Sunday, June 27, 2010

Firing Squad

Somewhere in Utah, folks don't know about The Proper Display of the Flag of Texas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gulf Coast Violators



Oh! Canada!

No, I did not have to go all the way to Canada to find this flag offender. In fact, this photo was taken from my front yard.

My neighbor and good friend, Denis (Deni) is a French-Canadian. He admired the way I was always flying flags and so put up a 20' flag pole in his front yard. While Denis knew how to fly the Maple Leaf, he had no idea which way was up on the Texas flag. He consulted with his wife, a doctor and Texan, but they got it wrong!

Try issuing a citation to a neighbor, especially when English is his second language -- but I did and it now flies right!


This photo was taken in Santa Anna, TX. Seems the well-heeled folks of this one-horse town don't know how to fly the Texas Flag.

And in Veterans Park, of all places.

They must be haunted by their namesake, Not St. Anne -- the other one!

The Surrender of Santa Anna. William Henry Huddle, 1836.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's a Small World Wide Web

Virtual flags can be displayed incorrectly just like their real world counterparts.

Turbo Squid
is so proud of their upside down Texas flag animated graphics that they are sure you will be willing send them twenty five dollars to use it in your very own digital project!

The United States Flag Company offers, along with their namesake Stars-and-Stripes, a plethora of international, state, and specialty flags. It seems that they even have upside-down flags for sale.

You can tell your idea is good when you find out that lots of other people have already had it.

SPPDFT does not claim a monopoly on the sighting and documentation of upside-down Texas flags. Numerous postings on the subject can be found with a quick Googling. Here's a roundup:

Over at Planet Pooks, a neighbor was photographed flying it wrong, presumably as a distress signal.

Flags Bay confronted an elementary school about their upside down Texas flag.

Randy Stoats Enterprises has a full-color postcard that you can download, print, and share with the special flag offender in your life.

The Vexillarium, a blog devoted to flags, has an amusing story about a Texas/Chile flag mix up.

Here's a nice shot of a flip-flopped flag in front of the iconic University of Texas tower.

Jasper resident Jason Dunn wrote to the editor about his flag frustration.

Carry on the good fight, netizens!

Message boards can be helpful for finding flag offenses, too.

Here, I learned that D&D Performance Enterprises, a maker of fine motorcycle exhaust systems based in Fort Worth, used to have an upside down Texas flag as a corporate logo!

They must have been tipped off, because their current website is topped with a huge (and correct) Texas flag banner, and they sell his-and-hers D&D shirts with a properly oriented flag.

And here- again with the bikers- the French are called out for displaying an upside down flag on international television.

In Beaumont, it's the hockey fans. This discussion ensued when the Wildcatters' mascot Gusher apparently skated out onto the ice with his flag akimbo.

Improper display of the Texas flag is hardly a new phenomenon, and it has always angered patriotic Texans.

We received an email inquiry from Danny Kaiser, who was profiled by John Kelso in the Austin American-Statesman for his vigilante flag-checking. Although I can't get my paws on the full original article, which appeared October 29, 1991, here are the first 91 of 694 words:

Every man has a mission he must accomplish before he dies. Danny Kaiser, a native of Austin, is no different. His quest in life is to get everyone to stop flying the Lone Star flag upside down - something he says happens a lot. Kaiser, 46, is conducting a one-man crusade in Austin, actually, all over Texas, to eliminate this flag faux pas. He's trying to get folks to fly the Texas state flag correctly in front of their office buildings - that is, with the white section on top and....

This 2001 AP article introduces Houston lawyer Charles Spain Jr., whose disgust with misuse of the Texas flag led to the foundation of the Vexillogical Association of the State of Texas.

The SPPDFT salutes you one and all for your devotion to the Texas flag!

Finally, since this YouTube thing seems to be catching on, here is a video clip for your consideration. It goes along pretty well for a while, showing the dangerous beauty of a West Texas rainstorm on the road to Terlingua. How picturesque.

