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Without Pierre

Posted July 16th, 2012 at 3:21 pm (UTC-4)
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Out west, in the land of Black Hills and jackrabbits and a mountainside carving of four famous American presidents, is a little state capital. It’s Pierre, South Dakota.  Pierre, like Pierre Cardin, the French fashion designer, you would think. Except that everybody in that rugged north-central state pronounces it PEER. This is curious, since the […]

The English Bear

Posted December 20th, 2011 at 5:34 pm (UTC-4)
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The English bear that confronts newcomers to our land isn’t entirely English.  And it isn’t big and brown.  But it can be an unruly beast. It’s the American strain of the English language, a sort of functional gibberish that must sound, at first, as comprehensible to the foreigner as would obscure Tagalog, Oriya, or Igbu.  […]

English Talk — and Other Stuff

Posted October 11th, 2011 at 6:41 pm (UTC-4)

Last year, Ozzie Guillen — who’s of Venezuelan extraction and was then the manager of baseball’s Chicago White Sox — ignited a controversy when he asked why many, if not all, Asian ballplayers in America are provided translators, while Spanish-speaking players must fend for themselves as they learn a new culture and language. “Latin players […]

English as MY Second Language?

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 1:59 pm (UTC-4)

Millions of times a day, Americans say THIS to each other: “Hey, what’s up?” “Nothin’ much. How YOU doin’?” “Fine.” These quick, casual greetings are as predictable as the sunrise. Imagine someone’s SHOCK if he asked “How ya doin’?” and you replied, “Well, not so good” and launched into a lengthy explanation as to why […]

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. […]


Posted August 12th, 2010 at 1:08 pm (UTC-4)

Carol and I will soon head out on one of our trademark coast-to-coast adventures, if you count our home in suburban Washington, D.C., 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean, as one of the “coasts.”  The other end of the journey, in Port Angeles, Washington, just a short dash up the Strait of Juan […]


Posted December 29th, 2009 at 8:20 pm (UTC-4)
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For some reason, this is the time of year that I think of Boston, the unofficial capital of America’s northeast New England region. That’s odd in a way, since I’ve never spent the holidays there, and now’s when the gray skies and snow and slush set in for the winter. One memory that I have […]

Cause Celebrity

Posted July 10th, 2009 at 1:28 pm (UTC-4)
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What’s the difference between a prehistoric dinosaur and a journalist dinosaur? A prehistoric dinosaur didn’t know it was a dinosaur. The “bullpen” at the New York Times in September 1942, my birth month. For the benefit of our young readers, the instrument in the foreground is a “rotary” telephone, and those things spread across the […]

The (Condo) Good Life

Posted June 5th, 2009 at 3:53 pm (UTC-4)
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I was going to write about Carol’s and my recent visit to Monument Valley, in sweeping Navajo tribal land on the Arizona-Utah border. But I need to spend a tad more time “studying up” on Navajo history and culture in order to put this awesome terrain in context. Next posting, I’ll show you some of […]

Paradise Redefined

Posted May 29th, 2009 at 5:49 pm (UTC-4)
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Wh`y Hawai`i? The Hawaiian state flag is certainly a curious one for a U.S. state. It’s actually a hybrid of the British Union Jack and the American standard’s stripes, with blue ones thrown in Until relatively recently, most Americans, including me, have identified our 50th and newest state – if you call admission to the […]

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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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