Eric on The Road

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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Canadiana Top 101 List (Ottawa Citizen)

From The Ottawa Citizen via

From the Dominion Institute of Canada:
A sampling.....10. Niagara Falls
9. Universal health care
8. Pierre Trudeau

True Patriot Love for the eardrums (CanWest News Service)

From The CanWest News Service via

In honour of Canada's birthday, we look some modern and classic pop songs that offer a reflection of Canada.

Alaska Set to Celebrate 50th Anniversary (NPR)

From NPR News:

Susan Stamberg
Morning Edition, June 30, 2008

Alaska became the 49th American state on Jan. 3, 1959. But the state has already begun celebrations to mark June 30, 1958, when the U.S. Senate passed the Alaska Statehood Act.

We stand on guard for national symbols (CanWest News Service)

CanWest News Service through

AMY HUSSER , Canwest News Service

"A recent poll by Ipsos Reid - the largest of its kind ever undertaken - found that although there are distinct differences in the way Canadians across the board define Canada, we ultimately still identify with the same things."

"'When you look at the overall numbers, you find out that there's two stories that come out,' said Marc Chalifoux, executive director of the Dominion Institute, who commissioned the poll alongside Citizenship and Immigration. 'One that ties Canadians together regardless of where they are from and one that's more closely associated - regionally and provincially.'"

"The ways we get there, however, highlight our differences."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Canada's Great Ones (CP/

From The Canadian Press through

"Canada is a big country and you need big things to fill it. We don't have Mount Rushmore but here are 10 uniquely Canadian monuments that fill the skyline across the country".

A Different Era, a Lower E.R.A. (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 29, 2008

Revisiting 1968, the Year of the Pitcher.

A tour of the Hanford reveals the dangers of the birthplace of the bomb (Oregonian)

From the Oregonian:

by James Long, The Oregonian
Saturday June 28, 2008

The nuclear reservation's beauty masks a deadly desert of radioactive waste, decrepit structures and fouled earth.

Article also contains info on how to book a tour at the site through but note that they fill up almost immediately.

How to fillet a walleye (Star Tribune)

From The Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Kenton Anderson of Minnetonka demonstrates how to fillet a walleye (Video)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Grease junkies (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

By Tom Haines
Globe Staff / June 29, 2008

Students deliver a call to action on a cross-country trip fueled by vegetable oil

With accompanying slide show

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Birth of the Frito (NPR)

From NPR News:

by The Kitchen Sisters
Morning Edition, October 18, 2007

The Kitchen Sisters explore the saga of a Texas corn chip and C.E. Doolin, the can-do visionary behind it. Doolin, who envisioned Fritos as a side dish, never imagined anyone would consume an entire king size bag. The story of the Frito is the latest in the "Hidden Kitchens" series.

'Stay nation': From Atlanta to Seattle, these destinations are a tank of gas away (USA Today)

From USA Today:

Compiled by Laura Bly and Jayne Clark, USA TODAY

USA TODAY asked six travel journalists based in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington to pick places no more than a tank of gas away.

Black Hills Rail Line, on Spoked Wheels Instead of Steel (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 27, 2008

South Dakota's Mickelson Trail is an adventurous, history-laden bike route that runs along a former railroad track.

Tourism down in Hannibal, Mo., as Mississippi River rises (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Edward Iwata, USA TODAY

Not flooded but still reeling

Schooner commemorates discovery of Lake Champlain at Quebec events (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Wilson Ring, Associated Press Writer

The Lake Champlain shoreline creeps by from the deck of the Lois McClure. The vessel wasn't built for speed, it was built to commemorate the commercial heritage that linked New York City, Buffalo, and Montreal to the Champlain Valley.

The 19th-century Lake Champlain schooners it's based on would sail past the same rocky New York cliffs and green Vermont peninsulas. But the boat — a replica — is crewed by summer volunteers, not families that made a living moving cargo.

And now the Lois, as it's known to its crew, is playing a new role as international ambassador: The boat is the flagship of the 400th anniversary of the European discovery of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River valleys.

