All posts by Ted Landphair

Cures for What Ails You

Posted February 24th, 2012 at 1:00 pm (UTC-4)
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I’m old enough to remember, not fondly, mustard plasters applied to my chest during my childhood bouts with the “croup,” and Vicks Vapo-Rub spread beneath a warm humidifier to help keep my perpetually clogged sinuses clear.  So I was filled with a kind of warped nostalgia when someone gave me a little booklet at the […]

In ‘Class’ — at Home

Posted February 16th, 2012 at 2:23 pm (UTC-4)
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This week, the Virginia General Assembly agreed to consider and later vote on a bill that would allow some students who had been barred from playing high-school sports to compete on the school teams. These kids are not lawbreakers, academically inferior, or lousy athletes.  In fact, they’re among the best and brightest, and in some […]

Depression Ethic

Posted February 10th, 2012 at 7:28 pm (UTC-4)

I’m a Tweener.  Not an 11- or 12-year-old between childhood and teenage years, certainly, but a child of what’s been called “The Smallest Generation,” born during World War II between the Depression-era “Greatest Generation” and the postwar “Baby Boomer” generation. We war-baby Tweeners would have had to be pretty precocious to know about the war […]

The Harlem of the South

Posted February 9th, 2012 at 10:24 am (UTC-4)
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In the years immediately following the American Civil War of the 1860s, thousands of African Americans, including both former southern slaves and northern soldiers, moved into a lively neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia, the capital city of the defeated Confederate States.  The neighborhood became known as Jackson Ward locally, and to blacks across the American East […]

Man Caves and Woman Caves

Posted February 3rd, 2012 at 8:19 pm (UTC-4)
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I sort of hope you’re reading this before the big Super Bowl American football game on Sunday — an undeclared holiday in millions of U.S.  households.  But the points I’ll make hold, even after the game. There’s a sports-talk host whose work I like and follow, both on local radio in Washington and on his […]

Hog Culture

Posted January 31st, 2012 at 3:27 pm (UTC-4)

As I write this post, I am looking down at my mostly black mouse pad, which is emblazoned with stars, rippling U.S. flags, and a large emblem of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company. And to my right is a photo of my four kids, taken on a day when they visited VOA some years ago.  It’s […]


Posted January 24th, 2012 at 5:15 pm (UTC-4)
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Perhaps you’re one of those dreamy older folks — or a dreamy young folk, for that matter — who fantasizes about a nice-and-easy retirement.  “I’d love to live on a houseboat,” you may have said, wistfully. You know: loll around all day on deck with a good book and a cool drink.  Toss a line […]

Looking at Leaping

Posted January 20th, 2012 at 8:01 pm (UTC-4)
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So you just noticed that this is a Leap Year in most of the world, and you want to know everything there is to know about this phenomenon.  You have leapt to the right place. Actually, Leap Year isn’t exactly a phenomenon, since its existence was quite planned, and it comes around predictably once every […]

Help Me Help You Help Me

Posted January 17th, 2012 at 3:57 pm (UTC-4)

If you go on the Web site for — which, as you may well know, sells everything from pickles to garden hoses but built its reputation selling books — enter “self-help books” as a search term. First, you’ll see that there are 243,000 selections available, so the site helpfully divides the subject into categories, […]

The Super Bowl(er)

Posted January 13th, 2012 at 5:48 pm (UTC-4)

This is the story of a superstar and his sport, though whether what he did for a living is a sport has been debated since the . . . activity . . . was invented.  The fact that I spent quite a few evenings engaged in it when I was a young man makes it […]

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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