Tuesday, March 31, 2015

126th Anniversary of Eiffel Tower Opening

Today marks the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower; it opened to the public on March 31, 1889. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair), it was initially criticized by for its design and mocked as "a truly tragic street lamp." Now, it has become the most visited paid monument in the world with almost 7 million annual visitors. The tower had received 250 million visitor by 2010, 75% of them were from overseas.

At 324 meters or 1,063 feet, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world. It held the title for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. In comparison, the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas stands at 350.2 meters or 1,149 ft; Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino has a half scale, 165-meter or 541-foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Google has featured an Eiffel Tower Doodle by artist Floriane Marchix on its web page to commemorate the 126th anniversary of the tower's public opening.

Postcard FR-430903 from France shows a view of Paris from Tour Montparnasse with the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars on the left side, and Les Invalides on the lower right.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Unusual Warm Spring Season in Las Vegas

After an unusually warm winter, the warm weather sticks around for the spring in Las Vegas. The temperature surpassed 90°F or 32°C for the first time in 2015 and reached a record 91°F or 32.8°C on Saturday March 28, 2015; the previous record high for March 28 was 89°F or 31.7°C in 1986.

Today's high temperature 90°F or 32°C also broke the previous record of 88°F or 31.1°C set in 1971. , and it will hover above 90°F or 32°C through tomorrow, the end of March. The normal high temperature for this time of year would be around 74°F or 23°C. The forecast says the high temperature will drop to 82°F or 27.8°C on Wednesday April 1 and to 75°F or 24°C on Thursday April 2, 2015.

Postcard NL-2907738 from the Netherlands arrived on March 28, 2015 showing a spring scene with a beautiful butterfly.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Postcard DE-3953158 from Germany shows Fritillaria meleagris (Schachblume in German), a species of flowering plant native to Europa in the family Liliaceae. It is originally known as snake's head, probably because of its snakelike appearance of the nodding flower heads on their long stems. It is also known as chess flower, checkered lily, or checkered daffodil because the flower has a checkered pattern in purple, or sometimes in pure white. Usually grown in grasslands and river meadows at altitudes below 800 meters or 2,625 feet, it blossoms from March to May. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is an annual event to promote reduced energy consumption for the planet Earth by turning off non-essential lights for one hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March. It was first organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then, 7,000 cities, 1,200 landmarks and 172 countries and territories have joined the action to raise the awareness of climate change.

Postcard US-1630412 to the Netherlands shows New York-New York Hotel & Casino before and during Earth Hour in Las Vegas on March 26, 2011. It features a quote from a Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum: "In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Sent before and received on Earth Day, April 22, 2012, it also highlighted the theme for Earth Day 2012: Mobilize the Earth.

For Earth Hour 2015 on Saturday, March 28, Las Vegas City Hall and the properties from MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Boyd Gaming all dimmed their exterior lighting, signage and marquees from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. In addition to dimming the lights, Venetian and Palazzo had put on a candlelight display at Doge's Palace Plaza in front of Venetian.
Candlelight display for Earth Hour 2015 at Venetian with Mirage dimming its lights in the background.
Earth Hour 2016 will be on Saturday, March 26, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shoeshining in Lisbon

Postcard NL-2904282 from the Netherlands was bought in Lisbon during a trip to Portugal. The photo, taken by Christian Auscher in 1987, features a shoeshiner in an ordinary day in Lisbon.

Danut Ivanescu from Romania has received a copy of the same card through a private swap. In his blog, he made some interesting observations on shoeshiner as a profession. In Las Vegas, many casinos, hotels, convention centers, shopping malls and the airport have hosted shoeshining stands.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I ♥ Kraków

Postcard PL-1034007 was a shaped card showing the Renaissance Cloth Hall at the Main Square in the Old Town of Kraków, Poland.

Located on the Vistula River, Kraków is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland, dating back to the 7th century. Historically an early trade center and once the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569, it is one of the most important Polish academic, cultural, and artistic centers and  economic hubs, with 8 million people living within 100 kilometers or 62 miles of the city center.

