Sheldon Cooper presents Fun With Flags: Questions and Comments

Discussion in 'Flag Books and Media' started by USAFlags, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. USAFlags

    USAFlags Administrator Staff Member

    Got the vexillology bug from Big Bang Theory? Sheldon Cooper presents Fun with Flags is a great opportunity to learn about real flags. We've started this discussion thread for questions and comments that arise from the YouTube videos that Dr Sheldon Cooper is recording.

    Please join in with any questions or comments that you have about Fun With Flags!
     
  2. USAFlags

    USAFlags Administrator Staff Member

    Some questions and quotes from the 1st episode:

    What’s the only non-rectangular flag?
    What animal appears most on flags?
    What animal appears second most on flags?

    ‘Flags. You gotta know how to hold ‘em, you gotta know how to fold ‘em.’

    Possible episode titles for ‘Fun with Flags’
    Flags of our Father’s Grandmothers
    A Flagment in Time
    Flagship Stations
    Lord of the Flags: Name the Flag’s Dictator
    Keep your Flags Close, and your Enemies Closer
    Make up your Mind Already: Flags of the Soviets

    'Just like the flag over Fort Sumpter, I'm still here'

    The only 2 sided US state flag: Oregon.

    Parts of the flag: 'this edge of the flag is called the hoist'

    'Why is there a face on that flag? Fedinand T Flag might bring in some younger viewers.'

    'The flags of Liechtenstein and Haiti were identical by coincidence; a fact that wasn’t discovered until they competed against each other at the 1936 Olympics.'

    Which country has not 1 but 2 cows on it's flag? The tiny, landlocked nation of Andorra.

    Shendon and Amy show off the Bavarian Flag with Crest (Greater Coat of Arms).
     
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The context of these items is that this week's episode of the TV show "The Big Bang Theory" featured a subplot in which the characters create YouTube videos about flag trivia. There is a preview here (for a while, anyway):

    http://www.cbs.com/shows/big_bang_theory/video/?play=true&pid=_2Vxs2S7SQFSWeAoIgolhG8nKJs6t2I8

    A few comments on the references:

    What’s the only non-rectangular flag?

    Actually, there are many non-rectangular flags. The best known are the national flag of Nepal and the state flag of Ohio. The naval ensigns of several Scandinavian nations are two- or three-part swallowtails. The "alpha" and "bravo" flags from the International Code of Signals are swallowtails also.

    What animal appears most on flags?
    What animal appears second most on flags?

    I suspect that eagles and lions are the most common animals on flags -- couldn't say offhand which is most common.

    'The flags of Liechtenstein and Haiti were identical by coincidence; a fact that wasn’t discovered until they competed against each other at the 1936 Olympics.'

    This is not a unique situation. The current flags of Romania and Chad are essentially the same, as are those of Monaco and Indonesia.

    Which country has not 1 but 2 cows on it's flag? The tiny, landlocked nation of Andorra.

    Better yet: which American state has 3 bears on its flag?

    ((A while back I received an inquiry from a magazine editor in Yukon, asking if theirs was the only flag that had a dog on it. Unfortunately, there are some Swiss subnational flags that also feature dogs.))

    Shendon and Amy show off the Bavarian Flag with Crest (Greater Coat of Arms).

    Strictly speaking, a crest and a coat of arms are not the same thing. The crest is a device (often an animal or bird) above the wreath or helmet at the top of the heraldic achievement. The Bavarian arms do not actually have a crest. The term "coat of arms" itself seems to be used in two different senses: it can refer either to the central shield, or to the whole heraldic achievement, including the shield, mantling, supporters, crest, compartment, etc.

    I don't believe that the flag with the arms on it is an official Bavarian flag. The Bavarian government site:

    Bayerisches Landesportal: Coat of Arms and Flags

    states:

    The Free State of Bavaria has two official flags, one with stripes and one with rhombuses, of equal status. The striped flag consists of two equal horizontal stripes in the Bavarian colours, white on top, blue below. The rhomboid flag consists of at least 21 white and blue rhombuses including the incomplete ones at the edges of the flag.

    The page also separately describes the Bavarian arms, but apparently they don't (officially) appear on the flag.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  4. coasterville

    coasterville New Member

    I enoyed the video. I do hope it really becomes a series and not a one time skit or gag What a great way to get people into the hobby.

    I must admit, I've watched it a few times now, and I didn't see the parts about Andorra, Liechtenstein/Haiti or the future episode titles mentioned.

    Also, in the background their white board is flanked with two flags, the United States flag to the left, and an unknown flag to the right. Looks like a light blue field with a dragon(?) device on it. I looked through a couple flag catalogs and didn't see it.

    I've been to Bavaria, I know the tourist shops sell the flag with the coat of arms. I'll have to check my photos, I know I caught some bavarian flags out in the wild. It does run in m mind the ones I saw flying in more official capacities did not have the device.
     
  5. coasterville

    coasterville New Member

  6. USAFlags

    USAFlags Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for sharing your insight, Peter & David.

    "Bavarian Flag with Crest (Greater Coat of Arms)" was an amalgamation based upon my search for the flag in the Bavarian skit. Easy enough to discover it wasn't an official flag. I found the flag offered for sale on several websites and it was most commonly called the "Bavarian Flag with Crest." A little more research led to finding that Sheldon's flag was sporting what's known as the "Greater Coat of Arms" ... as opposed to the lesser :)

    If you have the show recorded, the Andorra, Liechtenstein/Haiti references were all in Sheldon & Raj's office at the 8 minute mark. The Fun With Flags future episode titles were on their office whiteboard at the 19 minute mark.

