Eric on The Road

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

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Glide Along Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 29, 2008

Winds swirling off Lake Superior drive moisture into the highlands to its north, dumping an average of nearly 100 inches of snow each year. More than a dozen resorts strung along the Gunflint Trail have responded by designing, building and grooming a system of cross-country ski trails that totals more than 120 miles. It is some of Minnesota’s best cross-country skiing, and in some of its wildest backcountry.

Russia Is Luring Back N.H.L. Stars (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 29, 2008

Russia’s professional league expects to catch and surpass the N.H.L. as the world’s premier hockey league.

Also see:
Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Battle With the N.H.L. By Jeff Z. Klein

Thursday, February 28, 2008

On This Day: February 28, 1977 - VIA Rail is Born (CBC News)

From CBC News:

On February 28th, 1977, Federal Transport Minister Otto Lang announces the creation of a new Crown corporation that will take over all passenger rail services in Canada. It is called VIA Rail Canada. Until this time, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways both operated a mix of profitable freight services and debt-ridden passenger services.

The best Baltimore song (Baltimore Sun)

From the Baltimore Sun (

Baltimore Sun reporter Sam Sessa is working on a story about the best songs with the word "Baltimore" in their name. See what he and readers have found, and make your own suggestion:

A New Novel Breaks Horses — and Stereotypes (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Ketzel Levine
Morning Edition, February 28, 2008

Author Molly Gloss wanted to tell the story of women who tamed wild horses using gentle methods.

Hamilton vs. Montreal in Bagels ? (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

Bill Brownstein, The GazettePublished: Wednesday, February 27

A group of Montrealers learned two things yesterday: Hamilton has an airport, and Hamilton had best stick to making steel, not bagels.

In what will come as no surprise to any Montrealer, our bagels reigned - extremely - supreme in a blind taste test over the best that Steeltown could bake.

"This is not a bagel - it's a bloody cake," stated one of the judges.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Passing: Steelers announcer Myron Cope (AP)

From The Associated Press through the LA Times:

From the Associated Press, February 27, 2008

Myron Cope, the screechy-voiced football announcer whose colorful catch phrases and twirling Terrible Towel became symbols of the Pittsburgh Steelers during an unrivaled 35 seasons in the broadcast booth, has died. He was 79.

Cope's tenure from 1970 to 2004 as the color analyst on the Steelers' radio network is the longest in NFL history for a broadcaster with a single team and led to his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2005.,0,1548790.story

Group seeks to preserve San Antonio missions (AP)

From the Associated Press through USA Today:

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A new coalition has kicked off a campaign to raise $15.5 million to restore and preserve the four historic missions in San Antonio.

The missions were established nearly 300 years ago and are the oldest buildings in the region.

The National Park Service operates the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, while the Archdiocese of San Antonio cares for the church buildings.

Alaska hosts ice art world championship (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Fairbanks is getting ready to host the 18th annual World Ice Art Championships, Feb. 26-March 23.

Sculptors from around the world will create well over 100 works of ice during the event, which is held in the city's Ice Park. This year's theme is "Celebrating the North: The International Polar Year 2007-2008."

Passing: William F. Buckley

Editor, columnist, novelist, debater and talk show host of "Firing Line" at age 82.

".....who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse..."

Competing on Calls That Aren’t Just Elk to Elk (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Felicity Barringer
February 27, 2008

"A skill perfected by hunters has now become a sport of its own".

Bowling HQ Leaving Milwaukee: Say It Ain't So (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
February 27, 2008

The game's organizing body may be about to roll a gutter ball, commentator Frank Deford says.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Hudson Tubes turns 100

It might not have the cache of other mass transit systems (The "A" Train, the "T", Chicago's El, or San Francisco's famous cable cars or trolleys), but the Port Authority Trans Hudson Railway (PATH), has a history. In fact so much that it turned 100 on February 25, 2008.

Free rides were the order of the day on the line that connects New York and New Jersey. So were looks back in history at the line that was called the Hudson and Manhattan when it was opened by Theodore Roosevlet in 1908.

