Eric on The Road

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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Rural Dance Tradition in Twilight (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Ben Ratliff
Published: November 29, 2007

In isolated farmland counties, polka dances such those in Wahoo, Nebraska serve a strong social function for aging devotees. But even in these communities, polka's future is not promosing, as younger generations lack the interest to sustain the tradition.

Bottom Line and Replays Replacing Tradition (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dave Caldwell
Published: November 27, 2007

After 90 years, hockey goal judges have been moved from their traditional places. The N.H.L. still has goal judges, but they do not all still sit in Plexiglas boxes behind the end boards in back of the goals. In at least 20 of the 30 arenas, the judges sit in the lower stands or in press boxes.

The main reason: money.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Maine Creates Christmas Hit Song (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
November 26, 2007

Even before Thanksgiving came and went, some radio stations across the country were playing wall-to-wall Christmas hits. It's pretty much the same songs over and over with a few new versions of classics. One state has managed to create its own classic: The Maine Christmas Song. The state-specific holiday song began as a bit of a rebellion. Back in the 1980's a broadcaster at the NBC affiliate in Bangor was doing a report on holiday music. Tired of endless loops of Jingle Bell Rock, he asked composer Con Fullam to write a new Christmas song about Maine. And 20 years later The Maine Christmas Song is a tradition. It's still heard on the radio every winter in the Pine Tree State.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Communities pursue national heritage designations (AP)

From The Associated Press (via USA Today):

By Ben Evans, Associated Press

WASHINGTON -Every region of the country has its own piece of Americana that locals brag about to visitors.

Increasingly, they are asking Congress to help spread the word through a little-known federal program that designates National Heritage Areas.

Passing: Tom Johnson, Cup Winner as Player & Coach (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

Hall of Fame defenseman Tom Johnson, who stood behind the Boston bench when the Bruins last won the Stanley Cup in 1971-72, died Wednesday of congestive heart failure.

Mr. Johnson, a native of Baldur, Manitoba, won six Cups as a player, including five titles in a row when he starred for the Montreal Canadiens.

A remembrance by the Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Charles Kuralt on Thanksgiving In Prairie, Mississippi (You Tube/CBS News)

From You Tube - Originally from CBS News:

Charles Kuralt tells the story of the homecoming of 9 children of Alex and Mary Chandler for parents' 50th wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving in 1978. The family remembers the old sharecropper's cabin and lifestyle. From humble beginnings, now all 9 children are college grads.

Watch it and be thankful.

Near St. Louis, Where a Game Is More Than a Game (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: November 21, 2007

In two communities west of St. Louis, the annual Thanksgiving Day high school football game between Webster Groves and Kirkwood is a quintessentially Norman Rockwell event.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Passing: Mr. Whipple (NPR)

Fom NPR News:

Actor and pitchman Dick Wilson, best known for his character Mr. Whipple who appeared in hundreds of commercials ("Please don't squeeze the Charmin"), died Monday (November 18) at age 91.

Cain has claim to Hall of Fame (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

By Dave Stubbs
Montreal Gazette
November 20, 2007

Ex-Bruins poo-bah Ross accused of blackballing two-time Stanley Cup champion.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Canadiens Honor Larry Robinson

Number 19 is retired.

Article from the Montreal Gazette:

Photo gallery of the evening from The Montreal Gazette:

From (Montreal Gazette):

Red Fisher remembers Larry Robinson:

This about Larry Robinson's Ontario roots from the Ottawa Sun:

Hockey historian Stu Hackel, via You Tube, the segment of Larry Robinson on the Legends of Hockey series.

A classic Robinson end to end goal (1978 playoffs against Boston):

Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Tradition (NPR)

From NPR News:

Here's another Thanksgiving tradition, courtesy of NPR.

Every year since 1971, NPR's Susan Stamberg has managed to sneak on the air her mother-in-law's recipe for cranberry relish. She's sprinkled it into dialogue from movies, tricked celebrities into reading it and even had it put to music. The Thanksgiving tradition continues.

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe:

Bob Edwards' Thanksgiving Fantasy Feast (NPR)

Getting ready for Thanksgiving and don't know what to make ?

For every Thanksgiving from 1993 until he left NPR a couple of years back, through the miracle of audio editing, Morning Edition host Bob Edwards would create an annual tradition that brought together the creme de la creme of cookery for a fantasy holiday feast. Here is celebrity chef potluck sampling from 2003 featuring Julia Child, Maida Heatter, Paul Prudhomme and Wolfgang Puck -- and one would-be party crasher.

This link includes a pair of recipes from the invited gourmet guests -- and a link to the party crasher's recipe.

Macy's Seeks to Move Beyond Marshall Field's Spat (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Cheryl Corley
November 19, 2007

Two years ago, Macy's bought the retail giant May Company and started putting the Macy's name on local outlets. In Chicago, that meant the loss of the iconic Marshall Field's department store. Some shoppers are still peeved.

Beckoned by Bivalves (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Frank Bruni
Published: November 18, 2007

A culinary pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island, where nature has created a watery heaven on earth for shellfish.

Also check out the accompanying slide show:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Border Radio (On The Media)

From On The Media - WNYC:

For over 50 years, outlaw American radio broadcasters exploited a legal loophole and aired powerful pirate radio from the Mexican side of the border. So called ‘border blasters’ - or ‘X stations’ - were true innovators whose influence continues to be felt today. OTM’s Jamie York tells the story.

