Saturday, May 31, 2014

Unbought and Unbossed

Postcard US-2692593 to the United Kingdom shows an inverted image of a cactus grown in Las Vegas, Nevada. I pass this location often when I go to a gym in the evening. I have been fascinated by the ever changing impressions of the cactus against the evening skies.

The postcard had a Shirley Chisholm Black Heritage Forever stamp and was sent to Brooklyn, NY along with several items for a first-day-of-issue postmark on April 1, 2014. However, it took a detour to Trenton, and Bellmawr, NJ after it already reached Brooklyn, NY on April 3, 2014. It was finally delivered at Brooklyn, NY on April 10, 2014. I am curious what happened between April 3 and April 10, 2014. 

Shipment Activity Location Date & Time
Delivered BROOKLYN, NY 11256 April 10, 2014 9:54 am
Arrival at Post Office BROOKLYN, NY 11256 April 10, 2014 9:47 am
Depart USPS Sort Facility BROOKLYN, NY 11256 April 10, 2014
Processed through USPS Sort Facility BROOKLYN, NY 11256 April 10, 2014 4:33 am
Depart USPS Sort Facility BELLMAWR, NJ 08031 April 5, 2014
Processed through USPS Sort Facility BELLMAWR, NJ 08031 April 5, 2014 5:38 pm
Depart USPS Sort Facility TRENTON, NJ 08650 April 5, 2014
Processed through USPS Sort Facility TRENTON, NJ 08650 April 5, 2014 3:41 am
Arrive USPS Sort Facility BROOKLYN, NY 11256 April 3, 2014 7:14 am
Depart USPS Sort Facility FLUSHING, NY 11351 April 3, 2014 6:22 am
Depart USPS Sort Facility FLUSHING, NY 11351 April 3, 2014
Processed through USPS Sort Facility FLUSHING, NY 11351 April 3, 2014 2:45 am
Electronic Shipping Info Received April 2, 2014
Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility LAS VEGAS, NV 89120 April 2, 2014 12:15 am
Dispatched to Sort Facility LAS VEGAS, NV 89199 April 1, 2014 6:15 pm
Acceptance LAS VEGAS, NV 89199 April 1, 2014 5:32 pm

Friday, May 30, 2014

Greeting from Searchlight, Nevada

During the Nevada 150th Year Sesquicentennial celebration, people around the world are getting to know many other places in Nevada in addition to the well-known Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City. Searchlight is one of such small unincorporated towns in Nevada. Located 90 kilometers or 57 miles from Las Vegas at the topographic saddle between two mountain ranges in Clark County, it had a population of 539 as a census-designated place (CDP) in 2010.

Senator Reid Spoke at the Commemorative Nevada Statehood Stamp
First-Day-of-Issue Event on May 29, 2014
Searchlight is the hometown of the U.S. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid. Edith Head (October 28, 1897 – October 24, 1981) also lived there. She was a Hollywood costume designer who won eight Oscars, still a record in its category and more than any other woman.

The postcard was purchased from You can personalized the postcard with any place name in Nevada.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nevada Statehood Forever Stamp Unveiled

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) unveiled the Nevada Statehood 49-cent Forever Commemorative stamp at the Smith Center for Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29, 2014, with dignities include Vice Chairman of USPS Board of Governors James Bilbray, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Nevada Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Dean Heller, and USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

Musical Tribute Performed by Bilbray Elementary School Choir 
The stamp and other collectibles were on sale and the first-day-of-issue cancellation was available before and after the ceremony. Postcard US-2814029 to New Zealand got a first-day-of-issue postmark, showing the south end of the Las Vegas strip in the old days where motels, a Sambo's, gas stations, the Tower of Pizza, and the wonderful neon signs were lining along the old highway. Those signs towered over the traffic below, giving a sense of scale.

According to the USPS stamp announcement, customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store® website at, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
Nevada Statehood
USPS Customer Relations Coordinator
1001 East Sunset Road, Rm 1030
Las Vegas, NV 89199-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers have to pay five cents each. All orders must be postmarked by July 28, 2014.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

San Francisco Celebrates Harvey Milk Stamp

Following the First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony for the Harvey Milk Stamp at the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 22, 2014, City of San Francisco hosted a ceremony to celebrate the forever stamp at the City Hall on May 28, 2014.