At 40,000 square meters or 430,000 square feet, its Main Square is the largest medieval town square in Europe, also one of the best public spaces in Europe due to its lively street life, surrounded by historic townhouses, palaces and churches. Rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, the Cloth Hall is the dominated feature of the Main Square as one of the city's most recognizable icons. Once a meeting place for traveling merchants who met there to discuss business and to barter, the Cloth Hall is still used as a center of commerce. As a culture venue, it has received many distinguished guests and dignitaries, hosted receptions and performances, and housed the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum on its upper floor.

The Kraków Old Town was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Moominppapa at Sea

Postcard FI-2342261 from Finland shows an illustration of Tove Marika Jansson (August 9, 1914 – June 27, 2001), a Swedish-speaking Finnish author and illustrator from Moominppapa at Sea.

With her first book of the semi-autobiographical Bildhuggarens dotter (Sculptor's Daughter) in 1968, she had published six novels and five books of short stories for adults. However, in the PostCrossing world, she is best known for the Moomin cards with illustrations from her Moomin books for children.

The first Moomin book The Moomins and the Great Flood was published in 1945. However, it wasn't until the next two books, Comet in Moominland (1946) and Finn Family Moomintroll (1948), when Moomins gained a great deal of popularity.

Moomins had lived in Moominvalley for a while, until the family decided that they needed a change and moved to a lighthouse on a tiny island. In this Volume 7 of Moomins, "they find space to grow, and to do things they couldn't in their comfortable, cluttered valley home. As they discover their new home, the family also discover surprising, and wonderfully funny, new things about themselves."

Tove Jansson won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1966 for her contribution as a children's writer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

South Carolina Low Country

Postcard US-3263845 from Pennsylvania shows live oak trees that form a canopy over the quiet back roads of the Low Country. Some branches are horizontal and can grow out 40 to 60 feet or 12 to 18 meters. The trees are called live oaks because they stay green all winter.

The sender have driven to all 48 continental states in the U.S. That reminds me an article on  How to Really Drive Across the U.S. Hitting Major Landmarks. I need to put that idea on my bucket list.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aurora Borealis

Postcard FI-2125042 from Finland shows a spectacular view of  the northern lights or aurora borealis, a natural light display in the sky usually seen in the high latitude area near Arctic, caused by charged particles from a solar storm entering Earth's magnetic field and causing the excitation of the neutral particles and consequent optical emissions.

Last Tuesday on March 17, 2015, a much stronger than usual solar storm hit Earth and created massive colorful northern lights. As a result, the auroral zones expanded southward, pushing auroral displays as far south as Kansas and Virginia in the United States.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Water and Sustainable Development

The United Nations designated March 22 as the World Water Day in Agenda 21 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. The first World Water Day was observed on March 22, 1993. 22 years later, the theme for World Water Day 2015 is Water and Sustainable Development.

With a tag line "a day to celebrate, a day to change, a day to prepare," World Water Day is a day to celebrate water; a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues; and a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.

Postcard US-2680017 to Australia shows a swamp view of the Everglades, a tropical wetlands ecosystem in South Florida. Sustainability was a major component in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan approved by Congress in 2000. A first-of-its-kind economic impact report has detailed the benefits of Everglades restoration that results in an increase in job creation, real estate values and water quality.

The theme for 2014 World Water Day last year was Water and Energy.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mont Saint-Michel, France

Postcard US-3133043 from Texas was a French postcard the sender collected during a trip to
Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France. Located 1 kilometer  or 0.6 miles off shore at the mouth of the Couesnon River, the tidal island is 100 hectares or 247 acres in size with only 44 official residents in 2009. However, as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has more than 3 million visitors each year.

Ten thousand visitors to the island got to see a supertide this Saturday on March 21, 2015, caused by the so-called supermoon effect coinciding with Friday’s total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015. Said to rise at the pace of a horse’s gallop, the unusual high tide turned the Mont briefly into an island fully surrounded by the English Channel Saturday. Normally, at a low tide visitors could walk on the vast flat seabed, while at high tide visitors could still travel to/from the mainland by a narrow causeway. The rare phenomenon supertide occurs every 18 years.

