Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 Hurricane Season Starts with GOES 13 Satellite Failure

Hurricane Katrina
I bought this postcard in the gift shop at the CSN Planetarium Observatory, showing the huge Hurricane Katrina looming on the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. It devastated New Orleans and other coastal cities with the subsequent failure of the levee system. The image was derived from GEOS-12 satellite's visible wavelength data.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th every year. For 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects 13 to 20 named storms with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher, 7 to 11 hurricanes (Category 1 and above) with sustained winds of at least 74 mph, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3 and above) with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. The most intense hurricanes (Category 5) have sustained winds at the speed at least 157 mph. Since there are only 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes in a regular season, the 2013 season appears to be more active than average.

Hurricane forecasts rely heavily on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system for data input. However, GOES-13, also known as GOES-East, failed on May 22, 2013. The geosynchronous satellite sits 22,300 miles above the equator at 75°W longitude. It has a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean so it's very valuable to spot early tropical storm activities.

A backup satellite GOES-14 was activated on May 23, 2013. Since it currently remains at its storage position at 105°W, it does not see as far as GOES-13 to the east. It may be moved eastward eventually.

GOES-15, also known as GOES-West, hovers at 135°W longitude. It is responsible for monitoring weather conditions in the western United States and the Pacific Ocean. It remains operational after NOAA briefly expanded its coverage area during the activation of the backup satellite GOES-14.

With severe weather grows more frequently while more people live in the harm's way, it's important to ensure the redundancy of those earth observing satellite systems. However, the next back up satellite is not scheduled to launch until February 2016, subject to further budget and technical delays. There will be real worries in case future satellite troubles cause the gaps for data coverage.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eiffel Tower, and the Replicas

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
I have been sending off quite a few Eiffel Tower postcards since I joined the PostCrossing, although they were of the replica in front of Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Naturally, I was quite excited when I received a postcard (FR-287501) of the Eiffel Tower from Paris, France yesterday.

Paris Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Coincidentally, France celebrates its first gay marriage yesterday, becoming the 14th country to legalize gay marriage,  after President François Hollande signed the country’s “Marriage for All” act into law on May 18, 2013.

More coincidentally, when Paris Hotel's owner Harrah's focused on marketing its properties to specific segments of the population to counter the 2008-2009 economic downturn, Paris was being marketed heavily towards gay and lesbian travelers, according to a Las Vegas Review Journal article "Executive Wants To Ensure Hotel Guests Get Social Cachet For Their Cash" posted on February 22, 2009.

In the United States, only Washington, D.C., and 12 states have legalized same-sex marriage. If we are proud that we have at least 10 Eiffel Tower replicas in the United States, will we be prouder when some day the same-sex marriage is recognized in all 50 states in the United States, following France's lead?

Here are a few more postcards of the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas Hotel:


Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas Hotel under a Full Moon
You can find postcards of the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower from many gift shops in Las Vegas. You can purchase a copy of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas under a Full Moon from

If you have a postcard or a photo of the Eiffel Tower or one of the replicas around the world, can you send me a copy? I will return a postcard to you from Las Vegas and feature your card here.

Eiffel Tower replicas in the US:
  • Eiffel Tower, Kings Island Amusement Park, Mason, Ohio, 101 m  (332 ft), 1:3 scale
  • Eiffel Tower, Kings Dominion Amusement Park, Doswell, Virginia, 101 m (332 ft), 1:3 scale
  • Bordeaux Tower, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 45 m (148 ft), 1:6 scale
  • Eiffel Tower. EPCOT, Disney World, Orlando, Florida, 23 m (76 ft), 1:14 scale
  • Paris-Texas Eiffel Tower,  Paris, Texas, 20 m (66 ft), 1:16 scale
  • Paris-Tennessee Eiffel Tower, Paris, Tennessee.  18 m (60 ft), 1:20 scale
  • Meccano model, SciTrek Technology Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, 11 m (36 ft)
  • Dreyfus Eiffel Tower, Austin, Texas, 7.5 m (25 ft), 1:45 scale
  • Paris-Michigan Eiffel Tower, Paris, Michigan, 3 m (10 ft), 1:110 scale

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SFMOMA: See You in 2016

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
I colored a copy of my postcard US-2165886 when I learned that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will be closed for renovations on June 2, 2013. Nearly 30,000 pieces of art are being packed up for the move. It is scheduled to reopen in early 2016.

