Thursday, July 31, 2014

Casey Tibbs

Postcard US-2869228 to Japan shows the June 1956 cover, one of Western Horseman's most popular ever, featuring legendary world champion saddle bronc rider Casey Tibbs of Fort Pierre, South Dakota. This shot of Tibbs, in his trademark bib shirt, was taken during the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs. The magazine sells for 35 cents per copy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Forward it to my Palm Pilot

Postcard US-2776605 to Germany shows a plane taking off from tropical islands. The caption under the palm tree stamp on the bottom left reads "Margaritaville", indicating it is a Jimmy Buffett-themed merchandise associated with Jimmy Buffett's casual dining American restaurants and chain stores, named after his hit song "Margaritaville".

In Las Vegas, a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant opened at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in December 2003; a Margaritaville "minicasino" inside the Flamingo opened in October 2011. The postcard was purchased at the gift shop there.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

International Tiger Day

Today is International Tiger Day, an annual celebration on July 29 to raise awareness for tiger conservation. It started in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia. The most recent estimate shows only 3,200 tigers still in the wild, including 500 Siberian tigers. 95% of the total population have disappeared in the past 100 years; three subspecies: Bali , Caspian and Javan, have already been extinct by 1940s, 1970s, and 1970s respectively.

Habitat loss has been a direct contributor for the tiger population decline. Tigers lost 93% of their natural habitat due to human activities including deforestation, urbanization, and agricultural expansion. Climate change is also a factor as rising sea levels threaten to wipe out the last remaining habitat of Bengal tigers in the Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest area between India and Bangladesh on the northern coast of the Indian Ocean. Therefore, It is ultimate important to protect the natural habitats of tigers for tiger conservation to be successful.

USPS issued the Save Vanishing Species stamp featuring a tiger cub on September 20, 2011, with its net proceeds from sale benefiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Multinational Species Conservation Funds. The Funds in turn supports efforts by numerous conservation organizations, including WWF which implements conservation projects such as surveying tigers and their prey in Nepal.

The featured postcard was sent from Connecticut as US-2140597.

Monday, July 28, 2014

1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles

Postcard US-2776584 to Belarus was a 13-cent stamped postal postcard issued by USPS, featuring a runner with an Olympics torch, for the 23rd Summer Olympic Games which opened in Los Angeles, CA 30 years ago on July 28, 1984.

In retaliation to the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, 14 countries including the Soviet Union, Cuba and East Germany boycotted the 1984 Summer Games. Iran and Libya also boycotted for different reasons.

The Olympic Committee led by Peter Ueberroth imposed financial constraints on the games budget by using existing facilities as much as possible. As a result, the 1984 Summer Olympics became the first financially successful modern Olympic Games. Some of the profits were used to endow a foundation to promote youth sports in Southern California, educate coaches, and maintain a sports library.

Los Angeles hosted the Olympic Games previously in 1932.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

National Day of the American Cowboy

Yesterday was the National Day of the American Cowboy, declared by a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate. Senator Craig Lyle Thomas (February 17, 1933 – June 4, 2007) first started the tradition by naming the fourth Saturday in July “National Day of the American Cowboy” in 2005, coinciding with Cheyenne Frontier Days, an outdoor rodeo and western celebration held annually since 1897 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The 2014 resolution, the tenth in a row, was introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), and co-sponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), John Hoeven, (R-North Dakota), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Montana), and John Walsh (D-Montana). The day this year falls on July 26, 2014, acknowledging the contributions from cowboys throughout history and their continued impact to the U.S. today.

The Senate passed the S.Res.488 unanimously on July 17, 2014. It's a rare feat for the 113th Congress.

Postcard US-2680033 to Massachusetts shows a Wyoming tourism poster with a tag line "Rodeo! stamped on every plate and into every heart, in Wyoming."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dolina Triglavskih jezer

Postcard SI-98149 from Slovenia shows the Dolina Triglavskih jezer (Triglav Lakes Valley) in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. It is a rocky hanging valley above the tree line between the sheer sides of Mount Tičarica and Mount Zelnarica southwest of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia and the highest peak of the Julian Alps at 2,864 meters or 9,396 feet.

