Friday, February 23, 2018

Conyers, Georgia, USA

An ailurophile lives here. What's that? Figure it out from the picture. Confirm by visiting Merriam-Webster, where you will also learn that the first documented use of ailurophile was in 1910, the same year these words entered the English language: air-condition, bad guy, crossword, loudmouth, raw bar, sociopath, and war zone. [2015]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Hondo, Texas, USA

Don't hurry through Hondo. Slow down and enjoy the roadside scenery. After all, this is a community whose welcome sign for decades has greeted visitors with these words: "Welcome. This is God's Country. Please Don't Drive Through It Like Hell." [2009]

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bear, Delaware, USA

Two dogs and one cat: Are you getting the impression that this might not be a residential mailbox? The only way to find out is to do some field research on Dogs and Cats in the town of Bear in the Blue Hen state. Oh, my! [2008]

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, USA

Mailbox animals are pack animals. Where you find one, you expect to find more. Sometimes, it is the result of neighbors competing with each other to see whose property can attract the most attention. [2009]

Monday, February 19, 2018

Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, USA

Is that Blue Dog or just a blue dog? It's the latter, but maybe inspired by the famous line of paintings by George Rodrique.  His Blue Dog was inspired by Cajun folk culture and expanded to international popularity from his home in New Orleans. [2009]

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vacherie, Louisiana, USA

The mailbox is in Louisiana, so this might be the Louisiana state dog: the Catahoula Leopard Dog (adapted to the swamps and forests of the state).  Or, it might just be a hound. [2009]

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Colonial Beach, Virginia, USA

Hazard alert! If you are delivering mail to this address in Maine (Oh! Sorry, Virginia), you will have to learn to avoid the crusher and the pincher: Lobster claws they are, and they're poised to strike. [2017]

Friday, February 16, 2018

Diamondhead, Mississippi, USA

The Gulf of Mexico is famous for it blue marlins, but they are deep-water fish who usually avoid the coast. This one, however, got tired a being a conformist and decided to stand up for his right to be different. [2014]

Thursday, February 15, 2018

St. Simon's Island, Georgia, USA

Don't call him a porpoise. He's a dolphin. You can tell by the long nose, a protuberance that shows its value every day as the letter carrier pulls open the mailbox. [2009]

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA

Here's a dolphin on Dauphin Island. Dolphin comes from the Greek word for womb (delphys), reminding us that they are not fish but mammals. Dauphin Island was named after the the heir to the French throne, i.e, the dauphin. Both words come from the same Greek root, through French. [2017]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tavernier, Florida, USA

Here's a manatee who has been livened up with colorful accouterments. She may think she's getting back in the water, but duty calls. She has two jobs to do: collecting the mail and entertaining the public. [2014]

Monday, February 12, 2018

Naples, Florida, USA

If you are a Floridian, you know exactly what you're looking at. If not, maybe you don't recognize this gentile giant. It's a manatee, and there is a whole army of them stationed in Florida for the express purpose of holding up mailboxes. Most are gray, like the mammals they portray, but this one has been livened up by its owner. [2018]

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Eatontown, New Jersey, USA

Think this flamingo was a shop project or a chain-store purchase? It's a shame more people don't do creative things with their mailboxes. We always seem to be thinking of new ways to express our identity. [2008]

Saturday, February 10, 2018

York, Pennsylvania, USA

These suburban Yorktowners must be snowbirds. Maybe that's why they have chosen a flamingo motif for their mailbox. It's a way of bringing Florida north with them for the summer months in Pennsylvania. Alternative explanation: They just like pink things. [2005]

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cincinnatus, New York, USA

The whole concept of Air Mail was suggested by the birds, specifically the passenger pigeon: genus Columba. Now you know what business the ancestral Columbus family was in. They were post masters. It was to their columbaria that messenger pigeons returned after delivering the mail. How do we use the term columbarium today? [2017]

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Spruce Pine, North Carolina, USA

If there was ever a bird that had no role in delivering mail, it is the chicken. But, here she is ready to receive letters delivered by air. Her life has been a little slow lately because there's nothing special about air mail these days. Does she realize what is coming, though? Drone Delivery! Her life is about to change. [2009]

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Galesville, Maryland, USA

The younger generation doesn't even understand the concept of Air Mail. But, for most of the 20th century, is was a way of getting a letter there fast. Now most mail boxes of this genre are showing their age, and they're just not as funny as they used to be. But, wait! A renaissance may be on the horizon. Any ideas? [2008]

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Pecos, New Mexico, USA

A milk cow, for sure: You can tell by the coat (the coat of paint, in this case). She's ready to flirt with the mailman when he arrives. Maybe she's not giving enough milk, so they stationed her roadside where she can use her good looks to bring some mirth into the lives of passers-by. [2017]

