Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Canadian National Railway in Jasper

Glenn, of Gem's World Postcards, sends me wonderful postcards of trains from Canada. Trains are one of my collection focuses, along with bridges, art prints and any views of southeastern Michigan. These Canadian National Railway diesel engines are seen at the Jasper, Alberta, station. The photo was taken by Lee Simmons.

This engine was likely put into service between 1993-1995 when the short-lived "CN North America" logo was used. Today company sports the plain "CN" logo minus the map image. An in depth discussion of the history of CN's logo can be found at Best Logos -- World's Best Logo and Brands blog. I remember seeing the CN logo on engines and rail cars when I was a growing up outside of Detroit, including the ones that spelled out Canadian National Railways in a box back lit by a Maple Leaf.

CN is the largest railway in Canada with 22,000 employees, Incidentally, the firm owns twenty-one thousand miles of rails run from coast to coast including extensive rails in the central United States running all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, according to Wiki. . From time to time there are proposals to link Alaska with the Canadian rail system, which I think would be a fine idea, but the economics don't seem to warrant it.

Thanks for the card and stamps, Glenn.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dog Team 1920; uncanny resemblance

I bought this postcard at a flea market at our neighborhood mall a couple of weeks ago. A wonderful find for a retired dog musher and postcard collector. The card is postmarked from Juneau, Alaska, July 19, 1921. Published by the HHT Company, the card was addressed to "Mrs. Wm. Watson Jr., Monto Rio, Calif." The message reads: Dear Jean, We're having a wonderful time & lovely weather to-day. Ruth"

This postcard caught my eye for several reasons: a watercolor like composition, a good image of an historical dog team, and the good condition of the card. Yet the clincher was that the lead dog in this scene is a near spitt'in image of the hardest working and by far the most bizarre sled dogs I ever owned. His name was Lauper. He was a cast off dog from another musher. After a fight in which he was malled by an entire dog team, his heart stopped on the operating table. Six weeks later he finished the Iditarod. He was an unusual sled dog with a small head. The tip of his right ear was lopped off, thus the name, and his snout, legs and torso was crisscrossed with scars. Yet even in defeat he was never defeated. He had a swagger to his step, the kind that said, "Come on, give me your best shot." He was a committed fighter, a stupid fighter to be sure, who always picked fights with bigger and tougher dogs and he always lost. Yet, he'd never back down and even go out of his way to challenge another male. I swear, he could antagonize another male dog who was minding his own business on the other side of the dog yard. He was an idiot but I think that is what made him a great sled dog. I don't think he had enough gray matter to imagine anything other than his current condition. Had he just got drug beneath overflow or kicked by a moose he didn't remember it the next moment. Therefore his work ethic was off the charts. When traveling down the most bone-jarring trail he was unfazed. His tug line was always stretched like a banjo string. The greatest thing about him, like many dogs, is that you were the center of his universe -- the fixed and perfect star in his warped universe.

Lauper 1990-2004

Monday, November 2, 2009

Scandolous Kiss

Was it the polite kiss or that the man had lost his hat that made this image so scandalous? Than again, maybe it was all that wild vegetation and the woman's exposed ankle that told the real story. This neatly bordered postcard was published in 1910 by Bamforth and Company of Hanfirth, England, and New York.

For a more than a century, Bamforth's produced scads of postcards. They were best known for saucy seaside cartoon cards and also silent films, according to About Postcard blogger, Linda Kelly. You can still buy Bamforth's saucy postcards from Bamforth and Company, both wholesale and retail. They hold the license for Bamforth's postcard reproductions. The undivided back of this particular postcard shows the distinctive "B" of the Bamforth's original logo.

I consider this card a find. Where I found it was a mystery until I posted it and Diane Glass, Artstanding Stranger, reminded me she sent it in April just before I left on vacation. When I returned from vacation it was back to work for the busy summer season. For the remainder of the summer my personal effects were disheveled. I'm not a neat nix to begin with so the card got shuffled from desk to desk all summer until a few weeks ago. Compounding this is that right now I have a new medical aliment and taking some powerful drugs to combat it. This makes writing, which I love, and even thinking laborious. For the past week I've had enough pain to knock down a moose. To combat my distractedness I've begun to note the backs of my postcards with dates and contributors when I receive them. This is no doubt normal behavior for serious collectors but for me it was never necessary, since my postcard sources were few. Now this old dog has to learn a few new routines to keep his bone yard straight. Thank you Diane for the save. It is not my intention to create mysteries but to celebrate them.
When I wrote this post in a mind numbing fog, I looked for the easy explanation for how it came into my collection. Because this card is an original, not a reproduction, I assumed it came into my collection the way many did, through the past efforts of my now deceased grandmother. She snagged many a postcard, including some very old and rare ones, out of the hand of many unsuspecting relatives or friends. She would curtly say, "It's for my grandson's collection!" as if to say, I had a divine right to it.