The mistletoe is wilted, the cookies are crumbled, and the tinsel is gradually getting ground into the carpet. The big ball has dropped, the eggnog’s all gone (along with, hopefully, the hangovers), and all those noble resolutions you made in the first flush of Jan. 1 are already beginning to look more intimidating than inspiring. In other words, Uncle Reality is back, folks.

But to help allay the culture shock as we wade into 2005, we here at Xpress thought it would be fun (and perhaps even illuminating) to review a few of the previous year’s highlights, lowlifes and medium rarities. Accordingly, we present selected quotes from the 51 issues we produced in 2004. Have at ’em…

“And in as matter-of-fact a way as if she were giving you a recipe for butternut-squash casserole, [local psychic Angela Moore] will tell you that a very large, light-infused spirit is perched just behind your body as you sit in a restaurant at the Asheville Mall.”

“Proof of Afterlife” by Marsha Barber, Jan. 7

“[Taylor & Murphy Construction Co.] has made a big boo-boo by grading in the river-resource yard, and I’m not sure they aren’t also taking down some trees along the river that are part of our park.”

– Asheville Planning and Development Director Scott Shuford on the former Sayles-Biltmore Bleacheries site, quoted in “Calling a Spade a Spade,” Jan. 7

“On Jan. 31, 1933, Asheville became home to what would prove to be one of the largest pro-Hitler organizations in the United States: the Silver Legion of America (or Silver Shirts for short). Their brief and bitter story is an unusual one for Asheville, and their mercurial leader’s news-making career here is all but absent from most local histories.”

“New Age Nazi” by Jon Elliston, Jan. 28

“The cost of housing in Asheville … is an embarrassment for our community.”

– County-City Housing Task Force report, quoted in “The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away,” Jan. 28

“‘Why don’t we just head to a motel and hole up for the weekend?’ I proposed. ‘We could watch football and ply ourselves with whiskey in order to achieve the kind of windblown, ruddy complexion that three days’ exposure to the elements will give you. Nobody will ever know the difference.'”

“Walking Awake” by Brian Sarzynski, Feb. 4

“‘I don’t believe anymore in a straight path,’ the artist proclaims. ‘You know, “This is the road that you’re on, and you take it and you go.” Life is not fun like that. Life is a blast when you let go of all the expectations, let go of all the things that people have told you — or you’ve told yourself — about what life is supposed to be. Let go of all that and it’s amazing what happens, the magic that comes into your life.'”

– Asheville artist Breah Parker, quoted in “The Wisdom of Lorelie,” Feb. 11

“A gal is 90 percent psychological, 10 percent biological. We call her a crock pot: You gotta warm her up.”

– pastoral counselor Howard Andrus, quoted in “Sex and the County,” Feb. 11

“The ACRC has tried to have a dialogue with the different businesses on Lexington, including two open houses this summer. … We also attended meetings of the Lexington Avenue Business Association, but we were disinvited — asked not to come back — by the other businesses and groups.”

– ACRC member Jodi Rhoden, quoted in “ACRC Loses Lease,” Feb. 11

“Despite his modest success, [local filmmaker Rod] Murphy takes pains to separate himself from the film industry. He has no desire to be the cineaste, the auteur, the flighty film-school grad wearing smashing scarves and smoking French cigarettes. To hear Rod tell it, he’s a schmo, a shlump, an impostor and a rootless, bored vagabond who fell ass-backwards into film, and who made an award-winning documentary in spite of himself.”

“Shot in the Dark” by Jay Hardwig, Feb. 18

“I’m optimistic … that the people who are going to get access to [URTV] are not all going to be crazy pornographers bent on misshaping society.”

– Asheville resident Billy Roberts, quoted in “Not in my Living Room,” Feb. 25

“Why should I pay a quarter, say, for my shower, when the Grove Park Inn pays only a dime for someone staying in a $200-a-night room?”

– Water Authority member Brian Peterson, quoted in “The Calm Before the Storm?” March 3

“The queens walk with dignity and confidence, flashing legs and showing cleavage, sporting costumes that run the gamut from the classic to the erotic. Glitter, faux fur, high heels, faultless makeup and bootie-shakin’ are the name of the game here. This may not be the big time, but the audience adores these divas. Everybody knows that once they leave Asheville, it could be a good many miles before they find another drag show.”

“God Will Provide” by Sarah Benoit, March 10

“We have to permit those that we disagree with to have freedom of speech so that we can still have our freedom of speech.”

– J. Wendell Runion, International Baptist Outreach Missions Inc., quoted in “Thou Shalt Watch,” March 17

“Clean air is the No. 1 request from government.”