Here are a couple of takes about the milestone in the New York press:

"It Went By in a Blur: PATH’s 100th" -

"Leaving... On a PATH Train" - Richard Kelly was the president and general manger of PATH and the director of interstate commerce for the Port Authority until 1995. He talks about its history and fields phone calls comparing the PATH to the New York City subways.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Faster Trains Then Than Now (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

By Noah Bierman
Globe Staff / February 24, 2008

A look at some of Massachusetts' old commuter rail schedules shows progress can take a slow track

Boston Has High Hopes Now That the Dig Is Done (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Abby Goodnough
Published: February 24, 2008

With the $15 billion project officially over, the promised transformation of downtown Boston seems within reach.

Also make sure to check out the accompanying slide show.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bob Gainey's Ethic Recognized (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

By Red Fisher

No. 23 will rise to rafters as Canadiens honour a natural leader

More on Bob Gainey and Gainey night:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Podcast Posting: The Day They Closed the Old Garden

On Sunday afternoon February 11, 1968 the New York Rangers played their last game at the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets.

To mark the event, Rangers’ brass staged a closing ceremony highlighted by a re-union of the top living players of the time. The invitees include Ranger stars from every era to the original 1926-1927, as well as opponents who faced the New Yorkers. The attendees featured the likes of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Elmer Lach, Aurel Joliat, Milt Schmidt, Sid Abel, Syl Apps, Doug Bentley, Roy Conacher, Bill Chadwick, Lynn Patrick, Andy Bathgate and the Cook Brothers (Gordie Howe was in town as a member of the visiting Detroit Red Wings).

In this Conversation on the Road, we speak with a legendary journalist, broadcaster and hockey historian Stan Fischler (probably known best as “The Hockey Maven”) about the closing of the old Garden, what it meant back then and what it has come to mean these many years later.


New Podcast Posting: National Flirting Week

“National Flirting Week” has become an annual event (parallel to the week of Valentine’s Day). It celebrates the ancient art of flirting and recognizing the role it plays in lives.

In this Conversation on the Road , we speak with author and “Love Coach” Robin Gorman Newman about flirting, and its role in cultures.


Montreal's fascinating, lesser-known museums (Ottawa Citizen)

From The Ottawa Citizen via

By Peter Johansen

Montreal is a city blessed with many fine museums including several lesser-known ones that are worth a look.

Where the dollar's at home (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

Slide show:
A threatened recession can make it hard to get very far on your dollar. Still looking to go someplace where your money can take you a (relatively) long way? Here’s a sampling of affordable options across the United States — from the small-town South to the heartland to arid Arizona — that all can offer rich rewards of their own.

JFK airport dismantles famed stained glass window (AP)

From The Associated Pres through USA Today:

By Amy Westfeldt,
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK — It was called the longest window in the world when its red, sapphire and purple panels were unveiled to airport travelers in 1960. Artists called the window — longer than a football field and more than 20 feet high — one of the most important stained-glass works in the U.S.

But American Airlines quietly began dismantling the window's 900 panels last week at its old John F. Kennedy International Airport terminal, after years of debate and pleas by employees and artists to find a way to keep the abstract, multicolored piece intact.

Many museums asked to display the window — over 300 feet long and 23 feet high — said it was too large. And the airline said that removing it in one piece, moving it and storing it would cost many millions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chief Beer Officer Does Best Work Before Lunch (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Kirk Siegler
Morning Edition, February 20, 2008

Rigorous a.m. tasting sessions help Scott Kerkmans choose which brews to serve at a hotel chain.

Uncovered Photos Offer View of Lincoln Ceremony (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Kitty Eisele
Morning Edition, February 18, 2008

The Library of Congress has discovered previously unseen photos of President Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration. They had been housed at the library for years, hidden by an error in labeling. The photos show the crowd that gathered for the speech.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Passing: BBC Ends English Shortwave Service in Europe (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Doreen Carvajal
Published: February 19, 2008

PARIS — The BBC World Service, which started its scratchy shortwave transmissions to listeners cut off by “desert, snow and sea” 75 years ago, ended its last English-language shortwave services in Europe on Monday, February 18.