The valley is also called the Seven Lakes Valley, although there are actually ten lakes in the valley. The lowest lake Črno jezero (Black Lake) is at 1,294 meters or 4,245 ft above sea level; the highest Jezero v Podstenju (Podstenje Lake) has an elevation of 1,993 meters or 6,539 feet. Each lake has a color varying from green, blue, brown to black.

I found this time-lapse video of a two-day hiking tour at the Triglav Lakes Valley on Youtube. The climbers made stops at Black Lake, at the beginning of their journey; at Big Lake next day, the largest and deepest lake also called Kidney Lake with an elevation of 1,831 meters or 6,007 feet; and near Green Lake at 1,988 meters or 6,500 feet, named after the algae living in the lake.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Piazza dei Miracoli

Postcard IT-278165 from Italy shows the Piazza dei Miracoli, which means "Square of Miracles", a wide walled area located in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy. It is recognized for it's important role in European medieval art and architecture. Owned by the Catholic Church, the square is dominated by the Pisa Cathedral, the Pisa Baptistry, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery). It also hosts the New Hospital of the Holy Spirit that houses the Sinopias Museum and the Cathedral Museum. The Piazza dei Miracoli became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

1934 Hudson at Palazzo

Outgoing postcard US-2886230 to Russia shows a 1934 Hudson, covered in succulents, lichen, moss, grapevine, and thousands other plants, at the Palazzo Hotel's Waterfall Atrium and Gardens as part of its fall display from September to November 10, 2013. The car symbolizes Venetian and Palazzo's efforts to promote alternative transportation program that rewards commuters for carpooling, biking, or taking public transportation to get to and from work. They offer a valet bicycle parking service with secure bike racks, and provide preferred parking spaces for hybrids, alternative fuel vehicles, and carpools in both garages. Other parts of the display include items representing Renewable Energy; Sustainable Food, Composting & Recycling; and Water Conservation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Southwest Cow Country Branding

Artist Charles Paris created this Southwest cow country branding scene for the Western Horseman magazine's June 1952 cover. Brands from some of the country's most famous ranches accompany his realistic painting above and below. The magazine sold for 35 cents per copy in 1952.

The postcard was sent to Germany as US-2869221. Previously, covers from August 1952 and July 1959 issues were featured in this blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cape Reinga, New Zealand

Postcard NZ-107618 from New Zealand shows a sunset view of Cape Reinga, the northwesternmost tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand. In native Māori culture, the cape is where the spirits of the dead leap into the underworld.

Cape Reinga is on the tentative list of UNESCO's World Heritage Site, waiting to receive formal recognition. The cape is already a favorite tourist attraction, receiving over 120,000 visitors per year and around 1,300 cars per day during peak season. However, similar to the Key West bouy, the cape is not the northernmost point of the North Island, and thus, of mainland New Zealand, contrary to the common belief. North Cape's Surville Cliffs, 30 kilometers or 18.6 miles east of Cape Reinga, are slightly further north.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunset over Kinko-wan Bay and Mount Sakurajima in Japan

Postcard JP-562080 from Japan was a jumbo picture card measured at 16cm x 25cm, showing a beautiful sunset view at Kinko-wan Bay and Mount Sakurajima in Japan. Sakurajima (桜島), meaning "Cherry Island", is an active composite volcano (stratovolcano) and a former island in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. The lava flows of the 1914 eruption caused the former island to be connected with the Osumi Peninsula, according to Wikipedia.

The postcard came with four Japanese Furusato (hometown) stamps: two showing Mount Tanigawa in Gunma Prefecture (above); the other two showing Mount Fuji, a World Heritage Site, on the border of Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures (below).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lost in MH17 Crash

As shown in the exhibition "Fire & Ice: Hindenburg and Titanic" at the National Postal Museum in Washington D.C. during the period from March 22, 2012 to January 6, 2014, a large number of mails were lost when Hindenburg and Titanic ended in disasters, both of which not only served as the mass travel tools for people but also operated as the world's largest mail carriers at the time.

