Eric on The Road

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Indiana town to host Model T centennial celebration (AP)

From the Associated Press through USA Today:

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — Organizers of a July celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Co.'s famed Model T are trying to round up enough volunteers to make sure the week-long gathering runs smoothly.

From July 21-26, thousands of spectators and close to 1,000 Model Ts and their owners will converge on the Richmond area in eastern Indiana for the "2008 Centennial T-Party."

Arizona town proposes new scenic Grand Canyon route (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

City officials in Surprise would like to change that and offer Grand Canyon visitors an alternate route that would include driving through some of Arizona's most charming and beautiful towns and cities.

While studying ways to lure more tourists to Surprise, about 25 miles west of Phoenix, city officials crafted the would-be route to the Grand Canyon that starts in their city and runs northwest through Wickenburg, Prescott, Jerome and Sedona.

Whatever happened to Bette Davis? (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

By Ty Burr
Globe Staff / March 30, 2008

Bette Davis would have truned 100 on April 5, 2008.

"While other femmes fatales mellowed into grande dames, she fell from vogue. Still, those eyes intrigue . . ."

'We want to be bilingual!' 'We love French!' (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

March 31, 2008

As New Brunswick's Liberal government abolishes early immersion, English parents are taking to the streets to loudly oppose the move

It's Opening Day

Some opening day highlights from around the Majors:

A slide show about Wrigley Field (Chicago Tribune):,0,5330601.photogallery

In Tiger Town, fans don't bail on tradition (Detroit Free Press):

Of all the fans in baseball, Phillies fans are most faithful (Philadelphia Inquirer):

Torre still checking Dodgers' makeup (LA Times):,1,4787891.story

Red Wings honor Mr. Hockey before 80th birthday (Detroit Free Press)

From The Detroit Free Press:

DETROIT — The Red Wings celebrated Gordie Howe’s 80th birthday with a ceremony before Sunday’s game against the Predators.

Howe, who actually turns 80 on Monday (March 31), was presented with a framed No. 17 jersey — his number his rookie year before he got No. 9 his second season. He also was presented with a leather jacket; part of his bonus when he signed was a leather Red Wings jacket.

Tons of Snow Test a Place Where Cold Is No Stranger (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Ian Austen
Published: March 31, 2008

OTTAWA — People here are divided between those longing for a few more inches of snow to set a record and others who think the 14 feet that has already landed, and mostly lingered, is more than enough.

No one needs to ask Luc Guertin his view. His front yard on a suburban street here features his personal monument to eastern Canada’s unusually prolonged, relentless and snowy winter. A snow wall, about 18 ½ feet high, 6 to 10 feet wide and 30 feet long, rises along one edge of the driveway

Showing Power, but Weakening a Neighborhood (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Harvey Araton
Published: March 31, 2008

"The Yankees win. When John Sterling makes the “the” sound hysterically polysyllabic on the radio this season, take a moment to consider at whose expense".

"By the tens of thousands, fans will come Monday for opening day, Toronto at the Yankees, and every game day thereafter to gape at the retrofit future Yankee Stadium that stands, however unfinished, alongside the weathered timepiece that pays tribute to baseball’s past. The House That George Herman Ruth Built and the one that George M. Steinbrenner privately financed, with the exception of taxpayer-financed infrastructure upgrades and a land grab with costs best measured in cruelty".

"Two classic edifices, one season only; has there ever been a more shock-and-awe demonstration of Bronx Bombers power?"

As Jinx Turns 100, the Friendly Confines Are Getting Feisty (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Alan Schwartz
Published: March 30, 2008

"Sam Zell does pretty much whatever he pleases. He curses at employees in his $6 billion empire. At 66, he motorcycles 115 miles per hour and extreme skis. So if he wants to buy a major league baseball team — particularly the pickled-in-tradition Chicago Cubs — not only do their fans not have to like it, but he doesn’t, either".

“'He actually dislikes baseball,' Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of Chicago’s crosstown White Sox said matter-of-factly. 'He never would have bought the Cubs if they didn’t come with the Tribune. It’s just another asset to him.'"

"And so begins the Cubs’ first full season of temporary control under Zell, who purchased the Tribune Company last year and now wants to drop its subsidiary Cubs like a wet washcloth. (But only after he explores selling the naming rights to Wrigley Field.) The team is coming off a division title and is a legitimate contender to win its first World Series in exactly 100 years — the longest championship drought in professional sports — but of more immediate importance to many fans is this shotgun marriage between a hard-edged financier and the Midwest’s resident teddy bears....".