Last week, the Lois left its home port at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vt., and headed north, down the Richelieu River on its way to Quebec City, where it will take part in a week-long celebration next month of the July 3, 1608 founding of the city, the first permanent French settlement in North America.

Passing: Wilber Hardee; Founded Restaurants (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 26, 2008

Wilber Hardee, a farm boy turned grill cook who went on to open the first Hardee’s hamburger stand in 1960, starting a chain that now has nearly 2,000 restaurants in the United States and overseas, died on June 27 at his home in Greenville, N.C. He was 89.

It was on an empty lot in Greenville, near East Carolina College (now a university), that Mr. Hardee opened that first hamburger stand on Sept. 3, 1960. There was no dining room, no drive-up window. Charcoal-broiled hamburgers and milkshakes sold for 15 cents apiece.

Although he would hold an interest in more than 80 other restaurants during his career, Mr. Hardee did not make much of a profit as founder of the chain that bears his name. He sold his share in what was then a five-franchise operation in 1963, for $37,000.

Passing: Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 26, 2008

"Mr. Tucker as lead singer of the Dixie Hummingbirds helped propel gospel music toward a harder-edged, more emotive style".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Quebec at 400

On July 3, 1608, French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded a fur-trading post on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.That fur-trading post is now one of the oldest cities in North America. And this summer, Quebec City celebrates four centuries of French heritage with a series of exhibits, festivals and performances.

We speak with Luci Tremblay from Quebec400 about this milestone anniversary, what it represents, and how the occasion is being celebrated.


New Podcast Posting: Dad's Beer

I’m a Dad and these days Father’s Day is different than it used to be. Not only am I on the receiving end now, but separated by decades, some of the propos of the day have changed.
Back then (1960’s), baseball doubleheaders and beer played as much a role as the cards, the barbecue and the obligatory gifts.

There are no longer doubleheaders, and the beers are mostly brands that did not exist back then.

In this Conversation on the Road, we speak with Dave Gausephol, a beer writer, collector and historian, about an article he wrote a few years back entitled, “Your Dad’s Beer: Sipping a Generation”.


Forget the Fête! We want to parade the Cup (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

by MAX HARROLD, The Gazette

Party in Maisonneuve Park. Despite festivities' multi-ethnic face, some worry about loss of French character.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chefs to lead culinary tours of Seattle (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

On each tour, a chef from a popular Seattle restaurant will accompany participants to a market to shop for the day's ingredients.

Remembering René Lévesque on Quebec's Day of Celebration (CBC News)

June 24 is the Fete Nationale of Quebec (also called St. Jean the Baptist Day - Fete St. Jean Baptiste). It has become a day of celebration of things Quebecoise - including politics and culture.

To put some context into the day and its meaning, we refer you to this archival section at

"In the 1960s, René Lévesque made the prospect of a separate Quebec a reality. A shrewd politician, he gathered enough support to start the first sovereignty party Canadians took seriously. The Parti Québécois thrived because of his hard work, charm and democratic approach. In an era when some preferred to use firebombs to get their point across, Lévesque wanted Quebecers to vote on separation. Although the Quebec premier lost his 13-year fight after the 1980 referendum, he is remembered for winning countless other victories for francophones."

In 1960, a Series to Remember (or Forget) (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 24, 2008

Pittsburgh fans still commemorate the most dramatic ending in the 104 years of World Series play, when Bill Mazeroski led the Pirates in a win against the Yankees.

Philadelphia's Gum Tree Cut Down (NPR)

From NPR News:

Bryant Park Project
June 23, 2008

"For the first installment in a series on unlikely landmarks, the BPP talks to business owners on Philadelphia's South Street about what locals call the "gum tree." For years, it was a repository for chewed gum. But the neighborhood is sprucing up, and the tree has been cut down."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Glacier Park's Sun Road anniversary celebration relocated due to snow (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Lingering winter conditions on Logan Pass have prompted Glacier National Park officials to relocate the 75th anniversary celebration of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, according to the Daily Inter-Lake newspaper.

