Eric on The Road

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

'Rocky Mountain News' Bids Readers Farewell (NPR)

From NPR News:

The Rocky Mountain News published its final edition Friday morning (February 27) , just shy of its 150th anniversary.

Grand Canyon marks 90th anniversary as national park (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Felicia Fonseca
Associated Press Writer

Congress established the canyon as the country's 17th national park on Feb. 26, 1919.

New Muscle Car City gets in gear in Florida (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rebecca Heslin

Engines will be revved Tuesday (March 3) in Punta Gorda, Fla., as Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car City opens its doors. The museum will feature nearly 200 muscle cars — think Chevelles, Camaros, Corvettes.

Kennedy Center celebrates Arab arts (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rebecca Heslin

The League of Arab States has teamed up with the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to toast the arts from the 22 countries in the Arab world. The festival, Arabesque: Arts of the Arab World, runs through March 15 and features more than 50 performances, concerts and art installations.

Big-Time Ski Jumping, Small Town Feel (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

For more than 30 years, Salisbury, Conn., has held a ski-jumping contest with a small-town feel and high-level competition - video:

Related article:

Skiing Vermont, End to End (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 27, 2009

The Catamount Trail attracts skiers who want an affordable and athletic alternative to resort-based skiing.

Re-enactors Fight Battle of the Bulge (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 27, 2009

More than 1,500 World War II re-enactors attend the Battle of the Bulge Living History Commemoration every January at the Fort Indiantown Gap military base in Annville, Pa. With a cluster of barracks built as temporary housing in 1941, and little modified since, the Gap is an appealingly hardscrabble setting for re-enactors, who are sticklers about period authenticity, from the insignia on their field jackets to the make of their rifles (modified to fire blanks).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Passing: "That's A Spicy Meatball" Ad Man (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 25, 2009

Howard Zieff, the commercial director and ad photographer who stuffed an actor with spicy meatballs in a memorable Alka-Seltzer spot and used an American Indian in print ads to convince people “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye,” then went on to direct movie comedies, died on February 22 in Los Angeles. He was 81 and lived in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Delta Queen docks in Chattanooga to become hotel (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Bill Poovey,
Associated Press Writer

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Banished from America's waterways as a cruise vessel, the 82-year-old sternwheel steamboat Delta Queen hopes to find new life as a floating hotel and lounge on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.

Hundreds of people turned out under gray skies for a welcome ceremony Feb. 11 as the historic boat sailed in from New Orleans, and some well-wishers were allowed aboard the 285-foot-long Queen. In October, the boat lost its exemption to operate overnight river cruises for up to 176 passengers. Due to fire safety concerns, federal law prohibits such boats from carrying more than 50 overnight passengers.

Sundin's Return to Toronto (Vancouver Sun)

From The Vancouver Sun:

Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun columnist
Published: Monday, February 23, 2009

The Vancouver Canucks arrived in Montreal (for a February 24th game with Canadiens) still riding the emotional wave from Saturday's 3-2 shootout win in Toronto, where former Maple Leaf Mats Sundin was moved to tears by the affectionate reception he received from fans, then dramatically scored the winning goal.

Canuck coach Alain Vigneault told Sundin to stand up during the tribute, then sent him out for the faceoff as the ovation continued. Maple Leaf centre Matt Stajan stayed out of the circle, leaving the spotlight for Sundin.

Suddenly, it's a little harder for a Vancouverite to hate Toronto.

"I'm really fortunate to be a part of this because it's one of those special moments you take with you the rest of your career," Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell said. "I was on the ice with him [after the tribute] and I saw him and got goosebumps for him.

Métro art (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

February 23, 2009

Anyone who has used subways in other cities will tell you that Montreal's 42-year-old métro is one of the quirkiest in terms of its stations' décor and architecture.

During these mid-winter blahs, when you're wiping your runny nose with your mittens as you rush through one of the stations on your way to work, the wonders of our métro may not be so apparent. But there are in fact dozens of sublime slices of creativity in the métro that reflect the wonderful blend of melancholy and zany that is Montreal. Take the time to look at the art in the métro and it might lift your spirits.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wrong skyline printed on Philly Beer Week transit pass (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia's largest transit agency sold a pass with a picture of the New York City skyline on it.