Keep your eyes open at the 3:40-3:47 mark, however. Right after the title "Planet Texas" is displayed center screen, a upside down flag from Bizarro-Texas is shown. Amateur filmmakers!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sir! The Compass is Broken!

This is a two-parter, strung together with a weak theme.

The first part occurs in Round Rock, where a branch of Compass Bank was caught flying one of those darn improperly manufactured flags. The star is sewed on upside down. Does that make you trust this compass?

Now, I'm not sure who it is making these things, but they'd better cut it out. Next thing you know, we'll be getting flags with upside down stars that are also poisoned with lead.

Part the Second finds a group of Boy Scouts lost in the deserts of West Texas in the Summer of 2000, presumably because of a broken compass and a general inability to tell up from down.

There's the back of the shirt, which I found at a thrift store. I'm sure the lads had a lovely time. West Texas is a great place for Scouting.

From the front of the shirt (Made In Canada), we get more details. This expedition was international! Along with the delegates from Great Britain and a party representing the First Peoples of America, we have a group of Scouts with an upside-down Texas flag as a banner. What does that say?

I can imagine the British kids mocking the Texans around the campfire, "Your flag is upside down, bloke."

A Texan then points out that the Union Jack is also upside down, a supposition which the other children can neither prove nor disprove.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Moving Pictures

In this heartwarming 1988 promo spot for Houston TV station KHOU 11, anchorman Steve Smith gets philosophical about the meaning of the Texas flag. He proposes potential symbolism for the colors and then admits that no one really knows.

Thankfully, the mystery has been solved.. They've got it figured out over at Texas Almanac, "The Source For All Things Texan Since 1857."

They declare, "The state flag's colors represent the same virtues as they do in the national flag: Red means bravery; white, purity; and blue, loyalty."

Don't believe everything you see on TV.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Parker Ranch is Topsy Turvy

The Parker Ranch is a beautiful ranch in the Texas Hill country. It is a peaceful ranch resting in the granite hills between Burnet and Lake Buchanan. The gate is most impressive, showing a cowboy at prayer. The Parker Ranch is as scenic and as 'Texan' as you can find anywhere in the Lone Star State. Only, there seems to be a small problem with this serene setting -- the Parkers fly their Texas Flag upside down! When notified, our Central Texas agent went out to the ranch. He tried to get past the gate to alert the Parkers of their transgression, but was unsuccessful. A notice was placed on the gate and we hope that it gets to the Parkers so they can get their flag 'flyin' right'.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Texas Rancher Squats on His Own Spurs

Our Southeast Texas Agent recently came across a real classic. This ranch sits near the borders of Grimes and Waller Counties -- right in the heart of what was once the Stephen F. Austin Colony. It is only a few miles from Washington-on-the-Brazos, the cradle of Texas liberty. No doubt, great Texians such as Stephen F. Austin, Ben Milam, Jim Bowie and even General Sam Houston crossed the lands of what is now the ABKE Ranch.
The owners of the ABKE Ranch are no doubt proud of their Texas heritage and want to show the world that they are Texans to the core. The entry to the ranch is a large gateway that proudly displays the shape of The Lone Star State with an imposed Texas flag design (see photo). The only problem is that the ranchers painted the Texas Flag upside down. Shame, shame on the ABKE Ranch.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving (Upside Down)

The people at Wilshire Homes at Star Ranch in Hutto, Texas have a peculiar way of celebrating Thanksgiving. They fly the U.S. Flag right side up, but fly the Texas Flag upside down.

