Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The butterfly depicted in this stamp belongs to the nominal subspecies Graellsia isabelae ssp.isabelae. It is a female specimen and according to entomologists, this Spanish butterfly is the most beautiful in Europe. It takes its name from its describer and naturalist Dr. Graells Agüera, who discovered it in 1849 in the Sierra de Guadarrama (Madrid).
Next, we have 2 identical stamps with vignettes depicting the composition of a human castle of various levels where the participants are wearing the typical clothing consisting of white trousers, a black sash, and a red shirt. These stamps were issued on 9th October 2008.
The series Traditional Sports and Games devotes this issue to the Castells (Human Towers), typical from some areas in Cataluña consisting on building human towers of various levels.
Castells belongs to the locomotion games and requires corporal movement. It is difficult to establish its origin and it is very popular in Catalonia especially in the north of Tarragona and south of Barcelona although it is also found in villages of the Alto Aragon where it is performed at the end of some folkloric dances. The building of these towers requires a technique that is passed on from one generation to the other.
Currently the Castells is a form of entertainment and competition where the colles- associations made up of people of all ages that make up the tower, compete to build the highest, some of which can have up to 10 levels.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The aims and objectives of the National Year of Environment is to raise awareness among the common masses regarding environmental issues and creating support for attitudinal changes for an environment-friendly Pakistan.
Lastly, we have a definitive stamp issued in 1998, representing Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the "father of the nation".
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The stamp shows the alpha jet forefront (aircrafts use by the Patrol since 1981) flying pass the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Next is a stamp to commemorate the Century of Gordon Bennett Cup (1909-2009). The world’s first major international flying meeting was held in the champagne growing region of France near the historic cathedral city of Reimsfrom, from 22 to 29 August 1909. It was won by Curtiss and his Golden Flyer (shown on the stamp). He had the best speed in a two-lap triangular 6.2-mile (10-kilometer) course, averaging 47 miles per hour (75.6 kilometers per hour).
Last but not least, we have a lovely stamp to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of French engineer and aviation pioneer Louis Blériot (1872 -1936) of being the first person to fly a plane over the English Channel.
This cover bears a special postmark from Musée de La Poste, Paris. Dated 19 August 2009, it took 6 days to reach me. The Musée de La Poste (La Poste's Museum) is the museum of the French postal operator La Poste. It specializes in the postal history and philately of France. With 15 separate rooms spread over 5 floors, it retraces almost 5 centuries of postal history: from post horses to the royal mail, the first telecommunication systems, the arrival of the rural postman and the postage stamp.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
In addition a miniature sheet (shown below) depicting a Chambered Nautilus and a Spotted Boxfish was issued as part of this beautiful set. Don't they look absolutely gorgeous?
Monday, August 24, 2009
The theme for WED 2009 is 'Your Planet Needs You - UNite to Combat Climate Change'. It reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen some 180 days later in the year, and the links with overcoming poverty and improved management of forests.
WED 2009’s host is Mexico which reflects the growing role of the Latin American country in the fight against climate change, including its growing participation in the carbon markets. Mexico is also a leading partner in United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Billion Tree Campaign. The country, with the support of its President and people, has spearheaded the pledging and planting of some 25 per cent of the trees under the campaign. Accounting for around 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the country is demonstrating its commitment to climate change on several fronts.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon states that the WED celebration will “further underline Mexico's determination to manage natural resources and deal with the most demanding challenge of the 21st century – climate change.” (Wikipedia)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
By the end of this century, global temperatures are expected to rise between 1.4 and 5.8°C. Scientists predict that a 4°C temperature increase would melt nearly half the world’s glaciers. As they melt, we will see an increase in floods, water shortages, and a rise in sea levels that will destroy many, if not all, coastal communities and habitats. Climate change has already wiped out an entire ecosystem on the crumbling ice shelves of the Arctic.
I have blogged on this topic before. Here you will find pictures of twenty-eight countries' stamp issues on this theme.
Next, we have a stamp commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Dom Helder Camara, issued on 7th February 2009.
Above all, the short and slender bishop devoted his energies to the poor. His struggle for Latin American development and human rights largely defined liberationist Catholicism. Also, his confidence in the laity--both men and women--counteracted the stern clericalism that had ruled the church for centuries. These attempts to change Brazilian society and the church made Dom Helder many enemies, especially among the repressive military officers who ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. He survived that period and the many other secular and ecclesiastical storms of his era by anchoring himself in the spirituality and faith of the Catholic Church.
He is famous for stating, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist."
This cover was postmarked on 10th August 2009 in Porto Alegre, Brazil and took 10 days to travel an estimated distance of 15, 891 kms to reach Singapore.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
A moment before the opening of the 25th Estonian Song Festival (2009) at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds
Gustav Ernesaks (1908 - 1993) was an Estonian composer and a choir onductor. He played an integral role in the Singing Revolution and was one of the father figures of the Estonian Song Festival tradition; one of his songs, set to Lydia Koidula's poem Mu isamaa on minu arm, became an unofficial national anthem during the years of Soviet occupation; ironically, he was also the composer of the Anthem of Estonian SSR used between 1945 and 1990. A statue of him was erected in 2004 on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.
