Well, we kept the polls open as long as possible and some bloggers voted early and often while others waited ’til the last minute. We’ve had some locals and some out-of-staters with recollections of North Carolina. So, without further adieu, the NC primary edition of the Tar Heel Tavern:
Political bloggers in the state were not surprisingly among the first to submit entries. Perennial NC blogging fave, The Olive Ridley Crawl, gives us NC Primary – Vote for a Non Panderer.
Jim Buie submitted several of which I picked Obama, in Raleigh, Shows He’s No Elitist Egghead and In NC, Michelle Obama Draws Larger, More Intense Crowd Than Bill Clinton.
Quite troubling is a post from Vivian J. Page about an “official” ballot that appears to be circulating the state so authentic that some voters have tried to submit it at precincts offering early voting.
Nick D. at Buckeye State Blog posts on reports of attempts to squelch the African-American vote in NC.
A final post on NC politics comes from a Henderson Times-News review of Rob Christensen’s, The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics, which dissects the last 110 years of state history in an attempt to explain why Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt (or Elizabeth Dole and John Edwards) could be elected by the same voters. I just picked up this book the other day and am really excited to be digging into it.
Education in NC
Readers of ScienceBlogs would be most familiar with the fact that NC is home to some outstanding academic institutions, and not just the major research universities and three NCI comprehensive cancer centers. Less widely known is that NC is home to 11 historically-black colleges or universities (HBCUs). The Randolph Community College Library blog explains the Higher Education Act of 1965 that officially classified HBCUs, lists the NC HBCUs, and offers some inspiring facts about these unique institutions.
After this superb introduction, Baltimore blogger, Jonzee, at Keeping Up With Jonzee explains why HBCUs are still necessary, noting that “this comes from a woman who went to a majority, expensive-ass “elite” school.” Through her school’s HBCU exchange program, Jonzee speaks from her experience at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC.
We’ve even got science for the kids as detailed by Trperry42 (now at UVa) and their extensive post on the NC Museum of Life and Science.
Life in NC
North Carolina is a mashup of Southern tradition and the largest collection of NY/NJ expatriates south of the Mason-Dixon line, with the exception of Florida. Melissa at Odyssey: A
New Life in North Carolina holds forth on living at the nucleus of this culture in the Triangle area.
Barry Pavel in Stanley, NC, offers a post from his Life in North Carolina to show new arrivals around the Davidson/Denver/Lake Norman area that we do actually get winter here, albeit mild.
Farmlife in NC
Farming still remains a touchstone to the past and still part of daily life, even in areas very close to NC cities. The Artful Parent posts from a western NC farm and Ethan Book of The Beginning Farmer speaks of the grass-fed beef movement at Harris Acres Farms.
Zan Asha from Tales of a Big Town Farmer posts on the opportunities in Rocky Mount, NC, birthplace of innovative jazz pianist, Thelonious Monk.
No submissions were to be had from NC coastal bloggers, a real disappointment since the Outer Banks and other NC beach areas are among the most unique biological resources on the East Coast (plus the PharmGirl and I got married on the beach there). So, I had to throw in this series of posts on Nags Head and Cape Hatteras fishing and relaxing. Something out there too about some Ohio bicycle boys and their newfangled flying machine.
NC Music and Food
North Carolina, and the South in general, are all about music and food. I already mentioned Monk, but NC gave rise to John Coltrane and is the current home of Branford Marsalis. Other contemporary artists include Ben Folds, The Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Whiskeytown’s Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary, each of whom have gone on to independent careers. However, the area is best known throughout musical history for the bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music tradition, exemplified by legendary players such as Doc Watson.
What might surprise you is the source of one of the most critically-acclaimed sources to hear such music: WNCW-FM on the campus of the Isothermal Community College in Spindale.
Those who’ve looked at my sidebar under “Other Stuff I Care About” will know NC is also home to Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nationally-recognized foundation to support older blues and folk musicians who never benefited financially from their toils earlier in the last century. Here’s a great interview with guitarist and music preservationist, Tim Duffy, on the foundation he and his wife started in Hillsborough nearly 15 years ago.
As for food, we’ve got a good number of fancy restaurants written up in Food & Wine and given 5-star bed and breakfast ratings, but you’ve got to appreciate a place that has a strong tradition in making the best use of a pig. I’ve been holding onto this NCFOOD blog post since January from the NC Folklife Institute on the natural wonder that is “Hog Hash.” As a Philadelphia-trained aficionado of scrapple, this one just makes my mouth water.
If you’re out in eastern NC and have occasion to venture down to South Carolina, you’d best check in with Rick at Shrimp and Grits, an SC-based chemistry teacher with a penchant for southern barbecue. When he’s not worried about where one should put the decimal point, Rick fires up some great reviews of coastal and inland barbecue offerings, including his wife Patty’s family recipe for shrimp and grits. Yes, I know I’m going over the border here but Rick linked to me in the early lean days, back when his blog was called Science, Shrimp and Grits. btw, even though shrimp and grits is a SC Low Country creation popularized by a chef at Chapel Hill’s Crook’s Corner, the absolute best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had has been at City Grocery in Oxford, MS.
Finally, I’ve got to give a shout out to Mary, NYC blogger of My Life on Craft (Beer, that is…) and certified BCJP beer judge, for her post on her recent jaunt through town and post on several regular stomping grounds of the Pharmboy.
One last news item buried in a local story about the start of the parade of NC university commencements: Crystal Gail Mangum graduated from college on Saturday.
And that’s it for now. If I missed you or if you have a recent post that should’ve been included, just fire me an e-mail or leave a URL in the comment thread.
And to all of you in NC and Indiana: get out to vote on Tuesday. We tried to vote early on Saturday at our local board of elections and the line had at least a 30 min wait and the polls were closing for the day. Be patient, and make it count.
Addendum 5 May 2008: Miss Cellania at mental_floss blog linked to Neatorama’s 10 Insulting Words You Should Know that includes the origin of the word, “bunkum,” which is derived from Buncombe County, NC:
In 1819, a North Carolina congressman, the Honorable Felix Walker, was giving a rambling speech with little relevance to the current debate. He refused to yield the floor, and claimed that he wasn’t speaking for Congress but instead “for Buncombe” (a county in North Carolina he represented). That’s all it took.
Over time, the spelling changed to “bunkum,” and the meaning strangely changed to be “excellent.” Then it changed back in 1870, when a San Francisco gambler introduced a new game “banco” played with dice that were later found out to be loaded. Sure enough, BUNCO became known to mean swindle or cheat, and bunkum reverted back to its original meaning. (Source)
The word DEBUNK came directly from this: it’s just bunk(um) with the prefix de- (meaning to remove).