The British public broadcaster has been reducing its shortwave transmissions over the last seven years, eliminating services to North America and Australia in 2001 and South America in 2005. Last March, the BBC started reducing European transmissions, finally cutting off a transmitter on Monday that reached parts of Southern Europe.

“There comes a point where the shortwave audience in a given region becomes so small that spending money on it can no longer be justified,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Team Takes Leave of Another Town (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Fifty years after leaving Brooklyn, the Dodgers are leaving Vero Beach, Fla., where they have held their spring training for decades.

"The dismantling of Dodgertown represents another wrecking-ball blow to baseball’s tradition."

Dan Barry:

The last game:

Make sure to check out the accompanying audio and video presentations.

Also, check out this NPR feature just before the Dodgers' last game at Dodgertown on March 17:

Presidential Myths Quiz ( Channel)

From The Discovery Channel through

By Naina Mistry for the Discovery Channel

"We cannot tell a lie: Not even the president of the United States is exempt from being the subject of myth and urban legend. Take this quiz and sink your wooden teeth into some choice tales about our chief executives!"

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge? (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 14, 2008

Susan Jacoby, author of “The Age of American Unreason,” is one of a number of writers with new books that bemoan the state of American culture.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Land for Sale Near Famed Hollywood Sign (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Ashley Surdin
Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, February 15, 2008

Los Angeles Officials Denounce Plan to Sell Acreage Near Landmark for $22 Million.

After Clemens & Congress (NY Times)

Where’s the Beef? PETA Has Sent Treats

At Berra Museum, the Display of Clemens’s Jersey Is Over

Justice Will Be Served Only if Clemens Isn’t Given a Pass -
Sports of the Times Column by William C. Rhoden

What We're About: A Discussion on the American Road by Those Whom We Admire

It's good to keep challenging one's own assumptions.

Many of you have told us how much you enjoy what we do. A unique take, a different kind of voice are some of the things we hear.

But not wanting to be seduced by the voices we want to hear, we seek to visit and re-visit what we do and why we do it.

Recently on You Tube we came across an old "Charlie Rose" show (September 6, 1993).

In it the late CBS News broadcaster Charles Kuralt, National Public Radio correspondent and filmmaker Andrei Codrescu, and "The Magic Bus" author Douglas Brinkley talk about America's long-held fascination with road trips, travel around the country, and exploration.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Devout Flock to 'Holy Highway' (NPR)

From NPR News:

by John Burnett
All Things Considered, February 15

A prayer movement has broken out in a handful of churches along Interstate 35. Participants say that if people pray hard enough, God will touch communities along the highway, which stretches from Texas to Minnesota.

The prayer movement — part of a Pentecostal, evangelical branch of conservative Christianity — began with Cindy Jacobs, a petite and intense woman who heads a prayer ministry called Generals International.

"One day we were praying, and we were reading Isaiah 35, Verse 8, which talks about a highway for holiness," she says. "And we were thinking, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if along this Highway 35 here, that there was a special time where God just touched everybody that lives in all parts of this highway?'"

Jacobs then developed what she calls a "prayer strategy" for people from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minn., to pray for 35 days along Interstate 35.

February 15 is Flag Day in Canada

Today, February 15, is Flag Day (in Canada). It commemorates the inauguration of the national flag of Canada by Governor General Georges Vanier on that date in 1965. The day is marked by flying the flag, occasional public ceremonies (especially in 2005, its 40th anniversary), and educational programs in schools.

Birth of the Canadian Flag:
National Flag Day of Canada :

Also: A gallery of Canadian flags (from the Montreal Gazette and its readers):

Ky. town basks in Lincoln limelight, bicentennial celebrations (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Bruce Schreiner,
Associated Press Writer

HODGENVILLE, Ky. — Never mind that young Abe left in obscurity after his family's frontier land squabbles. Or that years later voters from his old Kentucky home didn't support his run for the presidency.