The Estonians often like to be described as a singing people – it is an expression of the national identity of the people, which has united them in their struggle for independence both in the early years of the 20th century and during the Soviet occupation. As Janek claimed Songs festivals are a very important part of their culture.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The 2 awesome stamps franked on the top right of this cover belong to United States Postal Service's latest definitive series entitled "Scenic American Landscapes". It is my opinion that this is one of the most beautiful definitive series ever issued by USPS.
The international 75-cent stamp, issued in 2006 features a photograph of the Great Smoky Mountains at sunset, taken by David Muench of Santa Barbara, California. This view from Clingmans Dome includes portions of both North Carolina and Tennessee. Encompassing approximately 800 square miles of mountainous terrain in both North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for the diversity of the plant and animal life found along some 800 miles of hiking trails. Also found in the park are structures that represent the Southern Appalachian mountain culture of the settlers who once lived in the area. Next is another international rate stamp with a 98-cent denomination. This time depicting Grand Teton National Park located in northwestern Wyoming. The photograph was taken from the Snake River Overlook at dawn by Dennis Flaherty. The park is named after the Grand Teton, which, at 4,197 m, is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. This stamp was issued on 28th June 2009. Franked on the second row, left, we have a commemorative stamp featuring Dag Hammarskjold. It was issued in 1961.
Dag Hammarskjold was a Swedish government official who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1953 until his untimely death in 1961. Hammarskhold worked hard to defuse the tensions in the Middle East. He established the UN Emergency Force, which was utilized as peacekeepers after the Suez Crisis of 1956.
His last challenge was the Congo Crisis which began in 1960. Hammarskjold sent in a UN Emergency Force to help keep the peace. When UN personnel came under attack he flew to Congo to negotiate a cease-fire. He was killed when his plane crashed, under circumstances never fully explained. After his death he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the first person to receive it posthumously.
Last but not least, we have a 5-cent stamp marking the 50th anniversary of Indiana's admission into the Union. It was issued on April 16, 1966, in Corydon, Indiana, the state's first capital.
The stamp is based on a commemorative seal designed by Paul Wehr of Indianapolis for the sesquicentennial observance. Indiana was the 19th state to gain admission to the Union, as symbolized by the cluster of brown stars. That's all folks. See you again soon!
Monday, August 17, 2009
The Indonesian Post helped to disseminate this message by issuing a set of postage stamps, entitled "Environmental Care" on 5th June 2008. One of the stamps depicts the use of bicycles instead of motorcars. While the other shows a seedling to relay the message about planting and caring for trees.
A miniature sheet can be seen on this lovely cover sent by Erlangga Ryansha. Thank you so much!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Unable to compete with the reinforced German troops, the insurgents were forced into hiding, often into the sewers, from where they continued to orchestrate and co-ordinate attacks. The Germans were in control of water and power supplies whereas the Home Army were desperately lacking supplies of any kind - including food and ammunition (every animal in the city had been eaten - even the vermin - and shooting at the German planes was banned in order to conserve precious bullets). As the battle for the city raged on, with Varsovians dying at a rate of 2,000 a day, it became only a matter of time before the rebels were forced to capitulate. They finally did so on October 2nd, 63 days after the Uprising began.
In the two month struggle 18,000 Home Army soldiers died and 12,000 were wounded with the survivors either sent to German POW camps or managing to go into hiding. A staggering 250,000 civilians were killed during the Uprising. Meanwhile the German suffered 10,000 fatalities with nearly as many again wounded.
After the revolt collapsed, the Germans were the first to punish Warsaw and its people for daring to defend its freedom. Hitler ordered the city to be all but wiped off the face of the earth and special units were brought in to systematically detonate any building of the remotest importance to Polish culture. The city was effectively destroyed block by block, and when the Russians finally crossed the Vistula to liberate the city, they inherited only ruins. Once dubbed the "Paris of the East", there was hardly a wall left standing in the city!
Although the odds were heavily against the Poles, who were poorly armed and outnumbered, the battle was seen as an heroic struggle for an independent Poland against impossible odds.
Warsaw Uprising surrender, 5 October 1944 Warsaw, 1945, destroyed by German forces
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Today, I received a lovely cover from Dijon, a city in eastern France by David Jastrzebski who I presumed is a reader of this blog. Thank you very much!
A Sabre toothed Tiger or Smilodon became extinct around 11,000 years ago. It was a fierce predator about 1.2-1.5 m long and 0.9 m tall. It weighed about 200 kg. The Sabre toothed Tiger was a bit smaller than a modern-day lion, but much heavier. Phorusrhacos was a huge, lightly-built bird with a fearsome beak. A recent discovery in North America suggests that they also had claws on their wings, which is unusual, although it is not clear how these would have been used. Phorusrhacos stood around 2.5 m tall and weighed approximately 130 kg.
The other 2 stamps in this set feature a Mammoth and a Megaloceros. Mammoth lived from the Pliocene epoch from around 4.8 million to 4,500 years ago. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair. The largest known species, Songhua River Mammoth, reached heights of at least 5 m at the shoulder. Mammoths would probably normally weigh in the region of 6 to 8 tonnes, but exceptionally large males may have exceeded 12 tonnes. Megaloceros also known as the giant deer was found widely across northern Europe and western Asia during Pleistocene times it stood up to 1.8m high at the shoulders. The males had huge palmated antlers with a span of up to 3m. Megaloceros became extinct around 10 000 years ago.
And here is a miniature sheet.