High Bridge to Califon: E-Bike

The Columbia Trail runs along the former alignment of the High Bridge Branch of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The South Branch Raritan River, a popular trout fishing spot, flows alongside it; the trail crosses the river at the bridge in the featured image above. The river valley here is known as Ken Lockwood Gorge and is a New Jersey Wildlife management Area.

Athens Archaeology: There’s an App

In the nineties, jobs in Greece’s state archeological service were often offered on a contract basis, and women tended to fill these nonpermanent positions, which came without benefits. Understaffed, poorly compensated, and facing ferocious pressure from landowners eager to start building, state archeologists usually went unrecognized, their reports often signed only by their supervisors.

Nick Romeo, the New Yorker

The Dipylon Society maps the ancient topography and cultural environment of Athens, Greece, using data accumulated over decades by contract archaeology projects in the city. Read The Hidden Archaeologists of Athens: By collecting long-forgotten archeological data, a new project reveals the researchers who toiled unrecognized in The New Yorker.

Source: Dipylon.org

Pepsi Pop-Up Diner

For its 125th anniversary, Pepsi will open up a pop-up diner somewhere in midtown Manhattan that “will artfully mirror the sets of some of the most memorable Pepsi commercials and feature real, one-of-a-kind memorabilia from the Pepsi archives”

See more (and get on the waitlist!) at PepsiDiner.com.


Chevy Spark Showing its Colors

This 2013 commercial introduced the Chevy Spark to the U.S. market by hyping its global (OK, mostly pushing European vibes here) credentials and pastel colors.

Built in South Korea, over the years, versions of the Spark were marketed as the Chevy Beat, Holden Spark, Opel Karl, Vauxhall Viva, and Vinfast Fadil. The Spark was discontinued by Chevrolet in 2022.

Life After Baseball

John Jaso, former catcher/first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, and other teams, walked away from baseball and now sails a boat for about six months a year: No More Spring Trainings.

During his MLB career, Jaso had to deal with multiple concussions:

My initial reaction is that my life, as far as my career, is falling apart and kind of like ending,” Jaso said. “That this is how it ends.”

Tampa Bay Times 2015

In 2017 he bought a sailboat (he was a professional balllplayer, so it’s a nice boat) and retired from baseball:

there’s another level of peace and happiness for him when he’s on the boat. Even when there are issues — and something is always going wrong — he liked dealing with it.

New York Times 2023

Pet Names in Medieval Europe

There is BirdismowtheStalkere and Holdefaste – referring to the desirable qualities of a hunting dog; CharlemayneErcules and Arture, referring to historical or mythological figures, and CherefullPlesaunce and Harmeles, which may have been ironic.


More at Medievalists.net

“It’s a Trip, It’s Extraordinary, It’s One of a Kind”:Jim Steinman’s House for Sale at $4.5M

Jim Steinman, the composer of anthemic, operatic hits including Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Bat out of Hell, and Total Eclipse of the Heart, died in 2021 at the age of 73. In 2022, his Connecticut estate was put up for sale for $5.5 million; it’s now asking $4.5 million.

Steinman lived alone in his Mansion of Solitude.

That price includes the house, which the New York Times called “a majestic museum of the self,” and everything in it.

From the time Jim acquired the quaint country cottage originally located on the property, it became his personal sanctuary where he envisioned and built his masterful home and studio that served to inspire artistic creation and joyful entertaining. It was from this home that Jim collaborated with world acclaimed musicians and artists, composing on the very piano that is included in this once in a lifetime sale of Jim’s home and curated collections … To honor Jim’s legacy, it is the estate’s intention to find the next custodian who will be enthralled by the transformative power of Jim’s home and art.

Zillow/William Pitt Sotheby’s International
The unassuming exterior.

Zillow Listing

Read the NYT’s tour of the house last year: A Gothic Rock Cottage Fit for a Bat Out of Hell

Floor plans, video tour, and at: See the Property

And we must have a music video. Not Meat Loaf or Air Supply, but a woman in a white dress, men in belly shirts, and Jim Steinman himself throwing a guitar through a stained glass window. It’s 1981, and it’s Bad for Good:

Categorized as Music

Jeep History at Camp Holabird

In 1918, the U.S. Army created Camp Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland and in 1940, it was the site where a prototype four wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle – what later became the Jeep – was tested. The facility was shut down in 1973 and later turned into an industrial park.

As Legend magazine shows, Remnants of the part Camp Holabird played in the development of the famous Jeep still survive today. An earlier visit to Holabird in 2009 is at On the Trail of Jeep History, Part 3.

An early Jeep (Bantam BRC-40), probably at Holabird (H.Q.D – Holabird Quartermaster Depot. Source: Military Vehicle Photos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons/www.olive-drab.com