Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Just another - Flag - day !

I was reminded this morning of another hidden army - Riga's flag putter uppers. Every year the Ministry of Flag Days - publishes to every household in the country the various days on which the national flag must be placed outside their house or apartment buildings.

In the country this is the responsibility of the house owner, but in Riga's apartment buildings, then this responsibility is outsourced to this army of flag putter uppers.

Clearly they have an allotted number of buildings, so of they set at sunrise with their flags under their arms, and carrying a ladder and erect the flags, which then fly all day, and then at sunset, guess what - that's right they take them all down again. Would love to see their passport job description. But just like the refuse collectors, they provide an invaluable service - and given the number of Flag putting up days their are, it is a full time job.

Their appears to be two kind of flag days, days of celebration and days of sadness, the difference between the two is that on the sad days, they attached a piece black cloth to the end of the flag pole.

So now you know !

The other tradition here is "Name Days" - Based on your Christian name, The Ministry of Name days then allots a specific day on which you must celebrate your "name day". Here this is a bigger thing than you birthday, but it does mean that there at least two days a year when you can host a private celebration ( Birthday and Name day) - God only knows how The Ministry of Name days would have coped if some of our celebrities with a penchant for naming their offspring with weird and wonderful names were born in Latvia. Hard to imagine a name day for names such as Zacharia - Cruz - Apple - Fifi Trixibelle - Peaches - Pixie ??

If you would like to check out your name day then go visit - of course you will need to latvianise your name - mine is Deivids.

Now here is "political question" How many political parties are their in Latvia ( NB this can change on a daily basis - but this is status as of today. 28 - can you believe it ? - in a country of less than 2.6m - they have a party for every 100,000 people. But don't you just love the names ! Seima is the name of the Latvian Parliament for those who do not know - clearly starting a political party is a national pastime. Makes the number of Political parties in UK seem paltry by comparison

Parties represented in the Parliament of Latvia

New Era Party (Jaunais Laiks) or JL
People's Party (Tautas Partija) or TP
Zaļo un Zemnieku Savienība or ZZS (Union of Greens and Farmers)
Latvian Farmers' Union (Latvijas Zemnieku Savienība) or LZS
Latvian Green Party (Latvijas Zaļā Partija) or LZP
Latvia First Party (Latvijas Pirmā Partija) or LPP
For Fatherland and Freedom (Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK) or TB/LNNK
For Human Rights in United Latvia (Par Cilvēka Tiesībām Vienotā Latvijā) or PCTVL
National Harmony Party (Tautas Saskaņas Partija) or TSP
Latvian Socialist Party (Latvijas Sociālistiskā Partija), formerly part of PCTVL;
Equal Rights (Līdztiesība)

Parties not in Saeima

Parties which participated in 2002 parliamentary elections but did not win any seats in the parliament.
Latvian Way (Latvijas Ceļš) or LC
Latvian Social Democratic Labour Party (Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija) or LSDSP
Light of Latgale (Latgales Gaisma) or LG
Social Democratic Union (Sociāldemokrātu Savienība) or SDS
Social Democratic Welfare Party (Sociāldemokrātiska Labklājības Partija)
Political Alliance "Center" (Politiskā apvienība "Centrs")
Party of Russians (Krievu Partija)
Party of Latvians (Latviešu Partija)
Latvijas Atdzimšanas Partija;
Freedom Party (Brīvības Partija)
Mira Land (Māras Zeme)
Our Land (Mūsu Zeme)
Progressive Centrist Party (Progressīvā Centriskā Partija)
Latvian United Republican Party (Latvijas Apvienotā Republikāņu Partija)

Parties formed after 2002 parliamentary elections

National Power Unity (Nacionālā Spēka Savienība) or NSS
Fatherland's Union (Tēvzemes Savienība)
New Center Party (Jaunais Centrs)

And for those of with a penchant for humour, ( just like the Committee for the naming of Latvian Political Parties) - I received the following recently - enjoy !


Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane, but only a high school diploma to fix one. Reassurance for those of us who fly routinely in our jobs. After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an (S) by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for.
P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

and finally did you know Riga has the widest Zebra crossing in the world !! - just over 8 metres WIDE !!!!


Anonymous John Cleese said...

Oye Mate what about "The Peoples Front of Judea"


11:51 pm  
Anonymous Iola ap Black- Pudding said...

There will be a new candidate standing in 2006....a representitive of Plaid Ventspils the only Cymru/Latvian Alliance.


11:56 pm  

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