This town now proudly embraces Abraham Lincoln as a native son, though its status as his birthplace hasn't kept it from being overshadowed by other places more famously associated with the Great Emancipator.

But locals are hoping that changes with a two-year national celebration commemorating the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's 1809 birth in a small cabin at Sinking Spring farm near what became Hodgenville.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine's story (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

By DAVE STUBBS, The Gazette

Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau and his cherished wife Elise have not missed a step - in sickness and health - during 55 years of wedded bliss.

Between States, Hard Feelings Over a Rock’s Place (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dan Barry
Published: February 11, 2008

A fabled rock sits on old tires in the municipal garage of this river city, awaiting the outcome of a border dispute between Ohio and Kentucky.

Soul Food Museum (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Shaila Dewan
Published: February 14, 2008

A newly opened storefront operation called the Soul Food Museum is trying to baste itself onto the rich historical fabric of the neighborhood where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Remembering Red Barber, 1908-2008

On Feb. 16, 2008, Columbus, Mississippi, will celebrate the centenary of one of its illustrious native sons, Walter Lanier “Red” Barber. Considered one of the seminal figures in sports broadcasting, Barber made his indelible mark as a radio play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds (1934-1938), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1939-1953) and the New York Yankees (1954-1966).From “the catbird seat,” the Ol’ Redhead called games for the Reds, Dodgers and Yankees using language he made famous, phrases like “tearin’ up the pea patch” and “I’ll be a suck-egg mule.”

Though there were many firsts throughout his storied career, perhaps none was more significant than the role Barber played in the integration of Major League baseball by Jackie Robinson. Barber told the story in his 1982 book: “1947: When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.”

In 1981, Barber, by then well into retirement, was introduced to a new generation of admirers by Bob Edwards, host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Each Friday for 12 years Red and the Colonel (as Barber dubbed Edwards) would chat about a wide range of topics.
Barber, the son of a school teacher and a railroad engineer, lived the first 10 years of his life in Columbus, Mississippi.

On the weekend of his centennial, Barber’s hometown will host a banquet featuring Edwards, and noted broadcast historian Curt Smith.

Also planned for that weekend is the dedication of a state historic marker near Barber’s first home in Columbus.

In this conversation we speak with Curt Smith, author of “Voices of the Game”, the definitive work on baseball broadcasting ” and with Glenn Lautzenhiser of Columbus, who as much as anyone, is responsible for making this unique event happen.

For the podcast, go to:

BTW, for additional information about the centennial, go to:

An NPR Rememberance can be found at:

Finally, scroll down for an article by George Vescey in The New York Times recalling Red Barber upon his centennial.

Flipping Out in Fargo (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
February 11, 2008

It was a record-breaking weekend for pancakes in Fargo, N.D., where the Kiwanis Club served 34,818 flapjacks at its annual fundraiser. That beat the Guinness Book record previously held by the Lions Club of Lubbock, Texas.

Utah Clerk Bags National Championship (NPR)

From NPR News:

The Bryant Park Project
February 11, 2008

Erika Jensen left Utah as a grocery store bagger and came back from Las Vegas a super-bagger after winning a competition there. Jensen says it all comes down to practice, practice, practice.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kentucky's bourbon trail (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)



www.kybourbon.comThis site from the Kentucky Distillers' Association maps out the state's bourbon distilleries and features a short history of the fire water. You can find details on distillery tours and points of interest. The site also includes travel links, industry statistics and tasting and serving recommendations.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Minnesota's weather records just got older and mostly colder (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

From The Star Tribune:

Eighty-five new record daily low temperatures were added to the Twin Cities log book this week, thanks to a project by the National Climatic Data Center to certify two decades of 19th-century weather observations. Thirty-eight of the new record lows were reported in the months of December, January and February.

The new figures emerged from some historical detective work.

The beginning of the "modern" weather log from 1891, when the National Weather Service was organized, has been moved back to 1871.