– Asheville City Council member Jan Davis, quoted in “Threat or Promise?” March 17

“If it wasn’t for the Flynn Home, I wouldn’t be standing here today — I’d be dead.”

– former Flynn Home resident Bobby Miller, quoted in “In Like Flynn,” March 17

“‘When you stifle the process, you make it difficult for people,’ Davis observed. ‘We have an obligation to hear people who take time out of their day to come down here.'”

– Asheville City Council member Jan Davis, quoted in “Crunch Time,” March 24

“While Hinduism is considered by some to be a polytheistic religion, it’s perhaps more accurate to say that the many gods and goddesses embody the various aspects of the Supreme Being. To chant to a deity is to invoke its unique qualities.”

“Who Are These Gods, and Why Am I Singing to Them?” by Alli Marshall, March 24

“When we start criminalizing poverty, we’ve gone too far.”

– Asheville City Council member Terry Bellamy, quoted in “Dam Long,” March 31

“‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,’ the saying goes. But in this case, a more apt formulation might be, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em!'”

“Don’t Yank That Chickweed!” by Corinna Wood, April 7

“This is hard work. And it’s constant work. And it is not automatic that after five years your business is going to be rolling down the road and … you’re going to be able to take a month vacation when you want. I consider that when I’m awake, I’m workin’.”

– Waynesville weaver and potter Liz Spears, quoted in “Turning Craft to Cash,” April 28

“I’m less than thrilled to watch my property taxes spiral upward at an almost exponential rate. I love my neighborhood. I’m close to my place of employment, the school my child attends, and all the amenities of downtown, including those ‘award-winning restaurants,’ boutiques, theaters and music halls. It doesn’t seem fair that only the wealthy should have this kind of access to downtown Asheville.”

– Suzanne Pierberg, Letters, April 28

“For a youngster … it doesn’t take long to get the picture: You do it right or you don’t do it at all. You do it right or you can do it again. I’d rather do it right.”

– Bluegrass bigwig Doyle Lawson, quoted in “Tough Row to Hoe” by Tracy Rose, April 28

“Admittedly, members of the public sometimes sing a repetitious chorus. But isn’t the number of ordinary citizens willing to sit for hours in exchange for the privilege of three minutes at the microphone as significant a gauge of community concern as the specific points each speaker raises? And if citizens are summarily denied a chance to speak, where can they go?”

editorial on the Asheville City Council’s decision to limit public comment during hearings, May 5

“It is unfortunate that in the year in which the hard-working crew of WLOS celebrates its 50th anniversary, we learn that it is not our local station manager [who] has the final say in what we view. Instead, it is Sinclair Chairman David Smith who decides what is broadcast in our community.”

– Greg Arnold, Letters, May 12

“When we place a higher value on 300 parking spaces for freshman campus residents than we do on three football fields’ worth of trees and green space, we have clearly lost our way.”

“UNCA Should Rethink Parking Plans” by Bryan Freeborn, May 12

“At one point in the meeting, Mumpower accused Council member Terry Bellamy of making a ‘racist statement.’ That didn’t sit well with Bellamy, the lone African-American on Council, who noted that it wasn’t the first time Mumpower had leveled the charge. ‘Honey, that’s reality — it’s about telling the truth!’ she proclaimed.”

“It’s War!” by Brian Sarzynski, May 12

“This little girl, 9 years old, shows up on the first page and kept trying to take the book away from me. … I would wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning, and Arty’s voice would be talking to me in my head. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to type as fast as she could talk.”

– author Sheila Kay Adams, quoted in “Guided by Voices,” May 19

“Don’t let the city and county get away with it! … [The Water Agreement is] a horrible thing that needs to be renegotiated or thrown in a ditch.”

– Hazel Fobes, chair of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water and Air, quoted in “A Thirst for Change,” May 26

“Even a leftover trash can in the employee cafeteria, spray-painted with the words ‘UNCLASSIFIED WASTE ONLY,’ hints at the level of secrecy once maintained here.”

“Land of the Sky Spies” by Jon Elliston, June 9

“It’s called ‘drug abuse’ in our neighborhoods and ‘substance abuse’ in your neighborhoods. It’s visible on our street corners, but others can do it in the comfort of their living rooms.”

– Shiloh resident Norma Baines, quoted in “Drugs and Money,” June 16

“But back in my own Dungeons & Dragons days, being a role-playing geek was like having a perpetual bad rash. We were nerds beyond nerds; even the chess players turned up their noses.”

“Heart of Dorkness” by Steve Shanafelt, June 16

“I thought of all the creative, vibrant young people that I know now, and realized that those who die on the battlefield no longer have lives of possibility ahead of them. Instead, their lives, their dreams, their loves, their contributions to our world are all chopped short. Do you remember when you were just 20? Were you through living then?”

