Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vancouver, Canada - Olympic Memorabilia

I love to play Scrabble, but no one in my house will play with me, which means I don't get to do so as often as I'd like.  That changed when I started playing Scrabble on Facebook. There are two players with whom I've always got a game going, one in Vancouver, Canada and one in Louisiana.  Both are pretty good, and we're evenly matched.  Sometimes we play a word every couple of days, sometimes a word a day, sometimes a couple of words a day. 

[Side bar:  If you like Scrabble and have never read the book Word Freak, I highly recommend you check it out.  It is about competitive Scrabble and the year in the life of a journalist as he penetrated this wacky world.  The scores of professional players are far beyond anything I've ever even approached.  My highest score ever was 469; my biggest word score 88.  Professional players regularly score in the 700s and above.]

Oops, I digress.  Back to postcards.

When the Winter Olympics were on, I asked my Vancouver Scrabble buddy to send me an Olympic postcard.  And she did!  Not one, but four.  (Thanks, Kathie!)  She's pretty funny and I think if we ever have a chance to meet in the off-line world, we would spend a lot of time laughing.  Each of the cards has a funny message on it, but my favorite is that she signs herself as "the polite and friendly Canuck" on each one, knowing full well that this is how the world press kept referring to Canadians during the Olympic Games.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brisbane, Australia

A postcard received from Brisbane, Australia, through Postcrossing

I particularly like the message on the back.  On my Postcrossing profile, I mention that I feel "lucky to live in San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, at least in my opinion".  My correspondent from Brisbane obviously feels the same about his/her city, and writes "The same as you, I feel lucky to live in Brisbane, 'of the most beautiful cities in the world, at least in my opinion'.  HAHA"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Collecting Postcards

One of the nice things about having a postcard blog is the support I get from my friends, acquaintances, and even strangers.

This postcard was created and then sent to me by my friend Jack, just because.  It is a picture of the flagpole at their house in Bethany Beach, Delaware, where he and Lorry and various members of their family and some of their luckier and/or more persistent friends spend the summer.  I love that they have found a way to "rep their hood", by flying the California flag every day.  Thanks, Jack!

Some friends bring me postcards from their travels (thanks, Millie!) , and one friend cleaned out his office and has sent me stacks and stacks of postcards (thanks, Steve!).  I've exchanged postcards with a couple of fellow postcard bloggers (thanks, Chris!), as well.

I have received postcards from a variety of Facebook reaquaintances (thanks, Chuck!) as well as from a woman I play on-line Scrabble with who I met on Facebook (thanks, Kathy!). 

Then there's the infamous "Mystery Sender" who continues to send a postcard almost every day (here's the most recent posting), except that the oft mentioned "banana" has never shown up.  Thanks, again, Mystery Sender!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

I can't resist two more postings about Mexico, and after that I promise I'll move on.

Both of these postcards were sent from Isla Mujeres, a municipality in the state of Quintana Roo.  This municipality includes an island by the same name off the coast of the Yucatan, a few miles north of Cancun.  I visited this island in 1978, and these postcards were sent from there in 1980.  Development of Cancun didn't even begin until 1970, and it was nothing like the huge tourist destination it is today.

Isla Mujeres isn't quite the same as it was back in 1978.  At that time, the streets were sand, there were no cars and only a few hotels and restaurants.  I remember getting a ride in a relatively small launch from Puerto Juarez to the island, arriving at the island on a dock like the one on the postcard to the right, and staying in a hostel type place with some other travelers.  It was our first time really meeting "gringo trail" travelers, as prior to our trip to Isla Mujeres, we'd been staying with a family in Mexico City.  We were enthralled by the tales told, the distances traveled, the low cost of eating, sleeping and getting around.  We spent a few idyllic days here before heading off to Guatemala.

