Eric on The Road

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Pride and Trials of Black Life, in a Town Keeping Its Distance (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 28, 2008

Eatonville, the first all-black town to incorporate in the country and the childhood home of author Zora Neale Hurston, is now a place of pilgrimage.

Despite Hard Times, Native Americans Keep Dancing (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Charla Baer
Weekend Edition Sunday
September 28, 2008

Each year, thousands of Native Americans travel around the country participating in powwows. The events bring tribes together and keep culture strong. But with gas prices rising and the economy slowing, it's been a struggle to maintain this tradition.

Goodbye to Big Shea

You know, Shea Stadium has gotten a raw deal.

Eclipsed by the closing of Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium's demise has received much less print.
In fact, it has been maligned as many as a "dump" whose passing should not be mourned.

Forget about the memories, World Series championships in '69 and '86, the close calls in '73, '88 and '00. The Beatles, the Jets, the Giants and Dodgers coming to town, Casey and the Amazin's, Ed Kranepool, Banner Day, Jane Jarvis, Bob Murphy, etc.

Fact is Shea Stadium WAS considered a gem architecturally when it first opened in 1964 - a companion to the 1964 World's Fair next door.

I'm not a Met fan (Though I have rooted for individual teams such as the Willie Randolph-managed Mets and the Rusty Staub Mets). But to be fair, there is a history there as well. In its time, it was a very nice ballpark and a place of his history of its own.

I, for one, will miss it.

Here's an article that takes a similar perspective:
"Stadium’s Appeal Lay in Futuristic Functionality" (NY Times)
September 28, 2008

Memorable Moments at Shea (NY Times) (Slide Show)

Giving In to Nostalgia at Shea (NY Times)
Published: September 28, 2008

The Ceremony: Saying Goodbye to Shea Stadium (NY Times)
Published: September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saguenay has become the little Broadway of Quebec (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette through

by PETER LENEY , Freelance

Playing in the Jonquière district of Saguenay, a Québec Issime production presents about 20 singers, dancers and musicians and 400 costumes.

In Chicoutimi district, a dance show called Ecce Mundo is even larger, with 40 dancers and acrobats and 700 costumes in a review of 2,000 years of dance history. In La Baie district, La Nouvelle Fabuleuse is a revised version of a long-running theatrical treatment of local history with a cast of 200.

Much of Saguenay's show talent has learned the trade locally. The region has several dance schools, including Les Farandoles that supplies talent to Ecce Mundo, a music conservatory and a music program at the Collège d'Alma. Québec Issime's Villeneuve said 85 per cent of the performers in her show are locally trained.

Passing: Paul Newman

There are plenty of other places to get complete information about Paul Newman. But we could not go without acknowledging the death of this great actor from cancer at the age of 83.

"An American Original" is a term that is often thrown around. But Newman was truly a giant, nominated for Oscars 10 times, winning one regular award and two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, including "Exodus," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Verdict," "The Sting" and "Absence of Malice."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Heard on the Radio: Buffalo Round-up

It's a rite of autumn in the Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Each year they stage a Buffalo Roundup, this year the 43rd annual edition. In it Park staff, cowboys and cowgirls saddle up to move the park's 1,500 bison to the buffalo corrals.

The roundup serves several purposes. The first is to move the entire herd into a system of corrals along the Wildlife Loop Road.

Once in the corrals, the animals are sorted by the park's resource personnel. Most are released back into the park, while others remain in the corrals until a November 15, 2008 buffalo auction.

In a Left Jab "Hidden America" segment, we spoke with Park Superintendent Richard Miller about the Round-up - how they do it, and who participates (You & I can help, if we want to).

By the way, check out this these two 30 second videos capturing the Buffalo Round-up:

The segment can be heard on "Left Jab Radio", XM Radio Channel 167 on Saturday at 11 am and gain on Sunday at 1 pm (Times Eastern). If you should miss it there, starting next week, it can be heard as a podcast at

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the Chesapeake, a Place Apart (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 25, 2008

The remote Maryland island offers its residents a slower pace.

