Monthly Archives: June 2014

Red, White and Blue: Free to be a T-shirt?

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, and flag day only a few weeks ago, we are in the middle of a summer full of our favorite colors: red, white and blue.

We love our flag. But how much do we really know about it beyond Betsy Ross? There is that special fold we learned in the Girl Scouts, we should display the flag stars up, we should never let it touch the ground. We know the Star-Spangled Banner and the Pledge, but for most of us, that’s right about where flag knowledge ends.

American FlagHere are a couple tips on flag etiquette from ( that might refresh your memory:

  • The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source.
  • The flag should be flown in fair weather, unless the flag is designed for inclement weather use.
  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

Good behavior in regard to the flag is pretty straight forward, but Title 4 of the United States Code lays out a few  specific rules that may very well surprise you and your flag-adorned neighbors this Fourth of July. Here are some key articles that got our attention:

(d). The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(i). The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(k). The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.(

Uh oh! Title 4 of the United States Code prohibits the use of the flag as wearing apparel. Who knew? Maybe we are not quite so free as to wear a Red, White and Blue T as we’d like to be? Though some sources say that inappropriate flag wearing is punishable under federal law, the code is largely unenforced and possibly unenforceable. Whew!

We’re all for showing our patriotism – especially in T-shirts. Let’s go wild this Fourth of July!

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June 19th is World Sauntering Day

For Comfort Colors, a company based entirely on comfort and the pleasures of the weekend, World Sauntering Day is just about the best holiday we’ve ever heard of. Who knew such a day existed? We do now and we’re going to celebrate by sauntering right into summer and t-shirt season.

June 19 is world sauntering daySaunter is a terrific verb. It means to walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort. Saunter is also a terrific noun that describes a leisurely stroll. Other wonderful words with similar saunterly connotations include amble, dawdle, drift, meander, sashay, glide, wander, ramble, promenade, roam, lollygag, traipse, and mosey.

World Sauntering Day’s Facebook page describes sauntering this way: “It is simply to walk slowly, preferably with a joyful disposition. Sauntering has been spoken of most notably by many of the naturalist writers in history including Henry David Thoreau and John Burroughs.” When you saunter, you saunter in good company indeed!

This unique holiday was originally started at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. Mackinac Island is a resort island on Lake Huron at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac (people from Michigan automatically make their left hand into the mitten-shaped map of Michigan to point out exactly where in the state this is). A “summer colony” accessible only by ferry, the island prohibits the use of motor vehicles. Bicycles, horse-and-buggy, and sauntering are the primary modes of transportation on Mackinac.

It is worth noting that the Grand Hotel’s front porch is the longest front porch on record. Plenty of room for sauntering and probably rocking chairs. This is precisely the kind of comfort Comfort Colors is all about.

In some places World Sauntering Day is celebrated on August 28th, But why wait? The weekend is nearly upon us!

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The Luck of Friday the 13th

Friday-the-13thFriday the 13th was an auspicious day long before Jason Voorhees, iconic horror film character for the movie Friday the 13th, made his film debut. In fact the phobia is rooted in some pretty ancient history.

The fear of Friday the 13th comes from two separate historic dreads: the fear of Fridays and the fear of the number 13, Triskaidekaphobia. For some people these two fears collide in a kind of scary exponential mania: Friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Let’s look at the fear of the number 13. As many as 10% of Americans have a fear of  the number 13. Most high-rise buildings in the U.S. do not have a 13th floor. Apollo 13 certainly had its misfortunes.

In history, the number had some tricky times. The Code of Hammurabi (ancient Babylon’s list of 282 laws dating back to 1770 BCE) skips the number 13 entirely. In Christianity, Jesus had 12 apostles at the Last Supper. The 13th guest to arrive at this party was Judas Iscariot. He brought a kiss. In Norse mythology, 12 Norse gods had a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven, Loki was the 13th guest to arrive (sound familiar?). The gods had a love/hate relationship with Loki. An irreverent and nihilistic shape shifter, Loki lived recklessly beyond societal norms (even those of the Norse gods). By turns playful and malicious, he was a kind of evil benefactor to the gods. In the tales, it is not always clear if Loki was a god, a giant, or something else completely. He is always portrayed, though, as a scheming coward caring only for his own pleasures.

How about Fridays? For those of us faithfully married to the standard American 40+-hour workweek, fear of Fridays seems quite a bizarre concept. HowStuffWorks spells it out this way: “Some historians suggest the Christian distrust of Fridays is actually linked to the early Catholic Church’s overall suppression of pagan religions and women. In the Roman calendar, Friday was devoted to Venus, the goddess of love. When Norsemen adapted the calendar, they named the day after Frigg, or Freya, Norse goddesses connected to love and sex. Both of these strong female figures once posed a threat to male-dominated Christianity, the theory goes, so the Christian church vilified the day named after them.” There are also other Christian roots at play here: Jesus was crucified on a Friday, Adam and Eve opted for the forbidden fruit on a Friday, and the Great Flood began on a Friday.

But today does not have to be all bad. Let’s go for the luck of Friday the 13th this time! The very reasons behind the fear of Fridays and 13s and Friday the 13ths could easily be turned around. Look at it this way: without Loki, we’d never have those fabulous Wagnerian operas; without Judas we’d never have the great  Passions of J.S. Bach.

Friday and 13 fears are fairly unique to the West. 13 is lucky in China. The moon travels around the earth 13 times in a year. Jewish boys are Bar mitzvahed at age 13.  In ancient Egypt, life was thought to have 13 stages. The lucky 13 list goes on and on.

Dona Henes writes in Huffington Post: “Friday the 13th is ultimately the celebration of the lives and loves of Lady Luck. On this, Her doubly-dedicated day, let us consider what fortuitous coincidences constitute our fate. The lucky blend of just the right conditions, chemistries, elements, and energies that comprise our universe. The way it all works. The way we are. That we are at all.” (

Maybe we could make a cultural shift to accentuate the positive? It is Friday, after all.

Have a great weekend.



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It’s Father’s Day – Quotes Honoring Dad

Next Sunday is Father’s Day. And even if your father may not know best all the time, he certainly does on Sunday. We wanted to honor dads everywhere with a blog post chock-full of quotes from fathers. We did find some quotes from dads (you may even have a few stuck in your head from your childhood), but most of the quotes we found were about fathers rather than by fathers.

Though there is an incredibly irreverent entity (Twitter Feed, Facebook page, book and television series) called Sh*%MyDadSays that is filled with quotes from one father in particular. It began as a Twitter feed started by comedy writer Justin Halpern and has grown into an institution. It is filled with hilarity and (warning, warning!) lots of bad language. And it is a prime modern example of how Father Knows Best – sometimes. Justin’s dad says things like: “No Father’s Day gifts. Just write me a card…Of course I’m kidding. Buy me sh*%, I created you.”

happy-fatherHis dad says some very funny things, but none of them seems to be in the Father’s Day mood we’re looking for; we want to honor rather than razz dads (though sometimes it is fun to do both).

Here are some great quotes about fathers. One of them might even be Father’s Day-card worthy:

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ~ Umberto Eco

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” ~ Antoine François Prévost

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” ~ Charles Wadsworth

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ~ Mark Twain.

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” ~ Author unknown

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” ~ Jim Valvano

“I’ve had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.” ~  Bartrand Hubbard

The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God; I call him Dad!
~Author Unknown

Happy Father’s Day.


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