Deadline deal averts link dump shutdown

— Reconsidering North Carolina’s oldest known landscape photo.

— “It certainly would be nice to have another Ohio native become part of our basketball program here at Chapel Hill.

— Bellum Charleston’s elite retreat. (Are East Flat Rock, Savannah and the Masters  “actually part of Charleston”? )

— Great-grandpa sends a Tweet from Gettysburg.

— Number of Raleigh women listed in 1860 census as prostitutes: 46

The war was over, but death marched on

“Two weeks after the Civil War ended, N. J. Bell, a railroad conductor, enjoyed a layover in Wilmington, North Carolina. A small boy and a little girl who lived on the edge of the railyard came up to him asking for something to eat. He gave them whatever bread and meat they could carry away. The children were very thankful. Their father had been killed during the war, and both their mother and grandmother were sick. Bell returned to Wilmington two months later. Lounging in the railyard, he inquired about the fate of the boy and girl. He learned that their mother had died and the children had starved to death.”

From “America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation” by David Goldfield (2011)

“America Aflame” receives  smashing praise in tomorrow’s New York Times Book Review, and I’ll soon be posting a Q-and-A with its author, who teaches history at UNC Charlotte.

Gallup-ing Jehosaphat! A happiness recession?

Unsettling news indeed: The “well-being” of North Carolinians reportedly ranks 36th in the nation. Gallup’s composite index weighs 20 factors, such as stress, obesity, job satisfaction, nighttime safety, happiness…. Happiness? Tar Heels come up short in happiness?

Why, it hasn’t been that long ago — the ’70s, actually — that John Shelton Reed was explaining why no less than 90 percent of North Carolinians considered their state “the best, all things considered.” In sum: nice neighbors, nice weather. (Among the dozen other states studied, Massachusetts came in last at 40 percent.)

Mt. Airy native Donna Fargo even claimed the title of  “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.”

So what happened? In the intervening four decades, have newcomers from Massachusetts been stealthily U-Hauling their  gloom and naysaying past the interstate welcome centers? Or are 21st century North Carolinians simply unhappy, for whatever reason, in a state they may still consider the best?

Gallup asked, “Did you experience feelings of happiness during a lot of the day yesterday?” For reasons I’m sure make sense in the opinion-harvesting community, the results are presented by congressional district. Thus, North Carolina’s happiest districts are Four (Durham, Chapel Hill) and Nine (Charlotte region minus Charlotte), both at 90 percent “yes.” Its unhappiest district: Seven (Wilmington, part of Fayetteville) at 84 percent.

Finally, this caught my eye: In response to “Are you satisfied with the city or area where you live?” the 94 percent yes in North Carolina’s District Four was topped only by the 95 percent yes in California’s District 48.

Curse you, Laguna Beach.

For freed POWs, ‘the happiest day of their lives’

On this day in 1865: Prisoner of war A.O. Abbott, first lieutenant in the 1st N.Y. Dragoons, recalls his release in Wilmington:

“We laughed, cried, hurrahed, hugged, kissed, rolled in the sand, and — rejoiced generally. Many declared it was the happiest day of their lives.

“The 6th Connecticut was encamped on the bank of the
[Cape Fear] river, and at the end of the pontoon bridge they had erected a bower of evergreens. In the centre of the arch was a card, surrounded by a beautiful wreath of evergreens, on which was printed, WELCOME, BROTHERS.”

Link dump seeks license as eclectic utility

Death noted: Country singer Charlie Louvin, 83, last of the two Louvin Brothers and first cousin of esteemed Durham native John D. Loudermilk. Charlie and Ira were in fact born Loudermilks, but found the handle too long for career purposes.

— Among the “All-time most popular” reader queries to the Star-News’ is “Will the Wilmington area be getting a Red Lobster?” Is Lexington similarly eager for the arrival of a Sonny’s?

— The last mayor of Brooklyn — before it became a borough of New York City — was a native of Plymouth, North Carolina. At age 7, Frederick W. Wurster and his German-born parents moved to Brooklyn. He made his fortune manufacturing axles and in 1895 was serving as Brooklyn’s fire commissioner when he won the Republican nomination for mayor.

— Yet another North Carolina politician successfully auditions for “Doonesbury.”

Tonight’s forecast: 2 inches of link dump

— Sorry, Mr. Larsson, but Asheville readers prefer “Mayhem in Mayberry.”

— In Charlotte, Mark Twain flap has familiar ring.

— From a recently surfaced collection of Civil War pencil sketches (scroll down), 43 depicting North Carolina.

— “Firestarter” II?

A link dump as spicy as bamboo pickles

— Never the twain shall meet — except in the Barbecue Battle Box.

— Appalachia without “feisty Grannies.

— Artist’s scissors await donated  Confederate flags.

— iPhone tosses lifeline to Cherokee language.

Bamboo pickles no longer a Wilkes County secret.

— Wilmington welcomes  “Blue Velvet” reunion.

— “We’re not a secret society. We’re a society with a few secrets.”

Link dump adds restaurant review section

— “It was actually the worst apple pie I ever had, and the coffee was only marginal.”

— Haven’t tried the barbecue at Glenn’s, but I swoon over the neon pig.

— All politics is local? Tip O’Neill, meet Danbury, N.C.

Brooklyn isn’t only borough with North Carolina namesake.

— God Save the (Azalea Festival) Queen.

The Wilmington native who envisioned VQR

Ben Steelman offers a footnote to the Virginia Quarterly Review drama-turned-melodrama:

“The VQR’s founding, in 1925, was in large part the work of a Wilmington native, UVa President Edwin A. Alderman. Ten years earlier, Alderman had called for ‘an organ of liberal opinion …’ (that’s as in liberal arts, not politics) ‘solidly based, thoughtfully and wisely managed and controlled, not seeking to give news, but to become a great serious publication wherein shall be reflected the calm thought of the best men.’

“Born in Wilmington on May 15, 1861 — Alderman Elementary School, off Independence Boulevard, is named for him — Alderman served as president of three major universities: Chapel Hill when it was THE University of North Carolina (1896-1900), Tulane, down in New Orleans (1900-1904) and Virginia (1904 until his death in 1931). He was actually the first president of UVa — Thomas Jefferson’s ‘academical village’ had always had a loose governance until he took over.”

“Not seeking to give news” seems an unlikely goal for a literary magazine, but maybe Alderman was prescient.

Gov. Cherry steps up, state listens up

“In North Carolina, the crimes of murder, arson, burglary and rape are punishable by death. Fourteen-year-old Negro Ernest Brooks committed two of them. One night he broke into a Wilmington home, raped a woman eight months pregnant. Caught the next day, Negro Brooks confessed, was sentenced to death.

“Last week Governor R. Gregg Cherry commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Said he, in a statement rare for a Southern governor: ‘The crimes are revolting, but a part of the blame . . . arises from the neglect of the State and society to provide a better environment. . . . Our public schools, equipped with capable teachers . . . [and] an effective compulsory-attendance law, would do much to correct delinquency among all races.’  Rarer still, in all North Carolina there was no outcry.”

— From Time magazine, Jan. 7, 1946