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The Incredible Shrinking Newspaper

Posted June 29th, 2012 at 6:56 pm (UTC-4)
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If you’re a regular reader, you know a bit about New Orleans, the old, southern seaport where I once lived and that I still love.  When my family dwelled in that historic, dreamy place for five years in the 1980s, I had four daily rituals:   • drink strong chicory coffee, preferably accompanied by a […]

The (Long) Forgotten War

Posted June 21st, 2012 at 5:52 pm (UTC-4)

We call the Korean War of 1950-53 “The Forgotten War,” because most Americans were busy buying homes and cars and refrigerators and trying to forget World War II, which had ended a few years earlier. But much longer forgotten is a war whose 200th anniversary we’re marking this week. Not very rousingly, either, except in […]

Sustainable Sustainability

Posted June 12th, 2012 at 6:12 pm (UTC-4)

At least two of my VOA colleagues are all a-tizzy, in a scholarly sort of way, about the “Rio+20” conference coming next week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development — now commonly called the “Earth Summit.” There, thousands and thousands […]

The Empire State Building: No. 2 in New York, 1 in Our Hearts

Posted May 4th, 2012 at 4:37 pm (UTC-4)

The real-estate consortium that is organizing a public stock offering for the world-famous Empire State Building might consider this pitch line, slightly modified from the old slogan that worked splendidly for Avis Rent-a-Car: We’re No. 2! — Again No. 2 in height in New York City, that is, ever since workers at One World Trade […]

On California’s Royal Road, Traces of ‘New Spain’

Posted April 27th, 2012 at 7:04 pm (UTC-4)
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In the late 18th Century, Catholic missionaries moved north from the Spanish colony of Mexico into what is now the U.S. state of California. They called it the Viceroyalty of Alta California — Upper California, since there already was a “California” in the vast Spanish colony of New Spain.  It was the long, skinny peninsula […]

Heart of the Heartland

Posted April 20th, 2012 at 9:52 am (UTC-4)

The United States is finally getting around to building a memorial to Ike: Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Kansas lad who became one of our greatest heroes and most popular presidents. But there’s a problem. It’s the Kansas part, even though Eisenhower said, in a 1945 speech in his hometown after leading Allied forces to victory […]

So You Want to be Famous!

Posted April 12th, 2012 at 5:19 pm (UTC-4)

As I watch the world go by — a passing parade that includes a lot of otherwise rational Americans, I wonder why some people do the outlandish things they do.  Swallow squirming jungle bugs on reality-TV shows.  Sing or dance badly on stage until someone drags them off.  Jump off a bridge to within a […]


Posted April 6th, 2012 at 6:23 pm (UTC-4)
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Could it be that parochial Fluffya is changing? Who would have thought that after more than three centuries of mostly minding its own business, the hard-working city of narrow streets, grimy factories, and quaint colonial buildings in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania would be transformed into one of America’s most dynamic and appealing tourist destinations. […]

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 […]

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Posted November 14th, 2011 at 2:31 pm (UTC-4)

As those of you who check in regularly know, I was away for a couple of weeks on a trip from which I’ll have a few stories for you in the days ahead. I returned to find 1,800 emails on my office computer.   These included faithful reports by my colleagues to their editors that, yes, […]

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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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