Eric on The Road

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Podcast Posting: The First Ballots Cast on Election Day

At midnight on November 4, every registered voter in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, will cast a vote in the nation’s first presidential actual; election day balloting of the 2008 election presidential election. Within moments after midnight, the polls will be declared closed. You see, state election law allows New Hampshire communities to shut down polling as soon as all eligible voters have cast ballots.

How can Dixville Notch guarantee that all voters will be present and accounted for at the stroke of midnight? Well, for starters, there are only 26 of them. More importantly, Dixville Notch’s status as the “First in the Nation” to voice its preference for a presidential candidate in both the primary and the general election has been a cherished community tradition since 1960.

In this conversation, we speak with Rick Erwin, Dixville Town Clerk, about the tradition of midnight voting in his community, how they prepare and how they pull it all off that night.


You can also hear an interview with Rick Erwin on XM's Left Jab -

See Dixville Notch vote:

Hail to the Victors

Congratulations to Philadelphia, the Phillies and Phils' fans everywhere.

The City of Brotherly Love celebrates it's first sports title in 25 years and the Phils' first World Series win since 1980.

Live like royalty for a night in Singer Castle (Ottawa Citizen)

From The Ottawa Citizen via

by Michael Prentice
Ottawa Citizen

On this trip, you'll sleep in the Royal Suite at Singer Castle on its own island in the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Facts Mix With the Johnny Cash Legend on the Road to Redemption (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 19, 2008

In Starkville, Miss., the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival celebrates the life of the American musician.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Passing: E. Roger Muir, 89, Backed Howdy Doody (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 28, 2008

E. Roger Muir, who helped create and was executive producer of “The Howdy Doody Show,” the puppet-and-people program that first hooked millions of kids on television in its early days, died Thursday near his home in Wolfeboro, N.H. Mr. Muir, who went on to produce other successful shows, including “Concentration,” was 89.

Mr. Muir produced the show throughout its 13-year run on NBC, from 1947 to 1960, and was co-producer with Nick Nicholson of its syndicated version, “The New Howdy Doody Show,” in 1976 and 1977.

Mr. Muir “was a sculptor of the show,” said Ron Simon, the radio and television curator at the Paley Center for Media, in New York.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Farm-to-table meals let you dine right at the source (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Kelly DiNardo

Farm-to-table dinners where diners interact with farmers, even eating their meals outside are becoming more popular among foodies around the country.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Podcast Posting: A Photojournalist in Search of Norman Rockwell’s America

Kevin Rivioli had been hearing that an America so beautifully illustrated by Norman Rockwell had, in fact, never existed and never would be.

But as a photojournalist (for the New York Times and Associated Press inter alia) in Upstate New York, he knew differently.

He and his journalist wife set about to systemize and give voice to a narrative Kevin had found over 15 years through his eyes and his lense.

The result is a unique and fascinating book, “In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America” (Howard
Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster).

We speak with Kevin Rivoli about what triggered his search and what he found as he set out to share Rockwell’s America with the rest us.


Also see:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When Greed Became Good On 'Wall Street' (NPR)

From NPR News:

Day to Day
October 16, 2008
by Alex Cohen

Brokers who walk around saying "greed is good" have Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser to thank for the mantra. Twenty-one years ago, they paired up to make the movie Wall Street. Weiser says he sometimes wonders if he is not to blame, just a little, for the mess we are in now.

Buying Bob Hope's Stuff (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Edition Saturday
October 18, 2008

When the comedian died in 2003 at the age of 100, he left behind almost a century of stuff: signed photos, golf clubs, cuff links from presidents, costumes, and golf sweaters. This weekend, a lot of those items are on the auction block.

Room for a Longtime Yankees Fan at Fenway (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 17, 2008

In Fenway for the late-night miracle was a longtime Yankees fan who said, “The Red Sox grow on you.”

"Bettman sees NHL's financial future through his rose-coloured glasses" (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

by Red Fisher

"Season-ticket sales are 4-per-cent higher than a year ago, and single-game tickets were up nearly 13 per cent as of a week ago," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says. But those transactions were done long before the economy started its frightening slide.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Place names that go bump in the night (MSN)


By Christine Champ for MSN City Guides

"Tis the season to be spooky. When pumpkins become glowing goblins, ghouls and fairy tales wander the streets, and the unnerving names of some places awaken from their forgotten corners of the map of the United States and haunt our imaginations..."(i.e. Kill Devil Hill, Sleepy Hollow, Transalvania)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Retromercial: Molson Canadian with Guy Lombardo

A journey into the offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten. Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians sing about Molson Canadian:

Passing: Edie Adams, Actress and Singer - best known for Murial Cigars & as Ernie Kovac's Wife

From The New York Times:

Published: October 16, 2008

Edie Adams, an actress, comedian and singer who both embodied and winked at the stereotypes of fetching chanteuse and sexpot blonde, especially in a long-running series of TV commercials for Muriel cigars, in which she poutily encouraged men to “pick one up and smoke it sometime,” died Wednesday October 15 in the West Hills section of Los Angeles. She was 81 and lived in Los Angeles.

