Eric on The Road

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

Monday, July 30, 2007

This Month (August, 2007) at

Believe it or not it is 30 years since the passing of Elvis Presley. We note how Graceland and Memphis are marking the occasion....Also, a look at championships scheduled this month in Hacky-Sack (Footbag)...Some American Words, a recipe, look at American Places...and more at our original website:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Remembering Aaron's Quiet, Courageous Chase (NPR)

As the media machine these days talks up Barry Bonds chase of a new home run record, we pause and recall the quiet dignity and courage Henry Aaron endured when he broke Babe Ruth's long standing "714" over thirty years ago.

There’s Joy for Ballplayers With No Home (NY Times)

As a fan of the Montreal Expos, I recall when Major League Baseball so callously decided that the Expos could not play some of their home games at home afew years ago (That was before they decided that the Expos could not play any home games in Montreal and moved the team to Washington, DC). So this article in the New York Times hit home for me:

By Peter Applebome, The New York Times
Published: July 26, 2007

For the Can-Am Grays, a minor-league team, all the games are away games. Their team bus, the one constant in their season, is the closest thing to a home.

Heard on the Radio: The Art of Hog Hollering

Chris Kaar of Seymour, Illinois has perfected the technique of hog hollering. If you don't belive me, all you need to do is look at the roster of past champs at the Illinois State Fair. Kaar has one the title six times.

Chris Kaar joined Mark, David and myself in an interview about hog hollering on XM Radio's Left Jab. To Kaar it is about more than fun. His artistry helps profile the plight and needs of rural America.

You can hear Mr. Kaar speak eloquently and even make a hog call on Left Jab - heard on XM Radio's Channel 167 Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. (Times are Eastern). If you miss it there, you can catch it as a podcast at Just go to the Archives Section and access the show for July 28.

Same time, same place next year (Baltimore Sun)

From The Baltimore Sun:

By Marion Winik
July 29, 2007

For many Baltimoreans, a trip to Ocean City and a reunion with old friends is an annual tradition not to be missed.,0,5311929.story

Passing: Bill Flemming - Low Key ABC Sports Announcer for Decades (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

By Dougals Martin
Published: July 26, 2007

Bill Flemming, one of the original announcers on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” who was also known for his Olympics, college football and golf broadcasts, died July 20 in Petoskey, Mich. He was 80.

For over 60 years, Flemming was one of the principal voices in the rise of electronic journalism in sports. He announced 11 Olympics and more than 600 events for “Wide World of Sports,” once shuttling from hurling in Ireland to car racing in Santa Monica, Calif., to a parachuting contest in Bavaria, all in a single month.

In the days before viewers could see eight televised football games from noon to midnight on a Saturday afternoon and repeatedly see their highlights on ESPN, Flemming’s early Sunday afternoon survey of the previous day’s games allowed fans to glimpse games from other regions.

Cal Ripken & Tony Gwynn Enter Cooperstown

If I heard it correct, hundreds of buses have made their way up from Baltimore to Cooperstown to be in the picturesque New York State lakeside community when Cal Ripken enters the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 29, 2007.

Knowing the parties involves, I guess this should not be startling. Both Cal Ripken and baseball fans in Baltimore have both long been something special. And with the O's not much to write home about these days (and for years now), the Hall of Fame honor is an opportunity to look back at the glory days for both.

By theway, Tony Gwynn is not chopped liver either. But because the trek from San Diego is a cross-county one, the voices from Maryland are likely to dominate.

Here is how the Baltimore Sun looked at the day of the big induction ceremony.


About Tony Gwynn from San Diego:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Historic sports sites rarely take landmark status (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Jane Lee, USA TODAY, July 27, 2007:

Fewer than 2,500 historic places have attained National Historic Landmark status in the USA. Less than 1% of those have major sporting significance and that number is not likely to increase appreciably, given renovations even to legendary stadiums and facilities to add revenue for owners.

Also see the side bar article dealing with Chicago's Soldier Field, which is designated as a NHL until it was renovated.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Road Closed After Drivers in California Behave Badly (AP)

From The Associated Press through the New York Times:

Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse — death threats, BB gun shootings, a flying burrito — that the state shut down California Highway 138 altogether.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Yearning for 'authentic' travel leads to trend of geotourism (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Michelle Smith, Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE — Traveling to a seaside New England clam shack for fried clams. Listening to jazz in New Orleans. Visiting a small organic coffee farm in Guatemala.
These trips would all make for very different summer vacations, but they have something in common: They could all be considered "geotourism," a relatively new term for travel that focuses on a destination's unique culture and history and aims to have visitors help enrich those qualities — rather than turn the place into a typical tourist trap.

Lady Bird's Lost Legacy (New York Times)

In a New York Times Op Ed piece, author Lawrence Wright contends that despite Lady Bird Johnson's efforts at highway beautification , "Sorry our highways are uglier than they were 40 years ago".

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Passing: Jack Odell, Designer of Matchbox Cars

It doesn't take too long reading this blog to realize that I am a child of the 1950's-60's - a baby boomer.

I don't think of myself as a typical baby boomer. But there are some ways in which I am classically "baby boomer".

One is my reliance on TV as a child (I rarely watch it now). I can still recite the daily schedule of all five New York Stations circa 1965.

Another aspect was my adoration of Matchbox Cars. Double-decker buses, newspaper trucks, station wagons. The whole package. I was into along with my (my Dad's) Lionel train set.

So although I had never heard of Jack Odell his passing still impacted me.

He is one of those anonymous folks who so impacted my formulative years.

Jack Odell's obituray may be found here:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thank You George Vescey For Warning us of a New Penn Station Fiasco in the Name of a "New" MSG

In a Sports world and real world whose values seem to have gone off the track, it was a real gift to read a column by George Vescey offering some perspective and common sense.

Sadly, Vescey's Sports of the Times column offers a fleeting island of sanity. He writes of the recently surfaced plan to integrate a "new" Madison Square Garen into the Farley Post Office in midtown Manhattan.

To Vescey like me the "new' MSG is the present one that replaced the real one that used to stand at Eighth Avenue and 49th Street (the one with the Nedick's in the front). Vescey reminds us what was destroyed at the now "Penn Plaza" to build the "new" Garden - the old classic Pennsylvania Station.

His article is a reminder and a warning to us. I hope we as a society are smart enough to get our priorities straight and take heed os his wisdom before another mammoth mistake is made
in the name of "progress".

Ralph Kiner Honored for Five Decades as Mets' Broadcaster

A white 1962 Plymouth convertible eased around the field at Shea Stadium on Saturday night, carrying the man who has been the voice of the Mets for 46 years.

Ralph Kiner was honored for his yeras of service to the Mets and New York baseball fans.

A full house was present at Shea, as were the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Ed Kranepool, Bob Feller, and Yogi Berra. So too was former broadcast partner Gary Thorne and the widow of Bob Murphy, the former Met announcer who along with Kiner and Lindsay Nelson who together formed a bedrock team of first class announcers for 17 years.

Here's much more on Ralph Kiner Night:

Passing: John Ferguson, Heart & Soul of Canadiens' Championship Teams of the 1960's

John Ferguson died on Saturday July 14 at the age of 68 after a battle with prostate and bone cancer.

His obituary will read that he was a pugnacious hockey player for the Montreal Canadiens and then established himself later as a television analyst for Hockey Night in Canada, executive for the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators and Team Canada, and finally as a scout (most recently for the San Jose Sharks). He also served as an unoffical advisor to the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Ferguson, Jr., his son.

But he represented so much more.

The essence of John Ferguson perhaps (as usual) is best captured an appreciation by legendary columnist Red Fisher in a most appropriately titled column: "He had the heart of a lion and true love for his team".

An obituary of the life and career of John Ferguson may be found here:

There's also much more about Fergy (old pictures, old articles and more) at habsibsideout:

Also see:

Here is an article reporting on John Ferguson's funeral on July 21, 2007 in Windsor, Ontario:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Passing: Shag Crawford, Longtime Baseball Umpire

From The Philadelpahia Inquirer:

By Frank Fitzpatrick
Inquirer Staff Writer

Shag Crawford, 90, the square-jawed, hard-nosed umpire who raised two professional sports officials, died on July 10 in an assisted-living facility near Philadelphia where he had lived for the last year.

Mr. Crawford, who never earned more than $35,000 a year in baseball, worked the first of more than 3,000 National League games in 1956. In 20 seasons, he umpired three World Series, two NL championship series, and three All-Star Games.

How To Race A Lawnmower (NPR News)

From NPR News:

Day to Day, July 9, 2007 · The Connecticut Lawnmower Racing Association's workshop, aptly titled How to Race a Lawnmower, is open to anyone interested in pushing the envelope a bit when it comes to mowing the lawn.

Catie Talarski reports from public radio station WNPR in Durham, Conn.

Woody Guthrie's Fertile Month on the Columbia River (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Jeff Brady, All Things Considered, July 13, 2007:

In a single month spent on the Columbia River, Woody Guthrie wrote 26 songs, including "Grand Coulee Dam."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Passing: Mr. Toronto (Ed Mirvish) dies at 92 (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

Honest Ed Mirvish, the man who invented the discount store in Canada, saved the Old Vic Theatre in London, England and, with his son David, built the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, died early Wednesday morning at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. He was 92.

A salesman, an entrepreneur and an impresario, Mr. Mirvish was also a well-known philanthropist. He was a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a Member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of more than 250 awards. The flag at Toronto's city hall flew at half mast on Thursday.

The funeral service will take place at Beth Tzedec Synagogue located at 1700 Bathurst Street, south of Eglinton Avenue, on Friday, July 13, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a strictly private family Shiva.

For numerous appreciations of Honest Ed from the Globe and Mail, see:

Indians Widen Old Outlet in Youth Lacrosse (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Winnie Hu Published: July 13, 2007

American Indians are reconnecting to their heritage through a game that was invented by their ancestors.

There's an audio slide show attached to the article.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Passing: Lady Bird Johnson (Washington Post/NPR)

From The Washington Post:

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer

Former first lady carved out an identity of her own as an advocate for beautifying the national landscape.

- An appreciation of Lady Bird Johnson:

Also: Lady Bird Johnson In Flower - Ketzel Levine (NPR News) says one good reason to visit the Texas hill country is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

As for Canada, Finding the Border Is a Bit of a Trick (WSJ)

From The Wall Street Journal:

By Barry Newman

BEEBE PLAIN, Vt. -- Kyle Hipsley, a chain-smoking 52-year-old Iowan, has spent 20 summers looking for America. More often than not, he has trouble finding it.

"The boundary's in those bushes," Mr. Hipsley said one morning, driving his rented Dodge along a line of scrub just to the south of the border with Canada. "That's got to be cleared." A mile later, he said, "The boundary's out there in that swamp. Monument's buried in the bog. Been that way for years."

From the Beaufort Sea in Alaska to Passamaquoddy Bay in Maine, Mr. Hipsley sees a lot of work to ...

Passing : Charles Lane, Hollywood Character Actor, Age 102

From The New York Times:

By Robert Berkvist
Published: July 11, 2007

Charles Lane was a veteran character actor whose lean frame and stern features were familiar to millions of movie and television fans, most of whom, it is safe to say, never knew his name.

Remeber the expectant father in the waiting room on I Love Lucy when Little Ricky was born ?
That was the guy.

You might alo remember him from "It's A wonderful Life", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "The Beverly Hillbillies" or "Petticoat Junction".

His bony physique, craggy face and the authoritarian or supercilious way he would peer through his spectacles at his fellow actors eventually led to his being typecast and locked into playing a succession of lawyers, judges, assorted lawmen and other abrasive roles. It was, he said in an interview, “stupid and unfair” to be called upon to play the same kinds of roles over and over again.

“It didn’t give me a chance,” he said. But, he added, “it made the casting easier for the studio.”

Friday, July 06, 2007

Heard on the Radio: The Redneck Summer Games

What started off in 1996 as a goofy radio station promotion has evolved into a nationwide phenomenon.

Back in 1996, Atlanta was going to host the Olympics and a lot of jokes were being made about a bunch of rednecks hosting the Olympics. So founder Mac Davis figured, if that's what people expect, he would give it to them.

As legend tells it, Mac Davis and a host of volunteers put together a ridiculous schedule of "Redneck Games" for locals to compete in. They expected a small turnout, some decent weather, and a few laughs.

What they got was a little slice of what event organizers describe as Dixie magic. "The first year," Davis reminisces, "we expected 500 people to show up. We got 5,000 instead."

Since then, the Redneck Games have expanded into an annual major event. Davis expects that 15,000 people will show up this year and estimates that over the last decade, roughly 95,000 individuals have attended the one-day extravaganza.

Melvin Davis (relation?), curator of the Redneck Museum, talks to Mark, David and myself about the Redneck Summer Games in East Dublin, Georgia - an event highlighted by a Hubcap Hurl, a Bobbin' for Pig's Feet Fest, and Redneck Horseshoes — in which toilet seats are the objects thrown.

You can hear the interview as part of Left Jab broadcast on XM Radio Channel 167, Saturday at 11 a.m., with a repeat broadcast Sunday at 1 p.m. If you miss either of those broadcasts, you can catch it later as a podcast at hhtp://

Far From Home, Mexicans Sing Age-Old Ballads of a New Life (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Randal C. Archibold
Published: July 6, 2007

Mexican folk ballads known as corridos have moved north with immigrants and adopted new themes.

Also see and hear an accompanying multi-media slide and music presentation.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Freedom Fabric: A History of the Stars and Stripes (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition, July 1, 2007

Flag collectors Peter and Kevin Keim display their antique U.S. flag collection in an upcoming book.

Little Rock celebrates 50th anniversary of desegregation (AP/

From The Associated Press through

National Park Service Ranger Spirit Trickey feels a special connection when directing tourists down the sidewalk to Little Rock Central High School. Her mother made the same journey 50 years ago as one of nine black students integrating the previously all-white school.

An Anything-Goes Parade Wins the Day in Maine (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Katie Zezima
Published: July 5, 2007

In a town whose Independence Day parade has seen some over-the-top floats, one couple outdid everyone.

A Tale of Two Interstates (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Noah Adams
Day to Day, July 3, 2007

Interstate 15 runs from Canada to Mexico through the American West, while Interstate 86 runs west to Portland and then Seattle. The two highways intersect at Pocatello, Idaho. In this public radio faeture hear from truckers, traveling teenagers and a hitchhiker about the culture of the interstates.

New Podcast Posting: The Legacy of Charles Kuralt 10 Years Later

Charles Kuralt died on July 4, 1997. Listen in to a conversation with Kuralt biographer Ralph Grizzle about Kuralt’s life, his signature “on the road” series and what we remember about him now a decade after his passing.

This conversation can be found at our companion podcast site:

Also see this CBS News remembrance of Charles Kuralt 10 years later:

New Podcast Posting: Taking Stock of Canada at 140

It’s been holiday time in Canada.

Last week in French speaking Quebec, it’s a time of celebration with the Fete Nationale du Quebec (formerly known as Fete St. Jean Baptiste.

Then earlier this week on July 1 Canada observed its 140 th birthday with Canada Day (formerly known as Dominion Day).

Historian and musicologist bruno Paul Stenson joined us from Montreal to share some insight about the pulse of Canada on this national birthday.

Bruno also owns what probably is the largest collection of memorabilia from Expo ‘67. On this 40th anniversary of the Expo and of Canada’s centennial we also talk to Bruno about his collection, and just what that magical year was all about.

By the way, one of the items in his collection is a can of Expo 67 air.

You can find this interview and earlier ones at our companion podcast site:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Passing: Beverly Sills, "The All-American Diva" (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Anthony Tommasani
Published: July 3, 2007

"Beverly Sills, the Brooklyn-born soprano, was a genuine celebrity and an invaluable advocate for the fine arts".

Honoring the Spirit of the Fourth

If one is not careful, like many things in life, July Fourth can become a caricature - just another of many rituals we engage in without thinking. Parade, Hot Dogs, fireworks. But there is more at stake here.

It is a time to pause and consider how hard "freedom" and independence was to win and maintain.

In his inauguration speech of 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of the "four freedoms":
* Freedom of speech
* Freedom of every person to worship God in his own way
* Freedom from want
* Freedom from fear (A world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world).

What does freedom mean to you these days ?What do these "freedoms" say to you today ?Do we practice what we preach ?Is there an American version of freedom - is it a universal value ? Who decides ? What shape is our democracy in today ? Is the system working for you ?

For me, as I wrestle with these questions and others, a good place to start is to actually read a source itself of these freedoms, the Declaration of Indepedence:

*** IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these ColoniesFor taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

John HancockNew Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew ThorntonMassachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge GerryRhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William ElleryConnecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver WolcottNew York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis MorrisNew Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham ClarkPennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George RossDelaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKeanMaryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of CarrolltonVirginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter BraxtonNorth Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John PennSouth Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur MiddletonGeorgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George WaltonCourtesy:

For those who do not want to take the time to read or who want to hear the reading in someone else's voice:
* THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCEMorning Edition, July 4, 1997 - The Independence of the nation is Declared by the voices of N-P-R.

We remember many events and acts of heroism, famousanonymousnmous. I am inspired by "The Greatest Generation" - those who endured first The Depression abd then The War (WWII).

Here is a war sampling from that period:
* Remembering Independence Day During WW II: 61 Years Ago Today (2003 entry)July 4, 1942 -


Finally, I am a fan of the late Charles Kuralt (who coinidentally died on the Fourth of July , 1997). He did a wonderful presentation of events on and around July 4, 1776 from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It may be found on video at "On The Road with Charles Kuralt - The American Heritage"

CBS Sunday Morning remembers Charles Kuralt on the 10th anniversary of his passing:

July 4th: A Time when "Red" and "Blue" almost manage to come together for the Red, White and Blue

There are those (i.e.politicians, some in the media) who try to paint the U.S. as a place that is unified (or should be) in its outlook and perspective. Fact is rarely are we uniform or unified.

However, for one day a year one starts to feel taht perhaps we might be more unified than we might otherwise think - that day: July Fourth.Independence Day is a day of diverse celebrations throughout the land. But it is truly a day where be you in a "red" state or a "blue" state, you might actually feel some connection to those on the other side of the now large political divide. It really is a day of red, white and blue.


Though the Fourth of July is almost iconic to Americans, some claim the date itself is somewhat arbitrary. New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775. The first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made on June 8. After hard debate, the Congress voted unanimously (12-0), but secretly, for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 2 (see Lee Resolution). The Congress reworked the text of the Declaration until a little after eleven o'clock, July 4th, when thirteen colonies voted for adoption and released an unsigned copy to the printers. (New York abstained from both votes.) Philadelphia celebrated the Declaration with public readings and bonfires on July 8. Not until August 2 would a fair printing be signed by the members of the Congress, but even that was kept secret to protect the members from British reprisal.John Adams, credited by Thomas Jefferson as the unofficial, tireless whip of the independence-minded, wrote his wife Abigail on July 3:The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. Adams was off by two days, however. Certainly, the vote on July 2 was the decisive act. But July 4 is the date on the Declaration itself. Jefferson's stirring prose, as edited by the Congress, was first adopted by the vote of the 4th. It was also the first day Philadelphians heard the official news of independence from the Continental Congress, as opposed to rumors in the street about secret votes.


"The Big Ones":

* Washington, DC: Parade down Constitution Avenue, "A Capitol Fourth" concert with the National Symphony, large fireworks display over the Mall and a Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall.
* Boston: Turnaround of the U.S.S. Constitution, Chowderfest, and free concert along the Charles River by the Boston Pops highlighted by 1812 Overture, Stars & Stripes and fireworks.
* Mount Rushmore: Fireworks display at this patriotic setting.
* New York & Chicago: Large fireworks show sponsored by Macys.
* New York: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island.

Some Unique happenings:
* The "Oldest Continuous Homecoming", Pekin, IN
* "The Oldest July Fourth Parade", Bristol, RI
* "Human Flag", Huntsville, AL
* Boom Box Parade (No live marching bands, Willamantic, CT
* "American Redneck Day", Centreville,MD
* World's Greatest Lizard Race; Lovington, NM
* Ducktonia 500; Sheboygan Falls, WI where they raceplastic ducks in the lagoon at Riverside Park. There is also a "Kiss the Pig" contest.
* The Twelve Mile Lawnmower Races, Twelve Mile, IN* And in Oatman, Arizona, they fry eggs on the sidewalk atthe annual Sidewalk Egg Frying Contest. Held at "high noon" on Old Route 66 participants can only rely on solar heat to fry eggs on the sidewalk during the course of 15 minutes of "cooking". There are also a variety of "Old West" activities.

For more see:

The Best Barbeque (WSJ)

From The Wall Street Journal:

By RAYMOND SOKOLOVJune 30, 2007; Page P1

"Juicy brisket pulled straight from the pit in Texas. Pulled pork shoulder with crispy browned bits in Tennessee. And versions rivaling both in Boston and New York. Our food critic goes cross-country for the pick of the pits".

Setting the Record Straight about Hockey's One-Time "French Canadian Rule"

NHL Trivia expert and author Liam McGuire clarifies the real impact of an old rule that at one time allowed the Montreal Canadiens could take any two players from the province of Quebec in a special draft.

But the reality was, writes Liam, that none of these players could have already been previously signed to a C form (confirmation form) with any other club. (At this time in the NHL and right through the late 60's amateur players were signed by NHL teams to C forms and then placed on their appropriate junior clubs or minor pro clubs depending on their age. The most extreme case of this was Bobby Orr. Orr signed a C form three weeks before his 12th birthday with the Boston Bruins. He was so young his parents signature was required. When he turned 14 he began playing for Boston's junior sponsored team, the Oshawa Generals. That's how Orr became a Bruin.)

"From 1936-1943 Montreal protected 14 players through this special draft. Unfortunately none of them ever played a minute in the NHL."

He concludes, " I believe this fallacy was born primarily by frustrated anti-Montreal fans who for decades suffered through parade after Stanley Cup parade".

Insightful reading for those, like me, interested in hockey history accurately portrayed.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The "New" New York (


"Today’s Manhattan is more exciting than ever. But has a safer, cleaner Big Apple lost some of its flavor?"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Celebrating Canada for Canada Day (

A place for a lot of good stuff about Canada on the occasion of Canada's 140 th birthday on July 1, 2007: