lady, because she had the longest legs and shortest skirt of the evening, by a long shot. There was even a fairly decent shot of her arse at one point, which thrilled my husband no end. Gotta love those Eurobabes.

HUNGARY

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Hungary sings the blues. Maybe they are hung(a)ry? Ok, that was possibly the lamest joke ever uttered, even in the name of Eurovision., but that’s what it does to you. I swear.

Did I mention how wonderful this all looked on the 42″ inch Plasma? Fan-bloody-tastic.

The second half of the show is made up of the voting process, where they cross to 42 separate countries by satellite link to have a short chat and get the results of the telephone votes from the public, via some local tv celebrity. You’d think it would be quite torturous, but it’s actually very amusing. Partly because so many of the votes are so utterly predictable with neighbouring countries and political allies voting for each other, often with complete disregard to the quality of the act they’re voting for. Croatia gives top votes to Bosnia & Herzogovina and vice versa, Iceland votes for Finland, Moldova votes for Romania, Belarus for Russia, Cyprus for Greece… you get the picture. There was an even more apparent voting block going on this year between the Eastern European countries, not helped that there were two new additions to the fray.

Despite the bias and the accompanying tutting and pffting, it all seems to work out in the end.

What really tickles me is that the poor old UK, France and Germany really don’t have any friends to give them the big points, so they just pick up the odd stray vote along the way. Everybody say “awwwwwww”, heh.

SERBIA

This year, Serbia came out on top, by a fairly decent margin with a heart wrenching power ballad to rival all power ballads, sung by a bunch of women in drag, looking like refugees from the island of Lesbos who all seem to have had a nasty accident with the same curling iron:

UKRAINE

… but this is who should have won! If you only watch one of these videos, make it Verka! Hilarious! I’m in love. I want to have his babies. It’s taken me so long to put this blog up because I’ve spent most of the week so far watching Verka videos on YouTube. Best Eurovision song, EVER. It even gives Lordi a run for their money…. WATCH IT. I dare you! [titter]

Only in Europe, could millions of people vote a bunch of women in drag, and a cross dressing man into first and second place in such a political minefield of a song contest. I love it.

So, that pretty much wraps up Eurovision for another year. There were more videos I wanted to include, and if you want to see more, there are loads of great, chuckle-worthy performances on YouTube.

Serbia – 268

Ireland – 5

Oh, stuff it. Here’s one more. This is Switzerland’s entry which didn’t make it past the Semi Final, even though it was tipped as a hot favourite. It cracks me up. The artist is DJ Bobo (which is funny in itself), and the song is…. well, quite surreal. ‘Vampires Are Alive”. Just see it for yourself. Personally I’m quite fond of the shop mannequins in the background.

If you still can’t get enough, check out this blog here. It’s a cracker and it was written by an American who has never felt the sheer elation that a Eurovision final can bring, yet still manages to intrinsically appreciate the supreme cheesiness of it all.¬† ūüėČ

Song Of The Day – Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai

Flash Cube Flashback!

I found this Kodak commercial from the 60’s. It thrills me.

It’s new! It’s now! It’s Flash Cube!

Help me…. I can’t stop go-go dancing…

Does anyone else remember flash cubes, or am I really starting to show my age? I was a child of the ’70’s and my first camera predated me, but I have very clear memories of those little cubes. You only got 4 flashes per cube…

Whatever you do, don’t blink!

This was my first camera:

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No frills, circa 1968-’73 with no built-in flash. It had a manual wind-on mechanism and I distinctly remember the resounding “click” when you pressed the shutter and the torturous process of winding back the film at the end of a roll. I used to think I was pretty special because my camera had two different settings for if it was sunny or overcast, as you can see in the picture above, just above the lens. It took crappy pictures, but I didn’t care. I took it everywhere with me. Nice to see nothing has changed in that regard…

Ohh, look! I found a picture of me with my trusty Instamatic 33:

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I still have the photos I took that day, which would illustrate beautifully the quality (or lack thereof) of the prints, but I couldn’t be arsed going through 30 boxes to find them. I think I still have the camera somewhere, too….

I am such a hoarder.

Song Of The Day – Cream – Tales Of Brave Ulysses

Yacht Rock #4

Greetings, groovers…

Yes, it’s that time again.

Time to pull on your deck shoes for another episode of Yacht Rock.

In this week’s episode, ‘Rosanna’, the following questions are posed, or answered (or not):

  1. Will Michael McDonald save himself from becoming an irrelevant joke? Or will someone do it for him, in the name of “chakra alignment”?
  2. Did I just see Christopher Cross’ head explode?
  3. Why did Steve Perry run away?

I just can’t get enough of those smooth montages…

Yacht Rock #1 – “What a Fool Believes”
Yacht Rock #2 – “Keep The Fire”
Yacht Rock #3 – “I’m Alright”

Yacht Rock online

Coming in episode 5: Michael and Kenny reunited? Could it be? What part might Michael Jackson and Vincent Price play in this miracle….?

Song Of The Day – Toto – Hold The Line

Yacht Rock #3

Hey, all you lovers of smooth grooves…

It’s time for Yacht Rock – Episode Three, “I’m Alright”

It’s what you’ve been waiting for.

I know you have. Don’t be shy.

In this episode, we witness Kenny Loggins’ transition from purveyor of gentle grooves, to hard rockin’ soundtrack king.

These questions and more, may or may not be answered:

  • Will Michael McDonald survive the loss of his two closest comrades in the yacht rock family?
  • Is Steve Perry really from the dark side?
  • What the hell is Donald Fagan talking about?
  • Yacht Rock #1 – “What a Fool Believes”
    Yacht Rock #2 – “Keep The Fire”

    Coming in Episode Four (it’s a corker!):
    Will Toto be the ones to bring Michael McDonald Into the smooth rock of the ’80’s? And whatever happened to Tab anyway?

    Song Of The Day – Steely Dan – Kid Charlemagne

    Let’s Disco…. Baby

    So, Jules and I were having a conversation on one of my blogs, about cheesy videos on YouTube.

    She told me, she’d just been watching a video on ‘How to do ‘The Hustle”.¬†¬†

    Y’know…. the disco dance craze from the ’70’s.

    I was then reminded of one of my favourite videos in the vast YouTube cannon. 

    Oh, it just thrills me…

    I’m not quite sure what that says about me, except that I have an extreme fetish for CHEEEZE.

    I’m a bit of a disco queen, myself.¬† Ever since I picked up a second hand¬†vinyl copy of ‘Let’s Disco!’ and the accompanying instructional book around 15 years ago.¬†

    “Step round, back, and together with the right…”¬†¬†

    I should offer lessons.  Any takers?

    Although, I may not be as good as¬†the¬†man with the smooth moves¬†in this¬†video…¬†

    I also don’t recall ever learning that step he does in the last 30 seconds.¬† I wonder if it has a name?¬† You have to admit, it’s fairly impressive…. [snicker]

    Now, make sure you have your dancing shoes ready.¬† Those Finnish peeps really know how to get their groove on….

    **WARNING:  Do not eat or consume fizzy beverages for the duration of this video.

    I’m in love with all the ladies’ shoes…

    I’m also intrigued as to how the woman goes through all the instructional part at the beginning, only to jig about doing her own thing when the party really gets going.¬† What’s all that about?

    Those crazy Scandinavians…

     

    Coming soon:  EUROVISION!!!  YAY!!!!

     

    Song Of The Day – Van McCoy – The Hustle