    Not sure what the flag in the backgorund of the Youtube video is. It's a light blue field with a gold dragon. I wasn't able to find a matching flag or dragon. The closest dragon I could find is on the Flag of Deheubarth (Welsh Royal flag of the Middle Ages) but it's not the exact dragon. Any ideas?
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    .....
    Regarding the "unknown" flag on the right flank of the white board in the back ground of the "iPod/YouTube" bit.

    The answer may lie in Dr. Sheldon Cooper's T-SHIRT..... :eek:

    I'm just sayin'..... :cool:


    PS. It sure was nice seeing BOTH sides of the State of Oregon Flag on national broadcast TV !!! :D


    Robin "Big Bang Thang" Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .....
     
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    It's a light blue field with a gold dragon.

    Actually, I don't think it's a dragon -- it looks like a gold lion rampant, langued gules. Unfortunately, there are quite a few flags with rampant lions. One of the Swiss cantons, maybe?

    Peter Ansoff
     
  9. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Update: apparently, there is a backstory that preceeds the current episode. Sheldon and Leonard have a "roommate agreement" that has been discussed in prior episodes: see

    Roommate Agreement - The Big Bang Theory Wiki

    Section 9 of the agreeement specifies that "The apartment's flag is a gold lion rampant on a field of azureâ€￾ and should never fly upside down—unless the apartment’s in distress.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  10. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    ...

    QUOTE : "Section 9 of the agreeement specifies that "The apartment's flag is a gold lion rampant on a field of azureâ€￾ and should never fly upside down—unless the apartment’s in distress."


    GREAT scholarship, Peter !!! :D


    i was going to suggest that since "the boys" are so "into" so many different "fantasy", "comic book" (graphic novel), and "SciFi" types of things, that perhaps the "azure" flag might be from one of those "other universes".

    That there might an "Apartment Flag" NEVER occured to me, but it did to one Dr. Sheldon Cooper"!!!



    Robin "TBBT Watcher-Fan" Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    ....
     
  11. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Thanks, Robin! I also noticed that the apartment flag in the clip had a GOLD FRINGE -- no telling what that means! (-;

    Peter A.
     
  12. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    ...
    Oh, NO! :eek:

    Did you say..... "GOLD FRINGE" ??? :eek:


    Does that mean that it's some kind of "Big Bang CONSPIRACY Theory" ??? :eek:


    RUN FOR YOUR LIVES !!! :eek:



    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    ....
     
  13. bfeuerstein

    bfeuerstein New Member

    I enjoyed the episode very much, too. Interestingly, the lion rampant on Sheldon's apartment flag is very similar to the coat of arms of the House of Nassau.

    According to Bill Prady (producer of TBBT), this is coincidental - but it was fun for me finding out that the apartment flag shares the same lion with the coat of arms in my home county in Germany (see also my blog with more fun facts behind the 'fun with flags'):

    [​IMG]

    Greetings from Germany,
    Bernold
     
  14. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Apparently, the boys abrogated their Apartment Agreement in a subsequent episode. I guess this means that the apartment flag is no longer official . . .
     
  15. coasterville

    coasterville New Member

    I was hoping at least the YouTube series would be more than a one episode gag, but alas...
     
  16. APS221

    APS221 Member

    I also enjoyed the "Fun With Flags" in the episode, but I did have a few problems with it.

    When he asks the questions:
    "What’s the only non-rectangular flag?"
    "What animal appears most on flags?"
    "What animal appears second most on flags?"

    Sheldon doesn't actually come out and say it in the video, but I think he's only referring to state flags, since it comes after he says that Oregon is the only two-sided state flag. If he's only talking about U.S. state flags, then the "only non-rectangular flag" question makes sense. The answer would be Ohio.

    "Just like the flag over Fort Sumter, I'm still here."
    This joke bugged me. Sheldon is obviously alluding to the "flag was still there" lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner." However, it was written about the flag flown over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Based on what I've read, the U.S. flag over Fort Sumter was replaced with a Palmetto Guard flag during the Civil War. The Fort Sumter flag was then taken around the country to raise money for the Union war effort. While the flag was raised over the fort after the war ended, I really don't think you could say it was "still there."
     
  17. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Excellent points. If Sheldon was talking about state flags in particular, then his questions about animals become a little bit more manageable. The problem, I guess, is that many of the seals and coats-of-arms on state flags include animals, and some of them are pretty small -- do they "count"? Still, my guess would be that eagles are the most common animal. I'm not sure about the second most. Bears, maybe?

    Peter Ansoff
     
  18. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    ...
    Dear Dr. Sheldon Cooper,

    I live in Eugene, Oregon and you are correct, sir, when you state that the State of Oregon's flag is a two-sided flag. BUT..... it is NOT the ONLY two-sided official state flag. :eek:

    Flaggily :D yours,

    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    ...
     
  19. APS221

    APS221 Member

    What's the other one? Do you mean the pre-1971 Massachusetts flag?
     
  20. coasterville

    coasterville New Member

    I think he is thinking of a state a bit closer to Orgeon - I think the Washington state flag - the portrait has to face the same way on both sides.
     

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