When the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014, all 298 passengers on board were killed. Seen from a photo on the crash site, were some burnt airmails and postcards. One postcard had its PostCrossing ID NL-2576182 visible. Alerted by a post by purplestarfish on the forum, a PostCrossing moderator replied "Postcrossing has contacted the sender of this postcard, to let him know that his card probably won't arrive. We're keeping an eye on other postcards, sent from Netherlands to Taiwan around the same date, which might have been on the same bag of mail."

This tragedy highlights the human costs to innocent travelers inflicted by military conflicts. The incident of lost mails also shows, in a small but vivid way, that such "regional conflicts" do have global impact on people who do not have direct relationship with the flight or the region where the conflicts occur. Time for peace.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Street Cat in Dallas

Postcard US-2882828 to the Netherlands shows a street cat that I met in Dallas, Texas in 2010. She had just given birth to several kittens and shown up at the balcony of my friend's house where I was staying. Being a street cat, she looked healthy and clean, alert and guarded yet full of energy and curiosity.

The summer 2010 in Dallas was hot and the high temperature in early July was between 90°F or 32°C and 95°F or 35°C. I put out some food and water and a litter box but otherwise kept distance. However, she was friendly and let me to take her picture up close. For the next couple of weeks, we kept each other company and I enjoyed to watch her kitten grow by day. I named her Misty because of her misty eyes. She brought breeze to me in a brutal summer and showed me how to survive on the tough street and yet not to lose hope and trust in people.

When the time came for me to leave town, I wish I could have taken her and her kittens with me. I bought some more can food and asked my friend to keep feeding them. However, my friend reported that they no longer showed up once I left.

I have been wondering how she has been ever since. With her positive impact on me, she can be proud of herself as a street cat. The photo was taken on July 8, 2010.

You can purchase the postcard and personalized postage stamps featuring Misty from Zazzle.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa

Postcard ZA-50304 from South Africa shows car lights brighten the busy national road from the north at Bellville, a city in the greater Cape Town metropolitan area. Originally called "12 Mile Post" as it is located 12 miles or 20 kilometers from the city center of Cape Town, Bellville was originally founded as a railway station on the line from Cape Town to Stellenbosch and Strand. It was renamed to Bellville in 1861, named after the Surveyor-General Charles Davidson Bell (October 22, 1813 - April 7, 1882),  who was also an artist and designer.

The postcard arrived a few days before what would be Nelson Mandela's 96th birthday on July 18, 2014. As the former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mandela passed away at 95 last year on December 5, 2013. His birthday was officially declared as Nelson Mandela International Day by the United Nations in November 2009; and the first Mandela Day celebration hosted by UN was held on July 18, 2010. This is the first time the day has been celebrated since his death, in honor of his legacy through volunteering and community service.

Google Doodle made a beautiful tribute to Nelson Mandela today.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Southernmost Point in USA

Postcard US-1777075 from Florida shows the Southernmost point, a painted concrete buoy at the corner of South Street and Whitehead Street in Key West. Established by the city to mark one of the extreme points of the United States in 1983, it is one of the most visited and photographed attractions in Key West, Florida.

However, according to Wikipedia, the buoy was actually an old sewer junction that was dug up in the area and found too heavy and too large to move. Also, the official southernmost point in the contiguous United States is Ballast Key, a privately owned island south and west of Key West, which prohibits unauthorized visitors. On the Key West island, its true southernmost point, 270 m or 900 ft farther south to the buoy, is located on the Truman Annex property, a U.S. Navy installation inaccessible to the public. The southernmost part of Key West Island accessible to the public is located at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, 150 m or 500 ft farther south than the buoy. In addition, the claim on the buoy stating "90 miles to Cuba" is a rounded number, since Cuba, at its closest point is 94 statute miles or 81 nautical miles due south.

In the news today, a South Florida judge declares state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Although the ruling only applies to Monroe County, the most LGBT-friendly county that covers Key West, and expects an appeal, it highlights the ban violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Greatest Show on Earth

Fifty eight years ago, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed its very last "Big Tent" show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 16, 1956. According to Wikipedia, after World War II, the audience, whose tastes were influenced by movies and televisions, moved away from the circus performances. On the other hand, while crowds dwindled, the production costs had increased, which resulted in what an article in Life magazine observed "a magical era had passed forever." All subsequent circus shows have been held indoor and performed at arenas .