The celebration has been moved to Lake McDonald Lodge but will still be held on June 27, park spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt said.

Mark Twain's Home May Close (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
June 22, 2008

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, had some financial problems in his day and the museum dedicated to preserving his place in history has also fallen on hard times. His home in Hartford, Conn. could soon be closed to fans.

Ensuring It Still Feels Like the Old Ball Game (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

June 23, 2008

Lambert Bartak, the College World Series organist for more than 50 years, can recall songs by heart, using only a list of tunes on the 1935 Hammond organ at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Going Back, Back, Back to 1939 (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 23, 2008

The only two surviving players from the first All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium (Bob Feller & Lonny Frey) reflect about being on the field with baseball legends like Joe DiMaggio and Bill Dickey.

BTW, according to this Times article prices charged at the game (July 11, 1939) included $2.20 for a box seat ticket, 55 cents for a bleacher seat and a acorecard was a nickel.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dreams of a wild island (Star-Tribune)

From The Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

By Chris Welsch, Star Tribune
Last update: June 21, 2008

Isolated in Lake Superior, Isle Royale gratifies the souls of adventure-seeking daydreamers.

Oregon Offtrack: Condon (The Oregonian)

From The Oregonian:

by Foster Church
Thursday June 19, 2008

History and values live on in this wheat town

Charlevoix one of Quebec's most scenic areas (SF Chronicle)

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

by Margo Pfeiff
Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wooded hills sloping steeply toward the St. Lawrence River make the Charlevoix one of Quebec's most scenic regions, with landscapes of roller-coaster roads winding past fieldstone farmhouses and silver-spired churches in hamlets named for a roll call of saints.

Chicago's last streetcar (Chicago Tribune)

From The Chicago Tribune:

By Ron Grossman Chicago Tribune

"June 21, 1958 - At 6:16 a.m. on this date, Al Carter hopped aboard a Vincennes Avenue trolley car a block from the end of the line, dropped a token into the fare box and asked the conductor to sign his transfer".

"A South Sider with a penchant for seeking immortality in history's footnotes, Carter had been the last visitor through the turnstiles at the Century of Progress exhibition 24 years earlier. He knew that the autographed transfer ensured him a small place in Windy City lore as the last straphanger to ride a Chicago streetcar.The green-and-cream streamlined trolley rolled into a car barn shortly afterward and closed an era that had opened on April 25, 1859, when Chicago's first streetcar began running along a single railroad track laid in the middle of State Street between Madison and 12th Streets".

With accompanying slide show,0,5968955.story

In Motown, Stop in the Name of Hope (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post
June 22, 2008

"It's been called the Most Miserable City in America. We beg to differ."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

History Expo highlights need to preserve Vermont's old barns (VPR)

From Vermont Public Radio:

Friday June 20, 2008
by Steve Zind

Old weathered barns are such a common sight in Vermont that we take for granted they'll always be there.

But over the years, they've been disappearing.

This weekend, experts and enthusiasts will gather at the annual Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge to talk about preserving old barns ... and organize a census to see how many are left.

The International Classic Video Game and Pinball Tournament (PRI-WBUR)


Only A Game
June 13, 2008

"Only A Game’s Avishay Artsy had a chance to watch the International Classic Video Game and Pinball Tournament. Check out as players battle some of the classics to see who is number one." (Photo gallery)

Washington Senators Return to DC After 37 Years (Washington Times)

Not really.

But the franchise known as the Washington Senators from 1961-1971 came back to the Nation's Capital for the first time. It is now known as the Texas Rangers.

The former Rangers were the visiting team playing against the home team that is now called the Washington Nationals. These additional irony because the home team is the franchise that was formerly the Montreal Expos.

In a true Washington baseball fashion the Nationals now dwell in last place, a place familiar to the Senators and their fans back in the old days.

Such is the world of professional baseball.

BTW, the Washington team beat the former Washington team 4-3.

