Showing Archived Posts

Mum(mer)’s the Word

Posted January 7th, 2011 at 12:18 pm (UTC-4)
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No doubt the star of this posting will be Carol’s photographs, so I urge you to hang in to the end to take them all in. She and I spent New Year’s Day in an unlikely place: Philadelphia. Unlikely, because we had long figured that Philly’s cherished New Year’s Mummers Parade would be an earnest, […]

Just the Facts, Maybe

Posted January 5th, 2011 at 1:12 pm (UTC-4)

Most decent computer document programs include “spell-checker” software on which students and even some professional writers quickly come to rely. As they type away, the spell-checker miraculously sniffs out words that appear to be improperly spelled.  It does this in nanoseconds by comparing each one against its storehouse of correctly spelled words.  For poor or […]

Christmases Remembered

Posted December 22nd, 2010 at 1:01 pm (UTC-4)
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The other day I came upon a script of a VOA story that I had put together nine years ago. It was entitled, “Christmas Memories,” and it wasn’t a story so much as stories, warm reminiscences told in thin and sometimes crackly voices by men and women who lived in retirement homes — they used […]

Radio Daze

Posted December 13th, 2010 at 2:53 pm (UTC-4)
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In 1897, the gifted American humorist Mark Twain dashed off a note to the New York Herald newspaper.  The recent rumor of his death, he wrote, “was an exaggeration.” Can the same be said for the death knells that are ringing for American radio?  Let’s look back. Television was absolutely going to kill off radio […]

Palm Springing

Posted December 2nd, 2010 at 1:36 pm (UTC-4)
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Palm Springs. Somehow I feel ritzy, elite, just writing the name. If you’ve ever seen a classic black-and-white Hollywood movie such as “Sunset Strip,” there’s almost certain to be a reference, if not a celluloid visit, to the “resort city to the stars.” This California desert town of 48,000 or so people ranks with places […]


Posted October 29th, 2010 at 10:36 am (UTC-4)

The “SportsCenter Effect” on American life is seductive and, in the view of many observers, insidious. “SportsCenter,” which showcases highlights of the day’s action in professional and amateur sports, is the signature program of the cable television sports network ESPN. Many of the plays that are spotlighted are stunningly violent. Helmet-to-helmet collisions, savage bodychecks into […]


Posted October 8th, 2010 at 1:31 pm (UTC-4)
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There are two kinds of people. With an opening line like that, I could go in a million different directions, but as promised in a recent posting, I want to discuss bed-and-breakfast inns.  On that subject, there are indeed two kinds of people, at least among those who have ever stayed at one: those who […]

Here, There, Everywhere

Posted September 10th, 2010 at 2:36 pm (UTC-4)

I’ve been buzzing about the country for the past three weeks, getting as far from our Washington, D.C.-based home as the northwestern tip of the other Washington in the Pacific Northwest.  Over the next few posts, I’ll tell you about some places and things I encountered in this 11,000-km journey, and about the joys of […]

What’s in a (Hyphenated) Name?

Posted August 19th, 2010 at 9:34 am (UTC-4)

Who am I? That’s the kind of question one usually asks while in the midst of existential angst. But every year, untroubled American women pose the question as well. Women rather than men, because we men are born Theodore W. Landphair or John H. Jones and remain Landphairs and Joneses the rest of our lives. […]

The Old Dominion

Posted July 30th, 2010 at 12:24 pm (UTC-4)
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After reading my post about suburbia a couple of times back, my colleague Penelope Poulou, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, pointed out that even though Alexandria is considered part of suburban Washington, D.C., the city of 145,000 people is nothing like stereotypical modern suburbs. Founded in 1749, 52 years before Washington even existed, Alexandria was […]

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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