Tuesday/ washed out 😢

Blue diamonds, strike ’em anywhere
First we caffeinate then incinerate
We’ll get you
And sparks will fly in the summer air
Did you pull out of your stall
Maybe I’ll see you after all

[Chorus: Stephan Jenkins]
Hold me down, I want to find out
We say no ’cause I live my life like a burning man
Like a burning man, a burning man
Like a burning man
And I won’t get enough until my legs are broken
– Lyrics from ‘Burning Man’ by Third Eye Blind, 1997

It’s nice to see the stranded— stranded in mud, in the desert!— festivalgoers to this year’s Burning Man are able to finally make an exodus from the muddy grounds there.

‘Burning Man attendees say learning to live with the unexpected is part of the program’ – headline from an NPR report.
Torrential rains disrupted this year’s event. It appears to me from this picture as if the wood pyre (a ‘burning man’ effigy) was not set alight this year. 
[Picture from official Burning Man website]

Wednesday/ at the museum ⚔️

The National Nordic Museum is a museum in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, dedicated to the Nordic history, art, culture, and the heritage of the area’s Nordic immigrants.

Here are a few pictures that I had taken inside of the museum, and of items on display.

Saturday/ Seattle Center ✨

Here is a smattering of pictures that I took at Seattle Center: from the Space Needle, from inside the Chihuly Garden and Glass and from inside the Museum of Pop Culture.

Tuesday/ a full moon 🌕

Toe Vader slaap, toe Moeder droom,
is ek uit by die hek langs die appelboom.
En ek ry op die spierwit perd se rug
bo-oor die heinings en bo-oor die brug.
En niemand weet dat ek daar was
met elwekinders op die gras.

As Father slept, as Mother dreamed,
I slipped out the gate by the apple tree.
I rode on the back of the snow-white horse
over the hedge and over the gorge.
And on no one ever, will it dawn
that I’d been there with elven children, on the lawn.

– From ‘Die Spree met Foete’, reworkings of Annie M.G. Schmidt’s Dutch verses into Afrikaans, 2002.
Verses by Piet Grobler and artwork by Philip de Vos.
The rough translation into English is my own.

August is here, with a full moon tonight.

There are two full moons this August, both of which are supermoons—
The Sturgeon Moon that reaches its peak today, August 1st;
The Blue Moon that occurs on Wednesday, August 30th.

Monday/ music in the park 🎷

There was a small musical ensemble, with a few couples were dancing to their tunes, in Volunteer Park tonight.

The scene at the little public plaza by the Black Sun artwork.
Black Sun is a 1969 sculpture by Isamu Noguchi, located between the Asian Art Museum and the Volunteer Park reservoir.

Caturday 😼

I found this feline at the West Exit of Shinjuku Station in Tokyo during my recent visit there (stills from a giant video screen).

The entrance to the Studio Alta building right next door is one of world’s famous rendezvous points.
Some 3.6 million people pass through Shinjuku Station every single day.

Sunday/ monsters and things 😈

We made a run back to the Uniqlo store in Akihabara to return & exchange clothing items for larger sizes there.
Behind the RECOfan record store nearby, there is a mini-mall of display cases filled with figurines for serious collectors.
Some items run into several thousands of yen (several hundreds of dollars).

The first picture is a reminder to passengers not to go onto the tracks to retrieve items that may have been dropped there. Well, these days there are safety barriers and doors in place (see the edge of the picture) that would prevent passengers— young and old— from dropping items onto the tracks in the first place.

Friday/ the Marunouchi line 🚇

The Marunouchi Line runs in a U-shape between Ogikubo Station in Suginami and Ikebukuro Station in Toshima.
I took it from beautiful Tokyo station (first two pictures) to Shinjuku station today.  (Got to love the graphic posters that warn of the dangers of trying to board a departing train).  

Thursday/ Yodobashi camera 📸

I checked in at the Yodobashi Camera store in Akihabara today.
(No, I have not bought a new camera yet).
The store is a giant department store for all things technology, office, home appliances, home decor, toys & games, entertainment, and even more.