What they didn't know is that our diligent field agents don't rest, even on holidays, and two of our agents were on the scene to issue Wilshire Homes a citation. One has to wonder, however, that the flag was flown upside down as a sign of extreme distress due to the fallout of the sub-prime lending market and the subsequent effect on home sales!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Flyin' It Wrong

The Trails Apartments on Metric Boulevard in Austin uses flags to attract the attention of potential tenants to their complex. Seems they got a little over exuberant with their Texas Flag and managed to hoist it upside down. This attracted the attention our Central Texas Director who happened on the scene and informed an embarrassed manager of their transgression. We are sure that The Trails will “Fly It Right” from now on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Seems that many of the hotels and lodges in Colorado display various state and national flags. This, no doubt, is done to send a message to tourists that their establishment welcomes visitors from all places.

Our Western Regional Director got called out on a report that The Lofts of Estes in Estes Park, Colorado had gone a little too far. These folks were flying several state flags, but they had The Lone Star Flag flying upside down. We don't know if the Lofts were doing this to attract Texans to their place or not. It is quite possible that they did this intentionally to discourage Texans from staying there. (This wouldn't be the first time this was done in Colorado.)

None the less, our director dutifully went all the way to Estes Park to document this violation and has since notified the Lofts of Estes of their error. We trust they will fly The Lone Star properly in the future. At least he enjoyed the trip!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Galveston Offender

One cannot think of Texas History without thinking about Galveston. This grand city was once one of the largest and most important ports on the Gulf of Mexico. Galveston has a colorful history of pirates, hurricanes, immigrants, gangsters and Mardi Gras. Galvestonians are proud of their state flag and, as you drive the streets of the historic district looking at the beautiful old victorian homes, it is hard to find one without the Lone Star flying from the front porch.

Today there is an invasion going on in Galveston. An invasion of Houstonians trying to escape the hustle and bustle of living in the 4th largest city in the country. These part-time Galvestonians have filled the western end of the island with weekend retreats. Unfortunately, they have brought some of their big city habits with them -- such as not knowing which end is up on the Texas Flag. This flag was tucked away on a canal, but it did not escape the eagle eye of SPPDFT. Once again, caught in the act!

West University Place Offender

The community of West University Place lies in serene, suburban southwest Houston. West University is known for it's tree-lined streets and beautiful homes. Appropriately named, the community lies just west of Rice University. It is home to physicians, college professors, oil barons, and a few Houston Astros.

The grand boulevard of West University Place is University Boulevard. Along this oak-lined street, families proudly fly their flags; many on flag poles in their front yard. Well, it appears that one West University Place family needs to study up on their civic lessons because they can't seem to get their Texas Flag flying the right way (see photo). Our southeast Texas agent found this violator on April 28, 2007. We hope they took the citation that we left in the good spirit in which it was intended!

Two Time Offender

On April 26, 2007, our Central Texas Agent was called out on a reported flag flying upside down. When he arrived at the location, he noticed familiar surroundings and found our first two-time offender. It seems the good folks at Cedar Valley Middle School in Round Rock managed to get things topsy-turvy again (see photo).
Readers will recall that we caught the folks at Cedar Valley flying the Lone Star bottoms up on Groundhogs Day (see: Quality Without Compromise). Well, looks like they are at it again -- our first 2nd time offender!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tarnished Silver Screen

Normally, our field agents have to keep a sharp eye out for upside down flags, remaining alert and diligent with camera at the ready. Sometimes, though, we don't even have to get up off of the couch.

Our recent mystery flag quiz puzzled our readers with a flag that wasn't necessarily upside down, it just wasn't right. With the star sewn on upside down, there was no way to fly it properly. At the time, it was a novelty, a real head scratcher.

Until now, that is. About a week ago, I was preparing for the SPPDFT convention in the Big Bend by watching the epic 1956 Texas-themed film Giant. The movie was filmed largely in Marfa, a quaint little town whose mysterious lights and minimalist art have put it on the map like James Dean never could.

And then it happened:

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is Rock Hudson appearing before an improperly manufactured Texas flag. The Warner Brothers set design people must have been too busy building a big, fake ranch house to take the time to look at an actual Texas flag.