Champlain’s Shores (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 26, 2008

A 21st-century canoeist follows the explorer’s path along Lake Champlain and listens for echoes of four centuries past.

Philadelphia's Legendary Pipe Organ Is Restored (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Joel Rose
All Things Considered
Spetmber 25, 2008

The largest playable pipe organ in the world is in a department store in Philadelphia. In its heyday, the Wanamaker Organ could imitate the sounds of strings, horns, woodwinds and all kinds of bells and whistles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Remembering Yankee Stadium

This Conversation on the Road is a supplement to a "Hidden America" segment on XM Radio's Left Jab discussing Harvey Frommer's new book "Remembering Yankee Stadium" which was released as the Yanks closed out 86 years at the big ballpark in the Bronx.

Frommer, one of the nation’s leading baseball authorities, takes us on a journey through the Stadium’s 85 year history. From Murder’s Row to Lou Gehrig’s farewell speeach. From Joe D, Mantle & Maris, Yogi and Whitey Ford through Jeter, Bernie and Torre.

We share our feelings about the place and about the business of baseball today.


New Podcast Posting: The Cactus Cop

At first glance, it appears humorous - the idea of a cactus cop. But in the desert area of Arizona it’s serious business.

We speak with Mike Reimer, whose official title is Investigator from the Office of Special Investigations, Arizona Department of Agriculture. Unofficially he is a cactus cop.

In this Conversation on the Road, learn about what he does and why ?


Passing: Former NFL Stars, Dick Lynch & Wally Hilgenberg (NY Times/AP)

From The New York Times:

Dick Lynch, who twice led the NFL in interceptions as a defensive back for the New York Giants and who later spent 40 years as a radio broadcaster for the team, died Wednesday at his home in the Douglaston section of Queens. He was 72.
The cause was leukemia, his son, John Liam Lynch, said.
Lynch was a Giant for eight seasons, from 1959 through 1966, playing cornerback on teams with Y. A. Tittle and Frank Gifford and on the same defensive unit as Sam Huff, Jim Katcavage and Dick Modzelewski.
After the 1963 season, the Giants’ fortunes went into a prolonged downturn. The team did not reappear in a championship game until the 1986 Super Bowl, so for many fans the squads of Lynch’s tenure became emblems of the franchise’s past glory. It was this pedigree that helped make Lynch a fan favorite as a color commentator in the broadcast booth. Like Phil Rizzuto, the Yankees shortstop who became a beloved announcer, Lynch mixed football analysis with meandering stories about his playing days and greetings to his family and friends.

From The Associated Press through The New York Times:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Wally Hilgenberg, a former linebacker who helped propel the Minnesota Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s, died September 23 (after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease) at his home in Lakeville, Minn. He was 66.
Hilgenberg played in college at Iowa and then spent 16 seasons in the NFL, including 12 with the Vikings, from 1968 to 1979. As the National Football Conference champion, the team played in the Super Bowl in 1970, ’74, ’75 and ’77, losing each time.

Southwest Va. Walk of Fame adds Carter Family, Daniel Boone (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — What do the Carter Family music group, Francis Gary Powers and Daniel Boone have in common?

Friday, September 19, 2008

On the Closing of A Yankee Stadium

To me, it's actually the closing of the second Yankee Stadium. The first went down in 1973, although its is officially described as a "renovation". Out came the famous upper deck facade (carted off to Albany where it was tunred into scrap). Gone was the auxiliary scoreboard. Gone was the 296 foot right field proch. Gone were the on field monuments, relegated to a "Memorial Park".

Well, you get the idea.

Yes, there were still reminders of the original House That Ruth Built. The rampways. The tunnels under the stands leading from the clubhouse to the dugout. The backdrop of Bronx County Courthouse (and just a bit of the elevated subway on River Avenue).

But clearly this was not the original Yankee Stadium. I considered it Yankee Stadium # 2.

So, it is with mixed feeling that I look at the closing of this Yankee Stadium.

