Nicholas Graham’s revelation of Carrboro’s backstory — how UNC president and chemist Francis P. Venable gratefully handed over title to the town’s name to the way less modest Julian Shakespeare Carr — reminded me of other instances in which North Carolina’s intent to honor the intelligentsia proved challenging:
— Conover is named for the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova.
— Murphy is named for the North Carolina educator Archibald Murphey.
— And the namesake town of the New England writer Oliver Wendell Holmes gets the spelling right — but calls itself (as acknowledged by the Gazetteer with a rare pronunciation tip) Wen-DELL.
Other examples, anyone?
“Mark Schultz’s News & Observer colleague John Frank calls this ‘the BEST lede ever,’ and others agree. ‘Totally restored my faith in the snarky wonder of journalism,’ tweeted Khadijah Britton.”
— From “ ‘Peeing in his compost’: Best newspaper lead ever?” at jimromenesko.com (Nov. 12)
When the A Word A Day email service discussed “verbal fighting,” Ed Greer of Philadelphia responded:
“When I was a kid in the 1960s, we did something we called ‘Carrboro fighting’ (Carrboro was the town on the other side of the railroad tracks).
“You faced your opponent placing your right shoulder against his right shoulder, and walked around in circles yelling insults at each other. The loser was the person who either ran out of insults or repeated himself.”