Eric on The Road

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

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve in Times Square: 100 Years of Falling Objects (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Robert D. McFadden
Published: December 31, 2007

A Times Square tradition that began modestly has grown to include 30,000 watts of light-emitting diodes amid 1,200 pounds of Waterford crystal.

R.I.P. to Court TV, Hello to TruTV (AP)

From The Associated Press through

Court TV, R.I.P. The network that burst into public consciousness with the O.J. Simpson trial and other big-name courtroom dramas in the 1990s becomes part of television history Tuesday, renamed truTV to emphasize its prime-time action programming.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Matzo-Making Institution Moving (AP)

From the Associated Press through the Washington Post:

By Verena Dobnik
Associated Press
Saturday, December 29, 2007

New York's Lower East Side to Lose Longtime Business.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The legend of 'Mothman' still draws visitors to W.Va. town (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Tom Breen, Associated Press Writer
December 27, 2007

More than 40 years after the first reported sighting of the mysterious creature later dubbed "Mothman," residents in Point Pleasant, West Viriginia have embraced his legend, helping to turn the town into a destination for people in search of an offbeat tourism experience.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kansas Town's Green Dreams Could Save Its Future (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Frank Morris
All Things Considered, December 27, 2007

After a tornado, a rural city in Kansas tries to become the greenest town in America.

With Bold Museum, a Virginia City Aims for Visibility (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Pamela J. Podger
Published: December 29, 2007

ROANOKE, Va. — Since the 1980s, this old railroad and manufacturing city has been trying to transform itself into a magnet for white-collar families, who expect amenities like the ballet and symphonies.

The downtown area has been revitalized, and wine bars, boutiques and condominiums have replaced empty storefronts.

The latest addition is the new $66 million Art Museum of Western Virginia, one of the most expensive and controversial projects in the city’s history. The museum’s avant-garde architecture is a gamble intended to put Roanoke on the nation’s cultural map.

Nationwide, other mid-size cities, including Milwaukee and Biloxi, Miss., hope similarly bold museums will revitalize their downtowns, replicating the success of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Photographing the Life That Rockwell Depicted (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Kathryn Shattuck
Published: December 26, 2007

The illustrator Norman Rockwell has often been mocked for creating an America that never was and never will be. But Kevin Rivoli, a photojournalist in upstate New York, will tell you that’s just not true.

Passing: Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson

Jazz fans and Canadians both home and abroad are mourning the death of Oscar Peterson, the virtuoso known globally as one of the most talented musicians ever to play jazz piano.

Peterson died December 23 at his home in Mississauga, Ont., from kidney failure. He was 82.

Born and raised in Montreal, this is the local take from there:

New York Times obituary:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greetings

No matter how you celebrate. And no matter where - whether in the U.S., Canada or elsewhere. We wish you and yours' well. May it be a season of joy, hope and peace. And may this spirit carry on into your daily lives in the New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Changing the Face of Hockey (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Cecil Harris
Published: December 22, 2007

“Why are you playing that white man’s game?” Gerald Coleman recalled the teacher, an African-American, saying. “I told him: ‘I don’t see hockey that way. I see it as a sport that I have fun with.’ What he said just made me more determined to make it in hockey and prove him wrong.”

As the goaltender for the Portland (Me.) Pirates of the American Hockey League, Coleman, 22, has seen his determination pay off. He is one of nearly four dozen black players to have competed in an N.H.L. game.

This Times article talks of what has transpired in the game since Willie O’Ree (now the N.H.L.’s diversity programming director) became the league’s first black player when he entered a game as a left wing for the Boston Bruins at Montreal on Jan. 18, 1958. The Bruins will honor O’Ree at a game against the New York Rangers on Jan. 19 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his debut.

Also, listen to Scott Simon's inspiring interview with Willie O'Ree (Did you know he also overcame losing an eye to play pro hockey ?):

The NHL has compiled a vast amount of information about Willie O'Ree and diversity in the game:

Cowboy way encircles culture, fast cars (Calgary Herald)

From The Clagary Herald:

There's more to Fort Worth than Old West

France joins the party for Lake Champlain quadricentennial (


Vermont, New York and Quebec will mark in 2009 the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's first visit to the region and the exploration of the lake that now bears his name.
The great explorer was born in Brouage, France, in 1567, and now France has joined the celebrations.

