Archive for August, 2012

A Mystery Birthday Card

August 28, 2012

I love a puzzle.  One came to me in the mail yesterday – a birthday card with a thoughtful gift enclosed. But WHO sent it? There are clues, but dog gone it, not sufficient clues for me to figure this out. I love a puzzle, though.

I received a belated birthday card in a bright, yellow envelop – here are the stamps and postmark:

Being the stamp collector that I am, I noticed two things here right away:

1) these two 10¢ stamps were last sold in the post office in 2003; they are dated 2003 at the bottom left; they were reissued in 2006 if memory serves me, but these stamps were last sold in the post office in 2003;

2) the cancellation is manual – what does it say on the bottom – USPS? Austin? Boston? Houston? I think the standard cancellation says USPS on the bottom. I scanned the cancellation at 1200 dpi, but it is just too smudged to make out…

I can look deeeeep into things. This is fun!

2003, 2003 – we moved and bought our house in 2003. What else happened in 2003? I’ll have to pour over old letters and e-mail and find out. Or is 2003 just a misleading detail?

Someone knows I am a stamp collector.  That, or they are a stamp collector. Or it is possible they just happened to have these particular decade-old stamps in a drawer… I don’t have these particular stamps in my album, by the way.

Someone knows I am particular about time pieces – I designed my wristwatch and had it built for me. That, or the sender is also a fanatic about time pieces. Or it is possible that they just happened to have these stamps in a drawer…

The enclosed card says, “TWILIGHT ZONE” in big letters across the front – my favorite TV show! Coincidence – maybe, but maybe not. Dah-dah-dah-dah. Maybe Twilight Zone was intended to simply support the sense of mystery! Maybe.

Inside the card is a friendly and personal birthday message – “A belated birthday remembrance. With love….” Handwritten in precise, slightly left-leaning script. I’ll check some old Christmas cards I have kept over the years! “Remembrance” is seldom used in the English language today – someone is highly educated.

“With love….” Four dots, and not three. Did you notice the Love forever stamp on the envelop? Coincidence – I don’t think so. Four dots – I will have to look at some old letters and cards. A romance from my past? You can never know what could have been, but I have known a large number of genuinely good people over the years, and some rather fondly, and some I have not seen for a long time who I miss. I truly wish everyone I have known good health and great happiness!

And enclosed with the card is a humble copper chain passing through a Canadian penny minted in the year of my birth – I was born a Canadian. Coincidence – no way, I tell you! Someone knows me well.

No return address. No signature. Smudged postal cancellation. No invisible ink (checked under UV light). Someone is enjoying this as much as I am. What a great birthday card and gift enclosed.

THANK YOU

UPDATE: My close friend SR pointed out that the year of the postmark was 2011 and not 2012 – I didn’t notice – Good Catch! The Love forever stamp was printed in 2012 (lower right of the stamp). Mysteriouser and mysteriouser… I would wager that the dates on the hand stamps can get jiggled over time with handling, and I have actually seen a postal customer convince the clerk to adjust the date on the stamp for a birthday card to avoid the embarrassment of mailing a late card (wasn’t me). If intentional, kudos go to my good friend the sender for enriching the mystery of my card even further!

ANOTHER UPDATE: SR also pointed out upon even closer scrutiny that the time on those clocks is about 8:23 – coincidently the date of the mailing… Rather Spooky! And great fun!

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What My Ears Hear and My Eyes See

August 16, 2012

It is funny what can fool Brian’s Brain… I have been hit with the following lately – just a few things to laugh at with me.

1) The religious song “Bringing in the Sheaves” – this tripped me up “two ways from Sunday” when I was a child. Just last week I was with my niece as she was singing this song.  The lyrics as they are (first verse) –

Sowing in the morning, sowing seas of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

But my brain heard this, though, when I was a child, and my niece sang this last week just like I used to do –

Sewing in the morning, sewing sheets of kindness,
Sewing in the noontime and the doing eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of ripping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets.

Well, this all made absolutely no sense to me – none at all…  Sewing the sheets, and then ripping them up, and then bringing them inside so that you could sew ’em up and do it all over again. I recall wondering what kind of nonsense these people were signing about. Until I read the lyrics, I swore these were crazy people – sounded like a cult to me. It all came back to me as my niece sang the very same erroneous lyrics.

2) The old song “Venus” by Shocking Blue.  The lyrics as they are (1st verse and chorus):

A goddess on the mountain top,
Was burning like a silver flame.
The summit of beauty and love,
And Venus was her name.

She’s got it.
Yeah, baby, she’s got it.
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire,
And your desire.
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire,
And your desire.

But my brain heard this at the age of 12:

Got it on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Penis was the name.

She’s got it
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Penis, I’m your fire
And your desire
Well, I’m your Penis, I’m your fire
And your desire

I recall reciting the lyrics to my brother who went to school the next day – and was sent home at lunch – for singing about his penis – much to the chagrin of my parents. Well, the error of my ways all became clear to me when I bought the record a few days later. I remember at the time thinking to myself how bold this group was singing about a penis! I liked the music and the female vocalist.

3) On the TV is a show called “Hardcore Pawn” – why anyone would watch, I am afraid, eludes me. I saw a few minutes of this show last week. When I referred to the channel guide to see what this show was, my brain read:

“Hardcore Porn”

Huh. Another fleeting thought that that the world was a bit bolder than I thought it was. For all I know, that word confusion may be common – and intended!

Well, all for now.  Funny what the brain hears and sees.