I’m inclined to go along with critics of the state’s new logo, “Nothing Compares,” that will replace the time-worn “First in Flight.”
Why spend almost half a million bucks on a new logo with so many other pressing needs facing the state? Beats me.
Perhaps state officials decided it was time to end the longtime feud with Ohio, home of the Wright brothers, over which state has the better claim to have been “First in Flight.”
Wilbur and Orville Wright might have been born and bred in Ohio. And it’s true that it was in Ohio that the two tired of repairing broken bicycles and raised their eyes and aims skyward.
But it was North Carolina that provided the ocean breezes and the sand pad from which the first plane was successfully flown.
I agree that “Nothing Compares” does not fall trippingly from the tongue and is as lukewarm in imagery as warmed-over oatmeal.
Some years ago, when N.C. led the nation in the production of turkeys, the late Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham proposed “First in Turkeys” as the state’s official logo.
There are many among us, especially schoolteachers, who are disenchanted with the current state legislature’s dismantling of North Carolina’s image as the South’s most progressive state. With the lawmakers in mind, they are ready to adopt “First in Turkeys” as our state motto.
Book store moves
I’ll miss Quail Ridge Books’ presence in Ridgewood Shopping Center. Tackling North Hills shopping center traffic to visit the new location will be quite a challenge.
For years, Quail Ridge Books has been a favorite hangout for readers, due in great part to the warmth and welcoming presence of former owners Nancy and Jim Olsen.
Hundreds of authors conducted readings at Quail Ridge Books. I recently asked Nancy Olsen what book was the all-time best-seller during her career.
She reported that Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain,” set in North Carolina during the Civil War, topped the list.
The author drawing the largest crowd for a book signing? Former President Jimmy Carter, who twice visited Quail Ridge Books, once when, because of an injured right hand, he had to shake hands and sign books with his left.
Ken Thom of Carrboro responded to the column I wrote about the things men carry around in their wallets
“I attended a memorial service recently for a dear cousin,” he wrote. “During the service, a family member read a small card that the deceased had carried for years in his wallet. It was a short philosophy of life quoted from an American Indian chief.
“That got me to wondering what would be found tucked away in my wallet when I die. I looked, and there it was: a list of all my medications.”
I don’t know why, but on one of those balmy mid-December days I thought of one of what I call America’s “beautiful moments.”
It happened on a day in May 1947, in Cincinnati, when baseball’s great Jackie Robinson made his road game debut as the first African-American to play in the major leagues.
As the Brooklyn Dodgers took the field in the second inning, Cincinnati fans roared their disapproval. The popular Pee Wee Reece, a Kentuckian, walked from his shortstop position over to first base and laid his arm across Robinson’s shoulders. As if by magic, the heckling hushed.
On second thought, it might be the current unrest and hate-mongering during this political season that reminded me of this historic event. This is a time when America needs more “beautiful moments.”
Columnist George Will, reviewing “Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed A Presidency,” by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly concluded with, “This book is nonsensical history and execrable citizenship and should come with a warning: ‘Caution – you are about to enter a no-facts zone.’”
Sometimes, critics can be unintentionally cruel. I once came across a two-edged review by a man who, receiving a book from an author friend, responded, “I have received your book and will waste no time in reading it.”
Some years ago, after the N&O published my first collection of columns, I encountered my wife’s obstetrician on Fayetteville Street.
“A.C.,” he said. “I’m enjoying your book. I keep it on my bedside table and read a column every night . It sends me right off to sleep.”
I’m reminded of the spinster’s lament over the scarcity of marriageable males: “Men are like parking spaces. All the good ones are taken and the rest are handicapped.”