Saturday/ a Great Britain stamp enigma

A little side benefit from buying stamps from sellers all over the world is that the senders sometimes paste whole sheets of stamps onto the envelope, instead of using a dreaded computer-generated black-and-white ‘stamp’ .

Why would the seller use these stamps from 30, 40 years ago, though?
He had an oversupply of stock?

Greetings Stamps. ‘Memories’ Set of 10
1992 (28 Jan.) Two phosphor bands
1592 (1st) multicoloured Flower Spray
1593 (1st) multicoloured Double Locket
1592 (1st) multicoloured Key
1592 (1st) multicoloured Model Car and Cigarette Cards
1592 (1st) multicoloured Compass and Map
1592 (1st) multicoloured Pocket Watch
1592 (1st) multicoloured 1854 1d. Red Stamp and Pen
1592 (1st) multicoloured Pearl Necklace
1592 (1st) multicoloured Marbles
1592 (1st) multicoloured Bucket, Spade and Starfish

Greetings Stamps. ‘Smiles’ Set of 10
1991 (26 Mar.) Two phosphor bands. Perf 15×14
1550-1559 (1st) multicoloured

British Anniversaries.
1971 (25 Aug.) Two phosphor bands
891 5p multicoloured Faraday Building, Southampton University

British Trees (2nd Issue)
1974 (27 Feb.) ‘All-over’ phosphor
949 10p multicoloured Horse Chestnut

‘Occasions’ Greetings Stamps
2003 (4 Feb.) Two phosphor bands, Perf 14½x14
2337 (1st) lemon and new blue ‘Gold star, See me, Playtime’
2338 (1st) red and deep ultramarine ‘I♥U, XXXX, S.W.A.L.K.*’
*XXXX is a beer and Sealed With A Loving Kiss, a World-War II postal acronym
2339 (1st) purple and bright yellow-green ‘Angel, Poppet, Little terror’
2340 (1st) bright yellow-green and red ‘Yes, No, Maybe’
2341 (1st) deep ultramarine and lemon ‘Oops! Sorry, Will try harder’
2342 (1st) new blue and purple ‘I did it! You did it! We did it!’
[From the 2011 ‘Collect British Stamps’ Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue]

Monday/ new album pages📄

The blank stamp album pages that I had ordered from Denmark, landed on the porch on Saturday, and I tried them out today.

The first two pictures below are my existing, preprinted pages and pockets, from German company Leuchtturm. They run from 1961 through 1981.  The pages from 1982 onwards are now out of print. I scoured Ebay and the internet, but could not find a used set.

So I am trying out Leuchtturm’s blank pocketed pages, to stand in for the years starting in 1982. I printed ‘South Africa — Suid-Afrika’ and the year on paper strips that go into the top of the page. It looks OK. Maybe I need cream-colored paper to print on— or is that being too persnickety?

Thursday/ art on a bowl 🥣

Here’s my little souvenir bowl that I had bought in the gift shop of the Gallery of Modern Art Museum in Brisbane.

The bottom of the bowl says Alperstein Designs and that the artist is Justin Butler from North Queensland. The bowl is fine bone china and was made in China. (I would have loved for the bowl to have been made in Australia, but Google says making bone china involves several steps, and requires complex machinery and skilled technicians and workers.)

Monday/ goodbye to Cairns 🌺

I’m back in Brisbane, and will go home on Tuesday morning.
This afternoon I went to the shoreline by our lodgings in Cairns for one last look at the Coral Sea.

The artwork is called Telescopus (2008), by artist Dominic Johns.
The bird on the tarmac at Cairns is the Qantas Boeing 737-800 that flew us to Brisbane.

Tuesday/ at the bookstore 📚

I spent a little time today at the used book store called Archives Fine Books, on  Charlotte Street in the city.
I walked out with a book of British cartoons, printed in 1962.

Saturday/ a day at the museum 🏛

There was more rain today, and so we checked into the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art.
Both of these are free to the public.