In all the times I've been to the Yucatan peninsula, I've never gone back to Isla Mujeres.  Somehow, it's one place which I haven't wanted to see in its current iteration.  However, I might change my mind.  It's just north of Isla Mujeres where you can snorkle with whale sharks June through August.  Bucket list!!!!!! - maybe even top five bucket list contender.  Check it out here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mexico City, Distrito Federal

Mexico City is in the Distrito Federal, which is pretty much like the District of Columbia in the US.  Wikipedia describes it as follows:  "Mexico City is also known as the Federal District (Distrito Federal), a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states in particular. Instead, it belongs to the federation."  I wrote a little yesterday about the city ("Mexico City is a bustling, busy, dirty city, either the third or sixth largest urban agglomeration in the world, after Tokyo, Delhi, Sao Paolo, and Mumbai", but wanted to say a bit more.

The postcard above shows the National Palace and the Plaza de la Constitucion, often referred to as "Zocalo", which has come to mean center of town in many cities in Mexico. 

It is from the balcony above the central doorway (directly below large Mexican flat in the postcard) that the president of Mexico leads "el grito".  Wikipedia describes it well:  Above the central doorway, facing the Zócalo, is the main balcony where just before 11pm on September 15, the president of Mexico gives the Grito de Dolores, in a ceremony to commemorate Mexican Independence.   What Wikipedia doesn't say is that "el grito" is made up of the president yelling "Viva", and the throngs of people (the Zocalo is filled to capacity, with up to half a million people attending) responding "Mexico".  The Taco Bell commercials featuring the chihuahua from several years ago had a spot that had the chihuahua leading "el grito".  It was not received particularly well by Mexican-Americans.  It is also commonly thought in the US that Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is Mexican indendence day, when in fact it is September 15.  Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican' army's  victory over the French in 1862.

Another interesting bit of information about the National Palace is that the site has been "a palace for the ruling class of Mexico since the Aztec empire, and much of the current palace's building materials are from the original one that belonged to Moctezuma II.   According to legend, the gods had advised the Aztecs that the place where they should establish their city was to be identified when they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear tree, devouring a serpent. They saw this mythical eagle on a marshy lake that is now the zócalo or main plaza in Mexico City.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, in the state of Mexico in the country of Mexico, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most visited places in all of Mexico.  My family and I spent Good Friday here in 1998.

We had arrived in Mexico City the night before, on our way to a spring vacation in the Yucatan.  Mexico City is a bustling, busy, dirty city, either the third or sixth largest urban agglomeration in the world, after Tokyo, Delhi, Sao Paolo, and Mumbai, and when we arrived in the late afternoon it was packed with cars and people.  However, when we awoke Friday morning, everything felt eerily quiet. We looked out the hotel room window and saw a city that was almost completely empty - of people, of cars, of busses, everything.  It was unbelievable.  Who would think a city could shut down and all the people disappear overnight like that? But of course!  Good Friday in a predominantly Catholic Country. [Side note:  Speaking of Good Friday in a predominantly Catholic country, I read in the paper today that this coming Good Friday (next Friday), the pubs in Ireland will be open for the first time ever on a Good Friday, due to a giant rugby tournament, and the influx of thousands of thirsty rugby players and fans.  This struck me as being pretty funny.]

Sometimes you just get lucky.  We hired a driver to take us out to Teotihuacan, and when we arrived, saw throngs of people climbing the stairs of the Pyramid of the Sun.  We joined in, happening to reach the top of the pyramid at high noon.  There must have been a hundred people or more on top of the pyramid (it's really big), and every one of them had their hands raised over their heads and their faces turned to the sun, paying homage on Good Friday, I suppose.  "When in Rome," as they say, so the kids and I joined  in.  It felt tribal and spiritual and mystical, all at once, and we were a bit giddy afterwards.

If you get a chance, click on the link to the wiki on Teotihuacan.  The site is huge, with two pyramids (besides the Pyramid of the Sun, seen in the postcard on the left, is the Pyramid of the Moon, which can be seen in the far distance on postcards on the right) and a main boulevard called "Avenue of the Dead".  There's lot that isn't known about the place including who the people were who lived here, in a city estimated to have a population of up to 250,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Finally, it's Postcard Friendship Friday, with multiple postcard bloggers participating.  Check it out!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Museo de Antropologia, Mexico City

Have you ever been to the Museo de Antropologia in Mexico City?  It is an incredible place.  Here are two postcards  sent from there, one sent from the first time I was in Mexico City and just beginning my travels through Latin America, and the other sent when I took my kids to Mexico City 20 years later.