The San Francisco event features a pictorial postmark with an outline of the state of California and the text “San Francisco, City Hall.” To obtain this pictorial postmark, send requests within 30 days of the event to the following address:
  • HARVEY MILK, SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL Station, Box 7838, San Francisco, CA 94120-7838
The Palace of Fine Arts postcard, one of those postcards that I am going to send out for this special cancellation, shows the remaining structures left from the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915. It is now the home of the Exploratorium. In addition to hosting art exhibitions, it is a popular tourist attraction as well as a favorite weddings photograph location. Photo by Andrew Mckinney.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

St Michael's Mount

Postcard GB-537114 from UK shows St Michael's Mount, a tidal island off the Mount's Bay coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The island's history can be traced back thousands of years ago as a busy trading port in Europe. According to Wikepedia, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, given to the Benedictines, religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century. It became a major destination for pilgrims. In 1659, St Michael’s Mount was purchased by Colonel John St Aubyn, the last military governor of the island’s garrison. It became his private home and his descendants are still live there today. The Mount was gifted to the National Trust in 1954.

366 meters or 1200 feet across the town of Marazion, St Michael's Mount is one of the 43 unbridged tidal islands that can be walked to and from mainland Britain, by a man-made causeway.

Monday, May 26, 2014

USS Constitution vs. HMS Guerriere

Perfect for commemorating the Memorial Day today, Postcard US-2738814 to Germany shows a combat between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812 postcard. The painting was the work of artist Michel Felice Corne (1752-1845). The postcard was affixed a 2012 USPS The War of 1812: USS Constitution commemorative stamp with a first-day-of-issue postmark, thus making it a maxi card.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mobile Home Inn, Las Vegas

I found this 1950s vintage postcard from the Israel I. Bick Coin, Currency, Jewelry and Stamp Shows at Circus Circus today. It shows the Mobile Home Inn, then located at 1804 E Fremont Street, downtown Las Vegas. The highlights listed on the card include a 25 ft x 50 ft swimming pool, "Downtown", "Modern Only", "Adults", and "No Pets."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fruit Sculpture

Postcard US-2242693 to Seattle shows a fruit sculpture presentation made out of a melon during the Chinese New Year Celebration at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. The art of fruit carving can be traced to Japan, Thailand and China in ancient times.

If you would like to learn how to carve vegetables and fruits, I found a Youtube video from Mutita offering very simple and easy step by step lessons for making a cantaloupe flower.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Valley of Fire

Postcard US-1804465 to Germany shows a flaming sunset view at the Valley of Fire, the oldest and largest state park in Nevada located 55 miles from Las Vegas, dedicated in 1935. The Valley of Fire got its name from red sandstone formations, formed from great shifting sand dunes some 150 million years ago when dinosaurs were around. You can find areas of petrified wood and early Indian petroglyphs throughout the park. There is a diverse desert bio-community that features creosote bush, burro bush, and brittlebush; beaver tail and cholla cactus; springtime blooming plants such as desert marigold, indigo bush, and desert mallow; birds such as raven, house finch, sage sparrow, and roadrunner; lizard and snake; coyote, kit fox, spotted skunk, jackrabbit; and the desert tortoise.

The Valley of Fire was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1968. The park is also marked as Nevada Historical Marker #150. A close-up view of an area in Fire Canyon, part of Valley of Fire, has made on to the Nevada Statehood Forever Commemorative stamp, to be issued by USPS in Las Vegas, NV on May 29, 2014, to celebrates the 150th anniversary of Nevada statehood. The oil-on-Masonite panel was painted by Nevada artist Ron Spears.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Harvey Milk Stamp for Harvey Milk Day

Today is Harvey Milk Day, which is celebrated each year on May 22 in memory of Harvey Milk, a  California politician and LGBT rights activist who was born on May 22, 1930 and assassinated on November 27, 1978. The day was established by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, as a day of special significance for public schools in California.