– Robin Cape, Letters, June 23

“To solicit crack cocaine to prove there is a drug problem is like smuggling a bomb onto an airplane to prove we need better security at airports.”

– Council member Brownie Newman, quoted in “The Education of Dr. Mumpower,” June 23

“I talked with my commanding officer after the incident. He came up to me and says, ‘Are you OK?’ I said: ‘No, today is not a good day. We killed a bunch of civilians.’ He goes, ‘No, today was a good day.’ And when he said that, I said, ‘Oh, my goodness, what the hell am I into?'”

“An American Abroad: An Interview With Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey” by Paul Rockwell, June 30

“Drugs are a cancer, and the [Safe Neighborhoods Initiative] is watered-down chemotherapy.”

– Asheville Vice Mayor Carl Mumpower, quoted in “Inns and Outs,” June 30

“Apparently, it was made for whatever that target audience is that thinks the ne plus ultra of humor is rampant flatulence.”

– Ken Hanke’s review of the movie White Chicks, June 30

“Then the S&M alarm of Abu Ghraib prison woke us up a little, at least for a while. Abu! America. Say hello to your global shadow.”

– Bill Branyon, Letters, July 7

“Like the diseased sheep herd that brought anthrax to Little House on the Prairie‘s Walnut Grove, ’70s child stars can be an unpredictable lot.”

“Mean Girl Does Good” by Melanie McGee, July 7

“You can go home again. You just can’t stay too long.”

– artist Ron Meisner, quoted in “Wired and Inspired,” July 7

“It is Gen. George S. Mumpower’s ambition to drive drug pushers out of Asheville’s public-housing projects, back across the Rhine, and all the way to Berlin.”

,AeiJohn D. Johnson Jr., Letters, July 14

“If I’ve got my damn .45 under my armpit and everybody knows I’ve got it, do you think I need the police?”

– Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, quoted in “Free Bird,” July 14

“Keep an open mind; be fair; realize that you stand at the intersection of the public and our industry — [and] keep politics as far away from this place as you can.”

– WNC Regional Air Quality Agency board member Nelda Holder, quoted in “Smell? What Smell?” July 21

“Products as diverse as Viagra and chewing gum are sold using images of flower-strewn meadows, breathtaking sunsets or snow-capped mountains. And we’d sure love to live in this world — if only we didn’t have to give up cheap gas, hot fries, triple packaging, super-smooth highways or inexpensive building materials!”

“Portrait of the Environmentalist as a Sentimentalist” by Connie Bostic, July 21

“It’s amazing to me how little I learned about being Southern growing up here in the South.”

“A Tale of Two Y’alls” by Cindy Burda, July 21

“Mere [Klu Klux] Klan membership should not be sufficient to remove a member [from the Sons of Confederate Veterans].”

– Black Mountain lawyer Kirk Lyons, quoted in “Between Heritage and Hate,” Aug. 18

“What’s the worst thing you can do with a guitar? In Sonic Youth’s case, you can play it.”

“Retro Grading” by Frank Rabey, Aug. 18

“Whether you can name it or not, you know that it’s affecting you.”

– Asheville feng shui consultant Jaan Ferree, quoted in “Going With the Flow,” Aug. 18

“Some of the worst paintings of the last three decades are those purported to represent the ‘sacred feminine.'”

“Avoiding the Goddess” by Connie Bostic, Aug. 18

“We honestly don’t think we will be able to eradicate panhandling downtown.”

– Downtown Social Issues Task Force member Dwight Butner, quoted in “Crossing the Line,” Aug. 25

“To see yourself drunk on TV is a humbling situation.”

– Singer Malcolm Holcombe, quoted in “Like a Virgin,” Aug. 25

“Whoever came up with the phrase ‘as easy as pie’ obviously never tried to make one.”

“Easy as (Apple) Pie” by Lisa Watters, Sept. 8

“Somebody call the cops, I think the loner with the camera and the notepad might be after the girls in the band.”

“Junk Journal” by Stuart Gaines, Sept. 8

“That seems like a very unusual mistake for a banker to make.”

– Tom Coulson of Common Cause on U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor’s tax problems, quoted in “A Man of the House,” Sept. 15

“There’s a particularly disturbing rectal-thermometer scene, not to mention sequins fashioned from bone splinters. All in a day’s work for a demonic tailor, really.”

“Tales from the Cryptic” by Alli Marshall, Sept. 15

“Paris, I hear tell, hopes to become the Asheville of Europe. Bonne chance!”

“The Patient French Broad” by Cecil Bothwell, Sept. 15

“Apathy? That’s so Sept. 10.”

“Grassroots Voter Registration Takes Off” by Steve Rasmussen, Sept. 29

“The old recordings are an audio snapshot of a moment in time. Nothing in this country has been the same since.”