During the closure period, some of its art  pieces will be loaned to other local museums including the Asian Art Museum, the Oakland Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor in the Bay Area. It will also exhibit some of its collections at other venues such as the City of Los Altos and San Francisco's Crissy Field.

SFMOMA is planning a  four-day celebration to kick off expansion and launch into off-site exhibitions and programs. The admission is free from Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2, 2013

I visited SFMOMA in June, 2012 and bought those coloring postcards (US-2005787,
 US-2011378, and US-2165886)  and a copy of Above San Francisco Postcard Book by Robert Cameron.

So, SFMOMA: we will see you in 2016, bigger and better!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Girls in Wonderland, Orlando

Girls in Wonderland, Orlando

I sent out this card US-2218310 to Finland on May 9, 2013. The card is an advertisement card for Girls in Wonderland, Orlando, part of the week long celebration of  Gay Days at Walt Disney World.

The recipient would like her PostCrossing senders to pick one of the five YouTube videos listed on her profile and write down what the senders think after listening on their postcards. The video I picked was "Somewhere Around Nothing" by Apocalyptica. The music gave me the sense of urgency to fulfill one's purpose of life. I was amazed that a cello can sounded so metal. If a cello can be transformed into a person, it certainly shows an other wise mellow guy can be powerful when determined.

Monday, May 27, 2013

76th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge Opening

My postcard US-2005787 to Finland features the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in a black and white drawing. The Golden Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge and part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, links San Francisco to Marin County. It is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States; and possibly the most photographed bridge in the world. The bridge-opening celebration began on May 27, 1937 and lasted for one week, as seen on this Youtube video.

The postcard was purchased at SFMOMA along with US-2011378, and US-2165886 as a coloring postcard pack. I was hoping recipients of those postcards would coloring them and send me a picture after they done so. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

2013 Taiwan PYCON: May 25-26

2012 Tawain PYCON Postcard
PyCon Taiwan (PyConTW) just concluded their 2013 convention on May 26. PyConTW is an annual celebration for the Python community, by the Python community, and of the Python community in Taiwan. The conference highlights Python related technology and applications. It is the place to share knowledge and to inspire new ideas, to network and to collaborate projects. 

I received a postcard of Taiwan PYCON 2012 last year. It was held from June 6 to June 10, 2012, with focus on industrial applications of Python.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

US Constitution and Civil Liberties

ACLU of Nevada Foundation's Annual 11th Annual Event 
226 years ago and 4 years after the United States won its independence from Great Britain, state delegates, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, convened in Philadelphia to start composing a new United States constitution on May 25, 1787. The resulted United States Constitution, signed on September 17, 1787, provided the blueprint on how the federal government should work and function, and how the three branches should behave and interact with each other under checks and balances.

In the Bill of Rights (collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution) and the other subsequent amendments that established the "due process" clause and the "equal protection" clause, we are guarantee a number of personal freedoms and civil liberties that include the freedom of speech, religion, protest, assembly, and press.

However, the rights guaranteed under the Constitutions do not mean they will be automatically extended to you. In addition, there are segments of people who have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities. There are also debates on what rights legal and illegal immigrants have.

