Richard “Dixie” Blandy called himself the greatest flagpole sitter of all time – they say he spent more time atop flagpoles than most flags. Plus: the Great Basin Astronomy Festival today gets underway, with unusually dark skies and, to our knowledge, no flagpole sitters to obstruct the view.

Among Dayton’s colorful characters, he stood above rest (Dayton Daily News)

A 1971 pole-sitting champ on the great loneliness of sitting on a pole for 8 months (Splinter News)

Great Basin Astronomy Festival (Travel Nevada)

Would we sit on a flagpole for your support on Patreon? Yeah, probably.

Today we have the story of a guy who they say spent more time atop flagpoles than most flags…

It’s the birthday of the man who called himself the greatest flagpole sitter of all time. Richard Blandy, aka “Dixie” Blandy.

Yes, flagpole sitting was a thing for many decades, starting in the 20s.

Dixie Blandy wasn’t the first guy to do it, but he was sort of the Iron Horse of the field, setting multiple world records for longest time spent atop a flagpole.

He spent 78 days up on a pole in Atlantic City in 1964. The next year he spent 125 days on a pole in Stockholm Sweden.

In case you’re wondering how he slept up there without falling, he would put his thumbs into special holes drilled into his seat, while also locking his ankles around the top of the pole.

And he did fall, more than a few times, and getting more than a few broken bones in the process.

Sometimes it was weather that did it,, and at least once an inebriated fellow decided to shake the pole and that sent Blandy tumbling to earth.

Other times the poles were hit by lightning. And once he needed to be rescued from the cold while playing Santa outside a shop in Memphis. The newspaper headline read, “Santa Stranded on Pole – And Not The North Pole.”

Blandy liked to joke that it was lonely at the top. And yet, he also married six times, and each of his wives he said he met through a telephone call placed from the ground to his spot atop the flagpole.

Then again, he says each of those marriages ended because instead of being home with them, he was up on the flagpoles.

As Blandy once put it, “the pole gives, and the pole takes away.”

Today you can head to Great Basin National Park in Nevada, which is starting the Great Basin Astronomy Festival. The organizers say because of the park’s unusually dark skies at night, you get really, really good views of all those heavenly bodies – and to my knowledge, no flagpole sitters to obstruct the view.