For more on the Senators' return:

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Rallying Around to Make the Flag

The Annin Flag Company is a place one tends to hear about in a year like this - a presidential election year. It’s possible that one of the candidates might try to show up there for a photo op before the November election (as Ronald Reagan did years ago).
But the flag factory is a busy place, even when the politicians are not there. It’s a place we tend to think about around Flag Day (June 14).

And for good reason.

The American flag was less than fifty years old when Alexander Annin began making US flags for the merchant ships in his sail-making shop on the New York City waterfront in the 1820’s.
Since that time Annin & Co.’s story can be seen paralleling that of the nation. For example:

*It was an Annin flag that flew at the inauguration of President Zachery Taylor, starting an inaugural tradition that has continued through the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

*An Annin flag draped the coffin of President Abraham Lincoln on its journey from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.

*The U.S. Marines raised an Annin flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima in 1945
NASA selected an Annin flag to participate in Apollo 11’s mission to the moon in 1969.

In this Conversation on the Road, we visit with Dale Coots of the Annin Flag Company in New Jersey to see what Flag Day and every day is like there.


Featured Match: MSG vs. NHL

From The Globe and Mail Blogs (

Headline: "Duhatscek: A titillating story"

by Eric Duhatschek, 19/06/08 at 2:25 PM EDT

The story is titillating on the most important level of all: How often does a pro sports league, in this case, the NHL, threaten to boot out one of its founding and most valuable franchises – the New York Rangers? OK, that might constitute a worst-case scenario – fines and suspension are more likely – but not since the days when Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders went to war with the NFL have relationships soured so badly between a team and a league.

Sounds Like Home (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

by Roger Mummert

Regional speech may be fading, but not in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Are You Ready for Some Gaelic Football? (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 22, 2008

From Irish football to Bengali cricket, check out New York City's imported and home-grown sports.

Passing: Bert Shepard, an Inspirational Amputee; Played Ball for Senators (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 20, 2008

Bert Shepard, a World War II fighter pilot who lost his right leg when he was shot down over Germany but went on to pitch for the 1945 Washington Senators, becoming an inspiration for grievously wounded veterans, died on June 16 in Highland, Calif. He was 87.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Follow the quilt barn trails (CSM)

From The Christian Science Monitor:

By Jim Winnerman Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
from the June 2, 2008 edition

Quilt barn paintings make public art accessible to rural communities – and tourists.

Long-awaited observation tower opens at Nebraska rail yard (AP)

From The Asscoiated Press through USA Today:

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) — More than a decade in the making, the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center is opening to the public.

From the eighth floor, the tower offers a panoramic view of Union Pacific's Bailey Yard in North Platte, touted as the world's largest switching yard.

Hula Hoop Turns 50 (AP)

From The Associated Press through

SAN FRANCISCO - It's hard to believe in an age of action-packed video games and other whiz-bang gadgets, but the Hula Hoop once was the hippest toy around.

The hoopla began 50 years ago Thursday (June 19) when entrepreneurs Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin sought a trademark for a plastic cylinder based on a similar toy that had enjoyed modest success in Australia's school yards.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Riding the Rocket in Toronto (Ottawa Citizen)

From The Ottawa Citizen through

by Rebecca Stevenson
Ottawa Citizen

"Where can you get married, eat breakfast in a jewelry store and get divorced, all in one trip?....karaoke bars, ethnic cafés, a brewery and a castle on the Yonge-University-Spadina Line. All on one $9 day pass.

Montreal motel checks out after 57 years (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

by Marian Scott , The Montreal Gazette

Chains and interstate highways have pretty much ended the golden age of quirky, independent places.

For Lou's Cubs, Heavy Lies the 100-Year-Old Crown (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Frank Deford
Morning Edition, June 18, 2008

The Cubbies would be a breeze to win this year if nobody ever mentioned 1908.

New audio tour brings Alamo battle to life (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Elizabeth White, Associated Press Writer

The Alamo unveiled a 55-minute audio tour in May that gives each listener music, sound effects and perspective from historians.

