Archives for category: Smart Stuff

The San Juan Islands are comprised of over 170 islands and reefs which are located in the northwest corner of the United States between the mainland and Vancouver Island, Canada.

While researching the islands I came across a confrontation between the United States and Great Britain called the Pig War. The dispute was over the Canada-U.S. border in the San Juan Islands specifically between Vancouver Island and the mainland. I know what you’re wondering… why was it called the Pig War? That’s because the war was triggered after Lyman Cutler, a San Juan settler, shot two pigs belonging to a farm, that supported the Hudson’s Bay Company, which was a British company at the time.

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The Facts:
Other Party: Karmen M
Card Number: 0218
Average Color: 888B91
Date Sent: August 31, 2016
Date Received: Unavailable
Sender Location: San Juan Islands, WA
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 1,652 Miles
Average Speed: Unavailable



According to the Duluth Chamber of Commerce, the city of Duluth, which was founded in 1856, was named after Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, a frenchman who started the fur trade routes in 1679. A year after the city’s’ incorporation, it suffered an economic crash and in 1859 a scarlet fever epidemic fell upon the city. Duluth was able to weather these early disasters because of its abundant natural resources which included: copper, iron ore, and lumber. The city also became a transit hub because of its port and because the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad selected Duluth as its northern terminus.

Today, Duluth forms a metropolitan area with another port city, Superior, Wisconsin, these cities have a collective nickname of the Twin Ports. Duluth and Superior share a harbor and together are the Great Lakes’ largest port.

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I just realized that I’ve had this card for a very long time – since 2014!

The Facts:
Other Party: Julie O
Card Number: 0217
Average Color: 90717D
Date Sent: July 17, 2104
Date Received: July 19, 2014
Sender Location: Duluth, MN
Receiver Location: Platteville, WI
Distance Traveled: 291 Miles
Average Speed: 146 Miles Per Day

The history of Paris can be traced back to the 3rd century BC when it was first named Lutetia. The first inhabitants of the city, the Parisii, were a tribe from Gaul (which was a region of Western Europe). The site was originally settled as it was a strategic crossing point to the north of Gaul and for trade on the Seine River. The Parisii were later overrun by troops sent by Julius Caesar in in 52 BC.

Lutetia was later known as a garrison in the 4th century as troops were fighting the Barbarians from the frontiers of Gaul. It was during this time that the city moved to Île de la Cité, fortified, and renamed Paris. Today, Île de la Cité remains one of the two natural islands in the Seine.

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Julie and John spent their honeymoon touring Europe where they picked up this postcard for me. Unfortunately, they were only in Paris for a day and didn’t have a stamp – so they mailed it when they returned.

The Facts:
Other Party: Julie O
Card Number: 0216
Average Color: 7C7577
Date Sent: July 5, 2016
Date Received: July 7, 2016
Sender Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 138 Miles
Average Speed: 69 Miles Per Day


The Republic of Belarus, formerly known as Byelorussia, is a landlocked European country that’s bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. If you’ve been a reader of Going Postal you’ll know that I’m fascinated by the history of names. The name Belarus has an interesting history. Belarus is related to the term Belaya Rus which translates to White Rus. I wasn’t able to track down the exact meaning of White Rus but according to Bealrus Guide, the term may refer to the areas that were never conquered by the Tatars or Mongols.

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With this post I’ve officially published more updates than in 2016.

This is another postcard that I received via Postcrossing, a postcard exchange website. The exchange works in a random fashion where you request an address from Postcrossing (which can be foreign or domestic). Each request is assigned an ID number that the received will enter to complete the transaction. After the card has been received and registered your address will be added to the pool for a postcard.

The Facts:
Other Party: Tatiana
Card Number: 0214
Average Color: 9F9C7B
Date Sent: August 15, 2015
Date Received: August 29, 2015
Sender Location: Belarus
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 4,860 Miles
Average Speed: 347 Miles Per Day


The Huashan Creative Park in Taipei housed a Where’s Waldo exhibit last August (I’m a little behind in blogging). Which according to Karmen featured several published books, blow up wall-size works, and many statues. She posted several images on her blog.

Waldo’s adventure began in 1987 when the series’ first book, Where’s Waldo, was published. This book was written and illustrated by Martin Handford and took over two years to complete. Since then Waldo has been published around in the world in more than 25 languages.