The first postcard reminded me that when I left to travel in Latin America, my family put up a large map of Latin American in the breakfast room.  When they received a postcard from me, they would put pins in every place I mentioned on the postcard, thus the listing:  Puebla, Cholula, Merida, Cuernavaca, Uxmal.  Through these pins, they were able to track my travels.

The second postcard was from a trip to Mexico with the kids.  Even though we were on our way to Akumal, on the beach in the Yucatan, I wanted them to know that Mexico isn't just beaches.  I think they got the message.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Long day, so just two different types of postcards from Mexico.  I like how this type of postcard looks, with the large white border, but then end up thinking the picture is too small.  What do you think?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guanajuato, Guanajuato

Guanajuato is one of those names that just rolls through one's mouth - it's fun to say out loud.  Stop for a minute and try it:  "Guan" (pronounced like the bird droppings, "guano", but with a little softer "g" and a little more fricative), "a" (short "a", not long "a"), "juato" (pronounced like "water", but with an "o" not an "er" at the end).  Guanajuato!  It's Guanajuato, Guanajuato, because it's both the name of a city and the name of a state in Mexico.

At one point, I had to learn the capitals of all the states in Mexico.  Guanajuato, Guanajuato was one of the easier ones to remember.

These postcards were sent to me by a boyfriend in college who was studying Spanish in Mexico for a few weeks one summer.  They show the accidental mummies of Guanajuato.  The message on the back of the postcard on the left is pretty funny: 
"I thought you would like to see the woman I've been dating down here in Mexico.  As you can tell, she is on a rather drastic crash diet; this is the reason why her mouth is open, she is terribly hungry."

In any case, the mummies are called "accidental" because they were not deliberately mummified - it was simply a combination of the altitude and the lack of humidity that transformed these bodies. 

The mummies are in a museum called (not surprisingly) "Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato".  There is traveling exhibition of 100 of these mummies on tour in the US right now.

Besides the mummies, Guanajuato is the home state of Diego Rivera (artist) and Vicente Fox (former president of Mexico).  Guanajuato, the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is in the state of Yucatan, in Mexico. It is listed as one of the new seven wonders of the world.  1500 years old, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the most famous of all the Mayan ruins.

The postcard above shows El Castillo ("The Castle"), the iconic image of Chichen Itza. However, the ruins are also known for the famous ball court (if you lost the game, you lost your life) and the Cenote Sagrado, where archaelogists have discovered bones that bear the tell tale signs of human sacrifice.  (Remember the movie "Apocalypto"?)

I visited Chichen Itza in the late 70s. We stayed in the one hotel nearby, which not only wasn't that near but also promised a pool which turned out to be filled with slimy green water.  However, there weren't tons of visitors if you got there before any tour busses arrived and we were able to climb up and down El Castillo.  I remember that those stairs were pretty steep,  and in 2006 a tourist feel down them and died.  For that reason as well as the impact of being loved to death (too many people), these days visitors are permitted to wander the grounds only.

Saturday was the Vernal Equinox, and on that day in the late afternoon, the shadow of the sun creates the image of a giant serpent moving down the steps of El Castillo (there are serpent heads on either sides of the stairs at the bottom of the structure).  Thousands of people gather to see this phenomenon.  Note the difference in numbers of people in the postcard below:

Elton John is peforming at Chichen Itza on April 3 this year.  It will be the third concert by a global mega star at the ruins, and is somewhat controversial.  The concert is sold out and I imagine the crowds will be as bad, if not worse, than those in the postcard above.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Manzanillo, Mexico

My friend just came back from Mexico and brought me this postcard from Manzanillo.  I haven't been to Manzanillo, but it's just 60 kilometers south of Barra de Navidad, where I  have been.  I took a bus there from Puerto Vallarta, and afterwards, a bus to Guadalajara to see the Orozco murals in the government palace.

