It Takes Two
Jul 1, 2011
These are my parents, of course, a few years back when they visited Argentina.
Jul 1, 2011
These are my parents, of course, a few years back when they visited Argentina.
Jul 2, 2011
Like young'uns everywhere, children in Nepal like to play out front on the stoop.
Jul 3, 2011
One evening about a month ago, after a long day in the sun, Maggie and Colin weren't posing for a picture on a dock in the Eastport neighborhood of Annapolis.
Jul 4, 2011
When I imagine a perfect Fourth, there would be water splashing in the afternoon, then hot dogs, watermelon, blueberry shortcake–or maybe boiled crabs, potato salad, corn on the cob–and finally sparklers and fireworks. In the air, at some point, there could be band music and lightning bugs and American flags.
And a little bocce would be very, very nice. I don't know the people in this picture, who claim that they went up and down the coast of California playing bocce all along the way; this scene is from their stop in Sonoma County. A whole road trip of bocce is excessive–there's something way too over-the-top-West-Coast about it–and the guy on the right does appear to be wearing his beer can on top of his hat.
But the guy on the left has perfect form: bocce ball in one hand, beer in the other. Happy Birthday, America!
Jul 5, 2011
People wearing AC/DC shirts like to visit temples in Bakhtapur Square just like everybody else.
Jul 6, 2011
The valleys and lowermost hillsides of Nepal are subtropical; the crops grown there include tea and coffee and these banana trees. If a sturdy trekker were determined to leave the subtropics behind, he or she could walk straight uphill from here into patches of spring snow in a few hours, and into the glacial icefields of the high Himalaya in a few days.
Global warming is spreading up the mountainsides. Nepalis hope they have figured out a way to make money on climate change; the increasing heat in the air that has reduced productivity of tea plantations in India seems to have permitted tea cultivation higher than ever before on Nepalese hillsides. Not all the new plantings have thrived–the air is thinner in the high mountains, and the soil is rocky and poor. But fine tea is coming out of Nepal these days, from slopes about a mile higher than the bananas shown here.
In the long run, of course, tea won't save Nepal. As the glaciers shrivel in the high mountains and a scanty winter snowpack produces less and less spring runoff for the rivers of the subcontinent, people will have a hard time growing much of anything. Huge thirsty cities downstream are already beginning to compete for water with peasants struggling to irrigate the tiny terraces they have clawed into the mountainsides of Nepal.
Well. Maybe somebody will think of something.
Jul 7, 2011
Baby Goat, by Avram Dumitrescu, our very own Romanian Irish Texan painter. Click through for Avram's story and some more of his paintings.
Jul 8, 2011
Every few minutes at Victor Cafe in South Philly, one or another of the servers rings the little bell seen here on a tabletop and bursts into song.
They all have operatic training, so usually they sing opera, which is what the crowd came for–and they do draw a crowd. But as the evening progresses, the repertoire loosens up a little; they belt out showtunes as well as arias, and they even take requests. Here, at the end of the night, a tenor working as a waiter closes down the place with that old pop standard, Ave Maria.
Jul 9, 2011
About three weeks ago, the Nabro volcano in the East African nation of Eritrea began erupting for the first time in recorded human history. The initial eruption was a violent explosion, pumping vast quanitities of ash and sulfur dioxide into the air above North Africa and the Middle East. Aviation in the region was briefly suspended. Nabro's dark, dense plume of ash and gases shrouded the mountaintop for two weeks, concealing the eruption from view until June 29, when this satellite image was captured.
The image shows that the eruption has transitioned to a quieter, oozing sort of phase. Hot lava glows orange, fading to black as it cools. The lobes at the end of the long lava flow are dark, suggesting that the top of the flow may have crusted over. As the long westward flow cools, hotter, fresher lava appears to be spilling out of the vent toward the south and east.
Nabro is in very arid, dusty country; the green patches in the landscape around the volcano are actually only sparsely vegetated. The image was captured using a combination of infrared and visible light, which misrepresents the degree of vegetation in the landscape.
Although the eruption is a first for the record books, Nabro is in the East African rift valley, where volcanic activity in one form or another is nearly constant. Three tectonic plates are pulling apart from one another in this region, stretching the earth's crust so thin that hot magma from deep below finds numerous weak spots through which to erupt.
Jul 10, 2011
Soccer is popular in Nepal, even if the fields are more dirt than grass, and this year the national team, known as the Ghorkalis, is on a roll. Last week, Nepal notched two victories, 2-0 and then 5-0, in 2014 World Cup qualifying matches against East Timor. The Ghorkalis have a new coach, Graham Roberts, an Englishman who played for Tottenham and Chelsea, mostly on defense, and won six caps for England.
Meanwhile, in league play, defending champions Nepal Police Club holds a comfortable lead in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull Division A, though Yeti Air Himalayan Sherpas Club is not out of the running.
The field shown here is in the suburbs of Kathmandu, at the base of the hill topped by the Monkey Temple.
Jul 12, 2011
There's an uninteresting explanation for Norman's attire on Commissioning Day in Annapolis, but . . . . But nothing, really.
Jul 19, 2011
That's Pete, in his straw boater, as the eponym of Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, a sendup of 1920s-style song and dance.
Waynflete staged the show as its 2011 spring musical. Although the production was well received, its three-night run was a bit shorter than that of the original production in London's West End, where it played for five years and more than 2,000 shows.
The Broadway production was also a hit, introducing Julie Andrews to American audiences. But in 1971, a film version of The Boy Friend–starring the fashion model Twiggy–earned critical acclaim but was a commercial disaster.
Jul 20, 2011
The trees in Etowah, North Carolina, are naked in this shot–and they look fine–but it's really the road here that's got the moves.
Jul 21, 2011
This is Barnaul, a city of 800,000 in Siberia, located deep in the heart of central Asia, near the mountain range where Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China come together.
Barnaul grew large and relatively wealthy because of its double-edged location: close to the Altai Mountains, with their riches of silver, copper, and other minerals, but far from the rest of the world. During World War II, the Soviet Union relocated many of its munitions industries to Barnaul, safely distant from the front but close to major railroads that had been built for ore transport. Russia's largest ammunition plant, one of the largest in the world, still operates today in Barnaul.
The downtown area of the city doesn't look like this; it was modeled after Saint Petersburg and is known for handsome classical architecture, a sampling of which I will try to post here soon. But around the edges of town, in amongst the old silver-smelting factories and the ore-loading facilities, what we see here is what we get in twenty-first-century Barnaul.
Jul 22, 2011
Piano recital season has come around again.
I took piano lessons as a child, as did my sister, but we had different teachers and thus had to attend each other's recitals as well as our own. My teacher organized mercifully brief programs; we took our turns at the keyboard in the school cafeteria, curtsied, raced through our pieces, and then it was time for the cookies, punch, and dixie cups of vanilla ice cream. But my sister's recitals, in her teacher's living room, were endless, and there were only enough chairs for the grownups; all the brothers and sisters had to sit on the steps while the piano-playing went on and on and on. Many of the students were extremely talented–one of them now conducts a symphony orchestra–but what I mostly remember is how long we had to sit there before the cookies and punch.
These children were among a couple of dozen who performed their recital pieces the other day on the Steinway grand at Strathmore Mansion in Rockville, Maryland. They are students of B&B Music School.
Jul 23, 2011
On July 11, 1926, the Washington Post published this publicity shot for "the Gladyse Wilbur girls," a song-and-dance troupe that did its singing and dancing, as well as its teeing off, in bathing costumes. That's Dorothy Kelly on ice, backed up by Virginia Hunter, Elaine Griggs, Hazel Brown, and Mary Kaminsky.
The show was in Keith's Theater in Washington, which may have been air conditioned by 1926. The ice in the photo is obviously intended to suggest that the Gladyse Wilbur girls can be enjoyed in cool comfort, even in the middle of the summer.