Remembering the Expos on Opening Day

It's all but a memory now. The Expos have gone off with another.

There's finally a new ball park, but it's to be found in Southeast Washington, not downtown Montreal.

So we are left to fantasizing. Here's a musical treat from former Expos organist Fernand Lapierre that will take you back to the eraly years at Parc Jarry. Close your eyes and recall Rusty Staub, Gene Mauch, Bill Stoneman and Mack Jones (links to others too). All that's missing is "The Happy Wanderer".

Play Ball !

Another version of the Expos song (in French):

A video about an Expo wives fashion show set at Jarry Park with Fernand Lapierre's organ music in the background.

A video about the Expos first games ever in 1969:

And one about their last game ever in 2004:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Joy of Kites (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Sunday,
March 30, 2008

Kite flyers and kite lovers gather near the Washington Monument for the annual Smithsonian Kite Festival, showing off handmade kites and competing for prizes. Kitemaker Jon Burkhardt, head judge of the festival, talks about his craft.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

French Lick and West Baden Springs, Ind. (Chicago Tribune)

From The Chicago Tribune:

The gracefully rolling farmland of southern Indiana is full of surprises: a movie-set baseball stadium, a monastery that makes and sells caskets, an Amish village, a cave that can be explored only by boat, one of Abe Lincoln's log cabin and a town called Santa Claus. But the twin jewels in this crown are a pair of palatial Victorian hotels restored to their turn-of-the-century grandeur: the 1902 West Baden Springs Hotel and the French Lick Springs Hotel. Together they anchor a destination called French Lick Resort Casino.,0,3524530.storygallery

Capitol statues switched as subjects' fame fades (Hearst Newspapers)

From The Hearst Newspapers thorugh the Star-Tribune (Minneapolis):

By JUDY HOLLAND, Hearst Newspapers
March 29, 2008

WASHINGTON - Move over, Thomas Starr King and Zachariah Chandler. It's time to make way in the Capitol for two better known sons of California and Michigan: Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

Statues of these relatively obscure men -- a preacher credited with saving California from becoming a separate republic during the Civil War and a Michigan senator who helped found the Republican Party -- will soon be removed from their sculpted perches inside the Capitol building.

A New & Last Season for NY Ballparks (NY Times)

From a Special Opening Day Section in The New York Times:

Remembrances & more: The New York Times and its sports columnists share their experiences accumulated from the playing field of Yankee Stadium to the locker rooms at Shea

Ballparks Come, Ballparks Go, the Memories Are Forever
By George Vescey
March 30, 2008

"My father played hooky to attend the first game in Yankee Stadium. I always think of him when I see pictures of the raw new ballpark in the Bronx".

"....Now both teams are putting up new ballparks, with fewer seats and higher prices. Our tax money is paying for infrastructure for stadiums where fewer of us can afford to go. I don’t claim to get it...."

Deep Inside the Big Ballyard in the Bronx
By Tyler Kepner
Published: March 30, 2008

“Babe Ruth stood at home plate,” Goose Gossage said. “The new stadium’s going to be spectacular in all ways, but it’s going to be different. I don’t care any way you look at it, it’s not home plate.”

The Yankees will re-create the exterior of the original Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923, when they christen the new version next spring. They will bring back the famous frieze, and the field dimensions will be the same as today.

But the nooks will be different, the sense of place skewed. There are doodles and quirks and alcoves that will be lost to memory. Savor them now, because soon they will be gone.

So long Shea: "It's a dump. But it's our dump"
By Ben Shpigel
Published: March 30, 2008

“It’s dilapidated and obsolete, sure, but I could say the same thing about the apartment where I grew up, in Bayside, Queens,” said Howie Rose, the Mets’ play-by-play broadcaster on WFAN. “That apartment was home. My memories there are happy, warm and indelible, just like they are from Shea. To me, Shea is home.”

The Spirits of Yankee Legends Permeate a Locker Room
By Joe Lapointe
Published: March 30, 2008

You Can’t Just Blow Up History
By Richard Sandomir
Published: March 30, 2008

Looking Out My Window Into the Past and the Future
Published: March 30, 2008

From Reggie to Chub: One Last Roll Call
Published: March 30, 2008

CBC Radio Orchestra to disband after 70 years (CBC)

From CBC News:

The last notes of the Vancouver-based CBC Radio Orchestra will be heard at the end of the fall concert season in November.