Now, I'll lose the tunnels, the ramps on the court house views too. And there's more (such as Macombs Dam Park)...And I'm not the only one.

Here's a sampling:

* It's Gone! Goodbye! (Sports Illustrated)
by Tom Verducci (In the voice of Yankee Stadium)
"..In a dying state, you don't worry about offending people. So let me just come out with the truth, even if this one might hurt: The original Yankee Stadium has been gone for 35 years. Derek Jeter doesn't stand in the same batter's box as Joe DiMaggio did, because home plate was moved forward some 10 to 20 feet in the renovation. Leftfield doesn't "get late early out there" anymore, as Yogi Berra famously observed, because the layout of the field changed; Death Valley, the infamous leftfield gap where titanic blasts went to die, became only a near-death experience, its deepest point chopped from 457 feet to 430 in 1976, to 411 in '85 and finally to 399 in '88. The frieze, made of copper, was sold for $75,000 to a guy in Albany, N.Y., who promptly melted it to sell for piping and other pedestrian uses. The foul poles were sold to a baseball team in Osaka, Japan, for $30,000. One-hundred-eighteen steel pillars, which were either a distinct structural element or a nuisance, depending on whether you ever sat behind one, were removed...."

* George Vescey (NY Times): " This is not the same Yankee Stadium where, as a youngster, I saw a dying Babe Ruth in 1947, or, as a young reporter, covered Mickey Mantle’s shot off Barney Schultz in the 1964 World Series. But it is the same renovated Stadium, on the same site, where I covered the Yankees of Williams, Rivera, Jeter, Pettitte, Posada — and (Joe) Torre.....The Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets and Nets are all building pleasure palaces based on tax breaks, legal or otherwise, and the presumption that all those rich and giddy American corporations will subsidize luxury boxes for the shrimp-eaters and the wine-sippers.....

"Both New York baseball teams have bet their money, our tax money and government-supported infrastructure, on corporate-subsidized luxury boxes and seats, backed up, theoretically, by individuals with fortunes to burn on conspicuous consumption like waiter service at ballparks....I always thought of baseball as a Depression sport. In tough times, a latter-day Studs Lonigan could always plunk down a few quarters and spend a few hours at the ballpark. But now the two New York clubs, and their football cousins, have committed their core personality and economic future to corporations that we, all of us, are subsidizing with our own dwindling dollars.....Forget about the Naming Rights Jinx that has struck a large number of corporations-on-the-make that put their names on sports palaces in the past generation. What about the companies that have underwritten all that munching and sipping by visitors who are vaguely aware of the event taking place outside the soundproof windows? What happens when those folks tap out?"

*Bill Crystal on worshipping at the Cathedral (synagogue) of Baseball (NY Times)
"....Saying goodbye to it is saying goodbye to a huge part of my life. The bond of my late father and his boys, the way he taught us about the game, its intricacies, its glory, its failures, the plays that are made, the ones that aren’t. How to read a box score and recreate a game.
If stadiums are the cathedrals of baseball, or in my case synagogues, then I have been worshiping at the same place for over half a century. The Stadium has been the safe room of my house of memories...."
"....To me, it was never the awesome place of the Babe, Joe D. and Mickey after it was renovated. The pillars were gone, the facade was gone, yet the ground was still the same, the aura of past moments hovering always. It was still ours.
I will miss this park because no matter how great the new one is, I won’t be able to look over and see my dad and me and my brothers sitting there, in the sun, eating a hot dog and learning how to keep score"

* Yankee Stadium, Going the Way of Joe DiMaggio (NY Times)
by Paul Simon
"....So, so long, Scooter, so long, Joe, so long, Mick, and since I never got the chance to say it, so long, Dad."

* Tour Director Feels Pangs With the Final Group (NY Times)
Published: September 20, 2008

"Tony Morante paced near Gate 4 at Yankee Stadium early Friday afternoon, his eyes already red and moist. Morante watched fans file in for the last scheduled tour at the Stadium. He seemed anxious. Morante has so many stories to share, so a part of him wanted this tour to stretch for hours".

