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National Flags

Watching the Olympics brought this thought to mind.

I’ve always liked the British flag. And I like how the Australian flag incorporates the U.K. Union Jack, but with the Southern Cross stars — sort of like identifying as the U.K. South. (I’ve also always liked the Confederate flag, probably because of its similarity to the British flag.)

The South Korean flag is also interesting, though I don’t know the history of it, even though I bowed to it many times during my tae kwon do training. (Bowing out of respect for the culture from which the martial art originated.)

The basic tri-color striped flags, like Russia, France, Germany, etc., I’ve always thought were kind of boring. The Mexican, though tri-color striped, at least has that cool eagle emblem in the middle. I have similar thoughts on the Iranian flag. And the Canadian flag, though only two colors, is neat with its maple leaf — I like a flag that is immediately recognizable.

I like the U.S. flag because it looks different than most, and is immediately recognizable.

The Albanian flag is pretty badass.

Choosing my favorite, I’d probably point to the U.K. flag. I like the look of it, but after learning of how it incorporates the flags of each of the member kingdoms, that makes it neater.

I used to live in Wilmington, NC. Wilmington is a port for many British ships, and when a ship was in port, many buildings around the area fly a Union Jack in honor/acknowledgement of the British sailors coming ashore. The mall where I worked during college was one such building. One day an American man pointed out to me that the Union Jack was flying upside down, and that was a sign of distress. He light-heartedly hassled me about it, (like I had any control over the flag flying above the mall entrance), and I thought he was joking. I mean, the Union Jack has a topside and bottomside? I wonder if even Brits can immediately recognize when their flag is upside-down.


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Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books, rated by NPR

While looking up a book that I started to read many years ago, but never got to finish, I came across a list of the Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy books posted on the NPR web site. The list made me curious about just how many classic/great sci-fi/fantasy books I’ve actually read in my life. So below is the top 20 books on the list with notes on whether I’ve read them:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien — Yes, I’ve read this trilogy. (Of course.)

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams — Yes, I’ve read the four books of this “trilogy.”

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card — Yes, I’ve read this.

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert — I’ve read the first Dune, but none of the others in this series.

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin — No, I haven’t read any of these.

6. 1984, by George Orwell — I’m not sure. Did I read this, or is my knowledge just from cultural osmosis?

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury — No, I haven’t read this.

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov — Yes, I’ve read this series, and I really liked it. Asimov is probably my favorite sci-fi author.

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley — Yes, I read this because my high school English class required it.

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman — I haven’t read this, yet, but it is literally on the nightstand beside my bed right now.

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman — I haven’t read this, although I did watch the movie, more than once.

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan — I haven’t read this, although I tried to read the first book, for a few chapters.

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell — I haven’t read this.

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson — Yes, I’ve read this.

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore — Yes, I’ve read this graphic novel.

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov — Yes, I’ve read this.

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein — I’ve read part of this. I don’t remember why I didn’t finish it, though.

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss — Never heard of this.

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut — I haven’t read this.

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley — Yes, I’ve read this.

So, of the top 20 sci-fi/fantasy books, I’ve completely read 9. Hmm. I expected to have read half the top 20. But as soon as I can get to the American Gods on my nightstand, (right after I finish reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett), I will hit the half-way mark.

By the way, the book I originally was searching for, that I had started to read when I was young, is Have Space Suit – Will Travel by Robert Heinlein.


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I Honestly Love You

I won’t bother explaining the train of searches and side clicks through YouTube that got me to this; I’ll just get right to the subject this song brings up.

How many times have you said, “I love you”? To how many [non-family] people? How many times have you received an, “I love you”? From how many [non-family] people?

Have you ever said it or heard it this simply, this truly, this deeply from the heart?

[Ignore the unfortunate “It’s Cliff Richard” banner]

I know I’ve felt/feel it that deeply, but I really don’t think I’ve ever been able to say it that well, that simply, that heart-felt. And that’s kind of sad. Kind of disappointing.

My attempts at saying a heart-felt “I love you” tend to come out more like this:

Note: For those who pay more attention to the video than the lyrics, let me just point out — the song ain’t about exercise.


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Which One Doesn’t Belong

Who doesn’t belong in this list of celebrities?*

Celebrity #1:

Celebrity #2:

Celebrity #3:

Celebrity #4:

Celebrity #5:

Celebrity #6:

Celebrity #7:

Celebrity #8:


For the answer, check the first comment for this post.

* The photos of the celebrities are from Wikipedia.


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