CBC sites dollars and sense, and claims that it will continue to promote classical music - especially Canadian composers elsewhere.

But Colin Miles, regional director of the Canadian Music Centre, said disbanding the orchestra downgrades CBC's role as a public broadcaster.

"What they're interested in doing is downgrading CBC from a public broadcaster into a commercial broadcaster … to make it easier to compete with the private sector," Miles said.

Jane Coop, a concert pianist with CBC Radio Orchestra, said Canadian music will be the big loser. The orchestra's mandate has always been to showcase Canadian talent.

"We won't get that with other orchestras. They can't really do that with as much commitment and as much verve," she said.

Former Expos Franchise Opens New Home

Thankfully, Montreal sports fans have lots to cheer about these days.

Their Canadiens, after years of mediocrity, are suddenly to found fighting for first place and top seed in the playoffs, only one year after missing out on the post season dance.

It also seems that Canadiens' owner George Gillett (an American, but not like the former Expos owner by the name of Loria) and the Saputo family, who have done so much for soccer in Montreal, are seriously talking of the possibility of an MSL soccer franchise a couple of years down the road.

There was even some wild blogging about Mr. Gillett helping to spur on the return of the Expos.

So, it's hoped that this good news can help overlook the fact that the franchise formally known as the Expos is preparing for yet another "new start" - this time at a new stadium in Washington, DC. (Remember Labbatt Park?).

Here are a couple of takes on the new park for the Washington Nationals:

From The Washington Post:

Also, "Nationals Look for Fresh Start at New Stadium"

In the meantime, as a fan of Jarry Park, Rust Staub and Cocoa Laboy, I still am haunted by the legacy of how Montreal and its fans were treated by, amomg others, Bud Selig, and a U.S. mainstream sports media that got it all wrong:

"For the Books, Nationals Face History Questions - Records by Senators, Expos Are at Issue"

Home Opener - Ex-Expo Zimmerman homers in bottom of the ninth (Sports Ticker via the Montreal Gazette)

Friday, March 28, 2008

America’s Best Hot Dogs (


By Bret Stetka for MSN City Guides

"There may never be agreement on where the hot dog came from, but our writer stakes a claim for the seven best places to find one today".

Heard on the Radio: FDR's Fireside Chat & First 100 Days 75 Years Later

On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the first of his Sunday evening “fireside chats” to the American people. Speaking by radio from the White House, he reported rather informally on the economic problems of the nation and on his actions to deal with them.

In a remarkably timely topic on this "Hidden America" segment, we introduce Herman Eberheardt of the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York to Left Jab's Mark Walsh.

They talk about FDR as the first media president. They also touch on how FDR dealt with an economic system and a nation in crisis. ("Confronting fear...restoring hope" as the Library describes it".

A special exhibit, "Action, and Action Now" FDR's First 100 Days opened March 4, 2008 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.

This major special exhibition marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt's first inauguration and the beginning of the New Deal. It is an immersive experience, designed to evoke the desperation of the people in the midst of the Great Depression, followed by hope and energy as the nation rebuilds.

The exhibit uses dramatic and historic audio-visuals, as well as rarely-seen documents, photographs, artifacts, and posters drawn from the archives of the Roosevelt Library and Museum. It will remain on display through 2008.

If you can't hear the segment on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 167, Saturday at 11 am - Sunday at 1 pm - times Eastern), you can catch it as a podcast at the Left Jab website:

The United Plates of New Jersey (NY Times)

Some of my favorite places to be include Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria, NYC, Washington, DC (away from the politics), Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco, Charleston, Block Island, the Oregon Coast, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Santa Barbara, Portland (both of them), Scotland, Wales and Cooperstown, New York.

But I have pretty much lived in New Jersey my whole life. It is home.
So, there is a small (very small) part of me that likes to come to the defense of the too much maligned state. Yes, it is too congested, taxes are too high, the politics too often are unsavory, but it is still home.

A defense for New Jersey -at least for the culinary diversity of the state - is to be found in this Escapes Section article in The New York Times of March 28:

"Outside the cookie-cutter turnpike service areas, it's a culinary melting pot - from hamburgers to haggis to shoofly pie"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Passing: Egg McMuffin Inventor (AP)

From The Associated Press via The Washington Post:

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Herb Peterson, who invented the ubiquitous Egg McMuffin as a way to introduce breakfast to McDonald's restaurants, has died, a Southern California McDonald's official said Wednesday. He was 89.

