Free bird

Michael Badnarik, a technical trainer from Austin, Texas, was considered a dark-horse candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination till he pulled off a third-ballot victory at the convention in Atlanta over the Memorial Day weekend. A one-time candidate for state representative, Badnarik has not held public office, but he has taught a university-level course […]

Eight too many? Six too few?

A pair of upcoming meetings may spark a flare-up in the long-simmering controversy over the planned restructuring of Interstate 240, Interstate 26 and the Smokey Park Bridge. Few local civic issues have aroused more heated debate. Area residents have banded together in support of one or another of several proposals; local politicians have staked out […]

Buns ‘n’ ‘shrooms

A dear friend has informed me that my love of mushrooms stems from a need for more yin in my life. Could be — though I don’t see myself as a particularly yangy kind of guy. But whatever the reason, I have definitely been a serious fungivore for decades. I’ve hunted wild mushrooms in Pacific […]

Neither do they spin

Beautiful and edible, weedlike in their tenacity, bearing handsome foliage and available in a wide range of warm colors — what’s not to like about daylilies? (Other than embracing a snob’s disdain for the common.) Furthermore, as the Bible reminds us, lilies don’t spin, a very positive recommendation to gardeners prone to vertigo or drunkeness. […]

Cake out in the rain

One of the hundreds of truckloads of radioactive material that pass through Asheville each year was seen leaking on Friday, June 25. A passing motorist spotted liquid dripping from the tanker as it sped along rain-dampened Interstate 26 on its way from the Nuclear Fuel Services manufacturing plant in Erwin, Tenn., to the Savannah River […]

Buncombe County Commission

Amid talk of divorce and tantalizing hints of reconciliation, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the Regional Water Authority’s 2004-05 budget during a special session on June 29. The $22.6 million budget, previously approved by Asheville City Council and the Water Authority board, took effect July 1. David Hanks, the Authority’s long-running interim […]

Seed your head

Some of us prefer to learn by doing. We’re inclined to take a chance and plant a new seed variety, or fool around with computer software for a while before cracking the manual. Others do everything by the book. Still others learn best from a talented teacher, seeking out classes (either formal or informal) to […]

Local veteran talks about Iraq

Waynesville– Front-page stories about returning veterans tend to focus on celebratory welcomes, with little discussion of the hard facts of war. But Haywood County resident Jimmy Massey has a different tale to tell. A Marine Corps recruiter in Sylva for three years before the war, Staff Sgt. Massey also trained new recruits during his lengthy […]

Jitterbug mayonnaise

Suspicion surrounds Tom Robbins. Is he serious, or is he merely having us on? Is he a literary artist, urging the reader into disjointed worlds wherein to ponder elementals, or is he merrily masturbating between the covers and laughing all the way to the bank? Or is it instead all four? And does it even […]

Stringed migration

Despite the watered-down role accorded the harp in European classical music — the stirrings of spring, the tinkle of a waterfall — the instrument has traditionally been treated more akin to the guitar than the cello. That is to say, it’s been a portable pop accouterment used for accompaniment by wandering bards, court jesters, minstrels […]

Buncombe County Commission

If the Asheville City Council’s May 25 decision to “renegotiate or terminate the 1996 Water Agreement” (see “Water Power,” June 2 Xpress) chopped a leg off the Regional Water Authority, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners seems to have applied a tourniquet. But whether that tourniquet is being tightened around the bleeding stump or the […]

Unexpected twists

While Western North Carolina harbors many pockets of great artists, for beauty bare, no region matches the Toe River setting in the northern Black Mountain range. The art bug got a solid grip on the region 75 years ago, with the founding of Penland School of Crafts (see Xpress, March 17, 2004), and the burgeoning […]

Symbionts I have known

Gardening is a community effort. Even the most dedicatedly solitary gardener knows, deep down, that it takes a village to raise a crop. It may not involve other humans, of course, but it is definitely a team sport. I think this really came home to me during my post-chicken period. For several years I kept […]

The way we were, today

Who hasn’t sifted through a collection of old photos, hungry for familiar faces, younger selves or long-dead kin? Memory is uncertain and painted portraits always lie, but a photograph constitutes evidence — legal evidence, in fact, up until the computer age and its easily morphed digital images. “This is how we were,” we tell ourselves. […]

Of life and limb

While not romantically rendered, the figures in Warren Dennis’ paintings are certainly romanticized. Dennis has described his work as a “meditation on the American spirit. “I have seen this spirit in its humor, its complexity, its struggle, and above all, in its unquenchable determination to triumph over adversity,” the Mississippi-based painter noted in the artist […]

The meadow garden

I am a laissez-faire gardener. Decades of experience have taught me that the surest path to successful horticulture is to watch and wait. As they thrive or migrate or languish or die, plants tell me what works and where. And the deeper my understanding of what nature has “in mind” for a given plot, the […]

Rolling the dice

“Electronic systems simply aren’t up to the job of voting. The only thing the computer is good for is as a fancy ballot printer.” — Computer expert Rebecca Mercuri of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government When you cast your ballot on a touch-screen voting machine, can you be confident that your vote has […]

HAVA or HAVA not?

In the wake of the disconcerting 2000 presidential contest in Florida, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002. HAVA is intended “to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the […]

It ain’t peanuts

The 2002 Georgia elections were odd. Last-minute polls showed incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes leading by between nine and 11 points. In the U.S. Senate race, polls showed popular incumbent Max Cleland leading Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss by two to five points. Georgia has a long tradition of electing Democrats to statewide office, so these polls […]

Our secret gardens

Each year, the Garden Conservancy — a national nonprofit that works to preserve America’s gardens — sponsors its Open Days Program. Across the country, rarely seen private gardens open their gates to the public, both to share the beauty of the collections and to increase popular appreciation of gardens as an art form. The program […]


On behalf of our board of directors, welcome to the 2004 Mountain Sports Festival presented by RBC Centura! This year, for the first time, we are partnering with the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department to bring you a festival that’s bigger and better than ever. Check out this official MSF guide and you’ll see that […]