Featured postcard was made from replica of a vintage poster "The Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth," c. 1899, billed as the world's largest, grandest, best amusement institution. It offers a general view of the twelve colossal water proof canvas pavilions. Credit to Library of Congress.

The U.S. Postal Service issued Vintage Circus Posters Commemorative stamps early this year on May 5, 2014,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tamsui, Taiwan

Postcard TW-908889 from Taiwan offers an aerial view from the north of Tamsui District (淡水區) in New Taipei City, Taiwan. It is a sea-side district where the Tamsui River, whose name means "fresh water", flows west into the Taiwan Strait. As a natural harbor, Tamsui was a major fishing and trade port in history because of its proximity to mainland China.

Twenty six years ago, the Tamsui Line,  a railroad branch line operated by the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and connected Taipei and Tamsui, closed on July 15, 1988. The Taipei Metro Tamsui Line was later built along the route. Upon the completion of the Metro Line in 1997, Tamsui experienced a dramatic increase of tourist traffic. Tamsui is popular for viewing the sunset into the Taiwan Strait, for various activities on several riverside parks, and for shopping at open-air markets specializing in traditional handicrafts and street-vendor snacks. Visitors can also visit a fisherman's wharf, and take ferries traversing across and along the river.

Tamsui is home to three universities: Aletheia University, Tamkang University, and St. John's University. On the upper left of the postcard, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) can be seen in the background.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Die Moselschleife

Postcard DE-3315959 came from Germany today with a view of the Moselle River from Calmont near Bremm, Germany. As a left tributary of the Rhine, the Moselle River flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. Its watershed also contains a small portion of Belgium through its tributary the Sauer and the Sauer's tributary the Our.

The Moselle River valley is well known for its beautiful scenery and the excellent grape and wine production. Moselradweg, the 311-km or 193-mi long cycleway that connects Metz, France to Koblenz, Germany, runs through Bremm.

In the news today, Germany will issue a World Cup victory postage stamp, in 0.60 euros, on Thursday July 17, 2014. Five million stamps, marked “Germany Football World Champion 2014”, were printed before the 2014 FIFA World Cup final game.

Asked what would have happened to the stamps if Germany had lost, a finance ministry spokeswoman replied: “We always firmly believed the German team would win.” I love the conviction.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Island of Options

The caption on postcard DE-3212323 from Germany says "Inmitten von Schwierigkeiten liegt immer eine Insel der Möglichkeiten." This German proverb means "in the midst of difficulties, there is always an island of options."

A similar Chinese proverb "车到山前必有路,船到桥头自然直" can be directly translated into "When you get to the mountain, there'll be a way through; when you get to the pier-head, the boat will go straight with the current." Therefore, Don't worry too much beforehand; let's deal with it as it happens. Everything will turn out for the best in the end.

Another Chinese proverb "水到渠成" is the best for describing Germany's crowning at the 2014 FIFA World Cup today: "When water flows, a channel is formed." When conditions are mature, success will come. At the final match, Germany felt the heat from Argentina in the 22nd minute of the match when Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain intercepted the ball from German midfielder Toni Kroos and was one-on-one with German goal-keeper Manuel Neuer. Also, at the second half, Lionel Messi, Argentinian captain and forward, posed a threat for a goal with his left-footed curling shot.

When the match headed towards extra-time, history was against Germany as Argentina had never conceded a goal in the extra-time before. However, German super-substitute Mario Götze broke the dead-lock with the help from another substitute André Schürrle. The Germans are the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions, winning the Trophy for the fourth time after overcoming Argentina 1:0 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Groningen, the Netherlands

Postcard NL-2213389 from the Netherlands shows a city view of Groningen, the capital city of Groningen Province and the largest city in the northern Netherlands with a population of 198,108 in 2014. As a college town, students account for one-fourth of the total population with 28,000 from the University of Groningen and 25,000 from Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

Groningen was noted as the "World Cycling City" in 2007 because 57% of trips within the city were made by bicycle. A large network of bike paths make it convenient to cycle to various destinations. Groningen was named as Fietsstad 2002, the top BikeCity in the Netherlands for 2002.