– Blue Rags drummer Mike Rhodes, quoted in “Kind of Blue,” Sept. 29

“Legend has it that the fair maiden Canola had a spat with her man and decided to walk it off. On a lonely beach she fell asleep, lulled by mysterious music. When she woke, she found the celestial sound came from the wind whistling through a whale skeleton. Despite its somewhat icky beginnings, the harp was later adopted as Ireland’s national symbol.”

“Betwixt and Betweed” by Alli Marshall, Oct. 13

“I am also amazed at how the Christian viewers [of the televised presidential debates] still ignorantly support Bush. They are saying he has “morals.” I don’t think that bombing an innocent nation is “having morals.” The Almighty Father says that Thou shall not kill. I ask these supporters of Bush, what would Jah do?

– Aaron Thomas, Letters, Oct. 13

“On behalf of the Christians in this community, it is clear that George W. Bush is the only option for president. He is moral and stands behind the Christian beliefs that our Lord put in place in the beginning.”

– Wendy Potter, Letters, Oct. 20

“Experience. I’m the oldest rat in the barn. I’m coming up on 16 years on the board.”

– Buncombe County Commissioner Bill Stanley on why he should be re-elected, quoted in “Up Close and Personal,” Oct. 20

“I’m very lucky to have the supporters that I have, ‘cuz I’m not that good lookin’, but I’m very proud of the job we’ve done here.”

– Buncombe County Register of Deeds Otto DeBruhl, quoted in “An Important Job In-Deed,” Oct. 27

Mountain Xpress: What is the one endorsement you have received that you are most proud of?

Charles Taylor: “I would say being voted Best Local Villain by your readers is a pretty good endorsement.”

– U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor, quoted in “Face to Face (Well, Sort Of),” Nov. 3

“The irony here is that the continuing influx of nature-seeking retirees attracted by our “uncrowded quality of life” (as one home-sales pitch on the Web puts it) is helping fuel the very real-estate boom that both capitalizes on and consumes the region’s natural beauty.”

“Paying to Play” by Steve Rasmussen, Nov. 3

“It’s more about the future than it is just about sucking every cent out of the land today. That’s a selfish and unreasonable point of view — to think that, just because you have property rights to do it, that you ought to strip it void of any value and take it all today right now.”

– Buncombe County Commissioner David Gantt, quoted in “New Woodfin Water Board Obtains Conservation Easement,” Nov. 3

“The sign companies have won. This is where their lobbying has paid off for the industry — they do it hard and they do it often.”

– Asheville City Council member Terry Bellamy, quoted in “Bellamy and the Billboard Magnate,” Nov. 3

“We don’t know how many voted before the problem was reported. The precinct workers weren’t setting the machines right. That’s all we can figure.”

– Assistant Director of Elections Marvin Hollifield, quoted in “Buncombe Machines Disenfranchise Voters,” Nov. 10

“We need to take Asheville back from the Demo-queers. Bush is a strong leader, and we’re involved in a holy war — we need to do this for our children.”

– Asheville resident Barry Davis, quoted in “Lots of Voices, Little Change,” Nov. 10

“I think I had an hour or two before the limousine showed up in the front yard and took me to the airport. From there on, things in my life just started speeding up.”

– Asheville activist Clare Hanrahan, quoted in “Message in a Bottle,” Nov. 10

“There’s nothing [Willie Nelson’s] ever done that the American public hasn’t forgiven in its most recent leaders, including ‘not inhaling’ and suspect grammar skills, respectively.”

“Junk Journal” by Stuart Gaines, Nov. 17


“‘The Beaujolais Nouveau will be elegant, silky, full and fresh, with a tenderness and marvelous delicateness of a truly pleasurable wine. A wine full of charm and character.’

“Just keep that in mind while guzzling with abandon.”

“As Close as You Can Get to White Wine” by Alli Marshall, Nov. 17

“There’s a story making the rounds in Asheville: Sure, they look scruffy; sure, they’ve got totally matted dreads; sure; they’ve given up on straight society, capitalism, acquisitiveness, propriety and even bathing. But a lot of them actually have platinum-plus cards tucked in their backpacks. In other words, these faux freaks are really ‘trustafarians.'”

“Daddy’s Money” by Cecil Bothwell, Nov. 24

“When we found this place, the street was a little scary. It was piled high with junk. Bums had gotten in here; there were rats and cobwebs. One piece of the wall came off, and behind it were thousands of dead cockroaches. In fact, this building was so scary that when the landlord showed it to us, she just handed us a flashlight because she wouldn’t go inside.”

– Vincent’s Ear co-founder Rick Morris, quoted in “Up in Smoke,” Dec. 8


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