Helping You Be Contemporary in a Traditional Way

Pekin, Indiana claims the oldest continuous July Fourth celebration (dating back to 1830) Folks in Bristol, Rhode Island beg to disagree. Here is the story out of that New England community. The Annual Bristol 4th of July Celebration began, the say, in 1785 when Rev. Henry Wight of the First Congregational Church and a Veteran […]

Music for Canada Day and more And another Finally, two of our favorites: This article was first published on

(This is a repeat entry from July 2013) It came from England, but to me it was one of those All-American (Canadian) songs of vacation time in the early 1960’s – often trips to Canada. “Stranger on the Shore” was written clarinetist Acker Bilk for his then young daughter. He first named the tune “Jenny” […]

For over 60 years they’ve been spitting seeds – watermelon seeds – in Luling, Texas. The event is the “World Champion Seed-Spitting Contest, and it’s part of the annual Watermelon Thump. This will be the 62nd year of the festival, which will have music, events and, of course, watermelon.Organizers say this year’s crop will be […]

Those who know more than I do about these things (and there are many) have been strongly castigating me about not having adequately branded myself as an authority or expert. I have heard them and what they have suggested. As a result, I have embarked on a concerted effort to be better about touting my […]

It’s a headline that I could not thinking about, “A Rebooted “Oklahoma” Brings 1943 Into 2015″. The article was about a Summer Stock production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. The director, Daniel Fish (age 48) had an interesting take on this favorite from a time long before he was born. His “Oklahoma!” — which […]

Never much liked the song “Everything Old is New Again”. It just never really moved me. Seemed more than a bit too self-congratulatry. But here I now find myself invoking it for this entry. It is more than a little comforting to see “progress” humbled on occasion. Remember the “new Coke” ? These days, it […]

Lou Gerhig was born on June 19, 1903. It’s been almost 75 years since Gerhig’s death but he is still associated as a man of dignity. He hit 493 homers, knocked in 1,990 runs, and sported a .340 batting average. His 184 RBI’s in one season is an American League record. His 23 grand slams […]

“Helping You Be Contemporary in Traditional Way” is a tagline we have developed to describe what we do. It took some thought to get there. I had found that some had thought of our “Journeys Into” explorations of the offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten” as just another look at nostalgia (A sentimental […]

The other night we were listening to the television broadcast of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals while working at home with other tasks. But we did hear from Tampa the sounds of an organ that sounded more like the old Chicago Stadium than one hears even from Chicago’s United Center these days. Them, […]

…It’s the Superman Celebration, the 37th annual edition, taking place this weekend in Metropolis, Illinois. This weekend a town of fewer than 7000 people becomes more of a metropolis as some 30,000 visitors from around the nation, and around the world come to visit. Of course, Superman will be there to visit with those fans […]

I’ve been on the road and seen many places. I’ve written and broadcast many stories about what’s so special about so many and what makes them unique. In the process, I’ve gotten to see many places that” get it” and do it right. I’ve seen others that couldn’t care less and are destined to be […]

They’ve opened a new strip mall near where I live. Actually, it’s described as a “Landing”, invoking a historical connection to the settlement of the area by Europeans centuries ago. The new development is on the site of post-war shopping center, innovative, and beloved in its time but after considerable neglect and “environmental;l issues” was […]

The other day we shared with you our renewed effort to master this new world of social media. Part of that effort involves the need to be clear, concise and consistent in what one says – I am being told in involves the need to brand one’s self. So, I have been off in in […]

It was back in the early 1980’s that my Dad came around. He was “old school” and for a long time dismissive of the use of computers in his trade. Finally, one day he decided to meet the future half way. It energized his business. Computers did not replace his old-fashioned ways but enhanced them […]

I enjoy listening to classical musical. I have had only a causal and passing interest in opera, though I recently find it growing. It is the music that most inspires me, but at times it is also the folks who bringing the music who connect with me. Margaret Juntwait who died on June 3 of […]

To many writing the obituaries she is best known as an actress in the “Friday the 13th” Movie. Others headline that she was in numerous other movies (Mister Roberts, Queen Bee), and on Broadway (South Pacific) For me, Betsy Palmer was one of those fixtures of television from way back when. She was a familiar […]

Singer Peggy Lee was born on May 26, 1920 in Jamestown, ND. Born as Norma Douglas Egstrom she got her start at a North Dakota radio station, and got her chance to make it big through the Benny Goodman Orchestra. She was banner carrier for the American Popular Tune, but is probably best known for […]

Thanking those who made the ultimate scarifice for us. This article was first published on

It was on May 20, 1916 that Norman Rockwell’s first Saturday Evening Post cover was published. This article was first published on

Came across this from someone who read our post. Loved the idea. Thanks – it would be a big hit at our house! This article was first published on

Singer-guitarist B.B. King, the “King of the Blues” who helped define his genre’s electrified postwar sound and became the music’s best-known international ambassador, has died. He was 89. His attorney said he died on May 14 in Las Vegas. He had announced on May 1 that he had entered hospice care after being in poor […]

They shared a last name and an obituary page. At first glance they would seem to have little otherwise in common. Marcia Brown, who died on April 28, 2015 at age 96 was a writer and illustrator of more than 30 children’s books. She won three annual Caldecott Medals from the American Library Association, recognizing […]

We’ve been cleaning – both online and at home. We have launched new websites (We hope you find them entertaining and useful). We have also been cleaning out boxes of notes, legal pads of ideas and old newspaper clippings interest. Among the old newspaper clippings was a New York Times travel section from December, 2001 […]

Baltimore is trying to get back to normal. Just what normal will be means different things to different folks because in Baltimore, like many places, there are actually many Baltimores within the greater Baltimore. What is clear is that almost no one wants to see a return to what happened last week – the death, […]

This weekend they are holding a “Cotton Pickin’ Fair” in Gay, Georgia. It’s a twice a year event in this small community 53 miles south of Atlanta. It’s quite a popular event, drawing some 3,000 to town, and it is quite good, having been designated as a “Top 20 Event” by Southeast Tourism. But it […]

From NPR’s History Dept. a fascinating feature. Once upon a time there was a practice in neighborhoods around the country called “May Basket Day”. It involved the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps. According to NPR, in some communities, hanging a May basket on someone’s […]

The idea sounded appealing, but as a parent of three ideal and reality often differ. Tech or no tech, a family reality intrudes. But, I suppose, that’s life. How DID my folks do it ? All day rips to Canada on the old U.S. 9 before there was an I-87 ? Here is one person’s […]

Calvin Peete, who won 12 PGA events during a long career as a professional golfer, has died at age 71. Peete was famous for his ability to hit long and accurate drives, and for many years, he was the most successful black golfer in the world. More This article was first published on

“Chefs from some of the chillier regions of North America are making an effort to dive deeper into their habitat. From New England up through the Maritime Provinces of Canada and west to Montreal and Toronto, they are doing culinary work that poses questions without simple answers: What exactly is Northern cooking? And how do […]

Betty Willis created the flashing “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” neon sign along Interstate 15 that has served as a gateway to the city since 1959. The sign, according to the National Register of Historic Places that listed it in 2009, “is the best-preserved and indeed the most iconic expression of the remarkable ascendancy of […]

Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell’s iconic 1943 Rosie the Riveter painting that symbolized the millions of American women who went to work on the home front during World War II, has died. She was 92. Keefe died Tuesday in Simsbury, Conn., after a brief illness, said her daughter, Mary Ellen Keefe. Keefe […]

In trying to figure out just what we as people are about in the 21st century many of us have been guided by Robert Putnam. His book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community in 2000 was developed from his 1995 essay entitled Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital. In it he surveyed […]

Last week brought much coverage for the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Similar to what transpired after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, it is an event that captured the attention and emotions of a nation. Following Lincoln’s death, funeral services were held in Washington D.C. and then at additional […]

The San Francisco Chronicle offers this unique slide show describing some of the unique nicknames of some California communities. Some might be predictable (Strawberries, Raisin, Horseradish), others unique (Hub Cap Capital of the World) – all are interesting. This article was first published on

The Dodgers’ former spring training site in Vero Beach, Fla., now called Historic Dodgertown, has found new life as a multisports complex. Most interestingly, it is Peter O’Malley, who is most repsonsible for saving the place. Peter is the son of Walter O’Malley, the man most responsible for the move of the Dodgers out of […]

For more than 20 years, Jeff Lee and Ann Martin have worked at a Denver bookshop, the Tattered Cover, squirreling away their paychecks in the pursuit of a single dream: a rural, live-in library where visitors will be able to connect with two increasingly endangered elements — the printed word and untamed nature. They have […]

