Friday/ it’s Oktoberfest 🍺

Happy Friday.
Oktoberfest commences tomorrow (in Munich, Germany, of course).
The price of a beer* is expected to be between €12.60 and €14.90 ($13.45 and $15.90), an average of 6.12 percent more than last year.

*One liter of beer! (34 US fluid ounces or about two pints).

The Winzerer Fähndl (a famous crossbow shooter’s club) was founded in 1895 and has been a presence at Oktoberfest ever since. (The annual German Crossbow Shooting Championships take place next to the beer tent). They used to call the main Paulaner beer tent home but moved to the Armbrustschützenzelt in 1926.

Monday/ may we never forget 🎀

A relative of one of the victims pays her respects at the Wall of Names before a ceremony commemorating the 22nd anniversary of the crash of Flight 93 during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 11, 2023 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
[Posted at   Picture Credit: Jeff Swensen/ Getty Images]

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]

Happy Juneteenth 👏

Mauritania’s endless sea of sand dunes hides an open secret: An estimated 10% to 20% of the population lives in slavery. But as one woman’s journey shows, the first step toward freedom is realizing you’re enslaved.
– John D. Sutter writing for CNN Interactive (In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery. Activists are arrested for fighting the practice. The government denies it exists).

Happy Juneteenth.
It is the third time around for the newest federal holiday in the US, Juneteenth National Independence Day, which celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.

There is still a lot of differences in the way states treat the day, though: some commemorate it as an official holiday, some just a day of observance, and others something in between. (In Washington State it was made a permanent state holiday in 2022).

The cool weather and on-again off-again rain of the weekend continued on Monday here in Seattle.

Thursday/ consequences ⚖️

Stealing top secret documents from the White House (‘willful retention of national defense secrets’ is the charge, reportedly) and lying about it, bring consequences.
As simple as that.
This guy is continuing to making history— in a very bad way.

Friday Jun. 9  The DOJ unsealed its indictment of Trump today.
Prosecutors are charging Trump with 37 felonies, including 31 counts under the Espionage Act of ‘willful retention’ of classified records.
The charging docket also says that on at least two occasions, Trump showed classified records to visitors without security clearances at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey — including the map of a military operation to a representative of his political action committee.
[Information from]

Reporting from the online Washington Post tonight.
Every little thing is not ‘Breaking News’ as the cable news networks like to call it, but this certainly is. Trump himself broke the news, actually, writing on social media that he has been summoned to federal court on Tuesday in Miami.

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day here in the United States of America— the day for honoring and mourning the soldiers and personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Red poppies from a Capitol Hill garden here in Seattle.

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


Tuesday/ the long arm of the law👮

More than two years out, convictions and sentences are still getting handed out for the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Eduardo Medina writes for the New York Times:
Mr. Grider, who operates a vineyard in Central Texas, pleaded guilty last year to entering a restricted area and unlawfully parading at the Capitol, his lawyer said. He went to trial on seven other charges, including civil disorder and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., convicted him on all counts.
On Tuesday, Judge Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Mr. Grider to six years and 11 months in prison and ordered him to pay $5,055 in restitution and an $812 fine.
In March, Judge Kollar-Kotelly said in court that videos of the episode had clearly demonstrated “how Mr. Grider put himself at the center of this conflict, steps away from some of the most violent, lawless and reprehensible acts that occurred in the Capitol on that day.”
She then asked: “How close can a person be to unquestionably violent and completely unacceptable lynch-mob-like acts of others, and still claim to be a nondangerous, truly innocent bystander?”
Mr. Grider’s lawyer, Brent Mayr, said in an interview on Tuesday that his client “truly regrets his actions on Jan. 6 and apologizes to his family, his community and, most importantly, his country.”
But he added that they were “deeply disappointed that his sentence is significantly longer than others who did so much worse than him.”
“He did not assault any officers, much less threaten anyone with any violence before, during or after that day,” Mr. Mayr said. “The disparity in this sentence is very, very disappointing to us.”

Saturday/ long live the King 👑

“I’m not particularly bothered. I’m not out here raging, angry about it, protesting. But I’m not the biggest fan.”
– Nicholas Sowemimo, 36, who spent part of his Saturday afternoon at The Hawley Arms, a well-known pub in North London, but he did not watch the coronation (reported by Derrick Bryson Taylor in the NYT).

The coronation depicted in a new set of stamps issued today by the Royal Mail.
(1st on the stamp means First Class Mail. And why the ‘Royal Mail’? The postal service was created in 1516 when Henry VIII knighted the first Master of the Posts, Sir Brian Tuke.
At first, the postal system was exclusively for use by the king and the royal court. Ordinary people were only allowed to use it more than a century later).

LONDON — Britain’s Charles III was crowned king on Saturday, during an eighth-century ritual in a 21st-century metropolis with a handful of concessions to the modern age but the unabashed pageantry of a fairy tale, unseen since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, his mother, in 1953.