He began his career with McDonald's Corp. as vice president of the company's advertising firm, D'Arcy Advertising, in Chicago. He wrote McDonald's first national advertising slogan, "Where Quality Starts Fresh Every Day."

Peterson eventually became a franchisee and was currently co-owner and operator of six McDonald's restaurants in the Santa Barbara area, said Monte Fraker, vice president of operations for McDonald's restaurants in that city.

Peterson came up with idea for the signature McDonald's breakfast item in 1972. He "was very partial to eggs Benedict," Fraker said, and worked on creating something similar.

Riding The Canadian brings back memories (


Trip travels through the heart of The Rockies

Also see:

Coast-to-coast by rail

A uniquely B.C. rail experience

50 things to do in Canada this summer (National Post)

From the National Post via

by Camilla Cornell , National Post

There are hundreds of great things to do across Canada this summer. Here are just 50.

After Years of Neglect, Rebirth for a Blues Singer’s House (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Shaila Dewan
Published: March 28, 2008

The home of whiskey-slugging contralto blues singer Ma Rainey has been restored in a historic black neighborhood of Columbus, Ga.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

201 Feet to Left, 440 Feet to Right: Dodgers Play the Coliseum (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Alan Schwartz
March 26, 2008

Dodgers celebrate an anniversary with a game at the Coliseum.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Snowman Burning Marks the Arrival of Spring

The winters in The Soo are known to be harsh (Sault Ste. Marie on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at the border with Canada). Annually on or near the first day of Spring, folks at Lake Superior University celebrate the end of a long winter with the reading of poetry and a burning of a snowman in effigy.

In this Conversation on the Road podcast, John Shibley from the University tells us more.


Passing: Popeyes Chicken Founder (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
March 25, 2008

Al Copeland, the founder of Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, has died. He was 64 years old. In his native New Orleans, he was known as much for his flamboyant lifestyle as for his chain's spicy chicken.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Website lets traveler map Ohio's Underground Railroad sites (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio's Division of Tourism has joined the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in promoting Underground Railroad sites around the state.

The website,, and a series of kiosks to be placed around Ohio will help people plan tours of Underground Railroad locations.

Jefferson Davis, like Abe Lincoln a native of Kentucky, to be honored (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — Abraham Lincoln isn't the only Civil War-era historical figure receiving a tribute in Kentucky.

Lincoln's rival and fellow Kentuckian Jefferson Davis will be recognized in Hardin County on his 200th birthday in June, according to The News-Enterprise.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

'Bob and Ray,' Masters of the Subtle Spoof (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Saturday
March 22, 2008

"Bob Elliott and Raymond Goulding probably couldn't make it as a comedy team today: Their humor was slow-paced and subtle. It evolved over minutes — you had to pay attention. And there was no controversy or foul language".

"But from their start in radio in the 1940s until their retirement in the 1980s, the duo known simply as "Bob and Ray" brought laughter into millions of American homes. Americans of a certain age will still crack a smile at the mere mention of their names".

"....Bob Elliott turns 85 on Wednesday, and he celebrates the occasion with NPR's Susan Stamberg by bringing some favorite characters back to life and reminiscing about others. Ray Goulding died in 1990".

Friday, March 21, 2008

Here's to drinking on an empty stomach (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

March 21, 2008

For the first time in almost 80 years, due to recent changes in provincial liquor-control legislation, drinking establishments in Nova Scotia can remain open on Good Friday.

The changes also mean that pubs and restaurants licensed to serve food, like the Old Triangle, are not required to make patrons spend more on grub than they do on hooch. Until this year, downing two pints of Guinness along with an $8 plate of nachos was illegal on Good Friday. You had to eat more.

What Happened to the Hat? (NPR)

From NPR News:

Talk of the Nation
March 20, 2008

Easter Sunday is fast approaching — have you pulled out your Easter bonnet? If not, you aren't alone. Gone are the days of Humphrey Bogart, Hedda Hopper, Jackie O, and their signature hats. Patt Morrison, a columnist for The LA Times explains the allure — and disappearance — of the hat.