In Mount's Bay, Cornwall, United Kingdom, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in France, with the same tidal island characteristics and a similar conical shape,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Surfing Santa Cruz, California

Postcard NL-2915866 from the Netherlands shows a surfer drops into a powerful wave near Westcliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California. Autumn and winter storms in the North Pacific Ocean generate frequent large swells along the Central and Northern California coastline. Santa Cruz, 75 miles or 120 kilometers south of San Francisco, is a beach resort community with a population of 62,864 as of 2013 and home to  the University of California, Santa Cruz, a premier research institution and educational hub.

Separately, Garrett McNamara, an American professional big wave surfer, was featured in a previous blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

RU-3443849 came from Russia with two postcards showing various landmarks in Moscow, one of which features Saint Basil's Cathedral, once a Orthodox church and now a part of the State Historical Museum in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. The building, located in immediate proximity of the Kremlin Palace, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. Built from 1555 to 1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the siege of Kazan, it was once the tallest building in Moscow until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. Shaped as a flame of a bonfire, the Cathedral has a unique design with eight side churches surrounding around the ninth church of Intercession in the center. It was recognized as part of the Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Southern Cross, Southern Hemisphere

Postcard NZ-120658 from New Zealand shows the constellation Crux, also known as the Southern Cross, one of the 88 modern constellations that is circumpolar, meaning can always being seen, from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. However, it can never been seen from Las Vegas as the Southern Cross never rises above the horizon. In the U.S., you have to travel to Hawaii, or South Florida or Texas where it is south to 26°N latitude for limited viewing opportunities.

New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Papua New Guinea and Samoa have featured the stars of Crux on their national flags.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day

In celebrating St. Patrick Day, the annual Las Vegas Valley Firefighters St. Patrick's Day Parade and Fun Challenge was held at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) today.

The parade started at the Main Street Stage at noon. Led by Grand Marshal Terry Murphy, Honorary Irish Consul to Nevada, uniformed firefighters, honor guards, bagpipers and step dancers made its way along the Fremont Street under the Viva Vision canopy. Then the Firefighter Fun Challenge took place between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. where firefighter teams from around the country competed in a tricycle race, wheel barrel race, midnight equipment run, tug of war, hose bowling and garden hose efficiency contest. winners would donate their prize money to the charities of their choices.

Outgoing postcard US-3263675 to Hong Kong shows a vintage "Horse and Cart" poster "Lovely day for a Guinness", one of the most popular of all the Guinness beer advertisements, circa 1949, by artist John Gilroy. 

Step dancers perform at the Las Vegas Valley Firefighters St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Send a Postcard to Crimea

Postcard UA-574523 from Ukraine in 2013 shows the Foros Church, Crimea, Ukraine, overlooking the Black Sea from a 400-meter cliff. However, as a result of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and subsequent annexation of Crimea by Russia, the sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula is currently disputed between Ukraine and Russia.

According to Wikipedia, "on March 11, 2014, Supreme Council of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council adopted the Declaration of independence of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. Following contested referendum in which an overwhelming majority indicated a desire to join the Russian Federation, Russia signed a treaty of accession with the self-declared independent Republic of Crimea, absorbing it into the Russian Federation."

Although Ukraine and it's allies refuse to recognize the annexation, the Crimean Peninsula is now de facto controlled by the Russian Federation. The situation caused confusions how to send mails including postcards to Crimea. An item from the Ukrainian State Enterprise of Posts website "UKRPOSHTA" indicated that the transportation of postal items and periodicals destined to and from AR Crimea and Sevastopol city has been renewed as of March 18, 2014, while another article dated September 10, 2014 warned that the Crimean Post refused to accept postal items, especially periodicals, from continental Ukraine. As of March 15, 2015, USPS states on it's service alerts web page that delivery services for international mail addressed to Crimea (postal codes in the range 95000–99999) are still suspended.

