Eric on The Road

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Remembering The Great Depression's Sunny Side (NPR)

From NPR News:

by Sam Sanders
October 23, 2009

This year marks the 80th anniversary of "Black Tuesday," Oct. 29, 1929, which is considered the climax of the stock market crash that preceded the Depression, and a day that changed America's economic history.

Here's an NPR rundown of a few of the winners, music and food of the 1930s, evidence that for some, "Life Was Just A Bowl of Cherries" during that economic downturn.

Passing: Lou Jacobi, Critically Acclaimed Actor of Film and Stage (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

October 25, 2009

Lou Jacobi, the mustachioed, scene-stealing Canadian-born actor and comedian who made a film and stage career playing comic ethnic characters but was lauded for serious dramatic roles as well, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 95.

To many, myself included, Mr. Jacobi is best remembered and loved for successful comedy recordings with titles like “Al Tijuana and His Jewish Brass” and “The Yiddish Are Coming! The Yiddish Are Coming!”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kentucky town to play up ties to Colonel Sanders (USA Today)


A statue of Colonel Harland Sanders and signs that point to the world's first Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant are among the top priorities of Corbin, Kentucky's new tourism commission head.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Henry Marks: the tailor's alteration (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

October 25, 2009

Famous Montreal tailor to close its doors this week at its Drummond St. location, but the owners hope to be back in business in the new year.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Passing: Bill Chadwick, Iconic NHL Ref & Broadcaster

From The Associated Press thru The New York Times:

CUTCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) -- Bill ''The Big Whistle'' Chadwick, the first U.S.-born official in NHL history who was later a popular broadcaster for the New York Rangers, died Saturday (October 24). He was 94.

For 16 seasons, from 1939 to 1955, and despite being blind in one eye, Chadwick was one of the best officials the NHL. He invented and perfected the system of hand signals to signify penalties, and the system is now used throughout the world.

In 1965, at the urging of Emile Francis, the Rangers' longtime general manager and coach, Chadwick embarked on a 14-year broadcasting career (where he became known as "The Big Whistle"), working first on radio with play by play man Marv Albert, and most notably, on television with Jim Gordon for nine seasons.

Real Bears Playing Hockey

Thanks to our friends at Habsinsideout ( for calling thsi to our attention:

"Real Bears Playing Hockey":

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Ontario town where the McIntosh was born (Canwest News Service)

From The Ottawa Citizen:

Not many people know that Dundela is the home of the world-famous McIntosh apple, first planted more than 200 years ago.

Think You're Depressed Now? Revisit 1929 (NPR)

From NPR News:

America's Great Depression was a ripple affect of the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. This year marks the 80th anniversary of "Black Tuesday," which bankrupted much of America.

Florida's Overseas Highway recognized as an 'All-American Road' (USA


Completed in 1938, the Overseas Highway incorporates 42 bridges over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The All-American Road designation is the highest recognition possible under the National Scenic Byways program.

Casey Jones Museum opens in Jackson, Tenn. (


A museum dedicated to John Luther "Casey" Jones has just opened at Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tenn., where he lived. The museum is in the same location where Jones' home has been preserved.

Biking the Great Allegheny Passage (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 23, 2009

A 132-mile trail from McKeesport, Pa., to Cumberland, Md., is part history lesson, part nature excursion and part fun house, with thrilling and spooky moments. When the trail is complete, it will reach from Pittsburgh to Washington.

With accompanying slide show:

10 great towns with international flair (USA Today)

From USA Today:

In honor of United Nations Day on Saturday, discover the different nationalities in communities across the USA. Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Center for the Living City (, shares with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY his list of places to enjoy the rich diversity.

Passing: Soupy Sales

From The New York Times:

Published: October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales, whose zany television routines turned the smashing of a pie to the face into a madcap art form, died Thursday night (October 22). He was 83.

Cavorting with his puppet sidekicks White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie the Lion and Hobart and Reba, the heads in the pot-bellied stove, transforming himself into the private detective Philo Kvetch, and playing host to the ever-present “nut at the door,” Soupy Sales became a television favorite of youngsters and an anarchic comedy hero for teenagers and college students.

Clad in a top hat, sweater and bow tie, shuffling through his Mouse dance, he reached his slapstick heyday in the mid-1960s on “The Soupy Sales Show,” a widely syndicated program based at WNEW-TV in New York.

