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The Adventures of Furthermore, the Masonic Raven
Written by Skip Boyer



FURTHERMORE, THE VEXILLOLOGIST

Here’s a new word for you. Vexillological. How’s that for a swell word?

Brother Furthermore Raven and I learned it recently in the Omaha World-Herald. It’s not the sort of word you usually find in the Herald. I should know because they used to be The Bad Guys years ago when I was editing the Benson Sun, a weekly paper that liked to nip and snap at the ankles of the much bigger World-Herald on a regular basis. At the Sun, we weren’t even sure the writers at the Herald were literate. Who knew? (In truth, the story was from Associated Press, but someone at the Herald had to approve it for local publication!)

So now they hit us with vexillological, which is, as you already knew, the study of flags.

Vexillologicalists even have their own club—the North American Vexillological Association, established in 1967 and dedicated to the scholarly study of flags. In Nebraska, we have to make our own fun, you know? And, anyway, NAVA has more than 450 members, most of whom have never been near Nebraska, so don’t get snippy about it.

But that’s not why the story about vexillogicalism appeared in the World-Herald. It seems that the flag fanatics have done a study of the 50 state flags to determine which are the best and which are the worst. They did this on the Internet and netted 29,000 votes from people in 20 countries. Ain’t technology grand?

And you know what? The Nebraska state flag was the second worst flag in the country! That’s right! One notch above Georgia and a step below Montana.

As a native of the Cornhusker State, I’m so proud! Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Idaho and New Hampshire rounded out the bottom 10. The critics pointed out that the Nebraska flag—and most of the other bottom 10—were little more than “a state seal on a bedsheet.” We’ll come back to the Nebraska flag in a moment.

On the other side of the issue are the top 10 state flags. New Mexico is number one. You probably have seen it. A bright yellow bedsheet, about the shade of a Checker Cab, with a red Zia on it. The Zia is a symbol stolen from area Indians who hold it sacred and are suing to get it back. But that’s another story. Second best was Texas with its lonely, single star, followed by Maryland, Alaska and—you guessed it!—Arizona! Who knew we had such great taste in Arizona?! Back to Nebraska for a moment. The state flag is a sheet of tasteful blue with an elegant gold seal of the Great State of Nebraska at its center. It is my sincere hope that the good people of Nebraska, most of whom can’t spell vexillological and could care less, thumb their collective noses at the NAVA and suggest they all go someplace and get lives.

On the off chance that Nebraskans don’t do this, however, a new flag will be in order. Here are some off-hand suggestions:

1. A John Deere tractor with a manure spreader attached, on a Big Red background.

2. Speaking of the Big Red, a portrait of former UofN football coach Tom Osborn with halo on a Big Red background.

3. An ear of corn on a green background.

4. A dead pheasant. Background color makes no difference.

5. A single grain elevator on blue.

6. A sheet of red with a large black N on it. This is popular at the University, where the N is widely thought to stand for “knowledge.”

7. Cut a deal with the Indians. Steal the New Mexico flag.

8. Cut a deal with Gov. Jane Hull. Buy the Arizona flag. Just about everything else in Arizona is for sale, anyway.

Well, that’s enough. If you think of any great ideas, feel free to forward them to the state of Nebraska. They’ve probably got a website. You might also tell them about the attack of the Vexillologicalists. They’ll probably be so glad to hear from you that they’ll give you very specific instructions about what you can do with your flag design. Pole and all.




BACK TO THE HOME PAGE?

To all Lodge Trestle Board editors: Feel free to use any of the tales of Furthermore. Should you choose to do so, however, we deny any responsibility for actions by your own lodge. If, after the first couple of columns, the brethren appear restless and begin to surge toward you as you enter the lodge room, we suggest you flee and deny any connection with Furthermore.






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