Friday, November 30, 2012


This week I received 2 postcards from Chicago, but unfortunately, neither of them were of the city itself. Disappointing, but then, how were the senders to know that Chicago is in my top three favourite cities of the world I have never actually been to see? The Postcrossers read the clues in my profile and sent along very nice art cards, but I am hoping for some more Chicago Architecture one day. In the meantime, I do have these art colored cards of the one of the largest fountains in the world. Each one shows the fountain from a different angle and all were unsent cards.
All are from the Max Rigot Selling Co. for Postcard Friendship Friday

The Buckingham Fountain, designed by noted Chicago architect and city planner, Edward H Bennett, was built in 1927 and stands as the centrepiece of Grant Park. Although modelled after the Latona Fountain at Versailles, it was designed to symbolize Lake Michigan through its impressive water displays

The major display, which uses up to 15,000 gallons of water through 93 spouts, sprays water up 150 feet from the ground and occurs every hour for 20 minutes, from April to October.
At night, there is a choreographed show with lights and music.

It seems the Buckinghams were a very wealthy family from their financial interests and investments in steel, banking and real estate. And all of them had personal interests and investments in art, which the longest surviving member who became known as "Chicago's Grandest Spinster", donated to the Art Institute upon the deaths, in turn, of her mother, sister and brother. It was for her brother, Clarence, that she donated one million dollars to have this memorial fountain built and maintained. Clarence Buckingham was a trustee and former director of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as an Asian art collector.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

100 shades of grey

The front of this card I find a little bland, a little ... grey. It shows the 'coveted cup' named after the 4th Earl Grey, and Governor General of Canada from 1904-1911 who commissioned the trophy in 1909.
The Grey Cup is both the name of the trophy and the championship game 
(between the winners of the east and west division playoffs)

The trophy has a silver chalice attached to a large base on which the names of all winning teams, players and executives are engraved. In 1947 a fire destroyed the clubhouse of the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club and many of the trophies and artifacts in the clubhouse melted or were damaged beyond repair but the Grey Cup survived by catching onto a nail when the shelf upon which it sat collapsed. The trophy has been broken on four other occasions: in 1978, when it was dropped by celebrating Edmonton Eskimos players; in 1987, when an Eskimos player sat on it; in 1993, when another Eskimos player head-butted it; and finally in 2006, when the trophy broke away from its base as the BC Lions celebrated their victory. The CFL commissioned a replica of the trophy in 2008.

After the 2012 Grey Cup game the trophy will run out of room for any more names and the base will be redesigned but will remain similar in shape to its current design.
This prepaid card features the Grey Cup on one side and the stamp shows the Cup with two players showing old and new uniforms.

The One Hundredth Grey Cup will be played this afternoon in Toronto, which may seem an odd choice as Toronto is not exactly a football loving town. But the first Grey Cup was held in TO. There have been weeklong festivities celebrating this 100th anniversary. And the fact that the Toronto Argonauts will be playing at home against the Calgary Stampeders is extra sweet for those who care about such things.

The stamps (valued at 61¢) feature the logos of the eight teams in the CFL
the top row represents the western division: British Columbia, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan
the bottom row represents the eastern division: Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal 
the teams second from right on each row are paying in Sunday's game
Stamps vs Argos


update: the Toronto Argonauts won and the cup was once again broken. 
this time one of the handle was broken off during the celebrations.

Friday, November 23, 2012

cross border

Inspired by the American insanity that is Black Friday, 
where now Canada's retailers have decided to follow along 
and offer sales to try and stem the flow of cross border shopping, 
today's postcard shows one of the bridges between the US and Canada

The Rainbow Bridge connecting Niagara Falls ON to Niagara Falls NY

Officially opened in 1941, it replaced the earlier Honeymoon Bridge. For anyone who likes stats, the deck is 202 feet above the water and the approaches measure 1,450 feet long with the span being 950 feet. There are two 22' wide roadways separated by a four' wide median with a ten' wide sidewalk along the south side of the bridge facing the Falls. Walking across the bridge gives the best views of The Falls, plus you can have your picture taken as you straddle the international boundary line. It is 50¢ to walk or cycle across or $3.50 to drive. 
The bridge is about 500 yds from the American Falls (the Horseshoe Falls is the one further back)
The Maid of the Mist is another way to get up close and personal with The Falls. Originally a ferry service, they have been in operation in the Niagara River since 1846 and were steamers until 1955 when they were replaced after a fire destroyed the two wooden boats.
Dear Folks,
Seemed as though it was useless to wait for a Honeymoon to get to Niagara Falls, so Helen and I came to look at it. most interesting because Helen is interested in the geology and can explain all the formations. We're waiting for dark for the lights to come on and then will journey on.
Jun 21 was a Monday in 1948, so it seems they waited until they had journeyed on toward Rochester where Holley is located to buy the stamp and mail the postcard.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

grave post - White

In Memory of
John White Esq
Attorney General 
Upper Canada
died at York
4 January, 1800

