Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay

Postcard SG-154122 from Singapore shows the Supertrees, 25-50 meter (82-160 feet) tall tree-like structures that serve as vertical gardens at Gardens by the Bay (滨海湾花园) in Singapore. Built on 101 hectares or 1,010,000 square miles of reclaimed land adjacent to the Marina Reservoir, Garden by the Bay is an urban park consisting of three waterfront gardens as a part of the strategy by the Singapore government to transform Singapore from a "Garden City" to a "City in a Garden".

According to Wikepedia, "the Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, exactly like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories' cooling systems."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Better Late than Never

Postcard US-2849028 to China was a Welcome to Las Vegas card from the tropical themed Margaritaville casino inside the Flamingo in Las Vegas. It was mailed directly from USPS' Philatelic Center in Kansas City after it was sent in to obtain a first-day-of-issue postmark on the Nevada Statehood Forever stamp by mail on July 26, 2014, along with other cards. Due to the initial delay in selecting a card on my part and a longer-than-usual-processing time at the Philatelic Center in Kansas City, it took exactly 100 days for the card to arrive. Yet it is an encouraging sign, and I hope the rest of those postcards in that order will soon reach their intended recipients.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hong Kong Braces for More Protests

A civil disobedience campaign broke out in Hong Kong over the weekend. Occupy Central, aiming to disrupt the activities in the Central Financial District, started as a result of the protesters demanding free elections for Hong Kong’s next leader, while the central government in Beijing insisting the rights of vetting the candidates. The riot police has withdrawn after a night of violent clashes. However, it is unclear when and how the protests will end since the demands from the two sides are far apart so far.

Postcard  HK-198325 from Hong Kong shows the skyline of the Central Financial District across the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dresden Frauenkirche

Postcard DE-3525462 from Germany shows the restored Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church in Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony by the River Elbe near the Czech border as part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area with 2.4 million people.

Built in the 18th century, the original church was destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during the final months of World War II. The bombing by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in February 1945 destroyed over 1,600 acres or 6.5 square kilometers of the city center and killed around 25,000 people, which resulted in post-war controversy on whether or not the attacks were justified due to heavy civilian casualty. The remaining ruins had been left as a war memorial by East German leaders until the church was rebuilt between 2004 and 2005 after the reunification of Germany in 1990. With one of the largest domes in Europe, Frauenkirche is not only a fine example of Protestant sacred architecture but also a symbol of reconciliation between former enemies.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Smooth as Silk

Postcard US-1920292 to Germany shows a performance of aerial contortion, where one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics hanging from a special fabric such as silk. It is very popular in various shows in Las Vegas. Climb on the suspended fabric, usually without using safety lines, performers rely only on their training and skill to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and pose in various positions while maintaining safety. 

Aerial Contortion by Las Vegas Hotties at Fremont Street Experience on September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Remnants of Turkish Fortress in Anapa, Russia

Postcard RU-3004438 from Russia shows remnants of Turkish Fortress in Anapa, a Russian resort town with a population of 58,990 as of 2010 on the northern coast of the Black Sea near the Sea of Azov. It is 333 kilometers from Sochi, another resort city along the Black Sea coast and the site of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014.

Anapa was once a Turkish city and subject to the constant battles with Russia. Ottomans started to built a fortress in 1783 to defend against the Russian threat and completed it in 1791, consisting of seven bastions that were connected by a 8-meter-tall 3200-meter-long high wall with three gates. When Anapa was handed over to Russia under the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829, the fortress had undergone repeated attacks by Russia and was all but destroyed during its last siege. The commemorative plate on the wall reads "Gate remnants of the Turkish Fortress, built in 1783, named in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Russian liberation from the Turkish control of Anapa in 1828."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sailing along Rotterdam

Postcard NL-2675928 from the Netherlands shows Euromast, an observation tower in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Designed by Hugh Maaskant and constructed between 1958 and 1960, it was specially built for the 1960 Floriade. It has a "crow's nest" observation platform and a restaurant at 96 meters or 315 feet above-ground. Euromast was originally 101 meters or 331 feet in height. When the Space Tower was added on top of the building in 1970, it added an additional 85 meters or 279 feet in height. At 186 meters or 610 feet, Euromast is the tallest building in Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands. In comparison, the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas stands at 350.2 meters or 1,149 feet. Euromast became a listed monument in 2010.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#HeForShe: Emma Watson on Women's Rights

Harry Potter movie star Emma Watson, a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, calling on men to join her #HeForShe campaign for gender equality during a powerful speech in New York City on Saturday September 20, 2014.