D.C. tours 'investigate' Lincoln's assassination (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tourists can get a new look at Abraham Lincoln's assassination with the help of a crime detective brought back from 1865.

Racing car museum opens in Philadelphia (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

The Simeone Foundation Museum showcases racing cars going all the way back from before World War I, right up to a 21st century NASCAR model. Many of the museum's cars are displayed in dioramas that consist of blown-up photos of the places and races where the vehicles competed. The collection includes cars from Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, Italy's 1,000-mile Mille Miglia, the French Le Mans 24-hour endurance competition, and Watkins Glen, N.Y., the Finger Lakes town that helped revive sports car racing in the U.S. after World War II.

Musuem Remembers Shoeless Jor Jackson and Pushes for Place for Him in Hall (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 18, 2008

Honoring a banished figure in the house where he lived.

American Album: In Hard Times, the Truck Stop Offers a Place to Pray (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 18, 2008

"A growing religious presence along the highways".

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Passing: Cyd Charisse (LA Times)

From The Los Angeles Times:

By Mary Rourke
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Dancer starred in movie musicals with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire.,0,184119.story

Oldest living Canadien dies (Montreal Gazette)

From habsinsideout:

by Mike Boone
June 17, 2008

Ray Getliffe, 94, succumbed to liver cancer on June 14.

A left winger who broke into the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Getliffe joined the Canadiens for the 1939-'40 season, his first of six in Montreal. He is responsible for giving Maurice Richard his nickname.

"Reporters stood behind the bench during practice at the Forum in those days," Getliffe told The Gazette's Ian Macdonald in a 2004 interview. "Elmer Lach threw a puck over to this new kid, who flew in from the blue line. I said, 'Look at that, he's like a rocket.'"Dink Carroll (a long-time sports columnist at the time) heard me and the next day it was in The Gazette. That's how Richard became Rocket."

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Midwest Floods

It's not a warm and fuzzy feature - the type we like to share with. There's a story to be told, nonetheless, and a big deal at that. Attention must be paid.

Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the most recent flooding - especially in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

There are questions that need to be asked and answered - such as could the levee breaches have been avoided ? Were there forsseable conditions that had been neglected for lack of money to do the necessary remediation ? How about the global warming connection ? Is it something that is no longer a discussion among academicians ? Is it time we as citizens take control of the dialogue and the agenda ?

May we be able to soon go back to talking about obscure and offbeat activities. But for now there are more important things to worry about.

Hang in there !

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Turning blind eye leaves NHL with another shiner (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

Saturday, June 14

The folks in the NHL front office are maintaining a low profile as they deal with another business deal that has gone terribly wrong.

A Boatride Down the Mississippi (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Sunday
June 15, 2008

Guys in their 50s take to the Mississippi for a two-week adventure.

Father-Son Connections Are in the Cards (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 15, 2008
"Cheering Section"

".....Fascination sprung from wanting to learn what these athletes had done to merit enshrinement as cardboard demigods. But it also seemed to come from another place, closer to home; if they inspected these relics of my childhood hard enough, maybe they would catch a glimpse of me. Not as their father, but as a boy who was once their age and might have been their friend...."

Is the road trip dead? (

From (Minneapolis):

Posted on June 11th, 2008 – 8:16 AM
By Chris Welsch
"Escape Artists" Blog

All signs point toward a future of expensive gasoline; It will take years to retool Americans’ auto choices; for the next couple of years, people will be using their SUVs and big pickups (and big station wagons — my choice) as a way to send their savings to Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries. My Volkswagen with a V6 burns a gallon of fuel every 18 miles in town and 23 on the highway.

Is this the beginning of the end for a great American tradition? Is the road trip dying?