I received a card a few days ago, advertising American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Foundation's Eleventh Annual Celebration of Civil Liberties. Ruby Duncan, a local civil rights advocate and activist, will be honored as the 2013 Emilie Wanderer Civil Libertarian of the Year. The event will be held at Springs Preserve Cafe on June 14, 2013 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The ticket costs US$ 100. You can find out more information and purchase a ticket online.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Beautiful Malaysia

Night View of  Downtown Kuala Lumpur
I received a postcard MY-149199 with a beautiful night view of downtown Kuala Lumpur today. You can see the Menara Maybank Tower (馬來亞銀行大厦), the Kuala Lumpur Tower (吉隆坡塔) and the Petronas Twin Towers (雙子塔) from left to right. I have seen their individual photos before. However, this is the first time I see all three (actually four) towers in one picture.

The Maybank Tower, at 244 m (801 ft) and built in 1984-1988, is the headquarters of Maybank, and home to the Maybank Numismatic Museum.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower, abbreviated as KL Tower, was completed on March 1, 1995. The highest point with antenna is at 421 m (1,381 ft); the roof of the pod is at 335 m (1,099 ft). The observation deck, open to the public, is the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur that is open to the public.

The Petronas Twin Towers, with its architectural height at 451.9 m (1,483 ft) and roof height at 378.6 m (1,242 ft), were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 until surpassed by Taipei 101. They remain the tallest twin buildings in the world.

As a comparison, Stratosphere Las Vegas, the tallest structure in Las Vegas, is 350.2 m (1,149 ft) tall. You can get a detailed comparison between the tallest freestanding structures in the world at Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

World Turtle Day

May 23rd has been the World Turtle Day since 2000. It was initiated by American Tortoise Rescue to celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their ever shrinking habitats around the world.

The postcard US-1532121 was issued by SFWMD, featuring a Florida box turtle living in moist woodlands and floodplains in the greater Everglades. Turtles are the only toothless reptiles, but have beaks with biting edges.

Before I moved to Las Vegas, NV from Florida in 2006, I was aware of the problem caused by street lights to the baby sea turtles during the hatchling season. Those baby sea turtles mistook street lights as the rising sun, so they moved towards city streets and were often crashed by cars, rather than headed to the ocean. I knew there were efforts to install turtle-friendly lights along A1A, a Florida State Road running mostly along the Atlantic Ocean. However, to my surprise, I found out the problem is still serious today. A Youtube video documented disoriented sea turtle hatchlings in Broward County Florida caused by illegal lighting in the summer of 2011. It was estimated that one in every three hatchlings had gone to the street lights instead of the ocean.

In Florida, sea turtles come ashore to nest from May to late October. You can learn how to help this season in 2013 by visiting their web site

What is the difference between a tortoise and a turtle since they are both reptiles from the family of Testudines? Tortoises dwell only on land while turtles can dwell well in the water. Therefore, in the Mojave Desert around Las Vegas, we only have tortoises.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

International Day for Biological Diversity

Water and Biodiversity
My postcard US-1889056 sent to Sweden can be a perfect remembrance of the International Day for Biological Diversity, or World Biodiversity Day. currently held on May 22. It is sanctioned by United Nations to increase awareness of biodiversity issues. It was first held on December 29 from 1993 to 2000 to mark the day when the Convention on Biological Diversity went into effect in 1993. However, the date was shifted in 2000 to commemorate the adoption of the Convention at the Rio Earth Summit on May 22, 1992 . The theme for 2013 is Water and Biodiversity.

The picture on the card was taken at Mirage's indoor fountain area on September 22, 2012. Water use by casinos in Las Vegas has long been a topic for study and debate as lavish and ambitious water features in the middle of the desert often give the impression of water waste. A 2003 UNLV thesis "Consumptive Water Use at the Mirage Hotel and the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada" by Johann A. Feller indicated that consumptive water use at the Mirage Hotel and the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino is much less than previously estimated. Sara Tabatabaie, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder also discussed the water use myth in her blog in 2012. However, researchers from the Pacific Institute argued in their report Hidden Oasis that much more could be done in improving water conservation and efficiency in Las Vegas.

There are many places in Las Vegas where you can appreciate biodiversity. You can visit Springs PreserveRed Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Mount Charleston or Lake Mead National Recreation Area where you can observe native animals and plants. In particular, I found this site very informational on bird watching and hiking around Las Vegas. They even have a section for dragonflies, (and AIRCRAFTS). 

