Helping You Be Contemporary in a Traditional Way

As previously explained, we had been absent from these parts for an extended period tied to the passing of my Mom on May 5, 2017. The days and months preceding and after that day were not conducive to sharing the offbeat we offer. During these serious and challenging times, it did not seem appropriate to […]

It had been a long and frustrating trip. Inconsiderate drivers, road construction, and a stubborn me who thought he know his way around Boston. But for the moment that all was behind me. I was now surrounded instead by the famous sights and sounds of the present. The Green Monster, the manual scoreboard, 33 thousand […]

“It’s the First Shtetl You’ll Come to On the Left” read the words. These words could have been travel instructions from a century or two ago in Russia, Lithuania or Poland. Or perhaps lines from a Shalom Alechem story – the type that inspired Fiddler on the Roof. Instead, they are printed directions I am […]

We recently shared with you some words and thoughts about Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America, by James and Deborah Fallows. It chronicles their trips to 49 communities around America over a 4 year time period. They stopped at places large (Pittsburgh, Louisville, Fresno ) and small (Eastport, Maine; Ajo, […]

As one travels to or from Massachusetts on I-84, there is a sign that could easily be missed. It is a simple yellow one beckoning travelers to slow down and stop in. It reads “Traveler Food and Books”. The place (Traveler Restaurant) is pretty nondescript from the outside. But inside it is a very unique […]

It’s late Summer soon to be Fall – time to hit the road and explore. When heading on a journey of exploration in places previously unknown, I especially enjoy the opportunity to try get acquainted with my new surroundings and get a feeling for what makes a place distinctive. For me it all starts with […]

One of the great success stories of the last few years has been the High Line, the re-vitilization of an old train line running through the west side of Manhattan. Once an abandoned rusting track bed covered with weeds, the High Line offers lessons of vision and persistence. It is a remarkable story that has […]

Herb Oscar Anderson recently passed away at age 88. he was one of those radio voices of my youth – on a surface level he was a DJ on WABC and WMCA, in the era in which Top 40 rock and roll and pop ruled. But HOA was different. he wqa a bridge between the […]

We were saddened to learn of the death of Rich Conaty. We never met but he was like a friend – one of my radio companions. But he was special. Rich was the host of The Big Broadcast (WFUV Radio), a show of jazz and pop from the 1920s and 30s. He started it at […]

Some passings hurt more than others. This one hurts a lot. Laura Petrie. Mary Richards. Mary Tyler Moore. I loved them all. A woman beautiful in so many ways. Thanks for all you gave …turning on my world with a smile – taking many a nothing day and suddenly making it seem worthwhile… This article […]

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that – Dr. Martin Luther King This article was first published on

” The greatest show on Earth” is what it called itself. And, perhaps it was. But no more. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus announced on January 14 that after 146 years of performances, it was folding its big tent forever. Reports the New York Times that in a statement on the company’s website, […]

To many these days, 9-11 is a day that changed their view of the world. For others it was the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. But for a whole generation the day that most impacted them and they world they know was the attack of Pearl Harbor on […]

American photographer William Christenberry, best known for his evocative depictions of the Old South, has died, aged 80, following complications from a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most profound American photographers of his generation, Christenberry is best known for his poignant, poetic landscapes of his native Alabama, capturing the South’s great fading […]

Milt Moss, a comic actor who delivered the rueful catchphrase “I can’t believe I ate that whole thing” in a memorable commercial for Alka-Seltzer in 1972, died on Sept. 26 in Manhattan. He was 93. More from The New York Times This article was first published on

The person who created the Big Mac died on November 28. Michael “Jim” Delligatti, who invented McDonald’s two-tiered burger at his Uniontown, Pa., franchise, was 98. Delligatti began tinkering with the store’s burger in the mid-1960s. He added a second burger and six other ingredients. But he labored for two years to come up with […]

To many she was the Mom they wished they had. Florence Henderson who died on November 26 had a long and varied career. But she will always be best remembered as Carol Brady, the Mom on TV’s Brady Much. Some found the program too saccharine and full of sunshine. Though I was older than the […]

An interesting Thanksgiving Day feature about The Four Freedoms on The Takeaway. This article was first published on

A thankful Thanksgiving to you and those dear to you. This article was first published on

Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodger who gave up one of the “shot Heard around the world” home run to Bobby Thompson died on November 23. He was 90. Branca had to live with the stigma of that game, but took it with good cheer. He was described by those who knew him as quality person. […]

Yes, he was a talented actor whose repitoir covered a wide range of subjects and genres. But to me Robert Vaughn will always be Napoleon Solo of The Man from Uncle. More on his life, and a clip as I remember him: This article was first published on

