Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In the photo Jying's hands hold a photo that was taken of her mother holding the infant Jying. She said she likes the photo because it reminds her of her mother. To me, it is both an iconic picture of love of mother for child and a daughter's way of remembering and honoring her mother's gift of life.
Thank you, Jying, for this precious postcard.
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Friday, September 18, 2009
Some postcards just get to you. This one did me. I think I began to imagine the sheer scale of the task. Pondering this scene with the tiny steam-powered tug and a three-masted clipper ship in the waters of the bay made me appreciate what a monumental task a bridge of this magnitude requires. Constructed during years of economic depression, 1933-1937, it was the longest suspension span bridge in the world(4,200ft). It took great vision, endless engineering calculations, and years of difficult labor to construct. It is a bridge to the future.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The bullfighter painted here is the renown Carlos Arruza (1920-1966), also known as “The Cyclone.” Arruza was one of the most prominent bullfighters of the 20th-Century. He began fighting bulls at the age of 14. Born in Mexico of Spanish parents, he moved to Spain in 1944 and fought bulls for many years. He also appeared in several films about bullfighting and even had a part in the 1960 John Wayne film, The Alamo. Like may artist-athletes, Arruza came out of retirement three times – the last time as a rejoneador or a bullfighter on horseback with a lance.
I wish I could make out the artist’s name in the lower left corner. I’ve used my magnifying glass but the signature is not legible -- another mystery. Maybe one of my readers can help here.
The other mystery is how this postcard became part of my collection. I do not remember my grandmother or any one else giving it to me or buying it. There is no post mark and the stamp has been removed rather indelicately. The card was mailed to a Jeff Malone of Livonia, Michigan.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This postcard of a mother and foal zebra was printed by the East African Wild Life Society. The society was formed in 1961. It is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and works to protect endangered and threatened species and habitats in East Africa. You can find the society's address and phone numbers here.
There are three species of zebra. The Grevy's zebra (the largest, which I think is pictured above) and the mountain zebra are endangered, according World Conservation Union. The plains zebra seems to be doing well. Trouble for the zebra comes from the typical suspects: diminishing ranges, loss of grazing habitat and access to water due to competition with herds of domestic livestock and irrigation. Another threat is uncontrolled tourism which tramples vegetation.
I like zebras. In fact, I will always be a zebra. Before you quit reading this blog, thinking it's composed by a loony bird, understand that I attended Wayne Memorial High School in Wayne, Michigan, and our mascot was the zebra. No kidding, folks. See here, if you don't believe me.
When I played football there I was a fighting zebra, even though our colors were blue and gold.
I always assumed that our blue and gold colors seemed out of sync with the black and white strips of the zebra. Yet, in looking at this card I see that the sky is blue and the ground is gold. Could it be that someone was thinking of the the zebra's habitat way back when as the debate over what our school colors should be? Perhaps.
Thinking back, I now realize being a zebra taught me how to endure the sling and arrows of outrageous adolescent fortune. There was even the joke where a kid from another school would pretend a terribly bad French accent and say, "How does it feel to be a zeee-bra."
Actually, it feels great. Dare to be different.
Help create habitat for zebras of all species.
On You Zebras!
Friday, September 4, 2009
I worked as a Humanities Department archivist at
This postcard is in pristine shape but the actual Roman fresco (nearly 2,000 years old) has cracks and other degradations. The fragment is from the First Century A.D. called Fresco with Woman and Deer. The caption on the back says the fragment is housed in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California. I have not had success locating it among their online archives, though I found another similar fresco with a women and swan here.