January 2013

Posted by Ellen

There was evidently just a little too much weight in the back for this truck to navigate the winding mountain road through the Malakand district north of Islamabad in Pakistan. The men tugging on ropes could not right the vehicle, but they were able to keep it from completely flipping over while other men worked to lighten the load, which was wheat straw intended for use as animal feed.

Posted by Ellen

The Million Dollar Band has done it again–back-to-back national championships, three in the last four years. . . . 

Posted by Ellen

Reception can't be half bad in this part of Mazatlán, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Posted by Ellen

Some of my next-door neighbors on Kater Street.

Posted by Ellen

New Years Day morning was cold; I begged off watching the parade and slept in. But just as they have for the past hundred and some years in Philadelphia, the Mummers were out in force–the wenches, the string bands, the fancy brigades, more than 10,000 costumed dancers, clowns, musicians, and etcetera, strutting their way up South Broad Street.

As always, mummery's ethnic awkwardness was on obvious display. The skit by the Venetian New Years Association, "Indian In-Sourcing," was set in a call center labeled "New Delhi" and featured mummers dressed as Indians from the subcontinent, who danced a "Gangnam Style" routine. Then the call center label changed to "New Jersey," with performers dressed as North American Indians, dancing to "Apache." But hey, it's a parade.

Posted by Ellen

Heading south across the James River from downtown Richmond, Virginia, the half-mile-long Manchester Bridge was completed in 1972 to replace a much lower span that was repeatedly damaged by floods.

Barely visible in the distance, near the righthand edge of this picture, are the brick piers of a former railroad bridge that was repeatedly ruined by fire.

The current Manchester Bridge includes a wide pedestrian walkway separating southbound and northbound traffic. This was required by law; in 1920, when the city of Richmond annexed what was then the city of Manchester across the river, the merger documents provided for a free pedestrian bridge across the James, in perpetuity. Until then, the only bridge charged pedestrians a toll, which was so aggravating to residents of Manchester that they voted to dissolve their city government in return for a promise of a toll-free bridge.

The ruined railroad bridge burned for the first time during the Civil War; the Confederates destroyed it–the night they drove old Dixie down–in anticipation of the fall of Richmond. It was rebuilt after the war but burned again in 1882.