In the beginning there was… Moms Mabley

“In Ms. Carroll’s day, the world of stand-up comedy was thought to be no fit place for a woman. There were female entertainers before her, of course, but few specialized in the solo nightclub acts for which Ms. Carroll became famous…. Perhaps only [Brevard native] Moms Mabley, who began performing solo comedy routines in the 1910s, can be considered Ms. Carroll’s true predecessor. But because of her race, Ms. Mabley was confined for much of her career to the network of black vaudeville houses familiarly known as the chitlin circuit, playing to wider audiences only late in life.”

— From a New York Times obituary of Jean Carroll, who died New Year’s Day at age 98 in White Plains, N.Y.

Careful, Mrs. Dare, watch out for that se —

“The small park at Fort Raleigh is … a mecca for amateur sleuths — and kooks. ‘We get 350,000 visitors a year, and almost as many theories,’ said a ranger at the park’s visitor center. ‘Aliens picked up the colonists and deposited them on Atlantis — that’s a popular theory. You get others who talk about transdimensional time warp and how the colonists went through a secret doorway.’ The ranger shrugged. ‘I tell them, “Yeah, we lose a lot people that way.” ‘ ”

— From “A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World” by Tony Horwitz (2008)