Welcome to the neighborhood (USA Today)

From USA Today:

For years, Fred Rogers taped his Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood public television program in Pittsburgh, and this week, the City of Bridges is celebrating "Won't You Be My Neighbor Days."
Travelers can join the festivities by visiting the Mr. Rogers exhibit at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Located in Concourse C by Gate 51, the exhibit includes one of the star's signature sweaters, a pair of his sneakers and several puppets and figurines from the Neighborhood of Make Believe, including King Friday, Queen Sara, Prince Tuesday, Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl.

Fred Rogers, who died of cancer in 2003, would have turned 80 on Thursday, which is also the last day of the festival. This year, his birthday is being promoted as "Sweater Day," with event organizers urging everyone to wear a cardigan to honor Mr. Rogers.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hard To Believe: Bobby Orr Turns 60

To me it's just like yesterday. There was this young phenom who was going to reverse the fortunes of the sorry Boston Bruins and revolutionize the game of hockey.

Truth is Bobby Orr did both. As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, I was not a fan of Orr. But it turns out he was the best I ever saw, and that inlcudes the likes of my favorite Jean Beliveau and other greats by the names of Howe, Hull, Lafleur, Gretzky and Lemiuex.

Orr brought Boston two Stanley Cups and changed the game forever.

Happy 6oth birthday Bobby Orr.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sports in America Increasingly Becoming Child's Play (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Frank Deford
Morning Edition, March 19, 2008

"...We have always had a passion for high school sports. It's no different from why we Americans alone emphasize college sports. Athletics gives glamour and identity to a college or to a town's school...."

".....But what has changed is that it's a national show now. Isn't it enough for a team to win the county championship, a kid to make all-city? No longer. Now school teams travel the land, modern day vaudevillians, playing one-night stands that are hundreds and even thousands of miles away from home. There are all sorts of national post-season all-star games, even high school football bowl games...."

For Bands, Songs Remain the Same (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By John Branch
Published: March 19, 2008

" We try to play songs that not only appeal to the blue-hairs in the crowd, but also to our students,” said Jim Hudson, director of athletic bands at Arizona State.

Mostly, it is because fans want it that way. Bands are looking to get toes tapping and chins wagging no matter the listener’s age.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Smith Island Cake Poised for Maryland Fame (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Ketzel Levine
Morning Edition, March 19, 2008

A multilayer cake known for its oh-so-sweet chocolate frosting may soon be named Maryland's official state dessert.

New Podcast Posting: The Spiedie

The spiedie (IPA: /spɪdɪ/) is a dish local to Greater Binghamton in the Southern Tier of New York State, and somewhat more broadly known and enjoyed throughout Central New York state.

A Spiedie consists of cubes of chicken and pork, but it may also be made from lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer (sometimes for as long as two weeks under a controlled environment) in a special spiedie marinade, then grilled carefully on spits over a charcoal pit. The freshly prepared cubes are served on soft Italian bread or a submarine roll, wood skewer and all, then drizzled with fresh marinade.

In this Conversation on the Road, we learn more about the food and its role in regional culture from Sam Lupo of Lupo’s restaurant, an area institution.


Monday, March 17, 2008

The Queen E is Golden (Montreal Gazette)

The Montreal Gazette:

In its 50 years, the landmark Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal has opened its doors to politicians and pachyderms.

Also see:

Porter carries decades of history; Has been at Queen E since the beginning

Duckpin Bowling Hangs on in Maryland (NPR)

From NPR News:

by David Kohn
Weekend Edition, March 16, 2008

Duckpin bowling was once the thing to do in many eastern cities. The light-pin bowling has all but vanished in most places. But it's still holding on in Maryland.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Still going strong (


By John McGourty Staff Writer

Two Hall of Famers, Milt Schmidt and Elmer Lach, recently celebrated their 90th birthdays, and share memories of their playing days

Bill Geist on the Buzzards of Hinckley, Ohio (CBS News)

From CBS News:

CBS Sunday Morning
March 16, 2008

"The folks in Hinckley, Ohio, say forget the Swallows and San Juan Capistrano -- come see the buzzards return to Hinckley! Every year on March 15, they say, as sure as the sun rises in the East, the buzzards return to Hinckley. Since 1957, an official buzzard spotter and the buzzard faithful have come out to greet them. It’s a sign that spring is on the way. This Sunday Morning, Bill Geist will bring his binoculars to Hinckley, and anxiously await the return of the buzzards. When they arrive, you know spring isn’t far behind."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Arctic Winter Games (Only A Game - WBUR/NPR)


Only A Game
March 16, 2008

The idea for the Arctic Winter Games began in 1967, when some plucky Canadians noticed that athletes from north of the arctic circle were having trouble competing against their counterparts from relatively tropical sites further south in Canada. This week, more than 2000 athletes, coaches, officials, and cultural performers returned to Yellowknife to compete in everything from basketball and curling, to the traditional game of finger pulling. Bill Littlefield speaks with Cathie Bolstad, President of the 2008 Host Society.

