Eric on The Road

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Podcast Posting: The New Deal Story of America thru its Foods

As part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal response to the Great Depression, he created the Federal Writers Project, sending writers to various parts of the land to write on various topics - including food. The project, called “America Eats”, was abandoned in the early 1940’s because of World War II and never completed. Instead the files were archived in the Library of Congress.

Food historian Mark Kurlansky joins us to discuss the book he wrote based on these lost files. “The Food of a Younger Land” brought the unassembled materials to light and created this version of the guide that never was.


A Treasure Trove Of Civil War-Era Papers (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Matt Sepic (KWMU)
All Things Considered, June 26, 2009

State archivists in Missouri have completed a massive effort to restore and digitize 11,000 court records from 1866 to 1868.

They offer a fascinating glimpse of lives at a critical point in the nation's history.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sarasota's Circus Heritage Trail celebrates the 'Greatest Show on Earth' (USA Today)

Through USA Today:

By Mitch Stacy

The trail ties together for the first time the bits and pieces of the big-top history so richly woven into the fabric of the region.

L.A.'s Farmers Market celebrates 75 years (US Today)

Through US Today:

L.A.'s famous Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax is marking its 75th year with a week-long celebration in mid-July.

The Farmers Market was founded during the Great Depression when a couple of entrepreneurs came up with the idea of a European-style village square where artisans could sell handmade goods and local farmers would sell produce. The market opened on July 14, 1934, with a dozen farmers and a few other vendors parking trucks on what had been a dairy farm and an oil field.

For more go

Passing: Gale Storm - Sitcom Star of TV's Golden Age

From The New York Times:

June 29, 2009

Gale Storm, the Texas-born actress who made wholesome perkiness a defining element of television’s golden age on two hit sitcoms, “My Little Margie” and “The Gale Storm Show,” died Saturday (June 27) at a convalescent hospital in Danville, Calif., according to a representative of the hospital. She was 87.

Heard on the Radio: Live from Coney Island

On "Journeys into Hidden America"on Sirius-XM's "Left Jab" this past Sunday night was a brief segment with Gerry Menditio who works at the Cyclone ride at Coney Island. He has been there for almost 35 years, and he has never ridden it.

If you missed it on Left Jab (Sunday nights between 7-9 pm (Eastern) - our segment goes on at about 8:50 pm (Eastern), you can catch it as a podcast at "archives", and then go to "Hidden America" @

Friday, June 26, 2009

Passing: Farah Fawcett & Michael Jackson

Two icons of American popular culture lost on the same day.

The height of their popularity came a bit later than the period we tend to embrace here.

But it was difficult to ignore either - one from her winning smile and body. The pin-up girl of the 1970's; the other a product of the media/marketing engine of that time.

We convey condolences to their families, to their fans, and even to the rest of us -as it shows that time, indeed, is passing, and that at the end of the day we all are here for so brief a time - no matter how good looking, no matter how talented, no matter how much fame and no matter how much money.

We won't,as is our custom, link you to articles about both stars. We have probably have seen it and konw where to find it.

Instead, we leave you with this - our time here is short and precious. As Mr. Magourian said in a 2007 movie, "Your life is an occasion. Seize it".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Québec, je t'aime! (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

"24 things we love about our province"

Fete Nationale - A Special Day in Quebec

Today is June 24, a holday in Quebec.

The National Holiday of Quebec (French: La Fête nationale du Québec) is the National Holiday of the Canadian province of Quebec. A paid statutory public holiday covered by the Act Respecting Labour Standards, it is celebrated annually on June 24, St. John the Baptist Day.

In Quebec, the festivities occur on June 23 and June 24, and since 1978 are publicly financed and organized by a National Holiday Organizing Committee (Comité organisateur de la fête nationale). June 24 continues to be celebrated as a festival of French Canadian culture in other Canadian provinces and in the United States.

For historical background:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Passing: Ed McMahon

For decades, he was Johnny Carson's sidekick (even before teh Tonight Show). He was host of "Star Search". He was there with Dick Clark and "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes". He was a fixture at the Jerry Lewis Telethon too. Let's not overlook the insurance, beer, shampoo, cars, baked goods and dog food he sold. And, who can forget Ed's name and picture on those letters from the American Family Publishers sweepstakes ?

Ed McMahon represented a distinct American profile. Salesperson, huckster, cheerleader, storyteller and survivor are just some of the ways to describe McMahon.

He could have been your uncle or mine. And he was part of our lives.

Attention must be paid.

For more:

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Podcast Posting: The Legacy of Charles Kuralt at Chapel Hill

On July 4, it will be 12 years since the passing of Charles Kuralt - the CBS News journalist best known for his “On the Road” essays.

In this conversation, we speak with Donald Shaw from North carolina who shares with us his passion for Kuralt and what his work represented.

We hear about how Kuralt’s work and his CBS office have been preserved at the University of North Carolina’s Charles Kuralt Learning Center (Kuralt is buried on campus at Chapel Hill).

We also talk of what Kuralt meant and continues to represent these years later.


New Podcast Posting: National Bathroom Reading Month

Since 1988, the Bathroom Readers’ Institute has headed a movement to highlight this specialized pastime. In this conversation, we speak with Gordon Javna from the Institute, who is also publisher of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader about National Bathroom Reading Month, the Bathrrom readers’ Institute and about Uncle John.


Passing: Kodachrome (


Kodak will discontinue the color film after 74 years.>1=33009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Finding Ice Cream on The Road (Boston Globe/Chicago Tribune)

From The Chicago Tribune:

People from across the United States and, indeed, around the world are drawn to Wilton, just a couple of miles off Interstate Highway 80 between Davenport and Iowa City, to visit what's believed to be -- in the Nopouloses' words -- "the oldest ongoing ice cream parlor in the nation." A fellow named R.A. McIntire started making ice cream here in 1860, when Abe Lincoln was running for president.,0,5725684.story

From The Boston Globe:

By Paul E. Kandarian
Globe Correspondent / June 21, 2009

With 400 miles of coastline and an abundance of inland ponds and parks, Rhode Island has plenty of places for eating ice cream. Many places make their own and here’s the scoop on 10 hot spots for the cold treat.

Also from the Chicago Tribune:

3 top ice cream parlors in the Midwest,0,1553390.story

Iowa museum puts Glenn Miller enthusiasts 'In the Mood' (

From via AP:

By Michael J. Crumb
Associated Press Writer

The people of Clarinda are about to begin construction of a museum to honor Miller and display memorabilia from his musical career.

Molson family buys Canadiens (Montreal Gazette)

From the Montreal Gazette:

By Pat Hickey, Montreal Gazette
June 20, 2009

Team owner George Gillett and Geoff Molson issued a joint statement Saturday saying they have an agreement in principle for three Molson brothers to purchase the club.

The brothers are continuing a family tradition with the purchase. Senator Hartland Molson and his brother, Thomas, purchased the team from Senator Donat Raymond in 1957. Hartland and Thomas Molson sold the team to their cousins, David, Bill and Peter Molson, in 1964, and they owned the team until 1971.

Molson Breweries purchased the team from a company controlled by Peter and Edward Bronfman in 1978, and Eric Molson, the father of the new owners, was one of the driving forces in the construction of a new arena that opened in 1996 as the Molson Centre.

The brewery sold a controlling interest to Gillett in 2001.

* Fan Reaction Montreal:

* Timeline: Molson ownership history of the Canadiens:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Five New Ways" to Explore Banff (Calgary Herald)

From The Calgary Herald via

By Lisa Kadane
Calgary Herald

Once you've crossed off the well-known attractions, you're left wondering what's left to do save strolling the shops on Banff Avenue or going all Grizzly Adams and trekking into the back-country to live off the land. But it doesn't take much digging to unearth some hidden family gems still waiting discovery in Banff. We've found five offerings that will appeal to parents and their progeny.

A History of the Canadian Road (CanWest News Service)

From The CanWest News Service:

The Montreal Gazette

As Peter Unwin puts it in his history of the Canadian highway, Hard Surface, the road is "a symbol of hope, leading all those who travel on it into a better future and a better life."

In fact, as Unwin argues, the true value of the Canadian road "is not the transportation of goods and cargo, but the quest for ourselves."

Passing: Inventor Of Motel-Favorite 'Magic Fingers' (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
June 19, 2009

John J. Houghtaling, the inventor of the Magic Fingers vibrating bed, died on June 17, 2009 at the age of 92. The coin-operated Magic Fingers became a staple of roadside motels in the 1960s. Houghtaling invented the contraption in 1958 in his New Jersey garage.

Passing: Dusty Rhodes, A Star for NY Baseball Giants in '54 Series (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: June 18, 2009

Dusty Rhodes, whose pinch-hitting heroics led the New York Giants to win the 1954 World Series, a championship the Giants, who moved to San Francisco four years later, have yet to repeat, died on June 17, 2009 in Las Vegas. He was 82 and lived in Henderson, Nev.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The History Of The Vacation Examined (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
June 17, 2009

Author Cindy Aron talks about the idea of vacations and where the notion came from. She also discusses the idea of how people's religious needs were part of taking vacations historically. She also discusses the idea of how people's religious needs were part of taking vacations.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After 208 years, Vt. village schoolhouse closes (


HANCOCK, Vt.- Fewer kids and rising costs prompted townsfolk this year to vote to close the elementary school and instead pay tuition to send their roughly 20 children to neighboring schools.

'You've lost a history that is pretty hard to match,’ says principal

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Regional Dictionary Tracks The Funny Things We Say (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Celeste Headlee
Weekend Edition Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume I: Introduction and A-C is part one of a multivolume effort to capture regional expressions.

When the Braves bailed Boston (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

By Michael Shapiro
June 14, 2009

THE BRAVES return to Boston next weekend, and if the event does not stir as many hearts, that is a shame, given that there are few events as crucial in the history of the game as Lou Perini's fateful decision to skip town.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Passing: Analog TV

From NPR News:

Laura Sydell
Weekend Edition Saturday
June 13, 2009

On Friday, the remaining TV broadcasters across the country who had not already switched turned off their old analog transmitters and began broadcasting digitally.

Pittsburgh Penguins Win the Stanley Cup

Penguins beat Wings in Game 7

The view from Pittsburgh (From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):

About the Game
Saturday, June 13, 2009
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Read more:

Pittsburgh celebrates (peacefully)

There was no Jumbotron outside Mellon Arena, but there was a big screen for the neighbors in Munhall.
Read more:

The view from Detroit (Detroit Free Press):
Bye Stanley, hello heartache

Pitty party: Hockeyfrowns all around as Cup heads to Stanleyburgh

Friday, June 12, 2009


Anyone that's been in our neck of the woods knows that we could have used a re-branding a long time ago.

Some good content. Multi-media. But to more than afew folks, it was more than a bit confusing.

With this in mind, we have created a new umbrella place to go. It's called

Once there, you can take a journey into Hidden America, Canada, Beer or Hockey (with others to follow).

The content and the feel, hopfully, remain. And, with any look, less confusion.

Where Navajo Tales, and Rugs, Are Woven (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: June 12, 2009

Navajo Nation, which spreads across 27,000 square miles of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, is a land of rust-colored rock, hiking trails and traditional crafts.

With accompanying audio slide show.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Writing Clutters American Sports (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Frank Deford
Morning Edition
June 10, 2009

"Thank God for pristine outfields. From scribble on the midfield to ads on uniforms, everything else in sports has gotten too cluttered".

Alberta's Cowboy Trail follows the past and embraces the present (Calgary Herald)

From The Calgary Herlad via

By Yvonne Jeffery
The Calgary Herald
June 9, 2009

It's not just a place -- it's a feeling. The Cowboy Trail extends along the eastern slopes of the Rockies, bumping up against mountains and rolling out to forests, grasslands and (south of Calgary) the Porcupine Hills.

Treats for your taste buds in beautiful Vancouver (

The Ottawa Citizen via

By Laura Robin
Ottawa Citizen; Canwest News Service

Whenever you visit Vancouver you are going to face the same problem: so many great places to eat and only so much stomach to go around.

Newport exhibit reveals social activist side of Norman Rockwell (


By Eric Tucker, Associated Press Writer

A new exhibit at the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, RI traces Rockwell's career over six decades, showing how he evolved from an artist fond of painting dogs, children, seniors and other sentimental subjects into a social commentator keen on documenting the world around him.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NYC's new park made from elevated rail line ( Times)


By Sara Kugler

NEW YORK — An elevated rail line abandoned nearly 30 years ago on Manhattan's West Side reopens this week as a landscaped public park that sits three stories above the city's streets.

An architectural review of the High Line in The New York Times:

Restored South Carolina slave cabins (


By Bruce Smith

Four former slave cabins at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston, SC have been restored to show visitors the path of blacks from slavery to freedom.

Pig, Smoke, Pit: This Food Is Seriously Slow (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

June 9, 2009

Scott’s Variety Store and Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, S.C., slow-smokes whole hogs over hardwood coals — a way of cooking that is disappearing.

With accompanying audio slide show

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Doughnuts To Dollars (CBS News)

From CBS News:

CBS Sunday Morning
June 7, 2009

Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than any country in the world — and the undisputed doughnut king in the Great White North is Tim Hortons, founded in 1964 by all-star hockey player Tim Horton.

Over the past 45 years, 3,000 Tim Hortons shops have sprung up across the Canadian landscape. There are more Tim Hortons in Canada then there are McDonalds, and sales in 2008 exceeded $2 billion. And now Tim Hortons has begun its push into the United States in earnest.

Dial 1-800 for self-guided tour of Ontario town (Windsor Star)

From The Windsor Star through

By Monica Wolfson
The Windsor Star

Tourists get information by cellphones

An Abandoned Symbol Of Detroit's Better Days (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Celeste Headlee
Weekend Edition Sunday, June 7, 2009

Recently destined for demolition, Detroit's Michigan Central Station — one of the city's most historic and distinctive skyline silhouettes — has received a temporary stay of execution. The last train pulled out of the station in 1988, but Detroiters still have a passion for the landmark. Built in 1913, with an 18-story tower and elaborate stonework, it now sits vacant and forlorn.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Keeping D-Day Memories Fresh (NPR News)

From NPR News:

By Elanor Beardsley
Weekend Edition Saturday
June 6, 2009

The small villages in Normandy have a long tradition of honoring the American, British and Canadian soldiers who fought and died on the D-Day beaches in 1944. As the generation who witnessed those landings dies out, the French are determined the next generation will continue that tradition.

Also: Scott Simon on Weekend Edition, "If Not for D-Day, It Would Have Been Doomsday" - "'s anniversary may remind us what was at stake 65 years ago. The young soldiers of 1944, now gone or grown old, had no exit strategy. They could only win, or die trying..."

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sweet Memories Of Nut Goodies Gone By (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Bonnie Wolf
Weekend Edition Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's easy to find a Milky Way or a Mounds bar. They're made by mega-candy manufacturers and are everywhere. But there are still some small regional candy companies making the snacks we remember from childhood. The Pearson Candy Company in St. Paul, Minn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year.

Grammys Drop Polka (PRI)

From PRI:

The World
June 5, 2009

Anchor Marco Werman speaks with polka musician Jimmy Sturr about this week's decision by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to drop the category of Best Polka Album from its Grammy awards lineup.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

On the trail of Townships heritage in Quebec (



Sipping tea and eating scones with cucumber sandwiches may not sound like a Quebec tourist experience, but it fits the theme of English charm along the longest marked tourist trail in the Eastern Townships.

What’s Your G.M. Memory? (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

May 31, 2009

With G.M.’s bankruptcy filing, the once-mighty company (and America) has entered a new chapter. So it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the cars that brought us to the present, for better or worse.

Do you have a story about a memorable G.M. car or truck? Share it with Times readers by posting a comment.

If you have a photo of a G.M. vehicle to share, you can upload it at


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

N.Y. Philharmonic Bids Farewell To Clarinetist (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
June 2, 2009

Anyone who has listened to a recording of the New York Philharmonic, or seen the orchestra live or on TV, has definitely heard first clarinetist Stanley Drucker.

That's because Drucker has played with the Philharmonic for the past 60 years, or nearly one-third of the orchestra's history. When he retires at the end of June, he will have played in more than 10,200 concerts.

Passing: Paul Haney, "Voice of NASA" (Washington Post)


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. -- Paul Haney, who was known as the "voice of NASA's Mission Control" for his live televised reports during the early years of the space program, has died of cancer. He was 80.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Star from Coney Island's Astroland sent to Smithsonian (USA Today)


WASHINGTON (AP) — A piece of Coney Island's history will have a new home at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Museum officials announced Thursday that an 8-foot-high star from the now closed space-age theme park, Astroland, will become part of the National Air and Space Museum's popular culture collection.

It was one of two spinning stars at Astroland's entrance, installed in 1963 at the height of the space race.

Carol Hill Albert and Jerome Albert, owners of the former Astroland Park, donated the star.