Heard on the Radio: Chitlin Strut

Back in the fall of 1966, former Salley, SC Mayor Jack Able examined the town’s existing Christmas decorations and found them in disrepair. He knew the Town needed to purchase new decorations before the Christmas season began. Unfortunately, the Town did not have the financial resources to purchase new decorations. Mayor Jack Able decided that some sort of local fundraiser would be the best way to raise the necessary money for the decorations.

But what kind of fundraiser would the Town hold? Mayor Jack Able, Councilman Maxie Adams and Councilman P. G. Sharpe decided to visit a local radio personality to see if he could provide a few ideas. The threesome traveled to the small community of Cayce, South Carolina, to discuss the matter with “Friendly” Ben Dekle of Radio Station WCAY. Mr. Dekle told the group that he had always dreamed of a chitlin’ strut, but had never found anyone with the “guts” to host one.

Mayor Jack Able and the others took Mr. Dekle’s idea and ran with it. The Mayor and Councilmen returned to Salley and made plans for Salley’s first Chitlin’ Strut.

Bob Salley of Salley (there is a story there too) came onto Left Jab Radio to tell us about chitlins ('What is a chitlin?' ......It's a contraction of the word "chitterlings" are pig intestines), and how the people of Salley fry them by the ton during the celebration which is held on Saturday following Thanksgiving.

You can hear the interview on "Left Jab" Saturday (Nov 17) at 11 a.m. or Sunday (Nov. 18) at 1 p.m. (Tiems are Eastern) at XM Satellite Radio's Channel 167. Afterwards, it can be found as podcast at (Go to archives).

Passing: Joe Nuxhall, Longtime Cincinnati Red (AP)

From AP via Fox Sports on MSN:

CINCINNATI (AP) - Joe Nuxhall, the youngest major leaguer at age 15 and later a beloved broadcaster as "the ol' left-hander" in Cincinnati, has died. He was 79.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Podcast Posting: Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald

To folks like me, it started from a Gordon Lightfoot song.

But beyond the song, the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a fascinating one. The ore carrier broke into two during a heavy storm in Lake Superior in 1975, resulting in 29 lives lost.

Each year this tragedy and other shipwrecks are recalled throughout the region.

We speak with Lee Radzak of the Split Rock Lighthouse, where a beacon is lit each year to remember the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald and others who lost their lives on the lakes.


New Podcast Posting: A Day at the Outhouse Races

Some years ago, folks in Mountain View, Arkansas wanted to brng folks to their community during the fall foliage season.

They came up with a Beanfest, but with beans you can’t stop there. Logically, the fun eventually played out to include the after beans.

One thing led to another and now each year folks come from far and wide to watch and compete in the annual Outhouse Races.

Jimmy Edwards speaks with us from Mountain View about beans, outhouse racing and a lot of fun.


New Podcast Posting: A Talk with A Pumpkin Chucker

What happens to all those pumpkins that are not smashed on Mischief Night or turned into Pumpkin Pie ?

Many become part of a municipal mulch pile, but others are turned into competitive projectiles.

We are talking about pumkpin chuckers. No, this is not like what you have seen on Letterman. It is much more. Part sport, part science, part art form.

For this Conversation on the Road, we speak to a chucker from Montana, Scott Kellum. He tells us about what he does, why he does it, and about the community of chuckers.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Orleans' streetcars are back on track (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rick Jervis
USA Today

The historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar, as much a symbol of this city as jazz and blackened redfish, returned to service at 5:27 a.m. Sunday, two years, two months and 13 days after being battered offline by Katrina. Residents and tourists alike heralded the return of the olive-green, 1920s-era Perley Thomas streetcars as a major step toward recovery.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Passing: Country Music Legend Hank Thompson (NPR)

From NPR News:

Day to Day
November 8, 2007

Country music legend Hank Thompson died on Tuesday. He was 82. Day to Day remembers Thompson and his special blend of honky tonk.

Canada's last surviving First World War vet (CBC News)

From CBC News:

John Babcock: Canada's only surviving First World War veteran

Donkey Polo ? (Only A Game)

From WBUR's (Boston) - Only A Game:

Sport of Kings it is not. One heck of a good time it is. Just watch out for the, err, you know... Martin Wells reports on the Sport of Nebraskans.

Vietnam Memorial Turns 25 (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer

Thousands of Veterans Join in March to Mark the Anniversary Of the Wall's Dedication and to Honor Those Named on It

Remembering on Remembrance Day (


Canadians to pause and pay tribute to soldiers' sacrifices past and present

Friday, November 09, 2007

Humble Voices Lifted, to Join a Glorious Throng (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dan Barry
Published: October 28, 2007

At auditions for the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the chosen demonstrate their ability to meld their voice with many in singing glory to God.

StoryCorps: 'Listening Is an Act of Love' (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
November 8

Since 2003, the StoryCorps project has recorded 15,000 personal conversations between family members and friends. A new book chronicles some of the stories, and two participants describe what it was like to share their private stories with millions of radio listeners.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Philadelphia, Baltimore Battle Over Edgar Allan Poe (NPR)

From NPR News:

October 31, 2007 · Philadelphia and Baltimore are locked in a dispute over which city has the better claim to Edgar Allan Poe. The writer, novelist, editor and critic is buried in Baltimore, where he died 158 years ago, but he produced much of his best work while living in Philadelphia.

Bourbon & Bluegrass (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

On the road in Kentucky in search of two American originals: a strong brown whiskey and a high lonesome music.