For tourist attractions, Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay are a few places where you can see exotic plants and animals. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Self-portrait at the South Pole By Galen Rowell

Self-portrait at the South Pole by Galen Rowell

I received a postcard US-2229481 yesterday from Texas. It features a self-portrait among the flags of the Antarctic Treaty nations at the South Pole in 1992 by Galen A. Rowell. Galen, born in Oakland, CA on August 23, 1940, was an accomplished wilderness photographer and avid mountain climber. Unfortunately, he was killed in a plane accident near the Inyo County Airport in Bishop, California on August 11, 2002.

Monday, May 20, 2013


A GreenPeace Postcard from China

I received a give away from China that included a GreenPeace Postcard. It reads "The more you staple, the more trees being cut. Please save your office paper." It is my pleasure to see GreenPeace's presence in East Asia including China.

Libel in het regenwoud van Indonesië
I had received another GreenPeace postcard twice (NL-1854296, and NL-1265197) from Netherlands. It features a dragonfly in the rainforest in Indonesia.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mighty 5 in Utah

Might 5 in Utah
I received an envelop on Friday that contained a Might 5 postcard and a Might 5 decal from, where you can find information on how to visit FIVE iconic national parks in Utah in one trip. You can request your own copy from their Mighty 5 decal online order form.

View The Mighty 5 in a larger map

What can you do in  Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park? Check out this Youtube video to find out:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

International Museum Day

Guns used by Organized Crime
Many museums celebrate the International Museum Day worldwide around May 18 every year since 1977. The theme for 2013 is: Museums (memory + creativity) = social change.

I chose my postcard US-1987864 to mark the occasion. The guns on the card, displayed at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, were used by organized crime. The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, as the Mob Museum in full, is dedicated to the contentious and intertwined relationship between organized crime and law enforcement within the historical context of the historical Las Vegas and the rest of United States. I visited the museum on November 3, 2012, and learned from the Kefauver Committee hearings that there were intimated connections between organized crime and corrupted police, politicians, justices, prosecutors and organized labor; that the public faces of organized crime you seen could be your neighbor, your boss, your co-worker, your doctor or your banker; and that innocent by-standers were often hurt. Exhibits also highlights on Mob violence, casino money skimming operations, and wiretapping and monitoring technics by law enforcement. 

Back to the theme of this year's International Museum Day, with the memory (the mob history) + creativity (technology advance), we are facing a fast track social change in Las Vegas and beyond. The advance of technology stimulates innovations, yet it aids organized crime to pull off certain criminal activities such as identity theft with ease that were once difficult to achieve. We also face the lose of privacy and civil liberties as law enforcement's over-zealous appetite for information and absolute power in the name to counter terrorists and to fight crimes. We witness that pursuit have resulted in abuse from time to time.   

Therefore, by celebrating the International Museum Day, we can use history as a mirror to learn from the past and to protect our future with our creative mind and rapid advancing technology.

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas
On a side note, The building where the Mob Museum is located, was constructed between 1931 and 1933. Opening on November 27, 1933, it served as a post office, and as a court house of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on February 10, 1983. The building was restored and renovated into the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (the Mob Museum) in February 2012.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Never Be Fearful About What You Are Doing When It Is Right

Rosa Parks Bus at Henry Ford Museum

Fifty nine years ago on May 17, 1954, United States Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. That ruling signified a turning point and was a major victory for the civil rights movement.

When I was searching for a postcard for an 8th grade teacher in Taiwan to show her students, I found one marking another historical event in the same era. On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, on her bus trip home after work, refused to obey bus driver's order to yield her seat to a white passenger. Her act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern civil rights movement. It resulted in another Supreme Court decision on November 13, 1956 to upheld a district court's ruling to desegregate the buses. The card shows the restored Rosa Parks bus currently on exhibit in Henry Ford Museum.