Queensland Museum

There has been expansive voyaging and cultural interactions across the Coral Sea (between what is today called Australia and Papua New Guinea), with seafaring craft like the model shown here. Evidence of human activity in the region dates back 6,500 years.
There is a large natural history collection on display on the third and fourth floor— of land animals, birds and fish.
There are 51 species of box jellyfish, large and small.
The one on the right is the infamous irukandji jellyfish (Carukia barnesi).
From the display case text:
‘Although irukandji are the smallest of the box jellyfish group, they are the deadliest. Stings are recorded every year, with some victims needing hospital treatment. Nevertheless, only 3 deaths have been attributed to irukandji the last 100 years. Always wear a stinger-suit when swimming in tropical Queensland’.
P.S. I see Stinger Suit™ is actually a trademark for the nylon/ latex bodysuit. The models wearing the suit still have bare faces, hands and feet, though. Maybe I will keep things simple and just stay out of the water altogether.



Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art are two galleries next to each other. The QAG moved to this location in 1982, and then in 2006 a sweeping new wing was added for the Gallery of Modern Art.
Kudusur (2017), artist Alick Tipoti
The mural Kudusur (‘poling with elbow’) depicts the spiritual ancestors and brothers called Thoegay and Kang, extending their elbows and using them as paddles for their canoe.
Under the Jacaranda (1903), artist R. Godfrey Rivers
Oil on canvas. Purchased in 1903.
Brisbane is full of jacarandas, in bloom right now, like in the painting— but the tree is not native. It comes from South America.
Dispela meri Lady Diana (‘This woman is Lady Diana’) (1998), artist John Kawage
John Kawage is from Papua New Guinea, and used synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Purchased in 1999.
Vertigoats (2021), artist Justene Williams
It depicts a humorous questioning of the desire to ‘climb the ladder’ of the social and economic order.

Wednesday/ Story Bridge 🌫

Story Bridge was constructed in 1940 and is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia. It is named after prominent public servant John Douglas Story.

The south end of Story Bridge rests on Kangaroo Point, the tip of a narrow strip of land just east of downtown Brisbane.
There is a promenade around Captain Burke Park, all around Kangaroo Point. I am approaching the Bridge from the southwest.
This is The Rock (1988) by artist Stephen Killick (epoxy paint on concrete). It featured in the World Expo ’88 in Brisbane and was later moved to this location in Captain Burke Park.
I made it down right to the river’s sandy edge, with steps down from the promenade path. Across the water under the bridge, is a microbrewery called Felons Brewing Co.
On the southeast side of the bridge, and looking towards the northwest.
There is a project underway to restore the below-deck steel on the bridge.
I was too tired of walking to walk towards the north over the bridge, so I took the bus! The bus is heading north towards downtown Brisbane.
And here’s the view from the spot where I had a bite to eat. This is the Riverside Ferry Terminal, looking northeast towards the bridge.

Tuesday/ at the zoo 🦘

We drove north for an hour or so today, to get to the Australia Zoo.
The zoo was founded in 1970 by Bob and Lyn Irwin (parents of ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin of television fame) and is still owned by the Irwin family.

Australia Zoo is an hour north of Brisbane, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It’s been 16 years since the tragic death of Steve Irwin, the famous ‘Crocodile Hunter’ from television.
Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the largest extant species of lizard and  endemic to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang.
Dingo (Canis lupus dingo). The dingo is an ancient lineage of dog. ‘Their genome is substantially different from modern dog breeds, suggesting the canines have never been domesticated in the past’, says
Here’s ‘Mossman’, a 13-ft saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Mossman was a troublemaker in the rural town of Mossman near Cairns— and subsequently caught and relocated to the Australian Zoo.
Look but do not touch. A dyeing poison dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius), this exotic creature is found in the rain forests of Guiana and Venezuela. They are highly toxic if consumed, and just touching them will cause a numb sensation on the skin.
The taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus)— probably Australia’s most famous venomous snake. They are large, fast-moving, highly venomous, and endemic to Australia and New Guinea. They defend themselves with a number of lightning fast strikes.
Come and get it! Feeding time for these short-legged, muscular marsupials that are called wombats (Vombatus ursinus).
A rose-crowned fruit dove (Ptilinopus regina) in the large bird enclosure.
An eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) in ‘chill mode’ in the kangeroo enclosure.
At the far end of the kangaroo enclosure there is a handful of trees with koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Do not say koala bear, since they are not bears: they are arboreal herbivorous marsupials. The game wardens keep an eye on them and see that they have a fresh supply of eucalyptus branches to munch on.
Here and there in the park, there are life-sized dinosaur models, very artfully done. Spinosaurus (this one is nesting) roamed around 97 million years ago in what is now North Africa. They ate fish and crocodiles and lived for up to 100 years.
I love this Pterosaur. These creatures lived 228 million years ago, along the coasts of Europe and all the way down to southern Africa, and could become up to 150 years old.

