Monday, January 16, 2017

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

The U.S. Supreme Court has made some bad decisions over the years, but the Dred Scott decision in 1857 was the absolute worst. Wouldn't those nine Justices be surprised to know that their names are buried in footnotes, while Dred Scott, and his wife Harriet, have a place of honor in America's heart and heartland: something to remember on MLK Day. [2015]

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bandung, Indonesia

The songkok is part of Indonesian folk costume for men; so is the batik shirt. He wears both well. Those of us of a certain age recognize the fez-like hat because it was worn by Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia, who dominated so many news cycles in the 1960s. Let's work to transform National Hat Day into World Hat Day! [2016]

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bath, England, UK

Both Bath, England, and L'Anse-au-Clair, Labrador, Canada, are located at 51° North Latitude. Today, the temperature in the former is 44℉, and the temperature in the latter is -7℉. Chances are there's an open-air market in Bath today, but not in L'Anse -au-Clair. What accounts for the climatic difference? [2015]

Friday, January 13, 2017

Suomenlinna Island, Finland

There are seven World Heritage sites in Finland (6 cultural, 1 natural). Their importance supersedes the category of national treasures. World Heritage sites constitute the common heritage of all humanity. Suomenlinna is "an outstanding example of general fortification principles of the 17th and 18th centuries," but it is also a recreational playground for Helsinki. [2005]

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan has its own "blue mosque," and it is currently the only operating mosque in Armenia, a country with one of the strongest Christian identities in the world. Judging from the dome, is it (a) an Ottoman mosque, or (b) a Persian mosque? [2015]

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Panama City, Panama

Feeling like you need a drink or something to eat on Plaza Bolivar. The waiters here are ready to cater to your every need, but you must dine outside. They'll serve you at one of the umbrella tables across the street where you can contemplate the deeds of Simon Bolivar, the "liberator of Latin America." Note the mixture of Spanish and English in the signage. [2017]

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Colón, Panama

When you see a barber cutting hair outside under an awning, it is almost impossible to resist the temptation to have your locks shod (especially when you are only a mile away from the locks on the Panama Canal). This Panamanian stylist has been cutting hair for twenty years. [2017]