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential Canadian singer and songwriter whose work spanned five decades, died at the age of 82. Wrote Rolling Stone of the Westmount, Quebec born Cohen: Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a […]

Since the 1787 Constitutional Convention, federal law has imposed few constraints on elections and left most smaller decisions up to the states — creating an interesting patchwork of state-specific laws. In some states they’ll call the Sheriff to haul you out of the voting booth if you take too long (no more than three minutes […]

Americans typically vote in schools and government buildings, but not everyone. The US Election Assistance Commission suggests that a polling place “should be located close to major traffic arteries for easy access.” There’s nothing in the guidelines to stop election officials from picking restaurants, garages, or laundromats, and sometimes that’s exactly where voting takes place. […]

In a time before early voting, it was a big deal – the first “official” votes cast. Today it’s not as significant, but much like the original Groundhog in Punxsatawney, PA, voting in Dixville Notch still garners attention. So, it was that the tradition continue last night. The small northern New Hampshire community — with […]

Kay Starr, the self-described hillbilly singer who crisscrossed jazz, country, pop, blues and rock ’n’ roll in the 1950s with hits like “Wheel of Fortune” and “Rock and Roll Waltz,” died on November 3 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94. This article was first published on

One does not have to be a Cubs fan to be moved by this new Budweiser ad which was pieced together using archival play by play from Harry, who passed away in 1998. Also thinking of Jack Brickhouse. This article was first published on

For one, the pain and frustration is over. For the other the wait continues. Two teams played their hearts out. Both are champions, having left it all on the field. Both have earned my admiration and respect. Sadly, only one gets to take home a trophy and be declared winners. A well earned and overdue […]

As Game 7 of the World Series begins we came across this interesting feature by Linze Rice from The smiling, patriotic boy and his dog greeting people on the front of each box of Cracker Jack were actually once real characters in the life of the snack’s inventor, and, tragically, would come to define […]

As one with no pony in this race, it is one time I wish we could stop and declare both teams co-winners. It’s hard to hate either team or their fans. They both have long painful histories looking at post-season parties like this from the outside. Alas, here are two former ugly ducklings competing for […]

I tend to eat too much out of frustration. My wife continues to call me out on it, and I keep promising to be better. But watching the news, and the challenges of balancing a home budget and the kids….Well, you know. Anyway, it is interesting that in a time long before Twinkies and other […]

Chicago and the Cubs are everyone’s sweethearts – and for good reason. Last World Series appearance in 1945; last World Series win in 1908. It’s been a long time. But on the other side of the match up it’s a pretty good story too. The last time the Cleveland Indians won a World Series was […]

Hard to overstate what these days mean to loyalists on the North Side of Chicago. How many years and generations of disappointment ? Cub fans know and feel it. For the rest of us, this video recalling Jack Brickhouse gives one a bit of an idea what it’s been like over the years – the […]

It is now week two of the new era for A Prairie Home Companion. After week one, the review were generally favorable for new host Chris Thile. Thile, handpicked as successor by Garrison Keillor, is trying to strike a balance – honriong the orgins while refreshing it to make it more embraced but a younger […]

The “House of Tomorrow,” designed for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair’s Century of Progress Exhibition, was named a National Treasure this week by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. When it was built it was one of the most innovative and influential buildings in modern architecture, filled with the latest technology and appliances. But it’s […]

I was doing some research for new postings and came across news almost three years old. But discovering the passing of Jethro Mann resonated with me. So, though belatedly, I here honor Mr. Mann and his spirit. This article was first published on

Oscar Brand, the renowned and popular folk singer and songwriter whose weekly on-air radio program was the longest-running radio show in history with a single host, died on September 30 at Great Neck, N.Y. He was 96. He was a fixture in musical circles as well as on the radio. His radio program “Folksong Festival” […]

Richard D. Trentlage died the other day at age 87. His name was little known to most of us. Today he is being remembered as writer of the now famous Oscar Mayer weiner jingle. But has creativity stretched beyond those famous lyrics “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener”. He also was the […]

With the first of this year’s Presidential debates about to take place tonight, we are reading of what journalists, pundits and just plain folks like you and me are hoping to see and hear. Without getting into the candidates , their manner and the issues they stress (because we do not do that here), we […]

I was a longtime fan of the late Charles Kuralt and his work on CBS Sunday. Upon his retirement in 1994 (before his passing in 1997), Kuralt passed the hosting duties on to Charles Osgood. Now it is time for Osgood himself to retire from the program. Charles Osgood’s last show will take place this […]

On Friday Night September 23 Dodger Stadium was the scene of a classy and stirring ceremony to honor Vin Scully who is retiring from the broadcast booth after 67 years. On hand were the likes of Kevin Costner and Sandy Koulfax. A wonderful tribute video was shown as well. Finally, Mr. Scully led the Dodger […]