With a USPS stamp issued on February 4, 2013 to commemorate Rosa Parks' 100th birthday, I hope the card can convey an important message to the students. “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” said Rosa Parks.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Postcard Graveyard

Temple at the Golden Summit, Mount Emei, Sichuan, China

Expired postcards are just the costs to "do business" in PostCrossing. Postcards can get lost in the mail, be forgotten by inactive users, or be held hostage by some recipients who dislike the type, content of cards or are offended by how their address are written.

Senders can minimize the chances of postcards losing in the mail by getting familiar with the guidelines from their postal services. A Customer's Guide for Mailing is a good resources for the people in the US.

For recipients, we understand there are other priorities in real-life. However, please change your status to inactive if you are unable to register received cards for a period of time.

Registering a received card is your obligation when you sign up PostCrossing, therefore, it is not optional. When someone intentionally delay or refuse to register a card, she or he breaks the rule. You can and should  let your displeasure so the sender knows when you register the card. Unfortunately, we did see occasionally some users mentioning on social media that they pretended not having received the cards for various reasons.

After one year from the date that the address is requested, the Postcrossing system deletes the postcard entry from the system. Therefore, the sent postcard will fall off the face of the Planet Postcrossing as it will not show up on the sender's sent list nor it can no longer be registered by the recipient.

The postcard US-1687553, sent to Mexico on May 17, 2012, is my 2nd card about to be sucked into  black hole. It features a temple at the Golden Summit on Mount Emei, Sichuang, China. Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha, is an official UNESCO site. The postcard was a blank bonus card sent to me along with the postcard CN-597954 by mickyjan.

However, postcards do arrive after 46 years49 years60 years64 years, or even 100 years. So, may my expired postcards be resurrected some day? I hope.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Map Is Worth ......

A New and Accvrat Map of the world, 1626

Christel Binnie said it well: "If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map is worth a thousand pictures".

Google I/O 2013 opens today in San Francisco with changes to its Google Maps highlighting enhanced location service, personalized customization, expanded imagery including under-sea and inside buildings, and improved user interface. Currently more than one million active web sites and apps use Google Maps API. It has been a long way since the first map-like picture was drawn in the modern Turkey area around 6200 BCE.

The postcard RU-1160920, received on September 12, 2012, features "A New and Accvrat Map of the world", made by John Speed and published in 1626.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just Do It

I received a postcard from Taiwan yesterday. It reads:

You always feel uneasy as you think you are still not up to it.
Nonetheless, you will be prepared by the moment you step out.
So, stop the endless rehearsal, just step onto the stage

In other words, Just Do It.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Koinobori, the Carp Streamer


I received a postcard JP-396790 today, featuring koinobori (鯉幟 in Japanese), also known as "carp streamer". Those carp-shaped wind socks were historically flown by Samurai households in Japan during the Edo Period (江戸時代: 1603-1868) to celebrate Tango no Sekku (端午節), the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunisolar year, in hope that their sons would grow up healthy and strong. The tradition can be further traced to an ancient Chinese legend (鯉魚跳龍門) that carps in the Yellow River would become powerful dragons if they could leap upstream over a rough section of the river cascades in Longmen area.

As a result of switching to the Gregorian calendar after the Meiji Restoration (明治維新 or Meiji Ishin), the celebration takes place on May, 5th. Rooted in the Samurai culture, the celebration was known as Boy's Day since it was for boys only until the Children's Day was designated as a national holiday in 1948. The Koinobori sets are now flown for all children from April to early May. 

As a side note, since carp streamers are also referred as koi streamers, I was wondering what the difference was between carp and koi. It turns out that koi are a domesticated, ornamental variety of common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Check out a couple of funny comments at Yahoo! Answers.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The 5th Anniversary of Sichuan Earthquake in China

I made this postcard to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China. It was a deadly earthquake measured at M8.0 that occurred at 02:28:01 pm Beijing Time on Monday, May 12, 2008, with about 70,000 people killed and more than 18,000 missing. While the re-built efforts were still incomplete, another earthquake measured at Ms 7.0, Ya'an earthquake, occurred at 08:02 am Beijing Time on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in the same heavily impacted area. 

