Thursday/ another credibility implosion ☄️

So Nikki Haley* will vote for Trump, she said on Wednesday. She had called him ‘bad’, ‘unqualified to be President’, ‘do not trust him’ blah blah blah.

She didn’t bother to wait for the outcome of Trump’s first criminal trial— 34 felony counts over allegations that he falsified business records to conceal a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. (Closing arguments for Trump’s case are on Tue May 28 and then the case goes to the jury).

*Former governor of South Carolina, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, and the last remaining challenger to Trump in the 2024 Republican primaries until she dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday in March.

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez/Las Vegas Review-Journal for The Washington Post.

Tuesday/ stamp of the day ✉️

I bought this single stamp from a seller in Canada.
It’s the highest value stamp (10 shillings) in the series known as the 1927-1930 London Pictorials; the last South African stamps printed in London.
(After that stamps were printed in South Africa).
The Afrikaans-English se-tenant (joined) stamp pairs are very expensive (up to $200), but the single ones are $10 or so.
I’m still looking for an English one with ‘SOUTH AFRICA’ inscribed at the top.

From the 1927-1930 London Pictorials
Issued 1927, Mar. 1
Perf. 14 | Engraved printing | Wmk. Multiple springbok’s heads
29 16 | 10sh | Bright blue and brown |  Cape Town, Table Mountain and Table Bay
[Source: 2016 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue for Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840-1970)
My notes: The prominent white tower might be Mouille Point Lighthouse— built in 1842 but demolished in 1908. To its right and further back would be Cape Town City Hall, a large Edwardian building built from honey-colored oolitic limestone imported from Bath in England, and located on the Grand Parade.
It was completed in 1905 and is still there today.

Thursday/ mail from Great Britain 🇬🇧

Mail from Great Britain with Sherlock Holmes stamps on the outside, and South African stamps inside, arrived yesterday.

I am hounding down the last ones I need to complete my Union of South Africa (1910-1961) collection.

Sherlock Holmes: Centenary of the Publication of The Final Problem.
Issued 1993, Oct. 12
Perf. 14×14½ Phosphorized paper
Colors: blue, greenish yellow, magenta, black & gold
1785 1112 24p The Hound of the Baskervilles
1786 1113 24p The Six Napoleons
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue Part I British Commonwealth Volume 1]

Saturday/ Mystik Dan by a nose 🏇

Congrats to the owner and team for Mystik Dan, the winner of the 150th Kentucky Derby, by a nose.

Run, horsies, run!
These are wildebeest, actually: large African antelopes of the family Bovidae.
From an updated issue of the 1926-27 London Pictorial definitive series (the first series of stamps were printed in London, thereafter by South Africa government printers in Pretoria) 
Issued Jan. 1950
Perf. 15×14 | Screened rotogravure | Afr. & Eng. inscriptions for South Africa | Wmk Multiple Springbok heads
SG120 13 | 1 shilling | Brown & chalky blue | Black and blue wildebeest
[Source: 2016 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue- Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps]

Tuesday/ stamps with tulips 🇧🇪

Hey, and the envelope with my latest order of stamps (from a seller in Belgium) has stamps with tulips on.

Booklet Stamps
Issued 2003 in booklet panes Perf. Die Cut 9¾ on 2 or sides
1991 A858 0.59€ Multi-colored Yellow Tulips

Issued 2002, Jul. 15
Perf. 11½ Photolithogr.
1925 A824 0.42€ Multi-colored Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Lombeek windmill, Azores
[Source: Scott 2018 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 1B]

Leffe Abbey
Issued 2002, Jun. 10
Perf. 11 ½ Photolithogr.
1917 A820 0.42€ Multi-colored Leffe Abbey, 850th Anniversary

Belgian Castles
Issued 2002, Jun. 10
Perf. 11 ½ Photolithogr. Mini-sheet of 10
1918a A821 0.42€ Multi-colored Ecaussinnes-Lalaing
1918c A821 0.42€ Multi-colored Corroy-le-Chateau
1918d A821 0.42€ Multi-colored Alden Biesen
1918e A821 0.42€ Multi-colored Modave
1918f A821 0.42€ Multi-colored Horst
1918j A821 0.42€ Multi-colored Wissekerke
[Source: Scott 2018 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 1B]

Issued 2005 (types of 1985 with Euro denominations)
Perf. 11 ½ Photolithogr.
2072 A524 0.05€ Multi-colored Bruant zizi (Belgium Cirl bunting bird)

Issued 2023, Jan.23
Perf. Die Cut 11½ Litho. Self-adhesive
Registered Mail   Multi-colored Red-Knot Sandpiper
[Source: Scott 2018 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 1B]

Tuesday/ mail from Spain 🇪🇸

Cancellation mark:
Siempre a tiempo (Always on time)
Mailed on Apr. 3 in Sant Cugat del Vallès— a town and municipality in Catalonia, Spain, located north of Barcelona.
Let’s see what the stamps tell us about España.