Politics aside, mails to residents of Crimea have been reported to be routed through Russia with "Russia" as receiving country and Russia's new zipcode for the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, adding number "2" to the original Ukrainian zipcode. For example, for an Ukrainian zipcode in Simferopol "95000", the new Russian zipcode is "295000"; for an Ukrainian zipcode in Sevastopol "99000", the new Russian zipcode is "299000". Postcard US-3238647 reached Crimea in this practical manner in 26 days.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston

Postcard US-3230012 from Boston was a shaped card showing Faneuil Hall Marketplace near the waterfront and today's Government Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Built in 1743, it has been served as a marketplace and a meeting hall since. Because its significance in history as the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain, it is known as "the Cradle of Liberty." Faneuil Hall was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960. One of those famous stops on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is part of Boston National Historical Park that was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade made history today as two LGBT groups marched for the first time after decades of opposition. In 1995, the parade organizers took its battle to exclude LGBT groups to the U.S. Supreme Court and won on First Amendment grounds. Boston’s mayors had boycotted the event since. With an inclusive parade this year, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and other political leaders such as first-term U.S. Representative Seth Moulton took part.

Boston broken another record today after receiving 2.9-inch snow by Sunday evening. A seasonal total of 108.6 inches so far, it has broken Boston’s old record of 107.6 inches since the winter of 1995-96. The buildup of previous snow on side streets even caused the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, billed as the second largest in the U.S. in terms of spectators, to shorten the route.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

π and the Great Pyramid

It is Albert Einstein's (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) birthday today. A German-born theoretical physicist who won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, Einstein developed the general theory of relativity and was best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2.

March 14, or 3/14 in the month/day date format, is also known as “Pi Day,” an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), due to its resemblance to the first three digits in the decimal expansion of π. Pi Day in 2015 is very special because the corresponding date 3/14/15 represents the first five digits of π (3.1415), which only comes once a century. In addition, at 9:26:53 a.m. and 9:26:53 p.m. the date and time of the moments represents the first 10 digits of π (3.141592653).

English publisher and writer John Taylor (1781–1864) argued in his 1859 The Great Pyramid that the numbers Pi and the golden ratio may had been deliberately incorporated into the design of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. The original height of the Great Pyramid was 146.5 meters or 481 feet with a base of 230.4 meters or 756 feet in length. By dividing the perimeter (4 x base length) of the Pyramid by its height, one obtains 6.29 which is a close approximation to 2π. Since π is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, John Taylor suggested that the Great Pyramid was intended to be a representation of the spherical Earth, with the height corresponding to the radius from the center of the Earth to the North Pole and the perimeter corresponding to the Earth's circumference at the Equator. However, such significance has been discounted in recent years.

Postcard US-2543275 to India shows a replica of Great Sphinx of Giza and the pyramid-shaped tower of Luxor Las Vegas, a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada that opened in 1993 and was named after the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes) in Egypt. The reflecting pool is gone now after renovation and a tram station is in its place.

Friday, March 13, 2015


On this fifth anniversary of Let’s Move!, an initiative Michelle Obama launched in 2010 to combat childhood obesity, the First Lady is again challenging Americans across the country to make healthy choices by eating better, being more active, and leading a healthier life, and to give out high-fives when they see someone doing just that. Vice President Joe Biden joined #GimmeFive campaign early today via a Vine video.

The cards of me doing a kickboxing move were sent to friends and family members for update during a challenging time of my life. The photo was taken on October 3, 2011 at the Exploration Peak Park with Las Vegas Skyline in the background. The park’s focal point is the 2,846-foot or 868-meter high Exploration Peak with trails leading to the top where it offers great views of the Las Vegas Valley.

Just move! #GimmeFive, @LetsMove, @FLOTUS, @MichelleObama, facebook.com/letsmove

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wasserburg am Inn, Germany

Postcard DE-3983228 from Germany shows a map of Wasserburg am Inn, a town of 12,000 in Rosenheim district in Upper Bavaria, Germany.

