Picture Postcard Perfect

Whenever I go on vacation, I always make sure to pick up several postcards. Most aren’t used for their intended purpose; I put them in my scrapbook alongside snapshots and other memorabilia. Usually the ones I get are those iconic shots of the U.S. Capitol or a panoramic view of the Grand Canyon or Bernini sculptures at Rome’s Galleria Borghese.

I could snap a picture, but the postcards are well lit, taken by a professional in ideal conditions, and light-years better than anything my poor point-and-shoot could produce. And dark clouds, telephone poles or other flaws that find their way into a photo miraculously disappear via Photoshop, so the images on the card are truly “picture perfect.”

The old brainpan is a bit porous these days, so it’s also nice to have all of those fond memories return when I take another look at my preserved postcards.

I was beyond pleased, then, to chat with Andrew Bachman as he shared his incredible postcard collection and his enthusiasm for the hobby with me. There were so many ways to enjoy them — as artwork and, if you look carefully, as little pieces of preserved history.

Bachman has 180-plus postcards of Florida State University and graciously shared the images with Tallahassee Magazine for a feature story in this issue. I enjoyed thumbing through them — most taken well before my time in Tallahassee — and reading the messages written on the back. Or, in one case, the front, when a co-ed circled a window on a picture of Bryan Hall dorm and happily proclaimed it to the folks back home as “my room.”

I’m excited about this issue’s other feature story, about FSU chemistry professor and Nobel Laureate Sir Harold “Harry” Kroto. He’s a (very) smart man with a (very) ambitious plan to encourage young people all over the world to learn more about science and perhaps consider it as a career.

Kroto’s vision is of particular interest to me because my son chose to study physics in graduate school. It has been about three years since I was able to understand his answers when I ask: “What are you studying?”

When I was in school, the smallest particles of matter were atoms — with their protons, neutrons and electrons. Now, I’m just befuddled when Jay starts talking about “up quarks,” “gluons” and “dark matter.” I agree with Harry: We definitely need to encourage young people with an affinity for math and science to pursue those abilities. It’s a great career path — and a good way to make the world a better place.

Also in this issue, we’ve tried to include a story or two relating to what’s happening in January and February. Be inspired by the resolutions that can have you eating better in the New Year. For Valentine’s Day,

consider how to create spaces at home that can put you in the mood for love. And please don’t let Black History Month go by without a visit to the Kinsey Collection at the Brogan.

Enjoy the issue. And I hope 2010 is a “picture postcard perfect” year for you and yours.

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