There it is, the technology and toy emporium (my view of it, at least) that goes by Yodobashi-Akiba, in Tokyo’s buzzing shopping hub for geeks— Akihabara.
Fans of all shapes and sizes on the main entrance display board— today was still hot, but bearable at 31 °C (88 °F).
Nice .. a kit for brewing one’s own beer and ciders and other fermented concoctions. Kirin is a Japanese beverage company.
These colored LED lighting tubes look almost neon tubes. (The iPhone camera sensor could not quite capture the colors from the tubes).
Back at the hotel and a check of the parking lot reveals the first Tesla that I have spotted in the city. There are not many Teslas in Tokyo, or even in all of Japan (only some 5,000 were sold last year). EV sales are still only 2% of the domestic market here, and the top seller is a little Nissan microcar called the Sakura. I looked in vain for a little Tesla toy model in Yodobashi, but there was none.
Another view from my hotel room window: the construction cranes used for erecting the Takanawa Gateway City apartment and office blocks.
Just an interesting gate on my walkabout near the hotel in Shinagawa.
No smoking and no flicking of cigarette butts. I wonder if the sign actually stops any scofflaws from doing that. If you go out early in the morning, you are sure to see people (volunteers in many cases, I’m sure) picking up anything down to cigarette butts from the streets.
A parking lot with exactly two parking bays. I love it.

Friday/ stamps from Great Britain 🇬🇧

My ‘South Africa 1961-1995’ stamp collection is nearly complete.
Another ‘acquisition’ from a seller from Great Britain made it into my mailbox today, with these stamps on the outside envelope.

Issued 2002, Sept. 24. Printed as a minisheet w. two phosphor bands, perf. 14 ½ x 14
MS2315 1613 (1st) multi-colored, Planetary nebula in Aquila, Seyfert 2 galaxy in Pegasus, Planetary Nebula in Norma, Seyfert 2 galaxy in Circinus
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Collect British Stamps 2016]
350th Anniversary of the Royal Society
From a set of 10 stamps
Issued 2010, Feb. 25. Printed w. “all-over” phosphor, perf. 14 ½
3029 2224 (1st) multi-colored, Edward Jenner (pioneer of smallpox vaccination)
3032 2227 (1st) multi-colored, Joseph Lister (antiseptic surgery)
3034 2229 (1st) multi-colored, Dorothy Hodgkin (crystallography)
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Collect British Stamps 2016]
London 2010 Festival of Stamps (1st issue) and Centenary of Accession of King George V
Issued 2010, May 6. Printed w. “All-over” phosphor, perf. 14½
3068 2262 (1st) multi-colored, 1924 British Empire Exhibition 1½ d Brown Stamp
3068 2263 (1st) multi-colored, 1924 British Empire Exhibition 1 d Scarlet Stamp
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Collect British Stamps 2016]

Monday/ mail from New York City 📨

The stamps I had ordered from a seller in New York City, arrived in the mail. The sender put beautiful stamps from yesteryears on the envelope for me.
Might he have picked the 1934 violet stamp with Mt. Rainier on just for me, because I am in Washington State?
I’d like to think so 😉

Listed in year-of-issue sequence:
1934 National Parks Issue/ Mt. Rainier (one from a set of 10 stamps)
Unwatermarked, Perf. 11, Flat Plate printing
742 A241 3c deep violet, Aug.3 1934, Mt. Rainier and Mirror Lake (Washington State)
1954 Wheat Field and Pioneer Wagon Train
Unwatermarked, Perf. 11×10½, Rotary press printing, E.E. Plates* 
1061 A508 3c brown orange, May 31 1954
*Electric Eye, a machine that had photo-electric cells to properly center the images to reduce waste during the printing and perforation of stamps.
The machines were introduced in 1935 and used into the late 1950s, when USPS found new ways accurate for centering and perforation.
1954 George Eastman (American entrepreneur who founded the Eastman Kodak Company and helped to bring the photographic use of roll film into the mainstream).
Unwatermarked, Perf. 10½x 11, Rotary press printing, E.E. Plates
1062 A509 3c violet brown, Jul.12 1954
1956 Benjamin Franklin (issued to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin).
Unwatermarked, Perf. 11×10½, Rotary press printing, E.E. Plates
1073 A520 3c bright carmine, Jan.17 1956, Franklin Taking Electricity From The Sky (stamp design by Benjamin West)
1956 Booker T. Washington (Centennial of the Birth of Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), black educator, founder and head of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama
Unwmk., Perf. 11×10½, Rotary press printing, E.E. Plates
1074 A521 3c deep blue, Apr.5 1956, Log Cabin (stamp design by Charles R. Chickering)
1958 Forest Conservation (issued to publicize forest conservation and the protection of natural resources, and to honor Theodore Roosevelt, a leading forest conservationist, on the centenary of his birth).
Perf. 11, Giori Press printing, Plates of 200 subjects in four panes of 50 each
1122 A567 4c green, yellow & brown, Oct. 27 1958
1962-66 Regular Series/ Andrew Jackson
Unwmk., Perf. 11×10½, Rotary Press printing, Plates of 400 subjects in four panes of 100 each
1209 A646 1c green, Mar.22 1963, Andrew Jackson (7th U.S. President), design by William K. Schrage
1963 John James Audubon 
Issued to honor John James Audubon (1785-1851), ornithologist and artist
Unwmk., Perf. 11, Giori Press printing, Plates of 200 subjects in four panes of 50 each
1241 A673 5c dark blue & multi-colored, Dec.7 1963, art titled “Columbia Jays” by Audubon (birds pictured are actually Collie’s magpie jays)
1973 Boston Tea Party (bicentennial of Boston Tea Party, designed by William A. Smith)
Perf. 11, Lithographed, Engraved printing, Plates of 200 subjects in four panes of 50 each
1480 A894 8c black & multi-colored, Jul.4 1973, British Merchantman
1481 A895 8c black & multi-colored, Jul.4 1973, British Three-master
1482 A896 8c black & multi-colored, Jul.4 1973, Boats and Ship’s Hull
1483 A897 8c black & multi-colored, Jul.4 1973, Boats and Dock
[Information from Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps, 1989]

