Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finzel, Maryland, USA

Ready for some cognitive dissonance? The title of this quilt square is 'Circle of Life in Garrett County.' The cycle of seasons is definitely there, but not a circle is in sight. In Garret County alone there are over a dozen quilt barns. [2010]

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Spruce Pine, North Carolina, USA

The barn is framed by green, the patchwork diamond is framed by weathered brown, and the bulls-eye middle square is framed by a medley of triangles. Now, train your sight on the rare diagonal paneling for a moment: it's almost as attractive as the quilt square. [2012]

Friday, June 28, 2013

Portsmouth, Ohio, USA

Colorful quilts thought themselves too pretty to remain in bedrooms and parlors. They wanted to be seen by everyone, so they fled the confines of home and, square by square, splattered themselves all over the barns of North America. The Quilt Barn movement began near here, in Southern Ohio, soon after the dawn of the 21st century. [2008]

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Waianae, Hawaii, USA

Oahu's Waianae Coast offers some of the most isolated beaches on the island. Patrons? Mostly locals and military personnel from Hawaii's many bases and airfields. [2011]

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kaoshiung, Taiwan

If you are traveling to East Asia, get a fix on the dragon and the phoenix.  Wherever you go, you will see them flying overhead, sometimes looking as if they are itching for a fight.  Which one is male and which one is female?  Which one is the emperor?  Which one is the empress?  [2011]

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bangkok, Thailand

Buddhism is to integration as Christianity is to segregation. Buddhist temples and shrines in Southeast Asia are open to the prayerful all the time, and people integrate visits into their daily lives. Christian churches in America are open during limited hours and are otherwise segregated from people's daily lives. Agree? [2011]

Monday, June 24, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

Somewhere in the courtyard of all mosques is an ablution fountain, a place where Muslims wash (feet, too) before entering the prayer hall.  Being in God's presence means being clean of body and mind.  [2010]

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jerusalem, Israel

Two are wearing crosses and one is wearing a profile of Jesus. Yet, all three are Arabs. Israel's Arab Christians reveal their prosperity and Western-orientation in their dress and demeanor. Want to wager on whether they speak English as well as Arabic? [2000]

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cairo, Egypt

There's no trace of Mamluk Egypt here. The Citadel of Cairo was rebuilt by Muhammad Ali to be all Ottoman. Were it  not for the portal guardian, you might even think you were in Istanbul. Within these walls lodged the government of Egypt until the mid-nineteenth century. [1997]

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stonehenge, England, UK

Have you ever thought of Stonehenge as a calculator? The stones were positioned to calculate the seasonal movement of the sun and make it possible to watch the summer and winter solstices approaching. You can bet that Salisbury Plain is hopping with activity today, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. [2001]

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Charleston, West Virginia, USA

1863 to 2013:  That's 150 years of statehood for West Virginia. Here's your task for today: Find someone with Mountain State roots and wish them a happy birthday. Statehood came on June 20. [2012]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, USA

For a moment, perfection reigns: perfect manners, perfect poise, perfect smiles, perfect dress, perfect florals, perfect shines, perfect coifs, perfect confidence. In this moment, the bride and groom just hope for perfect pictures. Where is the connubial couple anyway? [2013]

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Red Cloud, Nebraska, USA

Place matters, especially to fiction writers: “Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” Those are the words of Willa Cather, who spent six young years here on the prairie, in this little house. Multitudes came to know Nebraska through her writings. [2009]

Monday, June 17, 2013

Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

About one in ten citizens of Northern Ireland understands at least a little Irish, but no one speaks it as their only language. Linguistic colonialism has been ravaging Irish culture for centuries. Though 1998 made a difference, the autochthonous tongue of Ulster has not attained the status accorded other Celtic languages in the Isles. [2009]

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The best place names offer geography lessons. Kuala Lumpur, for instance, means "muddy confluence." The city was founded at the point where two streams come together to form a third.  You can see that point here. Today, the confluence is occupied by the Jamek mosque, which is backed up by the city's financial district. [2011]

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Yarra River in Melbourne became the birthplace of Australia's championship sculling races in 1868. Looks like the sport is still popular. If you want to learn how to row, the Melbourne Rowing Club, in the heart of the CBD, stands ready to teach you. [2011]

Friday, June 14, 2013

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

The Biloxi light tower is standing tall with a new kerchief around its neck. That's probably because it has become Mississippi's most prominent landmark. Ever see one of the state's license plates? Just as the lighthouse symbolizes love of Mississippi, the flag symbolizes love of country. But today, let's focus on the flag! It's June 14: Flag Day. [2009]

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yosemite National Park, California, USA

The sky is where the grass should be; the grass is where the sky should be; and, Bridalveil Falls is defying gravity. What's going on here? [2005]

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

People want to see the biggest waterfalls in North America, so the marketplace responds and development pressures put a squeeze on the natural landscape.  In fact, tourism can destroy the very sites that travelers come to enjoy.  What's your assessment of this tourist landscape?  [2013]

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Niagara Falls, New York, USA

He's napping on the brink of the Niagara Escarpment. In the background, the Niagara River plunges over that escarpment on its way to Lake Ontario. It's the perfect place to explain the difference between potential and kinetic energy. Kinetic: That's what he is not at the moment. [2013]

Monday, June 10, 2013

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Even a paving vehicle can seem like art when you have the right frame and the right palette.  As you walk through any city, let your eyes provide the canvas.  [2013]

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Call it an umbrella or a parasol. Either way, it creates a harbor of refuge from the rain and sun. That's what Buddhism offers, too. In the Indian tradition, the umbrella is also a symbol of nobility. What other symbolism is evident here? [2011]

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

High rises occupy most of the space on, off, and over Nathan Road, the backbone of Hong Kong's Kowloon Peninsula.  Yet, some corners have been set aside for the few people who have time to relax. [2011]

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Piatt Park is set up as a tree tunnel where people are held in check by arboreal arms overhead, entertained by dancing shadows down below, and surveilled by the sweeping gazes of two U.S. Presidents: James Garfield and William Henry Harrison, Ohio native sons. [2013]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Central Business Districts are usually 'Central Office Districts,' too. At noon, the towers empty and workers pour out onto the street to enjoy a little downtime in the sunshine. At night these same benches, designed not to be mistaken for beds, are occupied by the homeless. [2013]

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Too much sienna and bole, ivory and cream, beige and bone, ochre and brown, umber and bistre, black and white. So, cities look for opportunities to add splashes of color to their landscapes. Color is every city's serotonin. Blue sky helps, too. [2013]

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Madrid, Spain

Madrid's first suburban Metro line disgorged center-city workers at Plaza de España. No wonder so many high-rises popped up in the vicinity. Accessibility changes urban skylines. [2009]

Monday, June 3, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

In Cağaloğlu, perfect juxtaposition:  Fresh fruit or Lays potato chips?  It almost looks as if the fruit cart is encroaching on Lays space, when it's really the other way around.  [2007]

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bryanston, Ontario, Canada

Don and Debbie had six sons.  Together, they kept the farm in business.  On their barn is a sign of pride, but it is also a sign of the demographics of agrarian economies.  You had large families to do the work that needed to be done.  In the post-agrarian world, you apologize for large families.  [2013]

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Brighton, England, UK

Think you're in India?  Not even close.  Brighton, England, 200 years ago was developing into a royal seaside resort and the Prince Regent, like much of high society, was in love with the exotic 'orient.'  His seaside palace was a reminder that the jewel of Asia belonged to him!  Today, the Royal Pavilion is in public hands.  [2009]