For car fans, Detroit area's offering a summer full of motor madness (Detroit Free Press)

From The Detroit Free Press through the Chicago Tribune:

By Ellen Creager

DETROIT—In Michigan, every day is a car day.Now the state also hosts the Year of the Car, a summer auto tourism festival that coincides with three things: the 100th anniversary of the Model T, the centennial of General Motors Corp. and Autopalooza in August.,0,6330800.story

Saturday, June 14, 2008

East Coast Edge on Gottingen Street (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

Halifax is known for historic monuments and nautical cool. But for Atlantic correspondent Oliver Moore, the real deal is the city's North End — where you'll find the best baguettes in town and a growing cultural scene for locals who like a bit of gritty urban charm.

Passing: Charlie Jones, veteran sportscaster (LA Times)

From The LA Times:

By Larry Stewart
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Charlie Jones, a veteran sportscaster best known for his pro football play calling in a 38-year network career, died June 12 at his home in La Jolla, CA after suffering a heart attack. He was 77.

The versatile Jones' first network assignment, on Sept. 10, 1960, was calling a game at the Coliseum between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs of the old American Football League for ABC.Jones also contributed extensively to ABC's "Wide World of Sports" before switching to NBC in 1965 after that network picked up the AFL contract.He was a mainstay at NBC through the 1997 NFL season.,0,4069058.story

Also see this appreciation:

Passing: Tim Russert

I never met Tim Russert, who died suddenly on June 13.

I didn't watch him all that much - childrens' television has long ago taken over around here. I did get to see him occassionally on TV or hear him as a guest on the radio.

But yet his passing compels me to say afew words about him.

Perhaps it was his age - just a couple of years older than me. I felt that our generation had a legitimate non-Yuppie standard carrier. You know, old school. Perhaps it was the homage he paid to his Dad (how ironic that he should die just at the start of a Father's Day weekend) and that generation that survived and overcome the Depression and World War II (and did so in such a quite, dignified, modest yet powerful way).

Perhaps it was that Tim Ruseert was a lawyer who retained his humanity (perhaps by not practicing law) - something I continue to effort to do.

Maybe it was the high cholesterol that felled him (something I fight today). Gee, we are all so vulnerable. Life is so precious.


But more likely it is that Tim Russert was able to transcend. A Washington insider but still someone who could connect with us outside the Beltway. While he interviewed Presidents and the other powerful of the world, he never forgot who he was and where he came from. He possessed strong professional skills, but used them in a way that never forgot the common good.

No, I never watched Tim Russert all that much. Yet I mourn his death deeply and will miss his passion. his professionalism and his presence.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Taming the Falls (NY Times Book Review)

From The New York Times Book Review:

Published: June 1, 2008

A history of Niagara Falls, from adoration to exploitation and pollution.

Beauty, Power, and Lies.
By Ginger Strand.
Illustrated. 337 pp. Simon & Schuster. $25.

On the menu in New Orleans: A museum for Southern cuisine (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rick Jervis
USA Today

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum houses exhibits as diverse as the history of the city's street vendors and how andouille sausage is andouille sausage is made ("large intestine of a hog stuffed with sanitized highly seasoned small intestines, then smoked").

The Museum of the American Cocktail also plans to open nearby, offering detailed histories of the Sazerac, Mint Julep and other Southern libations.

Heard on the Radio: Combine Demolition Derby

The small farming town of Lind, Washington (named for the singer Jenny Lind) holds an ambitious rodeo weekend every year in June that draws thousands of people from all around Eastern Washington.

There are two days of rodeo events, a dance Saturday night, a big breakfast Sunday morning. The whole thing is launched Friday night with the highly weird Combine Demolition Derby.

It's a demolition derby. Except with wheat combines.

In a Left Jab "Hidden America" segment, we introduce Mark Walsh and David Goodfriend to Mike Doyle of Lind who explains the art of what it takes to participate and succeed in a Combine Demotion Derby.