Thursday/ elementary art 🦏

Check out the cute glass art on the cement chair in the little garden at Stevens Elementary School.
I see a lion up at the top, and a rhinoceros on the left, of course.
Would that be a lanky-legged hippopotamus on the right?

Stevens* Elementary School in Seattle’s North Capitol Hill opened in fall 1906 for students from north Capitol Hill and Interlaken, which included Montlake.
The rectangular, two-story frame building with clapboard siding and gable roof reflects the Colonial Revival style.
*Named after Isaac Ingalls Stevens, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Territory of Washington from 1853 to 1857.
(Washington State joined the Union on Nov. 11, 1889).

Happy Father’s Day 😌

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.

It is Father’s Day in South Africa and more than 100 other countries as well.
In Australia, Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September.
In 2021, the President of Russia established Father’s Day as falling on the third Sunday of October.

Paternal Advice, oil on canvas, exact date unknown, auctioned at Christie’s, 9 Nov. 2010, Amsterdam, lot 152, sold for €13,750 (US$ 15,000)
The artist is Belgian painter Jozef Laurent Dyckmans (1811 – 1888). He painted mainly genre scenes and portraits, and his meticulously crafted paintings earned him the nickname “Belgian Gerard Dou”. (Gerard Dou was a Dutch Golden Age painter whose small, highly polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders).
[Picture from Wikipedia]

Saturday 🌧

It’s a cool and rainy weekend here in the Emerald City (64°F / 18°C)— a good day to go for a Starbucks coffee, or for a beer.

Check out the neon signs inside the Marco Polo bar in Seattle’s SoDo* district.
*South of downtown
[Photo credit to Steve for taking the picture 😁]

Friday/ the glow of neon 🌈

These pictures are all from inside the National Neon Sign Museum in the former Elks Building in the heart of The Dalles downtown historic district.
The museum narrates the evolution of the electric sign, from pre-electric and gold leaf signage to the invention and widespread use of neon signs.
It houses one of the largest collections of neon storefront signs in the world.
Yes, neon signage has been in decline the last few decades, but many cities are now concerned with preserving and restoring their antique neon signs.

Fun fact— Argon is much more versatile than neon for creating colors, and some 75% of ‘neon’ signs actually has argon in the tubes and not neon. ‘Neon’ is the name that stuck for all signs that use either neon or argon.

That’s David Benko himself in one of the pictures, telling us about the history of neon signs. He established the museum in 2018, and is the curator— with a lifelong passion for collecting neon signs.
The museum has displays that show inventors and their experimentation with electricity in the 1700s and 1800s, the discovery of the noble gases argon (1894) and neon (1898) and a model of the patent for the first neon sign tubes that were created in 1910 by French engineer and inventor Georges Claude (the third picture).
By the end of the Roaring ’20s, most American cities were electrified. Illuminated streets and storefronts lured people into the streets at night time. The commercialization of neon signs took off in the 1930s after the Great Depression.

Tuesday/ from Spain, South Africa 🇪🇸 🇿🇦

Two envelopes arrived yesterday, with the latest acquisitions I had made for my stamp collection inside.
The sellers did me the favor of pasting lots of beautiful stamps on the outside of the envelopes.