Still feels like summer (temperatures in the 80’s) but the calendar is telling us that the season has turned to Autumn. So, before you know it falling leaves, pumpkins and autumn chill. Enjoy. This article was first published on

My son is into baseball these days. Way back when I was his age, following baseball meant a transistor radio or local TV (in this case Mel Allen, Red Barber and Phil Rizzuto on Channel 11 or Linsey Nelson Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy on Channel 9. Great announcers. Great memories. These days there is […]

Who says there are no do-overs ? A new statue of Lucille Ball was unveiled this weekend (August 6-7) in her a hometown in Celoron, N.Y. Unlike the old one, this one actually looks like the Lucy everyone loves. The new life-size bronze statue was created by noted sculptor Carolyn Palmer who won a national […]

Those who know much more than I do have been advising me to post frequently. For along time I try to do so. But in recent weeks and months those postings here and on our companion site ( have not been as frequent. It is not that there has not been a lot to choose […]

Pete Fountain, whose easygoing, apparently effortless style on the clarinet and his perpetually sunny disposition made him a natural ambassador for New Orleans, died on August 6 in New Orleans. He was 86. More from Also check out these highlights from his great career (courtesy of This article was first published on

Contrary to what I wrote in a prior entry, the departure of Garrison Keillor is hitting me harder than I thought and hoped it would. As mentioned, we have been through this whole thing before back in 1987 when Keillor announced to the world that he was closing up shop to move to Denmark. I […]

Garrison Keillor ends his reign as host of A Prairie Home Companion this weekend. The program, being broadcast on Saturday July 2 is actually a tape of a performance made the night before (July 1). Ironocally, the last show is coming out of Los Angeles, not St. Paul or Minneapolis. It is fitting that the […]

Long before Wayne Gretzky, it was Jackie Gleason who was known as “The Great One”. It is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jackie Gleason this week. We honor him and his body of work – from the Honeymooners to American Scene Magazine to his movies (The Hustler, Smokey and the Bandit, Gigot, and […]

Helpful tips so you won’t feel you’ved missed anything, courtesy of Texas Escapes Magazine ( “These suggestions are for the layperson, historical tourist, curious traveler, or anyone who enjoys the quiet and understated thrills of small town exploration”. This article was first published on

In recent postings we have spoken of James Fallow’s wonderful essay in the current issue of The Atlantic. Entitled “Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed”, it is a summation of James and Deb Fallows’s 54,000-mile journey around America in a single-engine plane. The article appears in the March print edition alongside the cover story, “Can […]

Yes, it’s the day of the Presidential Primary in New Hampshire, an event sure to produce drama, joy, disappointment and perhaps surprise. No matter who your prefernce might be the show has been fascinating. As of this morning, Dixville Notch and two other communities have already counted their votes as they voted at Midnight. But […]

For years radio man, musician storyteller and author Jonathan Schwartz has presented a “Salute to Baseball” on the day of the Super Bowl. It is taking place now (Noon ET) at WNYC-FM New York (, and the Jonathanchannel. Worth listening to. This article was first published on

Some passings touch one more than others – this is one that touches me. I always loved the good-hearted, understated humor of Bob and Ray. It was satirical but in a light way that did not unduly hurt. As the cultural historian Gerald Nachman wrote, they “never felt a need to destroy their targets, preferring […]

It was more than 25 years ago I had occasion to have my path cross with Arnold Greenberg, who died at 83 on January 22. I was trying to promote a book, and Mr. Greenberg’s store seemed a logical place. He was, with his wife, founder and co-owner of the Complete Traveller, a travel bookstore […]

APR’s Marketplace has been running a series “Tools of the Profession” which speaks with individuals about… the tools of their professions. David Brancaccio, host of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report, spoke with Lucas Argrew, cobbler at Beyond Shoe Repair in Auburn, ME. Mr. Argrew initially studied chemistry and painitng in order to puruse a […]

One of our favorite quotes is from the old Molson beer bottle “An honest brew makes it’s own friends”. Molson has lasted a long time from those words (Though it is now part of Coors). But in the world of marketing and politics, it is clear that friends must be made through affirmative actions – […]

Finally, the votes are about to be cast in Iowa. All eyes are turned to see what will actually happen. But not many will look beyond the candidates and the caucus sites. In a great feature, Masuma Ahuja of shared with us the work of Cody Weber and Kat Kanan’s website Forgotten Iowa. Ahuja […]

Today is Martin Luther King Day. For a long time it was an offbeat federal holiday – the holiday that in some places did not really feel like a holiday. Martin Luther King Day continues to evolve. It is still a relatively new national holiday (2000), and in many ways the day is still getting […]

