All posts by shennessy

A Man’s Castle is His Home

Posted December 12th, 2011 at 1:31 pm (UTC-4)
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“I’m Jim Bishop. I’m the castle builder.” Those were the first words from the man I believe may be the strangest in the United States, for sure the strangest I’ve met. He lives in the mountains of Colorado and over the past few decades has, indeed, single-handedly built himself a castle. It leaps out of […]

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American High School

Posted December 2nd, 2011 at 4:46 pm (UTC-4)
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  I don’t know if there’s anything in the world that quite compares to a high school football game in the smaller towns of America. I went to Macomb, Illinois the other day and the first thing I noticed when we drove into town were signs saluting the local high school foot ball team, the […]

Girls on Skates

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 12:56 pm (UTC-4)
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I was in Denver to see the roller derby championships. It was the first time I had ever seen the sport played and was blown away. Roller derby is hard to describe if you’ve never seen it, but basically just try to picture a group of feisty female athletes, many of them in hot pants, […]

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Obama Land in Chicago

Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 12:28 pm (UTC-4)
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  I went to Barack Obama’s favorite diner, Valois, before I left Chicago.  It was too cool — there were photos of him all over the place, smiling alongside the owner, and a big poster of his “favorite things to order.” Apparently bacon, eggs, and pancakes were one of his choice combos. The waiter,  John, […]

Polygamists in Wisconsin

Posted November 16th, 2011 at 4:43 pm (UTC-4)

I drove up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to meet a polygamous family: Rich and his three wives, Julie, Brandy, and Angela, and five kids plus a dog. By U.S. standards, that’s quite a big household and it definitely felt that way. Kids were running all over, showing off in front of our cameras. The yard was […]

Detroit: A City Trying to Rise Again

Posted November 7th, 2011 at 4:47 pm (UTC-4)

We drove into Detroit, Michigan at around midnight. In some U.S. cities, there are areas that still have some life at that hour – late-night restaurants closing up, bars open, people milling around; there’s a lovely hum. But that’s not we saw when we first arrived in Detroit. The streets we drove on were pitch […]

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Occupy Movement

Posted November 1st, 2011 at 2:53 pm (UTC-4)

When I was in New York, I headed over to Wall Street to see the anti-corporate greed protest that’s been going on for a while there now. There were colorful banners denouncing everything from racism to sexism and hundreds of people with their faces painted white with grey blotched eyes and red trickling down their mouth, stumbling around […]

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Eating on the Road

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 1:03 pm (UTC-4)

On my first morning in New York I went to this diner where I was fed pretty much a full meal before I’d even sat down — a cup of coffee, bacon, sausage and, oddly, a slice of orange. It was a weird and kind of wonderful American way to keep a line of hungry […]

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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


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