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Mama — and Papa — Grizzlies

Posted January 31st, 2011 at 6:40 pm (UTC-4)
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Most likely, I don’t have to tell you who Sarah Palin is. The former Alaska governor and unsuccessful 2008 U.S. vice-presidential candidate, who is now a prominent voice in the conservative Tea Party movement, is one of America’s most famous — and controversial – women. Sorry, I just told you who Sarah Palin is. Some […]

First Beach

Posted January 28th, 2011 at 3:13 pm (UTC-4)

America has a First Family, a First Lady, a First State, the First Man on the Moon . . . and a First Beach. Or more precisely, its first beach resort, which is still going strong. I should pause before identifying it to tell you why in the world I’m talking about beaches when it’s […]

Head Scratchers

Posted January 26th, 2011 at 7:37 pm (UTC-4)
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Normally I’m an organized Virgo of the sort who might alphabetize the soup cans in his pantry. So when I travel across country or just around town on the subway, you’d think I’d keep a neat notebook at hand, ready to jot down odd thoughts as they come to me. I have no such notebook, […]

Lessons from Long Ago

Posted January 24th, 2011 at 4:10 pm (UTC-4)
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If you’re into the U.S. Civil War of the 1860s, this is your year in heaven. It’s the 150th anniversary of the beginning of that brother-against-brother conflict in which more than 600,000 Americans died, many quite miserably in hand-to-hand battle. For the sesquicentennial year, a number of Civil War scholars are trotting out new books […]

The Two Faces of Bawlmer

Posted January 21st, 2011 at 1:38 pm (UTC-4)
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  I get several chances each year to drive to, through, and around Baltimore, Maryland, usually without spending more time there than it takes to watch an Orioles’ baseball game.  But it’s always high on Carol’s and my “bucket list” for exploring, just for the atmosphere.  Not its modern side that I’ll describe, but its […]


Posted January 19th, 2011 at 3:36 pm (UTC-4)
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Tuesday morning, I skated to work. Not on blades, and not along some designated trail. I slip-slided in, to borrow a phrase from the Paul Simon song, after freezing rain turned Washington, D.C., into a hockey rink. “Miracle on Ice” would describe my commute, if that title hadn’t already been taken. I didn’t skate the […]

Tinnissee, Y’all

Posted January 17th, 2011 at 5:01 pm (UTC-4)
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I haven’t written much about my father. That’s because I didn’t know him very well. He split when I was four. That’s a whole story for another time. But I spent a little time with him late in his life, after he had remarried, to a lovely retired schoolteacher whom Carol and I liked very […]

Memories in Stone

Posted January 14th, 2011 at 12:13 pm (UTC-4)

Whenever I get the chance — and it isn’t often enough — I’ll take my lunch hour across the street from our VOA offices, briskly walking as much of the Washington National Mall as time and weather will allow. So briskly, and so preoccupied by matters at work or the sports conversations streaming into the […]

Aardvarks on the March!

Posted January 12th, 2011 at 2:42 pm (UTC-4)
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I’m on a bit of a nickname kick, as you know if you read my last posting about nicknames given to the 50 U.S. states. Some things actually cry out for catchy names. You couldn’t very well talk about a college sports team as “that Harvard squad” or “the Texas A&M team” or “those Clemson […]

The Funky Fifty

Posted January 10th, 2011 at 4:45 pm (UTC-4)
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I’m a Buckeye. Carol is a Gopher. A buckeye is a nut, so I guess that fits me, but Carol is assuredly not a buck-toothed rodent. Yet, since I’m from Ohio — the “Buckeye State” — and Carol’s a native of the “Gopher State” — Minnesota — you’d be safe in calling us by our […]

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Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


January 2011
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