Edie Adams for Murial Cigars (1965):

Also see: - Edie sings "That's All": From the episode, "Lucy Meets the Moustache" of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. The song meant so much more since it was the last episode of the popular I Love Lucy series. Lucy and Desi were also divorcing after a long tumultuous marriage.

New Podcast Posting: October Voices of the Game

It’s almost World Series time.

In this conversation, we speak with Curt Smith whose expertise is “Voices of the Game”. He shares with us the tradition of baseball post-season broadcast from the first World Series (1923) with Graham McNnamee, a newsman through Mel Allen and Lindsey Nelson through Vin Scully, Jack Buck and now into his son Joe Buck along with Tim McCarver. On radio John Miller and Joe Morgan have been at for years. Then, there is also Gary Thorne on the International MLB broadcast.

We also honor some New York voices that came from the newly closed Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium (i.e. Mel Allen, Bob Murphy, Lindsay Nelson and Ralph Kiner).


Strong Men Compete In Charleston, W. Va. (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
October 8, 2008

They carry refrigerators, dead lift cars and pull airplanes — all in an effort to prove they're the strongest. The World's Strongest Man competition was held last month in Charleston, W. Va.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Landmark Problem (CBS News)

From CBS News:

CBS Sunday Morning
October 12, 2008

The economy is not just putting the homes of living Americans at risk. Across the country, historic homes may have to close their doors. Mark Twain’s Hartford, Connecticut home, Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana Thomas House in Springfield, Illinois, are all in financial trouble. The National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates that there are about 10,000 historic houses in the United States.

Election Day in Canada

It's a holiday of deliberation and soul searching for Canadians.

In addition to the normal Thanksgiving proclamations of thanks, this year there's likely to be some discussion at the table as well. You see, Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday is followed by an election on Tuesday.

There are many issues and broad implications based on the vote.

For background on this election:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Diefenbunker debunked (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

From the Saskatoon StarPhoenix via

by Peter Wilson
Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Top-secret nuclear shelter near Ottawa offers a glimpse into Cold War-era mentality.

Sleep in a sphere (Ottawa Citizen)

From The Ottawa Citizen via CanWest News Service:

by Reb Stevenson
Canwest News Service

On Vancouver Island, your room is an orb dangling from the trees like a Christmas ornament.

Boston Orchestra Makes Typewriters Sing (NPR)

From NPR News:

Day to Day
October 10, 2008

The Boston Typewriter Orchestra is a small, Monty Python-esque group that mixes original "typewriter" music with swatches of surrealist comedy. Sometimes they play their typewriters so hard that they upset the audience.

Passing: Eileen Herlie of Soaps & Broadway (AP)

From The Associated Press through

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eileem Herlie, a stage and TV actress who appeared on "All My Children" for more than three decades as the motherly Myrtle Fargate, has died at 90.

The actress joined the long-running show in 1976 to play Myrtle, who became the surrogate mother to many of the soap's major characters, including Erica Kane, portrayed by Susan Lucci.

Herlie's last appearance on the program was in June.

Before joining "All My Children," Herlie was a regular on Broadway. She made her debut in Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker" in 1955, playing milliner Irene Molloy in the comedy, which starred Ruth Gordon as Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Musical theater buffs knew Herlie from her appearances in two shows: "Take Me Along" (1959), an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's "Ah, Wilderness!," in which she played Jackie Gleason's love interest, and "All American" (1962), in which Herlie co-starred with Ray Bolger. In "All American," she and Bolger sang the musical's best-known song, "Once Upon a Time," a Charles Strouse-Lee Adams tune later popularized by Tony Bennett.

Herlie was nominated for a Tony for her performance in "Take Me Along."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Credit Crunch Puts Family On A Downward Slide (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Tovia Smith
Morning Edition, October 8, 2008

Economic turmoil is hitting the middle class hard — especially small-business owners who can't get credit from banks they've done business with for years. That's the situation David Leschinsky finds himself in, as the owner of Eureka Puzzles, a store near Boston.