The pass marked with the Philly Beer Week logo is sold to discourage people from driving from one event to another during the beer festival.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokeswoman Jerri Williams says people liked the look of the pass but didn't realize the stock photo was of the wrong city. New passes were being printed.

The $9 pass is good for one day of unlimited travel on SEPTA buses, trolleys and subways and many commuter trains. It can be used any day during the festival, which runs from March 6 to March 15.

In Mobile, Ala., Moon Pies Add To Mardi Gras Flavor (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
Febraury 23, 2009

New Orleans' Mardi Gras is the best known of the celebrations in America that signal the start of Lent, but it is certainly not the only one.

In Mobile, Ala., which claims to have the oldest Mardi Gras in the nation, they throw beads into the audience, along with flying moon pies.

Mobile resident Wayne Dean says the Mobile Mardi Gras provides a more family-friendly environment.

Retiring Rangers' #'s 3 & 9

Some thoughts about the uniform retirement ceremonies for Harry Howell and Andy Bathgate:

1. From this Canadiens fan, hats off to MSG for a great job. Class through and through.

2. Sorry there were not more fans in the building. These two greats and those putting together the vening deserved better. As Al Trautweig siad in his narrative greats like Mr. Howell and Mr. Bathgate made the likes of Adam Graves and Mark Messier possible.

3. It was great to see some of the other former greats we often don't hear about and from: Former Rangers Red Sullivan, Lou Fontinano, Bill Gadsby (I remember him as a Red Wing), Earl Ingerfield (glad he received his due recognition), Bob Nevin and Arnie Brown. What about Eddie Shack back in a Rangers uniform (I recall him with most the Leafs, but also with the Bruins, Kings(?) and Sabres) ? Then there were some of my out-of-town greats from the six team era: Red Kelly, Frank Mahavolich, Stan Mikita and one of my personal favorites Dick Duff. But waht was that with those uniforms that Kelly, Mikita and the Big M never wore ?

And finally, from Jay Greenberg in The New York Post:

"....Now that two wrongs have been righted, there are two to go, even if the opportunity to tell Bill Cook and Frank Boucher, two Rangers pioneers, Hall of Famers and two-time Stanley Cup winners, how much they meant to the franchise passed with them dying in 1986 and 1977, respectively..."

"...Cook was a three-time NHL goal scoring champion, a three-time first team All Star. Boucher was a three-time first team All-Star in addition to coaching the Rangers to the 1940 Stanley Cup that stood as the franchise's last for 54 years...."

"'It should have been done when both just finished playing,' Howell said. 'They were the stars of the early Ranger teams, Cook especially. I knew his history, how great he was.'"

"Time for him to pass that along. Their numbers should be retired, and there should be a red carpet laid out for invited Cook and Boucher descendants. It's necessary, especially for a franchise that loves to exaggerate the richness of a checkered history, yet never has honored two men most responsible for its greatest era".

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Two Rangers Sweaters Will Rise Where a Cup Banner Didn’t (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Dave Anderson
Published: February 21, 2009

They skated in the Original Six, when the New York Rangers were one of only six teams in the N.H.L. (compared with 30 now), when only about 120 players, virtually all from Canada, were the best in the world (compared with about 650 now from North America and Europe). They deserved to have their uniform numbers retired long ago, but for Andy Bathgate’s No. 9 and Harry Howell’s No. 3, that ceremony is finally happening Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Unless you saw them play in the old Garden on Eighth Avenue between West 49th and 50th Streets more than four decades ago, you’re probably too young to know, much less appreciate, how skilled they were.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hockey Day in Canada: Campbellton, NB (CBC Sports)

From CBC Sports:

"Campbellton: A community where no one gives up - The community has battled fires and an ever-changing economy, but it always finds away to thrive"...This and more at:

Obama leaves with a taste of Ottawa's famous pastry (CBC)

From CBC News:

....And then Obama decided to further connect with Ottawa residents by walking into the city's Byward Market to order his very own BeaverTail.

Jessica Millen delivered an Obama Tail to U.S. President Barack Obama at Ottawa's Byward Market on Thursday. (CBC)A BeaverTail — for anyone not from Ottawa — is a flat, deep-fried, doughnut-like pastry that's served all year long, but often goes best with a skate on the Rideau Canal.

As Obama's motorcade made its way to the airport, it parked briefly about a block away from the BeaverTails kiosk in the Byward Market building.

In December, the owner and co-founder of the chain, Grant Hooker, was asked by the Canadian Tourism Commission whether he would be interested in taking the treat down to Obama's inauguration.

The invite came after Hooker invented a new BeaverTail to celebrate Obama's victory. The special Obama Tail has a chocolate "O" on top.

This time, Obama came to him.

"I'd just arrived from school to work," said Jessica Millen, who was working at the kiosk on Thursday. "Next thing I knew, an agent was in front of me asking if me or my other co-worker, Fiona, could come and deliver an Obama Tail to Mr. Obama."

Millen said that her co-worker was nice enough to let her go because she is such a big Obama fan.

"That felt actually overwhelming," she said. "I have no words. I felt like I was going to pass out. I felt sick. But I was so happy at the same time."

"We had a little conversation, and I told him what his tail consisted of," Millen said. "Then he asked me my name and I told him to have a great day."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obamamania in the air as fans descend on capital (Ottawa Citizen)

From the Ottawa Citizen:

By Louisa Taylor
The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa • It’s going to be a doozy of a welcome for a very special guest who is pretty much guaranteed to be a no-show.

Bus trips have been organized in Montreal, Kitchener and Toronto. Hotel rooms are booked, Facebook groups are buzzing and websites have sprung up to give visitors all the latest information.

They’re coming to wave signs on Parliament Hill — if security allows it — and to cheer at a church rally, where the poet Oni the Haitian Sensation will be performing. Mayor Larry O’Brien might be part of the action, though he hasn’t confirmed yet, and a singer is flying in from Halifax to sing a duet with a trio of teenage sisters from Hamilton.

Then — if security allows it — there will be a symbolic “Yes We Span” march across the Laurier Avenue Bridge and back, just before everyone gets back on their buses and heads home.

All of this for U.S. President Barack Obama, a man one organizer says he knows his chances of seeing are “zilch.”

The Wizard of Oz Seven Decades Later (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
December 18, 2000

"70 years ago the movie's score and song cleaned up the oscars"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Smokies celebrate 75 years with hikes, music (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The 75th anniversary celebration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is underway.

The park, with 8 to 10 million annual visitors, is the country's most popular national park.

Events and activities are scheduled throughout the year to mark the anniversary.

Last Section of Shea Stadium Is Torn Down (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 18, 2009

New York's Shea Stadium, the site of the Mets’ two World Series victories, their many seasons of futility and a few historic concerts, met the fate of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds on Wednesday morning. At 11:21 a.m., a demolition crew pulled down the final section, and what remained of old blue stadium was gone in a cloud of dust: the final collapse at Shea. It was 45.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Search of true Americana (Souncheck- WNYC)

From WNYC:

American culture has produced the riches of gospel, bluegrass, and folk music; it has also spawned Cracker Barrel, Clear Channel and Wal-Mart. Music journalist Amanda Petrusich talks about hitting the road to find true Americana. Also: jazz piano legend Ahmad Jamal looks back on his eventful career.

Angel Island center for immigrants reopens (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rebecca Heslin

After a decades-long campaign to memorialize Angel Island, the immigration processing center in the San Francisco Bay reopens to the public.

Michigan tourist towns show a different side in winter (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By James Prichard
Associated Press Writer

"When you come here, it's not like your typical tourist town," says Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck/Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It's real. What we have here is real — it's not contrived. We don't have waterparks and things like that."

Happy 150th birthday, Oregon (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rebecca Heslin

Oregon turns the big one-five-oh on Saturday (2-14-09), but the birthday festivities will last all year.

Zulu Krewe at 100: Still Marching to Its Own Beat (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: February 13, 2009

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club celebrates 100 years.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ice Climber Tackles Iowa Silos (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
January 24, 2009

Don Briggs, a health and physical education instructor at the University of Northern Iowa, has been creating ice walls to climb on the side of grain silos for 10 years.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chicago Lincoln Bookstore Booms for Bicentennial (NPR News)

From NPR News:

By David Schaper
Morning Edition

Celebrations across the country Thursday will honor the bicentennial birth of Abraham Lincoln. There are new Lincoln pennies, postage stamps and books. The greatest private collection of Lincoln books and artifacts might be in Chicago. The owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop says it's been a media frenzy leading up to Lincoln's 200th birthday.