Iss. 2002, Feb.20    Die Cut   Perf. 13    Litho.
3145 A1129 € 0.25 Orchid
Clocks from Royal Palaces in Spain
Iss. 2004, Mar.31   Perf. 13¼x12¾   Litho. & Engr.
3284 A1246c   € 0.77 Clock w. Empress Maria Luisa, child & harp, 19th Century
3284 A1246a   € 0.27 Clock w. Muse Calliope, 19th Century
3284 A1246b   € 0.52 Clock w. Cupid, 18th Century
[Source: Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalog Vol. 6A, 2021 Edition]
King Felipe VI
Iss. 2015, Jan.19
Perf. 13¼x12¾
Litho. & Embossed
4019 A1796
1c orange-brown
[Source: Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalog Vol. 6A, 2021 Edition]

Tuesday/ I got royal mail 🫅🏻

There was mail from the Royal Mail in Great Britain for me today— with South African stamps inside, of course.
I looked up the details of the stamps used on the envelopes.

Birth Centenary of Sir Winston Churchill
Issued 1974, Oct. 9. | Perf.14×15 | ‘All-over’ phosphor Gum
962 444 4½p | Prussian Blue, pale turqoise-green and silver | Churchill in Royal Yacht Squadron Uniform
[Source: 1997 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue Part I Volume I]
King Charles III Definitive Stamps
Issued 2023 | Perf. 15×14½ | Gravure print with phosphor bars | Bar-coded | Self-adhesive
£2.20 Dark green Portrait of His Majesty King Charles III

Sunday/ the black sun is coming ☀️

Anticipation of the total eclipse of the sun that is about to be visible in a large swath of North America, is at a fever pitch.
The eclipse will be visible starting at 12:06 p.m. CDT near Eagle Pass, Texas, before progressing to totality by about 1:27 p.m. CDT.
It will progress along its path to the northeast over the next few hours and the last of the eclipse in North America will be seen from Caribou, Maine at 4:40 p.m. EDT.

It does look like there will be cloud cover in several places along the way.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we will only see some 20% of the sun being obscured by the moon, and that is if the clouds allow it.

The Black Sun at Volunteer Park tonight.  
The sculpture of black Brazilian granite on a concrete base was created in 1969 by Isamu Noguchi.

Monday/ crypto stamps? 🔗

I scrolled through a bunch of crypto stamps listed on my regular online stamp marketplaces last night.
Should I buy some? Just one, for fun?
They go for $15 to $50— or more, each.
They may be worth a lot more 5 to 10 years from now.
Hmm. No, I decided. Not yet, anyway. (I don’t own any cryptocurrency, either).

Crypto stamps are valid for postage, but they are really aimed at collectors— collectors of digital works of art, or of the collector’s interests (digital comics, video clips, tweets, emails).
The buyer gets a physical stamp, as well as a digital version of it, that has a non-fungible token (NFT) associated with it. (NFT: a unique cryptographic token that exists on a blockchain, and that cannot be replicated.)

United States Postal Service sold some Day of the Dead ‘Forever’ stamps in 2021 with NFTs associated with them.
From Austria Post’s website:
Crypto stamp 5.1 Lion The Crypto stamp is the world’s first stamp with a digital twin (NFT) in the blockchain. Launched in 2019 with Crypto stamp 1.0, it continues to evolve with each subsequent edition. With over 1 million crypto stamps today, it is one of the world’s most successful and consistent crypto and NFT projects. The King of the Crypto stamp series, the majestic Lion, proudly continues the celebrated legacy of animal motifs. The Crypto stamp 5.1 Lion, a unique and imaginative creation, stands out with its digital twins showcased in five captivating colors..
A crypto stamp offering from Liechtenstein, the German-speaking, 15 mile-long principality between Austria and Switzerland.
Crypto stamp from Croatia.

Friday 🥊

Happy Friday.

Cartoon by Seattle Times cartoonist David Horsey.
That’s Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Mike Johnson behind President Joe Biden, of course.

Wednesday/ package from Denmark 🇩🇰

My package with blank stamp album pages, from a supplier based in the town of Otterup in Denmark, arrived today.
They stock Leuchtturm products (the best) and get it to me within a week via DHL.
Good stuff.

The supplier Nordfrim knows their clients love stamps, so they throw a few complementary stamps into the package before it is shipped out the door.
I love stamps, and I love maps —and I love stamps with maps on. Stamps with maps on is a good idea for a thematic collection of stamps.
Here is the catalogue information for this one:
Issued 2013, Nov. 7 —Trade Treaty Between Denmark and France, 350th Anniversary
Die-cut perf. 13 ½ x 13 ¼   Self-adhesive   Litho. & Engr. 
1663 A552 8k Rose & blue, Map and compass rose with ship at right
[Source: Scott 2018 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 2]

Tuesday/ lore and legends 🦁

A batch of South African stamps that I had ordered from a seller in Germany arrived yesterday.
This set is one of my favorites.

2005 Folklore and Legends of South Africa
Issued Jul. 1, 2005
1348 A450 B5 sheet of 10 Perf. 14¼ No Watermark
B5 is a code for a medium-sized postcard, sent domestically in South Africa— R3.75 at the time of issue.
[Source: 2009 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol. 6]

Sunday/ a U-district run 🚉

It was time for a U-district/ bookstore run this afternoon, and off I went to Capitol Hill light rail station.

The 13-story University of Washington office block building on top of the U-district light rail station is taking shape.
On the street below, first responders were picking up someone that had experienced a crisis of some kind.
A nod to the Year of the Dragon in the UW bookstore’s window.
The luxury student apartment building (on the right) called The Standard is complete.
It has studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments.
Students can double up in the bedrooms.
Even so, the cheapest that the rent per student will come to is $1,200 to $1,300 per month. The studio apartments would actually be the most expensive, at some $2,400 per month for the renter.
A closer look at the artwork on the side of the building.
It was another gray winter day here, but bright storefronts and mural art helps to lift the spirits.
I always try to stop at Magus Books, the second-hand bookstore.
The cart has some John Updike books (Odd Jobs, Picked-up Pieces) but I didn’t pick one up. Maybe I should have.
Updike’s writing career started early. At Harvard he soon became well known among his classmates as a talented and prolific contributor to The Harvard Lampoon, of which he was president. [From Wikipedia]

Wednesday/ for Valentine’s Day 😘

Happy Valentine’s Day— for those that indulge in it.
Here is a cute cartoon from Stern magazine, and from the latest— and 40th— Asterix cartoon book series.
The series first appeared in the Franco-Belgian comic magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959.

Background: Chief Vitalstatistix is the chief of the Gaulish village. He is a middle-aged, bigbellied man with red hair, pigtails and a huge moustache. He is generally reasonable, well-informed, fearless, (comparatively) even-tempered and unambitious — the last much to the chagrin of his wife Impedimenta. His major failings are his love of good food and drink (it is unlikely to be a coincidence that his wife is the best cook in the village) — which has led to health problems — and his pride. -from Wikipedia
Der Kampf des Häuptlings
The Chief’s Battle

Impedimenta: Fällt etwas dir was auf?
Impedimenta: Do you notice anything?

Chief: Du hast überall muskelkater, weil du das bankett für heute abend vorbereitet hat?
Chief: You have sore muscles all over, because you prepared the banquet for tonight?

Impedimenta: Nein! Ich have mir ein neues Kleid gekauft!
Impedimenta: No! I bought myself a new dress!

Chief: Ach so, ja …
Chief: Oh yes, right …

Saturday/ Happy Lunar New Year 🐲

Happy Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon.

I bought this dragon from a souvenir vendor on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, probably in early 2010.
It’s a classic depiction of the dragon in the Chinese zodiac. I saw replicas of this dragon in offered in Swarovski crystal, and in 24-karat gold, by Hong Kong jewelry stores.

Thursday/ stamps from Great Britain ✉️

I have by now (inadvertently) compiled a mini-collection of cancelled stamps from Great Britain—  from envelopes sent to me with South African stamps inside.

Here are stamps from an envelope that arrived today.

(Des Roundel, Litho De La Rue)
2004 (13 Jan – 16 Mar). Classic Locomotives.
One side phosphor band (20p.) or two phosphor bands (others). Perf. 14 ½.
2417   1705 20p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black Dolgoch, Rheilffordd Talyllyn Railway, Gwynedd
2418   1706 28p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black CR Class 439, Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, West Lothian
2420   1708 42p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black GWR Manor Class Bradley Manor, Severn Valley Railway, Worcestershire
2421   1708 47p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black SR West County Class Blackmoor Vale, Bluebell Railway, East Sussex
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue 2009]
(Des Johnson Banks)
2007 (9 Jan). The Beatles. Album Covers.
Two phosphor bands.
Self-adhesive. Photo Walsall. Die-cut irregular perf. 13½-14½.
2690 1946 72p. greenish yellow, magenta, new blue, silver and black “Revolver”
[Source: Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue 2009]

Sunday/ Coquimbe, Chile 🇨🇱

We arrived at the port city of Coquimbo this morning.
Our excursion today was a bus ride along the shoreline into the neighboring town of La Serena, followed by a drive inland to the commune of Vicuña (pop. 25,000).