The media is already talking elections – most of it very early for the 2016 Presidential campaign. Some candidates have announced, others are campaigning though they have not announced yet. And, the media is already telling the story daily – though many of us do not care to listen yet. A less publicized vote involves […]

Here is a variation on a Smart Community Narrative. The Public Radio program “The Takeaway” is teaming up with the O, Miami Poetry Festival and WLRN-Miami Herald to ask folks you to pay tribute through the use of their zip codes. Specifically, they are asking us to memorialize our federally appointed numerical designation by writing […]

As you might be able to discern from this blog, I am old-school. But one cannot deny that the pre-game presentation at the Bell Centre is quite impressive and entertaining. And, based on this newspaper article, it is clear that the on ice light show is well-planned. A new one is ready to be unveiled […]

Time sure flies. It seems like yesterday that Union Station in Washington was re-energized. The newspapers are telling us that there is talk of redevelopment again – this time over the tracks that head north from the station. Interesting stuff. As interesting are the examples proponents provide of successes elsewhere. Here is the New York […]

Ever heard of Watson ? Not the Sherlock Holmes one – rather the IBM version. Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM’s DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM’s first CEO and industrialist Thomas […]

150 years ago today Abraham Lincoln was shot. Many are recalling this piece of American history. Unlike today where we live in a global village, communications and patterns of interaction and “diplomacy” were different. so it is difficult to gauge just how much the assassination of Lincoln might have changed the world. However, we still […]

There is so much hockey available these days. All NHL playoff games will be available on U.S. and Canadian TV. Juniors, Frozen Four, AHL – it’s all accessible. At the same time, we see and know so little these days. There was a time when Hockey in Canada was a meeting place – not just […]

It’s a big week for historians. Most of the attention, justifiably, is going to mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But this week is also noteworthy for a Presidential birthdate. It was on April 13, 1743 that Thomas Jefferson was born. The third U.S. president (also second V.P.) was born at […]

Richard L. Bare, who died the other day at age 101, had a long and distinguished career as a director. He is involved in many noteworthy television endeavors, including Cheyenne, 77 Sunset Strip Maverick and the Rockford Files. But when his obituary ran the other day the headline was about his role as director of […]

After its owner refused to vacate, a 600-square-foot bungalow that is now abutted by taller commercial buildings has become a shrine to defiance, reports the New York Times This article was first published on

For some time, they (media types) had been touting that Spring had arrived. But it did not feel like Spring. Snowflakes, wind chills and below normal temperatures would not go away. There was a desire to have a hot cup of soup or tea. We felt cold. But suddenly two signs of Spring have changed […]

Clifton Hill is one of the major tourist promenades in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The street, close to Niagara Falls and the Niagara River, leads from River Road on the Niagara Parkway to intersect with Victoria Avenue. Today, the street contains a number of gift shops, wax museums, haunted houses, video arcades, restaurants, hotels and themed […]

It’s not a big deal to many, and it’s of no deal to folks outside of New York, but the New Yofrk Yankees are back on Channel 11. WPIX- TV, Channel 11 was the television home of the Yanks from 1951 through 1998. After that time the Mets came to 11 , while the Yanks […]

They’re now counting the days and the memories as the last game (a playoff game) for the New York Islanders approaches at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Next Fall the team will not return to its suburban home for the last 43 years. Instead, on opening night the skate will be on to the ice […]

We knew Mel Allen, Red Barber, Curt Gowdy, Danny Gallivan and Foster Hewitt. We did not know Richie Benaud. But to hear from others who knew, Richie Benaud was a giant – the Mel Allen, Foster Hewitt or Danny Gallivan of cricket broadcasting. Richard “Richie” Benaud was an Australian cricketer who, after his retirement from […]

Here is something a bit beyond the Interstate….courtesy of PRI’s The World (Public Radio International) April marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The president who won the American Civil War and abolished slavery has rarely left public discourse since then, but the play he was watching when he was killed has largely vanished. […]

One of our favorite community narratives involves the upstate New York community of Mt. Morris, located in Livingston County at the northeastern entrance to Letchworth State Park, which contains a scenic gorge and triple waterfall on the Genesee River. The community was first called “Allen Hill” and “Richmond Hill” by early settler Ebenezer Allen. The […]

Yes, that’s chocolate moose – not mouse. From the outside here was Len Libby, chocolatiers in Scarborough, Maine looks like. Below is what you will find inside. Lenny is world’s only life-size chocolate moose. He is made of real chocolate – some 1,700 pounds of chocolate. Lenny was first sculpted in 1997 has been drawing […]

Yes, a good many of those years were when Winnipeg was without NHL hockey (after the prior Jets left town for Arizona. In fact, the previous Jets franchise appeared in the postseason locally for the last time on April 28, 1996 at the old and now long demolished Winnipeg Arena), but who cares now ? […]

They’ll be at it again in Grand Prairie, Texas this weekend in a one of a kind event. It’s the World Championship Pickled Quail-Egg Eating Contest, and the event takes place at the Trader’s Village. For some time the Village had been hosting a chili cook-off, but because those contests are common in Texas folks […]

Spring is slow in arriving in our neighborhood, so we are looking for inspiration where ever we can find it. We love the annual shots of Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. – especially the famous shots of the trees around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. But that is not the only place the […]

We might have lost that great Guy Lombardo version of the Molson Canadian theme song from the 1960’s. But the song and a 1960’s commercial is still there to enjoy – this one by Mimi Hines, a Canadian who made a career on Broadway. “It drinks so smooth and looks so clear – just right […]

A Baseball and Beer posting the other day got our juices flowing. Rhinegold and Ballantine jingles had us looking for more. Regretfully, one of our favorites – a Molson Canadian jingle being played by Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, circa 1960’s – is no longer available. But we did find this classic Narragansett Beer […]

Ever heard of Tommy Wadkins ? Bet not. But how about Glenn Miller ? Chances are you probably know who he is. There’s a wonderful story about a small town in Nebraska where Glenn Miller served as an apprentice in the Tommy Wadkins Orchestra before he became, well, Glenn Miller. Folks in this small town […]

I know we are more than a bit late, but we did not want to overlook a milestone date of birth. Zero Mostel would have turned 100 on February 28. Zero is best remembered for his portrayal of comic characters such as Tevye on stage in Fiddler on the Roof, Pseudolus on stage and on […]

The U.S. Civil War ended. The date: April 9, 1865. The place: the house of Wilmer McLean at the village of Appomattox Court House Virginia. The formal surrender took place at the court house on April 12. When it was over Confederate soldiers were allowed to keep their horses and go home. Confederate officers could […]

Kodak was a constant brand companion in our home growing up. Kodachrome, Instamatics, projectors, slide carousels, et. al. To us Rochester was a magical place – a real life Magic Kingdom of sorts, where innovation prevailed and where workers for the company were rewarded for their loyalty. Then, it stopped. Gradually at first, then with […]

There’s a lot of talk these days about the next generation of postal vehicle. For the past many years, the Grumman Long Life Vehicles has been the vehicle of choice since 1987. In all some 190,000 such vehicles have been on the road. But the trucks are gas guzzlers, and maintenance costs hit more than […]

So read the headline from the New York Times that caught our attention. The sub-headline reads, “A cranky blogger of the lost city becomes a crusader for mom-and-pop businesses”. As we started reading the article had New York or city flavor, “Here’s an old story: Your favorite dive bar/record hop/little Cuban restaurant gets turned into […]

As mentioned below, this is anniversary of one of my favorite sports moments. It was on April 8, 1971 that one of the greatest comebacks Canadiens, if not hockey and sports history occurred. It was the second game of the first round series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. As one highly respected […]

Playoff hockey. I get it. I was one who would stay inside on a beautiful Spring day to watch hockey. Weeknights for months meant no social life but to watch or listen to games. When my son was born on May 15, 2001 I insisted that the playoff game be on in the hospital room. […]

Ralph Sharon, best known as the piano accompanist to Tony Bennett but a marvelous musician in his own right, died on March 31 in Boulder, Colorado. He was 91. He performed nearly 300 shows a year with Tony Bennett for more than four decades. In fact, it was Sharon who discovered Bennett’s signature tune, “I […]

As with everything comedy has changed over the years and continues to do so. One of the legendary figures of an earlier time passed away the other. Stan Freberg died on April 7 in Santa Monica, California. He was age 88. Tom Freberg was a man who wore multiple hats, and he wore them all […]

April 8 is the anniversary of the birth date of the Father of Canadian Rodeo. His name was Raymond Knight. Though he was born in Payson, Utah in 1872, his father, a Utah mining magnate named Jesse Knight, founded the town of Raymond, Alberta in 1901. In 1902, Raymond Knight produced Canada’s first rodeo in […]

While putting together the posting about Beer and Baseball (see below), we stumbled upon this great video. We did not know that John Forsythe (Bachelor Father, Charlie’s Angles, Dynasty) got his start, at age 18, as the P.A. announcer at Ebetts Field in Brooklyn. This video follows Fosythe as he returned to Brooklyn after 40 […]

Yesterday was opening day. Today is National Beer Day. What better time to talk about beer and baseball. We found a great article on the subject. What especially caught our fancy was a section about the history of beer in New York baseball history. We had always known the Colonel Jacob Rupert owned the Yankees. […]

April 7 is an unofficial holiday – marking the end of Prohibition. It was at 12:01 a.m. on April 7, 1933 that the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect – meaning that beer customers could buy 3.2 per cent alcohol beer rather than “near beer”. Some 1.5 million barrels were immediately purchased at breweries that day, […]

Billie Holiday was born on April 7, 2015. In a year that has trumpeted the centennial of Frank Sinatra, we have heard far less about this milestone anniversary of Lady Day. But in recent days all this has changed. There are special events and television programs to mark the centennial. There have also been a […]

Another former Canadian, the fifth this year, died today. Dollard St. Laurent Dollard St. Laurent, who won five Stanley Cups as a defenceman for Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks, died on April 6 at age 85. His passing came just two days after the passing of 97-year-old former Canadiens star Elmer Lach. Also passing away in […]

Organ music was once a fixture at sporting events. So were the organists. Today the entertainment experience at a sports venue is quite different. Musical tastes are different as well. And clearly, so our the decibel levels, something that keeps some of us away. Here is a great posting that takes us back in time. […]

Speaking of baseball. Some 96,000 attended two exhibition games at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. Most were not there to root on the Toronto Blue Jays or Cincinnati Reds (Though many cheered local boy Russell Martin, who now plays for Toronto). Rather, for the second year they came out in force to make a statement to Major […]

It’s opening day for baseball. It’s one of those days when we all feel like the great late Ernie Banks. Most everyone is upbeat and is looking forward to the new season. Ball parks will be full as the first ball is thrown out. Optimism prevails. For us, we are excited about opening day and […]

Two senior members of the NHL officiating fraternity – referee Paul Devorski and linesman Jean Morin – are retiring at the end of this season, taking with them a wealth of experience. The 56-year-old Devorski, who officiated his first NHL game Oct. 14, 1989, ranks fifth on on the All-Time Referee list for regular-season games […]

I’m not much of a college basketball fan for a variety of reasons. But that is another discussion for another time. For now, we felt compelled to weigh in on Wisconsi’s stunning win over Kentucky in the NCAA Men’s Semi-Final. All I had heard this winter from those “in the know” was how no one […]

The New York Times recently ran an article about NHL hockey arena crews around the league that repeatedly clear the entire 200-foot-by-85-foot surface of the ice shavings that accumulate during a game. These days routinely ice teams will clean the surface at least nine times every game — three times each period, at the first […]

His name was Rudolph Prerez and he was an advertising executive. He died recently at age 89, reported The Chicago Tribune. The Doughboy, also known as Poppin’ Fresh, was once described by the Tribune as “a cute little anthropomorphic embodiment of fresh dough.” He still appears in commercials. In 1987, Adweek magazine declared him “America’s […]

In a New York Times obituary Tom Koch’s headline paragraph spoke of how we invented the game 43-man Squamish for Mad magazine. We remember him for his other accomplishments. Though we had never heard of him until we read of his passing, his works touched us. Mr. Koch was also a staff writer for Tennessee […]

Danny Stiles, a fixture in New York radio, died three years ago. But his passing was softened because his voice continued to be heard Saturday Nights on WNYC-AM as the public radio station played “The Best of Danny Stiles”. But those re-runs have now stopped and we feel sad again for the loss of the […]

To those observing, Easter may it be a meaningful occasion. We recall Easters freom long ago when cherished next door neighbor would leave a chocolate Easter bunny on our door step. We also remember how lovely it was to see neighbors on their Sunday best. And, if one ventured into the city one could see […]

We just traveled I-95 from Florida headed back north. The roads were full with returning snowbirds. We made too many rest stops at fast food establishments. We even received an obligaroyry speeding ticket as a souvenir. A most interesting stop, as in the past, is in Summerton, South Carolina. We love to exit (all too […]