"This was not just another walk through the park for Morante, the director of Stadium tours. Not when he has been coming here since 1949. Not when he has been dispensing thousands of tidbits on tours for 22 years. This was Morante’s chance to whisper goodbye to a shrine".

Landmark in Hearts and Minds, Not in Fact (NY Times)
Published: September 20, 2008
If historical significance is a measure of a landmark, why has Yankee Stadium never been designated one by the New York city Landmarks Preservation Commission ?
(i.e.....the commission believed the Stadium was no longer worthy of the designation.
“The renovation stripped it of all its historic features,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, the director of communications for the commission. The rooftop frieze and columns were gone, the playing field had been lowered, the seating configuration changed.)

* At Ebbets Field, It Was Really Over When It Was Over
September 20, 2008
"...I happened to be the last sportswriter out of Ebbets Field after the last Dodgers game there. Happened is the correct word. I was with The New York Journal-American then and had covered the Dodgers for The Brooklyn Eagle, but I didn’t plan to be the last writer out...."
"... I don’t get all the fuss about Sunday night’s “last game” at Yankee Stadium. It’s not as if the Yamkees were moving to that proposed stadium that never materialized on the West Side of Manhattan or, heaven and the Babe forbid, to New Jersey. They’re just going across 161st Street to their glossy new Yankee Stadium, all $1.3 billion of it, with the same name in the same Bronx neighborhood..."

*Melancholy in Bronx, but Not Because of Stadium (NY Times)
Published: September 19, 2008

"...It’s just that too often, no one much respected the neighborhood outside its walls, including Yankee executives..."

"....Now they will have their new stadium, rising on what had been Macombs Dam Park. A lone sign taped to the window of a Jerome Avenue apartment building still demands that the Yankees leave the park alone...."

"...Although it took almost two years, local groups are getting grants from the community benefits agreement that was part of the stadium deal. More is promised. Local activists are waiting for the replacement parks they were promised, too...."

Verducci in Sports Illustrated's conclusion:

"...So there you have it. You know my secrets. You've roamed by basement hallways. You've seen my hidden places. You know my life story. And now you know my dying wish. When all of me is gone I hope you can remember the special place I occupied in American history. I want you to remember the emotions and the meaning of that night in 2001 because I was never just about great baseball. I was always about much more than that...."

The Man Will Be Absent, but His Voice Carries (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 19, 2008

Bob Sheppard will not be in the Bronx this weekend for the closing of Yankee Stadium, but he will participate at Mass at St. Christopher’s Roman Catholic Church.

Since early spring, Sheppard has been well enough to take daily communion at the church a few blocks from his home in Baldwin, N.Y. During the terrible winter, when he struggled to raise his weight from 103 pounds, Sheppard could not venture outside the hospital or his home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hurricane onslaught threatens La.'s Cajun life (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Stacey Plaisance,
Associated Press Writer

Residents of the French-speaking Cajun towns along the fast-eroding coast of Louisiana are wondering just how much more they can take.

Thriving arts community makes Mazomanie, Wis., one of America's 'Coolest Small Towns' (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Carrie Antlfinger,
Associated Press Writer

The village has been rejuvenated after decades of empty and deteriorating storefronts.

Passing: CFL Icon Ron Lancaster (CBC News)

From CBC News:

Canadian Football League legend Ron Lancaster died on September 18 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 69.

The former standout quarterback also had a long career as a head coach, administrator and television commentator.

A three-time all-star, the native of Fairchance, Pa., led Saskatchewan to the Grey Cup in 1966 and guided the Tiger-Cats to the 1999 championship as coach.

Warner Bros. Marks 85 Years In Pictures (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
September 18, 2008

"In 1923, four brothers formed a motion picture studio that still thrives today: Warner Bros. Film reviewer Richard Schickel has written a book and produced a documentary for PBS, You Must Remember This, to celebrate 85 years of Warner Bros. movie history. Schickel walks through the famous WB back lot with Renee Montagne. Many of the studio's most famous movies were shot on that lot".