In a Maine Town, All Eyes Are on a Tall, Cool Woman (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Katie Zezima
Published: March 16, 2008

Olympia, made of snow and named for Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, stands 122 feet above the town of Bethel.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Remote Canada town a hub for Northern Lights seekers (Reuters through

From Reuters through

By Cameron French , Reuters

More formally known as aurora borealis, the "Northern Lights" have made the northern mining center of Yellowknife -- population roughly 20,000 -- a travel hub for mostly Japanese tourists eager to take advantage of the town's nearly ideal viewing conditions.

Catching the History of Key West (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 14, 2008

Unravel the Floridian city’s history, culture and lore, using the local seafood as a guide.

Heard on the Radio: A Hibernian Ale for St. Paddy's Day

The Harpoon Brewery of Boston and Vermont celebrates St. Patrick's Day in grand style.

First, there is a seasonal Hibernian Ale. Then there is a big push to celebrate with all the various regional pubs and restaurants. And finally, not to be overlooked as this little party St. Patrick's Day party that the Harpoon Brewery likes to stage for 7,000 of its closest friend.

Al Marzi, Chief of Brewing Operations joined us in an all too bried Laft Jab "Beer America" segment. If you miss it on the radio, XM Satellite Radio's "Left Jab", Channel 167 Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., repeated Sundays at 1 p.m. (All times Eastern), you can later catch it as a podcast at:

Heard on the Radio: The Greening of Chicago River for St. Patrick's Day

For almost forty years, Chicago has been dyeing its river an "Irish" or emerald shade of green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

As the story goes, it all started back in the early 1960's around the time that water pollution controls were first being put into place. One day Stephen Bailey, Business Manager of Chicago's Journeymen Plumbers Local Union #110, ran into a plumber who was using a shamrock green dye to track waste leakage into the river when Bailey had what Oprah might call "an a-ha moment." The river has been dyed ever since.

On this Hidden America feature, David Goodfriend of Left Jab Radio speaks with Kevin Sherlock of the Journeymen Plumbers Local about the tradition these days - especially in a time of increasing environmentalism.

If you can't catch the segment live on Left Jab - XM Satellite Radio Channel 167, Saturday at 11 a.m., repeated Sunday at 1 p.m. (All times Eastern) , you can later catch as a podcast at:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Scrabble at 60 (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
March 7, 2008

As the game of Scrabble turns 60, the business of Scrabble remains serious. Wall Street Journal sportswriter Stefan Fatsis, who chronicled the world of Scrabble in his book Word Freak, talks with Robert Siegel.

Pennsylvania: Steel City and More Trivia (NPR)

From NPR News:

The Democratic presidential candidates have six weeks to prepare for Pennsylvania's primary. So it's time to get to know the Keystone State a bit better. For example, it ranks 18th in agriculture production but first in mushrooms. Morning Edition shares some Pennsylvania facts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

'Believe It': Proud Mississippians Shun Stereotypes (NPR)

From NPR News:

Tell Me More
March 10, 2008

Mississippi's conflicted history of race relations, and portrayals of that history in film and books, is one reason why some are quick to associate the Southern state with racism and economic disparities, perceptions more likely to be held by non-Mississippians.

Rick Looser, a Mississippi-based advertising executive, is at the center of a campaign aimed at dispelling common stereotypes about the state. Materials from the ad blitz, "Mississippi, Believe It," have been strategically circulated among the nation's top newspapers, magazines and among the state's colleges and universities.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Beerdrinker of the Year

From our archives, we bring you a “Beer America” feature about the “Beerdrinker of the Year” as awarded by the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver.

Do you have what it takes to be a Beerdrinker of the Year ? Listen in and find out for yourself.


New Podcast Posting: This Year's Town Meeting Day in Vermont

Lost in the presidential primary news on March 4 (Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island primaries) was that it was not only primary day in Vermont, but Town Meeting Day there too.

We speak with University of Vermont Professor Frank Bryan. He is the leading authority of the Town Meeting as a Vermont institution, and he shares with us a rundown about this tradition and what was on the mind of Vermonters this year.


