Monday, December 31, 2018

World Map of Geographically Yours

Joshua Tree, California, USA

Joshua is a tree, a town, and a park. Before that, it was a spy, a prophet, and a book of the Bible. The prophet Joshua left us some words that give us hope as we cross into the new year: "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." [2015]

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Naco, Sonora, Mexico

Here's to St. Martin de Porres and the barbers who cut my hair this year: in Naco, Mexico, and Key West, FL; Hobbs, NM, Kill Devil Hills, NC, and Seaford, DE; Port Royal, SC, and Quebec City, Canada; Flint, MI, Elk City, OK, and Mary Esther, FL, where I got my hair cut off on the Mary Esther Cut Off. St. Martin de Porres? He's the patron saint of barbers! [2018]

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

The modern stained glass windows of St. Mary's Cathedral betray their origins in the imagination of 20th century 'pop artist' Eduardo Paolozzi, a native-born Scot. His windows pop not just because of their brilliant colors but because the design is so unexpected in this 19th century Gothic structure. Long live the artists who promise surprises in the year ahead! [2017]

Friday, December 28, 2018

Des Moines, Iowa, USA

On this date in 1846, President James K. Polk signed the bill that made Iowa a state, the 29th to join the Union. Working over the Christmas holidays: That was President Polk. He must have been anxious to add to his long list of accomplishments. A few decades later, Iowans found a hill (yes, in Iowa!) where they could build their new state capitol. [2004]

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

If you visit Bali for New Year's Eve, you will be surrounded by Hindu temples rather than Christian churches. While you are here, though, please notice: These Hindu temples are used every day, not just once a week like the places where Christians worship. Wherever the eve takes you: Behave yourself! This is God's world, earthquakes and all. [2016]

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Christmas is over. Now, it's time to focus on how you want to spend New Year's Eve. There's still time to fly to Bulgaria for some BBQ (two spellings) and beer (the Bulgarian brand) at Godzilla (where's Kong?). Dialectics on view here: globalization vs. localization, popular culture vs. folk culture, Roman vs. Cyrillic, thesis vs. antithesis. [2010]

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Culloden, West Virginia, USA

The 21st century brought at least one major change to Christmastime cultural landscapes: inflatables. A decade ago, they were also debatables, if not detestables. Now, they seem to have become acceptables, if not affectionables. In some cases, though, affection is evident. Merry Christmas! [2017]

Monday, December 24, 2018

Del Mar, California, USA

Hey, that's a security breach! You know you are going to get caught, Mr. Claus, and your little reindeer, too. By this time, ADT has been alerted, and there's already a red-neck with a shot gun at the bottom of that chute. This entrance is reserved exclusively for Mr. Grinch. As for that red-neck: His name is Scrooge. [2007]

Sunday, December 23, 2018

New York, New York, USA

It's time for friends and relatives to arrive for the Christmas holidays. Embrace them! If you have not seen them for a while, the biggest challenge will be looking for telltale signs of their political leanings. To engage in political discourse, or not to engage in political discourse, that is the question this holiday season. [2017]

Saturday, December 22, 2018

New Paltz, New York, USA

By this time, you are probably running out of these because you have bought too, too, too many Christmas presents. Here's the advice from many Millennials and Post-Millennials: "Don't give us so much stuff. Give us experiences, contributions to worthy causes, portals to the digital world. Stuff just clutters our lives!" A penny for your thoughts on this? [1995]

Friday, December 21, 2018

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Quebec's own Bonhomme made a friendly appearance in the middle of summer earlier in the year. Now, on this first day of winter, he welcomes his season: the season of short days, long shadows, deep snows, bobsled races, and, of course, the Winter Carnival, where he will serve as Master of Ceremonies. It starts on February 8, 2019. [2018]

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

These folks are Chinese, a minority in a land of Malays. Evidence: traditional Chinese characters on the sign. If you are still in doubt, sound out "Xiang Yees." Yes, the object of the transliteration seems to be English rather than Malay! As for restoran, it's a Malay word borrowed from English. [2011]

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Siem Reap, Cambodia

In Cambodia, many young Buddhists choose to be monks for a short time, and they are often among those who visit the temple of Angkor Wat as true pilgrims rather than faux pilgrims (i.e., tourists). They are easily identified by their humility: shaved heads, simple saffron robes, bare feet, begging bowls. [2016]

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Trenton, New Jersey, USA

Only three states ratified the new U.S. Constitution the same year it was written. New Jersey was the third, which it did on this date in 1787. Three years later, Trenton became the official state capital. The capitol building itself has served for over 200 years. Recognize the dome (restored as of 1999) as it appeared in 1937 on the postcard below? [2018]

Monday, December 17, 2018

Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao

Here in the capital city, the name of the country is on display and cloaked in the national flag: Notice the colors and the two stars on the first of the 'open Cs'? Better yet, notice the real stars of the pride-catching sculpture: the two jongelingen conversing on the other one of the 'open Cs'? But the conversations are on their mobiles, not with each other! [2017]

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

How do those mangrove branches know enough to grow toward the sun? Innate intelligence called phototropism. How do those mangrove roots know enough to grow into the mud? Innate intelligence called geotropism. But what is responsible for such innate intelligence? A hormone called auxin. If you had no brains, your hormones might take over, too! [2017]

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Oranjestad, Aruba

Game board or relief for the bored?
"A striking chord!" or "Good Lord!"
Looking for fame or architectural shame?
Oh-so lame or entirely new frame?
Tic-tac-toe or or just pixels aglow?
Package sans bow or morceaux de gâteau?
As for the palms: They, too, have their qualms.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Agafay, Morocco

Thé marocain epitomizes hospitality throughout the Maghreb. It is likely to be mint tea: boiling hot, extra sweet, and served in small tumblers that allow its color to shine through. Hot tea in the desert? It opens your pores and make you sweat, thus cooling you down. Boiling the water also makes sure no microbes crash the thé party. [2017]

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Sixty percent of St. John is protected by the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. Views like this should make us thankful for that protection. Otherwise, the whole island would be plagued by waterfront development and elite villas claiming every hillside. Speaking of plagues: Two hit St. John in 2017. One was named Irma and the other Maria. [2014]

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

On this date in 1787, Pennsylvania ratified the new U.S. Constitution, becoming the second state to do so. But for Delaware, it could have been the First State! A quarter-century later, John Harris's ferry town on the Susquehanna River became the new capital. The current capitol was finished in 1906. The rendition below shows the riverfront landscape in 1992. [2018]

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Indiana became a state (the 19th admitted to the Union) on this date in 1816. It became Indiana's capital city in 1825. The current capitol was completed in 1888. Take a gander below to see what the statehouse looked like twenty years ago, in 1998. [2018]

Monday, December 10, 2018

Jackson, Mississippi, USA

By the early 20th century, many old state houses were being replaced by new ones, the majority of which (like Mississippi's) were modeled after the soon-to-be 100 year old U.S. capitol. It's amazing there weren't some new architectural ideas around by that time! Anyway, happy birthday Mississippi. Statehood was granted on this date in 1817. [2018]

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, USA

Here is what every town dreams about: thriving businesses on main street. What are the keys to success? (1) Easy parking, (2) nearby residents, (3) community aesthetics, (4) agglomeration economies, (5) locavore tastes, (6) escapist venues, (7) unique landscapes, and (8) history revered (even if sanitized). [2011]

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Darien, Connecticut, USA

Every community needs a 'main street,' complete with storefront cafes and businesses, wide sidewalks with a hint of brick, American flags attached to designer lamp posts, shade-casting trees and prolific greenery. and a town clock, of course. Plus, the best: outside dining with chairs that give you a lift. And, the worst: parallel parking with time limits. [2018]

Friday, December 7, 2018

Dover, Delaware, USA

Delaware, the last-created of the British colonies, became the First State in the Union when it ratified the country's new Constitution on this date in 1787. Although the capitol itself recalls colonial times in its architecture, it is entirely 20th century. Recognize it on the U.S. postage stamp below? [2018]

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

The place name Honolulu comes from the Polynesian language. It means what you see here: a "sheltered harbor." Most visitors don't really expect such a vertical downtown overlooking that harbor, but using high-rise development to increase density means that nearby shorelines can remain undeveloped open space resources. [2011]

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

St. Albans, Vermont, USA

From the  news last week: Cemeteries in the U.S. are filling up faster than they should. The death rate is increasing and life expectancy is declining for the second year in a row. Cancer mortality rates continue to fall, but all other major causes of death are increasing, especially suicide and drug overdose deaths. Worried? You should be. [2011]

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Greensburg, Indiana, USA

Today is not the 100th anniversary of Geographically Yours, but it is the 100th mensiversary! Can you believe 100 months have passed since the first picture appeared? "Thanks for sharing your journeys with us!" Isn't that what you would like to say to the shadowy figure (see him?) whose camera has been documenting people and places for more than 50 years? [2014]

Monday, December 3, 2018

Rome, Italy

If that fountain could talk! First, it would tell the story of how the neighborhood has changed since the well fount first appeared on the landscape. Second, it would invite all wayfarers to stop and have a drink. There was a time when every section of town had a fountain, and every fountain was the only source of drinking water for residents. [2002]

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke is a real island: no bridges or causeways to the mainland. That makes it the perfect place to get away and relax (especially with so many beaches), or perhaps to live. These parents may be employed in the local service economy, but at least one might commute daily to a job in Auckland, a short ferry-ride away. [2006]

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Panama City, Panama

The Chinese have a long history in Panama, and they still keep coming.  In fact, 5 percent of the country's population is of Chinese origin. By comparison, indigenous peoples comprise 12 percent of the population. Panamanians: both. Hispanics: neither. [2017]

Friday, November 30, 2018

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan's covered market was an anchor of the old city, but it couldn't compete with modern chains and mass-produced products. For a while, it looked like the whole structure would be demolished. Since then, the exterior has been restored and 'big business' has turned it into one of the city's supermarkets. Tree: entirely artificial! [2015]

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Today, we have a multiple choice question. You get to pick two from the above display. Recommended (especially for Sagittarians named Lucas): (1) Dream-It-Plan-It-Do-It, (2) No-Pain-No-Gain. [2016]

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sofia, Bulgaria

Twenty-nine years ago, you had to go to Berlin to see the Berlin Wall. Today, you can see a remnant or two in cities around the world, including Sofia. For Bulgarians, it provides an inspiration to remain free: free from foreign domination and free from domestic absolutism. This is how history remains a part of our everyday lives. [2010]

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Riga, Latvia

It is nothing more than a movie being filmed on the streets of Riga, but it does remind you of the unenviable fate of a small state trying to survive between two aggressors: Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. What's amazing is that all three Baltic States held out for so long, and are once again sovereign in their own right. [2003]

Monday, November 26, 2018

Rancho Mirage, California, USA

Rancho Mirage devotes an entire acre to cancer survivors. The centerpiece of the park is a series of four windows symbolizing treatment. People of all ages are shown approaching, passing through and emerging from the gauntlet. Today, my birthday, I estimate I am passing through the second window. [2016]

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sturgis, Michigan, USA

E.T. was one of the most popular movies of the late 20th century, and its impact on popular culture has continued. Here, Elliot and E.T. have re-appeared on main street. Can't you just see them circled by the moon as they pedal across the night sky? Did E.T. win the Best Picture Oscar in 1983, however? Of course not. [2018]

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Concord, New Hampshire, USA

"Ring around the rosy; pocket full of posies; ashes, ashes; we all fall down." How many cultures around the world celebrate by dancing around in circles and chanting rhymes? But, the origins of this particular folk practice could be darker. Here on the statehouse lawn, though, it seems to offer a lot of harmless family fun. [2018]

Friday, November 23, 2018

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Why are pole banners so popular? (1) They add color to streetscapes. (2)They enhance the spirit of place with words and pictures. (3) They add value to otherwise single-purpose poles. (4) They are cheap enough to be revised and replaced frequently. (5) They add dynamism by fluttering with the breeze. (6) They make people look up instead of down. [2018]

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Today, the Legislature of North Carolina has a modern building of its own. Still, it is not the capitol; it is the State Legislative Building. It opened in 1963 and has been attracting visitors, including lots of pilgrim-scholars, ever since. No school groups today, though. It's Thanksgiving! [2018]

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

North Carolina was a hold-out, but finally ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, making it the 12th state to join the Union. Less than 50 years later, the state built a new, modern capitol. For years it housed the legislature, but today is home only to the Governor's Office. Happy Birthday Tar Heels! [2018]

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Panama City, Panama

A new generation keeps the memory of Martyrs Day alive by coating a wall with 21 national flags, one for each Panamanian killed during the 'flag riots' of 1964. Today, they are revered as martyrs because they dared to challenge the very existence of the US-held Canal Zone. It all happened on January 9, exactly 53 years before this picture was taken. [2017]

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bursa, Turkey

There is a mystery here, or at least a case of cognitive dissonance. Atatürk (candidate for the 'best-dressed' award) despised the Ottomans and worked to build a modern, secular, West-leaning Turkey. Yet, the flag of the Republic of Turkey is a virtual replica of the last flag used by the Ottoman Empire. Why? [2007]

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The setting is Dutch, but the actors are Arabs. They are part of the Palestinian diaspora in Europe. With a stage right in front of the Royal Palace, these Palestinians are trying to garner public support for international recognition by using photos, maps, and charged words like 'apartheid.' Above it all, flies the Palestinian standard. [2015]

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Bangkok. Thailand

The flag of Thailand was adopted in 1917 when the country was still called Siam. The mystery is why its colors don't seem to fit the indigenous palette of place. In fact, they match the colors of flags in Europe and the Americas. Perhaps Thailand's flag originated as a statement of parity, equating never-colonized Siam with the era's most powerful states. [2016]