If you miss the feature on Left Jab's radio broadcast (XM Satellite Radio - Channel 167 - Saturday at 11 a.m. with a re-broadcast Sunday at 1 p.m. - All times Eastern), you can catch it as a podcast at

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Hampshire draws bargain-hunters from Canada (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

Canadian tourists say the exchange rate is in their favor right now, giving their currency extra buying power.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Missing Staple Puts Many a Maine Chowder Recipe in Jeopardy (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 11, 2008

A white rectangular biscuit that lies somewhere between an unsalted saltine and hardtack, the Crown Pilot has long been a staple in New England homes.

Nabisco, its manufacturer, discontinued the cracker in 1996. But after months of hue and cry by loyal cracker crunchers — many of them from this island of 350 year-round residents — the company brought the cracker back in early 1997 in an elaborate ceremony aboard a ship in Boston Harbor.

All was safe, people thought, until a few months ago, when Kraft Foods, which owns Nabisco, again discontinued the cracker. Now people here on Chebeague and throughout Maine are again rallying the old troops, calling the company daily and even floating the idea of a charity event whose proceeds would help with efforts to get the cracker back.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Bawlmer's Hons

Because of its location and history, Baltimore offers a rare blend of Northern and Southern traditions. The result is a unique local culture.

Some things distinctively Baltimore include blue crabs, rowhouses, H.L. Mencken, lacrosse and Corned Beef Row.

Yet another is a Hon.

The term Hon is a friendly Baltimore greeting ("Hey, Hon") and comes from the word honey. But over the years it has also come to be known to represent a working class Baltimore of the 1950’s-1970’s to be found in neighborhoods such as Hamden, Canton and Highlandtown. In those days it was not uncommon to see women there dressed in bright, printed dresses with outdated galsses and beehive hairdos.

Honfest is annual festival held in the Hamden neighborhood of Baltimore. Started in 1994 as a local celebration of the Baltimore lifestyle and stereotype, it has since become a tope event.

In this Conversation on the Road, we speak with Denise Whiting of the Hon Cafe about Hons, Honfest, “Miss Hon” and of Baltimore’s distinctive popular culture.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Welcome To Stickball Boulevard (WBUR-NPR)

From WBUR through NPR:

Only A Game
by Jon Kalish
June 6, 2008

A 23 year tradition returned to the Bronx this past Memorial Day Weekend, when 14 teams from around the country gathered to compete in a stickball tournament. Only A Game’s Jon Kalish reports from “Stickball Blvd,” where teams played the classic street game, a game that really hasn’t changed much in over fifty years.

Fonzie statue to be dedicated in Milwaukee (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

Downtown Milwaukee will soon have a permanent reminder of the "Happy Days" television show.

The Hockey Song lives! (Montreal Gazette)

From Gazette:

by Mike Boone

"All together now: Dunt-da-dunt-da-dunt!
CTV has bought the rights to what was, for 40 years, Hockey Night in Canada's theme music.
The familiar theme will be heard next season on TSN and RDS and will be used during CTV's coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics."

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Much more than a song (CanWest News Service)

From the CanWest News Service through

WAYNE SCANLAN, Canwest News Service

"....The CBC said Friday that talks aimed at resolving the dispute with the tune's composer had failed and that plans to have a national contest to replace the theme will go ahead..."

"....We're a laid-back, hockey-playing nation - but don't mess with our jingle, people...."

Also see:
Talks break down on Hockey Night theme song

B.C. is home to Canada's only true desert (Vancouver Province)

From The Vancouver Province through

by Rick Cropp and Barbara Braidwood

British Columbia has the only true desert in Canada complete with sagebrush, cacti and tarantulas.

Passing:Bill Finegan, Arranger and Big-Band Leader (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 8, 2008

Bill Finegan, who arranged hits for Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey and then formed a big band with Eddie Sauter, another legendary arranger, that was famed for skill, daring and very, very odd instruments, died on Wednesday June 4 in Bridgeport, Conn. He was 91.

Arrangers, the largely behind-the-scenes masterminds of the big-band era, took compositions by bandleaders and others and refashioned them. Mr. Finegan heavily arranged Miller’s first big hit, “Little Brown Jug,” and virtually everything he recorded in 1938 and 1939. He later became a regular arranger for Dorsey.