Monday, February 5, 2018

Lima, Ohio, USA

 Every farm has its chickens, its pigs, and its cows. This heifer will eventually become a top milk producer. In the meantime, she's been given the task of stabilizing the mailbox. How do you like her skateboard? [2008]

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA

Meet Porky at Corky's. It's his restaurant, after all. And, yes, he does serve barbecue. He also spends more time outside guarding the mailbox than he should. That's because he doesn't want to become the main course. [2009]

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Boothbay, Maine, USA

Barnyard animals aren't limited to the chicken yard. Find a sty and you'll find a pig. This one, however, has wandered asunder to greet the mailman every day. Being a little short, however, she needs a plinth to give her some lift. [1993]

Friday, February 2, 2018

Gambrills, Maryland, USA

Probably a leghorn, the most prolific of the egg layers. Eventually, though, she got a new job: that of offering a daily welcome to the letter carrier when he stops at the Royal Farms, presumably to deliver mail, but probably to get a cup of coffee, or, maybe, a dozen eggs. [2004]

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Kingston, Rhode Island, USA

Antoinetta Goodwin probably had a bigger impact on commuter students to the University of Rhode Island than most professors. Past her farm, they would travel daily. And, every day would reveal a new wardrobe for her chickens. Come rain or shine, we all looked forward to seeing what "the chicken lady" would do to her mailbox. [1976]

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Istanbul, Turkey

Form: cylindrical tower with a conical roof built in Romanesque style. Function: to keep watch over the comings and goings of Genoese ships in the Golden Horn. Location: Galata, a section of Istanbul now called Karakoy. The Galata Tower is one of the most recognizable sites in the city. [2014]

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

These two better be careful. That lion's jaws are awfully close. He may be asleep now, but what is going to happen when he wakes up? And, why does he have the smile on his face? Come to think of it, why are lions allowed in Edinburgh's public parks anyway? [2017]

Monday, January 29, 2018

Castletown, Isle of Man

Picture perfect is the castle town on Ellan Vannin. Past perfect is the landscape. Present perfect is the population. And, future perfect is the islands's wisdom. Ta keeayll ommidjys ny sloo ny t'ee ec dooinney creeney dy reayll. (Wisdom is folly unless a wise man guides it.) So said in the Manx language. [2011]

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mobile Bay, Alabama, USA

Production platforms: That's their official name. But, they are usually called 'oil rigs.'  You might be tempted to call them offshore rigs, but these are actually inshore rigs because they are in Mobile Bay. See the bridge that connects the two? See the flame atop the flare stack? See the drilling tower? [2017]

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

In preparation for Mardi Gras, New Orleans is already going full throttle: complete with purple, green, and gold for the sense of sight, king cake for the sense of taste, Cajun waft for the sense of smell, marching bands for the sense of hearing, and you fill in the blank for the sense of touch. [2011]

Friday, January 26, 2018

Catoctin, Maryland, USA

May you remain busy
Every day of your life.
Glow like a flower,
Abound in sunlight.
Never sacrifice color,
And never slow down.
Let your wings do the work,
And your face never frown.
Yeah! May you scream,
No moments to waste.
End every day with a loving embrace.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tombstone, Arizona, USA

Imagine him as one of the Earps. You know: Wyatt, Morgan, or Virgil. They constituted the lawmen in Tombstone circa 1881. They took on the Clantons and McLaurys behind the O.K. Corral and emerged victorious. The 30-second shootout was probably the most famous in the old Wild West. [2018]

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Lowell, Arizona, USA

Lowell is now classified as a ghost town, but from 1880 through the 1920s, it was a flourishing copper-mining settlement, with some residents rich enough to buy into a new technology: cars. Today, the old jalopies bestrew main street and draw in the tourists. Even an old filling station survives, complete with a patrol car out front. [2018]

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bisbee, Arizona, USA

B stands for Bisbee. You will find mountain monograms rising above other Arizona towns, as well as towns in New Mexico, Nevada, and other western states. Monograms, first gained popularity in the mid 1800s and were used in a variety of ways through about 1980, when their currency began to decline. [2018]

Monday, January 22, 2018

Naco, Sonora, Mexico

Somewhere in every Mexican town is a tribute to Father Miguel Hidalgo, whose place in Mexican history is seen as the same as the place of George Washington in U.S. history. Hidalgo, however, was executed by the Spanish authorities almost a decade before the Revolution accomplished its goal. Why is he holding a broken chain in his hands? [2018]

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao

Sweet! That's what dushi means in Papiamentu. When you are an island with a language all its own, you use it on the landscape to cultivate a sense of place. It's a language and a word that is unique to the ABC islands, and they use it as a branding iron. [2017]

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao

Bonbini Curaçao. Welcome to a world of bright colors, florid birds, and and a creole language all its own: Papiamentu. The problem with this sign is that it should say Bonbini Kòrsou. In Papiamentu, 'Curaçao' translates as 'Kòrsou.' So, what's the translation of bonbini? And, what's a creole language? [2017]

