Friday, August 17, 2018

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

One of the reasons the Greater Flamingo has been such a successful survivor (in a world of 7 billion people) is its widespread geographical range. The  more restricted the range, the more vulnerable a species is likely to be. These are Old World birds, but they have cousins in the New World: Chilean flamingos and American flamingos. [2018]

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Jackson, Mississippi, USA

Ostriches, common throughout Africa, are famous for having not much of a head for a body their size. (Males can weigh over 300 pounds.) Then again, they are famous for having eyes too big for a head their size. Such is nature! [2018]

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The Southern Ground Hornbill is yet another species that is vulnerable to extinction. Its native habitat is the African savannah, and you know what has happened to the African population. It has exploded to over a billion people. As the human population increases, other populations decrease. Humans destroy habitat and prey on the defenseless. [2014]

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

The Black Crowned Crane is a native of the African savannahs just south of the Sahara. Even though its geographic range is extensive, it is still listed as 'vulverable': yet one more species that is approaching endangered status. As for the crown: It's got to be one of the finest nature has to offer. [2014]

Monday, August 13, 2018

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Do you know any Bolivians? If not, just visit your local zoo and find some "blue beards" (a.k.a., blue throated macaws) like this one. As a variety of parrot, he is likely to chat you up while you are in his vicinity. He will surely tell you that his cousins back in Bolivia are critically endangered and that you should not acquire one of his kind as a pet. [2015]

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Auckland, New Zealand

Merchandising is all about catching the public's attention, so sometimes you have to give people what they don't expect. But we should have expected this! Given that New Zealand is one of those lands 'down under,' it's not so surprising they have turned the world of auto sales upside down. [2011]

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Aleppo, Syria

That dude must have been flying to plow into the ceiling! Not likely: In Aleppo, traffic always moves at a snail's pace. Maybe this merchant was just trying to get attention. Yes, Aleppo used to be a merchant's city with goods available from far and wide. Perhaps, it will one day return to that role. [1993]

Friday, August 10, 2018

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Vieux Québec has been called the most European city in America, and here is a very European scene: street-side dining inside. That includes natural air conditioning to go with your farm-to-table appetite. But, what's it like in winter? The answer is in the name of the restaurant, which is . . . , meaning . . .  [2018]

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

What happened? It looks like a Canadian Space Agency satellite named Alouette-1 has fallen out of the sky and done some damage to a parked car. Or, perhaps it's "a metaphor for the unfulfilled promise of a future of scientific advancement once heralded as modernism." [2018]

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Recognize the country from the flag atop L'Hôtel du Parlement? Recognize it as Québec? But is Quebec a country? Bien sur! Here meets the Assemblée nationale. And, the city of Quebec bills itself as La Capital Nationale. As the building reaches its sesquicentennial, it is getting a makeover and is screened off from the public by a vertical garden. [2018]

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Fountains are meant to be quaffed from afar and only with the eyes. But, wouldn't we all really like to use them as swimming pools (especially if they have a 'slide')? Here a dad is right in there with his daughter, teaching her how to cool off on a hot summer day and how to add a little fun-loving risk to her life. Oh, Canada! [2018]

Monday, August 6, 2018

Owls Head, Maine, USA

It's not a place until it has a name. The name of this place is hidden in a rebus above the post office door. The lesson: Have some fun with the name of your town or township and show the world you are proud to live there. Note the pre-ADA entrance. [1976]

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Farmerville, Louisiana, USA

It's not a place until it has a name. So, let everyone know where you live: by name. Here is a rare (maybe unique) example of a McDonald's that has figured out its role in building community spirit. It takes more pride in serving Farmerville than it does in proclaiming "billions and billions sold." [2018]

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Lancaster, Minnesota, USA

It's not a place until it has a name. Raise it high and make others as fond of it as you are. Perhaps we should remember the lesson Dale Carnegie taught us and apply it to the places we love: "A person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language." Now substitute 'place' for 'person': It's the way to win friends and influence people! [2012]

Friday, August 3, 2018

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Dancing at the Spanish Market: "Baila como si nadi estuviera mirando. Ama como si nunca te hubieran lastimado. Canta como nadie estuviera escuchando. Vive como si el cielo estuviera en la tierra." Dance as if no one is watching. Love as if you have never been hurt. Sing as if no one is listening. Live as if heaven were on earth. Author unknown. [2017]

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Eating at the Spanish Market: The festival may be sponsored by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, but most of the food is perfectly contemporary. Yet, it turns families into companions, a word that means "together (com-) over bread (-pan)." Food is the tie that bonds together family and friends. Here is some family bonding going on right now. [2017]

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Spinning at the Spanish Market: It happens in the summer on the plaza in old town. The weekend festival attracts artists and craftsmen like her, plus lots of visitors who want to see how their ancestors lived. It's the perfect time to be in northern New Mexico. [2017]

