(Image credit: Janet Goldwater)

Posted by Ellen

This is something new for Philadelphia, and perhaps for the American urban scene in general: a permanent concrete ping pong table, with paddles and balls stored underneath, recently installed in the grass strip alongside Benjamin Franklin Parkway, about halfway between city hall and the art museum.

Posted by Ellen

We can only guess what this woman is doing: talking on a cellphone? waiting for the mutton store to open? hiding from somebody? Since she didn't bother to take off her helmet, she must be expecting to hop back on her bike very soon.

The other puzzle here concerns why someone would paint pictures of chickens on a store that advertises mutton for sale.

They say India is a land of mysteries.

 

 

Posted by Ellen

Paris in the wintertime can be chilly, especially if, like Addie Coslett, you've spent the past year in the tropics. Big mittens can help a lot.

Addie has been working for a bank in Bangalore that finances microloans in impoverished Indian villages. She bought the mittens while hiking in Kashmir. They made a big hit in Paris, where she stopped off on her way to the states for a holiday visit; strangers stopped her and asked if they could take a picture.

Posted by Ellen

There's an urban legend about a deer more spectacular than any other, a deer that's pure white, maybe even albino. It is glimpsed from time to time, usually at dusk or dawn or even after dark. It's shy and quick, won't stick around for the camera.

For a hunter to shoot such a deer, a white ghost of a deer, would make the whole forest cry. It would bring a whole lifetime of bad luck to the hunter who felled it. Unless it was actually a good luck charm. Or a trophy like no other--a trophy deer above all others.

One problem with the white deer, urban-legend-wise, is that there's widespread disagreement concerning what it might signify, if it signifies anything. The story is messy, if there is a story to it. But that's okay, urban-legend-wise, because the white deer is real--an estimated 1 deer out of 30,000 is albino, completely white with pink eyes.

Their coloration leaves them especially vulnerable to human hunters and other predators. Do they know that? Is that why they are so shy? Perhaps not, but their light-sensitive eyes may make them avoid daylight even more than other deer.

Nonetheless, Janet Goldwater sort of got a photo of an albino deer that had been eating apples from her tree in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania. "This photo was taken (in a rush obviously!) through the window of my house," she writes. "My opportunity to take a photo came at dusk, hence the slow shutter speed."

Here, the albino deer looks almost like a unicorn, which seems appropriate enough. If you want clearer pictures, you can find them on the tubes.  But this shot seems to pretty much sum up the whole white-deer thing: whatever is out there is hard to see, impossible to pin down, fleeing fast , but definitely, positively, really something.