Sunday/ Queen Street Mall

I took the No 120 bus to the bus terminal under the Queen Street Mall in downtown Brisbane today.

The Queen Street bus terminal is reached by tunnels under the Queen Street Mall. It’s best to check with Google Maps to make sure you wait at the right place! (and Google’s Platform 1-E is the same as Platform 1e on the signs).
There was a flea market on Brisbane Square today. That’s the Treasury Casino and Hotel Brisbane in the distance.
The art deco façade of the 1929 York Hotel was preserved when the Myer Centre at the Queen Street Mall was constructed in 1982.
Another building, that of the Hotel Carlton (constructed 1891), was preserved, along with its beautiful wrought iron railings.
These kangaroos are at the corner of Queen Street and George Street.
Walking along George Street, and looking up at the W Hotel (front, opened in 2018) and The One condo tower (at the back, opened this year).
Looking out from the entrance at the Brisbane Magistrate offices off George Street.
The aluminum and concrete artwork was installed in 2009 and the artist is Daniel Templeman.
The McDonnell & East Ltd Building at 414 George Street is a former department store, and now a heritage-listed building. It was designed by Thomas Ramsay Hall and built from 1912 to 1928 by Andrew Gillespie.
Here’s the Albert Street Uniting Church, holding its own against its concrete and steel neighbors. It was designed by George Addison and built in  1888-89 by Thomas Pearson & Sons.
A pair of kangaroos on King George Square. Mama kangaroo has a joey in her pouch (a baby kangaroo is called a joey). 
Here’s Brisbane City Hall, inaugurated in 1930. The building design is based on a combination of the Roman Pantheon, and St Mark’s Campanile in Venice— and is considered one of Brisbane’s finest buildings.
I made my way back to the Queen Street Mall, standing under a large steel and glass canopy and contemplating if the two colors on the historic old building complement each other well enough.
Here’s a Tesla Model 3 slipping into a parking garage nearby.
I thought BUZINGA might be Australian for Yowza! or something like that. All that a Google search revealed is that Buzinga is a cutting-edge software company in Melbourne.
Here’s a classic Queen Victoria statue, this one keeping watch over the grounds of the Queens Gardens Park. Victoria’s reign of 63 yrs (1837 -1901) has been eclipsed only by the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Taking a closer look at the Queens Wharf Tower construction project nearby, at 1 William Street. It is scheduled to open in 2023. 

Sunday/ at the bookstore 📖


a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.
“The great search for a little happiness, is this novel’s delicate motif”

It was a beautiful day outside, and I walked down to the Capitol Hill light rail station for a run up to the bookstores in U District.

This book has a beautiful cover, but I ended up not buying it. I took a look inside; thought I might attempt to read it (it’s German). The text seemed intimidating, though, printed in a small and dense font. I learned at home that it’s a 1965 print, and that Hans Fallada is the pseudonym of German writer Rudolf Ditzen (1893-1947)— derived from characters in Grimm’s Fairy tales.
A translation of the flap text: ” .. the great search for a little happiness, a delicate Fallada motif, which is also echoed in this novel, and lures its hero, the adventurous young master von Strammin, on a journey into the unknown”.

Wednesday/ get aboard the silver bird

Get aboard the silver bird, departing gate nineteen
Satisfy your Walter Mitty mind, tryin’ out a dream
Your sign is Capricorn and every corner of your mind
Says you’ll remain my friend, my friend until you’re mine

Silver bird, fly my lady away
Silver bird, take her over the bay
Silver bird, give my lady a ride
And let her go see what’s on the other side
Silver bird, fly my lady away
Pretty bird, today is the day

Lone rangers and strangers will knock at her door
But I know my baby’s no baby no more
Silver bird, fly my lady away
Pretty bird, today is the day