I think I'll do a few days of Mexico postcards. I have a lot of them, having traveled there many times and to many parts.  The next couple of weeks will be pretty busy, with both working and getting ready to leave for Spain and Morocco, and I don't want to have to think too hard about what postcards to post!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mona Lisa Mask

Costume parties can be the funnest parties of all.  However, sometimes it's a challenge to come up with a good idea for what to wear.

Here's a postcard to keep around, just in case.  I particularly like the instructions on the back:  "Insert nose here".

Friday, March 19, 2010

Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Cananda, lies just off the coast of Maine.   It is the home of Roosevelt Campobello International Park, which includes the Roosevelt summer home, seen above.  This international park is the only international park (as opposed to national park) in the world, being jointly managed by both Canada and the US.

I am fascinated by the four eastern most provinces of Canada and hope to visit someday (my bucket list is geting pretty long).  I want to see the tide change in the Bay of Fundy, eat scallops in a seaside restaurant in Nova Scotia, ride a bike around Prince Edward Island, and hike in Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland Island.

This postcard was sent from my uncle to my grandmother, both of whom are long gone now.  When I found this card, I could hear his voice with a very specific intonation, saying "L.L. Bean".

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I hadn't finished the series of seven states before St. Patrick's Day intervened, so here's the last one of the series - Massachusetts.

As I may have mentioned before, I love the postcards that show an entire state.  In the case of this one, it shows not only towns but also the state bird, the Chicadee, and the state nickname, the Bay State.  On the back of this card is written the state motto:  "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty."  Appropriate motto for a state that figured so prominently in the American Revolution.

A visit to Boston, Massachusetts has to include time spent walking the "Freedom Trail", ending (or beginning, depending on your perspective) at the Bunker Hill Monument, seen in the postcard to the left.  American history really comes alive when you walk this trail, especially for somebody from California (me) which is pretty far removed from the original 13 colonies and all their incumbent history.

I used to travel frequently to Chelmsford, Massachusetts, about two hours north of Boston.  Usually, we flew in in the evening, drove to Chelmsford, got up early for meetings and drove back to catch the last flight back to San Francisco.  However, one time,  I drove my rental car to Rockport (home of the shoes), and stayed in the lovely inn to the leftjust for the night.  I was determined to see something of Massachusetts other than Boston and Chelmsford and the Interstate (93) that connected them, so I did.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A card celebrating to excess the "wearing of the green", mailed on March 17, 1911. It has a sufragette feel to it somehow, and I love that the woman has red hair.

There's a famous ballad, that appeals to the rebellious Irish in all of us:

"Oh Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's going round?

The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground!

No more St. Patrick's Day we'll keep; his color can't be seen,

For there's a cruel law agin' the wearing o' the Green!"

Don't forget to wear green today, or you'll be sure to get pinched.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Eve

No respectable St. Patrick's Day greeting is complete without some use of the shamrock. It's a registered trademark by the Government of Ireland, and is used in the names and logos of Irish pubs all over the world.  Legend has it that the shamrock was used by St. Patrick to illustrate the Holy Trinity, but as no mention of this has ever been found in any of his writings, many question its authenticity. 

Note:  While neither of these cards is dated, I have to assume they're from the same years as all the other cards in this collection - around 1910 or 1911.

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patrick's Day II

Two more St. Patrick's Day cards, the one on the right from 1911, the one on the left undated.

Both show the Old Weir Bridge in Killarney, Ireland. Killarney, County Kerry, is one of the most well-loved tourist destinations in Ireland and there are boat rides available that pass under the Old Weir Bridge, except when the waters are low when you have to get out of the boat and walk around the bridge to the other side. 

Check out the multiplicity of Irish icons on the card on the right:  the pipe, the harp, and shamrock.  A good site for information on these Irish symbols and more can be found here (you have to scroll down a bit to find the "Irish Symbols" listing).  More information than you ever knew existed about the legend of the shamrock can be found here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I was surprised I didn't have more postcards from Maryland, as I've spent a fair amount of time there, both with a friend in Baltimore and and friends in Silver Spring, just over the district line from Washington, DC.

From the back of this card: "The 'Star Spangled Banner' is an account of the emotions experienced by Francis Scott Key as he witnessed the attack on Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812. Key was inspired when he saw the flag, sewn at the Flag House in Baltimore by Mary Pickersgill, still flying over the fort at dawn after a long bombardment by the British fleet."