Friday, January 19, 2018

Rincón, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Feral goats are all over Bonaire and often come into towns like Rincón, the original Spanish settlement on the island. Before it was Dutch, it was part of Spain's New World colonies, and residents survived by farming. In fact, the very word colony comes from Latin colonia, "a place for agriculture." Goats, once domestic, have now gone wild. [2017]

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Want to get away from the cruise ports of the Caribbees? Go to Bonaire and relax. Or, go to Bonaire and dive. The main tourist draw is underwater: the coral reefs. They have been called the best in the Caribbean. But, you'll have to see them fast. Their heyday is over and they are dying, just like coral reefs all over the world. [2017]

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Oranjestad, Aruba

From his campground on Surfside Beach, he could watch the Eurodam pull into the Cruise Terminal around 7 am and leave late in the afternoon. Ready for a walk into town? Consider the 2,000 passengers that will disgorge from the ship and another 2,000 from the Tui Discovery. But, don't wait until tomorrow: Four cruise liners will be in port! [2017]

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oranjestad, Aruba

Today, Oranjestad is a cruise port. The street sign tells you that the shops here are an easy walk from the ship. For centuries, however, the harbor brought horse traders because the island was a breeding ground for caballos. The only ones left are Caribbean blue. Any questions? Just ask Rosalinda. [2017]

Monday, January 15, 2018

Washington, DC, USA

Got the day off? Thank Martin Luther King, Jr. And, while you're at it, remember how he challenged us to live up to our values. These folks, backed up by the Lincoln Memorial (both literally and figuratively), just finished a day of celebrating MLK's life on the 50th anniversary of his march on Washington. [2013]

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Chester, Virginia, USA

Museums aren't the only places where you can find the Holiday Inn Great Sign. Here's one in a cemetery. It may only be a replica, but it's going to outlast the real ones. It's made of granite, the rock of ages. Do you think the man buried here may have owned or managed a Holiday Inn? [2007]

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

At least one Holiday Inn Great Sign survived. It's front and center at the American Sign Museum, along with a lot of other roadside relics of the 1950s and 60s. The first Holiday Inn opened in 1952, and the art deco sign made an appearance almost immediately. The Holiday Inn brand is now part of the third largest hotel chain in the world. [2017]

Friday, January 12, 2018

Hampton, Virginia, USA

In 1982, the Holiday Inn 'Great Signs' began coming down. By 1987, the wave hit Hampton. The new signs were shaped like a credit card and hoisted high above the Interstates so 'motorists' could see them from afar. The font stayed the same, but that, too, would soon succumb to the vagaries of style. Where are all those Great Signs now? [1987]

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Clemson, South Carolina, USA

Let's hope the sign was acquired by a museum somewhere, because Campus Camera closed in 2008. You can say of the sign what you can say of the camera that used film: "They just don't make 'em that way anymore." Yet another element of 20th century culture migrates from Main Street to the museum. [2005]

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Twin Falls, Idaho, USA

Futurist Alvin Toffler points out the downside: "Overchoice takes place when the advantages of diversity and individualization are canceled by the complexity of the buyer's decision-making process." Psychologist Henry David Thoreau offers a remedy: "Our life is frittered away by detail. . . simplify, simplify." Yes, psychologist. [2003]

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Manor, Texas, USA

"Will the road your're on get you my place?" said God to the people of earth. And, then, He continued: "If so, Bring Your Own Bottle": for the celebration, of course. This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the God Speaks billboards. One of the most famous originals: "What part of 'Thou Shalt Not. . .' didn't you understand?" [2009]

Monday, January 8, 2018

New York, New York, USA

Take a gander at El Dorado from Central Park. It looks like a castle, doesn't it? In fact, you'd have to be as rich as a king to live here. Apartments can easily cost $10 million. For that price, though, you have a global city at your doorstep and the satisfaction of living in one of the finest art deco buildings in New York. [2008]

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Clinton, Maryland, USA

Powdered sugar adds to the yummy of any treat. That goes for churches as well as delectables. For the serendipitous traveler with a sweet tooth, St. Mary's of Piscataway is a toothsome find. The parish was founded in 1640 as a mission serving the indigenous Indians, the Piscataway tribe. [2017]

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Time to say happy  birthday to New Mexico. It became the 47th state in 1912, but 'the Roundhosue' goes back only to the 1960s. It may look like an oversized hogan, but the model was really the Zia sun symbol, with its deep roots in the state's Native American population. [2017]

Friday, January 5, 2018

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

The Vitruvian Cow: It was inspired by Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, but its roots are deeper than that. It goes back to Marcus Vetruvius Pallio, b. 80 B.C., author of a book that helped fuel the Renaissance.In fact, according to Walter Isaacson, it was "the only surviving book on architecture from classical antiquity." Have you read his best-seller Leondardo da Vinci? [2007]