This entry is summarized from Buckminster Fuller’s book Critical Path. I’ve also added images and links.
ur flag originated from that of The East India Company
, a powerful trading enterprise, whose flag happened to have 13 red and white horizontal stripes with a blue rectangle in its upper left-hand corner:
Flag of the East India Company, Circa 1707. (Also, the real first American flag.)
The blue rectangle bore in red and white the superimposed cross of St. Andrew
and cross of St. George
St. Andrew's Cross
St. George's Cross
Union Flag (Circa 1606)
During the Boston Tea Party, the colonists dressed as Indians, boarded the East India Company's three ships, and threw overboard their entire cargoes of high-tax tea in rebellion of high British taxation (without colonist representation in British lawmaking bodies).
They also swiped the flag from the masthead of the largest ship, the Dartmouth.
When George Washington took command of the U.S. Continental Army under an elm tree in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this was the flag he used. (It was also our unofficial flag on July 4, 1776, our independence day.)
Though it was only coincidence, most of those present thought the thirteen red and white stripes represented the thirteen American colonies, but they complained about superimposed crosses in the blue rectangle that looked like a miniaturized British flag, leading to the first of many redesigns:
One of the first redesigns of the American Flag. Often known as the "Betsy Ross" variant (although her involvement with the flag design is contested).
You can see the progression of designs for the American Flag here
.Note that the origin of the flag is disputed. Wikipedia doesn’t have a clear origin story, only suggestions. However, this account by Buckminster Fuller holds more sense than any other I’ve read.
It’s 2003. New Year's Eve.
In preparation, I wanted to buy a lighter. I don't smoke, but it's good form to have one if you go to a bar. Plus, instant fire!
Foolishly sizing this up as a simple task, I drove to the closest convenience store. After waiting in line for ten minutes, I reached the counter, behind which stood a register clerk with hair that looked like it was trying to escape in every direction from a sinking ship. She asked "Can I help you?" with a tilted head and a grimace, as if she expected me to demand she load 40 bags of ice into my car – and hell, why not toss in her gall bladder, too, while she was at it?
I merely asked for a lighter. She inquired which particular one I wanted, to which I replied, “It doesn’t matter, any of them.” This, of course, was far too complicated a sentence for her handle, so she completely ignored it.
“Which box?” she asked, pointing at three different collections of lighters behind the counter.
“That one,” I said, not caring which she happened to be pointing at, “any of those is fine.”
Knowing full-well the repercussions of repeating that it didn’t matter, I told her to give me a gray one. You’d think at this point I’d pay and that would be the end of it. Not so, in California.
“I need some ID please.”
Slightly amused, I handed over my Connecticut license. It had a hole punched in it because I was waiting for my California license to arrive in the mail. I also had a temporary CA license which was just a printed half-sheet of paper. She wouldn’t accept my CT license because of the hole. I presented her with the temporary CA license. She told me she needed a picture ID. I pointed to the picture on the CT license. She reiterated that she needed to see a picture ID and that this was no good.
Resisting the urge to end my life by pulling the large slurpy machine over on myself, I calmly explained the validity of my IDs:
A) I have a valid picture license (yes, it does have a hole in it, but it didn’t at one point in time. Punching a hole in it didn’t make me any younger).
B) I have a valid CA license, albeit a temporary one. With it, the state of California allows me to drive my 3326 pound vehicle with a loaded fuel tank holding 14 gallons of gasoline at speeds legally up to 65 miles per hour. Were I to collide with something solid at this speed (like, say, a 24-hour convenience store of some sort), I might create the very fire I sought after. The state trusts my driving ability -- but there’s doubt as to whether I could handle the great responsibility of an intricate flame-producing mechanism.
And here’s the best part: the car this piece of paper allows me to operate actually has a built-in lighter.
Unfortunately, all reasoning was lost on her. Sometimes you have to know when to move on. So I went to a pharmacy and showed the clerk my license. We had a nice chat about the weather, then I paid for a lighter and left.
A Photo of my Cactus
This is my cactus. My wife picked it up at Home Depot and gave it to me for Valentine’s day, pointing out how I like strange and exotic things. I had never seen a cactus with such a bloom, and I loved it.
As I was watering it the other day, I noticed how crisp the flower felt. I took this as a bad sign, and gave it an extra drink. But then I noticed something unusual where the flower was sprouting from the greenery…
I looked closer…