Writing About America, State by State (WYNC)

From WNYC:

The Leonard Lopate Show
September 18, 2008

In the depths of the Great Depression, thousands of American writers found work under the New Deal’s Federal Writers Project. Find out about a new project updating that model. Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey are co-editors of State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America; John Hodgman is a contributor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Podcast Posting: The Campaign of ‘68, Yankee Stadium, Popular Culture & TV

Prof. Robert Thompson, professor of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, is an author of six books and a leading authority on the impact of television on popular culture.

He again speaks with us about a series of television shows and events and their impact on television and on our society - they range from the Presidential eelection of 1968 to Yankee Stadium to 6o Minutes and the Texaco Star Theatre.


New Podcast Posting: “Community” online in today’s Global Village

International correspondent Jeremiah Tittle speaks with Catherine Brown, Director of Business Social Networking for Dotster, Inc., a leader in Internet businesses services, about the concept of community on the internet.

This conversation on the ‘information superhighway’ discusses how communities are growing online, and how businesses can use online presence to unite employees and customers to participate in the community.

This conversation also highlights how like-minded individuals are using the internet more and more to connect and discuss their passions while businesses are growing their customer base now that physical borders are less of an impediment.


New Podcast Posting: Celebrating The Mounties

Yes, there’s the popluar image of the Mountie from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - you know “the one that always gets their ‘man’”.

But there’s more.

The new RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina celebrates all things Mountie.

There’s an interactive forensics display for budding CSIs, an array of transport from dogsleds to planes and tales of life on the frontier, when the RCMP befriended Sitting Bull, tamed Klondike prospectors and organized manhunts.

We speak with Karen Dackiw from Regina about about Mountie heritage and the new centre enshrining it.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Podcast Posting: The Art & Sport of Cornhusking

Once it was the only way to get the job done. The it became popular as a competitive endevor, drawing crowds in excess of one hundred thousand. For the finals, folks came from across the Midwest. There was no ball, no goal, no track. the simply made a sport of a job well done.

Here we speak about the tradition of cornhusking, once turned sport. It continues on a much more limited basis today in the form if the National Cornhusking Championship.

This brief segment was first taped in August, 2006.


New Podcast Posting: Celebrating Bourbon

Since 1776, the people of Bardstown, Kentucky have been making Bourbon. Their dedication to the fine art of distilling eventually gave Bardstown the title of Bourbon Capital of the World. Each year the traditions associated with this passion and history are celebrated at The Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

We speak with Milt Spaulding from Kentucky about bourbon, what it means to the area and how it is celebrated at the Bourbon Festival.


Quebec's cider route rules (Ottawa Citizen)

From The Ottawa Citizen via

by Margo Pfeiff

"Head to the area south of Montreal for the sweetest taste of late summer".

Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 great B&Bs that used to be schoolhouses (USA Today)

From USA Today:

Many old schoolhouses nationwide have been converted into comfortable bed-and-breakfast inns — where the Three R's stand for rest, romance and relaxation. Sandy Soule of shares her list of favorites with Tim Smight for USA TODAY.

The Personal Touch, Right Down to the Name (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 14, 2008

Next time you’re in New York, be sure to say hi to Mary, Sunita, Roslyn, Jeffrey and Roni-Sue.

They’re proprietors of a rare kind of Manhattan business: shops and restaurants named for living, breathing people who actually own and operate the places themselves.

Going Down the Road (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

September 6, 2008

In an interactive feature, Monica Davey, Nicole Bengiveno and Catrin Einhorn traveled to Iowa to examine the farm life there, past and present.

This is part of a series of interactive maps that revisit some of the states and landmarks in the American Guide Series of books, produced during the Great Depression by the Federal Writers’ Project. Writers and photographers were dispatched to outposts and urban areas to create the guide, which has become part of the canon of American travel writing.