The local football club, FC Groningen, founded in 1971, is playing in the Dutch highest football league the Eredivisie.

Today, the Netherlands National Football Team claimed third place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 3:0 victory Over Brazil.

Friday, July 11, 2014

In Memory of Chinese Linguist Ji Xianlin

Professor Ji Xianlin (季羡林), born August 6, 1911, was a Chinese Indologist, linguist, paleographer, historian, and writer. He passed away in Beijing five years ago on July 11, 2009.

The postcard shows the campus of Peking University where Professor Ji founded the Department of Eastern Languages soon after his return from oversea in 1946. He became dean of the department and held a long career as one of greatest scholars in China in the field of Eastern studies, specialized in ancient Indian languages and culture. In 1978, Prof. Ji became vice president of Peking University and director of the Chinese Academy of Science's Research Institute on South Asia.

Coincidentally, another Chinese scholar was lost in the same day. Philosopher Ren Jiyu (任继愈), born April 15, 1916, was a scholar in religious studies and historian, and the Honorary Director of the National Library of China. He passed away in Beijing on July 11, 2009 at the age of 93.

In September 2004, Professor Ji Xianlin and Ren Jiyu, along with three other prominent scholars, jointly issued the 2004 Cultural Declaration at the 2004 Cultural Summit Forum in Beijing, The Declaration emphasizes the necessity of coexistence of a diverse-culture, and promotes equal rights for cultural exchanges, under the background of accelerating globalization.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kiev Water Museum

Postcard UA-1093827 from Ukraine shows the Water Museum in Kiev, Ukraine. Kiev has several museums dedicated to the city's infrastructure and services, such as Kiev Fire Service Museum, Kiev Pharmacy Museum, Kiev Recycling Museum, Kiev Sewer Museum, the National Museum of Health Care in Kiev, and Kiev Water Museum,

The Water sits in the park "Kreschaty" on a hill with its water towers and reservoirs, as part of the natural and cultural center. The site was once the Royal Garden, founded in 1743 by order of the Empress Elizabeth. The old water towers and reservoirs were renovated in 2003, and the first Ukrainian Water Information Center was introduced to tell the story of Kiev's water usage from the river to the tap and back to the river again. It has a giant toilet, a bubble making station, and a Koi aquarium that are not only educational but also entertaining.

As we witness the water levels at the Lake Mead dropping to a new record low in Las Vegas, copping with water shortage has becoming a struggle world wide.

Also 101 years ago today, the temperature at Death Valley, California, hit 134°F or 57°C on July 10, 1913, the highest recorded in the United States.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cataratas do Iguaçu

Postcard BR-228416 from Brazil shows Iguazu Falls, meaning “large water”, which are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The total width of the waterfalls is approximately 800 meters or 2,625 feet on the Brazilian side and 1,900 meters or 6,234 feet on the Argentinean side, with the Iguassu River narrowing from 1,200 meters or 3,937 feet in width above the falls, into a 65-meter or 213-foot channel below. The Iguazu Falls consists of about one hundred waterfalls during the average flow, with their heights ranging between 40 meters or 131 feet and 80 meters or 262 feet. The average flow of the river is about 1,500 m³/s, with a low of 500 m³/s in drought and a high of 8,500 m³/s in flood. The largest volume of flows occurs between October and March.

Five main falls are on the Brazilian side; fourteen main falls are on the Argentinean side. Since most of the falls are on the Argentinean side and facing Brazil, the best views are from the Brazilian side.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the way, the number of foreign visitors to the Iguazu National Park, one the New Seven Wonders of Nature, increased 65%.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bremen, Germany

Postcard DE-3274224 from Germany shows a city view of Bremen in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the River Weser, Bremen is the second most populous city in Northern Germany and the tenth largest city in Germany.