Vermont officials and the French government recently signed a memorandum of understanding at the State House in Montpelier to actively cross-promote tourism in Vermont and France over the next three years with a primary focus on the Lake Champlain quadricentennial commemoration in 2009.

Oklahoma celebrates rural roots (The Star Phoenix)

From The Star Phoenix - through

by Peter Wilson

About Oklahoma's agrotourism program that now includes some 400 properties.

A Place Just Like Every Other Place. Only Not. (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dan Barry
Published: December 23, 2007

U.S. Route 1 stretches 2,000 miles from Maine to Florida. For much of the way it is distinctive for its lack of distinction. But amid the fast-food chains, discount stores and parking lots of its strip malls lies the occasional exception.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fans long for NHL of yesteryear (CanWest News Service)

From The CanWest News Service (through The Montreal Gazette):

By Wayne Scanlon
Ottawa Citizen

Forty years ago, Original Six expanded to 12 teams, forever changing the pro hockey landscape.

In fairness, there is also a companion article by Mr. Scanlon entitled: "Ten reasons to like new NHL" - He writes: "Here are 10 reasons why the hockey fan of today doesn't miss the old days:". You can find those reasons at:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Heard on the Radio: Beer Drinker of the Year

The National Beer Drinker of the Year is held and run by Colorado's oldest brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Company. The winner wins $250 worth of beer at his local brewpub and free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

Diane Catanzaro, a Norfolk, Virginia homebrewer, beer judge and college professor, is the 2007 Beerdrinker of the Year.

Diane spoke with us on XM Radio's Left Jab about she became champ. In the interview
she also provides instructions to those who might want to compete for the 2008 crown (Applications are being accepted up to the 12-31-07 deadline).

The interview can be heard on XM's Channel 167 on Saturday at 1 p.m. or Sunday at 11 a.m. (Times Eastern). later it can be found as a podcast at

Where Do Candy Canes Come From? (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Charles Phoenix and Steve Proffitt
Day to Day, December 20, 2007

In Ontario, Calif., about an hour east of Los Angeles, a little candy store is keeping an old Christmas tradition alive.

What looks like a typical local candy shop from the outside, on a side street near Ontario's downtown, is far from typical: This season, Logan's will hand-make between 70,000 and 80,000 canes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Passing: Don Chevrier, Broadcaster in Canada & the US (Canadian Press)

From the Canadian Press:

Don Chevrier, a longtime broadcaster whose career spanned some two dozen sports, died Monday at his home in Palm Harbor, Fla. on December 18. He was 69.

Chevrier was Mr. Versatile for a slew of networks - both TV and radio. One count had Chevrier's broadcast resume at 21 different sports, including team handball at the 1976 Olympics.

During the 1970s and '80s, Chevrier covered some of boxing's biggest bouts, often with Howard Cosell on ABC's "Wide World of Sports."

There was play-by-play on "Monday Night Baseball" for ABC Sports, NHL games for ESPN and other networks (including Ottawa Senators games), CFL games for CBC and ESPN and USFL games for ABC Radio.

"He had one of the more recognizable voices in all broadcasting, never mind just sports," said Paul Godfrey, Prsident of the Toronto Blue Jays (whose games he called - including their first season).

He spent more than 20 years on radio covering the Kentucky Derby, 14 years as the television voice of curling in Canada and was the longtime host of ABC Radio's "World of Sports" show.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Podcast Posting: National Tie Month

Twenty per cent of all ties sold are bought as Christmas gifts.

This podcast is a conversation with Nemo Turner of The Protocol Institute about ties and their proper use.

New Podcast Posting: The World Famous Fish House Parade

Some folks go shopping after Thanksgiving. Up north in Minnesota, many would head out to the lakes with winter fish houses.

A few years back a couple of guys were sitting in an Aitkin, Minnesota cafe observing what seemed to be a parade of fishes houses en route to the lakes. Why not have a real parade, they thought.

The “World Famous Fish House Parade” is now a local institution. Some three dozen uniquely and humorously decorated fish houses used for ice fishing during the winter are on parade and on display.

This podacst is a conversation with Sue Marxen from Aitkin about the culture of ice fishing, fish houses as well as the parade.

New Podcast Posting: The Life and Legacy of Louis Riel A Century Later

Louis Riel, leader of the Metis (French/Indian mixed ancestry) was elected to Canada’s House of Commons in 1873 and 1874, but never seated.

