United States

Shreveport: "Loo zi ana – Are kan saw"

October 27, 2008

Here's a short quiz:

What is the correct pronunciation for the following places?

 

  • Shreveport
  • Bossier City
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • Nacogdoches, Texas

 

Cato Parish
Shreveport, Louisiana
October 27, 2008

Bon jour mes amis,

"How…do…you…pronounce...the...name...of...your...city?" I asked the Continental Airlines agent on the tarmac of the Shreveport Regional Airport. (I anticipated that I would be obliged to modify my speech as well as adjust my hearing as I made my way into the deep South.)

Mansfield. Louisiana: "War"

Mansfield

Louisiana

October 28, 2008

Have you ever felt the ground vibrate beneath your feet?

I don't mean the sensation you felt when you were window-shopping at Bloomingdale's on Lexington Avenue in New York, and you heard the subway train rumble up towards The Bronx.

I don't mean the sensation you felt when you were sipping a latte in Union Square in San Francisco and the workmen nearby were using noisy pneumatic drills to repair the cable car tracks.

What I mean is something like the vibration I felt when I was walking the streets surrounding the Great Synagogue in Budapest. In 1944, Hungarian Jews, by the thousands were herded into this small area, barely able to survive, until, they knew not what awaited them, they were transported to their final destination. As I wandered these same streets in the summer of 2000, I could feel the earth shudder.

Once more I felt the earth come alive as I strolled the Civil War Battlefield at Mansfield, Louisiana.

{C}

Bossier City, Louisiana: "Warfare"

Barksdale Air Force Base

Bossier City, Louisiana

October 29, 2008

One of my favorite television programs is "The West Wing."  In one episode the President has been shot and the senior military advisors are worried that a foreign enemy might try to take advantage of the moment.  When the military men ask the White House Chief of Staff what message the United States government should send out, the actor, the late John Spenser thinks for a second and says, "Don't mess with us tonight."

"Don't mess with us" was just what I was thinking when I visited the museum at Barksdale Air Force Base.  East of Bossier City, Barksdale is the home of the Eighth Air Force.  The slogan of the museum is "Come see the Might in the Mighty Eighth."

Wilton Manors, Florida: A Gay Halloween

Wilton Manors, Florida, USA
October 31, 2008

My dear trick or treaters,

Halloween is a big thing in Miami.

Sure, kids get dressed up and collect their mountains of sweets.

What I mean is that Halloween is a big thing for adults. Bars and clubs in Miami are crammed with costumed revelers.

What I really mean is that Halloween is a big thing for gay adults.

From Key West to Fort Lauderdale, thousands of gussied-up gay men and women parade the streets in creative, colorful, comely outfits.

Datong: "Marathon Man, Part 1: Boston"

The snow in Luoyang never let up. I was lucky to get a seat on a train east to Zhengzhou where the airport was open. I flew back to Beijing. The weather in Beijing was clear so I made a side trip to Datong.

Datong
Shanxi Province
China

January 23, 2008

Dear Family, Friends and Runners Everywhere,

Did you know that Jan was a Marathon Man? Yes, it's true. Many years ago, my "salad days" coincided with the Running Explosion that erupted after the American runner Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic Marathon in Munich. I was one of the millions of insufferable, "I-own-the-road" joggers who clogged the streets and sidewalks of every city and town.

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