Sunday, April 30, 2017

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Let the celebration begin. Tomorrow is May 1, the time for most nations to celebrate Labor Day. But not US: We put Labor Day at the end of the summer to get it as far away from its socialist origins as possible. Believe it or not, supporting labor was not a high priority in the U.S.: too socialistic (as in "workers of the world unite"). [2016]

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lacre Punt, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

The southern lobe of the island of Bonaire was so low in elevation that mariners couldn't see it. Thinking they were still far from the island, as defined by its mountainous core, they would unknowingly run aground. Keeping that from happening is this lighthouse's raison d'être. Every lighthouse has one. [2017]

Friday, April 28, 2017

New London, Connecticut, USA

London, England, is on the River Thames. So is New London, Connecticut. But, only the latter has the New London Harbor Light, which is now owned by the New London Maritime Society. If you collect octagons, it's well worth a visit. Yes, it has eight sides. And, yes, the water is really that blue! [2006]

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Paulsboro, New Jersey, USA

There is untold value in making historical treasures a part of the everyday world, and that is what they have done so well with the Tinicum Rear Range Light. Can kids in other places play ball (see the diamond?) in the shadow of a towering giant like this? How many memories of childhood ballgames will be so much more vivid because the backdrop is so unique? [2006]

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Knock, knock. Who's there? Your FreshDirect groceries, delivered to your front door: four boxes worth, plus paper towels and toilet paper. They've just rolled off the truck and will soon be stocked away in the commodes and pantry of an elegant town house in Old City Philadelphia. [2017]

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Webster, Massachusetts, USA

"You fish on your side; I'll fish on my side; nobody fishes in the middle." It's a treaty embodied by a place-name, which may be the longest toponym in the United States: 14 syllables and easy to pronounce if you break it down. [1983]

Monday, April 24, 2017

Amherst, Texas, USA

Like so many small towns, Amherst is anxious for you to know big it is:  Pop. 721.  That's the number from the 2010 Census. It's on a plaque that covers the number from the 2000 Census. What's your best guess: Did Amherst gain or loose population during the first decade of the 21st century? Why? [2016]

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alabama Hills, California, USA

All the world's a stage, but here there are no players, at least, not at the moment. Surf back in time, though, and you might catch a glimpse of Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger, or Hoss Cartwright. On this stage, you might even learn how the west was won, all of which is a way to say Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare! [2002]

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

All the world's a stage, and both these men merely players. Right now, they're performing in Act II of "The Seven Ages of Man." And, through those ages they'll dash, often unaware that every action is seen by others as performance art. The hints have been given, so let's get to the question: Whose birthday comes up tomorrow? [2013]

Friday, April 21, 2017

Julian, California, USA

Cities and towns both have skylines, but there are differences. Whereas, city skylines are almost always dominated by bank towers, small towns continue to be dominated by church spires. Here in Julian, the only competition that St. Elizabeth's has is not from high-rise office buildings but from high-rise pines. [2013]

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Milford, Connecticut, USA

The memorial on Milford's village green reminds us that the United States entered the Great War, later known as World War I, exactly one hundred years ago this month. Question: What was the colloquial term for the men who were part of the American Expeditionary Forces in the war? (Hint: here.) Now, you know what you're looking at. [2008]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Cuba, New Mexico, USA

It's wider than it is tall, so it must be a mesa. Buttes and mesas start out as plateaus, then running water takes over, and streams start etching their way into the surface, planing it away. No evidence of streams here? Maybe not now, but we are talking about geologic time. Landforms like these also depend on horizontal bedding. [2013]

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fort Lupton, Colorado, USA

It's taller than it is wide, so it must be a butte, the remnant of a worn-down tableland. As the vertical sides succumb to weathering and erosion, scree collects at the base forming a talus cone. Although these are arid lands, the work of running water is easy to see. [2013]

Monday, April 17, 2017

Church Rock, Utah, USA

Remind you of a church? Does every venture into nature's domain remind you of God's glory? Just something to contemplate on this Easter Monday. Just something to inspire you to enjoy the great outdoors this spring. [2013]

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Suffield, Connecticut, USA

Church parking lots should be full today, whether they're on a village green or in the sprawling suburbs. It's Resurrection Day, the day that makes Christians Christians. Protestant churches (including the Congregational Church here) represent the third great sub-division of Christianity. [2009]

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

St. Mary's Basilica reminds us of the Roman Catholic tradition this Easter weekend. The architecture is Roman, befitting the Church of Rome. At one time, all of Christianity was united. Then, the Bishop of Rome asserted spiritual primacy, and the eastern bishops in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem decided they just couldn't take it any more. [2009]

Friday, April 14, 2017

Jackson, New Jersey, USA

Black Friday seems a more appropriate moniker for the day than Good Friday. After all, it was the day when Jesus was crucified, on a cross like this according to the Orthodox Christian tradition. Why three bars? The top one represents the plate inscribed with ΙΧΘΥΕ, the bottom one a foot rest. St. Vladimir's church honors the initial Baptism of the Rus. [2015]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Some books are larger than life, and that would include the tomes outside the Cincinnati Public Library. They don't seem to have titles, but you could add them in your mind's eye. What books would you like to honor because they made a difference in your life? Use the answer as a conversation starter during National Library Week, April 9-15. [2013]

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Palm Beach, Aruba

A soothing sunset marks the completion of every day in the ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. As they say: You never get a second chance to make a last impression ━ or something like that. [2017]

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

1000 Steps, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Surfer kids, they are (or, at least thinking about it). They're dancing along the water's edge where gentle waves meet the coral beach. These two feral goats are as sure-footed here as they are in the mountains and just as much a spectacle as they are in island towns. [2017]

Monday, April 10, 2017

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Sandy beaches are scarce on the island of Bonaire, but the blue Caribbean on the sheltered western side invites all sorts of other activities, from sailing and windsurfing to diving and noodle swimming. As for the eastern side, it's bashed by waves, driven by the Tropical Easterlies, and far more dangerous. [2017]

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao

There seems to be nothing more universal than pigeons. Always hungry, they are. Always willing to share lunch, he is. How much do you share with pigeons? Remember, one of their cousins returned to the ark of Noah with an olive leaf and the promise of a world reborn. [2017]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Otrobanda, Willemstad, Curaçao

Ferries are such throw-backs in time. Most have been replaced by bridges or causeways, but not here on the channel that separates Punda from Otrobanda. Two bridges actually cross the strait (called a bay by locals), but a ferry is still necessary. Formulate a hypotheses on why that would be, then visit Willemstad and test it. [2017]

Friday, April 7, 2017

Oranjestad, Aruba

The Dutch built Fort Zoutman (see the cannon?) in the 1790s. Around it developed the town of Oranjestad, the island's capital, which was named after the House of Orange. The tower was added to the fort in the mid-1800s and once served as a lighthouse. [2017]

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Palm Beach, Aruba

Don't worry. Green iguanas are entirely vegetarian and good-tempered. This one is a male: See the spiny back ridge and the dewlap under his chin? Fortunately, green iguanas and their lizard cousins, the whiptails, seem entirely happy to share the island with 100,000 homo sapiens. [2017]

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Palm Beach, Aruba

The colors suggest Caribbean. The mill suggests Holland. The conch suggests seaside. Where are you? The Dutch Caribbean 1499. Here in Aruba, they like to add 1499, their year of founding. Aruba is a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. [2017]

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bloomfield, New Mexico, USA

B stands for Bloomfield. There are over 30 'mountain monograms' in New Mexico. Who do you think built this one? The Scouts or the Seniors? Because maintenance is required and because governments have more regulations than ever, many hillside letters are disappearing from the landscape of the western U.S. [2013]

Monday, April 3, 2017

Virginia City, Nevada, USA

V stands for Virginia City. There are almost 60 hillside monograms in Nevada and perhaps 500 in the western United States. Why are these geoglyphs uncommon in the East? Think: physical geography. [2001]

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Chloride, Arizona, USA

C stands for Chloride. It may be a ghost town, but there are enough people left to show some local pride by rocking out a monogram on the hillside overlooking town. In the state of Arizona, there are almost 60 towns (or schools) which have used initials to give their genius loci someplace to dance. [2009]

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Moab, Utah, USA

The first of April marks the beginning of full-fledged spring, so get out those bicycles and start enjoying the great outdoors. But, if your bike looks like this: time to trade it in! And, if your body looks like this: time to build some muscles! No foolin'! [2013]