Those decades, when U.S. Army Signal Service officers in St. Paul were the official Twin Cities weather observers, include the cities' all-time coldest January (1875), the winter a New York Times writer declared St. Paul "the Siberia of America" (1884-85) and the day in January 1888, when great-great grandpa walked to school even though it was 41 below zero.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Enthusiasm Cools for Hockey’s Foray Into the South (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 10, 2008

Local TV viewership for the Atlanta Thrashers in the first half of the season was down 50 percent from last year and in Dallas, Tampa Bay and Phoenix it has dropped by 29 to 35 percent. (It rose by 50 to 114 percent in Detroit, St. Louis and Minnesota.)

"...There just isn’t enough interest in the sport to make it work....", says one sports markting expert.

Paul Kelly, president of the N.H.L. Players’ Association, adds, “My own belief is that if a team from a nontraditional market has to relocate, it should go to one of the Canadian cities, like Winnipeg, where it would have the fan support and the revenue streams to do well.”

Editor's Note: It's about time - now what about Winnipeg, Quebec, Hamilton and even Halifax ?

Mets Lore Lands in New Jersey Basement (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Voncent M. Mallozzi
Published: February 10, 2008

Charlie Sobel received a rather unusual bar mitzvah gift in 1971: 14 drawings that had once decorated the set of “Kiner’s Korner,” a long-running postgame interview show hosted by Ralph Kiner.

Restored Mount Washington Hotel retains glamour of a bygone era



It takes only one glance at the Mount Washington Hotel to know they simply don't make 'em like they used to.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Passing: Polaroid Camera & Film (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

Polaroid Corp., the Massachusetts company that gave the world instant film photography, is shutting down its film manufacturing lines in the state and abandoning the technology that made the company famous.

Depanneur: A Quebec fixture faces an uncertain future (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

The descendants of tobacconists and once-ubiquitous corner grocery stores, dépanneurs have become an inextricable part of life in Montreal.

soundoff: The dépanneur is a great Quebec institution that is increasingly coming under attack by big chain operators. What makes your locally owned dépanneur special? Share stories and photos of your favourite shopkeepers at:

Passing: Karl Ehrhardt, Sign Man & Shea Stadium Fixture (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Karl Ehrhardt, who through championship seasons and woeful ones and grand slams and botched plays let the New York Mets know what he thought of them by raising block-lettered signs from his box seat behind third base at Shea Stadium, died Tuesday, February 5 at his home in Glen Oaks, Queens. He was 83.

Friday, February 08, 2008

CBC celebrates the national game (CBC/Globe and Mail)

From CBC Sports:

CBC'S Hockey Night in Canada, CBC News: The National, CBC Radio One, HNIC Radio on SIRIUS and CBC News at Six all descend upon Winkler, MB to participate in Canada's hockey holiday.

CBC'S HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA eighth annual broadcast drops the puck on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 12 noon ET from Winkler, Man. MacLean at the Winkler Recreation Complex to pay tribute to Canada's game, alongside Don Cherry, Cassie Campbell, Scott Morrison and Dick Irvin with
content from virtually every region of the country.

It includes a look at former NHL player Joé Juneau's work as a minor-hockey organizer in the northern community of Kuujjuaq, Que., and a story about Scott Stafford, who was born with one hand but is playing well for junior hockey's Sarnia (Ontario) Blast.

Another piece profiles Toronto Blue Jay Matt Stairs, who volunteers during the off-season as an assistant high-school hockey coach in Bangor, Me. Stairs grew up a few hours away in Fredericton.

There's also a report on the opening of an outdoor rink at Black Diamond, Alta., to be attended by Calgary Flames alumni.

At Tim Horton's hometown of Cochrane, Ont., the opening of an events facility named for the late NHL star will be attended by members of his family and former teammates.

There will be a shinny game on the Rideau Canal, a pond hockey tournament in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and a winter carnival in New Glasgow, N.S.