Monday, March 10, 2008

On the NHL's "Sun Belt Strategy" (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

By Jack Todd
March 10, 2008

After 15 years of a concerted strategy aimed at giving the league a truly national presence in the U.S., the NHL still has no profile whatsoever in significant portions of the U.S.

"There is no megabucks contract, a half-dozen sunbelt teams are tottering (hello, Nashville), viable markets in Winnipeg and Hamilton still don't have teams and the NHL is still babbling about Kansas City and Las Vegas".

"...But the simple truth is that the league has failed to reach the U.S. market outside of the franchise cities and the game is not faring much better in those sunbelt cities that have NHL clubs...."

"....While Bettman has pursued his desert mirage, the game has become more popular than ever in its birthplace - Canada. The commissioner would do well to let some of those franchises wilt on the vine (does the NHL really need two teams in Florida?) and find a way to bring teams to Winnipeg and Hamilton...."

Sunday, March 09, 2008

American Journeys: On Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Is Still the South (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 7, 2008

Exploring a lightly traveled corner of a tourist-heavy state.

From Hoop Dancing to Hollywood (Only A Game - NPR/WBUR)


Only A Game
by Daniel Kraker - Arizona Public Radio
March 8, 2008

Hoop Dancing may not be the most overtly recognizable sport in North America, but more than 10,000 people gathered in Phoenix to take in the World Championship Hoop Dancing Contest last month. The traditional Native American competition is more that just fun and games, as it has helped boost one participant to the beginnings of a Hollywood career.

Pretty, Plastic Barbie: Forever What We Make Her (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Kim Masters
Weekend Edition Sunday, March 9, 2008

The 49-year-old icon is known not so much for her own strong character traits, but for the attributes people assume she has.

Saintly Streets Tell a City’s Long Tale (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Patricia Leigh Brown
Published: March 9, 2008

J. Michael Walker has been engaged in an obsessive quest to locate, research and artistically interpret the 103 streets in Los Angeles named after saints.

"We see them withoput looking, without thinking of the resonance of names".

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What's life like for Anglophones in Quebec? (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

"Hello everyone. My name is Paul, and I'm a PhD student from the University of Cambridge. I've come to Montreal for the summer in order to better understand what life is like for the English speaking communities in and around Montreal. I have been reading (with a considerable amount of interest) the discussions that take place here. I was particularly interested in the variety of emotions and positions expressed in the post about Quebec separation, which seemed to me to really reveal a wide range of different attitudes towards life today in and around Montreal. So, if anyone might be interested, I would really be quite grateful to hear your opinion about what it?s like to be an English speaker in Quebec today. For example, I would love to hear about episodes of day to day life that you find interesting, or stories from your past and how life might have changed since you were young, or your concerns about the present political environment, or what you think the future might hold for Quebec and English speaking Quebecers, or really anything that you might feel like sharing or expressing. Thanks in advance for any time and help you can give me, and I really look forward to learning more about your community...."

For the discussion on this question, see:

Friday, March 07, 2008

The History of Parkways (WNYC)

From WNYC:

The Leonard Lopate Show
March 7, 2008

Parkways are a kind of road common in the New York City area, but more rare in the rest of the USA. Find out what parkways are, and how they fit in to the American transportation system. Dr. Timothy Davis is Lead Historian for Park Historic Structures & Cultural Landscapes Program at the U.S. National Park Service.

Iraqi delegation attends Richmond Town Meeting (VPR)

From Vermont Public Radio:

One town meeting on March 4 hosted an unusual group of observers. A delegation from Iraq was in the state to see Vermont's exercise in grassroots democracy in action.

Sugarmaker taps innovation, tradition (Burlington Free Press)

From The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press:

Published: Friday, March 7, 2008
By Joel Banner Baird
Free Press Staff Writer

BELVIDERE -- It sounded like a truck letting off its air brakes Thursday in the boiler room of the Green Mountain Maple Sugar Refining Company.Wrong. It was just owner Joe Russo, testing a pneumatic valve cleaner.

A Winter to Remember

It's been some season for snow stretching from the Upper Midwest through the Great Lakes region into the eastern Canadian-US border area.

Looking back, old timers will invo9ke the winter of 2007-08.