“I come not to be served, but to serve,” Charles said in his first remarks of the ceremony, setting the theme for the intimate yet grand proceedings. The king, 74, was anointed with holy oil, symbolizing the sacred nature of his rule. He was vested with an imperial mantle, and the archbishop of Canterbury placed the ancient crown of St. Edward onto his head.
– As reported by Mark Landler in the New York Times

Thursday/ a lot of trouble 😵

What is unbelievable is that this man, this immoral creature, still has sway over so many Americans. It would be comforting to imagine that a verdict in Carroll’s favor could break that spell, but we have learned the hard way: nothing will.
-Ruth Marcus, Associate Editor for the Washington Post

Trump’s trial for the rape & defamation of E. Jean Carroll started today.
Also— Last month Trump was charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniel.
Also— Just today, Trump’s VP Mike Pence testified before a grand jury as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s probe of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn 2020 the election results.
Also— The culmination of a more than two-year investigation into Trump’s election interference in Georgia is expected this summer, led by a local prosecutor, Fani T. Willis of Fulton County.

We are told by the pollsters that this guy will likely be the Republican Party’s candidate for President of the United States for the 2024 general election.

E. Jean Carroll arrives to federal court in New York on Thursday. Carroll testified today that Trump had raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in New York three decades ago.
[Picture by Seth Wenig/AP]

Tuesday/ a poem for a dinosaur 🦕

I found a poem in one of my books that came yesterday— one that is apt for the dinosaur from German toymaker Scheich that I had brought home in my suitcase.

Versteende geheime skuil
in jou primordiale hart.
Hier waar die jakkals nou huil
het oerdier vir oermens getart.

Petrified secrets hide away
in your primordial heart.
Here where the jackal howls today,
primeval beast gave caveman a start.

Original Afrikaans poem by Isaac David du Plessis, published 1965.
The rough translation into English is my own.

Once this dinosaur had its teeth in you and shut its movable jaws, there was no escape. Monolophosaurus was a genus of tetanuran (stiff-tailed) theropod (hollow bones, three toes & a claw on each limb) dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic Shishugou Formation in what is now Xinjiang, China.
It was named for the single crest on top of its skull. They lived about 165 million years ago. Weight about 1,000 pounds (425 kg) and length about 18 ft (5 m).

Friday/ a cold rain and coffee ☕️

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the 1930s— a photo from a store window display across from the church on Kurfürstenstraße.
[Photo by Ewald Gnilka]
It was only 7°C  (45 °F) today, with light rain— not enough to stop me from going out, though.

I was checking out the beautiful Wittenbergplatz U-bahn station when I realized the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church* is down the street, and I walked down in the rain to it to take a closer look.
(When I was here eight years ago, I just caught a glimpse of it on the way out to the airport).

Then it was time for coffee and a slice of banana bread at Starbucks nearby. Starbucks might be a little passé for many Americans, but not so for South Africans and for Germans. There were no seats left inside, so I sat outside on the only dry chair I could find. A little sparrow came for my bread crumbs that had fallen on the ground.

*During World War II, on the night of 23 November 1943, the church was extensively damaged in an air raid.


Monday/ the Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. The granite structure is located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers (pioneers) who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. It was designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk.
Construction started on 13 July 1937 and the monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 by Prime Minister D. F. Malan.
[Information from Wikipedia entry for Voortrekker Monument].

I walked around the monument today, before going inside. I climbed the 299 granite steps from the carpark to the top (at the inside), in the process. From the ceiling balcony one looks down at a cenotaph* that says ‘Ons Vir Jou Suid-Afrika’ (‘We For You South Africa’). 

*A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere.

Thursday/ stamps from the USA 🗽

All right— how about a smattering of vintage stamps from the United States, courtesy of a seller in Houston, Texas?
Amazingly, he used a stamp from 1934 on the envelope!

(Pro tip: Click on the picture. It’s fun to look at stamps with a magnifying glass).

1970 (5 Nov.) Christmas Perf.10½ x 11
#1410 837 6c Multicoloured, National Art Gallery ‘The Nativity’ by L. Lotto

1970 (21 Nov.) 350th Anniversary of Landing of Pilgrim Fathers in America
#1416 837 6c Multicoloured

1934 (8 Oct.) National Parks Year
#748 245 10c Grey, Mount Le Conte, Great Smoky Mountains

2001 (3 Aug.) Pre-sorted First Class Card Coil Stamp. Self-adhesive gum. Imperf x p11½
#3991 2590 (15c) Multicoloured, Woody Wagon

1973 (28 Sept.) American Revolution Bicentennial. Colonial Communications.
#1484 903 8c Multicoloured, Drummer
[Source: Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogue 2005, Part 22, United States]

Wednesday/ about the Abrams tanks ⚙️

President Biden announced today that the U.S. will send 31 Abrams tanks to push back against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

From the New York Times:
But by promising Abrams tanks — which John F. Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, said would take “many months” to be built by General Dynamics — Mr. Biden was able to give Mr. Scholz political cover to send Leopard tanks by early spring. And Germany’s decision opened the way for Spain, Poland and Finland to do the same, with Norway likely next to announce a similar contribution.

The latest versions of the Abrams and the Leopard tanks. These are models are both the third generation of tanks that were first designed and built in the 1970s.
The Abrams tank is named after WWII tank commander Creighton Williams Abrams, Jr. (1914-1974). It has a massive 500 gallon fuel tank for its 1,500-horsepower gas turbine engine that runs on jet fuel, gasoline or diesel. The engine is very reliable, but the high fuel consumption could present a serious logistic problem in places such as Ukraine.