Clockwise from top left:
150th Anniversary of Spanish Stamps (from a set of 11)
Issued 2000, Oct.8, , Perf. 13 (round stamp), 13½x14, Photolith.
3067 A1073 Multi-colored 200p €1.20 Invention of the antenna and radio
3063 A1073 Multi-colored 200p €1.20 Signature of Miguel Induráin, cyclist
Traditional Sports and Games
Issued 2008, Perf. 13½x14, Photolith.
Miniature Sheet of Martial Arts, 3 stamps & 3 labels
3577 A1469 Multi-colored, €0.43 Stick fighting (palo canario)
3577 A1469 Multi-colored, €0.43 Wrestling (lucha leonesa)
3577 A1469 Multi-colored, €0.43 Wrestling (lucha canaria)
150th Anniversary of International Red Cross
Issued 2013, Oct.28, Perf. 12¾, Photolith.
3939 A1722 €0.90 Red and white
Tapestries of Sports Scenes Taken from Painting
Issued 2009, Jul.6, Perf. 12¾, Photolith.
3657 A1519 Multi-colored, €0.78, By Francisco de Goya (El Juego de Pelota a Pala)
Women’s Dresses by Paco Rabane
Issued 2013, Sept.12, Perf. 13×12¾, Photolith.
3926 A1715 Multi-colored, €0.52, See-through dress of red diamonds
3926 A1715 Multi-colored, €0.52, Dress made of large golden disks
[Information from Scott 2017 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue]
Clockwise from top left:
The 40th IHF World Hospital Congress
2016, Oct.31, Perf. 14
2496 Multicolored, Intnl. Small Letter, Minisheet (75mm x 75mm)
The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela
Issued 2001, Nov.26, No watermark, Perf. 13¾, Designer Alf Kumalo
1481 Multicolored, Airmail Postcard Rate (R2.10), Nelson Mandela
1477 Multicolored, Airmail Postcard Rate (R2.10), Nelson Mandela
Wildlife— The Big 5
Issued 2001, Apr.25, No watermark, Perf. 14
1386 Multicolored, Airmail Postcard Rate (R1.90), Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Imperforated Right
1385 Multicolored, Airmail Postcard Rate (R1.90), Leopard (Panthera pardus)
Fauna and Flora— Fish
Issued 2000, Nov. 1, No watermark, Perf. 14½x14¾, Designer Chris van Rooyen
1335 Multicolored, 60c, Powder-blue surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternon)
1334 Multicolored, 50c, Coral rock cod (Cephalopholis miniatus)
African Nations Football Championship, South Africa
Issued 1996, Jan. 10, No watermark, Perf. 14¼ x 14, Design Marc de Jong
1027 Multicolored, Standard Postage (60c), Goalkeeper w. Africa map outline
[Information from stampworld.com]

Wednesday/ stamps from Denmark 🇩🇰

My seller in Denmark sends me my stamps in envelopes decked out with beautiful stamps from yesteryear.

The descriptions are from the Scott 2012 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol 2 Countries C-F.

Highway Engineering, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1972, Oct. 19
509 A150 40 Øre, Dark green, Bridge Across Little Belt
510 A150 60 Øre, Dark brown, Hanstholm Harbor
511 A150 70 Øre, Dark red, Lim Fjord Tunnel
512 A150 90 Øre, Dark bluegreen, Kundshoved Harbor
Queen Margrethe, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1977
544 A161 100 Øre, Brown

Small State Seal, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1972-1978
502 A55 4.5 Krone, Olive

Protected Animals, Engraved, Perf. 13
Issued 1975, Oct. 23
583 A174 130 Øre, Avocets

Souvenir Sheet for HAFNIA Intl. Stamp Exhibition in Copenhagen Aug. 20-29, 1976. Perf. 13½ x 13.
Ferslew’s Essays, 1849 and 1852
Issued 1975, Feb. 27
565 A168 Sheet of 4
a. 70 Øre, Gray, Coat of Arms
b. 80 Øre, Gray, King Frederik VII
c. 90 Øre, Brown, King Frederik VII
d. 100 Øre, Brown, Mercury
Booklet pane for Rosenborg Castle, 400th Anniversary
Issued 2006, Mar. 29
1351 A457 4.75 Krone, Multi-color, Rosenborg Castle exterior
1352 A457 5.50, Krone, Multi-color, Silver lion, thrones of king & queen
1353 A457 13 Krone, Multi-color, Royal coat of arms ceiling decoration


Thursday/ photos and art 🤹

WASHINGTON— A celebrity photographer won a copyright case over Andy Warhol’s use of a picture she shot of Prince for a magazine, in a Thursday Supreme Court decision narrowing the “fair use” rights of artists and writers to build upon existing works to create something new.
– Jess Bravin reporting for the Wall Street Journal

The US Supreme Court ruled today by 7-2 that Andy Warhol’s 1981 artwork of Prince (using a photo) infringed on the photographer’s copyright.  The majority argued that Warhol’s print was merely a derivative of the photo and not transformative. Oh.

Pictures from today’s Wall Street Journal, with an excerpt of Jess Bravin’s reporting.