Gender equality is not only a women's issue, as she pointed out: "I've seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man ... I've seen men fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don't have the benefits of equality, either. We don't often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are."

An anonymous user at 4Chan website had threatened to leak nude photos of the actress for speaking out. The incident highlights the current unequal social landscape in a long history of bullying against women both on and off the Internet. It adds urgency to act: "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

The featured postcard was a Harry Potter stamped card showing Hermione Granger, a fictional character played by Emma Watson in the Harry Potter series. It was sent in for a black and white or “hand cancel” first-day-of-issue postmark of 1.733" x 1.222″ in size.

Monday, September 22, 2014

All Star Concert at the Smith Center Celebrates Nevada's Sesquicentennial

Nevada’s 150-year history was condensed into a two-hour 250-cast 27-act concert at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas tonight on September 22, 2014.  It was one of the 450 statewide events that celebrate the 150th anniversary of Nevada Statehood.

Outgoing postcard US-3000615 to New Zealand was a variation of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve postcard, sent in to obtain a first-day-of-issue postmark on the Nevada Statehood Forever stamp by mail on July 26, 2014. The turn around time is usually around 30 days. However, it took longer than usual this time as I just received the order on September 20, 2014.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

400,000 March for Attetion to Global Warming in New York City

Earlier in the Sunday morning, People’s Climate March started with people lining up along 27 blocks on Central Park West, from 59th Street to 86th Street, in New York City. It was part of coordinated efforts, around the world from Hollywood, to London, Berlin, and Rio de Janeiro, that demand the governments and world leaders to take action on climate change.

It coincides with the United Nations Climate Summit that starts on Tuesday September 23, 2014. More than 120 world leaders will congregate in New York City to prepare a binding global climate treaty for the climate talks in Paris in December, 2014. The treaty aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing use of renewable energy. A similar effort failed in Copenhagen in 2009. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among the marchers in New York. President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at the Climate Summit.

The featured postcard shows an illustration of the Cumulonimbus Hot Tower by Graeme Stephens in 2003. Cumulonimbus clouds are the kings of all clouds, rising from low altitude up to more than 12,000 meters or 40,000 feet. Tehy grow due to rising and falling currents, with their top flattening out into an anvil shape. Cumulonimbus clouds are a sure sign of severe weather, with heavy rain and possible hail. NASA has deployed Cloudsat, a mission using advanced radar technology to study clouds. It is part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program. Along with other programs in NASA's Earth Observing System, it helps further understanding of the climate change issues.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Košice, Slovakia

Postcard SK-41685 was my first received card from Slovakia, showing Košice, the biggest city in eastern Slovakia.

Slovakia was first occupied between the 5th and 6th centuries. The first Slavic state was created as Samo's Empire around the 7th century. After the 10th century, the Kingdom of Hungary covered the territory of today's Slovakia, and later became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The present-day Slovakia and Czech were resulted from the peaceful dissolution of the mutual state Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1993.

Košice is the second largest city in Slovakia with a population of 240,000, next to the capital city Bratislava. It was the European Capital of Culture in 2013, along with Marseille, France. The city has a well-preserved historical center with many heritage protected buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles. The St. Elisabeth Cathedral, as seen in the middle of the card, is Slovakia's largest church.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thus Things Flow Away Day and Night

I went to a yoga class last night. At the end of the session, the instructor asked us to grab a partner and tell each other the life stories of ourselves in 3 minutes. That reminds me a quote by Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher. He once pondered by a stream: "逝者如斯夫! 不舍昼夜," meaning "the passage of time is just like the flow of river that goes on day and night."

