When Trying To Get Snowed In Backfires
In this week's Tiny Rabbit Holes, a harrowing drive in a winter storm, a NASCAR driver's wee wee (maybe), and the "so-called" Research Triangle.
Hey everyone! Normally, Monday editions of the Rabbit Hole are for paid subscribers only, but since we’re all snowed or iced or sleeted in AND it’s a holiday, I’m making this one free for everyone. If you like what you’ve been reading here and want to support this newsletter, you can do so by tapping or clicking on the button below:
Do not taunt the weather gods by trying to get snowed in
If you missed it, we did our first ever open thread yesterday because it was cold and wintry out there and we were all at home, so why the hell not. It was fun! There was no agenda. Some of you discussed whether it was a good idea to go for a run in the snow and ice. Others shared what you were cooking and what you were listening to. There was a mild “toboggan or beanie” debate.
However, reader Dawn shared a story that I am labeling “When Trying To Get Snowed In Backfires”:
Took a little trip to Blowing Rock, thought we’d be able to stay longer if the weather ended up being as bad as predicted (you know how it’s hit or miss in NC). Turns out the property we stayed at didn’t have availability for an extra night. Down unplowed 321 we go without 4x4. Jeeeeeezus this is a terrible idea.
Later she sent video:
I sort of understand her logic here, though. I’ve been on vacations before where the return flight was in danger of getting cancelled and had some glass half full thoughts. Like, Hey, one more day in paradise! But I’m sure that, instead of giving me a lovely comped room at the very nice resort, I would have been put up in a frightening motel near the airport. Hence, tempting the meteorological immortals in this way can only end badly. DO NOT TEST UKKO, THE FINNISH GOD OF WEATHER, FOR HE WILL MAKE YOU DRIVE DOWN TO LENOIR WITHOUT FOUR WHEEL DRIVE.
The enduring mystery of whether you can see Tim Richmond’s dangly bits on a NASCAR poster (SFW)
God bless Greg Lacour at Charlotte magazine for delving into one of NASCAR’s most enduring mysteries: Say, are those Tim Richmond’s manparts on a poster?
I’ll let you read the story for all of the background (and this Twitter thread from Greg explains how this story came into being in the first place). The article is, shockingly, safe for work, and doesn’t even mention the p-word once, which is some really remarkable restraint.
The lede is also incredible, in which a woman who works in a barbecue restaurant in Mooresville sees the crucial part of the poster for the first time:
Look, you tell her. She looks. Nothing. Keep looking, you say. Second guy from the left, in the Folgers suit. She looks. Still nothing.
OK, you say. The five guys kneeling? The one at far left? That’s the late Neil Bonnett. Look behind his right ear.
Lori looks closer. Her eyes widen.
“Oh. My. God.”
I can verify that this was the exact same reaction I had the first time I saw the poster hanging in the back of the Thirsty Beaver Saloon in Charlotte.
The headline for the story is “Pole Position,” which is also very good. I’d have to imagine the editorial meeting where they workshopped the headline went something like this:
Some Other Tiny Rabbit Holes
We all remember Sully Sullenburger, who landed a US Airways flight to Charlotte safely in the Hudson River after both of its engines were knocked out. But on the 13th (!) anniversary of that event, Ted Reed of the Charlotte Ledger caught up with the other guy in the cockpit that day: Jeff Skiles.
StarMed is almost synonymous with Covid tests in this state. Mike Graff from Axios Charlotte explains how they got there.
Lawyer Greg Doucette had an interesting Twitter thread after reading our North Carolina speed trap story from earlier this month. Basically: Small towns can’t make money off of traffic tickets in North Carolina. But the state court system makes a whole lotta money off of traffic tickets.
There’s a bathroom selfie war underway at the Accordion Club in Durham.
The Currency of Black History
For the first time, a Black woman is on an American quarter.*
Maya Angelou’s accomplishments are too lengthy to properly list, but she spent a long time as a professor at Wake Forest University, from 1982 until her death in 2014 at age 86. A building on campus is named for her. “I’m not a writer who teaches. I’m a teacher who writes,” Angelou told USA Today in 2008. “But I had to work at Wake Forest to know that.”
But! I put that asterisk up there because there’s another North Carolina story about a Black woman’s appearance on a coin, although it’s not as easy to see. I wrote a long piece about it for Our State, and dedicated an entire episode of Away Message to it, but it goes like this: Selma Burke created a relief sculpture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the end of his life. It was unveiled after his death. Shortly afterward, the back of the dime was changed to feature FDR’s profile, and the design really resembled Burke’s sculpture. Was it hers? Or was it a coincidence? It a tale about what happens to a story when hard facts are impossible to pin down.
But Burke’s story isn’t just about the dime. She was an accomplished artist and remarkable woman who, among other things, was born in Mooresville and became Mecklenburg County’s first registered Black nurse. Think of her whenever you get a dime out of your pocket.
As for the Angelou quarter, give me a heads up whenever you see one out in the wild.
BONUS: For Martin Luther King Day, here’s an Away Message episode about the once-lost recording from Dr. King’s speech in Rocky Mount, where he used “I have a dream” for the first time:
My So-Called Triangle
Folks, is the Research Triangle even… real?
When I first heard the Clay Aiken news, I was going to mention the only anecdote I could recall from his first congressional campaign. It was this: So many people shoved Bojangles in his face on the campaign trail that he gained 30 pounds. But now I’m shifting my slight anger toward the hardworking men and women of the New York Daily News, who are maybe not so sure about this whole Research Triangle thing.
Hence, here’s a list of other ways you can refer to North Carolina spots that don’t get the benefit of your doubt:
The Triad that’s actually more of a rhombus if you include Stokesdale
The “Outer” Banks
Stanly County, if you can trust a Stanly spelled without an “e”
Charlotte, South Carolina
Old Hanover County
I thought Rocky Mount would be a little rockier than this
East Carolina isn’t even a state
Shut up, that’s not Brevard
Roanoke Rapids, if you can even call them that
There are pines to the south of Southern Pines
More like Lesshead City
Cashiers, which doesn’t even have all that many cashiers in it
Leave your so-called North Carolina places in the comments, and have a great week.