In Buddha’s Path on the Streets of San Francisco (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 10, 2008

Just beyond San Francisco’s Chinatown begins a historical tour of a more spiritual nature.

Also, check out the accompanying slide show:

Introducing "Journeys into Hockey"

We've started something new.

It's actually a variation of our Conversations on the Road podcast, but it can be heard on XM Satellite Rdaio.

It's called "Journeys into Hockey" and we describe it as "an exploration of hockey's offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten".

Our first "Journey-cast" was an interview with my childhood hero Jean Beliveau. This week we speak with the legendary ex-PR director of the New York Rangers, John Halligan. Future segments are to include the likes of Fred Cusick (Voice of the Bruins), Ralph Mellnaby (Hockey Night in Canada), Johnny Bower and more.

You can catch the segments on XM Radio's Channel 204 (Hockey Channel) weekends starting on Fridauy afternoons. If you miss it there, you can also get a listen at our new companion website:

New Podcast Posting: Murketing Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer

In this “Journey into Beer” (Beer America) segment, we speak with Robert Walker, New York Times Magazine “Consumed” columnist. He is also author the book, “Buying In”, The Secreet Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, Random House, 2008.

In it he writes of “murketing”, a practice that blends the terms of murky and marketing and reflects our changing cultural landscape.

One story he tells in the book is that of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, an old-time brand that suddenly found itself re-invented for reasons it at first did not understand. Rob Walker shares that Pabst story with us and just what it might mean in the bigger scheme of things.


Baseball Playoff Topics: Joe Torre, White Sox in Tampa & Philly Sports (NY Times)

"Wearing Dodger Blue With a Pinstripe T-Shirt" (NY Times)
Published: October 8, 2008
Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager, described the feeling of reaching the playoffs with the Dodgers as “satisfaction, more than vindication.”

"White Sox Owner in Tampa: This could have been our stadium” (NY Times)
Published: October 8, 2008
Twenty years ago, the White Sox nearly committed to moving to Florida.

"When Philadelphia Was a Winner" (NY Times)
Published: October 8, 2008
Nobody knew it in 1983, except for Phillies fans, but it was pretty much the end of the only sustained era of sporting excellence Philadelphia has known.

New Podcast Posting: Of Democracy 250 in Nova Scotia

Democracy 250 is a year long celebration of responsible government in British North America.

On October 2, 1758, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly met for the first time in a modest wooden building at the corner of Argyle and Buckingham streets in Halifax.

It was an assembly of twenty-two men, who came together to deliberate as a parliament on questions affecting the colony.

With voting limited to Protestant, free-land holding males, it was a modest beginning, and while their influence with the British-appointed Governor was questionable, it was an important start nonetheless. It was the first elected assembly of its kind in what would eventually become Canada.

As the birth place of parliamentary democracy in Canada, Nova Scotia’s role in shaping our nation’s democratic institutions has helped secure the rights and freedoms Canadians enjoy today.

We speak with three distinguished gentlemen about these events, their legacy so many years later, and how this milestone event is being observed. Our guests are: The Honourable John Hamm - former Progressive Conservative Premier of Nova Scotia; The Honourable Russell MacLellan - former Liberal Premier of Nova Scotia (The two are co-chairs, long-time friends and one time political adversaries), and Michael Bawtree author and actor known for portraying Joseph Howe - famous Nova Scotian -Canadian (also a Premier), who is credited with introducing Freedom of the Press to Canada.


Economic woes cause travelers to postpone, cancel trips (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Barbara De Lollis

The plunging stock market, big bank failures, falling home values and other scary economic news could signal trouble for travel.

Gripped by fear of what may happen next and feeling less rich, some travelers are postponing, scaling back or canceling trips of all kinds.

Also: Airline woes pinch Arizona tourism expectations (Arizona Republic via USA Today):
By Dawn Gilbertson, The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX — Airline flight cuts and higher airfares this fall will bring fewer visitors to Arizona, delivering a punishing one-two punch to the state's limping economy.

New Podcast Posting: The World’s Only Corn Palace

So is described the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.

Even if there might be others, this Corn Palace is nonetheless one of a kind.

Originally inspired in the late 1800’s by local real estate interests to encourage settlement on area lands, the Corn Palace was built to be an attraction. Original intentions have been fulfilled.

The present day Corn Palace (the third structure) is a multi-purpose exhibition hall topped with onion-shaped domes and covered with tens of thousands of dollars worth of oats, sorghum, barley, sudan grass, and, of course, corn.

