Showing Archived Posts

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 […]

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 […]

Millennium Flap Redux

Posted December 27th, 2010 at 3:45 pm (UTC-4)

Not to bring up a bad dream, but do you recall the tizzy many of us were in 10 years ago.  Or 11? Those of us following the Christian Gregorian calendar were worrying ourselves sick about the new millennium, and not just because a lot of doomsayers said this surely meant the End Was Near. […]

Caught on the Fly

Posted December 8th, 2010 at 4:10 pm (UTC-4)
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While I’ve been gadding about the country, as my mother used to say, I’ve been squirreling away some scraps of paper on which I noted items of possible interest. First, speaking of squirrels, can you answer this question for me?  Have you ever seen a squirrel RETRIEVE one of the nuts that it buried for […]

Only in America: Quack, Quack!

Posted November 22nd, 2010 at 3:11 pm (UTC-4)

Let’s talk museums.  Not the artsy kind we so often cover.  Not the Smithsonian Institution’s many museums in Washington, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I’m talking strange museums. You see, Americans may be unique in saving and displaying all kinds of unusual, even useless, items in tiny collections devoted to just […]

Bad Fruit on the Email Tree

Posted October 21st, 2010 at 2:05 pm (UTC-4)

Once you start forwarding lighthearted email — jokes, puzzles, wacky cat videos — to friends and colleagues, you’re sure to get a blizzard more in return.  Many of the messages will contain amazing purported “facts” that seem perfectly plausible.  A lot of them turn out to be blatantly inaccurate “urban legends” or worthless bunkum. I […]


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 […]


Posted October 1st, 2010 at 5:05 pm (UTC-4)

  Even Americans who travel a lot often manage to miss one or two U.S. states.  Perhaps distant but unforgettable Alaska or Hawaii, but not usually both.  Quite often one of the last states on our wish list is North Dakota, our uppermost Plains state, hard by two equally obscure Canadian prairie provinces.  It could […]

On the Road Again

Posted September 24th, 2010 at 6:39 pm (UTC-4)
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Perhaps you’ve read Jack Kerouac’s coming-of-age novel On the Road or seen one of the classic movies about road trips across America: “Easy Rider,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Sideways,” or the comedies “National Lampoon’s Family Vacation” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” These stories offer a glimpse of the variety, vastness, and grandeur of the American landscape.  […]

T.L., Phone Home!

Posted September 17th, 2010 at 1:54 pm (UTC-4)

Nevada is so desolate that there isn’t even much of a highway between Reno in the north near Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas, far to the south near the mammoth Hoover Dam.  You drive mostly two-lane U.S. 95, amid low brown hills, scrub bushes, Joshua trees, and rattlesnakes along the 715 kilometers (445 miles) between […]

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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