Some 20,000 pies were hurled at Soupy Sales or at visitors to his TV shows in the 1950s and ’60s, by his own count. The victims included Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis, all of whom turned up just for the honor of being creamed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Passing: Journalist Jack Nelson (LA Times)

From The Los Angeles Times:

By Elaine Woo

Jack Nelson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, author and longtime Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, whose hard-nosed coverage of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the Watergate scandal in the 1970s helped establish the paper's national reputation, has died. He was 80.,0,4611751.story

Mr. Nelson, who for years was a familiar face on television news programs like “Washington Week in Review” on PBS, ran the Washington bureau for The Los Angeles Times from 1975 to 1996, directing more than 40 reporters and editors through five administrations. He remained the paper’s chief Washington correspondent until retiring in 2001.,0,4611751.story

D.C. museum pays tribute to the parking garage (USA

Via USA Today:

Parking garages usually aren't the most attractive buildings in a city, but they are the subject of a new exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington.

The exhibit, "House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage," is on view until July 2010. It is the first major exhibit to explore the history of the familiar structures.

Kentucky hopes for big haul from coal mine tourism (USA Today)

Via USA Today:

By Roger Alford, Associated Press Writer

"....turning the old mine into the centerpiece for the budding tourism industry built around coal. Three decades after Portal 31 played out, they're hoping the mine that meanders for miles beneath Black Mountain will once again be an economic engine for Harlan County while also honoring the lives of the hard-bodied men who braved darkness and danger to eke out their livings in the Appalachians..."

America's Coolest Small Towns (


Here's their take on their top 10 "where to go to get your Norman Rockwell on".>1=41000

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Radio on Regional Accents (WNYC)

You can tell a lot about someone from the way they speak. On a recent edition of "Please Explain" on WNYC's Leaonrd Lopate Show, they looked at the different accents found around the United States to find out where they come from, and why they persist. Joining Leonard Lopate were Natalie Schilling-Estes, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, and Kara Becker, of the Department of Linguistics at New York University.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Than Landscapes on the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Trails (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Ben Chapman
October 18, 2009

The Pennsylvania Arts Experience trails offer more than 60 museums, studios and galleries.

Lucy the Margate Elephant damaged by windstorm (New

From New

By Joe Tyrrell

New Jersey's most famous elephant, Lucy, has a kink in her tail, and the organization that provides her upkeep is feeling the pain.

Margate's beloved six-story-high tourist attraction suffered what was thought to be a relatively minor bump during a Sept. 11 wind storm. A tent erected for a party on the Atlantic Avenue flew up and smacked the 128-year-old National Historic Landmark in the backside.

A further evaluation this month has put the damage at $43,000 to $45,000, according to Rich Helfant, the site's executive director.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Thrill Ride Lies Under A Montana Main Street (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Kara Oehler and Ann Heppermann
Weekend Edition Saturday
October 17, 2009

Underneath Main Street in Lewistown, Mont., residents like to float on inner tubes down Spring Creek.

Pedal Peepers in Vermont (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 18, 2009

It’s no secret that this state’s autumn palette is spectacular. But experiencing it in slow motion in the company of other cyclists is a revelation for all the senses.

With accompnaying slide show.

A Weekend in Richmond (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: October 18, 2009

The city is strutting with confidence, moving beyond its Civil War legacy and emerging as a new player on the Southern art and culinary scene.

Might the NHL Return to Quebec City ? (CanWest News Service)

From The CanWest News Service:

By Marianne White, Canwest News Service

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume on Friday announced plans to build a $400-million NHL-sized arena in the hope of bringing back a professional hockey team to the city that was home to the Nordiques until 1995.

The mayor laid out plans to build the modern 18,000-seat arena, which will be used as a concert venue and a hockey arena.

Rumours that an NHL hockey club could make a return to the city have been fuelled in the past week with the news Labeaume and former Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The Nordiques moved to Denver in 1995, became the Colorado Avalanche and won the Stanley Cup the following season.

"I'd love to play here," Ryan O'Byrne told the Montreal Gazette after the Canadiens dropped a 2-1 pre-season game to the Boston Bruins Sunday night before a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 15,141 at Le Colisée. "This beats playing someplace in the (southern United States) where it looks like there's a hundred people in the stands."

