Helping You Be Contemporary in a Traditional Way

They only played just two weeks ago, but it’s another Saturday night get together among old rivals. Not much is at stake in this match at the Bell Centre as Montreal is poised for a playoff appearance and Toronto is rebuilding again. But Canadien-Leaf games tend to be more spirited than the average mid-season game, […]

When I first traveled to Montreal as a child in the mid-1960’s I was captivated by so muchg of the place. From the French to its vibrancy, to its anxious feel as related to language. St. Catherine’s Street as it was then called also caught my attention as a combination between New York’s Fifth Avenue […]

The farm stretches generations through various eras of music. It is closing, and according to the New York Times, the closing is impacting folks. “You just can’t compare this place to any other,” said Charles Woodard, known as Woody, who is the drummer for Silverado, which plays the barn nearly every month. “It’s an authentic […]

We at times must come in contact with some who believe our efforts to be no mare than quaint – a diversion, a sideshow, an escape. To those critics I have been unable to offer a cogent response. If one “gets it”, it has been believed, no explanation was needed. On the other hand, it […]

A giant. A short paragrpah does not do this man justice. Ted Hesburgh held an important title – in fact many important roles (150 honorary degrees), but it is his work that left the greatest mark. He was important in South Bend, to the Catholic community and far beyond. Here is a New York Times […]

I have to admit that I did not recognize the name. Most everyone knows the name Jackie Robinson. Hockey fans recall Willie O’Ree as the first Black hockey player in the National Hockey League (1958 with the Boston Bruins). During his lifetime, Earl Lloyd deserved more attention for being the first African-American player in the […]

To an older generation the was the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants, the Philadelphia A’s, Braves (Boston and Milwaukee) and the Washington Senators (twice). To those later, there were the likes of the Montreal Expos, the original Winnipeg Jets, the Quebec Nordiques, the football Cardinals (from St. Louis to Arizona), the Rams (from L.A. […]

Not actually Mr. Magoo – we do not know when the idea of the cartoon was born. But we do know the birthdate of the voice of Mr. Magoo. Jim Backus was born in Cleveland on February 25, 1913 as James Gilmore Backus. His career covered radio, TV and film. In addition, to Magoo he […]

Three hockey games on the NBC networks, a remote from Lake Placid in honor of the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Olympic hockey team “Miracle on Ice”, a feature on U.S. sled hockey’s Josh Sweeney, a profile of the U.S. National Team Development programas as well as several features exploring hockey’s influence and impact in […]

Before there was a stadium series and with much less hype, there were the Kings and the Seals in all-California NHL hockey. This game coming to you from “The Faboulous Forum” in Inglewood. This article was first published on

There was a feature on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday about Apple possibly getting into the car business. That, by itself, is an interesting notion. But what caught my attention and prompts this posting is learning as part of that feature that Sears once built and sold cars. In 1893, the company incorporated itself as Sears, […]

Pitchers and catchers have arrived – the experts are making their expert picks. Baseball is resurfacing. With temps near zero, snow and a howling wind, we welcome it – maybe it means that spring is not too far behind. This song makes us think of baseball at its best (Pride of the Yankees – Gary […]

Hopefully, Valentine’s Day took care of your sweet tooth. Perhaps you are looking for something spicy. If you in and around Santa Cruz, California, you might consider heading to the boardwalk for the 34th annual Clam Chowder and Chili Cook-off and Festival. More than 70 teams compete for the local title of “world’s greatest clam […]

The PBS program “American Masters” and the February institution called “Black History Month” are cornerstones of contemporary culture. At their best they inform, entertain and enlighten. At times, however, both can come up short resulting in formula-like presentations. A PBS program about the life of August Wilson is programming at its best. Wilson (April 27, […]

Raul Rodriguez, an acclaimed float designer who created hundreds of floral confections for the Rose Parade, has died. He was 71. Rodriguez’s career as a champion float maker began at 15, when he designed his first Rose Parade float for the city of Whittier and took home a trophy. He went on to design at […]

The Valley of the Sun and Arizona is such a draw – has been for a long time. The climate, the scenery, the lifestyle. BUt the place has sure changed in recent years. Phoenix has grown – they even play ice hockey there now. One can still get a feel for the traditions and Arizona […]

That it’s been a cold winter in much of North America has been one of the headlines of the last month. Blizzards, cold wind, drifting snow. But in the Yukon such meteorological events are commonplace. Winters are tough in these environs, so accept it and make the most of it. This is the spirit in […]

Today is Mardis Gras Day. It is also Pancake Tuesday. In an earlier posting, we spoke about Pancake Day. Officially, it is International Pancake Day, not for its connect with IHOP (there is none), but rather for the unique trans-Atlantic pancake race that occurs. No, not trans-Atlantic in the sense that they cross the ocean […]

For as long as Bob Feller, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, remained alive, the business model for the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa, his hometown, worked perfectly. Every year, Feller invited famous retired ballplayers to the museum for fund-raising events. Guests included fellow Hall of Famers like Stan Musial […]

A girl from New Jersey (Tenafly, Dwight School for Girls) made good. This article was first published on

I know – it’s a time of soundbites, icons and elevator pitches. In too many situations and settings it’s style over substance. We seem to be losing our sense of what is driving what ( see Brian Williams). That is the spirit in which I read and hear of “Hockey Day in Canada” (that we […]

The French actor Louis Jourdan, best known for his role in the multi-Oscar winning 1958 musical Gigi, died in California on February 15, 2015 aged 93. Born in Marseilles, he began his career acting in French films before being lured to the US. Often seen in roles that capitalised on his Gallic charm, he described […]

Harold Arlen was born (Hyman Arluck) on this date February 15 in 1905. He died on April 23, 1986. In between, he gained fame as a composer of popular music, having written over 500 songs, a number of which have become known worldwide. In addition to composing the songs for The Wizard of Oz, including […]

Look at the news headlines and say the words “border” or “immigration” and you may well stir up a hornet’s nest. But Brownsville, Texas an annual community celebration shows that it does not have to necessarily be that way. Charro Days, also known as Charro Days Fiesta or Charro Days Festival, is a two-nation fiesta […]

Not that it helps much, but here’s expressing our sympathies and solidarity with friends Down East – from Massachusetts to Maine into the Maritimes. What a tough stretch of weather ! Hang in there. As the baseball types like to say, “Only a few days before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training” (Conveniently overlooking […]

February 15 is flag day in Canada. This year is a special flag day. It is 50 years since the introduction of the red and white Maple Leaf Flag. Interestingly, the 50th anniversary observance is being described by many as low-key. We’ll leave the why to those closer to the scene. Here we share with […]

Michael Feinstein is one of our modern day treasures. Singer, pianist, and music revivalist, he is also an interpreter of, and an anthropologist and archivist for, the repertoire known as the Great American Songbook. Feinstein recently reviewed a book on the social history of the Great American Songbook era. As interesting as the review itself […]

There’s an ugly construction site in an already not too pretty part of the New Jersey Meadowlands sports complex. The types that promote, build and profit from such schemes are telling those who listen that the finished project is to indoor ski slope. They also have been telling the rest of us that once completed […]

Many now believe Louisiana French to be endangered, even as other aspects of the state’s rural culture flourish amid the homogenizing forces of modern life. But there is also a hope that efforts like the show, along with a small band of Francophone scholars, activists and Cajun musicians, might nourish the language until it somehow […]

It’s not the extreme rivalry that it once was, and to some it takes a back seat to Boston-Montreal, but to those that can remember an earlier time Leafs-Canadiens is still special. In fact, try listing North America’s sports’ biggest rivalries and what do you come up with ? Yanks-Red Sox ? Lakers-Celtics ? Dodgers-Giants? […]

Gordon Lightfoot has long been one of my favorites. Canadians have long been honoring Lightfoot – espeically after an especially scary period that almost killed him. He remains with us to hear the accolades and love – not just North of the Border either. Here is a Scott Simon interview with Gordon Lightfoot from NPR’s […]

Timeless, enduring..and felt especially on a day like today. Life at its best or perhaps as it might be…. This article was first published on

New England Confectionery Company, or NECCO, has been producing candy sweethearts for more than 100 years. NECCO spends most of the year gearing up for Valentine’s Day. Every year, the company sells about 2 billion candy hearts. CEO Michael McGee took a break to talk to Kai Ryssdal from PRI’s Marketplace about the so-called conversation […]

At first blush, it looks like another one of those promotion days – this one for a franchise pancake establishment with a blue roof (IHOP). But no this time it is the real deal – an authentic event with depth and substance. Many people are familiar with Mardi gras celebrations on the day before Lent. […]

We have written in the past of Halloween in Hell (Michigan) or Christmas-season at North Pole (New York) or Santa Claus (Indiana). So, I guess it was to be expected that at some point we would find ourselves speaking of Valentine’s Day in a place called Valentine. Actually, there are at least for U.S. Valentines […]

To many Valentine’s Day is chocolate hearts, cards and flowers. For some it’s at time for a special date. In Indio, California it’s about dates as well during the Valentine’s weekend. But the other date, as in fruit – at the National Date Festival The Date Festival dates back to 1947,and is itself an outgrowth […]

It’s going to be cold, real cold. But that will not stop folks from near and not so near from converging on Port Dover, Ontario because it is Friday, the 13th. You see, any time it is Friday the 13th, there is a motorcycle rally in Port Dover. It is a tradition that dates back […]

Buzzfeed recently asked members of their community to share their favourite foods for under $10 from their corners of Canada. Here’s what they came up with. This article was first published on

In a time of standardization, many events and activities have become a formula-like (See Super Bowl “street fair”). Wickenburg, Arizona’s Gold Rush Days is different. It is a throwback – an authentic community-wide celebration of the area and its heritage. Located about 60 miles northwest of Phoenix, Wickenburg, incorporated in 1909 is called The Dude […]

It’s that time of year again. With Mardis Gras Day on February 17, folks in the region are in seasonal form. Parties may be found in Louisiana, along the Mississippi Coast, and as far west as Galveston. We tend to be drawn to the rural versions so full of local traditions. Here we share you […]

Brian Williams, Jon Stewart and Bob Simon. Three very different individuals, three different styles. But there is a common thread. All three have been associated with current events and on television. Bob Simon’s sudden passing leaves us saddened – how random and tragic, a victim of an auto accident on Manhattan’s 12th Avenue (formerly the […]

Like the Sinatra song “There Used to be a Ballpark”, there used to be a holiday today. Back a few decades ago Lincoln’s Birthday was a real national holiday. Today it has been mostly replaced by the Presidents’ Day three-day weekend. But in some places, Lincoln’s actual Birthday, February 12, is still observed. In some […]

Shows you how little I knew. I always had this image of Jerry Tarkanian as this slick Las Vegas night club type who was looking to beat the system Turns out that there many, many others (most on more bucolic campus settings) who were gaming the college “student-athlete” system. They perhaps were a bit more […] Ed Sabol, whose vision that football could become riveting cinema gave birth to NFL Films, which marshaled exquisite photography, rhapsodic music and poetry to elevate pro football to the realm of myth, died on February 9 at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 98. The N.F.L. announced his death on its website. His […]

Jimmy Durante (The Great Schozzloa) was born on February 10, 1893. So, Happy Birthday Jimmy Durante, wherever you are This article was first published on

A piece of Americana and American Advertising history. “A musical slogan” and more (Montage of “the six most successful advertising jingles in America” at the start {“Where there’s life- there’s Bud[weiser]”, “Now it’s Pepsi- For Those Who Think Young” [Joanie Sommers, vocalist], “Winston Tastes Good- Like a Cigarette Should”, Northwest Orient Airlines, “You Get A […]

Better that it should have happened earlier (while he was alive), but am glad to see that Claude Ruel is being recognized for his achievements big and small. These comments from the Hockey Inside Out blog of the Montreal Gazette: “….It is possible that no one did more for this team for less recognition than […]

The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. This article was first published on

Claude Ruel, two-time coach of the Montreal Canadiens and a fixture in the organization for decades, has died at age 76. Best known as the coach who followed the legendary Toe Blake, Ruel led Canadiens to a Stanley Cup in his first year as head coach (1968-69). He is probably remembered to most in that […]

It’s a story increasingly forgotten. But back 50 years ago it was a big deal when Canada introduced a new flag. Younger generations presume that the Maple Leaf was always the national flag. In fact, the read and white flag is a relatively recent addition to the national landscape. The national flag of Canada was […]

Billy Casper, Dean Smith and Norm Drucker. Another passing of a legendary sports figure. Norm Drucker might not be as universally known as a Dean Smith, but to those who can recall basketball some 4-5 decades ago he was an integral part of what many believe was golden age of basketball. In fact, he was […]

It’s a beautiful in the neighborhood – especially if you are visiting the Heinz History Center. You see, the Center is now home to the set from the legendary Public Television program, writes Roadtrippers. According to Dana Newkirk’s piece, “The exhibit will treat nostalgia-bombing guests to a look back at King Friday’s castle, the Oak […]

Billy Casper, a two-time United States Open victor, a Masters champion and the player with the seventh-most wins in PGA Tour history, died on February 7 at his home in Springville, Utah. He was 83 A brilliant putter with a superb short game as well, Casper was nonetheless overshadowed in his prime by Arnold Palmer, […] Jack Lemmon was born on February 8, 1925. He would have turned 90 this year. Lemmon was an eight time Academy Award nominee, with two wins. He starred in more than 60 films, including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Mister Roberts (for which he won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), […]

It was so heart-warming to read of the dinner in honor of Gordie Howe in Saskatoon. CBC News reports that Howe, 86, was all smiles as he made his way to the event, sponsored by the Kinsmen. Wearing a suit and tie, he shuffled through a hotel lobby, pausing briefly with a fan who shook […]

Regretfully, hockey does not have a Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. We did – lots of them. But in their infinite wisdom the lords of hockey decided that ice palaces like the Montreal Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium were obsolete. So we have many “Centres” – Bell, United, Air Canada, Wells […]

I suppose it was inevitable. A sign of the popularity of the sport. We have in the past often chronicled disputes between various communities claiming the distinction of being the home of or capital of a certain food or activity. For example, there’s the battle for BBQ Capital, Chili Capital, Lutefisk Capital or Home of […]

Babe Ruth was born on February 6, 1895. Though he passed away in 1948, he is still recalled today, especially on this, his date of birth. For example, in his hometown of birth, Baltimore, they will stage an annual Babe Ruth Birthday Bash. Traditionally the event would occur at the Babe Ruth House and Museum, […] It’s February. Though we have not reached the birthdate of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln yet, today is the date of birth for an ex-President. Ronald Reagan was born on February 11, 1911 at Tampico, IL At the Ronald Reagan Memorial Library in a special program is planned to mark the birthday. Brigadier General […]

It started as Harney Park. Towards the end, it was variously officially called 3Com Park, San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point or Monster Park. But to anyone who cared it remained Candlestick Park. That is until yesterday. That’s when Candlestick Park started to be no more. After a long and checkered history of being the […]

Hearing of the passing of Mary Healy makes you appreciate just how much the world has changed. Some 50 years ago, Mary and her husband Peter Lynd Hayes were two names that commanded respect, but for as a young one back then I did not quite know why. Peter Lynd Hayes and Mary Healy formed […]

Dr. Charles L. “Charlie” Sifford, a man who achieved great success on the golf course but made a much larger impact off of it, died on February 3 at the age of 92. Described as the Jackie Robinson of golf, his challenge to the PGA’s “Caucasian-only” membership clause forced the desegregation of professional golf in […]

Overlooked perhaps, but definitely not forgotten. “For more than a half century, “To Kill A Mockingbird” has stood apart a singular American literary masterpiece…” So started the New York Times. “….It brought fame to its enigmatic author, Harper Lee, who soon retreated from the spotlight to her native Monroeville, Alabama. She never published another book, […]

Thank you Dave Stubbs. Thank you Elise Beliveau and family. In a time replete with exaggeration, distortion and too much disappointment, columnist Dave Stubbs has again reminded us of our better selves. In yet another brilliant Montreal Gazette piece, he writes of his recent visit to the Beliveau residence two months after the passing of […]

Mickey Owens, Wrong Way Corrigan, Jim Marshall, Ralph Branca, Steve Smith, Bill Buckner, Grady Little, Jeffery Maier, Steve Bartman, and Joe Pisarcik. Now, in the wake of Sunday night’s Super Bowl, many were quick to add the names of Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell to the list of those whose most public and memorable errors […]

Norman Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894 in New York. Interestingly Rockwell was born and raised in the Big Apple, though he did die in Stockbridge, Mass. and is now associated with New England. Years after his death in 1978 he remains strong in the consciousness of many, noted for his “realistic and homey” […]

There are just some songs you don’t hear any more. Here is one that they don’t play on the Oldies station. This article was first published on

It was once one of the those mainstay brands. Now it may be history. Headlines in today’s paper a bankruptcy deal that would sell about half its store leases to Sprint Corp. and close the rest, meaning RadioShack would cease to exist as a stand-alone retailer. Radio Shack dates back to 1921, when it began […]

Words do not do it justice. The Beanpot Hockey Tournament is a unique event, and one that cannot be captured without actually experiencing it. The Beanpot involves the four major college hockey schools of the Boston, Massachusetts area, Boston University, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern. Held annually since the 1952–53 season, the tournament gives the […]

Last week we wrote of Stan Mikita and wished him well. This week, we do the same for Al Arbour, a former and coach, who probably is best known for having guided the New York Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s, Though it apparently was reported last Summer, we […]

Much like a football “expert” that chose Seattle just after the final play of the game, groundhogs from Pennsylvania to New York to Nova Scotia, in the midst of ice and snow, this morning opted for 6 weeks more of winter. For details in PA. In Canada Personally, I am just reporting. My views are […]

Maybe it’s better that Phil just stay in bed. As of 4 pm on Sunday, February 1, here is the weather forecast for Groundhog Day in Punxatawney, Pennsylvania: Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until noon EST Monday. Snow accumulations: 6 to 10 inches. Period of most intense Snow, through tonight. Snow ending, Monday afternoon. […]

The Seattle Seahawks are now the toast of the town and beyond (the 12th Man extends to Vancouver and beyond). But pro Sports in Seattle goes back a ways – and much of it is overlooked and forgotten. Remember the Pilots (Major League baseball in Seattle for one year before Bud Selig moved them to […]