The market square in the city center is shown on the card, with Bremen Cathedral, dedicated to St. Peter, in the background. The cathedral belongs to the Bremian Evangelical Church, being protected by the monument protection act since 1973. The cathedral has twin 99-meter towers, built between 1215 and 1253, guarding the main entrance on the west side of the church. The towers were reinforced and given pyramid-shaped tops in 1346. Rhenish styled "helmets" were added when the towers were restored and raised in the 1890s, as still seen today. It is interesting to see that the crossing tower, a reminder of the original west front towers, also have a pyramid-shaped cap.

Bremen is home to the football team SV Werder Bremen that have won the German Football Championship and the German Football Cup multiple times. The team's home stadium, Weserstadion, almost completely surrounded by solar cells, is one of the largest buildings in Europe powered by alternative energies.

Coincidentally today, Germany have advanced to the FIFA World Cup Final today with a sensational 7:1 victory over the host Brazil at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

Monday, July 7, 2014

77th Anniversary of the July 7th Incident

The July 7th Incident (七七事變), also known as the Lugou Bridge Incident (盧溝橋事變), was a battle between the Republic of China's National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army outside of the walled town of Wanping (宛平鎮) to the southwest of Beiping (now Beijing) on July 7, 1937. With the Japanese forces invaded Beiping, China, it marked the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War that lasted from 1937 to 1945.

China fought Japan and received initial economic helps from Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States. After the Japanese attacked on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the war merged into the greater conflict of World War II as a major front of the Pacific War. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century.

After 77 years, we still need to remember the great cost of the Second Sino-Japanese War as it made up more than 50% of the casualties in the Pacific War when the 1937–1941 period was taken into account. We also need to hold the war criminals accountable by highlighting wartime atrocities, so as to resist any future war attempts.

Postcard US-2017736 to Montana shows a Hutong (胡同), typical narrow street or alley in Beijing, with background of a gate in the historic city defense wall.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

American Papermaking 1690 - 1990

Postcard US-2849009 to the Netherlands was a postal stamped card to celebrate 300-years of American Papermaking from 1690 to 1990, issued by USPS at the annual meeting of the American Paper Institute in New York City on March 15, 1990. The American Paper Institute and the National Forest Products Association merged on January 1, 1993 and formed the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).

The card shows a painting of the Rittenhouse Paper Mill, established near Germantown, PA in 1690. The painting was based on black and white photographs, circa 1770, of the most recent mill that lasted until the late 1800s. The original paper mill, first in America, was washed away by flood in 1700;  a second mill constructed in 1702, was destroyed by a fire. A reproduction of the original Rittenhouse watermark is featured on the left side of the card with a note "This watermark appears on the first paper made in the United States on this site in 1690."

According to an article in Times-News from Hendersonville, NC on April 1, 1990 and an article in Lawrence Journal-World from Lawrence, Kansas on April 8, 1990, collectors had until April 12, 1990 to obtain the first-day cancellations. It also noted that the Postal Services gave preferential service to customers who bought cards at a local post office, self-addressed them before sending them in for cancellation. If customers preferred to have the Postal Service supply the card, they needed to send, for each card ordered, payment of 15 cents in the form of a check or money order and a self-addressed, peelable label to a New York City post office. Now a days, USPS sells a postal stamped card for the face value plus a mark up. For example, a Tree Stamped Single Stamped Card sells for 38 cents with a first-class FOREVER postcard rate (currently at 34 cents) postage.

Coincidentally, the postcard arrived in the Netherlands yesterday when the Dutch National Soccer Team defeated Costa Rica 4:3 in Penalties at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bikini in the Sin City

The modern bikini was introduced by French designer Louis Réard in Paris today six-eight years ago. On July 5, 1946, Louis Réard unveiled a bold two-piece swimming suit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris, with the help of Parisian exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris. The name of "bikini" was from the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean where a U.S. atomic bomb was tested earlier that week. Many western countries declared it illegal and the Vatican declared it sinful.