Friday, October 16, 2009

In L.A.: The Bus Stops Here (WSJ)

From The Wall Street Journal:


Sightseeing in Los Angeles by public transportation takes a little money and a lot of time.

The Other Nova Scotia: Where Pirates Prowled and Haddock Roam (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 16, 2009

The less-storied shore of Nova Scotia has a rocky coastline, fishing villages and colorful towns.

Accompanying slide show.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Exporail exhibition contains railway history donated by ordinary folk (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette via

September 29, 2009

A unique exposition entiled "What's In The Box?" is now being staged at Exporail,the Canadian railway museum on the South Shore of Montreal, until April 11. It features the best of Canadian railway memorabilia donated or bequeathed to the museum during the last five years. The title refers to the many precious items that were mailed to the museum in little boxes, sent by people carrying out the wishes of the recently deceased.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cracker Jack: The Seventh-Inning Snack (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By John Branch
October 13, 2009

After a century (actually 101 years), it remains an old reliable at ball parks.

A Mission To Save Real Jewish Delis, A Dying Breed (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
October 13, 2009

Writer David Sax, who has a new book called Save the Deli, introduced NPR's Robert Siegel to Ben's Best. Sax is on a mission to save and celebrate the Jewish delicatessen.

Sax has traveled across North America in search of the best examples of that endangered culinary species.

Passing: Larry Jansen, NY Giants Pitcher (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

By Richard Goldstein
October 14, 2009

Game winner in the game decided the 1951 pennant.

Passing: Al Martino, Italian-American baritone (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: October 14, 2009

Al Martino was one of the most recognizable pop singers of the 1950s and ’60s. Influenced by Perry Como and Al Jolson, he had a career that spanned nearly five decades. He leaves behind several celebrated songs, including sentimental ballads “Spanish Eyes,” “Volare” and “Speak Softly Love,” and for his role as the wedding singer in “The Godfather”.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ohio museum faces tough times (Cincinnati Enquirer)

from The Cincinnati Enqurer through

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CINCINNATI — When the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened here in 2004 with a glitzy, star-studded celebration attended by Oprah Winfrey, then-first lady Laura Bush and actress Angela Bassett, few of its supporters could have predicted the rocky road the center would travel.

The museum, designed to tell the story of how slaves crossed the Ohio River to freedom through a secret network of escape routes known as the "Underground Railroad," has struggled in the recession with cuts to funding, staff and projected attendance.

Twins' Dome Days End after Playoff Loss to Yanks (Star Tribune)

From The Star-Tribune:

October 11, 2009

A 4-1 loss for a series sweep to New York also brought down the (plastic) curtain on for major league baseball at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome after 28 seasons.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

To mark the day, a 2007 podcast has been re-posted: The First Thanksgiving @

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For Home-State Stadium, a Last Dance With the Boss (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 10, 2009

Before Giants Stadium is demolished, Bruce Springsteen and his fellow New Jerseyans said goodbye Friday night.

"He wasn’t overly sentimental. Later, he pointedly called Giants Stadium 'the last bastion of affordable sports seating'”.

Passing: Ben Ali, Founder of Ben's Chili Bowl - A D.C. Landmark

From The Washington Post:

Ben Ali, the founder of Ben's Chili Bowl, a landmark D.C. eatery that has fed presidents, celebrities and the common folks of the city, has died (october 7) of congestive heart failure at his home in Washington. He was 82. (Says the Post,"Our full obituary is here; be sure to read it all the way to the end because you'll be amazed".)

Also from The Washington Post:

"He Added Spice to Our Lives - Chili Bowl Founder Satisfied Craving for Food, Friendship"
By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer

If the rest of the world sees Washington as a place of large monuments and gleaming public buildings, many of the people who actually live in the city build their lives around smaller, more humble institutions. For them, one of the most important addresses in town is Ben's Chili Bowl, a simple diner famous for its down-home menu of chili, half-smokes and fries.

"Ben's Celebrates Chili Power:
Big Stars and Just Plain Folks Mark Eatery's 50-Year Run on U Street (Upon Ben's 50th Anniversary)":

Friday, October 09, 2009

Baseball's Hottest New Video - Babe Ruth in the 1920's (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 8, 2009

Newly discovered photage of Ruth striking out & in right field at Yankee Stadium was was found by a New Hampshire man in his grandfather’s home movie collection.