Wasserburg am Inn is one of the most historic towns of Old Bavaria – somewhat older than Munich. It was claimed to be first mentioned in a document  in 1137 while Munich first appeared in historical records in 1158. because it's location at the junction of the main overland route with the main water route, Wasserburg am Inn was the most important trade hub with the Balkans, Austria and Italy. Its bridge was the only crossing of the River Inn for 30 km in both directions. In the early days, salt produced in Berchtesgaden or in the Saline (saltern) at Bad Reichenhall was transported from there by cart to be loaded on ships travelling on the Inn River.

The historic center is seen on a peninsula formed by the meandering Inn River. Many symbolized buildings on the map are Medieval structures that remain intact.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First American to Walk in Space

Postcard US-3263789 from North Carolina shows NASA astronaut Major Edward H. White II who made the United States' first spacewalk on June 3, 1965 during the third orbit of the Gemini IV flight. The extra-vehicular activity (EVA) started at 19:45 UT (3:45 p.m. EDT) when White opened his hatch and used the hand-held maneuvering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule.

White was seen on the card backing away from the Gemini spacecraft 120 miles or 193 kilometers above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Hawaii. The space walk lasted 23 minutes, ending over the Gulf of Mexico. The photo was taken by commander James McDivitt.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Orlík nad Vltavou

Postcard CZ-600263 from Czech shows Orlík nad Vltavou, a village in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. According to Wikipedia, the village was formerly called Staré Sedlo, named after the castle. In Czech, "nad Vltavou" means "upon the river Vltava" and both the castle and the village are located on the left river bank, on the shores of the Orlik reservoir as a result of the construction of Orlík Dam. The Orlík Castle, standing right next to the water, is surrounded by a huge park and a game preserve. It belongs to the House of Schwarzenberg, a Bohemian and Franconian aristocratic family, but it is open to the public on most summer days.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vintage Cardinal Song Bird Illustration

Postcard US-2995481 to Poland shows a vintage cardinal song bird illustration from the 1800s. Known as the redbird or common cardinal, the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is in the genus Cardinalis and can be found in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps from southern Canada, the eastern United States from Maine to Texas, to Mexico. The bird has a distinctive crest on the head, and a black mask on the face for the male and a gray mask for the female. According to Wikepedia, "the male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown shade. The northern cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as a cage bird is now banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918."

The card was purchased from Zazzle.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Daylight Saving Time Starts in 2015, But Not in Hawaii

Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts today at 2 a.m. on March 8, 2015 in most parts of the U.S. except in the states of Arizona and Hawaii, and the overseas territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands. As clocks "spring forward" one hour, spring is in the air.

Hawaii is in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone; Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) is equivalent to GMT/UTC - 10h Standard Time. When the United States enacted the Uniform Time Act in 1966, Hawaii opted out in 1967, mainly because there is not a large variation in daylight hours from summer to winter due to Hawaii's proximity to the Equator. The Territorial Legislature enacted a bill placing Hawaii on daylight saving time in 1933, but the law was repealed three weeks later. According to Wikepedia, during World War II between February 9, 1942 and September 30, 1945, Hawaiian Standard Time was advanced one hour to so-called "Hawaiian War Time." That was the only period when Hawaii was effectively placed on year-round daylight saving time.

Postcard US-3230216 from California shows a NASA image of the entire Hawaiian Island chain as seen from the Space Shuttle. Niihau and Kauai are in the foreground followed by Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Maui, with the Big island in the distance. The curve of the Earth and the black of outer space can be seen on the top of the card.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Run Away with Cirque du Soleil

My visit to the Springs Preserve in  Las Vegas today in the monthly Bank of America Museums on US weekend was cut short as they are hosting a special event Mardi Gras Vegas that features Cajun and Creole cuisine, music and culture from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The access to the Nevada State Museum was not affected. Before I left, I picked up an advertising card for a running event "Run Away with Cirque du Soleil" on March 28, 2015. Participants can run 5K or walk 1 mile with Cirque du Soleil cast members on the Springs Preserve ground at this annual event. All proceeds support the educational and environmental-sustainability programs at the Springs Preserve Foundation and Cirque du Soleil Foundation. You can register online at active.com.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blums Touring Boxing Troupe

Postcard AU-407109 from Australia featuring Maitland-born Les Darcy (1895 - 1917), one of the best Australian boxers of all time, in boxing pose on a boxing troupe canvas painting circa 1950. Les Darcy was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Blum’s Boxing Troupe toured Western Australian mining towns in the 1950s. This canvas decorated one of the tent walls alongside canvases featuring other famous boxers such as Dave Sands, Micky Miller and Vic Patrick.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ringling Bros. Ending Elephant Acts in 3 Years

After 145 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its elephant acts by 2018, among the concerns over animal treatment.