At the White House today, USPS is unveiling a new forever stamp featuring a photography of Harvey Milk, who became the fifth openly LGBT candidate in the U.S. and the first to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors in January 1978. President Obama commemorated Harvey Milk in 2009 by posthumously awarding him the Medal of Freedom.
Harvey Milk stood outside his Castro Street Camera Store in San Francisco in 1977
Postcard US-2276102 to France shows a view of San Francisco where Harvey Milk called home since he moved from New York City in 1972.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Dawn Redwood Leaf

Postcard CN-1290114 from China shows a hand-drawing leaf of the dawn redwood (水杉), a fast-growing, endangered coniferous tree. Metasequoia glyptostroboides, is the sole living species of the genus Metasequoia, one of three species in the subfamily Sequoioideae.

First discovered in 1941, it is native to the Sichuan–Hubei region of China. Currently, the largest dawn redwood forest consists of only 5,000 - 6,000 trees in its natural habitat, while a number of smaller groups have less than 30 trees each. It is listed as endangered and known as a "living fossil".

In 1995, the Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwoods Preserve was established in North Carolina with a goal of panting up to 5,000 dawn redwood trees in the wild. Currently, with more than 200 trees thriving, it remains the only Eastern redwood forest in America, and the sole wild dawn redwood forest outside of China.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou

Postcard CN-1291364 from China shows West Lake (西湖), a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, eastern China, that has inspired famous poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century. There are numerous temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens and ornamental trees, as well as causeways and artificial islands.

It was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2011 as the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, comprising the West Lake and the hills surrounding its three sides, described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries" and reflecting "an idealized fusion between humans and nature."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Every Rodeo Has One

Postcard US-2663919 to New York shows another amazing cover of The Western Horseman magazine from the July, 1959 issue.

According to artist Gordon Phillips, "Every rodeo has one," meaning that for the local cowboy who saves his money to enter his hometown rodeo, more often than not, cheers from the crowd will be his only reward. The magazine costed 50 cents per copy in 1959.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

From the World Trade Center in 1994

I received an email today from TouchNote today, saying "it's been over a year since you sent this photo as a Touchnote postcard! It's probably still out on display somewhere being enjoyed, too! Why not make someone's day with another postcard?"

The postcard shows a sunset view from the top of the World Trade Center at Lower Manhattan in New York City, overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, 20 years ago in 1994 when I first visited the Big Apple. The original World Trade Center featured landmark twin towers, opened on April 4, 1973 and destroyed in the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every year on May 17. According to Wikipedia, "the day aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide."

The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990.

Coincidentally, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17, 2004. Since then, more states have followed suit, and public awareness and support has increased. Nationwide, same-sex marriage is now legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Bans have been struck down in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and most recently, Arkansas and Idaho, pending appeals.

Locally, the Las Vegas steering committee of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is celebrating its Ninth Annual Gala Dinner with Golden-Globe and Emmy Award-Winning actor John Lithgow at Wynn on May 17, 2014. Celebrity appearances by screenwriter of the HBO “Big Love,” Dustin Lance Black; the cast members of Le Rêve, Melody Sweets of Absinthe, TV personality Chris Saldaña are expected with red carpet at 4:30 p.m. and the gala at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, businesses are taking notes and have been increasingly embracing LGBT friendly approaches. The advertising card from the Tropicana Las Vegas promotes the hotel as a transformed LGBT friendly destination and boasts a score 90 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2013 Corporate Equality Index on their website. The Tropicana has also been hosting Xposed!, a new weekly LGBTQ beach party at at Tropicana Beach Club, on Saturdays since March 29, 2014.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Bielefeld Conspiracy

The City of Bielefeld in the North Rhine-Westphalia State, Germany had a population of 323,076 as of 2011. However, according to the Bielefeld Conspiracy, a satirical joke among some German and American Internet users, the city does not really exist. Rather, the illusion of its existence was propagated by a fictitious entity that had conspired with authorities.

As a proof, it was pointed out that a super majority of people would answer "no" to all of the following three questions:
  1.     Do you know anybody from Bielefeld?
  2.     Have you ever been to Bielefeld?
  3.     Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld?
On the other hand, anybody who claims knowledge of Bielefeld would be subject to the suspicion of being part of the conspiracy or being those who were deceived.

While the reasons of the conspiracy theory were unknown, the CIA, Mossad or aliens who use the Bielefeld University as a disguise for their spaceship had been mentioned in the speculation. The theory was first made public in a post to the newsgroup by Achim Held, a student of computer science at the University of Kiel, on May 16, 1994. It went viral during the pre-facebook and pre-twitter era.