Random Facts:

  • The world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Waldo is 1,050 and was set at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
  • Waldo’s dog is named Woof, he too wears a red and white outfit.
  • Waldo goes by many names depending what country the book was released in, the names include: Wally, Charlie, Holger, Hetti and many more.

Do I have time for a shameless plus? I think I do. This isn’t my first blog post to feature the red and white clad character. Card Number 0020 also shines a light on Waldo. 

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The Facts:
Other Party: Karmen M
Card Number: 0213
Average Color: E1DCDD
Date Sent: August 17, 2016
Date Received: Unavailable
Sender Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 7,344 Miles
Average Speed: Unavailable

This postcard hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city. The city was established in 1838 and originally named Columbus, however it was resurveyed in 1841 and renamed Cedar Rapids. The city’s name is derived from the rapids in the Cedar River that the city was founded upon. The Cedar River gets its name from the large Red Cedar trees that grow along its banks.

Today, Cedar Rapids proudly boasts that it’s one of the largest cities in the world for corn processing. This postcard was defaced by my friend, Julie, who often tells me about the city’s aroma. This is because Cedar Rapids is home to a Quaker Oats mill and a General Mills facility which means the city often smells like breakfast foods. Pro-tip: According to Julie Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries is occasionally made on Wednesdays.

Other Interesting Cedar Rapids Facts:

  • The largest newspaper repository in North America, Newspaperarchive, calls Cedar Rapids home.
  • Cedar Rapid’s slogan “The City of Five Seasons” was based on a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1 which reads “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

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The Facts:
Other Party: Julie O
Card Number: 0212
Average Color: 79858E
Date Sent: November 7, 2016
Date Received: Unavailable
Sender Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 138 Miles
Average Speed: Unavailable

Iowa is America’s largest producer of corn. According to the Iowa Corn website Iowa produces roughly three times as much corn as Mexico annually. You might be wondering just how much corn Iowa produces. Well in 2014 Iowa farmers produced about 2.4 billion bushels of corn on 13.2 million acres of land. The total amount of land devoted to farming in Iowa is 30.8 million acres which means about 43% of Iowa’s farm land is devoted to corn.

I will end this post with a corny corn joke.

Q: What did the corn say when he got complimented?
A: Aww, shucks!

The Facts:
Other Party: Julie O
Card Number: 0207
Average Color: 949C72
Date Sent: August 28, 2015
Date Received: September 3, 2015
Sender Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 138 Miles
Average Speed: 23 Miles Per Day

The image depicted on this card is over 35 years old. On September 4, 1979 the students attending UW-Madison were greeted by over 1,000 plastic flamingo on the lawns of Bascom Hill. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society the infestation of the plastic lawn ornaments was a celebration of the Pail & Shovel Party which had won reelection of the Wisconsin Student Association. Click here to read the full story from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

This card was sent via Postcrossing – a sort of random pen pal. Join me on their website by clicking here.

The Facts:
Other Party: Tea H
Card Number: 0205
Average Color: 848D8E
Date Sent: August 10, 2015
Date Received: August 17, 2015
Sender Location: Madison, WI
Receiver Location: Savonlinna, Finland
Distance Traveled: 4,424 Miles
Average Speed: 632 Miles Per Day

Monterey Bay
This postcard comes from the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is home to many aquatic species including the Wunderpus Octopus, or Wunderpus photogenicus. The octopus gets its name from the German word “wünder” which means “wonder”. The octopus can change its hue and contrast in colors but its pattern remains the same.

The Facts:
Other Party: Karmen M
Card Number: 0197
Average Color: 4C5EBF
Date Sent: June 15, 2015
Date Received: Unavailable
Sender Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 1,768 Miles
Average Speed: Unavailable

Monterey Bay 2
The City of Monterey, California is located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay (which is just fun to say) on the coast of California. The city’s nickname is the Language Capital of the World, The city earns this nickname because it’s home to nearly a quarter of the country’s secondary language programs. This is why Ms. Mallow finds herself in the nation’s third largest state.

The Facts:
Other Party: Karmen M
Card Number: 0196
Average Color: 9E8CB1
Date Sent: June 22, 2015
Date Received: Unavailable
Sender Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Receiver Location: Madison, WI
Distance Traveled: 1,768 Miles
Average Speed: Unavailable