Noreen Corcoran, who starred as the teenager adopted by her uncle (John Forsythe) on the 1950s-’60s sitcom Bachelor Father, has died. She was 72. Corcoran died Friday of cardiopulmonary disease at Valley Presbyterian in Van Nuys, her niece, author Mell Corcoran, told The Hollywood Reporter. The actress’ younger brother, Kevin Corcoran, who appeared in the […]

It’s spooky how it works sometimes. It was just other day I happened to wander upon a You Tube of Super Bowl I in 1967. As the original video does not exist, it was a compilation of photos accompanied by the radio broadcast on NBC Radio. The announcer was Jim Simpson. Now, four days later […]

Helping you be contemporary in a traditional way. That is our tag line to help businesses, organizations, associations, and individuals make the most of themsleves. We often speak about what we refer to a “traditional way”. In this posting we would like to tap into the contemporary aspect. Eli Amdur has been a friend and […]

I love Bing Crosby and I like Christmas cheer. Here’s Bing and the Andrews Sister with something a bit less known, but quite enjoyable nonetheless Merry Christmas. This article was first published on

Marjorie Lord, an actress who was best known as Danny Thomas’s wife on the Emmy-winning comedy series “The Danny Thomas Show,” died on Nov. 28. She was 97.More. This article was first published on

Lillian Vernon, who created a sprawling catalog business that specialized in personalized gifts and ingenious gadgets and made her an American household name, died on December14 in New York. She was 88. Ms. Vernon, who had come to the United States as a Jewish immigrant from Germany fleeing the Nazis, began her mail-order business in […]

The day after Thanksgiving is a day off for many. For those in retail it definitely is not a day off. But there is an America beyond Black Friday. The World Famous Fish House Parade in Aitkin, Minnesota and The Chitlin Strut in Salley, South Carolina are two prominent events taking place beyond the Mall. […]

With thanks to a dear friend (not just for this item but for your friendship), here is the elevator pitch they have forever been seeking. It was actually written a while back, but it was not until this infinitely patient and compassionate friend saw it in a recent post that we were together identify it […]

In a world short of positive role models, there are still heroes in our midst. Local heroes may be found in many shapes and forms. There is, of course, the war veteran who may live next door; the Eagle Scout down the street or the neighbor on the look for the well-being of an elderly […]

Even with congestion, pollution and crumbling infrastructure, the network of highways we have assembled remains a monument to achievement. In the U.S., the Interstate System has been called the Greatest Public Works Project in History. The Trans-Canada (and its successor freeways/autoroutes), along with the railroads, hockey and the CBC is said to have played a […]

An initiative to help preserve longtime San Francisco businesses through financial incentives was approved by voters Tuesday.With all precincts counted, in addition to most mailed votes, Proposition J won 57 percent to 43 percent.The Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund, crafted by the preservation group San Francisco Heritage, offers landlords a financial incentive to retain qualified […]

Maureen O’Hara, one of the last stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, died on October 24 of antural causes. She was 95. O’Hara known for playing fiercely passionate but sensible heroines, and often worked with director John Ford and longtime friend John Ford. She is remembered by different folks for different works. To some […]

Via a video from The Chicago Tribune, the widow of legendary Cubs and White Sox announcer Jack Brickhouse looks back at the broadcaster’s long, illustrious career and we hear some of his famous calls in the booth. This article was first published on

In the heart of Chicago’s 19th Ward there’s not much Cubs love to be found. This is White Sox Country, a place where the South Side team takes precedence even when the Cubs, that team from the wrong side of town, is having a very memorable season. The Cubs are in the National League Division […]

We are thinking about friends and those we have met in our travels through South Carolina as they have had to endure a lot recently. It has been a tough year from shootings, battles over symbols of the region, and most recently the spin-off rains of a hurricane. It is a region of some great […]

In South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature, Margaret Eby visits to the hometowns and haunts of 10 favorite authors – including Faulkner, Welty, O’Connor and Wright. In making this journey, Eby premises it on the relationship between the region and its literature. “There is no popular category known as Northern literature’, she stresses. More, […]

Paul Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work of travel writing is The Great Railway Bazaar (1975) . He has published numerous works of fiction, some of which were made into feature films, and has received awards and critical acclaim along the way. A new work, Deep South: Four Seasons […]

Jack Larson was a playwright and librettist who died on September 20 at his home at Brentwood, California at age 87. To most of us, though, he was known as the actor who played the cub reporter Jimmy Olsen in the television series “Adventures of Superman. The New York Times reports that In 1951, Larson […]

Today, September 17, is Constitutition Day in the United States. It is a relatively new holiday. It is not known like September 11, nor is it an observance with connected with contraversy.  It is significant, though. Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is a day that recognizes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and those who have become […]