Here is a take from both sides of the border:

"Snow budgets blown" - Boroughs are feeling the pinch. City will find money to ensure removal efforts don't suffer when next big storm lands tomorrow, councillor says- (Montreal Gazette)

"New England’s Snow Becomes Too Much for Roofs" (NY Times) -

"The Year It Snowed in Vermont, and Snowed, and ...." (NY Times) -
The state’s winter has helped drive real estate sales.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Podcast Posting: The Story of French in North America

French is spoken officially in 33 countries and is the only language other than English to be taught in every country in the world. There are an estimated 175 million Francophones and 100 million “occasional” speakers of French, plus around 100 million French students. An official language in dozens of international organizations, French remains to this day one of the world’s most important and influential languages.

The Story of French, by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, is a definitive analysis of French as it is spoken around the world.

An important part of that story is set in North America (more than you might think -and it’s not just in Quebec).

We speak with Jean-Benoît Nadeau about the story of french - a story set in various parts of the continent. Yes, it’s about language, but it’s also about much more.

You can hear at:

New Podcast Posting: The Legacy of the “Nut Lady” & the Nut Museum Collection

In a Conversation on the Road, we talk with Dr. Christopher Steiner, a professor of art history and museum studies at Connecticut College about the Nut Musuem, its late curator and the present day nut collection.

It was Dr. Steiner, who in 2002 rescued the collection, and who is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and communicating the legacy of Elizabeth Tashjian.

Tashjian, who debated whether she was a nut culturist or a nut artist, but was, as the New York Times wrote ”indisputably, well, nuts enough about nuts to win fame (but not fortune) as matriarch of the Nut Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.”. She died last year at age 94.

According to an obituary in the Times, Ms. Tashjian hated being called “the Nut Lady” and died without fulfilling her dream of opening a nut theme park certain to surpass Disneyland. (Her reasoning: Squirrels are cuter than a certain mouse.). She is best known to many as an entertaining and eccentric television gurst with Carson, Letterman and Leno, etc.

You can hear it at:

"Canadiens have the best fans in the league" (

From through

A poll of NHL players by Sports Illustrated has determined that the Montreal Canadiens have the nest fans in the National Hockey League.

More than a third of players, 35 per cent, said Montreal has the best fans in the league. The closest rival is the Minnesota Wild at only 13 per cent. The Toronto Maple Leafs garnered only five per cent of the vote.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"Town Eating Day" (VPR)

From Vermont Public Radio:

Some in Norwich, Vermont have been concerned about a drop-off in civic interest - especially on Town Meeting Day, the first Tuesday in March . So to get more people to town meeting, and to get the conversation flowing, they've turned to food on Saturday, March 1st, before Town Meeting gets underway on Monday.

It's called Town Eating Day and described as follows:

“A combination open-house, town forum, and community lunch, Town Eating celebrates the human scale of small-town civic life.”

Northfield's Town Meeting Day Baked Beans (VPR)

From Vermont Public Radio:

"Good old baked beans were and still are the staple of many town meetings, and this one from the Northfield Ladies of the Congregational Church would most likely have been used at their Town Meeting. The Northfield Cookbook was produced in the early 1900s, with inscriptions on the title page by Mrs W W Thomas in 1916, and then by Mrs B W Thomas in 1931 and finally by Elsie Thomas, no date. It is a well-worn, much-used recipe book that now resides in the collections of the Vermont Historical Societys Library in Barre."

Also check out a Vermont Public Radio audio slide show about the Vermont Town Meeting:

Dick and Bill's Philadelphia Museum Adventure (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend All Things Considered
March 1, 2008

Bill McLaughlin and Dick Hughes, two friends in their 80s, have toured all 203 museums in the Philadelphia area. The two began their museum beat as a distraction when McLaughlin's wife fell ill. They've documented their three years of museum hunting in "Travels with Dick and Bill".

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Overnight with Frank Lloyd Wright (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Barbara Ireland
March 1, 2008

There are a number of houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that visitors can rent.

Measures to preserve crab population proposed (Baltimore Sun)

From The Baltimore Sun through

By Candus Thomson Sun reporter

Plans offered by Md. biologists include licensing recreational crabbers,0,7727484.story

Tribute To A Legend (Only A Game - NPR/WBUR)

From WBUR through NPR:

Only A Game
Host: Bill Littlefield

W.C. Heinz, celebrated sportswriter, died earlier this week. Bill Littlefield talks with Jeff MacGregor, who profiled Heinz for Sports Illustrated, about the work and life of the writer who truly left his mark on sports and on writing.