And, As part of the Hockey Night in Canada telecast, the CBC will offer play-by-play in Mandarin (Red Wings-Maple Leafs), Hindi (Canadiens-Senators) and Cantonese (Avalanche-Canucks), with the broadcasts being called off monitors from the CBC headquarters in Toronto.

From sea to sky, a true superhighway (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

From Saturday's Globe and Mail (February 9, 2008)

It almost cost B.C. its bid for the 2010 Winter Games. But an incredible engineering feat is turning a deadly strip of road into a safe — and spectacular — route to travel through the mountains

Primitive Biathlon (WBUR/NPR)

From WBUR - Boston:

Winter biathlon is an Olympic Sport that combines target shooting and cross country skiing. While relatively obscure in the United States, the Biathlon is more popular than the Super Bowl in Northern Europe and was the most watched sport at the Lillehammer Games in 1994. But what does the "biathlon" have to do with hundreds of people who don funny hats, strap on wooden snowshoes, and go for a walk in the woods of northern Vermont? From Jeffersonville, Only A Game's Karen Given has the story.

Pro Sports Today: The Business of Naming Rights and Corporate Boxes (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

The old Yankee Stadium cost Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast Huston $2.5 million to build and $100 million (or so) for the city to rebuild. The cost to replace it is now about $1.2 billion.

The new ball park is highlighted by space dedicated to the wealthiest’s pursuits in suites and pampered club areas. A two-level Legends Suite Club will serve the 1,800 ticket holders who will sit closest to the field in 1,800 cushioned seats extending along the baselines from home plate.

"Hopefully, when ticket prices are announced, the wealthiest in their premium areas will subsidize the regular Joes", wrote Richard Sandomir in The New York Times.

On the same page is found an article describing a remodeling of some sections of New York's Madison Square Garden in an effort to squeeze out a few (million) extra dollars from its corporate clients.

Marc Ganis, the president of SportsCorp, a sports business consulting firm, said the changes (Naming Rights, Corporate Boxes etc.) were part of the upscaling of live sports, a trend that started 20 years ago and shows no signs of abating.

That business reality is changing the fan experience, even in places like the Garden, which is 40 years old but still caters to its increasingly suit-wearing, deal-making crowd by offering sushi, Kobe beef hot dogs and nightclub-style bars.

“A lot of regular fans are getting shut out of season tickets,” Ganis said. “It is the unfortunate downside of having to generate so much revenue to pay player salaries.”

A Tour of Candyland in Wisconsin, Timeless and Sweet (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 8, 2008

You can drive a 150-mile perimeter of a rough triangle — think of it as the Wisconsin Candy Delta — formed by Green Bay, Manitowoc and Oshkosh and spend at least a whole day slowly sampling candy sure to thrill anybody’s valentine. These sweets are made from 100-year-old recipes and sold in 50-year-old mom-and-pop bastions — heirloom chocolates fresh from the source.

Heard on the Radio: Ranching Heritage in South Texas

The Ranching Heritage Festival celebrates the rich history of ranching in South Texas with a fabulous variety of activities, educational presentations, and entertainment.

Michael Goodfriend talks to Hal Ham from the John E. Conner Museum about the festival, which includes Ranch Craft Artist Demonstrations, Early Texican re-enactors, Cowboy gunfighters and Cowboy Poets/ Musicians/ Storytellers.

Saturday (February 9) at 11 a.m. and Sunday (February 10) at 1 p.m. on Left Jab at XM Satellite Radio's Channel 167. Afterwards as a podcast at

Historic group pitches 12 tourist destinations (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Cheryl Wittenauer, Associated Press Writer

Each year starting in 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" appealing to tourists' taste for historic places. The National Trust said it recognizes American cities and towns that are committed to historic preservation and community revitalization.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

1864 Lincoln carriage to return to public display (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The carriage that took Abraham Lincoln to Ford's Theatre the night he was assassinated will return to public display Friday at the Studebaker National Museum in Indiana.