The Monumental Lighthouse of La Serena (Faro Monumental de La Serena) is located on the beach at the Avenida del Mar of La Serena. It was built between 1950 and 1951 at the request of President Gabriel González Videla.
The beautiful, parched landscape and cactuses, as seen from our bus on Route 41 on the way to Vicuña.
Lush green vineyards in the Elqui Valley.
We stopped by a pisco distillery on the way to Vicuña . Here is my sample of pisco sour, made from distilled muscatel grapes and lemon juice. Pisco is the national drink of Peru, but a version of it is made in Chile as well.
Here is the municipal theater house in Vicuña.
We were one of four buses full of cruise ship tourists had lunch at this restaurant. We had an empanada appetizer, followed by a large steak with rice and tomato salad, and papaya for dessert. Oh, and they served pisco and original Coca-Cola for drinks.
Back in Coquimbo, for our final stop at a little tourist market next to this church.

Friday/ Arica, Chile 🇨🇱

Our self-directed excursion into Arica this morning took us up the steep path to the top of the hill called Morro Arrica.

At the top there is an enormous Chilean flag, a museum and a statue called Christ of the Peace (a reference to the Treaty of Lima in 1929 that settled lingering territorial disputes between Peru and Chile).

Morro de Arica is 139 m (459 ft) above sea level.
It was the last bulwark of defense for the Peruvian troops who garrisoned the city during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883). Morro de Arica was assaulted and captured on June 7, 1880, by Chilean troops in the last part of the Tacna and Arica campaign.
The Gothic San Marcos Cathedral dates from 1876 was designed by none other than the French architect Gustave Eiffel.
We are now making our way up to the staircase that run op Morro de Arica. This is the consulate for Peru in Arica.
Mural art at the corner of Cristobal Colon and Morro Street.
More eye-catching mural art nearby.
A view of the city from halfway up the staircase to the top of Morro de Arica.
There is a giant Chilean flag at the top of Morro de Arica.
Looking down at the cruise terminal with Norwegian Sun, Silver Nova and an assortment of fishing boats, presumably.
Cristo de la Paz Statue at the top of Morro de Arica.
Long after the War of the Pacific ended in 1883, the lingering territorial disputes between Peru and Chile were finally settled by the Treaty of Lima in 1929. In this Tacna-Arica compromise, the city of Arica officially became the northernmost point of Chile. As part of this sign of peace, the Cristo de la Paz statue was designed by Raul Valdivieso in 1987 and then erected in 1999 on Morro de Arica, the scene of the crushing Peruvian defeat in 1880. Also called the Cristo de la Concordia, this steel and bronze statue stands 36 feet on a concrete pedestal. The outstretched hands of Christ measure 33 ft across.
Downtown Arica.
A compact fire station in downtown Arica.
The administrative building of the Ferrocarril De Arica a La Paz railway was declared a national monument in 1990. There is a flea market of sorts on the promenade that runs in front of it.
We found this white hibiscus in a park in downtown Arica.
As we returned to the ship, there was live entertainment from a band and dancers— decked out in festive traditional Chilean costumes.

Tuesday/ Lima, Peru 🇵🇪

Today’s excursion into Lima took us to Lima Main Square (Plaza de Armas) with the Lima Cathedral just adjacent to it.
We also stopped by the Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo.

On the way back to Callao and the cruise terminal, we stopped at the Parque Domodossola in Miraflores for a look at the Pacific Ocean and the playas (beaches) below.

Colorful housing in Callao. We again drove through Callao (where the cruise terminal is) to get to central Lima.
There are lots of street vendors to be seen in Callao, but also on the city streets in Lima.
Lima Main Square (Plaza de Armas). Unfortunately we could not really walk around the square since preparations are underway for a major celebration.
The Municipal Palace of Lima building that borders the square. The ornate wooden window frame is made from wood from Central America.
Inside Lima Cathedral that also borders the main square. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral. This third and current Cathedral of Lima was built between 1602 and 1797.
Several very ornate and Baroque-style altars are found in coves inside the church. This is of Mary Magdalene holding a golden rose.
The bones of Francisco Pizarro are interred in the Lima Cathedral. Pizarro, Marquess of the Atabillos, was a Spanish conquistador, best known for his expeditions that led to the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Born in Trujillo, Spain to a poor family, Pizarro chose to pursue fortune and adventure in the New World. He was assassinated in 1541 by Spanish soldiers.
This is a beautiful and historic private house a stone’s throw away from the square that we toured. I did not write down the name of the family that owns it.
Inside the Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo.
Looking towards the south from Parque Domodossola .. 
.. and looking north.
Another viewpoint from the park, showing the cliffs along the shore. Peru lies outside the infamous ‘Ring of Fire’ series of fault lines, and do get earthquakes and tsunamis from time to time.