When you come home my crazy heart will greet those silver wings
Your pet dog will remember you, and I’ll carry your things
We’ll catch a runnin’ make-up, and you will look just fine
And you’ll remain my friend, my friend until you’re mine

Silver bird, fly my lady away
Silver bird, take her over the bay
Silver bird, give my lady a ride
And let her go see what’s on the other side
Silver bird, fly my lady away
Pretty bird, today is the day

These are the lyrics for a rousing song called ‘Silver Bird’, recorded by Mark Lindsay in 1970.
It features in the recent Netflix movie The Gray Man. (Look it up on YouTube).
‘Walter Mitty’ mind is no doubt a reference to the “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1939) — a short story by James Thurber, about a daydreaming office worker that fantasizes about traveling to far-away locales for heroic pursuits.

Thursday/ good night, sleep tight

The display window at the Red Balloon toy store on 15th Avenue has some really cute nightstand lamps for kids.
I assume that’s what these are—or would they be out on the dresser, and not by the bed? I would have a tough time to choose between the zebra and the robot.

Tuesday/ blue is a hard color

Seattle photographer Tim Durkan took these spectacular photos of last night’s fireworks⁠— the first Seafair fireworks show on Lake Union in 3 years.
He uses slightly longer exposures that make the fiery blooms look even better than in real life, I suspect.

Facebook: Tim Durkan Photography
Instagram: @TimDurkan
Twitter: @TimDurkan


The colors in fireworks come from the salt compounds of barium, copper and strontium.
Blue is hard to create:  the copper compounds for the blues do not hold up well in high heat. The search is still on for other compounds after all this time!

Barium ChlorideBaCl₂Color AgentGreens
Barium NitrateBa(NO₃)₂OxidizerGreens
Copper Carbonate CH₂Cu₂O₅Color AgentBlues
Copper Chloride CuCl₂Color AgentBlues
MagnaliumMg-Al alloyHeat & lightNeutral
Potassium Perchlorate KClO₄OxidizerStars & flashes
Sodium OxalateC₂Na₂O₄Color AgentYellows, Gold
Strontium CarbonateSrCO₃Color AgentReds
Strontium Chloride SrCl₂Color AgentReds
Strontium NitrateSr(NO₃)₂OxidizerReds

Saturday/ the heat is here 🌟

We are having a little heat wave here in the city.
(Heat wave for us, anyway). It feels as if we went from early spring weather to the summer highs in three days flat.
The highs look like this:
Saturday 88°F 31°C
Sunday 87°F 31°C
Monday 91°F 33°C
Tuesday 68°F 20°C

A few panels from my Adventures of Tintin book called Der Geheimnisvolle Stern/ Eng. The Shooting Star*/ Fr. L’Étoile Mystérieuse.
*The English-language publisher’s translation from the French is scandalously inaccurate: it should have been The Mysterious Star.
Anyway: part of the plot of the book is that a giant meteoroid appears in the sky, and heats up the surface of Earth in a big way. (Kind of like the ‘Don’t Look Up’ movie on Netflix). 
Translation of the text in the bottom panels:
Poor Snowy! He is perishing of thirst .. and the plants also look pitiful.
The end of the world, Snowy! The end of the world- do you understand that, Snowy? (Evidently not, he is only too happy to have some water).

Wednesday/ Seattle downtown 🏢

I made a run into downtown today with the No 10 bus to pick up an item at Walgreens.
The one here on 15th Avenue closer to me is has lots of empty spaces on the shelves!

The Walgreens that I went to is in Melbourne Tower on 3rd Avenue. It is a 10-floor, reinforced-concrete office tower that was completed in 1927. It is not fully occupied right now, with available office space on the 5th and 6th floors.
Third Avenue in downtown had been in bad shape at times the last few years, but is finally looking much cleaner. New public art has been installed, adding a little color to the beiges and grays all around. This is one of five such pieces, called The Five Creations (2022) by artist Angie Hiojos. The motifs depict traditional Aztec beliefs.
Nordstrom’s flagship store and headquarters across from Westlake Center still looks nice and clean after the renovation of its exterior, some years ago.
A sign of the times? Look up! and Look right! from texting on your phone! A scooter rider or cyclist might be careening towards you in the new bike lane.
The Washington State Convention Center is now called Arch | Seattle Convention Center.
Is the coin and stamp store still there? I wondered. Yes, but with only one employee, instead of the 4 or 5 that used to sit inside. You have to knock on the glass door to get in.
I thought for a moment to buy this First Day of Issue envelope featuring Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair (just $5) but didn’t. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow and get it. 🙂
Here’s the Summit | Seattle Convention Center, nearing its final exterior form. This is the extension of what was called Washington State Convention Center, and what in now called Arch | Seattle Convention Center.