One month before the 20th anniversary of the first posting of the Bielefeld Conspiracy, I got this postcard DE-3065423 from Bielefeld, Germany. Now I can answer "yes" to at least one of those three questions. Wait! What if the sender were the part of the conspiracy? Or was I deceived...?

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Outgoing postcard US-2722708 to Russia shows firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella), a short-lived hardy flowering plant native to the Central United States. It is not picky about soil but loves sandy and well-drained fields, with a high tolerance for the drought. Its has vibrantly colored flowers and does best with a dry, hot climate under the full sun. The photo was taken on the ground of the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas.

Firewheel is the State Wildflower of Oklahoma. and the County Flower of Penghu, Taiwan.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Postcard FI-1840516 from Finland shows a water color painting titled "Mid-day Rest" by Kaya Hansson,born in Finland but currently living and working in Sweden. She is known for her farm and garden painting art. You can see her other postcards on PostCrossing and on eBay.

Sweden postcard to UK in 2000

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Coke Refreshes You Best

Outgoing postcard US-2776598 to Russia shows a vintage Coca Cola advertising poster with a Coca Cola Slogan "Coke refreshes you best" from 1960. It features one of those "Have a Coke" Pin Up girls. It was purchased at the Everything Coca-Cola® store in Las Vegas.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Birthday to You

Postcard TW-1236766 from Taiwan shows "Happy Birthday" both in English and in Chinese with a sweet strawberry theme. I am re-sending this card to anyone who is having her/his birthday today.

Also, today marks the 6th anniversary of Wenchuan Earthquake, measured at 8.0 Ms and occurred at 02:28:01 PM Beijing Time on Monday, May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province, China. It killed 69,195 people and left 18,392 missing. About 100 kids, who were born over the three months following the earthquake in a thousand-year-old temple, have gathered to celebrate their fifth birthday in Shifang City, Sichuan Province.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hui Woman in China

In this Mother's Day, we present a portrait of a woman from the ethnic group Hui in China, by Taiwanese artist Chen Shu Fen (陈淑芬), as shown on the postcard US-1869517 to Taiwan.

The Hui people (回族) are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in China, largely concentrated in the Northwestern provinces and the Central Plain along the ancient Silk Road Trading Route. As of 2011 census, there are approximately 10.5 million Hui people, who, while many of them are ethnically similar to Han Chinese, have retained some Arabic, Persian and Central Asian features. The Hui people are one of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China. Chen has painted stunning portraits of women from each one of the 56 groups in their traditional dress.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fremont Street, Las Vegas in 1930

May is National Historic Preservation Month. Postcard US-2545672 to Russia shows a historic photo of Fremont Street looking west around 1930. The train depot is at the end of the street. There was an Elks lodge, an ice cream and sweets store, a Western Union, and a hardware store. Doctors, dentists, and lawyers had their offices on the second floor of many of the buildings.

The Union Plaza Hotel was built at the location of the train depot in the early seventies. It continued to have the Union Pacific Railway Station attached until Amtrak discontinued passenger train services into Las Vegas in the late nineties. The area where the train station was has since been converted into additional casino space as part of the Plaza Hotel and Casino.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Water Lilies by Monet

Outgoing postcard US-2776488 to CT, USA shows an impressionism painting titled "Water Lilies" by Claude Monet (1840-1926) in 1906. He was a founder of the French impressionist painting movement. Most of his paintings were of "en plein air" (in the open air) style impressionism landscapes.

This painting was one of many variations of water lily paintings that Monet painted in his flower garden in Giverny, France. The postcard was purchased at Another rendition of "Water Lilies" in 1907 was just sold for over $27 million at an auction on May 6, 2014.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

1937 Monaco Grand Prix Race Poster

Postcard US-2711140 to Sri Lanka shows a vintage poster from 1937, promoting the Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One auto race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world. Grand Prix of Monaco 2014 will run from May 22 to May 25. The postcard was purchased at