The postcard shows a wooden calendar from the the Museum of Modern Art in New York City with the date marked on May 12th. It reminds us that disaster relief and reduction should be a constant effort in every  global community.

You can purchase a copy of this postcard from

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day from Google

Mother's Day 2013 from Google's Doodle

It is Mother's Day tomorrow on May 12, 2013. If you forget to get a Mother's Day card for your mom, don't be desperate. You can make a DIY postcard with Google's Mother's Day 2013 Doodle. Once you have generated the art piece, you can print it out, or send it to one of the one-hour photo printing services at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart or Costco to make a 4"x6" or 5"x7" photo. Then you can use 3M scotch permanent double sided tapes, or 3M photo mount spray adhesive to attach the photo to a piece of heavy card stock. I use Staples 110 lb card stock. Alternatively, you can attach the photo to an Avery Internet Shipping label (5126) with TrueBlock Technology.

You can buy cards or personalized stamps featuring Google's Doodles from their Doodle Store at

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Postcard from the United Nations

Postcard sent from UN Headquarters in New York City
Yesterday, I received a postcard mailed through the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA). According to UNPA: "Human rights, the environment, endangered species and peace are all subjects of universal concern to the peoples of the world. They are also subjects which the United Nations Postal Administration has promoted on its stamps". You can purchase United Nations stamps from their online shop. Postage rates are identical to those of the host nation. Therefore, It is has the same domestic and international rate for mails originated from US as the US Postal Service; however, United Nations stamps in US dollars can only be used for mails sent from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

If you wish to send postcards from UN but do not live in the New York City, you can: 
  • purchase UN stamps first from the UNPA's online shop or other stamp dealers, 
  • prepare postcards by affixing UN stamps and adding intended addresses, leaving the address blank if you want the postcards to be returned in a self-stamped self-addressed (SSSA) envelop,
  • prepare a larger SSSA envelop if you want the postcards returned to you directly 
  • put stamped and addressed postcards (and the SSSA envelop if you have prepared one) in an envelop (outer wrapper),  mark the outer wrapper: FOR MAILING, and mail it to: 
United Nations Postal Administration
United Nations, Room GA-35
New York , N.Y. 10017

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One Year Later: Obama and Same Sex Marriage

LGBT Supporters with Bill Clinton for Obama Re-Election in 2012 

This postcard is made to mark the anniversary of President Obama's endorsement for same-sex marriage on May 9, 2012. On the postcard, a "LGBT for Obama" banner was held high when former President Bill Clinton spoke during a rally at the the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas on October 9, 2012.

Jonathan Capehart had a blog on "Obama and gay marriage: one fabulous year" at Washington Post that documented major related events in the year following Obama's announcement. (updated on May 10, 2013: he had a new blog titled "Minnesota, Clinton and Obama: More gay firsts" following a 75 to 49 vote on May 9, 2013 in the Minnesota State House to legalize same-sex marriage.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Japanese Santa Claus

Japanese Santa Claus

My postcard US-2188415 to Switzerland arrived yesterday. The card shows a Japanese woman in Santa's costumes. It also marks the 250th cards sent from TWIMBK on PostCrossing. Now I can have 14 postcards traveling at once.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coats of Arms of Germany

Coats of Arms of Germany
I was excited to receive postcard DE-2145837 from Germany today. It shows a list of Coats of Arms for each of the sixteen Federal States in Germany:
  • Berlin, Rheinland-Pfalz, Hamburg, Thüringen
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein
  • Bremen, Bayern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Saarland, Brandenburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Hessen

Monday, May 6, 2013

Alaska: Humpback Whale's Tail at Moonrise

Humpback Whale's Tail at Moonrise
I can't believe that it has been ten years! I bought this card when I attended ASPRS annual conference at Anchorage, Alaska from May 5 to May 9, 2003. There were several others in the set, along with a couple of shaped cards and a bronze postcard. I like them very much and wanted to keep them as my personal permanent collections. However, I recently realized that a better way to appreciate them was to share them with my friends. This card is going out today as US-2213857 to Taiwan.

Two Whales Frolic in the Ocean

The postcard sent to Belarus as US-1834439 was part of the Alaska collections. There are actually two whales shown on the card. I had not noticed that for a long time before I sent it out on August 25, 2012.

Update: Another Alaska postcard showing a winter cabin illuminated by the eerie glow of Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) was sent to China via ICardYou on May 8, 2013.

Northern Lights

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Today in History: The first American in space

Space Shuttle Challenger on Mission STS-8
On May 5, 1961, Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. became the first American to travel into space on the Freedom 7 space capsule.

On this 52nd anniversary, I found a NASA postcard among my early postcard collections, sent from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December, 19, 1999. We sent the card to ourselves when we went to see the Space Shuttle Discovery launch for the 3rd Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission STS-103. It was launched from Pad: 39B on December 19, 1999, 7:50 p.m. EST. It was a night time launch since the sunset that day was 5:32 PM. It was our second attempt to drive 300 miles round trip from West Palm Beach to see the Discovery launch in two days. The previous day launch attempt on December 18 was scrubbed due to the weather. There were two more canceled launch attemps on December 6 and December 16, 1999 for technical reasons. We were debating whether to go again on December 19 as the forecast had 40% chance for bad weather. However, our determination paid off for an once-in-a-life-time experience.

Interestingly, the Challenger mission, STS-8 shown on the card, was the first night launch of the space shuttle. The nose of the shuttle was positioned away from the sun in order to test the flight deck's performance in extreme cold temperature. Night time launches were banned after the Shuttle Columbia accident in order to better monitor the foam falling off.

Pictorial Postmark at the Kennedy Space Center

The pictorial postmark had a space shuttle image with the text "Benefits on Earth". The stamp was a non-denominated 'H' stamps issued at the 'birthplace' of Uncle Sam in Troy, New York on November 9, 1988. The "H-series" stamp features Uncle Sam's Top Hat with stars and stripes on a white background. The stamp was valued at 33 cents for the First-Class, 1 ounce, letter rate effective January 10, 1999. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The 115th Anniversary of Peking University

West Gate of Peking University
It is the Homecoming Day for Peking University's alumni on May 4th every year, coinciding with the university's anniversary celebration. Today's postcard commemorates the 115th Anniversary of Peking University, founded in 1898. Since the campus is on the site of royal gardens in the Qing Dynasty, it retains many historical structures. The West Gate leading to the campus is the most well known for the painted murals on its ceiling, similar to those on the Long Covered Walkway in the Summer Palace.

You can create and purchase a copy of  West Gate of Peking University postcard at

Friday, May 3, 2013

Space Day: the First Friday in May

STS-41C Mission Insignia for the Space Shuttle Challenger
The Space Day was first introduced in 1997. It is the first day in May every year. Space themed postcards are among my favorites. I would like to highlight this US-1999692 card to mark the Space Day for 2013 on May 3rd. The postcard shows the STS-41C mission insignia. Originally numbered as STS-13, it was NASA's 11th Space Shuttle flight, and the 5th for the Shuttle Challenger. It was launched on April 6, 1984 from the  Kennedy Space Center, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base on April 13, 1984.

I found quite a few space themed postcards in the Planetarium gift shop at the College of Southern Nevada. Programs are presented on the domed screen very Friday at 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm and every Saturday at 3:30 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm & 8:00 pm. Check their Event Calendar for the current line up. Weather permitting, the telescopes at the Student Observatory will be open for viewing After the 8pm presentation.

Clare has a blog post on the 10 Stamps for the Space Day. Hope I can collect them all some day.

Where the postcard was bought:  Planetarium and Observatory at the College of Southern Nevada