Originally created 11/23/04

Odds and Ends



SANTA FE, N.M. - Santa Fe's official flag has gotten poor reviews from the folks who know flags.

The North American Vexillological Association, or NAVA - mostly made up of U.S. and Canadian residents with an interest in studying flags - ranked Santa Fe's flag 117th among 150 municipal flags in a recent survey. The association gave it only 2.97 points out of a possible 10.

It doesn't get much respect locally, either. Some employees in the mayor's office, the city clerk's office and the Convention and Visitors Bureau said they didn't know Santa Fe even had a flag.

Janitor Johnny Dean, however, runs it up a flagpole outside the east entrance to Santa Fe's municipal building every business day.

The frayed nylon banner - which doesn't exactly match the description published by the flag group - is the only one the city owns, Dean said.

The association depicts Santa Fe's official banner as having a gold background with a city seal. The seal has a thin blue circle around a white field with the city's full Spanish name, "La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis" with a red, white, yellow and blue shield blending symbols from Spain, Mexico and the United States.

The flag in front of the municipal building has an off-white background. It also has a thick blue border around the seal and the words "City of Santa Fe, New Mexico" in white letters.

Either version is probably too busy for NAVA. The organization suggests a flag should be so simple a child can draw it from memory.

So what was the flag ranked first on the group's survey? That of Washington, D.C.

---

MELBOURNE, Australia - Newspaper advertisements congratulating the 16-year-old girl who won the latest "Australian Idol" competition made an embarrassing mistake - directing fans to a gay porn Web site.

Casey Donovan won the top-rating reality television program and a record contract on Sunday night.

Telecommunications company Telstra, a major sponsor of the program, ran half-page advertisements in newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne on Monday congratulating Casey and directing fans to a Web site.

But anyone calling up the Web site will be confronted by a full frontal nude picture of an American porn star named Casey Donovan with links to sales of his gay porn DVDs and videotapes.

Telstra spokesman Craig Middleton put the gaffe down to "simple human error in the last-minute preparation of the ad."

---

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Christmas shoppers have a new place to load up on gifts in the state capital: the Nevada State Prison.

Purses, belts, moccasins, stuffed animals, paintings and leather key chains are among inmate-made items for sale in the prison's Hobby Craft Store, which opened Friday.

James Baca, associate warden for programs, said the public response to the prison's annual summer craft fairs was overwhelming and he thinks the store also will be a success.

Inmates purchase the materials to create the products, and donate the proceeds to nearby Empire Elementary School and Nevada Hispanic Services, he said.

"We are trying to instill good moral and ethical values in these inmates here. If we can salvage people, we want to salvage them," Baca said.

Empire Elementary Principal Pat Carpenter said proceeds from the inmate craft fairs have allowed her school to purchase $5,000 worth of new equipment.

Buyers can spend as little as $2.30 for a leather key chain or as much as $200 for a handcarved sign to adorn a driveway or lawn.

---

SYDNEY, Australia - Three hooded bandits in eastern Australia bungled a would-be robbery when they apparently mistook a restaurant's sliding door for a swinging one, police said.

About 20 diners at Gabby's seafood restaurant in the coastal town of Gerringong watched as the trio repeatedly tried to kick the glass door open Saturday night, but they failed to enter and later fled in a stolen car.

Restaurant owner Greg Moore said the door was unlocked - and clearly marked "slide."

These might not have been your average criminals, police investigator Jamie Williams warned.

"They're probably more dangerous because they're dumb," Williams said.