Eric on The Road

Journeys into the offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten - by Eric Model

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tobacco Barns: Beautiful Relics of a Bygone Era (NPR News)

From National Public Radio:

by Noah Adams

The tobacco crop is quickly disappearing from the farms fields of Kentucky. But tobacco barns, in various states of repair, stand proudly on the landscape as iconic reminders of a farming tradition.

Also see the "Web Extra: Photos from Tobacco Country" at

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oldest continuous sports association in North America celebrates a 200th anniversary (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

The Royal Montreal Curling Club, at 1850 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., is the oldest continuous sports association in North America and will mark its 200th anniversary on Jan. 22.

The club's origins date back to the winter of 1807, when a group of local merchants, hardy souls, gathered on a weekly basis to curl on a patch of ice on the St. Lawrence River near Molson's Brewery.

Playing with "irons" made from melted cannon balls, and household brooms, they more than kept alive a game first introduced in Quebec by Scottish regiments stationed here in the late 1700s.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

On Recognizing A Quebecois Nation (

Prime Minister Harper surprised many with a motion to recognize Quebeckers (not Quebec) as a nation within Canada.

This is the most recent enrty in a discussion that has gone on for centuries.
For those who are not familiar with or who seek some clarity, offers an "In Depth" section on "Quebecois Nation". The subject is also the topic of discussion on the CBC Radio One program "Cross Country Check-up" (4 et - repeated thereafter - see

Cowboy Music Train (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Sunday, November 26, 2006 · The Cowboy Train is a rolling folk festival, 3 days and 4 nights across 2500 miles of Canada. Hal Cannon of the Western Folklife Center rode along and prepared this audio portrait.

No Room for Palm Trees in L.A. ? (NY Times)

Sunday, November 26, National Section

The Los Angeles City Council has declared the palm tree the enemy of the urban forest and wishes that most would disappear.

The Los Angeles City Council, fed up with the cost of caring for the trees, with their errant fronds that plunge perilously each winter, and with the fact that they provide little shade, have declared them the enemy of the urban forest and wish that most would disappear.

The city plans to plant a million trees of other types over the next several years so that, as palms die off, most will be replaced with sycamores, crape myrtles and other trees indigenous to Southern California. (Exceptions will be the palms growing in places that tourists, if not residents, demand to see palmy, like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.)

Of the various varieties of palms, none is really indigenous to Los Angeles. In the mid-20th century, land barons relocating to Los Angeles and Hollywood from the East decided that palm trees denoted the easy life, and began planting them at their homes and offices, said Leland Lai, the president of the Palm Society of Southern California, a research group that supports keeping the city lined with palms.

For more, see the article at:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Vermont View: The Once (And Future?) Republic (Vermont Life)

From Vermont Life Magazine (

Was Vermont ever an independent republic?

Champlain College history professor Rob Williams has been interested in Vermont’s history for most of his life. Years ago, when he migrated to New England, one of the first things he did was read up on the history of the Green Mountains. What he found was widespread agreement among both professional and popular historians that Vermont enjoyed a 14-year period as an independent republic between 1777 and 1791.


Remembering Betty Comden (NPR/ XM Radio)

NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday (with Scott Simon) recalls legendary Broadway Betty Comden who died this week. Comden collaborated with Adolph Green on some of the greatest stage and screen musicals such as "Singin' in the Rain." The pair, who won seven Tony Awards together, worked on the 1944 Broadway musical On the Town, which included the song "New York, New York."

Jonathan Schwartz also paid tribute to Betty Comden on his Saturday Show/Sunday Show ( courtesy of XM Radio): and XM Radio

Passing: Robert Lockwood Jr., Bluesman (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: November 25, 2006

Robert Lockwood Jr., the Mississippi Delta bluesman who was taught by Robert Johnson and became a mentor to generations of blues musicians, died on Tuesday in Cleveland, where he lived. He was 91.

Mr. Lockwood considered himself Johnson’s stepson, since Johnson had a decade-long romance with his mother. For long stretches of his career, he called himself Robert Jr. Lockwood to acknowledge Johnson’s influence.

Red (Fisher) still going strong after 50 years (Montreal Gazette)

Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens will pay tribute to Montreal Gazette senior hockey writer Red Fisher for 50 years of covering the club (first for the Montreal Star & the the Gazette) by featuring him on season tickets for their Bell Centre game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

In the second season of their four-year centennial campaign, to culminate in 2009, Canadiens are celebrating 10 special categories on these tickets - Hall of Famers, team builders, captains, Stanley Cups, memorable moments, media members, NHL records, retired jerseys, rivalries and season-ticket holders.

Fisher covered his first Canadiens game for the Montreal Star on March 17, 1955, the night of the infamous Richard Riot. That was approaching the end of the second full season of the illustrious Canadiens career of Jean Beliveau, who spoke to The Gazette's Dave Stubbs to share these thoughts about the man he knows as a friend and a chronicler of the most famous franchise in hockey.

Passing: Anita O'Day, Jazz Singer of the Big Band Era

From Associated Press & Wikipedia:

Anita O'Day, famous American Jazz singer during the Big Bad Era died November 23, 2006.

Born Anita Belle Colton, O'Day was admired for her sense of rhythm and dynamics, and her early big band appearances shattered the traditional image of the "girl singer". Refusing to pander to any female stereotype, O'Day presented herself as a "hip" jazz musician, wearing a band jacket and skirt as opposed to an evening gown. She cited Martha Raye as the primary influence on her vocal style, although she also expressed admiration for Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.

O'Day's long-term problems with heroin and alcohol addiction and her often erratic behavior related to those problems earned her the nickname "Jezebel of Jazz."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Passing: Betty Comden, Half of Lyrics Team Behind Musicals (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: November 24, 2006
Betty Comden, who with her longtime collaborator Adolph Green wrote the lyrics and often the librettos for some of the most celebrated musicals of stage and screen, died yesterday in Manhattan. She was 89 and lived in Manhattan.

During a professional partnership that lasted for more than 60 years, and which finally ended with Mr. Green’s death in 2002, the Comden-Green blend of sophisticated wit and musical know-how lit up stage shows like “On the Town,” “Wonderful Town,” “Peter Pan” and “Bells Are Ringing.” Their Hollywood credits included the screenplays for two landmark film musicals, “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Band Wagon.”

For the full obituary see:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Spirit of Thanksgiving: "We Gather Together" with Garrison Keillor (American Public Media)

Garrison Keillor weaves together familiar melodies and his own observations into this charming and unique celebration of Thanksgiving. Keillor is joined by Prudence Johnson, Rich Dworsky, the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers, Charles Kemper and Philip Brunelle in musical renditions of traditional hymns and humorous adaptations of songs for the season. Keillor guides us through the hour with his renowned story telling ability and reminds us of the treasures of Thanksgiving with his remarkable perceptions of American life.

The program is being plauyed by Public Radio stations on Thanksgiving Day. If you miss it then, it may be heard at:

Coming Home for Thanksgiving

For too many people Thanksgiving has turned into stressful time. "Has the bird cooked enough ?"..." The trip is too long"....And, "Oh I can't deal with your family". It is easy to forget what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about.

One of my favorite reality checks is to go to Charles Kuralt's "On the Road" (book or video) to a chapter entitled "Coming Home". It is set in Prairie, Mississippi.

Kuralt's introduction to the segment goes like this:

"A long road took nine children out of the cotton fields, out of poverty, out of Mississippi. But roads go both ways, and this Thanksgiving weekend, they all came home.

One after another, and from every corner of America, teh cars turned into the yard. With much cheering and much hugging, the nine children of Laex and Mary Chandler were coming home for their parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary".

What follows is a heartwarming and inspiring story. And if it does not put you in the right spirit, well, nothing will.

In the meantime in the spirit of thanks, a Happy Thanksgiving.

On The Road with Charles Kuralt, Copyright 1985, Published by Ballenti9ne Books, ISBN 0-4449-13067-3

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Debunking Pilgrim Myths: Before Plymouth (NPR)

From NPR's All Things Considered:

The author of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War notes that the Pilgrims encountered Native Americans -- and stole their corn -- before reaching Plymouth Harbor.

Thanksgiving Reflections From A Far Away Front A Long Time Ago (Pilgrim Hall Museum)

It's Thanksgiving, and there's alot we are thankful for. In the miodst of our daily frustrations against things big and small, we nonethless remain grateful for our blessings - personally and as part of larger communities.

We are mindful that it is a Thanksgiving during war time. No matter what one thought about the why and how we got started, the fact is we have now been in Iraq longer than the length of World War II.

That that had us thinking about our troops - then and now. You will likely see and hear much about greetings from the front. In remebering these folks placed in harm's way, we also recall those of another generation and another war. What was written during World War II could as easily have been written today from Iraq or Afghanistan.

We wish the troops and their families well..and your family too. Happy Thanksgiving:

World War Two Voices from the Front (Credit to Pilgrim Hall Museum --

Bill Sykes of Plymouth, Combat Engineers and then 1095th Engineer Utility Company, Command SoPac, US Army Engineers 1942-1945 :
"My first Thanksgiving, that was kind of a sad thing for me, being away from home and being young and not being with my family for Thanksgiving, missing the football games. And having no Thanksgiving -- we had no Thanksgiving. They attempted to do it in a field kitchen, but what can you do in a field kitchen? After that first Thanksgiving, though, they put on some beautiful meals. They had everything you could think of for Thanksgiving dinner. They really made a big effort to do it the proper way. We would find out who had the best dinner. And the Navy had the best dinner, I'll tell you right now. The Navy had really good Thanksgivings. They had the ships, you know. And they'd bring in all kinds of food. But the Army did pretty good, too.
"The Thanksgiving dinners were served on trays. (My first one, with the Combat Engineers, was served in mess kits. That doesn't work too well.) They had cranberry sauce, stuffing, the whole thing. It was a good meal. But the feeling of Thanksgiving wasn't there. The meal was there, but the feeling of Thanksgiving wasn't. I guess you couldn't have Thanksgiving when you were overseas. There wasn't much to be thankful for. It was sad. Although, I guess there was some thankfulness, at least you were still alive!"

Ed Campbell, US Marine Corps, 1943-1945 :
"There were 3 Thanksgivings. Actually, the one in '43 I don't really remember -- we may have been in California but it was just about the time we were getting ready to leave for the invasion of the Marshalls. I think we spent it like we spent all our weekends -- every weekend we would all get liberty and head for Los Angeles. That Thanksgiving just draws a blank.
"The second one, I was on Maui and I do remember. It was an odd day. You remember all of your early Thanksgivings with the family and a certain feeling of nostalgia sets in. Then you take your mess kit, which is like an oval opened up, and go down to the mess hall and get your Thanksgiving dinner thrown into the mess kit. It ends up with the turkey and carrots all mixed. The cooks do a great job of trying to make it a festive meal but when you mix it all together with the gravy in the mess kit, its sort of like mush. I do remember that. Other than that, there was no celebration. There wasn't too much discussion, we just all sort of hunkered into ourselves and thought of earlier days and days to come, hopefully.
"The third and last Thanksgiving (1945), I landed in Boston on Thanksgiving Day... I walked around the city for a little bit, with joy in being immersed in the quietness of Boston -- it was around 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. I decided I would take a taxi home to Quincy. I had enough money -- my discharge money -- so I was able to pay for a cab to take me home in style. Of course, we had a great Thanksgiving. My mother had all the relatives and old friends there -- I had called her to say that I would be home on Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful day to come home. It was literally the first day of the rest of my life."

See for other World War II profiles.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Santa Claus Parade: A Canadian Holiday Season Tradition

The fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. & for many the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the unofficial start of the Christmas season.

In other countries, most notbaly Canada (who had its Thanksgiving Day in the midst of October's harvest) the start of the Christmas season is marked by the "Santa Claus Parade".

The largest is Toronto Santa Claus Parade, held annually near the middle of November in Toronto, which was started in 1905 (along with Winnipeg) by the Eaton's department store, with just a single float. Montrealers enjoyed their first parade in 1925. The largest parade in North America, it often stretched over a mile and a half in length.

It now has over 24 floats, 24 bands, and 1,700 participants. It is one of the biggest productions in North America, and is broadcast to many countries around the world.[citation needed]

In Vancouver, the Roger's Santa Claus Parade has also grown to be one of the largest, with 65 floats and bands. A special train also comes around in the parade, collecting donations for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. In 2005, the parade collected over 4,300 kg of food and 2,300 toy donations.

In Toronto, children applied for the honour of marching in the parade, sometimes waiting 3 years for their turn. Those who were chosen were outfitted in marvellous made-to-measure costumes and were paid a small fee plus hot chocolate and cookies along the parade route.

Unlike Macy's in New York, Eaton's made its own costumes each year. The Merchandise Display Department worked year-round at Eaton's Sheppard and Highway 400 service building to prepare the costumes, the incredible floats and the mechanized window tableaux.

Each year the whole parade would be boxed and trained up to Montreal. There Santa would triumpantly disembark at Windsor Station, and the scemne would be set for the Montreal edition of the Eaton's Parade.

In 1969, following the FLQ bombings, the Montreal parade was cancelled. It only has started running down Ste. Catherine Street over the last decade, after being revived by area businesses and the city government.

The Toronto tradition came to an end in 1982 in its traditional form when president Fred Eaton sadly cancelled Eaton's sponsorship of the parade due to financial reasons.

The Archives of Ontario holds file after file of letters of complaint and lament from the generation that had come to believe "the Eaton's parade is Christmas" (from F 229-207 F.S. Eaton's parade and personal files).

A non-profit organization took over arrangements for the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which still runs the 6 kilometre route each November.

See: (Wikipedia)

about Montreal's Santa Claus Parade (from cbc radio):

A Traditional Radio Thanksgiving

I am long-time fan of public radio. I started lsitening in the mid-1970's - when Bob Edwards and Susan Stamburg were hosts of "All Thinsg Considered" (Before he went over to Morning Edition).

Over the years NPR Thanksgiving Traditions became my traditions.

These days one endures - Mama Stamburg's Cranbarry Relish recipe first hit the air in 1971. Though Susan Stamburg has long moved on from "All Things Considered" (She is now a "Senior Correspondent") each year the relish recipe makes its return. It may be found at:

The other NPR tradition is not promoted these days because it is one from Bob Edwards' days at "Morning Edition" - and we are no longer in the Edwards-era at NPR (He is now at XM and PRI - there is a long story there, but we're not going there now). In any event, each year on Morning Edition (starting in 1994), Bob Edwards would host an annual radio Fantasy Thanksgiving potluck with such chefs as Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck, and Paul Prudhomme. Listen as Morning Edition updates the holiday event with chefs Rick Bayless, Mario Batali, Deborah Madison, Jacques Torres, and Mollie Katzen in attendance.

An NPR recording of the 2000 Thanksgiving can be found at:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Fight for the Architectural Soul of "Music City" (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

There's alot of about Nashville I don't quite understand - starting with the Nashville Predators hockey team. As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, hockey in Nashville is sort of like professional jai-lai or bull fighting in Montreal. And somehow, this hockey thing represents so much of what is being peddled as "progres" in the Sun Belt.

But having said that I can't help but feel some sadness for a fight now being played at in Nashville.

A honky-tonk block there, lower Broadway, is now being threatened by a proposed 19 story hotel, office complex that would house a Westin hotel.

The battle lines are not unique to Nashville, but the flavor of the debate is special because of the unqiue role of Nashville in American popular culture. This neighborhood, once home to the Grand Dole Opry (before it moved across the river) still houses legendary and one of a kind establishments such as Tootsie's Orchard Lounge and Gruhn Guitars. It is a block that the New York Times describes as one of "...boot-and-hat-stores, Dixieland flavor and country kitsch so retro that it never lost its hipness in the first place".

In an article entitled "Nashville Journal", the Times details the "polite but passionate" battle now being waged in Nashville.

Quebec and Canada: Our common story - by Ken Dryden (from

It's the middle of November - A Sunday morning. Last night in Montreal the Canadiens retired the jersey of Serge Savard. It was a ceremonmy done only as a franchsie like the Canadiens can do it. Where else would those speaking be the likes of Dick Irvin, Richard Garneau and Scotty Bowman ?

All this Habs nostalgia got me to searching the net to find the Montreal I remeber of the 1960's & 70's. I started by googling the phrase "Toe Blake Tavern" (you know where my head and herart were) and find a couple of interesting references. This email is about one of them (More on the other in a future posting).

I found an interesting article from Maclean's magazine about squaring being a Quebecois and Canadian. Not until after I started reading it did I come to realize that it was authored by one Ken Dryden. Ken Dryden, the hockey hall of famer. Ken Dryden, the disciple of Ralph Nader. Ken Dryden, author. Ken Dryden, Liberal Party Cabinet member and candidate for party leadership. And finally, Ken Dryden son of English Ontario but a favorite son in bilingual French Canada.

His Maclena's article "Quebec and Canada: Our common stpry" is a good read. It is also insightful in terms of how many of as Canadians or Americans strive to get past battle lines of earlier decades.

Writes Dryden"...our preoccupation is not just about language. It is about the Canadian story, of how we got here as a country. Of why immigrants choose Canada and why they love it here. To those immigrants: be grateful for that French-speaking community in Quebec that has fought so hard to be what it is. They didn't know it, but they were also fighting for you. This 'live and let live' society we have created is what allows a multicultural country to work. This is a story all Canadians can understand".

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Baltimore Basilica Returns to Original Splendor (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Jacki Lyden
All Things Considered, November 12, 2006

Last week, the nation's first cathedral, the Baltimore Basilica, came back to life after a two-year, $34 million restoration. The Basilica has now reclaimed its original neo-classical vision, by the Colonial architect Benjamin Latrobe.

".....It isn’t the Piggly Wiggly Madison Square Garden.." Mets Go For Corporate Naming Bucks

Add New York to the long list of places that has bowed to the altar of corporate naming right of a stadium, excuse me ball park.

A new stadium to be built next to Shea Stadium is being modeled to recall the old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. But it's corporate name reflects a present reality: Citi Field. (Shea Stadium was named after the man who brought baseball back to NYC after the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants abandoned town).

As George Vecsey wrote in the New York Times, "....Gone are the days of naming ballparks after sports heroes or teams or even the owners themselves. In recent years, many stadiums have been named after companies that I could not identify. Some of the companies went belly up. There may or may not be a moral to this...."

Added Clyde Haberman in the Metro Section (not in the Sports Pages), "...Putting up money without receiving a billboard in return is an alien concept in corporate America today. You don’t like it? Well, get real, said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg..."

Writes Vecsey,"...The mayor is not wrong. But New York has always been different. It isn’t the Piggly Wiggly Madison Square Garden, not yet, or the Wal-Mart Yankee Stadium. In fact, when the Yankees broke ground for their own joint last August, their officials emphasized that the new ballpark would be called Yankee Stadium..."

Am I making too much of this ? Perhaps, but to me it is yet another step along the journey separating me from the game(s) I once felt so connected to. Cable TV, corporate boxes, multi-million dollars contracts, strikes/lock-outs, steroids, corporate names to ball parks. Did I tell what I think about the new Yankee Stadium - where construction in the Bronx has already taken away a park from its neighbors. As Vecsey states in The Times,"....Allegedly, the city will install park fragments on top of parking garages when the construction is over....". Please, don't get me started.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Congratulations to Dick Duff, Hockey Hall of Famer

A new class has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. As always the ceremonies were a glitzy affair. Receiving most of the headlines was Patrick Roy who set records and won Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado. Also headlined was the late Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 USA Olympic winner.

One inductee received less fanfare and deserves a greater nod. But understated and quiet work was always the game for Dick Duff. He was on four Stanley Cup winners with the Montreal Canadiens (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969) after winner the cup twice with Toronto (1962 and 1963, and his career represents a style of play and conduct which sadly is becoming associated with another era and place.

Agan we honor Dick Duff, Hall of Famer, for all he accomplished and for all he represents.

For more on Dick Duff, see:

Seattle Says No to Big Bucks for Pro Sports Subsidy

As a follower of the late Montreal Expos, I could not help but applaud folks in Seattle and sayiong it's about time when I read of the decision not to pay out a huge subsidy to keep the NBA Sonic in Seattle.

The New York Times reports that on Election Day, residents rebuffed their once-beloved Seattle SuperSonics, voting overwhelmingly for a ballot measure ending public subsidies for professional sports teams.

The owners, who bought the Sonics in October for $350 million from Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, had warned that the team would leave unless the city provided a new arena, said the Times article.

The vote delighted Citizens for More Important Things, a group that, with the help of a statewide health care union, spent $60,000 to sponsor the initiative. Other cities “may be so desperate to lure tourists there that they have to overpay for an N.B.A. team,” said to the Times Chris Van Dyk, a founder of the group. “Seattle doesn’t have to lure anybody.”

The Sonics were Seattle’s first professional team and first love, especially after they won a National Basketball Association championship in 1979. But the team’s record, aside from a playoff run in 2004, has been middling for years.

KeyArena, the smallest of any N.B.A. team, was renovated in 1995 with $75 million from taxpayers.

Public sentiment turned against the Sonics last winter when Mr. Schultz, the Starbucks chairman, demanded that the state provide $200 million to refurbish the city-owned arena. The team would have contributed $18 million.

With Oklahoma City and others waiting in the wings for their shot at "big time" sports, this brave act by folks in Seattle will likely not stop the big bucks game of pro-sports francise blackmail. But it is an act that merits admiration for someon on this side of the border is finally taking a stand similar to that seen in Canadian places such as Montreal (Expos) and Quebec (Nordiques)- communities that drew a line based on principle at the expense of a loss of a professional team.

Thanks, Seattle.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Barney Fife's Statue Snafu (CBS News)

Courtesy: CBS News

We're doing some housekeeping. In an effort to stay on top of things off the beaten path, we came across this item from last summer on It is about the effort of an "Andy Griffith Show" super-fan to memorialize Barney Fife in Mt. Airy, NC.

Well, we'll let the story tell you about it. A thank you to Steve Hartman of CBS News who reported the story. Also a thank you to CBS for sort of doing the right thing - but we'll let you decide.

Barney Fife's Statue Snafu
Nixed Tribute Leaves 'Andy Griffith Show' Super-Fan Half-Broke

Mount Airy, N.C., July 14, 2006
(CBS) It's not Mayberry, but it's close. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., has a Floyd's barbershop, an Opie's candy store and even a Mayberry Kountry Kitchen.

The restaurant's owner, Tom Hellebrand, used to work as a crime scene investigator in Florida. A couple of years ago, he quit his job and moved his entire family to Mount Airy — because he loves the classic television show that much.

"I've seen each episode hundreds of times," says Hellebrand. Is he exaggerating? "No, that's a minimum," he insists. "A thousand times would not be an exaggeration."

Hellebrand says his obsession is all about honoring the show. That's why after actor Don Knotts died earlier this year, he got to thinking: Mount Airy has a bronze statue of Andy and Opie. So why not Knotts' character, Barney?

To Hellebrand, "Barney was the 'Andy Griffith Show.' He's the one who made you laugh. He's the one who made you think. I just love Barney Fife."

There's certainly no doubting his sincerity, and Hartman reports that's why the rest of Hellebrand's story pained him. The rights to the Fife character are owned by CBS, and after initially giving him written permission to raise funds and hire a sculptor, the network apparently reconsidered and issued a cease and desist order.

The decision left Barney half-finished, and Hellebrand half-broke. To the tune of, he says, $10,000.

CBS is passing the buck on this one, saying it's actually Don Knotts' wife and Andy Griffith himself who insisted the project stop. In turn, spokespeople for those parties say it's CBS who has the rights and only the network can say no. This news had Hellebrand thoroughly confused — but genuinely hopeful.

"This whole thing is like an 'Andy Griffith' episode," Hellebrand remarked. "It starts out good. It gets really bad in the middle of the show, but at the end, it gets happy and there's a happy ending."

To that end, Hartman called the CBS public relations office and told them what a shame it would be if this story ended with his saying how CBS is so unsympathetic, the network won't even reimburse Hellebrand the money he lost.

Needless to say, CBS has now decided to reimburse Hellebrand.


Two American Towns Battle To Be Considered The Birthplace Of The Sundae (CBS News)

Two American Towns Battle To Be Considered The Birthplace Of The Sundae

TWO RIVERS, Wis. and ITHACA, N.Y., Aug. 25, 2006 -
(CBS) Two Rivers, Wis., located on the shores of Lake Michigan, has one of the largest historical markers you'll ever see, reports CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman: 28 square feet of space paying homage to the ice cream sundae.

"This is the home of the sundae," says Greg Buckley, the town manager. He says it was a guy named Ed Berners who came up with the idea, making ice cream history.

But not quite. To make a short story long, there's another version, set in Ithaca, N.Y.

"I firmly believe Ithaca is home to the sundae now," says Bruce Stoff of the Ithaca visitors' bureau. "I'm 100 percent sure."

Ithaca says the sundae was first created at the Plat and Colt Pharmacy. They even have a marker to note it, just like Two Rivers.

A feud over bragging rights began earlier this summer, when Stoff started promoting Ithaca as the sundae's true birthplace. Two Rivers then issued a proclamation demanding, mostly tongue-in-cheek, that Ithaca cease and desist with its claim, since Two Rivers was the sundae's true birthplace.

Ithaca responded with an ad in Two Rivers' newspaper, basically saying: "Oh yeah, prove it."

Two Rivers said, "You prove it," and Ithaca said, "OK."

Stoff went back through the old Ithaca Journal newspapers, and in a paper dated April 5, 1892, he found a tiny ad:
Cherry Sunday
A New Ice Cream Specialty Served Only At Platt And Colt's
Back in Twin Rivers, Buckley won't concede Ithaca has won the title. He says, "We would concede they're the birthplace for newspaper advertising for the ice cream sundae."

Buckley says Berners invented the sundae 10 years before the ad ran. His town isn't giving up — they've even got a fight song.

Needless to say, the war continues to escalate. And, as Hartman notes, although there may never be a true victor, at least in this war, both sides get the spoils.

For more, see:

Futuristic Icon of '64 World's Fair Rusting Away (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: November 11, 2006
Once there were elevators gliding up the sides of the towers to reveal a city unfolding; now they are rusted in mid-rise. Once there were stairwells winding within those towers; now they are rotted through. The call for a better tomorrow, for “Peace Through Understanding,” is answered by the flutter and coo of its hidden inhabitants.

The city’s neglect of this gift bequeathed to it in 1967 has long been a prominent embarrassment, the elephant in the room that is the borough of Queens.

But the more years that go by, the more the structure becomes New York’s own “colossal wreck,”.....

For the full article, see:

Andy Griffith sues "Andy Griffith" (AP)

From Associated Press; November 10, 2006

MILWAUKEE -- A Wisconsin man who changed his name to Andy Griffith to run for sheriff is being sued by the television actor.

A suit filed in federal court said the former William Harold Fenrick changed his name to get more votes and asks the court to order him to change it back.

Fenrick changed his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith in May. He said he didn't profit from the change. He gave away all of his campaign items bearing the name -- and he lost the election.

Fenrick, an independent, got about 1,200 votes. Republican Sheriff Keith Govier was re-elected Tuesday with almost 8,500 votes.

Jim Cole, a lawyer for the actor, said the suit isn't personal. But if Andy Griffith doesn't protect his name under trademark law, he loses his rights.

Friday, November 10, 2006

In Depth: Remembrance Day (

There's a great summary about the origins and history of Remebrance Day at the CBC News website.

In addition, the CBC News site contains a list of sites dedicated to Military history, memorials and a vast amount of resources available on-line, published by government, museums and individuals. As states, "Together, they provide rich detail about the events of war, and also provide a portrait of a soldier's life".

Finally, at the same site, you can link to a CBC News Archive entitled
"Canada Remembers: CBC Archives looks back at Canada's role in the First World War".

It's all at and

Looking Back at Wartime during "The War" (NPR)

Veteran's Day has become a time not just to honor Veterans. It has also become a second Memorial Day of sorts - a time to reflect on not just the Veterans but the world they fought for and the world around them when they fought.

Two features from National Public Radio capture this mood:

*Elderly Veterans Rush to Restore WWII Ship: An aging group of soldiers and sailors works to restore the SS Red Oak Victory, hoping to commemorate the shipbuilders of the 1940s. Two of them were the parents of Edith Louise Cook (left), 77, who works on the ship.

* Heifetz at War: Behind the Scenes, Near the Front:
Performance Today explores a vivid chapter in the life of violinist Jascha Heifetz. During World War II, he played more than 300 USO shows. Our portrait of Heifetz during the war features interviews and vintage audio.

There's a bunch more great stuff to be found at

Return Day - A Day of Reconciliation in Delaware

Some in Washington, DC have suddenly gone to talking about bi-partisanship after six years of polarization. Whether this old dog is capable of flashing new tricks remains to be seen.

In Georgetown, Delaware there is a tangible tradition of actual reconciliation. It is called Return Day and occurred again on November 9, 2006.

There the winning and losing candidates from Election Day 2006 (November 7) rode together in open horse drawn carriages and antique automobiles in a biennial parade 200 years in the making.

After the parade join Delaware's political leaders gathered on the Wilmington Trust Main Stage on The Circle in front of the historic Sussex County Courthouse (circa 1837) to hear the Town Crier deliver the returns from the Courthouse balcony.

Then the symbolic and dramatic "Burial of the Tomahawk" by Sussex County's party chairmen officially ended Delaware's political season.

There was also a "free" Carl M. Freeman Companies OX ROAST SANDWICH available after the burial of the tomahawk. The slow cooked beef was barbequed open pit style starting on Wednesday night with a big party next to the Courthouse.

A good time was had by all.

Now, when does the next campaign start ?

The Spirit of Veterans Day (NPR)

On Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended. It was the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month. The observance came to be known as Armistice Day. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower created the first Veterans Day to honor the men and women who have served the United States in uniform.

At there is a wonderful page from 2005 that captures much of the best of the day:

Soldiers Recall the Ways of War

November 11, 2005 · Veteran's Day is a chance for Americans to remember those who have fought for their country. It's also a chance for veterans to recall their service -- the sacrifices, the dangers -- and how it changed their lives. To mark the holiday, the StoryCorps oral history project offers stories from two soldiers -- and two wars.

Black WWII Veterans Reunite in Normandy

November 10, 2005 · Veteran Bill Danbey prepares for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in France. Joining him is photographer and filmmaker Samuel LeBon Wooten, and several other black veterans who were 19 to 35 years old on D-Day.

Voices of War: Veterans History Project

November 11, 2004 · The Library of Congress is working to preserve the stories of war veterans through interviews, memoirs, letters and photos compiled for the Veterans History Project.
Web Extra: Hear Stories from the Project

Kate Nolan, WWII Combat Nurse

November 10, 2005 · Marking the dedication of the World War II Memorial, NPR's Susan Stamberg profiles former Army combat nurse Katherine Flynn Nolan, who cared for U.S. and German soldiers as well as concentration camp survivors.

'Soldiers and Slaves' Details Saga of Jewish POWs

May 30, 2005 · Roger Cohen's book Soldiers and Slaves tells the story of 350 American GIs sent to labor camps by the Germans during World War II. They were Jewish or suspected of being Jews. More than 70 died in captivity. Cohen and camp survivor Gerald Daub discuss the book.

'Brothers in Arms' Honors Black WW II Tank Crews

November 10, 2005 · Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells the story of a little-known black tank battalion in World War II. He was inspired to write a book after learning a family friend had been a member of the unit.

Families Share Soldiers' 'Last Letters Home'

November 11, 2004 · Fathers, mothers and wives share the poignant final letters of troops killed in Iraq in the documentary, Last Letters Home: Voices of American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq.
Web Extra: Read a Soldier's Final Letter

Vet Recalls Christmas During Battle of the Bulge
December 24, 1994 · Tom Chapman was in the trenches with the 101st Airborne Division, in the midst of the Battle of the Bulge. He says the Germans had captured the U.S. supply trucks, so he and his fellow soldiers had no coats, no gloves, no blankets, just their regular uniforms.

A Battle Plan Against Gulf War Illness
February 24, 2003 · It's still unclear why large numbers of soldiers in the 1991 Gulf War came home with unexplained illnesses. Now, faced with the possibility of a new war in the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon is working to prevent a repeat of those health problems. NPR's Joseph Shapiro reports.

Oral History Teams to Collect Memories of WWII Vets
May 28, 2004 · Teams of volunteers with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project are fanning out across the National Mall beginning Friday to collect stories from World War II veterans. The goal is to collect as many oral histories as possible. All Things Considered follows one of those teams, and listens in on some of those stories.

Family Sacrificies Remembered on Veterans Day
November 11, 1999 · Commentator Austin Bay talks about the significance of Veterans Day in his family. His grandfather fought in both world wars and his father in Korea.

'Two Souls Indivisible': Surviving Prison Camp
November 10, 2005 · James Hirsch's latest book titled, Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam, is the harrowing tale of survival and lasting friendship between two men who weren't expected to survive torturous North Vietnam prison camps together.

Black WW II Vet Remembers War Years in England
May 29, 2004 · NPR's Linda Wertheimer interviews William Powell, one of the African-American veterans who came to Washington, D.C., for the Memorial Day weekend. He remembers his service in England during World War II.

How War Changes the Warrior
November 11, 2004 · Soldiers returning from combat often describe themselves as changed, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. This Veterans Day, those who have been in battle tell how it altered their lives.

Veterans Recall Service at Nation's War Memorials
November 11, 2004 · Near the National Mall are memorials to the veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. In commemoration of Veteran's Day, servicemen at these memorial sites tell their stories and discuss the current conflict in Iraq. Hear NPR's Brian Naylor.

You can find it all at:

Veterans’ Stories (

On The Brian Lehrer Show's (WNYC &'s Day program, a broadcast of excerpts from the StoryCorp booth of American veteran's from World War II, Vietnam and Iraq.

Resources for Remembering on Remembrance Day

Resources for Remembering - From

Courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada, Canada Remembers is a great resource to:

learn about Canadian participation in wars and battles
see what heroes remember
research about family members who served in the armed forces
consult digital versions of the Books of Remembrance or the Canadian Virtual War Memorial
commemorate milestones in Canadian military history over the past two centuries

Soldiers of the First World War (1914–1918) is where you could find information on a family member's experience. It's a Library and Archives Canada database with online access to more than 800 000 digital documents based on the personal files of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) members.

The Canada and the First World War virtual exhibition of Library and Archives Canada illustrates the many roles that Canadian men and women played during the First World War, and the definite mark the war left on our society.

Democracy at War: Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War is a digital collection of more than 144 000 newspaper articles, documenting events during the Second World War.

The Canadian War Museum tells Canada’s rich military history, from earliest times to today, through the war experiences of ordinary people, both on the battlefield and in the home.

Topics: Conflict and War from the CBC Archives has links to a large collection of TV and radio clips on the part Canada played in the wars and conflicts of the past century.

Canada and Peace Support Operations tells us about Canada’s role in keeping the peace and how it has participated in more than 60 peace support operations around the world since the 1950s.

The virtual exhibition Remembrances: Canada and the Second World War brings Canada’s participation in the Second World War to life through images, stories and multimedia clips.

To access these links, go to:

Remembering Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day (Australia, Canada, Colombia, UK and Ireland), also known as Poppy Day (South Africa and Malta), and Armistice Day (UK, New Zealand and many other Commonwealth countries; and the original name of the holiday internationally) is a day to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians in World War I and other wars. It is observed on November 11 to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. The observance is specifically dedicated to members of the armed forces who were killed during war, and was created by King George V of the United Kingdom on November 7, 1919, possibly upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey though Wellesley Tudor Pole established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.

British, Canadian, South African and ANZAC traditions include two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain and France) when the armistice became effective. The two minutes recall World War I and World War II. Before 1945 the silence was for one minute, and today some ceremonies still only have one minute of silence despite this.

In Canada the day is a holiday for federal government employees. However, for private business, provincial governments, and schools, its status varies by province. In Western and Atlantic Canada it is a general holiday. In Ontario and Quebec, it is not a general holiday, although corporations that are federally registered may make the day a full holiday, or instead designate a provincially-recognized holiday on a different day. Schools usually hold assemblies for the first half of the day or on the school day prior with various presentations concerning the remembrance of the war dead. Thousands of people gather near the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Among the crowd, war veterans pay their respects to fallen sailors, soldiers, and airmen. The Act of Remembrance includes the playing of the Last Post, recitation of the Ode of Remembrance, which is a verse of the poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, followed by Reveille.

The Royal Canadian Legion recommends that Canadians observe 2 minutes of silence.

The poppies

Poppies are sold every year as an act of remembrance to fallen soldiers at war.The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. A Frenchwoman by the name of Madame E. Guérin introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out today. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action. The sale of red poppies raises funds to help ex-servicemen - the sale of white poppies does not, but does support peace work and education. Until 1996, poppies were made by disabled veterans in Canada, but they have since been made by a private contractor.

While different some places such as England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (flat Earl Haig variety with a leaf), in Canada (Australia, New Zealand and Scotland) the poppies are curled at the petals with no leaf.

From Wikepdia:

For additional info, see:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Northern Lights Pale Next to Arctic Town's Parade of Visiting Stars (Washington Post)

From the Washington Post:

By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, November 7, 2006; Page A18

IQALUIT, Canada -- Forget Hollywood. To see the stars, come to the capital of Nunavut.

This Arctic town of 6,500 hosts a parade of celebrities, even if many of them make the briefest of stopovers.

The list of star visits is lengthy: Jamie Foxx, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ricky Martin, Jason Priestley, Canadian comic Rick Mercer, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Spacey, Sylvester Stallone.

On far northern Baffin Island, Iqaluit and its very long runway -- built for military use -- are just about halfway between Los Angeles and Europe. It is a perfect place for a fuel stop for the private jets of celebrities.

"We're a gas station," said Eric Leuthold, 34, who runs Frobisher Bay Touchdown Services, which caters to the private jets. "Some of the stars don't even know where they are. They wake up groggy and ask where they are, and never come out of the jets."

Others are more curious, drawn perhaps by the striking Inuit art in the airport terminal or the Inuktitut language they hear at the airport. They stay longer to explore the snow-covered streets, buzzing with skimobiles.

And some come seeking an Arctic adventure.

Brooke Shields always wanted to spend a night in an igloo. It had to be made for her; the local residents live in modern housing.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

America's Chaning Religious Landscape ("Speaking of Faith" from American Public Media)

From American Public Media' Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett:

A great public theologian and historian, Martin Marty offers personal and historical perspective on religion in modern life — including the nature of fundamentalism, and the decline of America's mainline Protestant majority as Evangelical Christianity gains in influence.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

RIP: Pink Flamingo, 1957-2006 (Orlando Sentinel)

(From the Orlando Sentinel)

by Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub | Home & Garden Editor
Posted October 20, 2006

The pink plastic flamingo, a Florida-inspired icon that has been reviled as kitschy bad taste and revered as retro cool, is dead at age 49.

The pop culture symbol met its demise after its manufacturer, Union Products, of Leominster, Mass., was socked with a triple economic threat -- increases in costs of electricity and plastic resin combined with loss of financing. Production ended in June, and the plant is scheduled to close Nov. 1, according to president and CEO Dennis Plante. Union Products made 250,000 of its patented plastic pink flamingos a year in addition to other garden products.

Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, paid tribute to the infamous bird that has been immortalized everywhere -- from the John Waters' movie Pink Flamingos, to bachelor parties and lawns across America.

"Let's face it," he said. "As iconic emblems of kitsch, there are two pillars of cheesy, campiness in the American pantheon. One is the velvet Elvis. The other is the pink flamingo."

The birth of the plastic pink flamingo in 1957 coincided with the booming interest in Florida, Thompson said, making it possible for those in other parts of the country to have a little piece of the Sunshine State's mystique in their yard.

By the late '70s, according to Thompson, the pink flamingo became a symbol of bad taste. It was considered trash culture and embraced by folks with a wise-guy attitude. They knew better (wink, wink) but embraced the iconic symbol anyway.

By the late '80s and early '90s, he said we learned to make fun of pop culture items such as the pink flamingo as well as appreciate them.

"The pink flamingo has gone from a piece of the Florida boom and Florida exotica to being a symbol of trash culture to now becoming a combination of all we know -- kitsch, history, simplicity and elegance," Thompson said.

For the entire article go to:,0,4872452.story?track=mostemailedlink

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico: The Community Named after a Game Show

An article in the New York Times talks about the efforts in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico to chart a future for itself (By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
Published: November 1, 2006).

The article speaks of the efforts (to date unsuccessful) to corner a big chunk of the early market in commercial spaceflight. Along a barren Interstate 25 slicing through the high desert, road signs read: “Future Site of the New Mexico Spaceport.”

Of more interest to me is the story the article tells of how the town got to be called what it is.

In an area long revered by Indians for its bubbling warm waters, states the Times, the place initially named Hot Springs sprang up in 1911 as a labor camp for the Elephant Butte Dam, which created a 40-mile-long lake and recreation area — and what the article describes as "a sin city of gunslingers, saloons, gambling halls and brothels, including a floating pleasure palace on the lake".

The Depression changed all that, and a new era came to the area in 1950 thanks to a promotion on the hit radio quiz show called “Truth or Consequences,” which required contestants who failed to answer trivia questions to perform zany stunts.

To celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary on radio and its debut on the new medium of television, the host, Ralph Edwards, offered to telecast from a city that would call itself Truth or Consequences for a day. (See Bob Barker retirement entry about Truth or Consequences on TV).

Hot Springs leapt at the chance, voting to change its name in time for April Fool’s Day, 1950.

Mr. Edwards, who went on to create an even more popular show, “This Is Your Life,” returned here annually for a fiesta day until 1999, six years before he died at 92.

According to the Times, the sheen from the city’s name change has since dulled, with traditionalists making four unsuccessful efforts over the years to change the name back to Hot Springs, but some now look to the spaceport to add a new cachet.

For the full article see: