Eric on The Road

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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Philly's Spectrum gives way to the wrecking ball (Philadelphia Inqurier)

By Frank Fitzpatrick

Inquirer Staff Writer

Forty-three years after sporting competition debuted there with Joe Frazier's devastating left hooks, the Spectrum's demolition began Tuesday afternoon with a series of soft jabs to its brick and glass exterior.

Beneath gray skies symbolic of the funereal mood, a crowd of several thousand Philadelphia sports fans - passionate, sentimental and a bit shabby - gathered on the Spectrum's south side to witness both its demolition and the formal goodbyes from some of the graying performers who had starred there.

"It's a sad day," said ex-76ers great Julius Erving, "because some memories will be taken away." That process began at 12:33 p.m. when, more than a year after the South Philadelphia arena formally closed, a four-ton orange wrecking ball began a surprisingly tentative assault on the multipurpose facility once billed as "America's Showplace."

A Comcast-Spectacor official said it would take "four to five months" for the building to be razed. Sometime after that, the first phase of Philly Live, a retail, entertainment and dining development aimed at capitalizing on its proximity to the busy sports complex, will get started.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Being Thankful at Thanksgiving

In a strange way, the continuing economic crisis (yes they tell us that their recession is over - whoever the "they" are - we are still smarting!) has made one even more sensitive to the ways that we are blessed. Somehow, you dig in and dig down. We'll make it through. In the meantime, we gather and express our gratitude for the good things - family, health, the opportunity to make things better.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may you similraly be guided by an authentic sense of thanks (and enjoy the turkey and football).

Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving features that always manage to put us in the right mood for the day:

* Bob Edwards' Thanksgiving Fantasy Feast (NPR)
Getting ready for Thanksgiving and don't know what to make ?For every Thanksgiving from 1993 until he left NPR a couple of years back, through the miracle of audio editing, Morning Edition host Bob Edwards would create an annual tradition that brought together the creme de la creme of cookery for a fantasy holiday feast. Here is celebrity chef potluck sampling from 2003 featuring Julia Child, Maida Heatter, Paul Prudhomme and Wolfgang Puck -- and one would-be party crasher.This link includes a pair of recipes from the invited gourmet guests -- and a link to the party crasher's recipe.

* Charles Kuralt on Thanksgiving In Prairie, Mississippi (You Tube/CBS News)
From You Tube - Originally from CBS News:Charles Kuralt tells the story of the homecoming of 9 children of Alex and Mary Chandler for parents' 50th wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving in 1978. The family remembers the old sharecropper's cabin and lifestyle. From humble beginnings, now all 9 children are college grads.Watch it and be thankful.

*Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Tradition (NPR)
From NPR News:Here's another Thanksgiving tradition, courtesy of NPR.Every year since 1971, NPR's Susan Stamberg has managed to sneak on the air her mother-in-law's recipe for cranberry relish. She's sprinkled it into dialogue from movies, tricked celebrities into reading it and even had it put to music. The Thanksgiving tradition continues. Stamberg's Cranberry Relish Recipe:

In a Spirit of Gratitude & Thanks...

Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring

Bing Crosby - "Counting Your Blessings"

A Thanksgiving Reflection

This came to us via our friend Sylvia Allen ( We wanted to share it with you.

More Than A Day

As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we're poor,
Feel like bums, insecure,
But in truth, our riches astound.

We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We're wealthy, when push comes to shove.

So add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you've got;
Realize it's a lot,
And you'll make all your cares go away.

By Karl Fuchs

Happy Thanksgiving !

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aviation pioneers take flight in revamped Smithsonian gallery (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

A newly overhauled gallery at Washington's National Air and Space Museum now includes more than 1,000 objects from the museum's archives, including a jacket Earhart designed for female aviators and Lindbergh's radio receiver, snow shoes and other emergency equipment he took on flights with his wife, Anne.

Other sections feature milestones from military aviation and pioneering black aviators, including the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II. A version of the exhibit on those who broke the color barrier in flight will travel to museums nationally next year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

'Battle Hymn Of The Republic': The Other National Anthem (NPR News)

From NPR News (All Things Considered):

November 13, 2010

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. There is no song that more vividly evokes that conflict than "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Julia Ward Howe wrote the famous words­ "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" in 1861. Since then, the song's become a kind of second national anthem.

Dominic Tierney, an assistant professor of political science at Swarthmore College, talks about the history of the song — the Elvis and Judy Garland versions, for example — in the new issue of The Atlantic, which is where the poem was originally published in 1862.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In Vermont, Taking the Roads Less Traveled (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: November 11, 2010

An expedition of mostly Jeeps and Land Rovers with Vermont Overland Guide Services on old roads, many of them cut through the forest by settlers in the 18th century.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Passing: Sparky Anderson

Remembrances from Cincinnati and Detroit.

Cincinnati Enquirer:

Detorit Free Press:

As the Boardwalk Is Remade, 9 Fixtures Are Told to Leave (NY Times)

From The New York Times:


Nine longtime Boardwalk tenants, including familiar places like Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak and the Beer Garden, have been told they have 15 days to leave (as of 11-1-10).

Ruby’s, for example, has been a fixture on the Boardwalk since 1934, and the pathway nearby is named after its founder, Ruby Jacob.

“We just heard this devastating news,” Ms. Allman said. “We are a throwback to the past. We make people feel good. To think we’re not going to be part of the new Coney Island is just very sad.”

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Italian American Song (WNYC)

From The Leonard Lopate Show - WNYC:

Mark Rotella talks about the “Italian decade”—the years after WWII when Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and other Italian voices established their smooth, stylish brand of pop. Amore: The Story of Italian American Song tells the stories behind 40 Italian American classics—from “O Sole Mio” to “Volare” to “I Wonder Why”—and shows how these songs became the soundtrack of postwar America.