See the video @

Country stores a staple in Vt. culture (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

Most country stores offer more than dubious snacks to tourists—they’re a sustaining element in Vermont village culture.

A Quebec B&B where history is a guest (CanWest News Service)

From The CanWest News Service via


Au Fil des Ans B & B in an 1853, Victorian home in Papineauvile, Quebec near Montebello, has preserved its traditional style.

Amusing no more: Last ride for a U.S. park (Reuters)

From Reuters via

By Karen Pierog , Reuters

One by one the Kiddieland amusement park's 27 rides were shut down forever on Sunday (October 4)...Memories at the park that opened in 1929 flowed like the free soft drinks at the suburban Chicago attraction.

Finding Autumn Gold in Unexpected Places (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: October 9, 2009

"Microclimates from New York to Arizona reward leaf lovers with big surprises and small crowds".

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Weak economy threatens Appalachian tourism projects (USA Today)

Via USA Today:

By Dionne Walker, Associated Press Writer

In Appalachia, towns seeking to stay afloat by replacing dwindling blue-collar jobs with ones in the hospitality industry have been stymied by vacationers' reluctance to spend money, threatening what some saw as the first renaissance in generations for this rural belt stretching from southern New York to northern Mississippi.

N.M. Civil War trail tells tale of 'the Gettysburg of the West' (

Via USA Today:

By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press Writer

Where Union soldiers stood their ground at a pinch along the Santa Fe Trail known as Glorieta Pass...Until recently, public access to the Civil War battlefield was limited. But earlier this year, the National Park Service opened a new trail that allows visitors to explore the area.

The Glorieta Battlefield Trail — more than 2 miles through the wooded and rocky hills southeast of Santa Fe — has been in the planning stages for several years. It's aimed at educating people about the decisive 1862 battle.

New Podcast Posting: The Great American Beer Festival

This annual festival holds the Guinness World Record for most beers tapped in one location. More than 400 U.S. breweries participate

There’s live music, a Beer Garden, Food Marketplace and beer cooking demonstration area in this September festival that has become an autumn tradition in Denver.

In this Journey into Beer, we speak with Julia Herz of the Brewers Association about the origins of the Great American Beer Festival, what it is today and how you can be part of it – whether in person or online.


Passing: New York Times Jettisons WQXR Radio

For 60 years it has been known as the "Radio Station of the New York Times" - that is until October 9.

At 8 p.m. on Thursday October 8, WQXR changed. As part of its cost cutting efforts to survive in a difficult economy and media environment, The Times has sold WQXR.

As the dust started to settle, WQXR ended up at a new frequency (moving from 96.3 to 105.9)and a new guardian - WNYC. Lots of dollars transacted, and a disorienting series of changes. A voice on WQXR before it happened aptly described the feeling of many as "wrenching".

The whole thing is bittersweet. As a Public Radio listener and enthusiast, I am thankful there is a taker for classical music when even The Times has decided to bail out. And traditionally the Public Radio sensibility is a solid one (though the lack of meaningful info during this period of transition has been disturbing). One can hope.

Moreover, to be honest, I've had ups and downs with WQXR. I fondly recall the likes of George Edwards on "Bright & Early", Duncan Pirnie (Who can forget "Cocktail Time"?), Bob Sherman in "The Listening Room", and "Adventures in Good Music" with Karl Haas. In recent years, I was not always quite so connected to the station, although I do still love classical music. Too trendy, too top 40 of classical in a seemingly never ending search for its audience sweet spot - and in the process appearing to be in search of its voice.

But as the station changes in so many ways, I, nonetheless, mourn what at its core is a place of substance and class that is passing. WQXR started in 1929 as an experimental station - its call letters W2XR, and in the 1940's bought by the Times as what is now described as a public service.

And serve the public it did - through its music, and also by being a taste maker. One could only dream of trips to exotic places hearing SwissAir or Pan Am commercials. One also contemplated what it would be like to be a grown and sip Dubbonet.

The sound could be haughty and pretentious, but it was a unique New York institution, commercials and all.

Surprisingly, I find that I'll miss some of the cultured and sophisticated ads unlikely to be heard anywhere else(Broadway shows, museum exhibits, Alliance Francais, etc., but not for wrinkle cream). I will miss some of the radio voices not part of the change (especially Clayelle Dalferes). I'll miss "Symphony Hall", a weeknight fixture for decades. And I'll also miss Friday evenings without a very different kind of comfort food for the soul - the weekly services broadcast from Temple Emanuel (It's a tradition that goes back 65 years).

But, alas, it's the start of a new era, we are told. We'll see.(Initially for one listening within 15 miles of the origin of the signal most of what one hears is quite good)

In the meantime, here's a "bravo" to the generations who made the "Radio Stations of the New York Times" so meaningful - whether they are those who created the programming or folks like me who deemed them important to our lives.

Hail and farewell - we'll miss you.

BTW, you can see a video of the exact moment that the switch was made by an engineer on the 79th floor of the Empire State Building at 8 pm on October turning "The Radio Station of the New York Times" @ 96.3 fm to "Classical 105.9" and part of the WNYC family:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New Podcast Posting: How a Texas Business Became a Destination: A Nursery, Tea Room & The World’s Largest Teapot

Located on Hwy 6 in Navasota, 15 minutes south of Bryan-College Station and just an hours drive from Houston, Martha’s Bloomers opened in 2000 as a Home and Garden store and has grown into a dining experience and all-day shopping destination.

We speak with Stuart Thompson, founder of Martha’s Bloomers about how he started this business and how it has evolved over the years. We were especially interested in the World’s Largest Teapot, which came as an outgrowth of a tea room he installed to go along with the garden shop.

It also has one of the largest green houses in the area filled with lush tropical plants.

In addtion, there is a pottery house , which was originally a 90 year old, barn-type treasure, was spared from demolition and moved from its original location in Brenham to Navasota. The pottery house is overflowing with glazed and terra cotta pottery from around the world.

It’s a unique success story that we are happy to share with you.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Manhattan Bridge Turns 100 (WNYC)

From WNYC-New York:

The Manhattan Bridge celebrated its 100th birthday on October 4 with a marching band, fireworks and a re-enactment of the original walk across the bridge.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Wyoming road trip recalls U.S. pioneering history (Reuters)

From Reuters via

By Jon Hurdle, Reuters

The plaques, and others along Routes 28 and 191, help today’s travelers understand the scale of the vast wilderness that is western Wyoming, a chunk of territory that can be viewed up close from a 400-mile (643 km) road trip that runs northwest from Riverton, through Grand Teton National Park, to the ski resort of Jackson before heading south through the gritty oil town of Pinedale, and then east at the dusty crossroads of Farson to return 100 miles later to Riverton.

The route roughly circumnavigates the Wind River Range, a mountain chain that initially proved a barrier to early explorers seeking a way west.

Waco's Dr Pepper Museum perks up soda enthusiasts (Waco Tribune-Herald)

From The Waco Tribune-Herald via USA Today:

By Wendy Gragg, Waco Tribune-Herald

Since 1885, Dr Pepper and its sister sodas have been marketed in just about every way imaginable. You name it, it's been done, and more than likely, Waco's Dr Pepper Museum has at least one of those items in its collection.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Passing: Fred Cusick

The Boston Bruins have named their TV broadcast booth at the Garden in honour of the late play-by-play announcer Fred Cusick, who passed away last month. He was 90. Cusick, described by Red Fisher as one of the best in the business, was the broadcast voice of Bruins games for 44 years.


You can listen to a "Journesy into Hockey" interview with Fred Cusick (taped last Fall) @

Friday, October 02, 2009

Pasties: The Meaty Center Of 'Yooper' Food (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Liane Hansen
Weekend Edition Sunday

The meat turnovers were brought to Michigan's Upper Peninsula by immigrant miners from Cornwall, England. "Yoopers" — the local population — are very opinionated about them. A pasty isn't just a meal — it's a heritage.

Part of a Weekend Edition Sunday exploration the culture, traditions and economy of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Pedalling and snacking from New York to Montreal (Weekend Post/CanWest News Service)

From The Weekend Post/CanWest News Service:

By Ben Kaplan, Weekend Post

A five-day journey from Brooklyn to Montreal.

Virginia's Crooked Road: A Warm Welcome to Mountain Music (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Melanie D.G. Kaplan
Sunday, October 4, 2009

A 250-mile path of music venues in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian regions of southwestern Virginia