What I didn't know was that the "Star Spangled Banner" was originally a poem whose words were applied to the tune of a well-established and well-known English drinking song, the "Anacreontic Song". I also didn't know that the song actually has four verses, but it is only the first that is used as the US national anthem.

What I didn't know about Maryland is that its state motto is the only state motto in Italian (not Latin) and reads: "Fatti maschii, parole femine" which translates literally as "Manly deeds, womanly words", or perhaps, "Strong deeds, gentle words". Who knew?

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Lobsters ands lighthouses.  Oh, and the author Stephen King, one of my faves.  These are the things that spring to mind at the mention of the state of Maine.

A couple interesting facts about Maine:

     1.  It is the only state to have a name which is one syllable long.
     2.  The population of Maine is over 98% white.
     3.  The state drink is Moxie, one of the first mass produced soft drinks in the US.

Having never visited Maine, I have to go on the description of Edna St. Vincent Millay for how it must look, from her poem "Renascence":

     "All I could see from where I stood
      was three long mountains and a wood
      I turned and looked the other way
      and saw three islands in a bay"

Another postcard from Maine can be found here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

It's Postcard Friendship Friday, and the posting of postcards for St. Patrick's Day has begun, with the theme suggested by the event's new hostess.

Both of these cards were sent in 1911, and are part of my friend Debra's holiday postcard collection she got from her grandmother.

I had to look up the origins of St. Patrick's Day, and it turns out the Irish have been commemorating the day for over 1000 years.

This from  "St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage."

And so it could be said that St. Patrick's Day started as a way to get out of the restrictions of Lent, at least for a day! 

Also had to look up the significance of the harp, seen in both postcards.

From Wikipedia: "Until the end of the Middle Ages the Gaelic harp (the historical clarsach or Irish harp) was the highest status musical instrument of both Scotland and Ireland, and harpers were amongst the most prestigious cultural figures amongst Irish and Scottish kings and chiefs. In both countries, the harper enjoyed special rights and played a crucial part in ceremonial occasions such as coronation and poetic recital.  The main function of the Gaelic harp in medieval Scotland and Ireland seems to have been playing to accompany the recitation of bardic poetry in Gaelic or Irish.

And from Symbols of Ireland  "The harp has long been a symbol of Ireland. Perhaps the legends of it's magical powers comes from the time when the bards would sing and tell stories of famous events to the Irish kings and chiefs.  During the early 1500s, under the rule of Henry VIII, the harp was first depicted on Irish coins. That tradition is carried on today and the harp is also used for other official duties such as the Irish state seal, official documents and uniforms."

Finally, it's too bad metalic silver doesn't show well on-line, as both cards are actually metallic silver where they look grey.

Erin go bragh!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I know there is more to Louisiana than New Orleans - think bayous, and voodoo, and Cajuns, and a rich and colorful history, and the detective Dave Robicheaux in James Lee Burke's detective novels - but I only have postcards from New Orleans

This one, from my brother Lar, cracks me up.  The picture is great, but I particularly like the message:  "....been  here since Sunday night.  we got enough stamina for one last night...." That seems to pretty well sum up the Mardi Gras experience.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kentucky II

I've been to Kentucky three or four times.  The first time, I visited Shelbyville, Kentucky, where my grandfather grew up, about an hour outside of Louisville.  I was eighteen years old, and all my grandfather's sisters - my great aunts - were still alive. I remember having a really wonderful trip, spending time with a whole cast of relatives only a few of whom I'd met before, experiencing my first big summer thunderstorm, and feeling a sense of heralding from a place, a feeling that I'd never had before .  I still think of Kentucky as being a place that I am "from", in a blood line sense.   I was taken to lunch at Wakefield- Scearce Gallery, seen in the postcard to the left, which  houses one of the largest collections of English furniture, silver, limited edition porcelains and decorative accessories in the country.  It also sells traditional mint julep cups for about $500 each.  My 18-year old self didn't really get what all the fuss was about.   