Buried in St James Cemetery in Toronto
What this gravestone doesn't mention is that John White was killed in a duel

Born in 1761 in Middlesex, England, Mr White was educated at the Inner Temple in London. After being called to the bar in 1785, he had an unsuccessful law practice in Jamaica before returning to England. Still unsuccessful, he was contemplating a new career as a clergyman when a friend from law school recommended his appointment as attorney general in Upper Canada. In 1792 he was in Kingston for a short time until the government moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake (then known as Newark) then on to York (Toronto) in 1797 when the government again changed locations. By then his wife, Marianne, had joined him with their three children, but it was not a successful reunion and she returned to England with their daughter in 1799. But not before getting into a catfight with a certain Mrs Small. 

Mrs Small did not think much of the 'notoriously quarrelsome' Mrs White and snubbed her at an assembly. Mrs White apparently did not think much of Mrs Small's virtue and said as much to a Mr Smith. Perhaps she did not like that Mrs Small's virtue did not stop her from having a fling with Mr White. She already did not think much of Mr White himself, as they had been estranged for several years before she met up with him in York. The scandalous remarks got out into society, as these things do in a small provincial town. Mr Small now did not think much of Mr White who could not control his wife's words (or apparently his own wife's virtue) and challenged him to a duel. Mr Small was charged with murder after Mr White succumbed to his wounds 36 hours after being shot, but was acquitted.
In the end, Mr White would be remembered more for his death than his career, which included the formation of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and Mr Small's reputation would be ruined and his career overshadowed by the duel.

see more notorious graves at Taphophile Tragics at its new home, hosted by Marble Towns

Monday, November 19, 2012


It was while I watching Marketplace the other night, the consumers affairs type show with the episode  on the dirty insides of hotels. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something blurry, but being comfortably ensconced on the chesterfield, I wasn't about to bother investigating. Anyway, it didn't matter, because a couple minutes later the blur returned. Then I saw it run out from under the computer desk with an errant piece of popcorn and return to the kitchen. It seems I have a mouse.

I was surprisingly very calm about this discovery, then again I am not prone to being afraid of mice. Not like I am with something of the insect or arachnid species. That would make me involuntarily squeal. Seriously, I would squeal. It is slightly embarrassing. I say slightly, because I am usually too paralytic with frozen fear to care.

But a mouse, while not exactly welcome, and quite annoying, does not instil fear in me.  I immediately got up and placed some more popcorn by the balcony door which, because it was a warm-ish night, was open. But the wee mousie never reappeared. And the popcorn was still there in the morning when I got up. Maybe he decided he didn't like Smartfood® after all. He probably wouldn't have gone outside, either. Perhaps he would guess that I would slam the door shut behind him.

Today, I spent 2 hours clearing out the entire cupboard space under the counter. I didn't see much evidence of him, but where else would he hide if not under the sink? Isn't that the usual place of entry? I have lived with such creatures before and ever since I've continued with the habit of putting everything from cereal and crackers to pastas and spices in glass jars. But in the 15 years I've lived in this apartment, this is the first mouse to venture into my living space and steal my Smartfood®.

It may be time to get that new cat.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Stamps - geology

I couldn't believe how few geological themed stamps I have in my collection for this week's Sunday Stamps
I was about to admit defeat and just post a picture of a volcano, which I was sure would be featured on a Japanese stamp somewhere, when I stumbled upon this stamp from South Africa. 
It was one of a series of three issued in 1966 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of RSA. 
(I also have another one that is written in English, but this Africaans one has the least smudged cancellation mark)

Diamonds are close enough, I thought....

The discovery of diamonds in 1866 and their large-scale exploitation beginning in 1870, in the Kimberley area, initiated the transformation of South Africa from an agriculture-based economy to a mining- and industry-based one. The diamond rush, which made South Africa the world’s dominant producer of diamonds for 70 years, established a local need for technology and specialized equipment, thereby triggering the development of supporting industries, while the money it generated created the first pool of capital in the country. 

South Africa continues to produce significant quantities of mainly high-quality gem diamonds annually, and it ranks fifth overall in terms of world production. SA is the only country in the world where diamonds are extracted from both kimberlite pipes and dykes or fissures, as well as from both onshore and offshore (marine) alluvial deposits.

from the GeoTimes - you can read much more about South Africa's Geological Gifts here 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

hearty good wishes

 for Postcards Friendship Friday, a card declaring true friendship
this type of poetry is not to my taste 
and I am not sure that sailboats, 
dependent on the fickle wind, 
is a perfect image of steady friendship and trust.