Civil rights landmarks mapped out in new guidebook (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Beth J. Harpaz, AP Travel Editor

NEW YORK — If you drive six miles southwest of Anniston, Ala., you'll pass the spot where a bus was bombed in 1961 and the passengers — civil rights activists known as Freedom Riders — were beaten by a mob.

There's no marker there, but it's one of 400 places in a new book called On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail (Algonquin Books, $18.95).

Mermaid Attraction to Become Florida State Park (AP)

From The Associated Press through

Once in Danger of Closing, Town-Owned Park Now Protected by State

Ala. Black Belt Region Looks to Rich History for Economic Boost (USA Today)

From USA Today through

USA TODAYFeb. 4, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — From the birth of the Confederacy to the struggles of the civil rights movement, the Black Belt region of Alabama has been the center for much of the state's — and the USA's — history.

Now, a grass-roots effort is underway to give this historic region a brighter future by getting it designated a National Heritage Area.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Business Owner: 'Come on Down to New Orleans' (NPR)

From NPR News:

Tell Me More
February 5, 2008

It's Mardi Gras, which in New Orleans means beads, parades, and parties. But the struggle continues for New Orleans businesses trying to stay ahead of the economic fallout from Hurricane Katrina. Armand Olivier, owner of Olivier's Creole Restaurant in the French Quarter, explains how his business is faring.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Podcast Posting: A Wisconsin Community’s Claim as Groundhog Capital

These days many places trot out a groundhog on Groundhog to predict whether it will be an early Spring or 6 more weeks of winter.

But there is a town in Wisconsin that also makes the claim of being the "Groundhog Capital of the World".

Needless to say this does not sit well with some elsewhere - especially one small town in Pennsylvania.

We speak with Sarah Vitale from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin to get their take on this claim.


Monday, February 04, 2008

American Experience: Grand Central (PBS)

From PBS:

"Discover the drama surrounding the construction of New York City's Grand Central Terminal".

15% of Canadians would rather vote in U.S. election: survey (CBC News)

From CBC News:

Last Updated: Monday, February 4, 2008

Keith Neuman of Environics told that the fact that nearly one in six Canadians said they would vote in the American election over the Canadian election shows just how important they think the United States is.

"What they're saying is that in the whole scheme of things, the race will have impact on the world and Canada," said Neuman, Environic's group vice-president, public affairs.

"The U.S. is a big global superpower and it carries a lot of weight."

Death photo of war reporter Ernie Pyle found (AP)

From The Associated Press:

Sixty-three years after Pyle was killed by the Japanese, it has surfaced — surprising historians, reminding a forgetful world of a humble correspondent who artfully and ardently told the story of a war from the foxholes.

Super Bowl Aftermath: It All Depends Where You're Looking From

Different views of the Super Bowl upset by the Nwew York Football Giants over the New England Patriots:

From New York:

The view from New England:

And from Miami, where the Dolphins' 1972 undefeated, untied season and Super Bowl win remains the standard bearer:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Big Game Is No Place for the Average Fan (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 3, 2008

How is it that a sport with such populist roots has as its climax the Super Bowl, a weeklong extravaganza that is now the latest stop on the celebrity circuit? Even at their face value of $700 and $900, tickets are so out of reach of most fans that the Super Bowl has become one giant luxury suite, dominated not so much by die-hard Patriots and Giants fans as by corporate executives, team employees, players’ families and celebrities.

Cajuns fete Carnival with pig slaughter (AP)

From The Associated Press through The Boston Globe:

By Stacey Plaisance
Associated Press Writer / February 3, 2008

ST. MARTINVILLE, La.—Far from the Carnival balls, parades and raucous crowds of New Orleans, Cajuns in St. Martinville held their last "bon temps" before Lent in a far different fashion: with a grand boucherie, or slaughtering of a pig.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ready with A Song and A Story at 95 (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Frank Prall
February 2, 2008

Tony Martin's voice is not what it was, but when the lights dim and he opens with Lerner and Loewe’s “Almost Like Being in Love,” he has the audience in his hands.