The circus currently has 13 elephants traveling with its tour units. They will be relocated to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida once their acts end. More than 40 other elephants are already at the Center. However, other exotic animals such as lions and tigers will continue performing.

It's a victory for the animal rights groups such as PETA and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who have been claiming mistreatment of circus animals for a long time. While the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was able to won a nearly $16 million settlement from a number of animal-rights groups including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year legal battle, it was the shifting consumer perceptions done the elephant acts in.

The stamped card features one of the eight USPS Vintage Circus Posters Commemorative stamps which uses a reproduction of a 1926 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey poster made by the Strobridge Lithographing Company, showing an ornately costumed elephant. The vintage poster used a bragging tag line “5 Big Herds of Performing Elephants in 5 Circus Rings at One Time” to advertise the Greatest Show on Earth. The card has a pictorial first-day-of-issue postmark on May 5, 2014 from Sarasota, FL 34230.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Try to be a Rainbow in Someone’s Cloud

USPS unveiled the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp image today on March 4, 2015, and announced that the stamp's First-Day-of-Issue as April 7, 2015 with the dedication ceremony at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC.

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American author, poet, dancer, actress, singer, and champion of civil rights. One of the most dynamic voices in 20th-century American literature, she was known for her series of autobiographies. The first of the seven in the series, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” published in 1969, gave a vivid account for her childhood against the African-American life in the South as the background.

Postcard BY-892970 from Belarus shows a rainbow over the National Library in Minsk. Although unrelated, it does remind me a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou: "Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud." In "the Letter to My Daughter" in 2009, She said "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." Dr. Maya Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. I can't wait to see the stamp.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Horoscope for Pisces

Postcard US-2421441 to Czech was a Horoscope card for Pisces (雙魚座), courtesy of Yuanta Securities Investment Trust Co., Ltd. from Taiwan in 2011. Pisces is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the Pisces constellation, which spans the 330° to 360° of the zodiac, and between 332.75° and 360° of celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac the sun transits this area on average between February 19 and March 20. A pair of fish dressed in colorful costumes are shown on the card. The symbol of the fish is derived from the ichthyocentaurs, a pair of creatures in the Greek mythology with the upper body of a human, the lower front of a horse, and the tail of a fish who aided Aphrodite when she was born from the sea. The card suggested that the lucky numbers for Pisces were 4, 8, 3 and the trending colors were blue, black and gold.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lake Okeechobee

Postcard US-3223053 to Switzerland shows a satellite image of Lake Okeechobee in Florida, the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states in the U.S. Lake Michigan is the largest.

For the largest lakes of the all 50 U.S. States by area including freshwater and saltwater lakes, if the area accounted for the lake includes the area partially in Canada or Mexico, Lake Superior is the largest while Lake Okeechobee ranks tenth.

Okeechobee covers 1,900 square kilometers or 730 sq miles, with an average depth of 3 meters or 9 feet. It is the headwaters of the Everglades wetland ecosystem.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Scale the Strat

Scale the Strat is one of the Fight for Air Climbs fundraising events for the American Lung Association. The Fight for Air Climbers climb up prominent skyscrapers, observation towers, stadiums and arenas in so called "vertical road race." 

In the 7th Annual Scale the Strat today, competitive teams and individual stair climbers, race up 1455 steps inside the Stratosphere Tower core to reach the Level 108 observation deck, raising funds to provide life saving education, research and advocacy in Southern Nevada. Sproule Love from New York won the men's division with a 7'22" time. Stephanie Hucko from Charlotte, NC was the first woman to reach the top in 8'52".

Postcard US-2371131 to Poland shows the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower at 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104.