Seen as a traitor by some, he was also considered a patriot and protector of French, Native and regional cultures.

Riel continues to inspire discussion and analysis more than a century later.

This podcast is a conversation with with Vania Gagnon from the Louis Riel Home in Manibota about the legend and continuingly changing legacy of Louis Riel.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Passing: Dan Fogelberg, Songwiter/Musician

One of my guys:

Ice Age: Winter Rinks of Dreams (Montreal Gazette)

A series from The Montreal Gazette:

by John Meagher
December 17, 2007

Part One: Some Montreal families skate through the cold with a handy ice surface that makes it easy to skate and practise hockey moves

Part Two: With no rules and no refs, pond hockey is all about igniting passions and having fun.

Part Three: Temperature is the key for local arenas that provide pure sheets and winter hockey experiences like few others

Backyard rink memories (also see the gallery):

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Still Fiddling In The Ozarks (CBS News)

From CBS News via You Tube:

A fiddle maker in the Ozark Mountains, interviewed 30 years ago by CBS' Charles Kuralt, is still carving away at her creations at the age of 90. Sharyn Alfonsi reports.

Vote First or Die (On The Media)

From WNYC:

On The Media
December 14, 2007

In the race to the ballot box the citizens of New Hampshire have long been first. In fact, it’s the law (okay, it’s their law). On the Media's Brooke Gladstone travels north to find out why the state is so determined to maintain its granite grip on the primacy of its primary.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Drink, eat and be merry (


By Margo Pfeiff, Freelance
Published: Saturday, December 08, 2007

"A cheese tasting is much like a wine tasting," Reg Hendrickson of the Dairy Farmers of Canada informed us, "but with cheese you don't spit."

Old West meets New West in Scottsdale, Ariz. (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Jayne Clark
December 13, 2007

Waterfront development: It's built around the Arizona Canal, and "they might call it a waterfront, but it's an irrigation ditch," says longtime resident Patricia Myers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tilting the Level Playing Field? It's Nothing New (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Eric Weiner

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's report on the "serious drug culture, from top to bottom," within Major League Baseball is just the latest evidence that sports are not always conducted on a level playing field.

Blackhawks trying to turn the tide in Windy City (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Mike Dood, USA TODAY
December 13, 2007

While not trumping the Bears or Bulls in the local newspapers or sports talk shows, the Blackhawks are back on the radar after registering barely a blip for several years.

By the way, Red Fishwr writes:"Have you noticed that Chicago legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita have returned to the Blackhawks as goodwill ambassadors? They'll represent the Blackhawks at events at the United Centre and throughout the Chicago area. It took a while, but better late than never, eh?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rangers and Knicks Share Owner, but Little Else (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Lynn Zinser
Published: December 12, 2007

“We’re definitely friendly with each other, but they’re doing their thing and we’re doing our thing,” Rangers forward Sean Avery said. “We see them, but we don’t. Everybody’s cool with each other, but we’re in different worlds, I think, with the same owner.”

A fascinating article.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Original Six losing mystique (CanWest News Service)

From the CanWest News Service (via the Montreal Gazette):

By Ken Warren
Can West News Service, Published December 11, 2007

With the exception of Leafs, Habs, long-time franchises are declining in fan support.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Canada's top 100 trips (and you don't need a passport) (


Compiled by Mattew Romanada
Weekend Post, Published: January 7, 2006

We surveyed friends, colleagues and adventurers for their peak Canadian experiences

Long Desired, Streetcar Returns to New Orleans (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Melanie Peeples
Morning Edition, December 10, 2007

Progress comes slowly to New Orleans, but come it does. And one of the latest signs of that progress — more than two years after Hurricane Katrina — is the return of the beloved St. Charles Avenue Streetcar to Uptown New Orleans.

Get the Local Flavor at the Airport (WCBS Radio)

From WCBS Radio - New York:

December 10, 2007

Travel correspondent Peter Greenburgh reports in this "Travel Minute" that there is more diversity at airports beyond the ominpresent "mystery hot dog" - from Texas food to Pacific Northwest regional delicacies to Cuban food at Miami's airport

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Book captures the view 'From the Air' (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Jayne Clark
USA Today, December 7, 2007

America From the Air: A Guide to the Landscape Along Your Route by Daniel Mathews and James S. Jackson (Houghton Mifflin, $18.95), deciphers the so-called landscape puzzles viewed from the window seat. Detailed maps and aerial photos pinpoint specific geographical highlights, and the text offers lessons in geology and history. Those big, shiny Quonset-hut-style barns in a swath of Iowa house large commercial hog operations, for example. And those perfectly executed crop circles? They're created by something called center pivot irrigation systems that round off the corners of farm fields.

