Sunday, March 27, 2011

Netherlands, Calvin and Hobbes

Sent from s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)

Postcrossing NL-591502
Dutch heart stamp

The words on the card mean "Greetings from Eindhoven", a city in the south of the Netherlands near the Belgian border. I've driven past on the highway but never been there. I know they have a famous soccer team and it's known as the Brainport of the Netherlands. Over 3 per cent of the province's gross income is spent on research and  development.

The card is from Hema, a Dutch chain store that sells food, cheap household goods and stationery. The Wikipedia write-up says some of the most famous Hema products in Holland are warm smoked sausages and pies. I never did see any food, though, when I shopped in Hema in  Brussels.

This stuffed toy picture reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes, my all-time favorite comic strip! It featured a boy Calvin and his stuffed toy tiger Hobbes, who was never as sweet as this photo of course.

The comic by the reclusive Bill Watterson was syndicated for just 10 years until the cartoonist stopped drawing it. The final strip appeared on December 31, 1995. Watterson, although he did not appear much in public and was seldom interviewed, was well-known for his views on licensing and commercialization. He thought cartoonists who merchandised their works were sell-outs and he said so, certainly not winning him any friends although he was well-respected in his genre. He won his battle against publishers regarding merchandising Calvin and Hobbes, so the extremely popular comic was unusually never turned into stuffed toys, mugs, T-shirts, hats, bags, you name it - at least not legally.

Watterson kept strict control over his comic so when he stopped drawing it, it died with him, unlike some other comics that live on through the pen of cartoonists other than their creators. In 2009, the book "Looking for Calvin and Hobbes" was published. Author Nevin Martell documents the life and times of the comic and its creator, interviews Watterson's friends, fellow cartoonists and even his mother. The book could have been named "Looking for Bill Watterson" instead because Martell really journals the great lengths he went to to hunt down the elusive Watterson. He finds him but  never gets to talk to the man himself.

On July 16, 2010 the United States Postal Service released a Calvin and Hobbes stamp, one of a set of 5 stamps honoring comic strips. Lookee... I want one!

USPS July 2010 Sunday funnies comic strip stamps, via

Thanks for visiting!

related links
a rare interview with Bill Watterson by The Plain Dealer in 2010, 15 years after end of Calvin and Hobbes
licensed prints of Calvin and Hobbes strips by GoComics
Calvin and Hobbes (Wikipedia)

by liberal sprinkles

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hamburg, Germany

Siberian tiger. Postcrossing DE-858968

A photo card sent from Hamburg. I'm not a big fan of animals, perhaps because I was afraid of pets when I was a kid. But this is a beautiful animal, isn't it? Siberian tigers are an endangered species. There are believed to be several hundred of these tigers in the wild, the majority of which live in eastern Russia's birch forests. Some exist in China and North Korea.

Altstadt Regensburg stamp info at Deutsche Post in German

The stamp on the card is of the Altstadt (old town) of Regensburg, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. Here's a link to some photos of Regensburg at Google. I wonder why there are Japanese words on the stamp? I did some Googling and found this.

Alte Stadt Nara-Yakushi-ji (from Wikimedia Commons

Yakushi-ji is a World Heritage Buddist temple in Nara, Japan. Both stamps were released on February 3, 2011. After more Googling, ahh here's a description of the stamps, translated by Google.
Regensburg Cathedral and old city of Nara - Yakushi-ji, "Weltkulturerbe der Unesco" from

Better yet, Germany stamps: World Heritage sites of Unesco from Whoever knew there was a stamp news website! There's nice info and lots of eye candy there!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seattle, USA

A postcard from Seattle came in the post two days ago.

postcard of Pike Place Market, Seattle. Postcrossing US-1038326

very nice stamps!
Thanks, Rebecca!

Pike Place Market is a popular tourist spot I visited about 10 years ago during a trip to Washington state. I loved the Puget Sound islands. Many of the towns like Port Townsend were very old-world English, I thought. The scenery is fantastic everywhere in the bay. No, it didn't rain everyday, although quite often!

Pike Place Market, a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers' markets in the US.

I drank a lot of coffee while in Seattle and the surroundings. Seattle is supposedly Coffee Central in the USA and some say latte was born there in the 1970s. I had a lot of Seattle's Best Coffee, which was what my hotel served. It has a longer history than the better known, ubiquitous Starbucks, which in fact bought over Seattle's Best in 2003.

Another supposed Seattle invention: latte art, all that cute stuff that's done to the foam that tops the espresso. The makings of it:

etching latte art [wikipedia]

Have one on me...
latte art photo [wikipedia]

or make one yourself...
Here's a cute video on latte art. Live and learn! Source for Products that Make Your Life Easier! Buy 2 books and get our featured book FREE on a Friday!

related links
Seattle's top 5 lattes
Nicely Poured Latte Art (Seattle) on flickr - lots of photos

Thursday, March 10, 2011


My second Postcrossing card arrived today from Germany.

Fernsehturm. Postcrossing DE-849326

It brings back memories! I love Berlin. I spent two months there nearly 15 years ago on a mini work programme. The card shows the Fernsehturm, which is 368 metre tall. Built by the communist East German government between 1965 and 1969, it is the tallest structure in Germany.

Thanks, Laura! Eurostars Hotels

Austin, Texas

Yesterday (March 9, 2011), I recorded a first: I received my first postcard after joining Postcrossing. It came from Austin, Texas.

beignet postcard. Postcrossing US-1024170

love the stamps!

Thanks, Megan.

The card shows a recipe for beignet, a pastry made from deep-fried dough that is liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar. When I think of beignets, I think of New Orleans and Café du Monde, a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter that I've read about in novels. Hopefully I'll get a chance one day to visit the city and drink cafe au lait and eat beignets there! For now, I'm checking out the Café du Monde website.

photo of beignet from wikipedia

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