Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday morning report

We have 2 inches of snow on the ground, but it will probably be gone by Monday. Yesterday’s snow was only the second measureable snowfall of the season and, with any luck, will be the last.
Naturally, all of the schools are closed.
The concrete apron in front of our garage and the front sidewalk are completely clear of snow because they retained enough heat to melt it when it fell yesterday, so I have no snow to shovel – not that I'd bother for 2 inches of the stuff.
The baristas at Seattle Grind must think I’ve died. I haven’t been in for coffee in a couple of weeks and I’m not going in today either.
Ever since I realized I could make my own mocha cappuccino at home, I’ve lost my enthusiasm for driving in to town and paying for coffee. And after the equivalent of a vente mocha cappuccino first thing in the morning, I’m pretty coffeed-out for the day. And I rather enjoy thinking about the money I’m saving on coffee and gasoline.
Our tax documents are trickling in slowly and I have a copy of H&R Block’s tax software for 2010, but there’s no rush. The IRS says it will take them at least until the middle of next month, and maybe longer, to update their computers for those of us who itemize our deductions.
Speaking (or writing) of which, I need to go to the post office to pick up the mail and maybe buy some stamps. I just checked the list of stamps to be issued this year by the U.S. Postal Service:
  • Lunar New Year - Year of the Rabbit
  • Black Heritage - Barbara Jordan
  • Kansas Statehood
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Garden of Love - a set of 10 flower stamps
  • Jazz
  • Legends of Hollywood - Gregory Peck
  • Helen Hayes - The "First Lady of Theater"
  • The Civil War, 1861 - souvenir sheet of stamps and the first in a five-year series
  • Indianapolis 500
  • Owney the Postal Dog
  • American Treasures - Edward Hopper, The Long Leg - the stamp that was canceled in 2009
  • Mercury Project & MESSENGER Mission - a set of 2 stamps, one featuring Alan Shepard
  • U.S. Merchant Marine - a block of 4 stamps featuring historic vessels
  • American Scientists - Melvin Calvin, Asa Gray, Maria Goeppert Mayer, and Severo Ochoa
  • Latin Music Legends - Tito Puente, Carmen Miranda, Selena, Carlos Gardel, and Celia Cruz
  • Romare Bearden - set of 4 stamps
  • Pioneers of American Industrial Design - set of 12 stamps
  • Flags of our Nation - set #5 in the series
  • Literary Arts - Mark Twain
  • Christmas - Madonna of the Candelabra
  • Holiday Contemporary - Holiday Baubles
owney800My favorite from the list is Owney the Postal Dog. Here’s what Wikipedia says about him:
Postal workers in the Albany post office found a puppy asleep on their mail bags in 1888. It seems that he had been attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and traveled with them as they were transported around the country on the Railway Mail Service train. He was considered to be good luck by postal workers, since no train he ever rode on was in a wreck.
As his trips grew longer, the postal clerks at Albany became concerned that the dog be identified, and, if necessary returned to them. They bought Owney a collar with a metal tag that read: "Owney, Post Office, Albany, New York" at which point he became the unofficial mascot of the railway mail service.
The dog was later adopted by Railway mail clerks as their unofficial mascot. They marked his travels by placing tags on his collar. Throughout his life, Owney accumulated 1,017 tags, tokens, trinkets, and medals which are now on display at the National Postal Museum.
In 1895, Owney made an around-the-world trip, aboard trains and steamships. Starting from Tacoma, Washington, he traveled throughout Asia and across Europe, before returning to Albany.
Owney retired from the Railway Mail Service in 1897 due to poor eyesight and old age. However, as a world-traveled dog he was difficult to contain and slipped out of the Albany post office in June 1897.
The exact details of the incident which lead to his death are unclear, but according to the National Postal Museum website, "Owney was mistreated while being shown off to a newspaper reporter in Toledo, Ohio and became so mad that he bit a postal worker." Days later the man died from the injury. Word spread that Owney was mad, so on July 11, 1897, a police officer shot the dog.
Postal workers took Owney’s body to a taxidermist and his remains can be seen today at the U.S. Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.
The date of issue for Owney’s stamp is Wednesday, July 27.

1 comment:

Frank Scheer said...

There were also several childrens books about Owney. A few are currently in print while others turn up on eBay. Happy reading! Frank Scheer, Railway Mail Service Library, Boyce, Virginia