Yellow corn, white corn, red corn, brown corn, splotchy corn, etc.

In this "Conversation on the Road" podcast, we speak with Marc Schilling of the Corn Palace about the place’s history and of its annual ritual of growing, harvesting and adapting fields of corn that are transformed into artistic murals.


In Alaska, A Pageant For The Humble Spud (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
October 8, 2008

Alaska's Palmer Potato Pageant honors the potato for its nutritional and recreational benefits.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Passing: Ed Brinkman, Shortstop from the '60's (AP)

From The Associated Press through The New York Times:

CHICAGO (AP) — Eddie Brinkman, a record-setting shortstop during a 15-year career in the majors, died on September 30 in Cincinnati, his hometown. He was 66.

Brinkman, who made his big-league debut at 19 in 1961 with the Washington Senators, played in an era when shortstops were known more for their gloves than their bats. He solidified his reputation as “good-field, no-hit” in 1972, when he batted just .203 with 6 home runs and 49 runs batted in for the American League East champion Detroit Tigers but set the league record for shortstops with 72 straight errorless games. Cal Ripken Jr. broke the mark in 1990.
Brinkman’s defense in 1972 earned him a Gold Glove award. He was an A.L. All-Star in 1973.
Brinkman hit .224 with 60 home runs in his career, most of it spent with Washington and Detroit.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pittsburgh Celebrates 250 Years (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
October 4, 2008

Pittsburgh kicks off its semiquincentennial this weekend. The city was founded 250 years ago by Gen. John Forbes and his sidekick, a young colonel named George Washington.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

"It's time for Canadiens to honour the Punch Line" (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

The Gazette

"...I see where the Canadiens will honour coaches Dick Irvin Sr., Toe Blake and Scotty Bowman as part of their centenary celebrations...."

"...They were the best of the best. On the other hand, here's another idea: by all means honour them as a group, but also raise Blake's No. 6 to the Bell Centre rafters. His record on and off the ice cries for it...".

"...And while the Canadiens are at it, raise linemate Elmer Lach's No. 16 on the same night. The Punch Line he served on, along with Maurice Richard and Blake, deserves to be together. They were the best part of many of the Canadiens' best years...".

To Their Adoring Fans, Older Stadiums Feel Like Home (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 3, 2008

The Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field, built in 1914. The Dodgers play at Dodger Stadium, built in 1962. Those are the two oldest stadiums in the National League, and it is not even close.

(The next oldest ballpark is Dolphin Stadium in Miami, the home of the Florida Marlins since 1993. After that, it is rickety Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies since 1995. Twelve N.L. parks have been built since then, including the NY Mets' Citi Field, which opens next April.)

“There are fewer and fewer stadiums like that — Yankee Stadium until a week ago, Fenway Park,” said Ned Colletti, the general manager of the Dodgers. “The culture of the organizations and the fan experience is interwoven with the field, in some places, and it’s really those that have been around the longest.”

In Cubs’ Luckless Lore, the Story of a Baseball Life (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 3, 2008

Nobody epitomizes the plight and the wait-till-next-year optimism of the Chicago Cubs like the emotionally charged color commentator and ex-Cub, Ron Santo.

Heard on the Road: Storytelling Time in Historic Jonesborough, TN

Back three decades ago, there were some folks in Northeast Tennessee who feared that the tradition of storytelling was in jeopardy in the television age.

They set about to create a festival dedicated to the art of storytelling. There were some 60 souls present sitting on hale bales for the first Stroytelling Festival back in 1973.

Now years later it is time for the 36tha nnual National Storytelling Festival in historic Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Joining us for a Left Jab "hidden America" feature on XM with Mark Walsh and David Goodfriemd is Kathryn Tucker Windham. Master storyteller, author of twenty-four books, playwright, accomplished photographer and popular public television and radio personality, Kathryn Tucker Windham's stories are as unmistakably Southern as the voice that tells them.

She describes the mood and the scne in Jonesborough for this year's event.

The segment can be heard on "Left Jab" at XM Radio's Channel 167 on Saturday at 11 am and Sunday at 1 pm (Times Eastern). If you miss it there, it can later be found as a podcast at

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hockey: Bad news for U.S. economy good news for Hamilton? (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

From the Globe and Mail
September 30, 2008

And now, a little something to perhaps brighten your day in the face of all of those scary headlines: Could it be that an unexpected, happy consequence of the economic meltdown in the United States will be a second NHL franchise in Southern Ontario?