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Kissimmee, Florida, USA

Only by casting magic spells is this wizard able to draw in tourist hordes. And, it has been working for decades. He used to be so typical of roadside Orlando, but those of his ilk are dwindling in number while placeless (and faceless) strip developments take over the retail landscape. [2018]

Monday, July 30, 2018

Savannah, Georgia, USA

Oglethorpe Street: It's fitting that Savannah has one. James Oglethorpe founded the city in 1733 and laid it out with such foresight that his plan endures today. How ironic is it that Oglethorpe staunchly opposed the importation of enslaved Africans while Georgia would later become one of the states that went to war to defend the "peculiar institution"? [2018]

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Darien, Georgia, USA

No AAA needed. He will do it himself. The corner lot just happens to have a generator that seems to be protected by some orange traffic cones. And, he has figured out how to borrow some of that juice to charge his battery. Probably not the first time. [2018]

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Brunswick, Georgia, USA

A few ornamental, fruit-bearing trees frame the yacht harbor in Brunswick. What kind of fruit is it? (a) Finger lime, (b) Persian lime, (c) Key lime, (d) Kaffir lime, (e) Bergamot lime, (f) Desert lime,  (g) Round lime. Bet you didn't know there were so many types of limes? Or might this be a lemon? [2018]

Friday, July 27, 2018

St. Marys, Georgia, USA

It may not be colonial, but First Presbyterian is one of the oldest churches in Georgia. Prior to the Revolutionary War, James Oglethorpe recruited many Scottish Highlanders to defend the American frontier. Their descendants were to loom large in the history of coastal Georgia, and it is refreshing to see their contributions celebrated in a fresh coat of paint. [2018]

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Port Royal, South Carolina, USA

Port Royal is getting a face lift. It's always heartening to see an old town get some new construction. Like so many properties on the Sea Islands, this one is close to the water. If you can see through the Spanish moss and across the marshes, you can catch a glimpse of the Beaufort River. [2018]

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Beaufort, South Carolina, USA

Beaufort is the urban kingpin of South Carolina's Sea Islands: Parris Island with its Marines, Hilton Head with its chic, St. Helena Island with its Gullah culture, Fripp Island with its loggerhead turtles, and Hunting Island with its state park. Beaufort itself is on Port Royal Island and its suburbs spill over onto Lady's Island. So many islands, so little time. [2018]

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Benson, Arizona, USA

Visual reminders of Benson's past have been hauled off and stationed roadside to welcome everyone driving into town. Does that make them part of Roadside America? Or is that term reserved for the large and garish? [2018]

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lancaster, Ohio, USA

You know it's a mill because you can see the 'overshot' waterwheel even if you can't see the water. Rock Mill turned out meal and flour into the 20th century, then sat vacant until the 21st.  Now, it is one of the finest mementos of the agrarian past in all of Ohio. And, there is a covered bridge just a slingshot away! [2017]

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Cedartown, Georgia, USA

Like every structure erected in the antebellum South, the Old Mill in Cedartown was built by enslaved Africans. What a good job they did! The mill spent a hundred years grinding corn and wheat, then became a restaurant (when this photo was taken), and is now a residence. [1984]

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Sahuarita, Arizona, USA

Here's the last of its species: a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile (without its nuclear warhead!) still occupying its silo in southern Arizona. The silo was built in 1963 to assure (1) that the Cold War would not become a 'hot' war, or (2) that if the Cold War did become a 'hot' war, the U.S. would win it. Welcome to the Titan Missile Museum. [2018]

Friday, July 20, 2018

Oldtown, Kentucky, USA

Red, white, and weathered: These are the colors of covered bridges. This one is weathered. It's the Oldtown Bridge, which is not located in any park but which is still valued by its state and county: It was rebuilt in 1999. Its name invites the question: How old is it? 128 years. How old are you today? [2017]

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lancaster, Ohio,USA

Red, white, and weathered: These are the colors of covered bridges. This one is white. It's the Mink Hollow Bridge, now the centerpiece of a county park. It has a name that defines cognitive dissonance: The Mink Hollow Covered Bridge in Oil Mill Hollow over Amey Run near Borcher's Mill. So, is it located in Mink Hollow or Oil Mill Hollow? [2017]

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Greencastle, Pennsylvania, USA

Red, white, and weathered: These are the colors of covered bridges. This one is red. It's the Martins Mill Bridge, now the centerpiece of a township park. It was lucky to be returned to its abutments after tropical storm Agnes swept it downstream in 1972. [2018]

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

The crape myrtle should be called the 'fireworks tree.' Why so popular? The flowers (1) come in almost infinite shades of red and purple, plus white, (2) are abundant and cover the crown of the tree for maximum showiness, (3) start blooming early and go on into the fall. Plus, the leaves are small and offer no competition for attention. [2017]

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lamesa, Texas, USA

Rot, demolition, or fire must have taken out one of the storefronts in Lamesa's downtown. But, the lot has not been abandoned. Instead, it has been turned into a vest-pocket park. No matter where you are, you can always use the colors and textures of brick, wood, bloom, and history to create a space for rejuvenation. [2018]

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Coinjock, North Carolina, USA

Great Egrets are common sights in the brackish marshlands of the Carolina coast. They are usually seen wading, however, rather than perched high above it all in the branches of a recently deceased cypress tree. Perhaps, this one is scouting out the prey-worthy fish below. [2018]

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Andalusia, Alabama, USA

The World Championship Domino Tournament is in full swing today! In Andalusia, Alabama. Really? May we be skeptical? Why would a domino championship be held anywhere in Alabama? Or in any small town? Answers (or conjecture) welcome. [2017]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hamilton, New York, USA

Ubiquitous: "existing everywhere." Is spirea Anthony Waterer ubiquitous? Absolutely! It's been a popular garden shrub at least since the 1800s. It doesn't exude modernity, but rather nostalgia. Spirea's rosiness is a great way of turning back the clock to times past. [2017]

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Stamford, Connecticut, USA

Ubiquitous: "existing everywhere." Are food trucks ubiquitous? With over 3 million of them in the U.S., the answer might be 'yes'! Is food ubiquitous? Again, the answer might be 'yes'. Never before has food been more widely available (or cheaper). Yet, 50 million Americans face some level of food insecurity. [2018]

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New York, New York, USA

Are there any alternatives to 7-11? Try the food trucks that have come to dot roadsides, parking lots, and street corners around the country. Now, look at today's date and try not to succumb to a free Slurpee! [2018]

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tucson, Arizona, USA

Meet the world's largest rodent face to face: It's the capybara, a native of South America (where its distribution is widespread and its existence not threatened). This one, however, makes his home in Reid Park Zoo. [2018]

Monday, July 9, 2018

Jackson, Mississippi, USA

The pygmy hippopotamus is an endangered species. There are only about 2,000 left in the wild: where their Liberian forest habitat is disappearing or being degraded. Also important in their demise are those teeth: ivory. Yes, it is not just the elephant that is being hunted for the ivory trade. [2018]

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

The white rhinoceros is a native of the African savanna. The southern white rhino (seen here) has fought its way back from the brink of extinction but its northern cousin will become extinct when the last two females of the species pass away. The last male northern white rhino died just a few months ago. For an update, read this. [2018]

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Washington, DC, USA

The horse population of the United States topped out in 1920 at 25 million. Today, there are fewer than 10 million, thanks largely to the mechanization of transportation and farming. For hippophiles, though, there are still a few professions that put you on horseback. For some, that's a few birthdays away; for others, a little longer. [2012]

Friday, July 6, 2018

Annapolis, Maryland, USA

It was only last week that yet another shooting rampage took place in the 'good ole' USA: Five people (count the ribbons) were killed with a 12-gauge shotgun. All five were local reporters. "Stay Strong Annapolis. Our Hearts are with the Capitol Gazette." And, Jesus wept yet again. [2018]

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

What do you do the summer after graduating from high school? Get back to nature on Back Bay, which has been a National Wildlife Refuge since the 1930s when it was so isolated there was virtually no human footprint. Now, it's in Virginia's most populous city and a recreational Mecca. If today is your birthday, here's to fond memories! [1995]

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Marlowe, West Virginia, USA

Fireworks on Independence Day? It's a tradition that goes back to the very first anniversary of the signing: July 4, 1777. Three weeks earlier, the 'stars and stripes' had been adopted as the national standard. So, what seems like garish commercialism here is really a deep dip into the history of our democracy. [2018]

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Washington, DC, USA

Lafayette Park is perfectly positioned to send a message of protest to the White House (hopefully, even if the President is not there). If you look closely, you can see two sentries on the roof. They've got a bird's-eye-view of how the next generation is getting ready to take over the reins of government. [2018]

Monday, July 2, 2018

Washington, DC, USA

"This is Insanity. Show Humanity." Separating parents and children, especially young children, seems like something we shouldn't do in everyday life, so why has the U.S. government made family separation a policy at the border? Unjustifiable! Families belong together. [2018]

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Washington, DC, USA

Families Belong Together: That was the official name of the march that began in front of the White House and proceeded down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol yesterday. In reality, it was a march in support of all immigrants: past, present, future; children parents, grandparents; black, white, brown. It was a march in favor of human rights. [2018]

Saturday, June 30, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Did Harry Connick, Jr. (see him?) get it right?  "New Orleans lives by the water and fights it, a sand castle set on a sponge nine feet below sea level where people made music from heartache, named their drinks for hurricanes and joked that one day you'd be able to tour the city by gondola." [2018]

Friday, June 29, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Here's vocalist Dawn Richard's view. What's yours? "Growing up, my parents were strict Catholics from New Orleans. I understood the idea in the principle of spirituality. I noticed it in the stories that I read. The Trinity was something that was brought up consistently: the power of three. Things happened in threes, and I thought that was brilliant." [2018]