Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grizzly Bears

"Arcotophobia" is the term for "fear of bears", althought there is a lot of discussion as to whether it is a phobia.  Bears really are scary.  The term is not in, but it does show up elsewhere.

In any case, I think I have a bonafide case of arcotophobia.  As a kid, many of my nightmares involved bears coming into our house, and chasing me down the stairs and into the street.  Of course, as in all dreams like this, I tried to scream and no one helped.  At seven or eight, I read a Sports Illustrated article on a grizzly attack in Glacier National Park.  I was way too young to read that article. When I was 13 or 14 our family went camping deep in the Sierra Nevada, using horses and mules to get to our campsite.  At night, I was convinced every sound I heard was a bear, and when I had to go into the forest to go to the bathroom, well, you've never seen a girl pee so fast.  I don't think I slept much that week.

During my recent visit to Montana, there was a lot of talk about bears.  All I know is, I did NOT want to see one.  I've seen them in the wild, twice:  once in Yellowstone (don't even bring up the recent grizzly attack there) and once near Mt. Shasta, when a scrawny black bear crossed the road in front of our car, not 20 yards away.  (Is that bad luck, like black cats crossing in front of you?)

There's more than a little irony in all this.  My famlly and some of my friends call me "Mare Bear", my favorite stuffed animal was a Stieff bear, and my oldest son has a tattoo of a grizzly bear on his upper back.  Talk about being forced to confront one's fears!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Jackalope

I've just returned from a fast and furious road trip from San Francisco, CA to Missoula, Montana and back.  2200 miles in six days.  As my friend Evelyn (who traveled with me) and her Moroccan husband, Hassan, would say, "wow wow wow".

There were several highlights including touring the Botero exhibit at the Reno, Nevada art museum (alas, they had no postcards of Botero's work); winning $70 on the slots in Jackpot, Nevada (if you click on the link, you'll see a picture of the casino); attending two parties in Missoula, Montana - one for my friend's 60th birthday under a full moon, complete with an incredible performance by Dan Hicks playing with the Mission Mountain Wood Band; driving along the Salmon River (the river of no return) through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (spectacular);  visiting Crater Lake National Park (Crater Lake has the bluest water you've ever seen); staying with friends from high school, one in Genesee, Idaho and two in Bend, Oregon (always a treat); and last, but not least, finding a Jackalope postcard in Twin Falls, Idaho.

From the back of the postcard:  "The Fabulous Jackalope of North American.  Jackalopes are the rarest animals in North America.  A cross between a now extinct small deer and a species of rabbit, they are extremely shy and wild.  They possess the ability to mimic and their cries often sound human and tuneful.  Probably from hearing cowboy songs on lonely night watch.  None have ever been captured alive and this is a rare photo taken at their feeding grounds in the high country."  Not the best description of the Jackalope ever, but not bad.

 I particularly like the description from the Wiki: "... it is said to be a hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of "killer rabbit". Reportedly, jackalopes are extremely shy unless approached. Legend also has it that female jackalopes can be milked as they sleep belly up and that the milk can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes. It has also been said that the jackalope can convincingly imitate any sound, including the human voice. It uses this ability to elude pursuers, chiefly by using phrases such as "There he goes! That way!" It is said that a jackalope may be caught by putting a flask of whiskey out at night. The jackalope will drink its fill of whiskey and its intoxication will make it easier to hunt."

It's Postcard Friendship Friday, and if any of my fellow postcard people would like a jackalope postcard, let me know.  I have a few extra.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toyota Bling Advertising

Here's a postcard ad for the Toyota Rav4 from 2001.  Not quite a grill, but pretty darn close to the concept. 

This ad reminds me of the hyphy song,   "Tell Me When to Go" by E-40, which was extremely popular among my sons and their friends a couple of years ago.  There are some great lines in this song, including "shake your dreads", "put your stunner shades on", and, relative to the postcard ad above, "let me see your grill". Each line had obvious but particular moves to perform, all of which were a lot of fun.  I was known as the mom to teach all the other moms the dance moves at the mother/son dance. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

College Series - North Georgia College


Now here's a college I hadn't heard of before one of my fellow postcard bloggers sent me this card: North Georgia College. Turns out North Georgia College (here's its official website) is "renowned for its ROTC and is designated as The Military College of Georgia and The Leadership Institution of Georgia. It is one of six senior military colleges in the United States."

Learn something new every day!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Mom's 80th Birthday

Today is my mom's 80th birthday.  This isn't a postcard; it's a picture of her in April, in Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain.  As my nephew said, she's least like an 80 year old of any 80 year old he knows. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I'm the luckiest daughter in the world to have a mom like you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

College Series - University of Washington

Haven't posted any colleges or universities lately, so here's one from The University of Washington, home of the Huskies. This card has to be from 1950 or earlier, given that the current stadium has two roofs (see here) and the second roof was added in 1950. 

It's been a very busy month, and I confess to feeling liberated from my commitment to post every day. I haven't posted since Monday of this week and miss it, and don't want to get out of the habit. I think the Mystery Sender is feeling the same way, as the back of this card (sent by the Mystery Sender) says "More often lately I see it's the end of the day and time to rush off a card.  Been out of the loop for a few days and don't want to miss another.  Peace."  I may not have mentioned before that the Mystery Sender always signs the cards with "Peace."

Today is Postcard Friendship Friday, and you can see a variety of postcard blogs by clicking here.  A couple weeks ago on a Friday, I posted a series of cards from a young man who was trying to get a job at my company.  If you missed it or missed the comments, this post got quite a lot of response.  In fact, there is a comment from the sender of the series of cards himself.    Check it out here.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Love this old picture of a Hawaiian luau, circa 1963.  At some point, this song must have been sung:

The Hukilau Song

Oh we're going to a Hukilau
A huki huki huki huki Hukilau
Everybody loves the Hukilau
Where the laulau is the kaukau at the lû`au

We throw our nets out into the sea
And all the `ama`ama come a-swimming to me
Oh, we're going to a Hukilau
A huki huki huki Hukilau

What a beautiful day for fishing
That old Hawaiian way
Where the Hukilau nets are swishing
Down in old Lâ`ie bay

Sunday, July 18, 2010


My friend Julie travels to the most exotic places, and has been very generous over the years in sending me postcards from most of them.  This postcard she sent from Mongolia captures my vision of what Mongolia must look like:  small bands of nomadic camps in a vast expanse of barren land.

Turns out Mongolia is the second most sparsely populated independent country in the world, after Greenland, characterized by vast steppes (definition of "steppes":  region characterised by grassland plain without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes), mountains in the north and west, and the Gobi Desert in the South.

Just the name "Mongolia" conjurs up images of Genghis Khan, the silk road, and yurts.  It is a second tier "bucket list" place for me.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tavira, Portugal

When I was traveling in Spain and Portugal in April, we rented a car and drove through the southwestern corner of Spain, along the Algarve in Portugal, and up through the Alentejo to Lisbon.  We stopped one afternoon for coffee in Tavira, an old Roman town in the southeastern corner of Portugal. We weren't there at quite the time of day shown in the postcard, but not much earlier, and we had coffee at a cafe just a few steps from this bridge.  It was quiet and uncrowded - the perfect spot for a brief respite.  By all accounts, once the summer season commences the town is packed with vacationers from all over Europe, like the rest of the Algarve.

One event the Portuguese continually referenced was the earthquake of 1755.  From the Wiki on Tavira: "Like most of the Algarve its buildings were virtually all destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. This earthquake is thought to have reached a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale and caused extensive damage throughout the Algarve due to shockwaves and tsunamis. The earthquake is referred to as the Lisbon Earthquake due to its terrible effects on the capital city, although the epicentre was some 200 km west-southwest...."

Whenever I drive through a small town like this, both in and outside the US, my mind wanders:  What are the people like who live here?  What is it like to live so isolated from a big city?  What would my life be like, if I lived here? Even a stay of a few days cannot provide answers to these questions.   I am fascinated by the history, whether long ago (the vast extent of the Roman Empire, the Moors' impact and influence on the Iberian Peninsula, the devastation of the earthquake of 1755) or more recent (the Estado Novo of Salazar), and intrigued by how the addition of incremental bits of history adds a level of perspective and understanding to my existing knowledge.  At the same time, I am often amazed  at my ignorance. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Michele!

Today is my friend Michele's birthday.  The first time we celebrated her birthday together was at a slumber party at her house in 4th grade;  we will celebrate her birthday together again this year in mid-August.   Pretty amazing to have been friends with somebody for almost 50 years.  Our mothers have told us that we giggle together now exactly the same way we did in grammar school.  Our sense of humor hasn't seemed to change much over all this time.

These postcards feature some of her early illustrations; her more current portfolio is here.  Not only is Michele a talented illustrator, graphic designer, painter and singer, she's also pretty good at being a friend.

Happy Birthday, Michele!  Here's to celebrating many more years together.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Author Series VI - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathanial Hawthorne, of The Scarlet Letter and The House of Green Gables fame, practiced transcendentalism but his writing is considered part of the "dark romanticism" subgenre of literature.   I was not an English major long enough to get to a sophisticated level of genre understanding in American literature, but the different approaches of dark romanticism  compared to transcendentalism is pretty interesting, and I imagine reflects entire generations of conflicting viewpoints within American society.  From the Wiki,
Dark Romantics present individuals as prone to sin and self-destruction, not as inherently possessing divinity and wisdom. G.R. Thompson describes this disagreement, stating while Transcendental thought conceived of a world in which divinity was imminent, "the Dark Romantics adapted images of anthropomorphized evil in the form of Satan, devils, ghosts . . . vampires, and ghouls". Secondly, while both groups believe nature is a deeply spiritual force, Dark Romanticism views it in a much more sinister light than does Transcendentalism, which sees nature as a divine and universal organic mediator. For these Dark Romantics, the natural world is dark, decaying, and mysterious; when it does reveal truth to man, its revelations are evil and hellish. Finally, whereas Transcendentalists advocate social reform when appropriate, works of Dark Romanticism frequently show individuals failing in their attempts to make changes for the better.

I wonder if every high school freshman still has to read The Scarlett Letter? Its pessimistic view of human foibles had to have had a lasting impact on us all.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bourbon/Whiskey IV

Seemed appropriate to post this postcard from Labrot & Graham Distillery as an add-on to the bourbon series, especially immediately on the heels of a Churchill Downs posting, as, according to my mom "If you want to impress your friends at a Derby party, serve Woodford Reserve Bourbon from this plant."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Horse Racing Venues - IV

A month ago, I posted a short series on racetracks, including one in which I wrote about Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.  This is such a better postcard shot, I decided to add it to the series.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marineland, III

The Wayfarers Chapel was not part of Marineland, but there are four pictures of this non-denominational glass church in the Marineland multi-fold folder.

I've been to this church at least twice.  Once I was there for a wedding although whose I can't for the life of me remember; the other (and first)  was when I "ditched" school, my senior year in high school.  I had forgotten all about that day until I saw these pictures.  My friends Michelle and Richard and I left at the lunch hour, and didn't return for our afternoon classes.  I can't remember why, but we ended up in Palos Verdes, overlooking Portuguese Bend, which is the last remaining undeveloped land on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Wayfarers Chapel must be nearby as we stopped and walked around its grounds.  As I recall, the area around the chapel was a lot more developed than the picture in the lower right would indicate.

Surprising that in a 12-picture fold out postcard from Marineland (one side clearly says "Greetings from Marineland of the Pacific"), seven of the pictures are not of Marineland.  A closer look at the address side shows the "smaller print":  "World Famous Marineland of the Pacific, California and the Beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula".  [See first Marinland post, here.]  Well, there you go.  I wonder if this was a bit of a marketing tool for all of Palos Verdes?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Marineland, II

Two more cards from the multi-card Marineland postcard from yesterday, with views from Marineland and Palos Verdes looking north toward Wilmington and Redondo Beach.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't look like this any longer.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Here's another blast from a So Cal past - Marineland

From the Marineland of the Pacific Historical Society website  (MOTPHS, as they refer to themselves):  In August, 1954, Marineland of the Pacific opened its doors to the public for the first time. Located at the tip of the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, California, it was the largest oceanarium in the world. Five million dollars were invested in the project to make it the most unusual cultural, educational and entertainment center on the Pacific Coast.

I remember spending what seemed like an entire day here at least once, as a litte kid, and this fold out postcard conjures up some old feelings of excitement and wonder.  Check it out:

There appears to have been some controversy around its closure, although it was probably just out marketed by Sea World in San Diego (where the orcas ended up), Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Use of Postcards in my Past

While sorting my postcards over the weekend, I came across a series of postcards that had been sent to me when I was a big cheese at an ad agency, from a young man just out of college who was desperate to get into advertising.  I liked him a lot, thought he would be a fantastic account executive, and would have given him a job on the spot, had I had one at the time.  However, any position he might be hired for was working for somebody who worked for somebody who worked for somebody who worked for me, and all I could to was serve him up as a candidate.  As I recall, he came in second three times, which was, understandably, increasingly frustrating for him.

I had suggested to him when he first interviewed that he send me postcards as a way to keep himself "top of mind" if and when an available and appropriate for him position arose.  He did just that. 

Below are the postcards he wrote, the pictures almost irrelevant, the messages transitioning from frustration to desperation and at last to victory.  With every card and every message he reinforced why he was a great candidate - clever messages, quotations from a range of literary figures or references to contemporary culture, and a variety of types of cards sent.

He was ultimately hired by an ad agency, although not mine and has been successful as an advertising and marketing professional since he wrote the last card.  Told you so!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Leather Postcards

A few more of the leather postcards, dating from 1906-1908.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Leather Postcards

Leather postcards!  From my friend Debra's collection, all postmarked between 1906 and 1908.  These cards seem to tell a story, from first love to hearbreak, if I could just get them posted in the correct order.  Or perhaps they can be ordered to tell a different story, each time.

You try.