I wonder what occasion one might send this card to celebrate?
the back has an elaborately pretty art nouveau design with a variety of fonts  

Individuality is the touch that tells
Prince Message Cards (Buffalo NY)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Stamps - Lincoln

Inspired by the opening of the new film Lincoln
I thought I would share his image I found on these stamps from Rwanda.
In Canada the only non Canadian to appear on a stamp would be the reigning monarch - and apparently her heirs (as in the case of the Royal Wedding)

and these stamps from Togo celebrating 100 years of the end of slavery.

interestingly, these stamps have a "in memory of John F Kennedy 1917-1963'
which perhaps means that the re-issues were after November 1963.

there are more stamps here

Friday, November 9, 2012


a "colourpicture" linen postcard of the Peace Tower
as bonus, we get a Mountie in scarlet!

The Peace Tower is a bell and clock tower that sits in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings. 
It is also home to the Memorial Chamber directly above the porte-cochere, with stained glass windows and various other features illustrating Canada's war record such as the brass plates made from spent shell casings found on battlefields with the name of each of Canada's major conflicts during the First World War. The stone walls were originally to have been inscribed with the names of all Canada's servicemen and women who had died during the First World War but without enough space for all 66,000 names, it was later decided to place Books of Remembrance there instead.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

light and dark

It was a day to be outside. The sun was shining, there was not a cloud in the sky and the air was a refreshing 8 or 9 degrees. So off I went to Oakville, to wander the streets and have a coffee and maybe buy something. It is about a 15 minute drive to downtown Oakville from downtown Burlington where I live, but the two towns are very different. For one thing Oakville is not ruining their downtown and waterfront tearing down single family homes and replacing them with 3-storey townhomes and  multi storey condos. But I digress.

I spent most of this sunny afternoon inside bookshops and antique stores and discovered an art exhibit that needed exploring. The annual World of Threads had just opened and that required more time spent indoors... though I did get to walk between the venues and take advantage of the fresh air and kick a few fallen leaves. Then I somehow spent $5.75 on a coffee and pastry. One really should learn to ask the prices first, but it was a non-descript, almost bare, bakery so one apparently expected a little less of it. To be fair, the spinach and cream cheese pastry was very good. Another difference between our towns is the lack of patios in Oakville, though I guess it wasn't quite warm enough for that.

I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Then very quickly it got darker and it felt like I should be heading home because everything would be closing. Except that it was only 4:30.

This is the one thing I do not like about the seasons that are not spring or summer.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday Stamps - water

When I went to the stamp show a couple of weeks ago, I ended up buying one of those books that some collectors used to have with pages of stamp pictures that you added your own stamp to as your collection grew
and came away with about 1800 stamps all from before the 1970s and several from countries that no longer exist or have changed name (perhaps a few times) I haven't figured out what to do with them yet - the binder is massive and there are several empty pages.

so I searched through it for something water themed and found this example with this stamp from Guinea in West Africa celebrating the moon landing in 1969 - in English and French!

a stamp from 1963 of the Gougah Waterfall in Da Lat which is apparently Vietnam's premier honeymoon spot, though it seems "Hydropower plants and rampant deforestation appear to have doomed many popular waterfalls".  I found a few travel blog posts that expressed disappointment when they finally found these waterfalls. as for the stamp, I find the details a bit fuzzy and it is perhaps a little on the dark side.

and in memory of the recent floods from Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy and Typhoon Son-Tinh (Ofel),
this Flood rescue stamp issued in in the UK Sept 2009

see more water at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Friday, November 2, 2012

all things bright

It has been rainy and overcast for several weeks now. Dull and Dreary.
So I was pleased to find these overly bright prepaid postcards at the post office. I still haven't figured out how each outlet decides whether to stock such cards, and every one I have come across have had different ones, which makes the search that much more fun.

in addition, I found this postcard from 1980 at the postcard show I went to last month.
I loved the bright colours, and the unopened bud at the top.
by artist Willyum Rowe

Here's a bouquet of flowers for you. Susan bought this card & others in Boston.
Polly is not coming home this weekend. First she's missed in 6 mos. She will be working at her block assoc. P_____ Fair.
Did you see Jasper John's flag painting that the Whitney just bought for $1 million?!
Love to auntie, from Billie

this last comment had a whiff of the scandalous to it, so I had to look up the painting (see link here)
at the time, it was the highest amount ever paid for a work of art from a living artist.

then I had to look up Hornell, NY as the card was addressed to a M E Sims at
Green Acres 51 
Hornell NY 14843
there is a Green Acres Mobile Home Park in Hornell established in 1965. then with a little more sleuthing (some might call it nosiness) I discovered a Gertrude Sims Callaghan obituary (just to tie in my postcards and gravestones) who was for "many years hostess at the Hornell Country Club".  she died at age 98 in 2000 leaving behind daughters Bonnie and Billie and was "predeceased by a sister, Mary Elizabeth Sims of Hornell". a little more nosiness sleuthing and I discovered that Billie's husband recently passed on at age 87.

I feel I've had a rather productive day! this is the most information I have ever found from a random postcard picked up in equal parts because of the pretty picture and the address. the card is that much more meaningful now.

If it is dreary where you are, I hope these flowers brought a little brightness to your day.