Eric on The Road

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tracing the History of Quebec's Carnaval Through Snow (National Post)

From The National Post:

David Johnston, Canwest News Service Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Long before Quebecers started going south to Florida in winter, people with time and money on their hands had a very different winter destination of choice: Quebec City.

They're Playing Our Song: "Where America Stands" (CBS)

From CBS Sunday Morning:

Where American music has been, where it is now, where it's going, and why.

Charles Osgood considers this country's musical journey during the last century.;contentAux

Passing: Shirley Bell Cole, the Voice of Little Orphan Annie (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: January 30, 2010

Annie was Shirley Bell, a brown-haired girl from the South Side of Chicago, who was the primary radio voice of the character from 1930 to 1940. She got the part, adapted from Harold Gray’s popular comic strip, when she was 10 and, managing to maintain that bubbly preteen voice, played Annie until she was 20.

Shirley Bell Cole died on Jan. 12 at 89, her daughter, Lori Cole, said, adding only that her mother had lived in Arizona.

“Orphan Annie was like the keystone of after-school radio during the Depression,” Chuck Schaden, an expert on radio history, said in an interview on Thursday. “It meant a lot to kids because she would save the day, come to the rescue. At Christmas time in those days they were happy to get two pennies.”

Her high-pitched voice exclaimed, “Leapin’ lizards!” at scintillating twists in the serial plot.

Passing: Tom Brookshier, Eagles Star and Broadcaster (Philadelphia Inquirer)

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

He was an all-pro on the last Eagles team to win an NFL championship, in 1960, and was part of CBS's top NFL broadcast team during the 1970s along with his close friend Pat Summerall. In the late 1980s he hired Angelo Cataldi, launching the 610 WIP sports-talk format that remains in place today.

Mr. Brookshier, 78, died Friday (January 26) of cancer at Lankenau Hospital.


Passing: Jane Jarvis, Player of Jazz and Mets Music (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: January 30, 2010

Jane Jarvis, who brought a jazz sensibility to unlikely places as an organist for the New York Mets and a programmer for Muzak, died on Monday (January 22) at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, N.J. She was 94.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gettin’ a Glow On in Mercer’s Savannah (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: January 29, 2010

Although Johnny Mercer had a stint writing in New York and then moved to Hollywood, in his cadences and sensibility he never really departed from the quaint, colloquial melodic influences of his home ground — the same ones that inhabited Mr. Gray’s barroom tale.

Thanks to an uncharacteristic gesture of restraint by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who incinerated a swath of Georgia during the Civil War, there was a Savannah for Johnny Mercer to grow up in. In the cold morning sunshine the cobblestone boulevards of old Savannah, which was founded in 1733, look much as they did in Mercer’s youth, during the 1920s and ’30s.

Pasadena Playhouse closing (LA Times)

From the Los Angeles Times:

By Mike Boehm

The Playhouse, founded in 1917 and the state theater of California, is essentially out of cash and will close Feb. 7 after the final performance of its current production of "Camelot.",0,1723543.story

Civil rights museum now speaks for the Greensboro Four (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Jayne Clark, USA TODAY

On Feb.1, 1960, Franklin McCain and three fellow African American college students walked into the F.W. Woolworth store in downtown Greensboro, N.C., sat down at the lunch counter and ignited a movement that re-shaped American society.
On Monday, exactly 50 years after that historic act, the new International Civil Rights Center & Museum opens in the former five-and-dime store.

Bowling museum rolls into Texas (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

Texas is the new kingpin of bowling, thanks to this week's opening of the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington.

Relocated from St. Louis to a site near the Six Flags Over Texas theme park, the homage to strikes and spares is part of a 100,000-square-foot training and research facility.

It’s Not Hockey, It’s Bandy (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: January 28, 2010

Bandy, a forerunner of hockey, dates back 200 years.

It is played on a rink was 110 yards long and 60 yards wide, about the size of a soccer field. Each side has 11 players, and they pass and shoot a small orange ball, not a puck, toward the 7-foot-high, 11-foot-wide net.

Saints Matter (WNYC)

From The Brian Lehrer Show:

Most sports fans will watch the Super Bowl next weekend, but Dave Cohen, news director at WWL Radio, the flagship station of the New Orleans Saints, talks about why the team's run to the championship is about more than just football for his hometown.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting Ready for Vancouver (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

Everything you need to know about the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Travel Behind the Scenes in Monument Valley (Smithsonian Magazine)

From The Smithsonian Magazine:

by Douglas Merriam

The vast Navajo tribal park on the border of Utah and New Mexico stars in Hollywood movies but remains largely hidden to visitors

10 great places to have a slice of National Pie Day (USA Today)

From USA Today:

January 23 is National Pie Day. Ed Levine, founder of, a website devoted to the pleasure, culture and business of food has sampled slices across the nation. He shares his favorite pie purveyors with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Passing: John Halligan

A recipient of the Lester Patrick Award, a pro and a friend.

More later. For now:

A Tribute from Stan Fischler:

New York Times Hockey Blog Tribute from Stu Hackel: c

Obituary from the Bergen Record:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Passing: George Jellinek, Classical Radio Voice (WNYC)

From New York Public Radio:

Former WQXR music director George Jellinek died this past Saturday (january 16) at the age of 90. Jellinek was best known for hosting WQXR's weekly program "The Vocal Scene," which was nationally syndicated for 36 years. He was also a frequent guest on the Metropolitan Opera quiz.

New York Times Obituary:

Mystery visitor fails to appear at Edgar Allan Poe's grave for first time in 60 years (via USA Today)

Via USA Today:

By Joseph White
Associated Press

A mysterious visitor who left roses and cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe each year on the writer's birthday failed to show early Tuesday, breaking with a ritual that began more than 60 years ago.

The tradition dates back to at least 1949, according to newspaper accounts from the era, Jerome said. Since then, an unidentified person has come every Jan. 19 to leave three roses and a half-bottle of cognac at Poe's grave in a church cemetery in downtown Baltimore

Passing: Kate McGarrigle, Singer and Songwriter

Kate McGarrigle, a singer who, with her sister Anna, captivated critics and fellow musicians with warm harmonies and a style that drew on both folk traditions and the personalized approach of 1970s singer-songwriters, died on Monday (January 18) at her home in Montreal. She was 63.

From The New York Times:

From The Montreal Gazette:

Dolphins’ Home Receives Its 7th Name Since 1987

I'm all for sponsorships - see "Journeys into Smart Narratives", especially if you're a possible sponsor or "underwriter" as we like to call it. But it should be done tastefully and appropriately.

It appears with have a new poster child for this "new and improved" era of event, property and venue sponsorships.

Joe Robbie Stadium, sorry Dolphin Stadium. most recently Landshark Stadium, is now to be called Sun Life Stadium - and just in time for the Super Bowl to be played there.

In fact Sun Life will be its 7th name - not bad for a stadium going in 23 years old.

The New York Times describes the edifice of having "as many names as Elizabeth Taylor has had husbands".

For more, see:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Habs' past glory remains relevant (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

By DAVE STUBBS, The Gazette
January 18, 2010

There is a generation of Canadiens fans that is sick of history, of hearing about the glorious past of a hockey club that is nearly 17 years removed from its most recent championship.

To this group, the Canadiens were born at the Bell Centre, the 87 years that went before pretty much irrelevant. That is their loss, of course, for the past of anything in our lives must be quilted with its present and its future.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Le Petit Train du Nord (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

By David Johnston
The Gazette
January 14, 2010

It was in the late 1930s that skiing in the Laurentians, alpine as well as cross-country, went mainstream. Even though most people didn’t own a car at the time, the famous Le Petit Train du Nord brought 111,000 tourists up to the Laurentians from Montreal in the winter of 1937-38, 10 times the 11,000 the train carried in the winter of 1927-28.

It's story is told at the Laurentian Ski Museum in St. Sauveur, Quebec.

Ice jollies: Embracing Minnesota's cold (Star Tribune)

From The Star Tribune (Minneapolis):


Laugh at the cold. Two of Minnesota's biggest festivals depend on it.

Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer's adventures alive in Hannibal (Chicago Tribune)

From The Chicago Tribune:

By Jay Jones

In 2010, his calendar is particularly full. The stars have aligned over Hannibal, Twain's hometown, making this the perfect year to visit this Mississippi River community in northeast Missouri.

"It's sort of a confluence of big anniversaries," explained Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum. "We've got the 100th anniversary of his death, the 175th anniversary of his birth and the 125th anniversary of the (American) publication of 'Huckleberry Finn.',0,2237690.story

Tour of Manhattan based on 'Stuart Little,' 'Eloise' and other children's books (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Peter Mandel
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Here are some spots in Manhattan that show up in famous books for children. To supplement the info below, consider taking along the paperback "Storied City: A Children's Book Walking-Tour Guide to New York City" by Leonard S. Marcus .

National Civil Rights Museum plans more interactive exhibits (via USA Today)

Via USA Today:

By Martha Waggoner, Associated Press Writer

Many of the exhibits at the museum (Located at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968) rely heavily on time lines, newspaper clippings and other reading material. Renovations are barely in the planning stages, but Wright says the museum does intend to add technological elements to appeal to younger generations raised on video games and computers. On the other hand, the institution does not want to lose older visitors or overshadow its mission as a history, not a science, museum.

10 great places to retrace the civil rights movement (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Rebecca Heslin, USA TODAY

Given the monumental impact of the civil rights movement, its landmarks — lunch counters, bus stops, schools and churches — are surprisingly ordinary...

Monday, January 11, 2010

A small city teeming with capital comforts (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

By Ron Driscoll
Globe Staff / January 6, 2010

The nation’s smallest state capital (Montpelier, Vermont-population 7,806 in 2007), like the little state it represents, offers outsized opportunities for shopping, relaxation, and fun.

Place a bet on the ice breaking in Alaska's Tanana river (via USA Today)

Via USA Today:

Alaskans have been betting on when the ice on the Tanana River in the town of Nenana will break each spring since 1917, placing their wagers in red cans in grocery stores, gas stations and other retailers around the state.
The bets, at $2.50 apiece, can be placed between Feb. 1 and April 5. The 2009 total reached $283,723.

But non-residents can take part in the contest too, by mailing in their bets with a check or money order. For details and contact information, visit the website at

N.J. mayor treks to every U.S. town named Madison (Asbury Park Press)

From The Asbury Park Press:

Mary-Anna Holden, Mayor of Madison, New Jersey, has been on her quest for five years.

She says she's visited all three in Virginia, and every other Madison between Maine and Georgia, as well as those in Alabama, California and Indiana. The big one remains on her itinerary: Wisconsin.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Passing: Gumby creator Art Clokey (MSN)


Animator Art Clokey, whose bendable creation Gumby became a pop culture phenomenon through decades of toys, revivals and satires, died Friday (January 8). He was 88.

Gumby grew out of a student project Clokey produced at the University of Southern California in the early 1950s called "Gumbasia."

That led to his making shorts featuring Gumby and his horse friend Pokey for the "Howdy Doody Show" and several series through the years.>1=28103

Montreal Expos, Forgotten by Many, Are Reuniting in Cooperstown (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: January 7, 2010

This week’s election of Andre Dawson to the Hall of Fame is further evidence of the continuing influence of Canada’s first major league team.

Podcast Posting: A History of Beer in Canada

Nicholas Pashley joins us to speak about his fascinating book, “Cheers!: An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada” ( Harpercollins Canada - 2009)

It’s everything the title implies and much more.

This podcast is available @

Podcast Posting: Jersey Mummers Mark 75 Years in Philly’s New Year’s Day parade

The Durning String Band of Oaklyn is one of two Mummers group that hail from the Garden state (The other is the Broomall, a non-association band based in National Park – there’s a story about the name of that community, but that’s for another time).

Founded in 1935 by James A. Durning, the band first marched in the Philadelphia parade in 1936 with the theme of Musical Troubadours. In 1944, the Band was renamed as the James V. Durning Band, in honor of the founder’s son, who was listed as Missing-In-Action during the war.

Like all Mummers bands, they started out in Philadelphia, but eventually migrated to New Jersey, which they have called home for 20 years. In 1988 the Durning merged with the Garden State String Band of Gloucester City.

This year the band is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

In this "Journey into New Jersey", we speak with Mary Lynch about the Durning, its past and how it keeps the tradition going today.

Podcast Posting: Journeys into Hockey: The Day the Pros Faced Off with the Cons:

NHL’ers playing hockey outdoors is getting much publicity these days. They’ve put down ice and promoted hockey in places such as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Orchard Park, N.Y. And who can forget the one that started the recent – that outdoor game in Edmonton between the Canadiens & Oilers in arctic temperatures.

Garnering less attention these days is a unique outdoor game that occurred in 1954. It pitted the Championship-caliber Detroit Red Wings and a prison team in Marquette, Michigan. It was dubbed the Pros versus the Cons.

In this Journey into Hockey, we speak about the game and the times with two who were there: John Vessau of Marquette and Hockey Hall of Famer Alex Delvecchio who came to town with the Wings and teammates such as Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuck and Ted Lindsay.

Podcast available @

Podcast Posting: A Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum that documents the history of play in American culture. Established in 1969 and based initially on the personal collection of Rochester, NY native Margeret Woodbury Strong.

The museum opened to the public in 1982. Since then it has refined and increased its collections, which number more than 500,000 items, and expanded twice, in 1997 and 2006.

The museum is home to the National Toy Hall of Fame, teh National Center for the History of Electronic Games, and the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play and produces the American Journal of Play.

In this conversation, we speak Susan Trien from Musuem of Play/Toy Hall of Fame about some of the highlights to be found there.

Availble @

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Passing: Curtis Allina Dies ; He Put the Heads on Pez

From The New York Times:

Published: January 4, 2010

The first two character dispensers, Santa Claus and a robot known as the Space Trooper, were introduced in 1955.

Driven in large part by baby-boomer nostalgia, Pez dispensers are now a staple of eBay and the ubiquitous subject of conventions, Web sites, newsletters, books and even a museum, the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia in Burlingame, Calif.

A Graceland Too in MS (Through USA Today)

Through USA Today:

By Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press Writer

Graceland Too is in Holly Springs, a northern Mississippi town of 8,000. It's a convenient stop for fans on an Elvis pilgrimage, sitting about halfway between Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo, Miss., and the King's final home and resting place, the unaffiliated Graceland mansion in Memphis

It is located int he home of a 67-year-old former auto worker, Paul MacLeod. He will escort you through his "discombobulating", floor-to-ceiling collection of photos, records, figurines, cardboard cutouts, candy wrappers, clocks and other random kitsch featuring the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Passing: African-American Golf Pioneer Bill Powell (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: January 1, 2010

Bill Powell, who was honored last summer as a racial pioneer in American golf more than 60 years after building a golf course while he was shunned by the sport he loved, died Thursday (December 31, 2009)at a hospital in Canton, Ohio. He was 93.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Deep Roots, Oranges and a Taste of Florida’s Past (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: December 31, 2009

The roadside citrus stands that once lined every major road in Florida are dwindling, kept alive mostly by deep family roots and mail-order sales.

Accompanying slide show - "A Dying Breed":