Outgoing postcard US-2995483 to Palo Alto, CA shows a bear in meditation by a river.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland Voted to Stay in U.K.

People in Scotland voted 55 percent to 45 percent to remain part of the United Kingdom, against independence in a historic referendum on Thursday September 18, 2014, with an unprecedented over-85 percent turnout.

The result kept a 307-year union with England in place, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment by ending the prospect of losing a substantial part of its territory, oil reserves and international influence.

Postcard GB-497558 shows multiple views of South Queensferry, a town to the west of Edinburgh, Scotland, with a population of  9,026 in 2011. The sender was originally from Scotland, but now lives just north of London in England.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Arctic Hare in its Winter Coat

Postcard US-2955780 to NC, USA shows a portrait of an Arctic hare (Lepus arcticus), a species of hare adapted to harsh polar and mountainous habitats, in Manitoba, Canada. It is also called polar rabbit. According to Wikipedia, "the arctic hare survives with a thick coat of fur and usually digs holes in the ground or under snow to keep warm and sleep. Arctic hares look like rabbits but have shorter ears, are taller when standing, and, unlike rabbits, can thrive in cold climates. They can travel together with many other hares, sometimes huddling with dozens or more, but are usually found alone, taking, in some cases, more than one partner. The arctic hare can run up to 60 km/h (40 mi/h). Its predators include the arctic wolf, arctic fox, and ermine, as well as, the Gyrfalcon, Peregrine Falcon, and Snowy Owl."

Copyright Norbert Rosing / National Geographic. The card was purchased at National Geographic store at Zazzle.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Antalya, Turkey

Postcard TR-195334 from Turkey shows multiple views of Antalya, a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey on the Asia side with a population of 964,886 in 2011. As Turkey's largest sea resort town, Antalya was the third most visited city, behind Paris and London, in the world in 2013 in terms of the number of international arrivals. Major attractions include Düden Waterfalls and Yivliminare Mosque, as shown on the card.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Schöne Grüße aus Daun

Postcard DE-3495274 was a nice greeting from Daun, Germany. It shows die Dauner Maare, a group of three volcanic lakes 2.5 km  (1.6 mi) to 3.5 km (2.2 mi) southeast of Daun’s town center. The main town of Daun has only about 5,000 permanent residents. It is known as a spa town and the mineral water springs in the surrounding area, due to the volcanic geological features in the area. Daun is home to the Eifel-Vulkanmuseum, a museum dedicated to provide information about volcanic and other geological phenomena in Eifel and world wide, using interactive computer models to explain the exciting and complex geological processes including both physical and chemical processes. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

America the Beautiful -- Baltimore: Inner Harbor

The celebration of the bicentennial of the National Anthem took place at its birth place Baltimore, Maryland this weekend with appearances of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and other celebrities and elected officials last night. The week-long Star-Spangled Spectacular, from September 10 to September 16, 2014, features more than 30 tall ships and U.S. Navy vessels, the Blue Angels airshows, concerts, festivals and fireworks.

Before the fireworks on September 13, 2014, one of the 21 songs performed at a concert, live on THIRTEEN'S Great Performances on PBS, from Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion was "America the Beautiful" by Little Big Town and Kenny Rogers.

This Baltimore: Inner Harbor stamped card, issued by USPS on October 7, 1989, was one of the several "America the Beautiful" series I bought from the Israel I. Bick Coin, Currency, Jewelry and Stamp Shows early this year. The USS Constellation, shown on the postcard, is one of the 30+ ships accessible during the Star-Spangled Spectacular, It was the last all-sail ship built by the United States Navy. A sailing ship is usually referred to a wind-powered vessel. Among its early missions were disrupting the slave trade, and delivering famine relief supplies to Ireland.

The USPS postcard rate between April 3, 1988 and February 3, 1991 was 15¢.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bicentennial Celebration of the Star-Spangled Banner

Two hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born lawyer and amateur poet, wrote a poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships throughout the night of September 13-14, 1814 during the War of 1812. The Star-Spangled Banner, the then American flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, was seen still flying the next morning. The poem made into the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner" which became the national anthem of the United States.

On September 11, 2014, Fort McHenry hosted a ceremony where the National September 11 Flag, a patchwork stitched onto the flag that flew above the rubble at the site of the World Trade Center attacks, was raised. Threads from the original Star-Spangled Banner that soared above Fort McHenry in 1814 were sewn onto a patch and attached to the National September 11 Flag in June 2012.

The featured postcard shows the present flag of the United States, hoisted by two firetrucks at the annual Las Vegas Firefighters 9/11 Tribute and March in downtown Las Vegas on September 11, 2014.

Today on September 13, 2014, USPS issued a The War of 1812: Fort McHenry forever stamp, the third in the series, to commemorate of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 that ultimately helped forge our national identity and gave us our national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

National Day of Encouragement

September 12, 2014 is the National Day of Encouragement in the United States.

It was started by the Encouragement Foundation at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas in 2007. The first proclamation for the Day of Encouragement was issued by Mayor Belinda LaForce of Searcy, Arkansas on August 22, 2007. Mike Beebe, the current Governor of Arkansas since 2007, made a proclamation for September 12, 2007 as the "State Day of Encouragement" for Arkansas. A U.S. Senator simple resolution designated September 12, 2011 as "National Day of Encouragement."

As we all need some encouragement from time to time, why don't we make every day a Day of Encouragement.  Joe Grace pointed out five easy ways to celebrate National Day of Encouragement:

  1. Tell somebody "great job" today,
  2. High-fives, high-fives, high-fives, 
  3. Call, email or text a friend or family member you haven't contact in a while, 
  4. Help someone along with their goals,
  5. Smile more.

Señor Frog's in Las Vegas
Postcard US-2412914 to California shows a variation of the "Keep Calm" motivation postcards, purchased at the University of Florida store at Zazzle. Interestingly, contrary to the intention of the phrase that was originated from a U.K. government propaganda campaign during World War II,  a trademark dispute occurred over the phrase as a registered EU trademark. The EU Trademark Office rejected the cancellation request on July 31, 2013. However, since trademark rights are jurisdictional, "Keep Calm" products are still available from third parities in the U.S. Searching "keep calm postcards" at Zazzle yields 163,485 results as of today.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 in Las Vegas

Postcard US-1952982 to China shows the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. A memorial sprung up spontaneously after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, with a collection of first responder T-shirts, handwritten notes, and flowers decorating the wall in front of the harbor by the fire boat below the 47-story replica of the Empire State Building. However, Casino expansion pushed out the 9/11 Memorial in 2013.

Today, 13 years after 9/11, a giant U.S. flag was hoisted by two firetrucks at the annual Las Vegas Firefighters 9/11 Tribute and March in downtown Las Vegas. At 7:30 p.m., hundreds of firefighters, police officers, military personnel and community leaders marched along the 3rd Street and paused for a moment of silence with bagpipe performing at the 3rd Street Stage at the Fremont Street Experience. 

Viva Vision Light Show at the Fremont Street Experience also paid tribute to the lives lost during 9/11.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Berkeley Pit Panorama

Postcard US-2967625 to the Netherlands was a vintage card showing a panorama of the Berkeley Pit, an open pit copper mine in Butte, Montana. Ektachromes by Clifford B. Ellis.

The mine, once the largest truck-operated open pit copper mine in the United States, was opened in 1955 and operated by Anaconda Copper. The Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) bought the mine in 1977, and it was closed in 1982. Approximately 320 million tons of ore and over 700 million tons of waste rock were mined from the Butte Hill.

Measured one mile long (1.6 km) by half a mile (0,8 km) wide with an approximate depth of 1,780 feet (540 m), the pit began to collect groundwater from the surrounding aquifers once it was closed as the water pumps in the nearby shaft were turned off. Pyrite and sulfide minerals in the ore and wall rocks met dissolved oxygen in the water, releasing heavy metals and chemicals including copper, arsenic, cadmium, zinc, and sulfuric acid. According to PitWatch, with the bottom elevation at 4,263 feet above the sea level and the water level at 5,318.49 feet above sea level as of July 30, 2014, the pit had filled a depth of 1,055 feet (321.6 m) with water that was highly acidic (2.5 pH level) since 1982. Current projections estimate that the Critical Level at 5,410 feet above the sea level, which is close to the natural water table, will be reached around 2023 when the pit water may reverse flow back into groundwater, polluting Silver Bow Creek and rivers downstream.

The Berkeley Pit has since become one of the largest Superfund sites. Clean up plans have been in place since the 1990s.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tom of Finland Got Stamp of Approval

Breaking the tradition again, I am blogging a postcard that I don't own yet. It is part of the Tom of Finland packing - postcards and stamps issued by Posti, the postal service company in Finland.

Stamps commemorating homoerotic artist Touko Laaksonen, known as Tom of Finland, went on sale on Monday, September 8, 2014. With pre-sale from 178 countries, the stamps become the country's best seller so far. Great oversea interests come from Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, according to the number of orders placed outside Finland. 

Designer Timo Berry told Finnish public radio station YLE: “It’s great that these images, which in the past had to be sold under the table, can now be openly stuck on an envelope or a postcard.” Similar to the Harvey Milk stamp issued in the United States on May 22, 2014, Tom of Finland stamps celebrate the freedom of expression and mark the progress of LGBT rights. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Be One

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco began to hear oral arguments in challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii today on September 8, 2014. A three-judge panel had tough questions for marriage equality opponents and seemed ready to say for the second time that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Meanwhile, as state officials in Nevada decided not to defend the bans, the same-sex marriages might become a reality quickly in Nevada if the court rulings overturn the bans. County clerks are making new marriage license forms that list “party 1” and “party 2” instead of “bride” and “groom”.

Outgoing postcard US-2967646 to Canada shows the 2012 Gap advertising campaign in San Francisco, featuring a same-sex couple.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Minsk Magical Time

Postcard BY-1353861 from Belarus shows an illustration of historical Minsk under the starry night sky, designed by Catherine Hancharyk. You can see more of her art works here. It has expanded my Minsk collection.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today in History: the Name of Saint Petersburg Restored in 1991

Postcard RU-2915679 from Russia shows the Grand Peterhof Palace near Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, located on the Neva River estuary where the river meets the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. 

The city started as Tsar Peter the Great built the Peter and Paul Fortress on May 27, 1703. After the beginning of World War I, Saint Petersburg was renamed to Petrograd, meaning "Peter's City", to remove the German words Sankt and Burg on September 1, 1914. 

Petrograd was renamed as Leningrad on January 26, 1924, five days after Vladimir Lenin's death. Lenin led the October Revolution that stormed the Winter Palace on November 7, 1917 (October 25, 1917 in old style date), marking the rise of the Communist Party. The city has more than 200 places associated with the life and activities of Lenin. 

The city restored its name back to Saint Petersburg on September 9, 1991, after a referendum upon the name of the city on June 12, 1991. 

In the United States, the city St. Petersburg in Florida, incorporated on February 29, 1892, was named after Saint Petersburg, Russia, hometown of one of its co-founders Peter Demens, The legend had that Peter Memens won the naming right by a coin toss. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Innocence, So Fleeting, So Fragile

Outgoing postcard US-2529931 to Belarus was another postcard from Zumanity, the Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil at New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The scene on the postcard, with a tag line "Innocence, so fleeting, so fragile", reveals elegance and passion of women. The show is scheduled to undergo an overhaul early next year. The postcard was purchased at the show's gift shop. It was sent on November 28, 2013 and had since expired.

Tonight, the giant Viva Vision LED display canopy at the Fremont Street Experience lit up again for the 16th annual Las Vegas Pride Parade in downtown Las Vegas. A blog from Las Vegas Weekly explains why Las Vegas Pride matters for a largely dis-unified LGBT community. The pride festival will be held at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater tomorrow from noon to 10:00 p.m. on September 6, 2014. As concluded in that blog, we will be there "not because we want to see more people impersonating Britney Spears, but because we want to see us."

Thursday, September 4, 2014


#FightFor15 protests took placed in the United States as planned on September 4, 2014. Fast food workers are seeking a $15/hr living wage and the right to unionize. Arrests of participating activists had been reported in New York City, in Miami, in Chicago, in Los Angeles, and in Las Vegas. According to Las Vegas Sun, about 100 workers joined in the demonstration near the Mirage casino on the Las Vegas Strip today and about 10 demonstrators were taken into custody by police for being in the roadway.

Postcard US-2776632 to Latvia shows a rainbow over the Forum Shops at Caesars, which can be seen in the background of the arrest photo published online.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cadzand, the Netherlands

Postcard DE-3445237 from Germany shows Cadzand, a town by the North Sea with 804 residents as of 2007 in the Dutch province of Zeeland. It is located in the municipality of Sluis, about 8 kilometers or 5 miles northwest of Oostburg. The nearby beach at Cadzand-Bad, a nature reserve and bird sanctuary, is very popular for the European visitors in the summer. It is only 1.6 kilometers or 1 mile from the Netherlands and Belgium border. Visitors can walk across to the beach at Knokke-Heist on the Belgium side.  The town is cyclist and pedestrian friendly.

I also got my first German Football World Champions 2014 stamp. On July 17, four days after Germany lifted their fourth World Cup, a special , Designed by Lutz Menze from Wuppertal, the 60 cent stamp commemorates the 1:0 victory over Argentina in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The scores from the title games in 1954, 1974, 1990, and 2014 are printed on the side of the stamp.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's the Journey that Counts

Postcard US-2692599 to Japan shows a 16-foot or 4.9-meter horse, centerpiece of the "Year of the Horse" art installation at The Palazzo's Waterfall Atrium and Gardens, commemorating Chinese New Year that begins on January 31, 2014. Having since concluded on February 16, 2014, there were eight hand-sculpted and hand-painted horses throughout the display. The photo was taken on January 20, 2014.

However, after I sent the card in for the first-day-of-issue postmark, it was returned to me on April 11, 2014 without cancellation. I had addressed the card to Japan with adequate international postage and asked it to be released for mailing.

I added an apology on the card for not being able to secure a first-day-of-issue postmark and re-posted it on the same day on April 11, 2014. A message came on September 1, 2014: "The postcard US-2692599 you sent to marie1112 in Japan was registered by Postcrossing. The account of the receiver was closed and for this reason the postcard was automatically registered."

I am not sure why this card did not get the first-day-of-issue postmark, and I don't know if the card reached the receiver before she closed her account. But, I tried.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fast Food Workers Demand Living Wage

President Obama said in his Labor Day speech at Milwaukee, Wisconsin: “All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity.” Meanwhile, organizers representing fast food workers around the country are planning a one-day strike next Thursday on September 4, 2014 at restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and KFC in 150 cities, demanding a living wage of $15 per hour and the right to unionize. The Bureau of Labor Statistics had the average hourly wage for restaurant workers at $8.74 as of May 2013.

The campaign started with 200 fast-food workers in New York City in November 2012. It has since gained momentum as 13 states increased their minimum wages at the beginning of 2014 and Seattle approved a $15 minimum wage. According to Chicago Tribune, "in May, 101 McDonald’s workers were peacefully arrested for trespassing at a protest outside the company’s Oak Brook headquarters. Since then, the so-called Fight for $15 campaign has continued to raise awareness of its goals of unionizing fast food workers and raising their wages to $15 an hour."

The featured postcard shows a McDonald's Restaurant at Sahara Paradise Plaza in Las Vegas, as seen from the Stratosphere Tower.