Passing: ABC Sports' Jim McKay (Baltimore Sun)

From The Baltimore Sun:

By David Zurawik, Tom Keyser and Justin Fenton Sun Reporters
June 8, 2008

Jim McKay, who in 1947 spoke the first words ever heard on Baltimore television and later became the model for the modern sports anchorman with his marathon effort amid a terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics, died on June 7, 2008 of natural causes at his horse farm in Monkton. He was 86.,0,7183962.story

Article about the Jim McKay funeral in Baltimore on June 10, 2008:
'He was talking to me' - Giant of broadcasting remembered as a friend:,0,5262400.story

ABC's Remembrance:

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Buy Me Some Sushi and Baby Back Ribs (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 8, 2008

Hot dogs and peanuts are still staples at major league ballparks, but rising stars include crab cakes and edamame. You want Champagne with that?

Accompanied by interactive presentation and slide show.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

On the Road, Supposedly Headed for Fun (WSJ)

From The Wall Street Journal:

By JONATHAN EIGJune 6, 2008; Page W3

In a book "Are We There Yet?" Susan Sessions Rugh captures the heyday of an American road trip. She delves deeply into the rolling form of torture that millions of Americans subjected themselves to from 1945 to the mid-1970s.

In Juneau, Firm Resistance to a Road Out of Isolation (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By William Yardley
Published: June 6, 2008

The proposed 51-mile Juneau Access Road would provide something this remote capital city has never had: an overland route to the rest of North America. No longer would people have to take a ferry or a flight.

Yet beyond the political and environmental fight that will determine whether the nearly $400 million road will ever be built, there is a central question: What would the improved access change the most, Juneau or outsiders’ perceptions of it?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Instruments strike a chord at National Music Museum (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Dirk Lammers
Associated Press Writer

The National Music Museum focuses on an instrument's place in musical history rather than just its beauty.

Celebrated Rivalry Has Its Roots in ’62 Finals (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

by Howard Beck
June 4, 2008

The Lakers-Celtics rivalry has enough chapters to fill the Smithsonian, but its DNA formed over seven games in April 1962.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Vancouver 'doesn't try to be other places' (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

Globe and Mail
May 10, 2008

The city's greatest strengths are its confidence and its willingness to experiment, says one of its star architects.

Seven top food experiences in Canada (Calgary Herald)

From The Calgary Herald through the CanWest News Service (

"There's no better way to get the real flavour of a place than by sampling the local cuisine. Local produce, artisan cheeses, a glass of wine from the local vineyard . . . these are the elements that make a holiday.....A sampler of what foodies can find across Canada this summer".

Related story - "Tastes like Canada" (Ottawa Citizen)

In the Middle of Nowhere, a Nation’s Center (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

June 2, 2008

In 1959, when the center of the nation was declared to be in Butte County, S.D., along a major highway 21 miles from the city of Belle Fourche, local officials envisioned a tourist haven. But when the highway was relocated some years later, plans dried up. A handwritten sign marks the spot today.

With accompanying slide show.

New Podcast Posting: Jefferson Davis - The Man at 200

June 3, 2008 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis.

Davis was best known as President of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War. But there was more to him than that. And just who was Jefferson Davis anyway ?

To gain some insight into these and other questions, in this Conversation on the Road we speak with Dean Knight, Supervisor of the White House at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. The Museum is staging a series of events during this year to mark the Davis birthday year.


Related story:
Jefferson Davis' Biloxi home reopens after $4 million renovation (AP through USA Today):

Monday, June 02, 2008

Passing: Bo Didley (AP)

From The Associated Press through

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday June 2 after months of ill health. He was 79.

The legendary singer and performer, known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Quest for Spicy Chicken (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
June 1, 2008

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, a tiny restaurant in Nashville, Tenn., started the tradition of making fried chicken soaked in a spicy, peppery sauce. Andre Prince Jeffries, the owner of the restaurant, elaborates on a southern specialty.