Tuesday/ the bears are out 🐻

The press is full of bear market reports with the recent declines in the stock market indices.

Wed 6/15, 2.00 pm EDT: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced that the Federal Reserve will indeed raise the federal funds rate by 75 basis points (0.75%), bringing it to the range 1.5%- 1.75%. Right now they project a rate of about 3.5% by year-end.

Here’s the New York Post. ‘Bear market has economy running scared’ .. is that really true?
The economy is running too hot, if anything, and as the picture shows: it is Uncle Sam (the government, White House) that is scared.
Investors are scared as well, of course.
There’s a bear in the Tintin adventure by cartoonist Hergé called Le Temple du Soleil (Temple of the Sun). The outcome was that Captain Haddock ran away from the bear, and came to no harm.
Originally published in Tintin Magazine in 1946-48, the cartoon strips were later collected in albums or bande dessinée in French— literally ‘drawn strips’.

Memorial Day

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
– For the Fallen, a poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Flag (1954-55) by artist Jasper Johns, from Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
In 1951, Johns was drafted into the army and spent two years in service during the Korean War at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and in Sendai, Japan.
The forty-eight stars and red-and-white stripes depicted here picture an American flag from the year this work was made (Alaska and Hawaii had not yet become part of the union).
Medium: Encaustic (using pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay), oil, and collage on fabric mounted on plywood, three panels.
Dimensions: 42 1/4 x 60 5/8″ (107.3 x 153.8 cm)
[Picture Credit:]

Saturday/ apartments with art 🎨

I frequently drive by the newly completed Midtown apartments on (23rd Ave. in Central District) with its colorful exterior and artwork.
Today I checked it out a little closer, on foot.

The Midtown Square apartment building has 7 floors with 428 apartments, from studio ($1,800 pm) to 2-bed, 2-bath (about $3,200 pm). So expensive, as expected for a new development, I guess ⁠—although a 130 apartments are offered as affordable housing units through Seattle’s MFTE and MHA housing programs.
The images on the panels were created by photographer/ artist Adam Jabari Jefferson.
The entrance to the public square on the inside, from the Union Street sidewalk.
The colorful exterior panels on the corner of Union Street and 23rd Avenue.
The artist is Barry Johnson.
Public art on the Union Street/ 23rd Avenue corner. I couldn’t find the artist’s name.
I would like one of these for my backyard. Beautiful.
Central .. the first of a series of murals facing 23rd Avenue.
Edwin T. Pratt (1930 – 1969) was an American activist during the Civil Rights Movement. He was assassinated at his home in Shoreline, WA in Jan. 1969. At the time of his assassination in 1969, he was Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League. His murder is still unsolved.
DeCharlene Willians (1942-2018) was a legendary owner of a Central Area boutique, who also founded the Seattle neighborhood’s chamber of commerce. 
The artist is Central District native Myron Curry.
District.. the second of a series of murals facing 23rd Avenue.
Langston Hughes (1901-1968) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. (The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute is a cultural, community, and artistic center in the Central District). 
The artist is Central District native Myron Curry.


Community .. the third mural facing 23rd Avenue.
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was a musician, singer, and songwriter and a Seattle native.
Ernestine Anderson (1928-2016) was an American jazz and blues singer. Her family moved to Seattle when she was 16.
The artist is Central District native Myron Curry.
The entrance to the public square from 23rd Avenue. The lamp sconces feature performance and recording artists. The installation was made by Henry Jackson-Spieker in collaboration with KT Hancock studios.
I believe this is Duke Ellington (1899-1974), composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra for most of his life. He gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City. Duke Ellington’s The 1952 Seattle Concert was his first legitimate live performance release.
The public square inside the apartment complex. The picture shows part of a 120-ft mural with historic scenes and lettering that says C E N T R A L  D I S T R I C T.
The artist is Takiyah Ward.