The Towers of Memory, Before and After (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 10, 2008

In many photographs of New York, we see now is what is no longer there — the towers that are missing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pa. town tied to 9/11 strives to promote tourism tastefully (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti
Associated Press Writer

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — Searching for an economic boost and home to perhaps the most compelling story of 9/11, rural Somerset County is trying to pull off a balancing act: Remembering the victims of United Airlines Flight 93 in a way that encourages development and job growth without devolving into tackiness and disrespect.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In the Wilds of New Jersey, a Legend Inspires a Hunt (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 7, 2008

In Smithville, N.J., a group devotes itself to looking for the elusive Jersey Devil, said to have haunted this area for centuries.

History comes alive at Rocky trading fort (Calgary Herald)

From The Calgary Herald through

by Joanne Elves , Calgary Herald

"The only standing remains are two fieldstone chimneys, but archaeological digs have uncovered many artifacts and the exact locations of the forts, making for a wonderful site to explore....
We went to Rocky Mountain House recently to be a part of Brigade Days. Even though the historic site is 200 years old, I found new things have been going on, making this not only a history lesson, but a day of discovery".

Mass. B&B, museum fight to be official Lizzie Borden shrine (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By John Fritze, USA TODAY

Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks, or so the jump-rope rhyme goes, and captivated the nation 116 years ago in one of the most intriguing murders in U.S. history.

Now, two Massachusetts museums dedicated to the hatchet slayings of Borden's father and stepmother are fighting in federal court over the use of her name as they tell her macabre story. The legal fight brings some modern twists — such as who has the right to use the Borden name on the Web.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Passing: College basketball pioneer, Don Haskins (AP)

From The Associated Press through The New York Times:

Published: September 7, 2008

EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- Don Haskins, credited with helping break color barriers in college sports in 1966 when he used five black starters to win a national basketball title for Texas Western, died September 7. He was 78.

On Coney Island, A Goodbye To Astroland (NPR/NY Times)

From NPR:

It's the last day for Astroland, the outer space-themed amusement park that has delighted visitors to Coney Island in Brooklyn for almost half a century. The park's future has been in question since the land beneath it was sold to a developer two years ago.

From The New York Times:

Published: September 7, 2008

Depression has no place in an amusement park, but a definite pall hung over Astroland at Coney Island on Sunday, even as the screams of thrill seekers — grade-school children, metal-mouthed teenagers and nostalgic, if slightly nauseated, grownups — tore through the air.

On Thursday, the park’s owner, Carol Albert, announced that Sunday would be the last day for Astroland, the three-acre space-themed amusement park that has been a fixture on Coney Island’s Boardwalk since 1962. Ms. Albert sounded a similar alarm last year, when it seemed that negotiations between her and the property’s owner, Thor Equities, had come to a standstill, only for a deal to be worked out. The Albert family sold the land to Thor for about $30 million in 2006.

But this year, Ms. Albert said, Thor Equities refused to meet with her to discuss her lease, which expires Jan. 31. While Thor Equities disputed Ms. Albert’s version of events, Ms. Albert insisted that at 9 p.m. on Sunday, the park’s midway lights would shut off, ride by ride, game by game, for good. Twenty rides from the park are listed for sale on the Web site

New Mexico Chile Festival (CBS News)

From CBS News:

Josh Landis visits the annual Hatch, New Mexico chile festival in an attempt to answer the burning question: who grows the best chile in the land?

Also see:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Quebec restaurant claims to be 'inventor' of poutine (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette via CanWest News Service:

by David Johnston
Montreal Gazette

Drummondville celebrates town's artery-clogging claim to fame.

Nova Scotia village uses UFO sighting to lure tourists (National Post)

From The National Post:

by Allison Hanes
National Post

SHAG HARBOUR, N.S. -Like all the picturesque fishing villages strung along Nova Scotia's breathtaking south shore, Shag Harbour is a place of weathered cottages perched atop rocky cliffs offering vistas of the Atlantic.

