Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pickerington, Ohio, USA

All city parks seek something unique to make them special. Pickering's city park found something unique in the nearby countryside: an old covered bridge. It was brought to town three decades ago and has since become a memory-maker in Sycamore Creek Park, where a soccer net stands ready for the next match. [2017]

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Charleston, West Virginia, USA

Behold the mighty Kanawha River. Now, pronounce it like the locals. Almost every area of the country has place-names that come-heres and pass-throughs can't seem to master. Once you do get them correct, however, you switch from one of them to one of us. [2017]

Monday, May 29, 2017

Warm Springs, Virginia, USA

Here's the Confederate War Memorial in front of the Bath County Courthouse, seemingly taped off as if it were a crime scene. Monuments to crime: That's what statues like this are increasingly viewed as, especially after the Charleston church massacre of 2015. Do not cross! [2017]

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA

Located where the King's Highway crossed the tidal Cohansey River, Bridgeton became a mill town, college town, and agricultural service center. Deindustrialization came in the 1980s. Now, the mural-bearing lingerie factory in the background has become apartments for seniors. Any questions? Better ask them in Zapoteco. [2016]

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA

With a grid of streets and an elaborate canal system, Holyoke was one of the country's first planned industrial towns. Along its canals arose prospering paper and textile mills. Deindustrialization came to Holyoke decades ago, and the old factories are now becoming condos, apartments, and shopping centers. [2013]

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dumas, Texas, USA

Step No. 3 for Project Graduation ~ Distribution. Driving by the Moore County courthouse? Pull over, buy dinner in a bag, and feel good about supporting Project Graduation. The main course is a hamburger, fresh off the grill. Funds raised support one final party for the graduating class at Dumas High School. It's coming up soon. [2017]

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dumas, Texas, USA

Step No. 2 for Project Graduation ~ Assembly. As part of Project Graduation, hamburgers fly off the grill and into a brown bag, where they join some chips and a cookie. It all takes place in front of the Moore County Court House. The whole community gets involved, even the County Judge. Fund-raising can also be fun-raising. [2017]

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dumas, Texas, USA

Step No. 1 for Project Graduation ~ Production. Dumas is famous for taking care of its high school graduates. The post-commencement blast is a gift from the community, but that doesn't mean it's free. Fund-raisers take place throughout the year. This one offers an evening meal, highlighted by hamburgers, for only $5. [2017]

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Panama City, Panama

Define contiguous: "being in contact, touching." Contiguous they are: sharing a boundary and a backpack. Define lovebirds: "an openly affectionate couple." Lovebirds they are, but maybe not at this moment. He looks adoringly into her eyes; she looks unknowingly into her cell phone. [2017]

Monday, May 22, 2017

Havana, Cuba

The Caribbean is so floridus, florido, flowery. Perhpas the whole region should be renamed Florida. Instead, the Carib Indians give their name to the region, and another indigenous people, the Taino, gave us a word that became Cuba, which means 'land of abundance.' [2014]

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Palm Beach, Aruba

Bo por papia papiamento? If you do, you know the word dushi. Here it is used to tell buyers that the bagels are really good. It may be just the word you need to describe the eatery's yarn bomb. If you can say dushi, you can speak Papiamento, the native tongue of Aruba. Bon dia! [2017]

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Hang out on the waterfront: That's what girls do on the week-ends in Bonaire. How would you handle life on an island no larger in size or population than a small American county with few connections to the near-abroad and expensive connections to the far-abroad? [2017]

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hato, Willemstad, Curaçao

The ABC islands have more to do with North America and Europe than they do with each other. In fact, it's a bit difficult to get from one to another. There is no ferry service and only two airlines. Between Curacao and Bonaire, the best connection is provided by DiviDivi Air. It's a 20 minute ride on a 9-passenger prop plane (or something even smaller!). [2017]

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Punda, Willemstad, Curaçao

C is for Curaçao, one of Holland's ABC islands in the Caribbean. As a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao recognizes the House of Orange as its sovereign. Could that be an explanation for this man's gezellig boat? [2017]

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rincón, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

B is for Bonaire, one of Holland's ABC islands in the Caribbean. Bonaire is the least populous, and should stay that way if it wants to be the ecotourism capital of the Caribbean. Resources for ecotourism: coral reefs, diving and snorkeling sites, a national park, and rare species of wildlife (including feral donkeys) and sanctuaries for them. What species is this? [2017]

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oranjestad, Aruba

A is for Aruba, one of Holland's ABC islands in the Caribbean. Aruba is a country of its own, albeit not an independent state. Hence, two languages are official in Aruba: Papiamento, the native tongue, and Dutch, the colonial tongue. Now, look at the picture again and identify the language that is on display in front of the Parliament building. [2017]

Monday, May 15, 2017

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

On this very day four years ago, the city of Niagara Falls looked like this. Spring was in early bloom. Perhaps you could use this image as base line data to measure climate change. Over the next five years, go to this same park on the ides of May and take this same picture. Notice any trends? [2013]

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Everything originates somewhere and spreads from there. That's what geographers call culturl diffusion. Here's an historical marker that allows us to put Mother's Day on the map. The celebration originated in Philadelphia (apologies to West Virginia) in 1908 and became national in 1914. Today, almost 50 countries have an official Mother's Day celebration. [2017]

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Goodwell, Oklahoma, USA

Once established in 1903,
The townfolk of Goodwell
Sighed:There must be
More color here for us to enjoy.
So, some trees, we must deploy.
We remember the redbud
From back in the East,
The first tree of spring
On which we could feast
Our eyes and our hearts
At winter's retreat.
We'll water it weekly
And give it some shade
And try to forget the
Man who betrayed
Jesus the Savior
At His final hour.
Yes, Judas did cower
in valley Hinnom
And hung from a tree:
The Red Bud! Shalom.
[2017]

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pensacola, Florida, USA

The bench is designed so he can't sleep there. See the divide in the middle? But, he sure can read there. Supplied with hydration and whatever is in that pack, he's set for the day. [2017]

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amarillo, Texas, USA

According to the Amarillo Zoo:  Red kangaroos are "found all over Australia and are very common there. They are herbivores, so they will eat grass and other vegetation they find in the wild." Red List status: Least Concern. [2017]

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Amarillo, Texas, USA

According to the Amarillo Zoo:  African spurred tortoises live "in the fringes of the desert and on savannas. These tortoises are found in the Southern Sahara desert region ranging from Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Sudan, and Ethiopia. They rely on plants to supply most of their water." Red List status: Vulnerable. [2017]

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Amarillo, Texas, USA

According to the Amarillo Zoo:  The African Lion "used to roam in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, but are now found only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and a very small area in India's Gir Forest. A single pride can inhabit a 100 square mile territory." Red List status: Vulnerable. [2017]

Monday, May 8, 2017

Crestview, Florida, USA

Hay. Can I interest you in some smoked barbecue? I am a grass-fed vegetarian myself, but I can highly recommend the ribs here in Hub City. They are much better than that slop you get in the Big Apple. Sorry cousin, but I just can't believe you abandoned us for the North! [2017]

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA

It was originally built in 1830 to grind corn, wheat, and oats for the people of Pigeon Forge. Now, it serves as a restaurant and backdrop for fishermen on the Little Pigeon River. [2009]

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Arrington, Tennessee, USA

Going by the name Covington Glen, an English village of Elizabethan age has taken shape on the outskirts of Arrington. For yet another season, time travelers will have a place to gather on the weekends. That would include elves and wizards, of course. Today begins the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. [2009]

Friday, May 5, 2017

Goodwell, Oklahoma, USA

That's a ton of hay. Actually, at almost 2000 pounds a bale, that's about ten tons of hay. It's exactly what the agricultural economy needs here in Oklahoma's panhandle: large bales for large ranches. [2017]

Thursday, May 4, 2017

New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA

The Church of God seems to be doing the work of God by keeping its Neighborhood Blessing Box stocked with a few food items that will tide families over until the next pay check arrives. "Take what you need. Give what you can." It may not work everywhere, but New Cumberland is a special town. [2017]

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Nomini Grove, Virginia, USA

What a difference five months make. Do you remember when we last visited Garner's on Virginia's Northern Neck? It was last November and the young plants were hunkering down for winter. Now, the strawberries have come in early and are ready to pick. Can you see them trying to hide under their canopy of green? [2017]

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Oranjestad, Aruba

He is helping to beautify the urban landscape of Oranjestad by painting one of the city's newest buildings. The architect will get all the credit, though, and he will remain nameless. On this day after international Labor Day, think of the manual laborers that make the world a beautiful place to live. [2017]

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tsovagyugh, Armenia

In Armenia, it's Labor Day, one of the year's most important holidays, a hold-over from the Soviet era of Armenian history. For Americans, though, it's just May Day, deemed by President Eisenhower during the "Red Scare" as Loyalty Day, an antidote to international Communism. Can you spot the traditional oven being used by this chef? [2015]