Bikini did not become popular until the early 1960s. However, its popularity has been growing ever since. In Las Vegas, you can find numerous bikini related contests and activities, such as the SpyOnVegas Hot100 contest at the Wet Republic at MGM Grand, IFBB Legends Pro Bikini, and Bikini Bike Wash at the Las Vegas BikeFest.

The postcard was a cut out from a greeting card purchased at a local casino gift shop.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Battle Born

In this Independence Day on the 4th of July, CNN Interactive is showcasing a natural wonder in each of the 50 states. CNN's choice of amazing natural wonder in Nevada is the Valley of Fire State Park, USPS also issued a Nevada Statehood Forever Commemorative stamp on May 29, 2014, featuring a view in the Valley of Fire State Park, to celebrates the 150th anniversary of Nevada Statehood.

When President Abraham Lincoln needed another Republican state to help support his anti-slavery policies in Congress, people in Nevada answered the call and voted to join the Union, even the population in Nevada back then was not big enough to form a state. Nevada was admitted to the Union in 1864, during the Civil War. Hence the words “Battle Born” have appeared on the Nevada state flag since.

The postcard was made by VistaPrint with one of my photos taken on November 27, 2011.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bass Harbor Head Light, Maine

Postcard US-2859863 from Maine shows Bass Harbor Head Light, located within Acadia National Park on the southeast corner of Mount Desert Island, Maine. According to Wikipedia: "the history of Bass Harbor Head Light started in 1855 when it was deemed that there was sufficient reason for a lighthouse at the mouth of Bass Harbor. $5000 was appropriated by Congress for its construction in 1858. The construction of a fog bell and tower, which no longer remains today, was completed in 1876 with a much larger 4000 pound (1800 kg) bell being placed inside the tower in 1898. The keeper's house remains in its original configuration with the exception of a 10-foot addition that was added in 1900. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Bass Harbor Head Light Station on January 21, 1988, reference number 87002273. In 1902, an oil storage house constructed of brick was built 205 feet northwest of the lighthouse."

US Mint issued the Acadia National Park quarter in 2012 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, featuring a view of the Bass Harbor Head Light and other representative elements such as the coastline, the pine trees and the ocean.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Girl of the West

Outgoing postcard US-2776619 to Ukraine shows the August 1952 cover of the Western Horseman magazine. It featured Elinor Tutt who was the the "Girl of the West" for the 12th annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs that year. Snow-capped Pikes Peak can be seen in the background just to the left of "Squeaky's" nose. The magazine sells for 35 cents a copy in 1952, same as in 1951.

Some twelve years later on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is considered one of the most celebrated legislative achievements in U.S. history. The law made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and barred unequal application of voter registration requirements. One of the five things to know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act was how the protection for women made into law. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case, women's rights are not a given. They need to be kept vigil, along with the other civil rights.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Take Pride in America

Postcard US-2849038 to Texas was a 14-cent postal postcard issued by USPS in 1987. It features a mountain-lake scene with brilliant blues and rich greens at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming. It was part of the "Take Pride in America" national public awareness campaign to encourage people to take pride in the nation's natural and cultural resources.

According to an AP Newsfeatures article in Lawrence Journal World on September 20, 1987, "launched by President Reagan in his 1986 State of the Union message, 'Take Pride in America' has been a major campaign to ensure the wise use and stewardship of our public lands - natural resources that belong to all Americans."

The National Elk Refuge was created in 1912 to protect habitat and provide sanctuary for one of the largest elk herd in the world. The refuge is home to an average of 7,500 elk each winter. and receives nearly one million visits annually.

The domestic postcard rate, according to Akdart.COM, was 14 cents between February 17, 1985 and April 3, 1988. Yet, another stamped postal postcard issued in 1980 also had a 14-cent postage when the domestic postcard rate was 10 cents.

On an unrelated note, USA team was edged out by Belgium 1:2 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in a Round of 16 match at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil on July 1, 2014, but not without a fight. The USA Team exceeded the expectation as many did not believe it would make into the Round of 16. "Man of the Match" Tim Howard, who set a World Cup record by making 16 saves, said before the match: "we’re proving critics wrong." We are still proud of the United States Men's National Soccer Team, and are optimistic about their future despite of a loss.