Take them away.

Then, as if to reinforce their blatantly anti-Texas message, the filmmakers got a reaction shot of the lovely Elizabeth Taylor in the same spot. She looks genuinely shocked by the disregard for cinematic accuracy.

We feel your pain, Liz.
I was understandably excited to find this scene, as it makes great blog fodder. I couldn't believe my luck.

This next one really got me.

There it is, big as the Texas sky. It is probably the same flag, doing double duty. This scene makes it absolutely clear that there is something wrong with the flag in the foreground by helpfully providing a line of real Texas flags in the background. I can't believe this made it past the editors. Were they asleep or just drunk?

Apparently, Giant has been called out for its flag abuses before. According to the Internet Movie Database, not only is the star upside down (I promise that I found it on my own) on the Texas flag, but the array of flags in the Benedict's ranch house is backwards, with the U.S. flag on its own left (the observer's right). Also, the U.S. flag on the casket is displayed improperly in the train station scene but appears correctly in the funeral scenes. Hollywood.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Quality Without Compromise

"Quality Without Compromise"
is the motto of Cedar Valley
Middle School in Round Rock.

Unfortunately, this principle of behavior does not appear to apply to the Cedar Valley M. S. flagpole. This flag was discovered by our Central Texas operative on February 2, 2007 and had been flying upside down all day without notice.

At least the good folks at Cedar Valley chose Groundhog's day to commit their offense and didn't wait a month later for Texas Independence Day!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Major Award!

We've gotten a few of responses to our recent Flag Quiz, and the winner has been decided.

Our first runner up, Paul Zeis, suggested in his subject line that the U.S. flag should be flying on top. While that would be the case if the flags were flying on the same pole, it does not apply in this case:

From the Texas Flag Code:

(a) If it is necessary for the state flag and the
flag of the United States to be displayed on the same flagpole or
flagstaff, the United States flag should be above the state flag.
(b) If the state flag and the flag of the United States are
displayed on flagpoles or flagstaffs at the same location:
(1) the flags should be displayed on flagpoles or
flagstaffs of the same height;
(2) the flags should be of approximately equal size;
(3) the flag of the United States should be, from the
perspective of an observer, to the left of the state flag;
(4) the flag of the United States should be hoisted
before the state flag is hoisted; and
(5) the state flag should be lowered before the flag of
the United States is lowered.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 7.001, eff. Sept. 1,

The angle of the photograph must have been misleading, because "anonymous" chimed into our comments section with a similar hypothesis, "Is the Texas flag taller than the US flag?"

And now, the envelope please...

Tom Gaden, the winner of our Mystery Flag Quiz, discerned correctly that the Texas Flag in the photo was manufactured incorrectly.

With the red stripe on bottom and the white one on top, the star points to hell.
That ain't no good.

If you point the star heavenwards, you end up with the stripes reversed.
It's a fools errand; that flag cannot be flown correctly!

Good job, sir Tom!
Your prize, the very first SPPDFT T-shirt, featuring the striking graphics below, is forthcoming.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Where's Waldo?

Okeh, eagle eyes. . .
What's wrong with this picture?

It was taken on Cambridge Street in Houston, mere blocks from the famed "eighth wonder of the world," the Astrodome.

The first person to spot what's wrong with the photo and email the correct answer to will win.....

Something, probably pretty good.

The winner will be annonced once they win. (No Cheatin'!)

Cheesy T-Shirts

One of our operatives stopped at a truck stop outside of Waco and found these cheesy t-shirts for sale. Not only is the flag upside down, but they took the liberty to change from dark blue to 'powder-puff' blue. Shame, shame!

J.R. Ewing wouldn't be caught dead in one of these!