But what sets it apart from other seaside hamlets (other than its frequent inclusion on lists of funny place names) are the little green men.

Paying Homage To The Wrights' Military Plane (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Noah Adamas
All Things Considered, September 5, 2008

The first week in September marks the centenary of military aviation. A reproduction of the Wright Brothers' Fort Myer Flyer has been built by The Wright Experience in Warrenton, Va.

Old S.F. Bay Army post gets promoted to scenic lodge (USA Today)

From USA Today:

Nearly a decade in the making, Cavallo Point opened July 1 on the eucalyptus-lined grounds of Fort Baker, a former U.S. Army post that was turned over to the park service in 2002.

Bowling alleys pin down an upscale atmosphere (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Tina Dirmann, Special for USA TODAY

"The shoes may still be unglamorous, but don't expect old-school standards like greasy onion rings and fries on the menu at modern bowling alleys. High-backed booths and leather sofas fill these hot spots, offering colorful martinis, plasma-screen televisions, dimmed lights — and a food and wine menu to rival any white-tablecloth joint".

Arkansas working to improve its image with travelers (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Chuck Bartels, AP Business Writer

PARIS, Ark. — Commissioners of the state's tourism and economic development agencies who met Thursday (September 4, 2008) found they have a common problem: the dreary image Arkansas has among people who have never visited the state.

Hill City, S.D.: A Spot in the Black Hills for the Golden Years (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 4, 2008

Main Street in Hill City, an old mining town, is now lined with restaurants, shops and galleries.

The Other Grand Canyon (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: September 5, 2008

The nation’s second-largest canyon, Palo Duro, and the nearby town of Amarillo, have remained a mystery even to most Texans.

Also see accompanying slide show: Slide Show: Mystique in the Texas Panhandle at

Friday, September 05, 2008

New Podcast Posting: Lincoln-Douglas Debates Revisited 150 Years Later

Stephen Douglas was running for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat. A series of seven debates with Abraham Lincoln were held in Illinois towns from August 21-October 15, 1858. Practically the only issue discussed was slavery. Douglas defeated Lincoln in this election, but the experience contributed to Lincoln’s success when he defeated Douglas for the presidency in 1860.

This year marks 150 since those debates, which are said by many to have defined America.

We speak with Dr. Tom Schwartz, State Historian of Illinois about the debates - what made them so special at the time, and why they still matter these many years later.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

New Podcast Posting: An Introductory Journey into American Folk

“Bluegrass and ballads. Chicken scratch and gospel. Polka and powwows. Perhaps Mike Seeger summed it up best: When he was asked what genres come under the rubric of American folk, he said ‘All the music that fits in between the cracks”.

So wrote Kip Lornell as part of his book, “The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to American Folk”.
Kip Lornell joins us in this introduction to all the music that fits between the cracks.

And he should know.

Kip Lornell has been researching and writing about American roots music since the late 1960’s. Since 1973 he has lived and worked in the South on music-related films, record projects and books. He teaches at George Washington University, has authored 8 books (ranging from Leadbelly to Gospel, and has even won a Grammy).

He is a uniquely qualified and most helpful guide as he starts us on this journey about us and our musics.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Trip To Wyoming, A Personal 50th State (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Susan Stamberg
Morning Edition, September 3, 2008

Wyoming was always tantalizingly out of reach for Susan Stamberg, who has visited 49 of 50 states.

'Glazed America:' For The Love Of Doughnuts (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Sunday
August 31, 2008

A new book explores America's consumer culture through the history of its favorite pastry.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Postcard From The Road (NPR)

From NPR News:

by David Greene
Weekend Edition Saturday, August 30, 2008

Instead of covering the conventions, David Greene got a very different assignment — to hit the road, and chat with Americans about their views on leadership, far away from the convention halls. He gives us a look inside this reporter's notebook.

Where Carp Feed, and Ducks Walk Across Their Backs (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: August 31, 2008

A 70-year-old practice of throwing bread to feed the carp in Pymatuning Lake, Penn., may soon come to an end.