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

De Alde Feanen National Park

Postcard NL-2466145 from the Netherlands shows the Alde Feanen National Park, located in Friesland Province, the Netherlands. It is part of the Natura 2000, an ecological network of protected areas in the European Union. There are at least 450 plant species and 100 bird species in the morass, lake, forest, peatland and meadow ecosystems.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Moon Over the East Temple in Kyoto

Postcard JP-531477 from Japan shows the East Temple (東寺)  in Kyoto, Japan. It is famous for the five-story pagoda with layered tower, dated from 796, as the tallest wooden tower in Japan at 54.8 meters. The pagoda has been a symbol of Kyoto. It is part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Vintage Circus Poster

The U.S. Postal Service just issued Vintage Circus Posters Commemorative stamps on May 5, 2014,
featuring eight designs of early 20th-century circus poster art that showcased eye-catching imagery of stunts, performers, and animals. However, the unveiling ceremony of stamps had drawn protests from PETA and other animal welfare organizations, marking the change of times.

Unfortunately a day before on Sunday, May 4, 2014, an accident occurred during the aerial performance at the 11 a.m. Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus show in Providence, Rhode Island, resulting serious injures to 11 performers. The initial assessment indicated that failure from a single piece of equipment - failed clamp - caused the incident. It is troubling to learn no redundancy of safety measure was built in. While we accept the inherited risks from those circus acts and appreciate the dedications from the circus performers, there are lessons to be learned so that the similar failures would not happen again, with the highlight of other recent circus accidents.

Outgoing postcard US-2776555 to Germany shows a vintage circus poster for the Greatest Shows on Earth by Barnum and Bailey Circus, featuring a trapees act. Credit to Library of Congress. The postcard was purchased from

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Golden Snub-nosed Monkey

Traveling Postcard US-2722710 to Czech Republic shows a baby golden snub-nosed monkey (金丝猴), perching in a highland forest at elevations between 1,500 and 3,400 meters above sea level in Sichuan, China.

According to Wikipedia, the golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) is an Old World monkey, endemic to a small area in temperate, mountainous forests of central and Southwest China.

The golden snub-nosed monkey is endangered due to habitat loss. It is also the most treasured national animal in China next to Panda.

The postcard was purchased from the National Geographic store at Zazzle. Copyright by Cyril Ruoso/Minden Pictures.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Michelangelo's David

Achilles was killed out of his heel. Now, David is at risk of collapsing due to his weak ankles. According to a recent report published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage from the National Research Council in Italy, micro-fractures have been found in the ankle and leg areas at Michelangelo's famous statue.

The "David" statue dates from the early 16th century. Initially for more than three centuries, "David" stood outside at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, exposing to the elements. It was moved inside to the Galleria dell'Accademia in 1873, with a copy placed in the piazza. Research shows that its left leg and the tree stump, where much of its 5.5-ton weight rests, has been weaken over the years due to vibrations caused by the tourists and passing automobile traffic. The quality of the marble used by Michelangelo was also a contributing factor.

Recommendations have been made to minimize the risk by retrofitting an earthquake-proof room or moving the statue to a more stable area outside the city.

For people in Las Vegas, there is not worry as we have an exact replica of Michelangelo's David as shown on postcard US-1655839 to Germany. It is located at the Appian Way Shops inside Caesars Palace Casino in Las Vegas, made from Carrara marble. He stands 5.17-meter or 17-feet tall and weighs more than nine tons.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Swallow Grotto

Postcard TW-1240742 from Taiwan shows Swallow Grotto (Yantzkou 燕子口), a section of the Central Cross-Island Highway 500 meters from the Jinheng Park (靳珩公園) near Hualien, where the Liwu River twists and turns in the deep and narrow gorges. It is part of the Taroko National Park in Taiwan.

Several tunnels had to be built for the highway to pass through cliffs. Visitors could walk through the tunnels, enjoy the sight of streams below, and numerous small swallow grottos on the marble cliffs. However, swallows have moved away due to heavy human impacts.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fernsehturm Berlin

Postcard CN-1285430 from China shows the Fernsehturm, Berlin TV Tower, in central Berlin, Germany. It was built from 1965 to 1969 under the administration of the East Germany, modeled after the first man-made Earth satellite Sputnik. With a height of 368 meters or 1,207 feet, it is the tallest structure in Germany. In comparison,  Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas stands at 350 meters or 1,149 feet.