 My next visit was with my grandmother, at the time in her 80s, while I was in my mid 20s. We visited Maysville, Kentucky, where she grew up.  We stopped to see the house she grew up in which had a huge flood wall in front of it; however, during her childhood there, the house looked directly out over the Ohio River.  We knocked on the front door, and the lady who lived there seemed to remember my grandmother and let us look inside, my grandmother pointing out where a rowboat had been tied to the banister during a huge flood.  After a few days, we drove from Maysville through Lexington (stopping in to visit a few horse farms), and on to Shelbyville.  While there, some cousins took me to Mammoth Caves.  

The last time I visited, our entire family went for one of our cousin's weddings.  This particular cousin, Jill, had visited all of the California cousins in California, and even stayed with us for a time in San Francisco.  The wedding was beautiful and fun and we loved being there as part of the family.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kentucky I

I'm going to have to take a couple of days to talk about Kentucky.  My grandparents on my mom's side were from Kentucky and I still have several second cousins there.  In fact, one of them reconnected with my first cousin and me via Facebook just a couple of days ago.  (Hey, LaMar!)

The only time I ever remember my grandfather drinking any alcohol was the Mint Julep he had every Kentucky Derby Day.  The silver tumbler was chilled, the mint growing around the tennis court picked, the sugar and water boiled into syrup - everything ready so that as "My Old Kentucky Home" played before first post, he could sip his perfect Mint Julep through red and white straws and sugar dipped mint.  Our family's Mint Julep recipe is slightly different than that in the postcard above - we crush the mint in the bottom of the cup and leave it there, we use sugar syrup instead of powdered sugar, and the mint leaves for garnish are dipped in sugar before being put in the silver cup next to the straws. 

I've been to two Super Bowls, the World Series, the 84 Olympics, the Final Four basketball tournament, and the Rose Bowl.  I've been to a variety of horse racing tracks.  I've sipped a few Mint Juleps.  But I've never sat in a box at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, wearing a fancy hat and sipping a mint julep.  Bucket list!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kansas (City, Missouri)

It is Kansas' turn, and the only postcard I have is Kansas City, Missouri.  Bummer!

I have been to Kansas City, Missouri before but can't remember whether I crossed the river into Kansas City, Kansas.  Interesting when you look at both Kansas City's on Wikipedia - Kansas City, Kansas gets short shrift.  Kansas City, Missouri gets credit for Kansas City bbq, Kansas City jazz, and Kansas City blues.  Kansas City, Kansas doesn't get credit for much of anything.  In fact, its entry is about half the size of its more prominent partner's.

The one time I visited Kansas City was for test commercials for the launch of KC (yep, Kansas City) Masterpiece Barbeque Sauce.  My hands appeared in one commercial, I did voice over for another, and in the third, I was in charge of props. KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce is now the number one selling premium bbq sauce in the country.   Dr. Dave, as he was called, was the pediatrician who came up with the original KC Masterpiece recipe, and subsequently sold it to Clorox in 1986.  In case that seems like a strange company to purchase a food product, Clorox also owns Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Time to start in on the next seven states in alphabetical order, beginning with Iowa.

Des Moines is the only place in Iowa I've visited, and that was, surprise surprise, on business several years back.  We were there to meet with Meredith Corporation about their first corporate ad campaign for all their media properties, which at the time were primarily magazines. Previously, all the individual media properties did their own advertsing campaigns.  I still have a coffee mug with the slogan and icon from that campaign: "If it has to do with home and family, it has to be in Meredith." Their positioning hasn't changed since then.

I remember being as impressed with the company and the people who worked for them as any company I've ever been exposed to.   They were very smart and very nice without being easy.  They also sent their corporate jet to San Francisco to pick up and fly seven of us to their Des Moines headquarters for a full briefing.  That was awesome, to say the least.

My other impressions of Iowa come from Radar in the television show Mash, whatever my dad told us from having spent a semester at Iowa State on a tennis scholarship, and my friends David and Adam, brothers who are from Iowa.  I hope if I ever make that road trip across the US, I drive through and spend some time in Iowa.  I just have this feeling it might be more interesting than it's made out to be.  And then again, maybe not.