Modern-Day Cowboys Frozen in Time (NPR)

From NPR News:

Day to Day
February 1, 2008

Photographer Robb Kendrick traveled 41,000 miles searching for cowboys. His six-year quest took him across 14 states, Mexico and Canada. He emerged with a collection of images that seem trapped in time.

In the Town Where the Giants Play, a Sense of Being Overlooked (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

With the New York Football Giants just one victory away from their third Super Bowl triumph (Too bad the undefeated Patriots are the last BIG obstacle), isn’t it time to get to know the team’s real home of the past 32 years?

Any TV watcher knows that when the Giants play, the networks usually sprinkle in shots of the Manhattan skyline and Times Square, not the low-slung shops on Paterson and Park Avenues, which is where Noel Figueroa, a hair stylist, can be found.
“They don’t give the town shine,” he said. “This is where the team is, the streets they walk. They go to the liquor store, they eat at Ralph’s Pizza, they get their hair cut here.”

In fact, it meet intrigue you to know (as East Ruherford Mayor Cassella points out), “The Giants have been in New Jersey longer than they were at Yankee Stadium.”

Football By the Borders

The borders might be tightening up to keep some out of the U.S.A.. But they seem to be wide open in efforts to export modern American popular culture in the from of NFL football.

As the Super Bowl is being staged 180 miles to the north, The New York Times visits Nogales along the Arizona-Mexico border in an article titled "In Land of Fútbol, Hoping for Football Fans". In spite of NFL amrketers, the predominent sentiment, at least according to the article, was expressed by one who stated, " “I enjoy listening to people talk about football and their favorite players,” Castro, 42, added. “But I’d rather have a lot of Americans buying in my shop.”

To the north, it's been confirmed that the Buffalo Bills will be playing some of their games in Toronto. The rationale is to tap into the "tremendous amount of interest" the Bills generate across neighboring southern Ontario...". The Bills have maintained this is an extension of their bid to regionalize their base.

But fears have been raised that these games mark the first step toward permanent relocation, especially once long time Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson dies.

The 89-year-old Wilson doesn't intend to sell or relocate the Bills while he's alive, but does plan to have the team sold to the highest bidder after his death.

In November, Rogers questioned Buffalo's long-term ability to support an NFL franchise, while backing the Bills' bid to play limited games in Toronto.

In Canada, there is some concern about the impact of the arrival of NFL football on the viability of the long-standing Canadian Football League.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Crumbling coastlines (Canwest News Service)

From The Canwest News Service through

By Charles Mandel , Canwest News Service

Erosion threatens landmarks such as an iconic lighthouse B&B

Why Do I Live in Vermont? (Vermont Life)

From Vermont Life Magazine:

14 Noted Writers Respond

Heard on the Radio: Beer America Goes Dixie for Mardis Gras

At Left Jab, we introduced Mark and David to Joe and Kendra Bruno, owners of the Dixie Brewing Company in New Orleans.

Like that of New Orleans, the story of the Brunos and their legendary brand (which turned 100 in 2007) is one of survival.

We hear what the mood is this year for Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. We also hear some what Dixie has survived and their hopes for the future.

You can hear the segment on Left Jab on XM Satellite Radio's Channel 167 - Saturday at 11 am - repeated Sunday at 1 p.m. or later at

Also see: Parade Returns, and the Heart of the City Rejoices - Endymion is the krewe of merrymakers that puts on the biggest and most lavish Mardi Gras parade in this Mardi Gras-crazy town, the only parade that traditionally rolls through the decidedly nontouristy neighborhood known as Mid-City. It has been gone after Katrina. But this year, on Saturday, Endymion’s parade will be back in the heart of New Orleans. And people here are thrilled.

Needing a Hail Mary, Fans Find a Monastery (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: January 31, 2008

In debt from the recent purchase of a nearby parcel, the Benedictine nuns at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Scottsdale, Arizona are hoping to make a dent in their mortgage by converting their 10-bedroom spiritual retreat into a crash pad for Super Bowl fans this weekend.