Thursday, July 21, 2011

Top 40 Reasons to Write a Letter (Numbers 21-25)

We're counting down the top 40 reasons to write a letter. Here are reasons number 21 through 25:

#25 To reminisce with an old friend or family member

#24 To say the things you could never say in person

#23 To show your kids how it's done

#22 To personalize a greeting card

#21 To share your new mailart skills

Happy Letter Writing!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Celebrating Science with Stamps

Last month, the U.S. Postal Service released a set of stamps honoring four American scientists. This is the third American Scientists stamp set.

This set honors chemist Melvin Calvin, botanist Asa Gray, physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer, and biochemist Severo Ochoa.

Melvin Calvin was the first scientist to trace in detail the process of photosynthesis and conducted pioneering research on using plants as an alternative energy source. He won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1961.

Asa Gray, one of the first professional botanists in the United States, advanced the specialized field of plant geography and became the principal American advocate of evolutionary theory in the mid-nineteenth century.

Maria Goeppert Mayer developed a theoretical model that helped explain the structure of the atomic nucleus; for this work she became the only woman other than Marie Curie to win a Nobel Prize in physics.

Severo Ochoa, a biochemist, was the first scientist to synthesize ribonucleic acid (RNA) and competed in the race to decipher the genetic code. Ochoa won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1959.

For each stamp in this block of four, art director Ethel Kessler collaborated with Greg Berger of Bethesda, MD, to create a collage featuring a photograph and signature of the scientist, along with items such as equations and diagrams that are associated with the scientist’s research.

For more information about the stamps, visit the U.S.P.S. website story about the stamps.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Letter to Yourself Tips

The Madame Noire website has a nice article by Veronica Wells about Writing a Letter to Yourself.  Check out what she has to say about the letter she wrote to herself and the tips she offers for writing your own letter.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 40 Reasons to Write a Letter (Numbers 26-30)

We're counting down the top 40 reasons to write a letter, and so far, we're up to Number 30.

#30 To ease someone's lonliness.

#29 So that you might get a letter in return.

#28 To connect with an older or younger generation.

#27 To accompany something that you need to mail to someone, clippings, a book, etc.

#26 To express your opinion.

Happy letterwriting!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cute article about envelopes, mail art, etc.

I get "Deliver" magazine, a publication by the U.S. Postal Service for people who do marketing, specifically direct mail marketing. The "Last Word" column in the latest issue in "The Envelope Opens Up: Interview with an Icon."

It's an interview with "the noble business envelope," aka "Enny." By the way, he speaks with a British accent, since Edwin Hill and Warren de la Rue, who patented the first machine to cut and crease envelopes way back in 1845, were British.

My favorite parts of the "interview":

DELIVER: What’s your opinion of Mail Art?

ENNY: Love it, love it, mate! I’ve got an ego like anyone else, ya know. I like to be special, colorful, to stand out from the pile. And the more distinctive I am, the more effective I can be as a prospecting tool. Hey, I’m like a pickaxe! A “prospecting tool,” get it?

DELIVER: Oh, we got it. Enny, what are some of your favorite things?

ENNY: Let’s see… Celebrity stamps. Pen pals. Successful marketing campaigns where I get to seal the deal. Windows — I’m the trans parent type, ya know? Barcodes. Thank-you letters. ESD, Electronic Stamp Distribution. Messaging on me outside. Being certified or registered — what power being all official! Being spritzed with cologne or some other pretty scent. Oh, and definitely, recycling.

DELIVER: And your dislikes?

ENNY: Too much saliva. E-mail strings. Poison pen letters. “Return to Sender.” Hot wax seals — how’d you like to have something all heated up and sticky pressed onto your backside, eh? Oh, and shredders. We lost Uncle Henry to a crosscut, high-speed job back in ’06. Me aunt went all to pieces.

If you want to download "Deliver," visit the website

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kind of funny

As a letter writer, as well as an emailer and "social media" user, I found this article on the Financial Post website a little amusing.

It ponders whether or not email is "going the way of snail mail." For those of us who have been battling those who call "letter writing" anachronistic, old fashioned, out-dated, etc., it's an interesting situation to suddenly have emailers clamoring to get in our lifeboat.

The main (but short) article includes a link to another post listing the best alternatives to email.

Sherwood Schwartz's Goodbye Letter

Maybe you recognize his name or maybe you don't. If you're old enough, or even if you're younger but have watched a lot of old TV re-runs, you'd definitely recognize some of his work.... "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..." or maybe... "Here's the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls...."

Sherwood Schwartz, who created the TV shows "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch," died Tuesday, July 12, 2011. He was a writer, and he made arrangements so that after his death, a letter that he had written would be published in The Hollywood Reporter publication.

You can read Schwartz's farewell letter to his family and fans on the THR website.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Delightful Canadian Essay about Letter Writing

I came across a great essay by Paige Raymond Kovach on The Globe and Mail website. "If you want a letter, you have to write one first" chronicles her interest in letter writing, especially her correspondence with her Auntie Anne.

Paige writes:
"I caught the letter-writing bug. While still home in Victoria and studying at university, I wrote to friends who were studying and living in France and China. We shared our hopes and travels, and chronicled our love lives. I have boxes filled with their letters, too."

 Paige is now teaching her kids to write letters, too, passing along the do's and don'ts of letter writing:
"We need to always use the formal salutation “dear” and formal closing “love.” Because being dear to someone and telling them we love them is what we all want to get in the mail, especially when the sentiment is handwritten."
Click on that link above to read the entire, lovely essay.

Mark Twain Honored with U.S. Stamp

A few weeks ago, U.S. author and humorist Mark Twain (1835-1910) was honored with a first-class (Forever) U.S. postage stamp.

The postage stamp features a portrait of an older Twain with a steamboat in the background, evoking a way of life along the Mississippi River that played a huge role in many of Twain’s works, as well as in his own life. Art director and stamp designer Phil Jordan collaborated with stamp artist Gregory Manchess, who based his portrait of Twain on a photograph taken around 1907.

The stamps cost 44 cents each and are available in panes of 20 or blocks of 10 and 4. Additionally, related products, such as first day covers, ceremony programs, etc. are available.

For more information about the stamp and the ceremony introducing the stamp, visit the U.S. Postal Service website.

Five More Reasons to Write Letters (31-35 of 40 Reasons)

We're counting down the Top 40 reasons to write a letter. Here are the next five:

#35 As a random act of kindness.

#34 To exchange items of interest

#33 To introduce someone to the joys of letter writing

#32 To vent your frustrations about something (this type of letter may or may not be mailed)

#31 To practice your penmanship

Monday, July 11, 2011

Counting Down 40 Reasons to Write a Letter (36-40)

We'll do this backwards, like David Letterman does.

Top 40 Reasons to Write a Letter

Reason #40: Because you love to write letters.

Reason #39: To request something.

Reason #38: To brag...about someone else.

Reason #37: To spread joy.

Reason #36: To share stories and photos from your vacation.

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