Alvin and the Chipmunks (CBS News)

From CBS News:

CBS Sunday Morning

For nearly 50 years, the Chipmunk Song has inspired many Christmas wishes. Written by Ross Bagdasarian -- co-writer of "Come On-a My House," by Rosemary Clooney -- the familiar tune has become a Christmas classic. Now, Alvin, Simon and Theodore hit the big-screen in a live-action movie. Charles Osgood meets Ross' son and his wife -- the couple who still give The Chipmunks life after all these years.

50 Years of Ice Skating at Steinberg in St. Louis (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Maria Hickey, KWMU
All Things Considered, December 6, 2007

Ice skaters have been gliding — and falling — at the Steinberg Skating Rink in St. Louis for 50 years. While attendance is not quite what it used to be, generations of St. Louis residents have taken a turn on one of the country's largest outdoor rinks.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Completed X-country ski trail links Mass. to Quebec (AP)

From The Associated Press - via USA Today:

By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press Writer

WINHALL, Vt. — Nearly 25 years after three friends laid the groundwork for it by skiing the length of Vermont, the 300-mile Catamount Trail — a backcountry ski trail extending from Massachusetts to Canada — is complete.

Rare Slave Manuscripts Tell Stories of Escape (NPR)

From WHYY - Philadelphia:

Fresh Air from WHYY
December 4, 2007

In A Slave No More, historian David W. Blight showcases the emancipation narratives of two men, one from Alabama and one from Virginia. Manuscripts written by Wallace Turnage and John Washington, and genealogical information compiled by Blight, combine to tell the stories of their lives as slaves and their harrowing flights to freedom.

There's also an excerpt of the work at this site:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Curtains Rise Again (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Keith Schneider
December 5, 2007

This Real Estate Section piece describes how Main Streets are being revitalized by renovations of old theaters.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Hall of Famer Stirs Both Sides in Brooklyn (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Andy Newman
Published: December 4, 2007

The posthumous election of Walter O’Malley to the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a twist of the knife to some Brooklynites who remember him for moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles.

Quebec City or Winnipeg? (

From The CanWest News Service:

The folks at CanWest News Service have relaunched their hockey website at and one of the regular features will have columnists and hockey writers across Canada weighing in on timely topics.

Ed Willes and Pat Hickey go head2head about whether Quebec City or Winnipeg should be considered the next Canadian city for the NHL.

Remembering Gordie's greatness in song (Montreal Gazette/

From The Montreal Gazette:

By Dave Stubbs, The Gazette

Verdun singer-songwriter had '60s hit with Gordie Howe (Is the Greatest of Them All)

With Bob Davies's permission, habsinsideout offers digital files of his hockey songs, as well as a tribute to the Montreal Alouettes. They're free for listening or download, for non-commercial use only:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Roadside Attractions Fading from Landscape (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Jason Beuabien
Morning Edition, November 28, 2007

A staple of the American road trip could be slowly disappearing. Owners of some roadside attractions are deciding that interest is waning in such treasures as the world's largest ball of string, Stinker the monkey or the Elvis Is Alive Museum.

Also part of the feature, a "Web Extra": Attractions Worth a Pit Stop

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Passing: Daredevil Evel Knievel (AP)

From The Associated Press via Fox Sports and

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Evel Knievel, the red-white-and-blue-spangled motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over crazy obstacles including Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho's Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday (November 30). He was 69.

Exporting a Sport to China: How Do You Say Zamboni in Mandarin? (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dave Caldwell
Published: December 1, 2007

By the end of the season, the Islanders hope to have at least one of their games telecast in China.

Rider Nation embraces dying fan (Regina Post Leader)

From Regina Post Leader via The Can West News Service & The Montreal Gazette:

By MURRAY MCCORMICK, CanWest News Service; Regina Leader-Post

Generosity of Saskatchewan players and supporters allows Chris Knox, who suffers from terminal brain cancer, to see Grey Cup game and celebrate win in style