Eric on The Road

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Online Exhibit: Captain Pearl R. Nye - Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal (Library of Congress)

From The Library of Congress:

Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal captures the culture and music of the men, women, and children who worked and lived along the Ohio and Erie Canal. Nye, who was born and raised on a canal boat, never lost his love of the "Big Ditch." After the canal closed permanently in 1913, he devoted considerable time and energy to preserving its songs and stories.

This presentation contains recordings of 75 songs, sung by Nye. The recordings were made by John, Alan, and Elizabeth Lomax, and Ivan Walton between June 1937 and September 1938. Lyrics for the recorded songs have been transcribed by Library staff and are available on the Web site as are song transcriptions, photographs, and personal letters Nye sent to the Library from July 1937 to October 1944.

Also included in this presentation is an essay called "An Informant In Search of a Collector: Captain Pearl R. Nye of Ohio" and a timeline that identifies significant events in the life of Nye and the history of the Ohio and Erie Canal with which his life was so closely associated. A radio program excerpt from "Two Sailors: Sea Shanties and Canal Boat Ballads," part of the Library's "Ballad Hunter" series, provides additional insight into Nye's life.

Passing: Dave Balon: Won Cups with Canadiens - Multiple sclerosis ended his career (CanWest News Service)

From CanWest News Service (via Montreal Gazette):

By Joe O'connor, CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2007

On Tuesday, Dave Balon died in a Prince Albert, Sask., nursing home after a 30-year battle with multiple sclerosis. He was 68. The two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Canadiens (1965 and '66) leaves behind his wife of 47 years, Gwen, a daughter, Jodi, and a son, Jeff.

At Habs Insideout, Dave Stubbs has assembled various sources (articles and picture gallery) covering the career and later struggles of Dave Balon:

Stubbs especially recommends as "an early candidate for the 2007 National Newspaper Awards", a feature by Joe O'Connor of the National Post from this March.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Way Off the Road (Leonard Lopate - WNYC)

From WNYC Radio-New York:

CBS correspondent Bill Geist talks about his new book in which he describes some of the eccentric Americans he has met in his cross-country travels for CBS Sunday Morning .

Monday, May 28, 2007

D-Day Revisited (Bill Moyers Journal-PBS)

From PBS:

As America honors heroes who have fought and fallen for their nation, Bill Moyers Journal presents "D-Day Revisited," a special one-hour broadcast which follows a group of World War II veterans back to Europe to speak about their wartime experiences - some of them unlocking memories they had been keeping inside for nearly 50 years.

Down-home dining: Pie and BBQ are all in the family (USA Today)

From USA Today:

As part of a series of occasional stories on classic, down-home eateries, USA TODAY's Jerry Shriver visits southern Missouri and Arkansas to dine at some of the Ozark region's most soulful spots.

Memorial in Sound (The Brian Lehrer Show - WNYC)

From WNYC, New York:

The Brian Lehrer Show, May 28, 2007

Dave Isay brings a personal tribute to one American soldier killed in Iraq from his two sisters recorded at the StoryCorps booth. Also: historian Ken Davis on the Civil War origins of the holiday; a proposal for a United States Department of Peace

The Old Ballgame, Recreated in Color (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: May 27, 2007

An Art feature in the Arts & Leisure Section of the Times about "A painter who knows that Ruth didn't hit home runs in black and white".

Tests and Licenses Sought for Guides in Philadelphia (AP)

By The Associated Press (through The New York Times):

Philadelphia, May 27 (AP) — Tour guides will show you this city on foot, trolley, double-decker bus or horse-drawn carriage. But can you believe what they say?

That is a concern of some Philadelphia hospitality officials, who worry that the city’s most valuable asset — its history — is being tarnished by unreliable tour guides who mix up dates and spice up the biographies of famous founders like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

The issue has sparked debate and a led to a proposed ordinance to test and license guides.

Recalling Rachel Carson at the 100th Anniversary of Her Birth (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Debbie Elliot, All Things Considered, May 27, 2007:

Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring helped spark the modern environmental movement, would have been 100 years old Sunday.

An Ocean City, MD Icon Faces Turn in Economic Tide (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Philip Rucker, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, May 28, 2007; Page A01:

For 117 summers, generations of children have frolicked through Trimper's Rides on this beach resort town's signature boardwalk. But this Memorial Day weekend might begin the last summer they circle the antique wooden carousel, fling around the Tilt-a-Whirl and loop through the Tidal Wave roller coaster.

The Trimpers say they are considering closing the amusement park and arcade this year because of property taxes, energy costs and insurance rates.

'Flags In' at Arlington National Cemetery (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Noah Adams, Morning Edition, May 28, 2007

An Army unit's solemn duty: Put flags in front of every grave.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Words to Contemplate on Memorial Day

"Forescore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived inliberty, and dedicated to the propisition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this...The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here for the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of their devotion-- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. "

Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln

Readings of the Gettysburg Address by actors Sam Waterson, Jeff Daniels; musician Johnny Cash and actor Jim Getty:

"Remembering Soldiers, by Forgetting About Britney and Paris" (New York Times)

From The New York Times:

By Peter Applebome,
Published: May 27, 2007

One Long Island man decided that he had heard enough about the “glitterati” at a time when Americans are anonymously dying in Iraq.

Landmark status eludes lost neon glory of Route 66 (AP)

From The Associated Press through The Boston Globe:

By Justin Juozapavicius, Associated Press May 27, 2007

Many structures that made Route 66 what it was -- the diners, family owned service stations, barbecue joints -- have fallen apart. With efforts to fix up these architectural landmarks scarce, time has become the road's worst enemy.

Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup 80 years ago by beating Boston Bruins (Canadian Press)

From the Canadian Press via

by Neil Stevens, Canadian Press, Saturday, May 26, 2007

Some are writing these days that the Ottawa Senators are appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time this spring.

In fact, the modern-day Senators will try to return the title to Canada's capital for the first time in 80 years beginning Monday night when the championship series against the Anaheim Ducks begins in California.

However, while the NHL only returned to Ottawa 15 years ago, big-league hockey in the city goes back more than a century and it is a rich history.

Plunging in to Public Pools' Contentious Past (NPR News)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered, May 26, 2007

Author Jeff Wiltse traces public pools' history from leisure destinations to hotbeds of change.

Gulf Coast Economics Reshaped by Katrina (NPR News)

From NRP News:

by Debbie Elliott, All Things Considered, May 26, 2007

Profound changes to the economy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are underway nearly two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the low-lying area.

Indy Still Packing a Punch (Washington Post)

From the Washington Post:

By Tarik El-Bashir, May 27, 2007; Page E01

Indianapolis 500 may not be the race it once was, but it still carries potential for great spectacle.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Folkstreams Documents America, An Hour At a Time (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Saturday
by Lynn Neary

Check out this Weekend Edition-Saturday feature about Tom Davenport, a former filmmaker and farmer in Virginia. He devotes most of his time to developing his Web site —, which aims to be a national treasury of documentary films about folk art and culture. So far, it's the repository for some 80 hours of films capturing the myriad worlds that make up America, from Italian street festivals in Broklyn to homeless San Francisco runaways. It's all available, free and at full length, at the Folkstreams site.

For Lynn Neary's NPR report see:

The Oldest Nouvelle Cuisine (WSJ)

From the Wall Street Journal:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Native American cooking is moving into the spotlight as Southwest towns try to broaden their appeal in the realm of culinary tourism.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Historian Discusses Book on President Nixon, Henry Kissinger (

From The News Hour with Jim Lehrer (PBS):

Historian Robert Dallek, author of "Partners in Power: Nixon and Kissinger," discusses his work and comparisons between the Iraq and Vietnam wars.

Landmark Hotel Awakes From 75-Year Slumber (AP)

The Associated Press through CBS News:

West Baden Springs Hotel, a southern Indiana landmark that drew the famous and infamous before closing its guest register in 1932, has reopened as a resort eager to draw gamblers and other visitors.

Have we forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day? (


A Commentary by Jack Jacobs, Military analyst, MSNBC

May 24, 2007 - As national sacrifice gave way to national prosperity, we largely replaced gratitude with barbecues, and solemnity with slashed prices at the mall

Maine/PEI Lobstermen Concerned Over Slow Start to Season (AP)

From Associated Press through The Boston Globe:

Lobstermen in Prince Edward Island are wondering where all the lobster have gone. Craig Avery, the Bedeque-based president of the Western Gulf Fishermen's Association, says catches are falling in the spring lobster fishery by up to 30 per cent in many areas. So far, the season has been a disappointment for many of the fishery's 630 or so fishermen. (AP, 5/22/07)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

John Wayne Remembered 100 Years After His Birth

A couple of weeks back we marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great American actress Katherine Hepburn.

This weekend would have been the centennial birthday of another American giant.

John Wayne, born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, epitomizzzed rugged indivdualistic masculinity, and has become an enduring American icon. He is famous for his disntinctive voice, walk and height.

Unlike Hepburn for whom there were no formal events to mark the centennial of her birth, Wayne is being remembered in a big time way in his birthplace, Winterset, Iowa.

There is a full weekend, the John Wayne Birthday Centennial Celebration, taking place on May 25-27.

The weekend will include a groundbreaking and VIP event for the new John Wayne Museum.

There will be an old-fashioned hometown parade, wild west revues, cowboy symposiums, horseback spectaculars and a concert by Riders in the Sky.

For additional information about the Wayne Centennial, see

New Podcast Posting: The Legacy of Expo 67 Forty Years Later

It was quite a year in Montreal and Canada - that year of 1967.

The 100th anniversary of Confederation. An all-Canada Stanley Cup Final marked the end of the 6 team era in hockey.

And then there was Expo.

Expo 67 was a World’s Fair in Montreal. But it represented so much more.

Bill Bantey, freelance journalist based in Montreal, worked for the CBC back then. In our first Canadian content Convresations on the Road podcast we talk with him about just what Expo meant then and what it means 40 years later.

You can find it and prior podcast interviws at:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My NHL, NBC and what it means to the rest of us

Ottawa and Buffalo were tied in what would prove to be the final game in the Eastern Conference final, but instead of sticking with the game and showing the overtime, NBC cut away from the hockey to begin its coverage of the Preakness Stakes. NBC continued to show the game in Buffalo, but the rest of the fans in the U.S. were left hanging, unless they were among the chosen few who have access to Versus.

As columnist Jack Todd wrote in The Montreal Gazette, "This one is frustrating from so many angles that it's enough to leave a columnist spluttering with inarticulate rage".

From here in New Jersey, one is angered how the NHL under Gary Bettman has in so many ways sold the soul of the game to try to make nice-nice to network folks, Madison Avenue and "casual fans" (many in the U.S. South & West) who really do not care at all.

Pat Hickey gives you flavor of this in this Gazette piece:

Then there is Todd's potent piece under the headline "NHL shows contempt for Canada". In it he touches many raw nerves from the Heidi Bowl NFL game of 1968 to how the NHL takes Canadians (and traditionalist fans south of the border I add) for granted in so many ways.

Part of his summing up, Todd writes, "......How long will we keep taking it? For a while. Then there will come the season when the rules are too silly, the tickets too expensive, the games shown at 3 a.m. to accommodate The Poker Network too absurd....."

"......Here's something Bettman clearly doesn't understand: Canada is the bedrock of the NHL. Even with the European influx, we provide the bodies and the heart and the people who will pay through the nose and battle their way through a blizzard to watch the game...."

Thank you. You have put in words to so much I too feel but all too rarely gets said around here near the media and advertising mecca called Manhattan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

'70s cartoon icon returns to the ice (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

Peter Puck back. Rubber disc taught hockey to U.S., kids
by Dave Stubbs, The Gazette, Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

He retired at age 7, a decent lifespan for a six-ounce hunk of rubber that was slapped around silly. But now, 27 years later, hockey's vulcanized vehicle of veracity is on the comeback trail.

Peter Puck, co-fathered by Hall of Fame broadcaster/author Brian McFarlane and Scotty Connal, the late executive director of NBC Sports, is emerging from the deep freeze.

By the way, Dave Stubbs reports in the article, that these days Peter Puck episodes still screen at the Total Hockey Museum in Clarington, Ont., where McFarlane's 1,300-piece collection moved last fall.

And in this virtual world in which we are communicated, Peter Puck may be dfound in two places, reports Stubbs:

* Go to and search "Peter Puck" for a short video clip.
* Join the Peter Puck Fan club at

Monday, May 21, 2007

Proposal for New Border Bridge Draws Critics (NPR News)

From NPR News:

by Pam Fessler

Morning Edition, May 22, 2007 · There's a border war in the Detroit area, but it's not between the United States and Canada. It's between the private owner of the Ambassador Bridge — the busiest crossing between the two countries — and a government effort to build another bridge nearby. Concerns have been raised about having one such crucial border crossing in private hands.

Some of the strongest concerns have been raised in Windsor, Ontario, home of the historic Sandwich community. Lana Talbot is secretary of the Sandwich First Baptist Church, built in 1851 by former American slaves. She lifts a panel from the floor of the church, at the end of one pew, to reveal a narrow crawl space dug into the ground.

"This is where they would go down. Sometimes they would go underneath the church, lay there, and I'm telling you there's only about two feet. Get down underneath the church and wait," she says.

Those waiting were escaped slaves, hiding from bounty hunters.

Sandwich First Baptist Church was a major terminus for the Underground Railroad. Talbot and others here worry that this slice of history could be threatened by a plan to build a new, six-lane span for the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit and Windsor across the Detroit River. Despite the bridge owner's objections, residents fear that access roads needed to handle tens of thousands of vehicles will destroy the area.

What We're About

Over the past 20 years, we've tried communicate in various words and ways just what our "On the Road" is all about.

We've finally found something that captures this essence as well as we ever could.
It's a short clip from the movie "Cars" and features a song by James Taylor:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In Search of the Seven Wonders of Canada (CBC News)

From CBC News:

What are seven wonders of Canada ?

The CBC's The National and Sounds Like Canada are searching for the Seven Wonders of Canada and they are looking for help.

After poring over 25,000 preliminary pitches, the Seven Wonders team at the CBC has debated and deliberated and recently has presented its short list of 52 nominees.

They want you to vote for what you consider to be the Seven Wonders of Canada.

Before you vote you can check out the nominees including descriptions, pictures, and selected audio, email, and video pitches.

It's all to be found at:

Springtime Playoff Hockey Notes: Octopus on Ice & Americans in Canada

From The New York Times:

In today's (May 20, 2007) New York Times, Jeff Z. Klein and Karl-Eric Reif report of an interesting lineup in this year's Junior Hockey Championships of Canada.

The Memorial Cup tournament this year includes more than one American team for the first time in its 89-year history.

Among the four teams playing for the title are the Plymouth Whalers, a Michigan team that won the Ontario Hockey League, and the Lewiston Maineiacs, champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The other teams in the tournament, which began Friday and ends with the championship game in Vancouver on May 27, are the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.

The first American team to win the Memorial Cup was the Portland Winter Hawks in 1983. Teams from the United States have won it twice since then.

Plymouth has seven American players on its roster. Lewiston has two.

Also in The New York Times:

Al Sobotka, the Zamboni driver at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, has made a name for himslef twirling an octopus, a ritual at home playoff games.

What's that all about ? You can read about it in this "Cheering Section" column by Vincent M. Mallozzi on The Sunday New York Times:

Toronto's First Goal

Check out how the home crowd reacted when the Toronto FC (Toronto's newest reincarnation into pro-soccer) scored their first ever goal.

Creating The Perfect Town (CBS News)

From CBS Sunday Morning:

KENTLANDS, Md., May 20, 2007
New Urbanism And Ready-Made Communities Are Growing In Popularity

Landmark bakery rolls out festivities on 50th birthday (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

MIKE BOONE, The Gazette
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2007

St. Viateur Bagels in Montreal its 50th anniversary. Its home is in an area to businesses that reflected the ethnicity of the immigrant Mile End neighbourhood: Shapiro's dry goods, Levine's grocery - and a new bagel shop launched by Polish Holocaust survivor Majer Lewkowicz and Jacob Shlafman, son of the Russian immigrant who introduced the delicacy to Montreal in 1919.

Our favorite columnist Mike Boone writes of St. Viateur's famous past and present in the Montreal Gazette.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In My Neighborhood: Epic theater to play its final reel (Bergen Record)

From The Bergen Record:

PARAMUS -- One of North Jersey's landmark movie theaters will shut down next week after ushering film fans through premieres, first kisses and light-saber duels for more than 40 years.

The AMC Paramus Route 4 10 -- known affectionately to locals simply as the Tenplex -- will run its projectors for the last time Thursday, just one day before a bigger, more advanced cineplex opens down the road at the Garden State Plaza.

For some, the closing means little more than driving in another direction to see a new flick. But for others, the demise of the Tenplex represents the end of a golden era.

Andy Mohan, 31, experienced many milestones at the theater, where he is a projectionist. He said his mother has worked at the Tenplex since he was a young boy, and his father once did, too. His sister and his fiancee also work there. Mohan saw "Star Wars" for the first time and met his fiancee at the Tenplex.

"This theater has character," Mohan said. "All of the others, they're right off the assembly line."

The Tenplex opened as the Stanley Warner Route Four Theater in 1965, when it had only one big screen and a balcony. At that Time it had big name live acts as well as movies.

Since then, several companies have owned it, putting the structure through a number of expansions and alterations.

Employees aren't the only ones upset about the theater closing. Chris Seppentino saw his first movie ("Raggedy Ann & Andy") and got his first kiss (Karen) at the Tenplex. This week, he started a petition to keep the theater open, and so far has 65 signatures.

"There's no reason you can't keep this theater and [the new] theater open at the same time," he said. "You'll always have enough people here."

Seppentino plans to call the Paramus borough government, state Sen. Joseph Coniglio, and Governor Corzine to lobby for the theater to remain. And he's contacting boutique theater companies that restore and operate older movie theaters.

AMC, the company that owns the Tenplex and is opening the new theater complex at Garden State Plaza, did not reveal much about its plans for the old theater property. Andy DiOrio, a spokesman for AMC, said he did not know what would happen to the building.

Ottawa Celebrates First Cup Final in 80 Years (Canadian Press/CBC/Ottawa Citizen)

From the Canadian Press (through
5/19/2007 9:41:59 PM

OTTAWA (CP) - Eighty years of pent-up frustration was released into the streets of Canada's capital Saturday, propelling even some of the country's most staid citizens into what could only be described as extreme equanimity after the Ottawa Senators earned the right to fight for Lord Stanley's mug for the first time since 1927.

Courtesy of Saturday's 3-2 overtime win at Buffalo (giving Ottawa a 4-2 series victory), the Senators will be the fourth Canadian team to play for the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens won it all in 1993.

The Vancouver Canucks (1994), Calgary Flames (2004) and Edmonton Oilers (2006) were the others, but each lost in seven games.

Also see: Welcome to ‘Hockey Town
By Bruce Deachman, The Ottawa CitizenPublished: Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday shopping launches on P.E.I. (CBC News)

Stores on P.E.I. will be able to stay open on Sundays through the summer months for the first time this year, and it starts this weekend, bringing mixed reactions from retail workers.

All stores are allowed to open seven days a week, from now until Christmas. Previously, the province had only allowed stores to open Sundays in the four weeks before Christmas.

Angels Camp Frog Jumping Competition Among Event Organizers As Well As Frogs (NY Times)

After nearly 80 years of peaceful jumping, a civil war of sorts has broken out among the human overseers of this annual, undeniably bizarre event, which was inspired by Mark Twain's classic 1865 tall tale, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” about an inveterate gambler and his gifted amphibian.

The dispute, which pits the group that has long presided over the jump against the fair’s organizers, has resulted in a pair of dueling competitions this year, each planning to hold their finals on Sunday.

Passing: Bois Sec Ardoin, Musician and Nurturer of Creole Tradition (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Jon Pareles
Published: May 20, 2007

Alphonse Ardoin, a Louisiana Creole accordionist and singer nicknamed Bois Sec whose music stalwartly sustained South Louisiana tradition, died Wednesday May 16 of natural causes in Eunice, La., where he had been living in a nursing home, said his son Morris. He was 91 years old.

For five decades, Alphonse Ardoin worked regularly with the fiddler Canray Fontenot, trading quick-fingered passages on some of the oldest known Creole tunes and infusing Cajun waltzes with the blues. English speakers sometimes called the style “la la music,” but it was known by its players simply as “la musique Creole.”

Eventually, the Creole waltzes and two-steps would be punched up, plugged in and fused with rhythm and blues, creating the zydeco music that still fills South Louisiana dance halls. In 1986, Mr. Ardoin and Mr. Fontenot (who died in 1995) both received from the National Endowment for the Arts the National Heritage Fellowship, the highest American award for traditional arts.

This Land: Where Two Rivers Converge and Two Histories Divide (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dan Barry (This Land - Dan Barry takes readers behind news articles and into obscure and well-known corners of the United States); Published: May 20, 2007

Dan Barry writes of the dilemma of Cairo, Illinois, "... defined as much by its proud and shameful history as by its position at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Since it entices visitors with billboards celebrating selected points of historical interest, it must endure the painful questions that arise from glancing beyond those selected points....."

Friday, May 18, 2007

Coca-Cola opens up a whole New World (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Jayne Clark, USA TODAY

A new, improved Coke attraction has opened in Atlanta, featuring just about everything you ever wanted to know about the carbonated beverage and possibly more.

The New World of Coca-Cola (as opposed to the original one, which made its debut in 1990) is a 92,000-square-foot tribute to the soft drink, next door to the Georgia Aquarium. Along with interactive exhibits, it sports a theater showing a Coke-themed film, pop culture gallery with 30 Coke-related works by Andy Warhol (on loan for a year) and a Coke bottling line.

Hershey: Chocolate Town to Unwrap Centennial (USA Today)

From USA Today:

Pennsylvania Amusement honors its past and celebrates 100 years of the Kiss.

Heard on the Radio: The O'Henry Pun-off

The O’Henry Pun-off has been staged every year in Austin since 1977 in the backyard of the O’Henry Museum. “Would-be word butchers from around the world make it one of the puniest shows on earth”, say the promotional materials.

We introduced Mark and David at Left Jab to chief punster and emcee Gary Hallock. Then they all went at it with puns that included the "Witless Protection Program" and "Wit Dreams". You can only imagine.

If you want to hear it for yourself, you can hear Left Jab on Xm Radio's Channel 167 at Saturday at 11 a.m., with a repeat on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Times are Eastern).

A couple of days after that the segment can be retrieved as a podcast at the website:

New Podcast Posting: Remembering Katherine Hepburn & On Golden Pond

On May 12, 2007, actress Katherine Hepburn would have turned 100 years old.

To remember her and some 25 years since the film On Golden Pond hit the scene, we spoke with Pierre Havre, a one-time New Hampshire Innkeeper who until recently ran “On Golden Pond Tours”. He speaks with us about the impact of Katherine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda and their award winning movie upon Squam Lake and us years after the filming.

This podcast interview and past ones can be found at our companion site:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NYC Hosts Olympics for Sewer Workers (NPR News)

Ed Norton would like this one from NPR News:

by Robert Smith, Morning Edition

May 9, 2007 · Sewer crews may get little respect, but they do have one shot at glory. At the Sewage Treatment Olympics in New York City, wastewater processors compete to see who can clean a pump, fix a pipe, and get down into a manhole first.

New Podcast Posting: Johnnycake Breakfasts as a Rhode Island Tradition

The earliest American settlers discovered corn and were taught by Natives how to grow, grind and cook this then unfamiliar grain.

Paul Drumm from the Kenyon Corn Meal Company of Usquepaugh, RI spoke with us about the legend of Johnnycake and their role in the Bay State - for example this year marks the 140th annual Johnnycake Breakfast at one Rhode Island church.

By the way, courtesy of Paul at the Kenyon Corn Meal Co., there is also “The 6 Minute Secret for Quick-As-Mix Johnnycakes”.

The recipe and the interview can be found at our companion site:

American Heritage Magazine Suspends Its Run in History (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: May 17, 2007

After more than 50 years American Heritage, the magazine that furnished not just the minds but, in its original hardcover format, the dens of generations of American history buffs, is suspending publication, its editor, Richard F. Snow, said last week.

The bimonthly magazine, which is owned by Forbes Inc., has been for sale since January, and in the absence of a buyer, Mr. Snow said, the publishers have decided to put the next issue, June-July, on indefinite hold. For at least the time being, however, American Heritage will continue to maintain a Web site.

Part of the problem was the Internet, Mr. Snow said. “We’re really a general interest magazine,” he said. “We don’t play to a history buff in any narrow sense — like the Civil War re-enactors, for example. They can go on the Web and get thousands and thousands of hits.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Canadian Icon Turns Its Glaze Southward (Wall Street Journal)

From The Wall Street Journal:

Tim Hortons, running out of room to expand its coffee-and-baked-goods empire in Canada, is ratcheting up its U.S. expansion. The doughnut chain hopes to first make inroads in New England -- Dunkin' Donuts' turf.

Bob Barker, 50 (on TV), Is to Be in Two Specials (NY Times)

To many he is known as the longstanding host of "The Price Is Right" (35 years). To others a few years older (like myself) he will always be remembered as the host of "Truth or Consequences" (18 years). Either way, as the numbers show Bob Barker has been around on TV-Land a longtime.

On Wednesday (may 16), CBS will broadcast two consecutive nights of prime-time specials celebrating Mr. Barker’s retirement, the first a special edition of “The Price Is Right” and the second a retrospective of Mr. Barker’s 50 years in television.

Mr. Barker, 83, is now on the verge of retirement, having broken Johnny Carson's record — five years ago — for the longest continuous performance on the same network television show and having won 17 Emmy Awards as a host and producer.

A New York Times article previews the two television specials and gets a feel from Bob what he's thinking these days as his on air career comes to a close shortly.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Heard on the Radio: America's Oldest & Largest Pub Dart Tournament

We introduced Left Jab hosts Mark Walsh and David Goodfriend to Joe Edwards, a St. Louis inkeeper and host of what is billed as America's Biggest and Oldest Tournament.

The tournament, celebrating its 35th anniversary, is about 500 dart enthusisasts gathering along the Loop for a weekend for darts and fun. Edwards shares some of the history and color of the event 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:

Maineics Sweep: US-Based Junior Hockey Team Plays for Canadian Memorial Cup (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

JOHN MEAGHER, The GazettePublished: Friday, May 11, 2007

Maineiacs sweep into Memorial Cup
U.S. Team goes 16-1 on way to 'Q' title

There are no shortcuts to the Memorial Cup and no team probably understands that better than the border-crossing Lewiston MAINEiacs, who became the first U.S.-based team to capture the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff crown Wednesday with a four-game sweep of the Val d'Or Foreurs.

The MAINEiacs, who routinely endure 51/2-hour bus trips to their closest road games in Drummondville and Saint John, N.B., will be overjoyed to know they've won more than sipping rights to the President's Cup - they've also earned a plane trip to Vancouver for the 2007 Memorial Cup tournament, May 18-27.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Avid Bowler Turns 106 (NPR News)

From NPR News, May 9, 2007:

Bill Hargrove is celebrating his one hundred sixth birthday on Wednesday, and he's having a birthday bash at the local bowling alley. That's appropriate because he is thought to be the country's oldest, active bowler.

This Land: Once the Butcher for the World, Now a Quarter-Acre Lot (NY Times)

From The New York Times,
Published: April 1, 2007

At one of the last of Chicago’ s classic slaughterhouses.......

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Indy 500 Speedway museum is year-round portal to auto racing history (AP through

From the Associated Press through

By Steve Herman, Associated Press

".....For more than 50 years, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum has shared the history of automobile racing with the nearly 250,000 visitors who pass through each year — a third of them during May, when the 2 1/2-mile track gears up for the annual Indianapolis 500, which takes place this year on May 27...."

"....Visitors can view the Borg-Warner Trophy, a 5-foot sterling silver monument that bears the bas-relief likeness of each Indianapolis winner. And then there are the cars — about 85 on display at all times...."

"....The collection includes Ray Harroun's Wasp, built in Indianapolis and the winner of the inaugural 500 almost a century ago; Joe Dawson's 1912 National; the 1922 Murphy Special, built by Duesenberg and the only race car to win both LeMans and the Indy 500; and all four of Foyt's winning cars. There's also the Belond Special that won in 1957 with Sam Hanks and in 1958 with Jimmy Bryan, the only car to win twice with different drivers...."

For the complete article in USA Today, see:

Synagogue designed by Wright designated historic (AP through

From The Associated Press through

ELKINS PARK, Pa. (AP) — The only synagogue ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Beth Sholom, a soaring glass-and-concrete temple just outside Philadelphia, began welcoming worshippers nearly 50 years ago. On Sunday, the National Park Service recognized it as one of the architect's greatest achievements.

"This is not just a historic site," William Bolger, regional program manager for the park service, told about 500 in the sunlit sanctuary. "It is a living monument to our nation's culture."

Shaped like a pyramid with its top cut off, Beth Sholom is the only synagogue Wright created during his 70-year, 1,000-project career. Wright died in 1959, six months before Beth Sholom was first used.

New Parts of Alcatraz Revealed to Public (NPR News)

From NPR News:

by Richard Gonzales,
All Things Considered
May 8, 2007

Alcatraz Island, the windswept mass in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, is most famous for its legendary federal prison known as "The Rock."

The Rock was designed to be America's answer to the gangsters who emerged during the eras of Prohibition and the Great Depression. Some of the country's worst criminals served time at Alcatraz, with little hope of escape.

The prison closed in 1963 and is now one of the top tourist attractions in the West. Each year, almost 1.5 million visitors take the 12-minute ferry ride from San Francisco, walking the same cold cell blocks inhabited by inmates such as Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.

Officially, Alcatraz is a national park. The nonprofit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy has renovated the site and opened new areas to the public for the first time. Additionally, a newly enhanced and digitized audio tour features narration from former guards and inmates at Alcatraz.

After raising $3.5 million, the conservancy worked with the National Park Service to create exhibits, open a new bookstore and restore neglected areas. One of the newly revealed sections is the shower room, where prisoners were first introduced to life on The Rock.

"They were stripped, searched, showered and given a number. And for the whole time they were on Alcatraz, they didn't have a name anymore, they just had a number. That's what life on Alcatraz was about," says Katy Olds, assistant director for visitor programs at the conservancy.
The renovation process also unveiled some secrets.

"There was an old metal shelving unit from the prison days that had never been moved or touched in the 44 years since the prison closed," Olds says. "A few months ago, we moved that shelving unit to get it out and clean it, and out dropped a foot-long shiv that had been hidden there by an inmate.

"The history is still here; it's still coming out every day."

You can hear the entire report at:

There's a slideshow "Alcatraz Then & Now" and there are excerpts available from an audio tour
of the island - Also at:

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Old Kentucky Home, and the Derby (NPR News)

From NPR News (All Things Considered) :
Commentary by Laura Lorson, May 3, 2007:

The Kentucky Derby, often referred to as "the fastest two minutes in sports," is more than just a sporting event to the citizens of Louisville. It's a whole series of events, integrating horseracing tradition and civic pride. For one native Louisvillian, the pageantry and ceremony associated with the Derby can bring on homesickness.

NHL will honour six surviving members of Canadiens dynasty from the 1950s (Montreal Gazette)

This item from the legendary Red Fisher in the Montreal Gazette:

"....It was roughly a half-century ago that the greatest Canadiens team ever assembled - at least in my view - embarked on a streak of five consecutive Stanley Cups, an astonishing accomplishment that has never been matched...."

"....Twelve of the players on the 1956 Stanley Cup team still were there for a fifth consecutive triumph in 1959-60. You don't have to remind me they played and flourished in different times, when there were no free agents on the ice and no player agents off it, but you don't forget a franchise with a mystique for winning and setting a record for the ages".

"..The NHL hasn't forgotten, announcing yesterday that the six surviving members of the 12 players who were part of this special team will be honoured during the Stanley Cup final. Sadly, Plante, the Rocket, Harvey, Geoffrion, Provost and Bob Turner have passed on. Invitations have been delivered to Beliveau, Moore, Henri Richard, Johnson, Donnie Marshall and Jean-Guy Talbot...."

"....I salute the NHL for this. It's a splendid idea ... something the league should be doing more often. Nobody should forget that hockey has become the billion-dollar business it is because of the great players who preceded today's millionaires....."

"They should never be forgotten".

Jersey Story via Canada: Local Mayor to N.J.Devils- You don't need to stay in touch (Montreal Gazette)

This New Jersey item was called to our attention through Red Fisher in the Montreal Gazette:

" Mayor won't root for home team"

Talk about holding a grudge! East Rutherford mayor James Cassella is rooting for the Senators instead of his hometown Devils. "I wish the Senators well," Cassella told the Ottawa Sun. "They treated me nicer than the Devils, so why should I be rooting for them? They (the Devils) deserted us. The hospitality there (in Ottawa) was extraordinary and I would love to come up to Ottawa again." For those of you who came in late, the mayor is a tad bitter because the Devils are moving into a new arena in Newark next season, a city Cassella described as being in a "70 per cent depressed state."

Senators hope to inspire a nation: Quest for the cup - Only Canadian team left in postseason (CanWest News Service)

From CanWest News Service (Through

CanWest News ServicePublished: Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Ottawa Senators liked the sound of the new nickname they found pinned to their jerseys yesterday morning: Canada's team.

With the elimination of the Vancouver Canucks from the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday night, the Senators found themselves the only NHL team left to wave the Maple Leaf.

They're hoping the country gets behind them the way it got behind the Calgary Flames during their march to the final in 2003.

Friday, May 04, 2007

2 Fires Ravage Washington, DC Landmarks in 12 Hours (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Allison Klein, Keith L. Alexander and Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 1, 2007; Page A01

A pair of massive fires ripped through two treasured city buildings in separate incidents on Monday April 30 -- first destroying the butcher, bakery and fishmonger stalls at the 134 year Eastern Market, and 12 hours later claiming valuable books, leather-bound documents and artwork at the Georgetown branch of the D.C. Public Library.

The 134 year old Eastern Market was one of the few public fresh-food markets in the District and was beloved for its food, flowers and flea markets. About 75 percent of the building was affected by the blaze, with the South Hall sustaining most of the damage. The building, which is owned by the District government, had been in continuous operation since it opened in 1873.

The library, a 1935 Georgian revival mansion was known for its collections of local history. Officials said it was in "various states of collapse".

Canadian Radio History (

We came across this interesting page about Canadian Radio history through our friends at

"...These pages are presented in the form of a timeline representing broadcast and shortwave radio histories. Beginning with historical events that led up to the first radio related activities the timelines show major developments up to the present day...".

"....Harold Sellers has compiled a list of books on the history of Canadian Radio and Television Broadcasting in Canada. You'll find the most complete list of references here of books relating to the broadcasting industry....."

93 Year Old Selling Heart of N.D. Town (A.P.)

From the Asociated Press (through the Washington Post):

The Associated PressFriday, May 4, 2007; 4:47 AM

SIBLEY, N.D. -- For sale by owner: small North Dakota town. Contact: Toots.

More than a half century after Edythe "Toots" Hagglund and her husband, Eddie, decided to build a town on a treeless piece of prairie at the edge of a popular fishing lake, Toots is putting the heart of the town on the auction block.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Passing: Wally Schirra, My Hometown Astronaut

Wally Schirra, who died May 4, 2007 at the age of 84 was best known to most as one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and the only astronaut to fly in all three of NASA's earliest manned space programs — Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

To me he was special. He was our hometown astronaut.

You see, Schirra was born in Hackensack, NJ and raised in Oradell. My hometown, River Edge is nestled in between.

In the early 1960's NASA astronauts were national heroes. The best known was John Glenn, whose stardom as a pop culture hero helped later propel him into becoming a U.S. Senator, and even for a while a Presidential contender. Another was Frank Borman, later to become the CEO of the now departed Eastern Airlines (Remember the "Wings of Man"?).

Still another was Wally Schirra.

When the folks in Oradell decided that they were going to honor Wally Schirra by naming the town square park after him, it was a big deal throughout the area. So big a deal that schools were closed, so we could all get a look at our local boy turned celebrity.

So there I was, maybe 10 years old lined up with my Mom at the corner of Kinderkamack Road and Main Street in River Edge to get a glimpse of the Schirra motorcade passing through our town on its way to Oradell.

Unfortunately, it seems that the entourage was running late. So after waiting for them to arrive for two hours, their arrival and the parade was marked by five cars and a Public Service bus racing by at full speed.

I saw the bus, but never did see Wally Schirra.

He probably never saw us either. If he did, we were nothing but another face along the road on the way to his hometown.

But still, he was and remains our hero - our astronaut.

Kansas Scenic Highway Offers Glimpse of How Region Once Looked (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Betsy Rubiner; Published: May 4, 2007 (Part of "American Journeys" Series)

"Think all of Kansas is flat? Think again. The Flint Hills, in the eastern part of the state, fan out over 183 miles from north to south, stretching 30 to 40 miles wide in parts, the land folding into itself, then popping up in gentle bumps, with mounds looming far off on the horizon. Seemingly endless, the landscape offers up isolated images — a wind-whipped cottonwood tree, a rusted cattle pen, a spindly windmill, an abandoned limestone schoolhouse, the metal-gated entrance to a hilltop cemetery".

"Proud of the region’s beauty, Kansas has seen to it that 48 miles of its Highway 177, leading through the heart of the hills, are designated the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway. This stretch starts about 50 miles northeast of Wichita and leads north to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, one of the few places left in the United States where a visitor can see the grasses that once covered so much of the American heartland".

Jamestown Colony: Was it Really A Success ? (NPR)

From NPR News (Morning Edition), May 3, 2007 ·

"This month marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in North America. Many historians see Jamestown as the birthplace of modern America. Was the original colony really a success? Bob Dean, author of The River Where America Began: a Journey Along the James, takes Steve Inskeep back four centuries to explore what the first settlers experienced...".

'You grab what hope there is and you blow it up' (Montreal Gazette)

Bob Gainey and his children have announced the creation of the Gainey Foundation.

It was established in honour of Gainey's wife, Cathy, who died of cancer in 1995, and daughter Laura, who drowned in December.

The press conference at which Gainey (Montreal Canadiens Genral Manager) and children Anna , Colleen and Stephen announced the creation of the Foundation was a rare public appearance by Gainey to discuss two tragic losses. It provided an interesting window into the thinking of Bob Gainey and his family in a time of stress.

Describing what they did last December after hearing that Laura Gainey had been swept overboard a ship in the Atlantic, Gainey provided this insight:

"On the phone, I had been given the information that she had 48 or 72 hours available to her because of the temperature of the water," Gainey said. "So there was a window of time. What you grab is ... you grab like we did with Cathy ... you grab what hope there is and you blow it up and you expand it".

"You keep it alive and you work all the angles, and by the end of the day we had a room here full of people with computers and cellphones and ... just keeping in touch with all the information."

For info on the foundation:, or send your queries to the following address: The Gainey Foundation, c/o Rideau Postal Outlet PO Box 53078, Ottawa, Ont., K1N 1C5.

See Red Fisher's complete column at:

This Month at (May, 2007)

It's a time of celebration as we remember two American greats upon the 100th anniversary of their birth (Katherine Hepburn & John Wayne). We look at various Memorial Days that are observed around the fifty states; the origins of Mother's Day; new insight into frog jumping technique; and the culinary connection to dandelions. . Finally there are some American words, and American Places, this time about places called Spring(s).. .....and more at

New Podcast Posting: Jose Ronstadt on Mariachi Today

As a follow-up to a Left Jab Radio interview on XM Radio about the Tucson Mariachi Conference, Jose Ronstadt engaged in a conversation on the road with us ("Conversations on the Road").

Ronstadt, a cousin of Linda Ronstadt, is a TV anchor in Southern California and longtime emcee of the Tucson event.

Our conversation went into the historical origins and present day status of Mariachi, as a musical art form and as a window into culture.
It was interesting to hear Ronstadt describe how the Tucson conference has been an important catalyst in reinvigorating mariachi in both the American Southwest and in Latin America.

"Undereported: (Media) Missing the Midwest (

From The Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC), May 3, 2007:

"The American Midwest is often ignored or oversimplified by the mainstream media. We'll look into why coverage of the Midwest is becoming even thinner, and catch up on some of the issues that haven't made the headlines in New York. Michael Massing, whose article "Missing Middle" appears in the Columbia Journalism Review, is joined by Tori Ekstrand, assistant professor of journalism at Bowling Green State University in Ohio...."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Public Cowboy No 1: The Life & Times of Gene Autry" (

From "Soundcheck",, Tuesday, May 01, 2007:

Gene Autry was more than just America's favorite singing cowboy. He invested early in real estate and broadcast media, owned the California Angels baseball team, and was listed in the Fortune 400 in the 1990s. WNYC's Souncheck talked about Autry with Holly George-Warren, author of “Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry.”

Jazz & Heritage in New Orleans These Days

The 38th annual New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival has convened in the Crescent City.

There, the culture of New Orleans — the thoroughly local music, food and rituals that are connected to African processions, European carnivals, Caribbean rhythms and America’s history of slavery and intermingling — is a draw not just for tourists, but for New Orleanians. Through sheer perseverance, it is being rebuilt.

Those on the scene described the Jazzfest as its old celebratory self, with an undercurrent of determination.

For the state of the art and and pulse on how the area is enduring, see:

Passing: Comedic Actor Tom Poston

To a younger generation he is known by his roles in Mork & Mindy, Newhart and The Bob Newhart. But to those who can remember, Tom Poston made his name earlier.

Poston, who died on May 1 at age 85, was part of an impressive ensemble cast on the Steve Allen Show of the 1950's that included Don Knotts and Louis Nye.

We are not only saddned by his passing, but also by the realization that sadly the gentle humor he portrayed is now too considered a relic of the past from another era.