Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Countdown to 2015

The countdown to 2015 is on, and LasVegas is expecting a record of 340,000 visitors in this New Year's Eve, despite of a forecast of freezing temperature and snow.

More than 80,000 fireworks will light up the night sky, shooting from the rooftops of MGM Grand,
Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, Treasure Island and Stratosphere, in a 7 minute and 11 second synchronized show.

Postcard US-3087107 to China shows a collage photo that includes many major landmark hotels and casinos in Las Vegas under the fireworks.

Update: The anticipated snow did not materialized. Only bursts of spectacular fireworks filled the sky, ushering in a brand new year.

Fireworks from Planet Hollywood and Aria after countdown to 2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

America's Party at Fremont Street, Las Vegas in the New Year's Eve

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas will again to hose the New Year's Eve America's Party to ring in 2015. The adult-only (21+) party starts at 6:00 p.m. with 9-hour live concerts on three stages, performed by 13 tribute bands: Crimes of Passion (Pat Benatar Tribute), Doobies Inc. (Doobie Brothers Tribute), Rio (Duran Duran Tribute), Don't Look Back (Boston Tribute), Generation Idol (Billy Idol Tribute) Jumping Jack Flash (Rolling Stones Tribute), Led Zepagain (Led Zeppelin Tribute), No Duh (No Doubt Tribute), Queen Nation (Queen Tribute), Fan Halen (Van Halen Tribute), Aeromyth (Aerosmith Tribute), Bonfire (AC/DC Tribute) and Red Not Chili Peppers (Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute),  as part of the “TributePalooza.” The giant Viva Vision screen will feature a spectacular light show and virtual fireworks at the count down.

Postcard US-2545733 to Czech Republic shows the light of the neon reflects off the cars parked along the Fremont Street, adding to the feeling that it was never dark in downtown Las Vegas, even in its early years. From neon circles under the Fremont Hotel to the Indian head atop the Hotel Apache sign, Fremont Street is a destination 24 hours a day. At the end of the street, the neon sign for the train depot can be seen.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shigar Valley, Skardu, Pakistan

Postcard PK-3925 from Pakistan shows a bird-eye view of the Shigar Valley in northern Pakistan that is associated with the Shigar River. A gateway to the high mountains of the Karakoram, the valley stretches about 170 km from Skardu to Askole in a remote and largely inaccessible area. There are several villages in the valley: the town of Shigar being the largest and Askole being the last settlement that is closest to yet still quite far from the high mountains. The Shigar Valley is known for mining a variety of gemstones.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pangandaran, West Java, Indonesia

Postcard ID-120808 from Indonesia shows Pangandaran, West Java, Indonesia, a popular tourist destination known for its beach and surfing activities located on the southern coast of the island of Java.

It is a gateway to to Green Canyon (Cujang Taneuh) where visitors can hire a boat from the river harbor on the highway 1 kilometer before the turn-off to Batu Karas for a cruise along the emerald-green river in the jungle to a waterfall and a beautiful canyon.

In the news today, AirAsia Flight 8501 from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore vanished Sunday morning local time over the Java Sea. The expanded search so far has yet to turn up any trace of the Airbus A320. Located about 600 kilometers to the east of Pangandaran, Surabaya, capital of the province of East Java, is the second-largest city in Indonesia.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Venetian Tower at Christmas Time

I sent this card to Czech on December 26, 2014 as a replacement of US-2566010 that was posted on December 26, 2013. The original copy was the same as US-2518598, showing the tower at The Venetian Las Vegas with a round shaped USPS Evergreen Wreath Global Forever Stamp issued on October 24, 2013. It was apparently lost in the mail and had expired since. When the Postcard ID was dropped from the PostCrossing system after one year, it has formally entered my postcard graveyard. The replacement card has a new USPS Silver Bells Wreath Global Forever stamp that was issued on October 23, 2014 along with the Winter Fun stamps.

The Venetian Tower with Christmas Tree as seen on December 27, 2014.

Friday, December 26, 2014

10th Anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Marked

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami that happened on December 26, 2004 and devastated Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and other countries around the Pacific Rim as one of worst natural disasters in modern history.

Banda Aceh in Indonesia's Aceh province was among the hardest hit areas. More than 160,000 people died in Indonesia, accounting for more than 50% of the total 230,000 victims killed from all affected countries. Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla attended a ceremony in Banda Aceh today where many ambassadors of countries that assisted in the massive recovery effort 10 years ago were also present.

The stamped card was purchased at the Banda Aceh Post Office in early 2005 when I was volunteering in the recover effort. It has two of the four birds stamps issued on January 7, 1992: a 100 Rp White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus) and a 200 Rp. Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) with a remark "Dijamin Asli" (guaranteed authentic) on the bottom of the card.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Feeding Deer in Snow

Postcard UA-1197815 from Ukraine features a child feeding a deer in snow during the Christmas time. However, with the advance of technology, Christmas activities have shifted to other things, such as playing drones ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa in an Airship High Over the Panama Canal

A wrong number listed on a Colorado Springs newspaper advertisement by Sears started NORAD's Santa Tracking program in 1955. Google also started to track Santa's movement in 2004 as a Google Maps service. However, the radar tracking may reveal Santa is not on a sleigh after all, as the vintage postcard US-3141511 from Virginia shows that Santa Claus on an airship overlooks the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FDA Moves Toward Ending a National Blood Donation Policy of Discrimination.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today recommends ending a decades-old lifetime ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men that had long been considered a national policy of discrimination. The ban was introduced in 1983 during the early years in the AIDS epidemic when little was known about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, the understanding of HIV and AIDS has advanced greatly in the following decades, and practice of the permanent blood donation ban by gay and bisexual men has been deemed outdated.

FDA will continue to enforce the ban for gay and bisexual men who have been sexually active in the last year. Heterosexuals who engage in high-risk behavior, including sex with prostitutes or drug users face similar ban. The policy change puts the United States in line with many European counterparts that adopted a similar 12-month waiting period in 2011.

However, some LGBT rights groups are not happy with the 12- month waiting period since it places the entire sexually active gay and bisexual population in the same category as prostitutes and drug users. Nonetheless, the new policy with restriction is a step forward from eliminating the bias that considers every gay and bisexual man as a high risk in terms of blood donation. It caps the year of 2014 along with the other LGBT rights achievements such as winning the rights for same-sex couples to marry and for gay military members to openly serve the country.

The postcard, purchased at zazzle, features the red ribbon, an international symbol of AIDS awareness.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Solstice Festival

Postcard DE-3748381 from Germany arrived with a message "I love snow" on December 22 when meteorological winter starts in the Northern Hemisphere. However, there is no white Christmas in sight as the temperature at McCarran International Airport reached a record high at 22.8°C or 73°F today.

Winter Solstice Festival (冬至), one of the most important seasonal festivals celebrated in China and other East Asia countries during the winter solstice, falls on Monday, December 22 in 2014. Since the winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year, the festival celebrates the beginning of a period when the daylight hours are getting longer with an increase of positive energy pouring in from the sun. The favorite snacks during the festival are dumplings in the Northern China, wantons in the Eastern China, and red bean sweet rice cakes in the Southern China.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Amer Fort, Rajasthan, India

Postcard IN-123650 from India shows Amer Fort, a major tourist attraction located in Amer near Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India. Built with red sandstone and marble by Raja Man Singh I on a hill overlooking the Maota Lake, Amer Fort is known for its artistic style of Hindu elements highlighted by large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled walkways.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Belarusian Cat

Postcard BY-1460654 from Belarus shows an illustrated Belarusian Cat by artist Ekaterina Shmirina, dressing like Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), a fictional character who in some Slavic cultures plays a similar role as Santa Claus does.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fur Traders Descending the Missouri

Outgoing postcard US-3139095 to Russia shows one of the most famous paintings by George Caleb Bingham, a 19th century American artist. Depicting American life in the frontier lands along the Missouri River using the Luminist style, the painting was originally entitled French-Trader, Half-breed Son. It reflected the reality of fur traders' common marriages with Native American women. However, the name was changed to Fur Traders Descending the Missouri to avoid potentially controversial when it was first exhibited. Painted around 1845, this art piece is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The stamped card was one of the EXTRAordinary Art Card series issued by USPS at the Saint Louis Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri on May 4, 1990. It has a 15-cent postage pre-printed with a reproduction of the 1845 painting and sells for 50 cents at the time.

The liberty cap or Phrygian cap worn by the older man was the symbol of freedom and liberty commonly used in the 19th century. The animal in the boat was actually a bear cub, not a cat.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fort Jefferson Lighthouse

Outgoing postcard US-3133041 to Belarus shows the Fort Jefferson Lighthouse on Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas, Florida. Erected in 1876, Fort Jefferson Lighthouse, also known as Garden Key Lighthouse, helped warn sea traffic away from the dangerous shoals and reefs that surround the Florida Keys until it was deactivated in 1921. Today the  three-story hexagonal lighthouse made of boilerplate iron is part of Dry Tortugas National Park established in 1992. The lighthouse is one of the five Gulf Coast lighthouses featured on postage stamps and a stamped postcard book with pre-printed 28-cent postage issued by USPS in 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Public Square and Union Terminal Tower, Cleveland, Ohio

Outgoing postcard US-3139451 to Malaysia was a vintage card showing the Union Terminal Tower, a 52-story landmark skyscraper located on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. At 235 meters or 771 feet, it was the fourth-tallest building in the world when it was officially dedicated on June 28, 1930 during the skyscraper-building boom. The 4.4-acre Public Square was laid out in the original plan of the city conceived by its founder General Moses Cleveland in 1796. With the Union Terminal Tower on the southwest corner, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and a Civil War Memorial can be seen in the center of the southeast section of the square on the postcard.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yakushi-ji, Nara, Japan

Postcard JP-616307 from Japan shows Yakushi-ji (薬師寺) in Nara, one of the most famous imperial and ancient Buddhist temples in Japan. The temple was established in 680 C.E. (the Common Era) and was name after Yakushi Nyorai (藥師琉璃光如來), "the Medicine Buddha", who was one of first Buddhist Deities to arrive in Japan from China. Yakushi-ji is one of the eight places that are collectively recognized as the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Don't Tread on My OBAMACARE

Postcard US-3091308 to Connecticut was a political advocacy card for ObamaCare. Today marks an important deadline for people in the United States to sign up for individual and family ObamaCare insurance plans that take effect on January 1, 2015. However, several states have offered extensions due to high demands. Otherwise, the next earliest effective date for ObamaCare insurance plans will be February 1, 2015. 

For coverage starting in 2015, the open enrollment period runs from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. If you need in-person assistance, You can visit an insurance broker, a navigator organization, or an enrollment store. Remember to bring a photo ID, proof of income such as W-2 or tax return, immigration cards or papers, and your Social Security card. The consumer assistance center at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can be reached at 800-318-2596.

Nevada Healthlink sign up sign  in the Boulevard Mall (top left), ObamaCare Poster at a bus stop in Las Vegas (top right), People line up to sign up insurance plans at an enrollment store in Las Vegas (bottom)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

St. Mary's Cathedral, Covington, KY, USA

Postcard US-3100095 to China was a 1940 vintage postcard showing the Roman Catholic St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky. Designed by Detroit architect Leon Coquard and built in 1895, its exterior was inspired by the Notre Dame of Paris in an one third scale replica. Services were first held in 1901. However, the construction stopped in 1915 with planned 52- feet or 16-meter tall towers un-built. Pope Pius XII elevated the cathedral to the rank of minor basilica on December 8, 1953.

The restoration of the Cathedral was recognized by the Cincinnati Preservation Association with a Preservation Award in 2002.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland

Postcard US-3118723 to Hong Kong was a 1960 vintage linen postcard showing Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. Designed by William Lee Stoddart in the French Renaissance style, the 22-story 289-feet or 88-meter tall hotel opened on December 30, 1928. The hotel has a brick veneer over a steel frame and a tower featuring a mansard roof of copper on the top.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel was noted for its voluntary ending of its restrictive guest policies in 1958 after the Baltimore City Council's failed attempt to pass an ordinance prohibiting racial segregation in public accommodations.

The original Lord Baltimore Hotel closed in 1982, and re-opened in 2014 as an independent hotel after a series of ownership changes. The hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Under the current ownership of Rubell Hotels of Miami, Florida, it had undergone a total renovation of guest rooms and restoration of the building's public spaces.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Swim for Health in Safe and Pure Pools

Postcard RU-3152940 from Russia was a 1940 vintage poster commissioned for Cleveland Division of Health in Ohio, sponsored by Federal Art Project under the Works Progress Administration

According to Wikipedia, "the Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller but more famous project, the Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects."

The poster was part of the Work Projects Administration Poster Collection at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division in Washington, D.C. 20540. It promotes swimming as a healthy exercise by showing a man and a woman in a swimming pool.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

North Cape, Norway

Postcard NO-102992 from Norway shows North Cape (Nordkapp in Norwegian), located on the northern coast of the island of Magerøya in Northern Norway and shown as a red pin in the following map. It is often mistakenly regarded as the northernmost point of Europe.

However, the neighboring Knivskjellodden point, shown as a green pin on the map below, is 1,457 meters or 4,780 feet farther to the north, which is sometimes considered the northernmost point of the entire continent of Europe.

Nonetheless, both of above points are located on an island. Cape Nordkinn (Kinnarodden in Norwegian), located on the Nordkinn Peninsula and shown as a yellow pin on the map, is the northernmost point of mainland Europe.

Regardless, North Cape is a popular tourist attraction with a 307-meter or 1,007-foot high cliff where visitors can watch the midnight sun or the panoramic views of the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean, to the north on a large flat plateau. The midnight sun can be seen from May 14 to the July 31 during which the sun reaches its lowest point above the horizon from 12:14 to 12:24 a.m.

Previously, I have featured the north cape in New Zealand in this blog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

S.A.S. Rainier III and Miss Grace Kelly

Outgoing postcard US-3128753 to Czech Republic was an original 1956 vintage postcard showing Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and his wife American actress Miss Grace Kelly, Oscar winner for Best Actress.

Rainier III (May 31, 1923 – April 6, 2005) ruled Monaco for almost 56 years, which made him one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century. He was credited for reforming the Monaco's constitution and diversifying the Monaco's economy from traditional gambling industry. When Rainier took the throne in 1949, Gambling accounted for more than 95% of the nation's annual revenue; today it has only 3% share.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bee Rock Tunnel, Virginia

Outgoing postcard US-3125851 to Czech Republic shows the Bee Rock Tunnel, a former railroad tunnel located Appalachia and Big Stone Gap, Virginia. It was built in 1891 by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. At 47 feet 7 inches or 14.50 meters, It was once known as the World's shortest railroad tunnel. However, it was soon realized that both the Westmoreland Tunnel (46 feet or 14.02 meters) in Gallatin, Tennessee and the Backbone Rock Tunnel (22 feet or 6.70 meters) near Crandull, Tennessee were shorter than the Bee Rock Tunnel. The Bee Rock Tunnel is now part of the Bee Tunnel-Roaring Branch Trail.

Monday, December 8, 2014


The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is partnering with Coca-Cola on Toys for Tots holiday gift drive. For each photo shared on social media with the #BellagioHoliday and #MakeSomeoneHappy hashtags, Coca-cola will donate one dollar to the charity campaign until the total amount reaches $50,000.

#BellagioHoliday, the mother polar bear and the three cubs are made of 37,000 carnations, #MakeSomeoneHappy
Postcard US-2615455 to Indiana was a polar bear shaped card bought at the Everything Coca-Cola Store on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Market in Fellbach, Germany

Postcard DE-3731053 from Germany shows the Christmas Market around the town hall in Fellbach, Germany. It opens from December 4 to December 21 in 2014, and it has an open-air ice rink next to the Lutheran Church through January 6, 2015.

The food court opens daily from noon on weekdays, from 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday; and closes late on 8:00 p.m. (although it's early in Las Vegas standard.) Many groups from kindergartens, schools, music and chorus clubs perform daily at the City Hall courtyard.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ho Ho Ho

It is the time of the year again to join more than 10,000 Santa lookalikes to run 5K or walk 1 mile in the annual Great Santa Run in Las Vegas, Nevada, and get a special postmark on your mail from Santa Claus Station, Santa Claus, Indiana.

In its 10th anniversary at downtown Las Vegas, the Great Santa Run, is a fundraiser event for Opportunity Village, a nonprofit organization founded 60 years ago in 1954 that serves almost 3,000 people with intellectual disabilities with vocational training, employment opportunities, enrichment services and other supports. (Update: the number of runners in 2014 was tallied as 8725)

The Great Santa Run in Las Vegas, 2014
In Santa Claus, Indiana, the famous small-town post office Santa Claus Station, the only one in the world bearing the Santa Claus name, is offering a special pictorial postmark on holiday mail again this year, continuing a tradition since 1983. Every year, the holiday postmark is designed by a local high school art student during an annual contest. Shyann Smith, a 2014 senior at Heritage Hills High School from Fulda, Indiana won the 2014 competition. The postmark is available from December 1 to December 24.

Postmaster Marian Balbach asks anyone who requests the special cancellation to follow the guidelines:

  • Allow at least a 2-inch by 4-inch space in the stamp area for the picture postmark;
  • Apply postage to cards or letters before bringing or mailing them to the post office;
  • If you wish to mail Christmas cards to the post office, package them—with postage stamps already on them—in a sturdy envelope or box, and mail to: Postmaster, Santa Claus Station, Santa Claus, IN 47579-9998;
  • The picture postmark is available on working days between December 1 and 24;
  • The picture postmark must be requested by the postal customer;
  • To ensure a good postmark imprint, do not enclose large or bulky items in your holiday mail (Ex: reindeer food, snowflakes, glitter, stickers, etc.);
  • There is no charge for postmarking; however, there is a limit of 50 picture postmarks (hand cancellations) per person per day.

Postcard US-2452330 to Taiwan was sent in to the Santa Claus Station for its 2013 edition of the special cancellation, replacing a prior Flying Jenny card presumably lost in the mail.

Friday, December 5, 2014

National Finals Rodeo Celebrates 30th Anniversary

In the past 30 years since 1985, more than 1 million cowboys and cowgirls and their friends have invaded Las Vegas during the pre-Christmas periods for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo that has sold out 280 consecutive performances at the Thomas & Mack arena. Last year, the total attendance was over 176,000 with almost 90-million-dollar non-gaming economic impact to the city. In 2014, the competitions run from December 4 through December 13, along with Cowboy Christmas Gift Show and Cowboy Fan Fest at Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Halls.

Postcard US-2168978 to Germany was part of the postcard book Western Horseman purchased at the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show during the National Finals Rodeo in 2012. It shows the magazine's October 1950 cover and brings to mind Western heroines of that era. Barbara Stock, a Colorado University student and aspiring young horsewoman was photographed by frequent contributor Clarence Coil. Barbara Stock, who competed in local horse shows and rodeos, appears with her favorite Pinto mount at a ranch near Colorado Springs.

2014 Cowboy Christmas Gift Show

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lighthouse Westerheversand

Postcard DE-3712774 from Germany shows a rainbow and the Lighthouse Westerheversand, located in Westerhever on the northwestern tip of the Eiderstedt Peninsula in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Surrounded by salt marshes, it is a major attraction on the peninsula for its 80,000 annual visitors.

The 9-story lighthouse was built on a mound in 1906, with a focal height of 41 meters and a range of 21 nautical miles or 39 kilometers. It can be seen as far as 55 kilometers away in a clear day. The lighthouse was featured on a 55-cent German commemorative stamp in 2005.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Me and Jim Found Tonopah

Postcard US-3100087 to Ukraine was purportedly from "me", the mule on the top-right insert, and my owner Jim after we found Tonopah at the junction of U.S. Routes 6 and 95, about half-way between Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada in the 1950s.

"Here we are in Tonopah, Nevada, that great silver mining camp that for a generation was the nation's greatest producer of silver. A beautiful, modern little city, but DIFFERENT. Fine highways leading everywhere; finest of hotels and torist accommodations; unexcelled climate; good stores, schools, theatres. Best of hunting and fishing in season. Noted gaming palaces. You only live once - be sure and visit Tonopah. It IS different."

Tonopah is a the county seat of Nye County, Nevada with a population of 2,478 in 2010 census and a total area of 16.2 square miles or 42 square kilometers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

North Pole Postmark Offered Through December 15

According to a news release from the U.S. Postal Service, once again, USPS is offering North Pole postmarks on holiday mail in 2014.

To receive the North Pole postmark on your holiday cards, you should:

  • Purchase stamps at any post office.
  • Affix the stamps to envelopes of your choice.
  • Address the sealed envelopes, with the cards enclosed, to those on your mailing list.
  • Mail them in a larger envelope,  box,  Priority Mail or Express Mail package to:

ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

Requests must be received in Anchorage by December 15, 2014 in order to ensure delivery by Christmas. The Postal Service receives hundreds of thousands of requests each year for North Pole postmarks from around the world.  The service is provided at no cost.  Each card or letter must have the correct amount of postage and be addressed.

Postcard US-2529937 to Taiwan shows a rubber stamp impression of polar bears sledding on a sleigh with a USPS Gingerbread House Forever stamp, before the card was sent in for cancellation last year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Need It, Want It, Got It

I found this GoCard I collected many years ago during a house cleaning that advertised Recycler Classifieds, a Los-Angeles-based classifieds-only newspaper, first started in 1973. Its print editions expanded into 10 regional markets including Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas by 1998.  Its digital edition was one of the first vast online classified advertisements communities with thousands of local ads covering cars, merchandise, employment, real estate and anything else. However, after several rounds of corporate buy outs, it missed the opportunity to compete with and stand out from other online sites such as eBay and Craigslist. that produced this GoCard advertising is now a New York-based public benefit corporation with strives to achieve the highest standard for socially responsible businesses.

On a separate note, on this World AIDS Day in 2014, there is a #weareALLclean Shower Selfie Campaign that promotes HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and eliminatse stigma for those people who are infected by the virus.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

405 Years after Galileo Turned His Telescope to the Moon

When Galileo first turned his improved telescope with 20x magnification to the moon on November 30, 1609, he started to make a series of observations through December 18 that year. Although other people prior to Galileo, such as English mathematician Thomas Harriot, had observed the moon and noticed the dark patterns on its surface as "strange spottednesse," Galileo was the one who first understood the patterns of light and shadow were in fact topographical markers from lunar mountains and craters.

Those observations led to the conclusion that the moon, a heavenly body, was not perfect, which in turn called into question about the teachings of Aristotle where the Earth was the center of the universe and all heavenly bodies, including the moon, were perfect spheres that moved around the Earth in circular orbits.

Copernicus had put forth a theory that the sun rather than the Earth was the center of the universe by then. However, his theory went against fundamental beliefs of the time and was dismissed by most people. While Galileo's observations and conclusions about the moon did not give direct and solid proof of Copernicus' theory, they indeed paved the way for its eventual acceptance.

Postcard US-2373495 to Hong Kong shows a full moon and northern lights over Alaska. It was part of my Alaska collections from ASPRS 2003.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is Small Business Saturday on November 29, 2014. Launched in 2010 by American Express, it is the 5th year for a growing number of people to think and shop at local small business and independent retailers. President Obama and his daughters went to an independent book store Politics and Prose in Washington D.C. to buy books today as a way to show his support.

Postcard US-2941533 to Russia was shaped Guinness Beer Glass card purchased at the Guinness Store at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, next door to the Rí Rá Irish Pub, a participating small business where Guinness beers are served and traditional Irish music bands are playing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Möge Dir Jede Schneeflocke Einen Wunsch Erfüllen

Postcard CH-217828 from Switzerland was the first holiday card I received for the 2014 season. "May every snow flake fulfill you a wish," says Santa on the card. However, the recent weather in Las Vegas has been unseasonably warm with a high forecast at 75°F or 24°C and a low at 47°F or 8°C for tomorrow. It will be a while before we see any snow.

Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort at the nearby Mount Charleston was scheduled its opening this Friday on November 28, 2014; but the warm weather has pushed back the opening date to December 5, 2014 as the earliest as the daytime temperature is not cold enough to keep snow frozen, even with the help of snow machines.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Jimi Hendrix

Happy Thanksgiving!

Also on November 27, 2014, the great guitar icon Jimi Hendrix would have turned 72 if he were still with us today. Born in Seattle on November 27, 1942, Washington, James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He is considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acknowledges him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music." He passed away in London on September 18, 1970.

Postcard US-2776620 was a maxi card to Philippines showing a portrait of Jimi Hendrix with a Jimi Hendrix Forever Stamp and a first-day-of-issue postmark. USPS issued the stamp at the SXSW in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2014.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Final Battle Scene Returns to "KA"

Cirque du Soleil removed a final battle scene from “KA” after a performer fell to her death when her safety wire snapped during a rapid ascent in June, 2013.

Eighteen months later, the scene is returning to “KA” theater at MGM Grand on December 3, 2014 after changes have been made to the choreography and equipment used in the scene.

Outgoing postcard US-3106782 to Finland shows a scene from "KA" where the Twin Sister encounters giant sea creatures, including a silly turtle, a mischievous starfish, and playful crabs, after surviving the shipwreck.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Let's Get to Know Each Other

Zumanity, billed as "the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil," is a "adult-themed" cabaret-style show featuring erotic songs, dances, and acrobatic acts at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The show celebrated its 10th anniversary on September 20, 2013. 

However, a recent article from Las Vegas Sun reports that Zumanity will go dark on January 3, 2015 to undergo major changes, and the majority of its cast members will be laid off.

Postcard US-2248696 to Texas shows Faun, a half-man-half-beast devilish spirit with boundless energy from Zumanity.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Reddit is a social networking and news website where registered users can submit contents to be voted "up" or "down" by other users, so that the contents' positions on the site are determined by their popularity. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called "subreddits."

Reddit Gold is its premium membership program with extra features such as turning off ads as well as special benefits from gold partners for promotional products and services. The membership costs US$3.99/month, or US$29.99/year.  You can also send a postcard for a free one-month Reddit Gold membership.

Postcards 3579, sent to Reddit for a free one-month Reddit Gold membership, shows a parody photo made via Adobe's Photoshop from the Biggest Little City in the World sign in Reno, Nevada. One of my projects LOSAC - Lake Okeechobee Stage-Area-Capacity System - won the 2004 Exemplary System in Government award at the 2004 URISA Annual Conference in Reno during November 7-10, 2004. The parody photo was used for the opening of a slide show introducing my project.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fujian Tulou


Postcard CN-1464982 from China shows a Fujian Tulou (福建土楼),  the most representative and best preserved example of the earthen houses in China. Located in the mountainous regions in Fujian Province, those houses exemplify a particular combination of communal living and defensive functions, with a harmonious building relationship with the environment. A group of 46 earthen houses built between the 15th and 20th centuries was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Fujian Tulou reminds me the elevated pit houses, pueblos, and cliff dwellings that Ancient Pueblo peoples built in the present-day Four Corners area in the United States.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Greetings from Texas

Postcard US-2445192 was a "Greetings from Texas" card, sent from Dallas, Texas. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas at 12:30 p.m. central time. However, 51 years later, the mystery is still considered unsolved by many as questions remain.

In Las Vegas, “The JFK Exhibition” opens today at the Tropicana with memorabilia from the JFK White House, including many items related to his fateful visit to Dallas. Among them, a full-scale replica of the fuselage of Air Force One during the presidency of JFK will be on display through January 3, 2015.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hľadáš Nové Exotické Zážitky?

Postcard SK-43085 from Slovakia shows a youth campaign post "Looking for New Exotic Experiences?" from IUVENTA - Slovak Youth Institute. According to their web site, IUVENTA is a state organization directly managed by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. It offers educational, methodical and informational activities for various target groups; performs tasks resulting from the state policy towards children and youth; coordinates and implements activities to promote and develop research in the field of youth; administrates grant programs of  the Ministry of  Education, Science, Research and Sport of the SR (ADAM) and the European Union (Youth in Action); operates in the sphere of work with talented youth. IUVENTA is the seat of Eurodesk – European information network for youth and youth workers.

This blog has featured similar postcards that promotes universal primary education and encourages youth participation.