Friday, January 26, 2007

How SPPDFT Got Started

The Society for the Preservation of the Proper Display of the Flag of Texas

The Society for the Preservation of the Proper Display of the Flag of Texas (SPPDFT) got started in the early 1980s. Back then, most of the nation was going through tough economic times, but the Texas economy was doing pretty good due to the oil boom. As a result, a lot of folks were leaving their homes in the East and Midwest and heading for Texas. Sort of a second ‘G.T.T.’

With this influx of folks from other states, an unusual phenomenon started to occur. We started seeing the Texas flag being displayed upside down. At first we thought this was due to so many people moving in from other states, but, under closer examination, we realized that lifelong Texans were equally at fault. Some of the more blatant and embarrassing examples from this period were:
-- The Texas Flag in front of Foley’s Department Store in Houston for the Foley’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (this one was on TV).
-- The Texas Flag in front of the District Office of The Department of Public Safety in Temple Texas. When called to his attention, the trooper in charge actually apologized.

The more we looked for misuses of the flag, the more we saw. It became obvious that there was a pressing need to organize and start informing people to fly the flag properly.

Texas is a proud state and we Texans are very proud of our flag. There are only five states that have a flag that does not differentiate between top and bottom (Alabama, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee) and Texas is not one of them. You never see the California Bear or the Louisiana Pelican flying upside down, but, for some reason, people tend to turn the Lone Star upside down.

To right this wrong, our representatives are out driving the highways and byways of our grand state, looking for culprits who, through negligence or stupidity, choose to fly our flag upside down.


Low Flat Ranch-Type-Style Tract Housing

In the suburban wastelands of North Austin, people love to display their Texas pride.
These Round Rock homeowners were shamed, however, when an SPPDFT operative caught them with an upside down Texas flag on 7/17/2006.

A photo was taken, and a citation was left on their porch.

Our reeducation efforts were not in vain. Later in the year, the very same house was seen with a Christmas light display featuring a huge outline of the Lone Star State.

Chile Cookoff

In order to clear up some confusion, the SPPDFT offers this short lesson:

1. Texans eat chili and have a flag:

2. Chile is a South American country.
They also have a flag:

Although the two banners have the same color scheme and both stars point to heaven, I've never seen a Chilean flag flying upside-down.

It's probably because they have better public education in Chile.

The City of Love

This store in Paris, Texas sells rustic ranch-style furniture.
They were caught in the act of mis-flying the Texas flag on 6/10/2006.

Since the French tricolor can't really be flown upside down, I guess these Parisians don't pay attention to that sort of thing.

A "Texas Friendly" note was slipped under their door asking them to display their Texas flag properly in the future.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Is Upside-Down the New Rightside-Up?

Spotted on Highway 67 between Fort Stockton and Alpine on 7/8/2006:

Flag History

Most folks know that six flags have flown over Texas.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, pardner.

Over at Texas A&M (Farmers Fight!), Wallace L. McKeehan has a fabulous rundown of the lesser known banners throughout Texas history.
DeWitt Colony Flags 1700-1836
Flags of Independence 1835-1836

I guess it used to be easier to figure out which way to fly the flag when it had words printed on it.


Greetings, weary internet traveler. You have located the official blog of the SPPDFT, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness of proper Texas flag etiquette.

Toward this aim, our diligent operatives ceaselessly search for improperly displayed flags. The evidence is recorded photographically, and where it is possible, a citation is issued.

For our inaugural post, here is a photo I took on 04/08/2005 in Alpine, Texas.

Yesiree, cowpoke. That flag is improperly displayed.

That week, I called them on improper display twice. The University DPS has not, as far as I know, made the same mistake since I lodged my complaints.

Some will say, "The red goes on bottom and the white goes on top."

Here at the SPPDFT, we say, "The star always points to heaven."

Either way, the photographic evidence is damning. The Texas State University System, of which Sul Ross State University is a member, should know better.

Check back here for more shocking violations of the Texas Flag Code; only at the SPPDFT.

Also, if you have any photos or anecdotes to contribute to the cause, we can be contacted at: