Eric on The Road

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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Canucks unveil new jerseys (CBC Sports)

From CBC Sports:

The Vancouver Canucks will play with a new look this season that appears to acknowledge the hockey club's history as well as its hopes for the future.

New Trans-Canada 'gateway' bridge opens in B.C. (CBC News)

From CBC News:

B.C.'s top construction project, a four-lane bridge that moves billions of dollars in goods a day along the Trans-Canada Highway in Kicking Horse Canyon, opens on Friday, 21 months ahead of schedule.

Two museums, two Civil War views (AP)

From The Associated Press - through

In Confederacy's former capital, war continues to inspire debate

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Journey In Search of Clams & Youth Lost (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

After visiting 16 shacks, David Leite found the luscious, fried beauties of his youth.

Wildflowers Find Favor With Highway Gardeners (NY Times)

From The New York Times:


Many states are planting native species, like switchgrass and asters, on roadsides, and reducing the mowing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vin Scully is Voice of Baseball (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

He's a New York boy who got his start in Brooklyn as a protege of the great Red Barber. 57 years later he is a legend in Southern California, and "The Voice of Baseball".

There is a great piece in The Montreal Gazette of all places (Don't think Montreal is not a great baseball town, notwithstanding what the Bud Selig types will try to tell you) about the living legend of Vin Scully:

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Big Mac gets its own museum (AP)

From The Associated Press through

McDonald's honors 40th anniversary of the big burger - The Big Mac was first introduced in 1967 by Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's franchise owner in Uniontown, Pa. A year later, it became a staple of McDonald's menus nationwide.

To celebrate the burger's anniversary, Delligatti, 89, and his family opened a Big Mac Museum Restaurant this week in North Huntingdon, Pa., full of memorabilia, celebratory exhibits and "the world's largest Big Mac statue."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

America's Team: Red Sox ? (USA Today)

From USA Today:

Talk about a bandwagon.

When talking about "America's Team" (The term is worthy of a discussion of it's own), many to date have thought New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys or afew years back the Atlanta Braves or Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was around.

There's a new kid on the block, at least according to USA Today.

For along time, we've all known about Red Sox Nation as a unifying force in New England. Heaven help anyone rooting for another team, especially one for the Bronx.

For a long time there have been many Red Sox fans in the New York area (who in the past included myself from the days of Yaz and the Impossible Dream until the heavy-handed deal that brought John Henry in, more about that some other time too - I still love the ballpark).

Anyway, USA Today is now writing that perhaps the Red Sox should be thought of as "America's Team" because of teh buzz they cause when they come to town.

Remember a couple of weeks back when Boston visited Baltimore and some 80% of a sell-out were Red Sox fans. Not much Oriole magic was to be found there (BTW, how about those 30 runs scored against the Birds in one game (Texas 30, Orioles 3) - coincidentally, just after manager Dave Trembley was signed to a new contract. There's winning one for the skipper.

What do you think ? Are the Red Sox now "America's Team". Is the Yanks, teh Cubs, the Cowboys ? Is the idea of "America's Team" reality based or just a marketing ploy ?

Here's the USA Today article:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Monowi, Neb.: Population 1 (CBS News)

From CBS News:

CBS Sunday Morning
Correspondent: Bill Geist
(Originally aired on October 29, 2006)

As Old Farm Towns In The Midwest Fade Away, One Woman Remains To Keep A Town Alive

("10 Great") Places to absorb the reality of slavery (USA Today)

From USA Today:

"Celebrate freedom by reflecting on slavery and commemorate Slavery Rememberance Day".

The Weather’s Fine in San Diego, Hence the Invasion From Arizona (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Randal C. Archbold
Published: August 22, 2007

The emergency shelter for overheated Arizonans appears to be San Diego.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up

Garrison Keillor likes to say "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon".

It's not been a quiet time in certain parts of the country recently.

Utah (the coal mine), Minnesota and Ground Zero in New York are places that have seen enough tragedy.

Enough already !

We take this moment to convey our regrets and solidarity with those who have had to endure so much.

Oh yes, on this second anniversary of two notoreous hurricanes we are reminded that there are still too many who continue to suffer along the Gulf Coast.

We send them al the best as well.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yes, Deep-Fried Oreos, but Not in Trans Fats (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Monica Davey
Published: August 21, 2007

"The deep-fried Combo Plate may be a little more healthful this year at the Great Indiana State Fair. So say the fair’s leaders, who, taking a step rarely seen in the realm of corn dogs and fried pickles, have banned oils with trans fats from all the fryers that line the grounds here".

Monday, August 20, 2007

30 Years Later, Remembering Groucho Marx (NPR)

From NPR News:

The great comedian Groucho Marx died 30 years ago Sunday. With his brothers Chico and Harpo — and occasionally, Zeppo or Gummo — Groucho made more than a dozen films, some of them considered to be among the top 10 all-time comedy films.

American Band (WNYC)

From The Leonard Lopate Show - WNYC:

Thirty years after Kristen Laine marched in her own high school band, she returned to her home state of Indiana to document the lives of the Concord High School Marching Minutemen for her new book, American Band.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Getting Serenaded While Getting Your Haircut (CBS News)

From CBS News:

Sunday Morning correspondent Bill Geist visits a North Carolina barbershop where you can listen to some live music while you get a haircut.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Passing: Sam Pollock, Architect of Canadiens Championship Teams (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

Sam Pollock, the general manager whose Canadiens won nine Stanley Cups and eight regular-season championships during his 14 years at the helm of the club during the 1960s and '70s, died on August 15, 2007 in Toronto. He was 81.

Montreal Gazette senior hockey writer Red Fisher's tribute is here:

Dave Stubb from offers Sam's Canada's Sports Hall of Fame profile, and here for an overview of his drafting history.

Also Dave Stubbs talks to former players and executives from the Pollock era:

In another Dave Stubbs piece, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey remembers how his hockey destiny was shaped for him when the late Sam Pollock drafted him in 1973

NHL royalty pays tribute to Pollock (Red Fisher attended a memorial service for Sam Pollock in the Eastern Townships):

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Podcast Posting: Vinyl Record Day

Gary Freiberg has created a day intended to recognize the cultural influence that vinyl records and album covers have had for more than 60 years. He talks with us about the origins of this day and how it is observed in his California hometown and elsewhere.


New Podcast Posting: International Feature - Classic Spain Celebrated at Festival 5 Centuries Old

We go abroad for the first time in this international podcast, featuring an interview with Dan O’Bierne of hosted by Jeremiah Tittle. It transports listeners to Malaga, Spain for the Feria de Malaga. An annual August event for over 5 centuries in south-central it features feasts, flamenco, and fino (sherry).


New Podcast Posting: Music of America - W.C. Handy

Most everyone has heard the name W.C. Handy. But what do you really know about this giant of American music ? Yes he wrote the St. Louis Blues and is considered to be the “Father of the Blues”, but he accomplished so much more. Join us as we go to Handy’s original hometown of Florence, Alabama (Memphis and New York are among the places claiming part of him too). Florence stages an annual W.C. Handy Festival and we stop in to gain some insight.


The Road to Clarity (NY Times Magazine)

From The New York Times Magazine:

Published: August 12, 2007

How a graphic designer and a typographer and their obsession with fonts and legibility led to a painstaking effort to clean up America’s road signs, one letter at a time.

There is a related slide show: A look at how American highway signs have changed, and how we ended up with the Clearview font.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Passing: Phil Rizzuto, A New York Yankee Spanning Generations

Phil Rizutto got under my skin.

I really enjoyed Phil Rizzuto.

That captures just some of the many emotions I felt when I heard the news of Scooter's passing at the age of 89.

He represented so many things to so many people.

I know, he was a great player - a real spark plug to Yankee championship teams of the 1940's & 50's. Later he became a popular, if somewhat unorthodox announcer. Finally, he provided a historical bridge from the Bronx Bombers of Gehrig and Ruth to the modern-day Joe Torre led-dynasty.

Oh yes, to my wife he was the guy from The Money Store.

Personally, he represents another passing from my Dad's generation - once so vital now rapidly disappearing .

They both came from that "Greatest Generation" - survived the Depression and won World War II. They both shared the same birth date - September 25, 1917 (Now we hear that Rizzuto fudged so as not to look to young when he first signed with the Yanks. By this version he was born September 25, 1916).

Moreover, Phil Rizzuto brought my Dad & I together.

We watched many a Yankee game over the years. At first we were both Yankee fans. Then I left the reservation after they fired Mel Allen and Red Barber. After that I was not much of a Yankee or Phil Rizzuto fan.

Too homer, too shrill, too many birthday greetings, too many references to canoli. For those from the Midwest, he was a New York version of Harry Carray.
And as I heard it all, I longed for the familiar professionalsim of Mel and the Ole Redhead.

My Dad tended to agree.

But we watched and watched. Rizzuto with Bill White. Rizzuto with Fran Healy. What an entertaining treat. Soft on baseball insight and analysis but full of passion.

We heard the Holy Cows, the Huckleberries, and the Eddie Stanky stories.

He would leave the brodcast booth during the game to beat the traffic across the Bridge. He was terrified of thunder storms. We heard about his wife Cora nad the camera man (Dulio).

It was real. It was human.

I was then a loyal Red Sox fan (today I'm more distant - I watch "The Game" but they all make too much money - I can't relate as I once did). My Dad remained a loyal Yankee fan to the end (July, 1997). In many years when we might be at odds on a variety of issues (not just baseball), watching or hearing Rizzuto with a beer nearby was one of those things that brought father and son together.

You know, it was only after Phil's retirement did I truly appreciate just what he brought to Yankee broadcasts, our New York area sports village, and to my home.

Bigger Yankee stars there were - Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jeter and others. But never was there ever more of a Yankee.

And Phil - many thanks for all the good moments you helped create. Sorry it took so long to truly appreciate your charm and to thank you.

News of Phil Rizzuto's passing:

NPR' s Robert Siegel had this rememberance:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Deja Vu All Over Again - Yanks Close in On Red Sox

It might all be different in a few days, but for now a sports story is being written in the Northeast that is all too familiar to some of us.

What was once a 14 game lead for teh Red Sox over the Yankees is now but four games. And there is a lot of time left to bridge that gap.

Beset by injuries, weak pitching and a little lethargy the Yanks looked dead in the water. Calls were being made for manager Joe Torre's scalp s well as that of GM Brian Cashman.

Healing players, rebounding pitching and a weak part of the schedule have helped propel teh Bronx Bombers. At this writing they look virtually unstoppable.

At the same time, The Red Sox have faltered. Amazingly, it has spread to star Erelief pitcher, Eric Gagne, a recent acquisition who has blown two recebt games for the Sox.

More ominously for Boston fans, the whole thing is starting to take on the nightmarish look of "been there, done there". Most easily remember 1978 when the UYanks came back from 14 1/2 out thanks to a calm manager following Billy Martin's firing and a NY newspaper strike (Yes, there was Bucky Dent too).

There are a score of other years (i.e. 1949). Will this be another ?

Red Sox fans are hopeful that a World Series title for them changed much of that late season negative karma. But as of this morning the vibes ain't good -w hich is good news on the sidewalks of New York and the board rooms of Tampa.

Passing: Merv Griffin

It's interesting to see how many ways Merve Griffin is being described in obituaries after his passing on August 11, 2007.

To some he's a tycoon, to others the creator of "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy". To others he is described as the creator of the Jeopardy theme.

I was first introduced to Merv in the early 1960's when he was a game show host on NBC. His affable personlity was to my liking - much in the way I felt aabout Johnny Carson who was a game show host a decade earlier. Hugh Downs was similar in nature as host of "Concentration".

My mother's reaction to Merv Griffin would be to remind me every time she saw him that he was a singer during the Big Band era with Freddy Martin.

So it is that image that I embrace as I remember Merv Griffin.

There are a couple of others.

There is Arthur Treacher (from old movies, Arthur Treachers Fish & Chips and a supporing role in Mary Poppins) who in my view was as Griffin's sidekick on The Merv Griffin talk show much superior to Ed McMahon.

There was the memory of Zsa Zsa Gabor as a regular guest on thw talk show. then there was, as was usual in that era< an amazing ability to adapt to a wide range of guests. He could be serious, intelligent and engaged or shallow and gossippy - depending on the guest. He could entertain me or infuriate me - depending how high or low brow he was going to be in a particular night.

Over the years he amazed me by his ability to adapt his persona for the times. In death, it continues to amaze me how touched so many people in so many different ways.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and Chicago Gain Notoriety After Michigan Avenue Parking Ticket Incident (NPR)

From NPR News:

"Hey, Hot Dog. Move It Along, Move It Along"
Morning Edition
August 10, 2007

The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile got a ticket for parking illegally on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. The city called for a tow, telling the Chicago Tribune: "We have trucks that can handle a Polish sausage, not just a hot dog." But the driver got back first, to find on the giant wiener a $50 ticket — license plate reading "WEEN-R."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Heard on the Radio: Elvis & Soul Celebrated in Memphis

It's that time of year again - August in Memphis. That means that thousands converge to mark the passing of Elvis Presley -this year the 30th anniversary since the demise of The King on August 16, 1977.

But there's more to Memphis than just Elvis. For example, how about the 50th anniversary of Soul (and the resurfacing of Stax Records) ?

We spoke with Bob Mehr (Music Critic of the Memphis Commercial Appeal) and with Tim Sampson from the Music of American Soul Music (Stax) about August in Memphis on a "Hidden America" segment on XM's Left Jab.

There was also a "Beer America" segment featuring Marty Valles from the Smoky Mountain Brwerry of Pigeon Forge & Gaitlinburg, Tennsessee.

You can hear the interview as part of Left Jab on XM's Channel 167 (Saturday 11 am (edt) and Sunday at 1 pm (edt). Later in the week the interview will be available as a podcast at the Left Jab Radio website.

Americans' visits to Canada are going south (USA Today)

From USA Today:

Note: I guess this is the flip side of the feature about a revival of Canadian visitors to places like the New Jersey Shore (See the entry from August 5, 2007).

By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

O, Canada?

For many U.S. travelers this summer, the response is "no, thanks."

Overall U.S. visits have slumped by more than one-third over the past five years, and same-day car trips are down nearly 50%. And the outlook for 2007 isn't much better, says Randy Williams of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

A Rare Baseball Comeback from Rick Ankiel (NPR)

I'm not a Cardinal fan, but I sure am a Rick Ankiel fan. What a comeback. What guts. What an inspiration.

Check outthis feature from NPR'S Day to Day" on the Rick Ankiel saga:

"Seven years ago, some baseball fans thought Rick Ankiel would be the game's next great pitcher of our era.

He played for the St. Louis Cardinals — and, at 21, was good enough to start the first game of the playoffs in 2000. But he cracked, throwing five wild pitches in one inning. Ankiel was never the same after the experience, and he quit the game four years later.

But Ankiel eventually came back to the game and started over in the minor leagues. Ankiel worked hard and reinvented himself as an outfielder.
On Thursday night, he made his second major league debut with the Cardinals and hit a home run.

Rick Hummel, baseball columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, talks with Alex Chadwick".

Louis Armstrong: 'The Man and His Music,' Part 2 (NPR)

From NPR'S Jazz Profiles:

He had already revolutionized jazz. But after 1935, Armstrong continued to reinvent himself.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Elders' vision of a story-telling place now a reality (

From CanWest News Service:

Yvonne Jeffery, CanWest News Service

$25-M interpretive centre depicts the history, culture of the Blackfoot people:

An hour east of Calgary in the Siksika Nation, the waters of the Bow River cut through a low valley where lush trees create a marked contrast to the tall grasses on the rolling prairie above. It's on the hillside here, against a sweeping sky, that seven tepee skylights form a stylized half-moon roofline around the polework structure of Sun Dance Lodge.

Once, this building was nothing more than a vision of the Blackfoot elders: a place that would tell the stories of their history, culture and traditions to both their own people and visitors. Today, Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park -- now open to the public -- is a $25-million reality featuring an impressive
interpretive centre designed by architect Ron Goodfellow.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is New Mexico a State? Some Americans Don't Know (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Sunday
August 5, 2007

New Mexico Magazine has a monthly compilation of stories about Americans who don't know that New Mexico is a U.S. state. The editor, Walter Lopez, talks with Lynn Neary about the bank tellers, cell phone providers and ticketing agents who tell New Mexicans that they reside in another country.

"America's Best Boardwalks"

Came across this list from (through What do you think ?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Carvel Ice Cream Store May Be Razed (AP)

From The Associated Press (through

By JIM FITZGERALD (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated PressAugust 06, 2007

HARTSDALE, N.Y. - There is no plaque on the wall at the ice cream store where Tom Carvel first plied his trade, and if the current owner has his way the building itself will be destroyed.

Abdol Faghihi and his co-owner have applied for permission to knock down the store on busy Central Avenue and replace it with a restaurant and three retail stores - which might or might not include a Carvel store.

New Podcast Posting: The Stubby Beer Bottle: A Canadian Icon Resurfaces

Back in the 1960’s, one of the symbols of Canada was beer - be it Molson, Labbatt, O’Keefe, or Carling. And the beer back then was always to be found in brown stubby beer bottles.

Then they were gone.

Now they are back.

Ontario brewer Jim Brickman shares with us the history of the Stubby Beer Bottle, and what he has done to bring it back.

This and archival podcasts can be found at our companion site:

New Podcast Posting: Orville Redenbacher - A Man, His Popcorn, His Community

Orville Redenbacher was born on July 16, 1907. He would have turned 100 years old this July.

We speak with Glennas Qick from Valaparaiso, Indiana about Orville Redenbacher to mark his 100th birthday. Orville made his popocorn famous while living and working in Valapraiso.

We find that he was a real person (not a Betty Crocker) and an interesting one at that too.

This and other archival podcasts can be found at:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Strong Canadian Dollar Brings Grown-up Quebecois Back to a Vacation Destination of Their Youth (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: August 5, 2007

Tourism officials and hotel owners in the New Jersey shore resort of Wildwood began noticing an increase in the number of French Canadian visitors in the summer of 2005, after a prolonged scarcity caused by a weak Canadian dollar and high unemployment in Quebec.

Québécois had been devoted fans of the Wildwoods since the 1960s, when an aggressive marketing campaign lured them with affordably priced motel rooms; wide, free beaches; warm waters; and a lively, family-oriented boardwalk scene.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Kids (Again) In A Candy Shop (CBS News)

From CBS News:

Ann Flesor Beck, left, and Devon Flesor Nau saw a "For Sale" sign in their grandfather's candy shop and thought, "what if?" Now, they're living their sweet dream and carrying on a family tradition. Steve Hartman reports as part of "Assignment America".

Annapolis: New tours of landmark lighthouse (AP)

From the Associated Press through USA Today:

By Brian Witte, Associated Press Writer

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay has opened for tours for the first time in its history.

The 1875 Maryland landmark has been undergoing renovation and has long been a beacon to mark shallow shoal for fishermen and recreational boaters.

Tours began July 7, taking maritime history buffs on a boat ride to the bay icon, which stands 43 feet above the water and is the only screw-pile lighthouse remaining in its original location in the bay.

Story of a Store at Martha's Vineyard (Storycorps)

Storycorps through NPR News:

For more than 90 years, residents have bought their groceries at Cronig's Market.

While We Were Away

We're back at the computer after a week away along the Rhode Island coast and Block Island.

We'll talk about that in a next entry.

For now it is interesting to see how intwined our lives have become with the computer.
Email was not accessed for five days. Nor were any entries made to this blog. It was quite diferent - at once refreshingly liberating and discomforting.

For better or worse, we are now back.

Here we make note of some of what struck us while away.

Of course, the horrific and tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis tops the list. Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this event.

We also acknowledge some passings while we were gone: Football coach Bill Walsh, TV interviewer Tom Snyder, Ex-Baseball player and coach Bill Robinson and the creator of the "Pepsi Generation" advertising campaign (Alan M. Pootasch, Pepsi's coordinator with advertising agency BBDO).

Now back to business as usual.