Eric on The Road

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

Saturday, April 28, 2007

About San Diego's Cherished Balboa Park Pipe Organ (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Craig Whitney, Published: April 28, 2007

There's an organ in San Diegos' Balboa Park that is unique for meany reasons.

The organ is owned by the city of San Diego, which is one of the few communties that still maintain an old American tradition of having an organist on the city payroll.

It is touted as the the largest outdoor pipe organ in the country, though the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York has a larger one in an open-air auditorium — but it has a roof.
It is to be found in a “pavilion” in Balboa Park, which opened on New Year’s Eve in 1914, for an exposition celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal.

Craig Whiteney writes about the organ, its role in the fabric of the community, and the present day challenges of maintaining and preserving this open air instrument.

For more, see the complete article at:

Passing: James B. Davis, Leader of the Dixie Hummingbirds (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Ben Sisaro
Published: April 28, 2007

James B. Davis, the leader of the Dixie Hummingbirds, one of the longest-lasting and most influential groups in gospel music, died on April 17 in Philadelphia. He was 90 and lived in Philadelphia.

His death was announced by the group.

Mr. Davis was 12 when he started the group in 1928 with members of his church choir in Greenville, S.C. Spanning almost the entire history of the genre, the Hummingbirds have continued to the present day.

At its peak in the 1940s and ’50s, the group was one of gospel’s most popular and innovative, with shouting lead parts and walking basslines in songs like “Thank You for One More Day,” “Trouble in My Way” and “Bedside of a Neighbor” that influenced soul and R & B stars like Hank Ballard, Bobby (Blue) Bland and the Temptations.

Though the most prominent voices on its records were those of the tenors Ira Tucker and James Walker and the bass Willie Bobo, the group’s driving force from the beginning was Mr. Davis. A self-taught businessman and strict disciplinarian, he oversaw its activities and enforced a set of rules — no cursing, alcohol or socializing with women, among other commandments. Infractions were punishable by fines, and Mr. Davis was not exempt: he once charged himself $20 for playing a blues record on a jukebox.

For more, see the complete obituary:

Passing: Mstislav Rostropovich, Renowned Maestro

Mstislav Rostropovich, who died April 27 in Moscow at the age of 80 was renowned for a number reasons. Read the obituaries, is best remembered as one of the great instrumentalists of the 20th century. Moreover, he is being honored as an outspoken champion of artistic freedom in the Soviet Union during the last decades of the cold war.

His tory line was very much Russian.

But there is a very American connection as well.

Personally, I best remember Rostropovich as music director of the National Symphony from 1977 to 1994 and then as its conductor laureate. In that capacity he was fixture at American holiday concerts (Fourth of July and Memorial Day) on the National Mall. It was throught he television broadcasts of those holiday events that I got to see the great maestro.

"That summer of '67" - Expo 67's Opening Recalled 40 Years Later (Montreal Gazette)

Idealism, Protests, Man-made islands, Psychedelic sonic splendour, Habitat, Hostesses, Miniskirts, Pavilions and passports and visas

The Montreal Gazette recalls the opening of Expo '67 frorty years ago in Montreal.

Also read sports columnist Jack Tood who writes under a headline:
"Nos Amours (Montreal Expos) were born out of optimism from Expo 67"

In writes:
"It's an old story. Has to be - the distance between Expo 67 and today's Montreal is exactly the span between the legendary World's Fair and 1927, the peak of the Jazz Age.
Perhaps the oddest thing about the backward gazing of this 40th anniversary is that Expo 67 seems so spectacularly irrelevant to what Montreal is today: worth a bit of nostalgia for the old and the aging who were actually here at the time, perhaps, but of no consequence at all to the young or the tens of thousands of immigrants who have moved to this city since...".

Sadly, he concludes, "Today the party is more than over. The Expos are dead and all but forgotten, the spirit of '67 is a quaint relic, the naive optimism at that time as distant from us now as the last Stanley Cup won by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who in one of the more ironic moments in sports history, won their last Cup by defeating the Montreal Canadiens on the cusp of the summer of '67.
The photos of that forgettable event are, like this entire exercise in nostalgia for a simpler and more optimistic time, in black-and-white".

Interestingly, writes of the origins of the name Expos for the baseball team Apparently it came from New York Daily News sports writer Dick Young and it stuck.

For the whole imteresting column, see:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Heard on the Radio: Tucson International Mariachi Conference

We introduced Left Jab hosts Mark Walsh and David Goodfriend to Jose Ronstadt.
Ronstadt, a cousin of Linda Ronstadt, is a TV anchor in Southern California and longtime emcee of the Tucson International Mariachi Conference.

The conference, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is about this Mexican music art and a window into a culture.

Ronstadt shares some of his insight and experience on a Left Jab interview, which can be heard on XM Satellite Radio's Channel 167, Saturday at 11 am (eastern) and Sunday at 1 pm. Later it can be found at the Left Jab website:

New Podcast Posting: World's Largest Trivia Contest

There 's a new "Conversation on the Road" to be found at our podcast website.

The central Wisconsin college town of Stevens Point becomes the center of the trivia universe for a weekend each April as more than 12,000 players, including more than 500 teams compete to answer eight questions every hour for 54 hours straight.

Longtime question-writer and event organizer Jim Oliva (also known as Oz) shares with us some of the origins of the event and what happens during the big trivia weekend.

You can hear this and other Conversations on The Road at our podcast site:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Remembering David Halberstam

Pulitzer Price winning journalist David Halberstam was killed Monday April 23 in a car crash near San Francisco. He was 73.

During a career that spanned more than half a century, Halberstam became one of journalism's elder statesman, bringing his trademark depth to topics as varied as the Vietnam War and the 1949 baseball pennant race.

Halberstam's 1972 best-seller, "The Best and the Brightest" a critical account of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and especially Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, established him as one of the most committed journalists of his generation.

"He was the institutional memory of the Vietnam War. I think he understood it better than any other journalist," said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Peter Arnett, who is teaching in China.

We figure the best way to remember and honor this great force in journalism and literature is to visit or re-visit his writings. He here list his works.

Halberstam's works:

The Noblest Roman (1961)
The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era (1965)
One Very Hot Day (1967)
The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert F. Kennedy (1969)
Ho (1971)
The Best and the Brightest (1972)
The Powers That Be (1979)
The Breaks of the Game (1981)
The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal (1985)
The Reckoning (1986)
Summer of '49 (1989)
The Next Century (1991)
The Fifties (1993)
October 1964 (1994)
The Children (1999)
Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made (1999)
War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals (2001)
Firehouse (2002)
The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship (2003)
Bill Belichick: The Education of a Coach (2005)
The Coldest Winter (due in fall 2007)


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Washington Seeks a Way to Shout, ‘Come Visit’ (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: April 22, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 20 — In its hunt for slogans to lure tourists, the nation’s capital has never lit on the elegance of a “Virginia Is for Lovers” or the panache of a “What Happens Here, Stays Here.”

“A Capital City” was fine for a while, until high murder rate in the late 1980s produced an unwanted double meaning. And while residents lined up for “Taxation Without Representation” license plates in 2000, that tagline was more local protest than tourist come-on.

This time, Washington is taking a more studious approach. Tourism officials have hired two brand research firms to convene focus groups and conduct international surveys of attitudes. In addition, a Web site, http//: www., invites the city’s 582,000 residents — and anyone else, for that matter — to propose slogans and take part in weekly polls.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Passing: Entertainer Don Ho (AP Via MSNBC)

From Associated Press (Via MSNBC):

HONOLULU - Legendary crooner Don Ho, who entertained tourists for decades wearing raspberry-tinted sunglasses and singing the catchy signature tune “Tiny Bubbles,” has died. He was 76.

Ho entertained Hollywood’s biggest stars and thousands of tourists for four decades. For many, no trip to Hawaii was complete without seeing his Waikiki show — a mix of songs, jokes, double entendres, Hawaii history and audience participation.

‘I hate that song’Shows usually started and ended with the same song, “Tiny Bubbles.” Ho mostly hummed as the audience enthusiastically took over the song’s swaying, silly lyrics: “Tiny bubbles/in the wine/make me happy/make me feel fine.”

“I hate that song,” he often joked to the crowd. He said he saved it for the end because “people my age can’t remember if we did it or not.”

Museum Honors Hispanic Culture (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Ralph Blumenthal
Published: April 14, 2007

San Antonio, April 12 — With a hot pink carpet on the sidewalk and a 600-piece mariachi band in the wings, this city has swung into fiesta mode to welcome the nation’s largest Latino museum, a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution.

“This is a piece of activism,” said Henry R. Muñoz III, an architect who raised most of the money for the museum.

Few American cities are more exuberantly tied to life south of the border than San Antonio, where tourists flock to shop its Mexican markets, meander its River Walk and sip margaritas. But despite the persistent efforts of residents, no museum here showcased Hispanic arts. The new museum — the Museo Alameda affiliated with the Smithsonian, or MAS — “more,” in Spanish — changes that.

“It’s making history,” said Rosa Rosales, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, a rights group with 150,000 members, who came home to San Antonio from Washington for the opening. “Words cannot express the need. Our history has been ignored.”

Queen Not Welcome at Quebec City's Birthday Bash (Canadian Press)

From Canadian Press (via The Montreal Gazette):

April 13, 2007 - Queen Elizabeth is not welcome at the 400th birthday bash of Quebec’s capital city, say separatists.

The British monarch’s name was put forth by Ottawa for a list of potential guests to be invited to the celebrations next year (July 3, 2008).

But Gerald Larose, president of a provincial sovereignty group, said her presence would be totally unacceptable.

He called the Queen a symbol of British colonialism and he said Quebecers will not tolerate being taunted like that.

“It’s totally unpalatable for the British queen to bring her rich butt (over here) to celebrate the birth of the Quebec nation,” Larose said Friday.

It’s illogical to invite the British head of state to celebrate a milestone of New France, he said.
“More and more in Quebec we are getting rid of symbols of the imperialist monarch of England, which has systematically assimilated … Francophones all over Canada,” Beaulieu said.

This I Believe: Jackie Robinson "Free Minds and Hearts at Work" (NPR News)

From NPR News:

Sixty years ago this weekend, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player to take the field in the major leagues. Robinson opened the door to other black players -- and to managers like Frank Robinson. has made an audio clip of Jackie Robinson available as part of its "This I Believe" series. It was said to be recorded circa 1952 and was first broadcast on NPR in April of 2005.

A sample:

"....And what is it that I have always believed? First, that imperfections are human. But that wherever human beings were given room to breathe and time to think, those imperfections would disappear, no matter how slowly. I do not believe that we have found or even approached perfection. That is not necessarily in the scheme of human events. Handicaps, stumbling blocks, prejudices -- all of these are imperfect. Yet, they have to be reckoned with because they are in the scheme of human events...."

For more and the audio clip, go to:

Heard on the Radio: Running of the Rodents

You wouldn't know it by the weather around here these days (It's mid-April and they're still talking of snow), but in Louisville they're getting the hats and Mint Julips ready. That means that the "Running of the Roses", the Kentucky Derby is just around the corner.

But few know that the Derby is not the only race in town.

Mark Walsh at XM Satellite Radio's Left Jab (Channel 167 - hosted a "Hidden America" segment on the Running of the Rodents, an annual event at Spalding University in Louisville.

Begun in 1972 by a science professor at the university, the annual race marks the start of Derby Season locally, and is part of Rat Week on campus.

We spoke with Dr. Richard Hudson, Dean of Students at Spalding University. He provided some insight about the event, and history and color. By the way, though you cannot bring your own mouse, you can participate in some of the other Rat Week events - including the Rodent Parade, the Rat Hat Contest and the Fruit Loop Eating Contest (Mice seem to love this colored cereal).

For more, visit XM Radio Channel 167 Saturday, April 14 at 1 pm, repeated on Sunday April 15 at 2 pm or visit when the program is posted for podcast.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Greenbrier reopens with new look, new attitude (USA Today)

From USA Today:

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — The Greenbrier, a legendary resort that has hosted world leaders and royalty, reopened April 2 after three months of renovations.

The resort has also decided to open many of its facilities and recreational programs to non-guests. The Greenbrier Spa will be open to the public Monday-Thursday, while tours of the resort's famed Cold War-era nuclear fallout shelter will be available daily.

Three years ago, citing concern about the 2001 terror attacks, The Greenbrier decided to allow only guests on the grounds. Now, the public can also shop, golf, ride horses and participate in many of the more than 50 recreational activities, including indoor and outdoor tennis, rock climbing, falconry and fishing.

Mad River Glen's Single Ski Lift Makes Last Run (USA Today)


FAYSTON, Vt. (AP) — Mad River Glen has retired its single-person chairlift, a revered relic that ferried skiers to the top of General Stark Mountain for 59 years.

The last rides on the diesel-powered throwback were given Sunday. The ski area plans to replace the lift — one of the last single chair lifts in the nation — with a new electric-powered replica that also carries one person at a time.

Shareholders of the cooperative that owns the ski area decided to keep the replacement chairlift a single when they voted to spend $1.5 million on the renovation.

A quirky ceremony was held at the mountain on Sunday to mark the end of the old lift.

"It's the end of an era and the start of a new one," Paul Finnerty said as he waited in line to take his last ride up. "It's an epic powder day. It doesn't get any better than this."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's our game, but where's the cup ? (CanWest News Service)

From Can West News Service (Ottawa Citizen):
by Wayne Scanlan, April 11, 2007

Stuck in U.S. Habs were last Canadian team to win it in '93

As championship droughts go, it doesn't hold a place in the sports Hall of Shame.

Canada's NHL teams are not the Chicago Cubs.

Still, a part of many Canadian hockey fans considers it an indignity to watch a U.S. city celebrate a Stanley Cup championship year after year, going on 14 years.

Hockey is Canada's game.

Stanley is our Cup - but it hasn't been presented here since the 1993 Canadiens were crowned.

Fans of a certain generation remember a time when winters were spent debating whether it would be Montreal's or Toronto's turn to raise the Cup in triumph. Yes, occasionally, it was loaned to a U.S. franchise, but rarely for more than a year.

For more see:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lest we forget? Most of us have (CanWest News Service

From the CanWest News Service (through

Published: Monday, April 09, 2007

As Canada marks the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a new survey suggests 59 per cent of Canadians don't even know the name of the iconic First World War clash.
Canadians have a limited grasp of their military history, indicates a recent Dominion Institute poll conducted by Innovative Research Group.

Just under half of Canadians (49 per cent) failed a basic knowledge test on the Great War.

When told "Canada's most famous single victory in the First World War consisted of the capture of a key ridge on the Western front" and asked to name the battle, only 41 per cent could come up with Vimy Ridge.

"We seem to be on track to become a nation of amnesiacs with very little in the way of shared heroes and defining events, the kind of raw material that countries like the U.S., France and Great Britain have to define their sense of nationhood," said Rudyard Griffiths, the executive director of the non-partisan institute, which promotes understanding of Canadian history.

Twenty-four per cent falsely identified Second World War U.S. General Douglas MacArthur as a Canadian hero, while nine per cent identified Ulysses S. Grant, a 19th-century U.S. general and president, as one of their own.

Griffiths said Canadians have the tendency to do the opposite of Americans, a people known for turning their war heroes into cultural icons.

"If Americans venerate their war heroes, as Canadians we tend to be modest about our great military figures and military past," he said.

Of greatest concern, Griffiths said, is that the number of people who identified both Currie and Bishop declined five per cent since a similar survey was conducted in 1998.

"At this rate, in 50 years Billy Bishop is going to be swept into the dustbin of history," Griffiths said.

For more, see:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Unsentimental Journey: The Former Brendan Byrne Arena Bids Farewell to Hockey (Bergen Record)

From The Bergen Record:

Sunday, April 8, 2007 By TOM GULITTI

EAST RUTHERFORD -- The old Boston Garden was cozy with its smaller ice surface and Chicago Stadium was loud with its organ and that foghorn.

No building, however, topped Montreal's old Forum, which was more like a cathedral haunted by ghosts of hockey legends and filled with all those Stanley Cup banners.

Of course, Continental Arena will never be confused with those legendary extinct hockey barns.

In fact, there isn't much about the structure itself to make those who played there or attended NHL games there look back and fondly remember the good old days when the Meadowlands was the Devils' home.

As one Devil said, "The building doesn't have a lot of character."

This afternoon the Devils will host the Islanders for their 957th and, most likely, final regular-season game at Continental Arena. They plan to move into the new Prudential Center in Newark next season.....

Finding Religion Across America (CBS News)

CBS Sunday Morning, April 8, 2007:

Sam Fentress has been traveling across the United States for a quarter of a century in search of religious signs. His project has culminated in "Bible Road: Signs of Faith in the American Landscape," a book of his photography

Also on CBS Sunday Morning on April 8:

Houses of Worship In All Their Forms:
Churches of every stripe can be found throughout America. CBS News correspondent Mark Strassman visited some of the most famous and most significant.

Post Game Writing Excercise: Who Cared Anyway ?

Toronto 6 Canadiens 5

The score does not start to describe the disappointment. The "game of the year" lived up to its pre-game hype. It was not a particularly well-played game, but it was one that kept one riveted.

Toronto jumped to a 3-1 lead after outshooting Montreal 23-9 in the first period. Canadiens roared back to take a 5-3 lead (in good part thanks to some shaky Toronto goaltending), but then a late 2nd period strange goal plus some undisciplend penalties allowed Toronto to stage their own comeback. Finally, a very quiet Montreal third period (3 shots), and the Leafs walk away with a win and bragging rights that they knocked their rivals out of the playoffs.

For Toronto fans, it's probably as good as it's felt in 40 years - 1967 was when the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup and their win turned out to interrupt what otherwise could have been a run of five straight for my heroes of the 1960's (The Toe Blake coached team that included the likes of Jean Beliveau, Henry Richard, John Ferguson, Gump Worsley, etc.). As of this writing Toronto still might not make the playoffs (depending on whether the gritty NY Islanders can squeeze out one more win against the NJ Devils).

There were so many subplots to the Montreal-Toronto game. There was the rivalry among the fans, the cities, and a throughback to the English-French thing that dominated for so long. There was Canadiens' goaltender Cristobal Huet making his first appearance in two months and at once making incredible stops to keep his team in the game, but also allowing some weak goals. There was the enigma of a Montreal player called Kovalev, one so taleneted but one who so often never showed-up. How about the fact that again Montreal seemed so ready to compete out of the gate ? Is it the players, is the coaching ? Is just a lack of talent exposed when not boosted by a hometown crowd ?

Montreal seemed to be outcoached and outmotivated.

Then there is the issue of the national Canadian television broadcast and what appears to be a pro-Toronto slant.

Lots to talk about.

For more about the game, the season and just what one like me is feeling, a good place to go - a vitrual corner bar of sorts is , a production of the Montreal Gazette. It's a wonderfully done site - bulletin boards, blogs, puckcasts and more done very tastefully and professionally.

Now on to Spring and the Expos - oh yeah, I forgot they're gone. I guess I'm left with my Stanley Cup videoes of the 1960's and 70's. This year's playoffs ? I think I'll adopt Vancouver - it's a lovely city, I like their goaltender, their coach and a couple of other players who used to play for Canadiens. They're a Canadian team, they've been around since 1969-70 and never won a Cup (modern era Vancouver).

As to the Spring and baseball, since MLB stole the Expos, and the Red Sox have finally gotten that monkey off their back (and they now spend too much money like the Yankees), my rooting interest is more limited. My priorities are that the Washington team finish with the worst record in baseball, that Florida have the second worst record (Montreal fans would understand why), and watching to see if Ernie Banks and Scotty Simon will be around to see the Cubs finally win a World Series.

Now it's time to go back to daily living where I don't get so worked up - except when the kids run too close to the street.

See you in the fall fellow hockey fans.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Canadiens at Toronto: This "Game of the Year" is not over-hyped

Remember the Yanks and Red Sox playoff game of 1978 (Yes, Sox fans the Bucky Dent game)?

Hockey offers up it's own equivalent of that game tonight as the Montreal Canadiens visit Toronto to place the Maple Leafs. With one game left in the season, the game will probably determine which team goes into the playoffs or which team stays home (There is a scenario where the NY Islanders can qualify, excluding the two Canadioan rivals).

While the sport has lost alot in recent years - i.e. the teams have not met in the playoffs since 1979, there has not been a truly competitive series between them since 1967. Moroever, far fewer players are Canadian and the teams no longer play in the Gardens and the Forum, this game is as close to the real deal as it is likely to get.

Although both teams have too many flaws to go deep into the playoffs, the intensity of the Montreal-Toronto rivalry makes it a game for the decades.

This is a game that most of Canada will pause to watch. Expect monster ratings on La Soiree du Hockey and Hockey Night in Canada (rekindling stromng feelings about Don Cherry - we still miss Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin, but even in the old days this would have been a Bill Hewitt game).

About the game, I wish I could say I felt good about Canadiens heading into this, but my gut tells me that the home ice advantage will make the difference for Toronto, who have fpr the most part been the better team in play between them.

Check back tomorrow for one Montreal fan's post-game online therapeutic excercise.

In the meantime, it's interesting note that no matter how much those in charge of the new NHL have doine to undermine the game, on a night like this all that is almost overlooked. What could be better than a meaningful Saturday night game in April coming from Montreal or Toronto.

So notwithstanding shoot-outs (points for losses), expansion, abandonmnet of Canada for places like Nashville and Phoenix, etc. for tonight, at least, count me in. Don't try getting in touch with me between 7 and 10 p.m.. I'm busy.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Origins of the Easter Bunny and the Easter Parade

Ever wonder where these Easter traditions came from ? Here's a chance to get some insight:

Easter Bunny:

Easter Parade:; Of course, this event (which can now be found elsewhere) was made famous by teh 1948 movie starring Judy Garland & Fred Astaire and featuring music by Irving Berlin:

Cherry Blossom Time in DC (USA Today)

The cherry blossoms are just about in full bloom by the Tidal Basin in the Nation's Capital.

USA Today has a gallery of piuctures, some with great shots of the blossoms in full bloom:

Passing: Eddie Robinson, Legendary Grambling Football Coach

Legendary Grambling footbaal coach Eddie Robinson died on April 3, 2007 at the age of 88.

NPR News carried two rememberances of Coach Robinson. Bothare worth hearing.

The first by Tom Goldman chronciles the career of Eddie Robinson and just what he meant inside out of football.

"......In nearly 60 years at Grambling, Robinson turned the small, predominantly African-American school into a nationally recognized football presence. He was also the first college coach to win 400 games, winning more than 408 games in his 57-year career.
But his legacy extends far beyond the football field. Robinson said he tried to coach each player as if he wanted him to marry his daughter....."

"....Robinson is survived by his wife, Doris — and scores of African-American men working in football and business and education who are forever indebted to the man they knew as Coach Rob....."

In the second feature from NPR Hall of Famer Willie Brown talks with Noah Adams about his former coach.

Both can be found at:

William Rhoden honors Coach Robinson in a "Sports of the Times" column entitled: "A Coach Who Symbolized a Golden Age of Football" in The New York Times:

Monday, April 02, 2007

Passing: Herb Carneal, Hall of Fame Broadcaster & Longtime "Voice of the Twins"


MINNEAPOLIS, April 1 (AP) — Herb Carneal, a member of the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame who broadcast Minnesota Twins games for the past 45 seasons, died Sunday in Minnetonka, Minn. He was 83.

The cause was congestive heart failure, the Twins said.

Carneal was part of the Twins’ radio play-by-play team for all but the first year of the team’s existence in Minnesota. He called Athletics and Phillies games in Philadelphia and Orioles games in Baltimore before coming to Minnesota in 1962, a year after the Washington Senators became the Twins.

Carneal received the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting in 1996.

With his understated style and Southern drawl, he became synonymous with broadcasts on WCCO-AM and affiliates on the team’s radio network throughout the Upper Midwest.

Garrison Keillor once wrote a tune for one of his “Prairie Home Companion” shows titled “Porch Song.” In that tribute to summer’s simple pleasures, Keillor included this stanza:

Just give me two pillows and a bottle of beer
And the Twins game on radio next to my ear.
Some hark to the sound of the loon or the teal
But I love the voice of Herb Carneal.

Carneal is survived by his daughter, Terri, and a grandson. His wife, Kathy, died in 2000.

Passing: Last Surviving World War I Veteran

CHARLOTTE HALL, Md. (AP) -- Lloyd Brown, the last known surviving World War I Navy veteran, died Thursday (March 29) . He was 105.

Brown died at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in St. Mary's County, according to family and the U.S. Naval District in Washington.

His death comes days after the death of the last known surviving American female World War I veteran, Charlotte L. Winters, 109.

Brown was born Oct. 7, 1901, in Lutie, Mo., a small farming town in the Ozarks. His family later moved to Chadwick, Mo. In 1918, at age 16, Brown lied about his age to join the Navy and was soon on the gun crew on the battleship USS New Hampshire.

He finished his tour of duty in 1919, took a break for a couple of years, then re-enlisted. He learned to play the cello at a musicians school in Norfolk, Va., and was assigned to an admiral's 10-piece chamber orchestra aboard the USS Seattle.

When Brown ended his military career in 1925, he joined the Washington Fire Department's Engine Company 16, which served the White House and embassies. He had married twice, and had a son and daughter from one marriage and two daughters from the other.

Even after reaching 100, Brown remained independent, living alone in his Charlotte Hall bungalow and driving a golf cart around his neighborhood.

"The Soul of Baseball" (

By Bill Littlefield
From Only A Game - WBUR Radio (Boston):

Buck O'Neil never aimed to be the center of attention , especially when writer Joe Posnanski first started traveling with him. Posnanski intended to do a book on life in the Negro leagues, and instead he write a book about O'Neil's passion to tell other people's stories.

This Month at (April, 2007)

A look at the origins of the Boston Marathon, Patriots Day in Massachusetts.... San Jacinto Day in Texas, & "The World's Largest Trivia Contest" in Wisconsin.....Also in our American Place discussion: the site of the first American Gold Rush - it's not where you think.....A grits recipe, and some American words. .....

The Once and Future Republic of Vermont (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post - Outlook Section:

By Ian Baldwin and Frank BryanSunday, April 1, 2007; Page B01

The winds of secession are blowing in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont was once an independent republic, and it can be one again. We think the time to make that happen is now. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans' fundamental freedoms.

Vermont did not join the Union to become part of an empire.

Some of us therefore seek permission to leave.
Ian Baldwin is publisher of Vermont Commons. Frank Bryan, a political science professor at the University of Vermont, is author
of "Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How
It Works."

Castle in Disrepair (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post - Outlook Section:

It's been politicized and kitschified, and its luster is gone. The Smithsonian needs to get back to basics.

By Robert SullivanSunday, April 1, 2007; Page B01

The Smithsonian has just awakened from a leadership nightmare. On this groggy morning after, it finds itself soiled by commercialism, Disneyfication and politicization, and sorely in need of a meticulous scrubbing.