Down in the dumps

Maybe that old couch has outlived its springiness, or else it’s just plain ugly — but tossing it down the nearest ravine could get the law after you. On a warm February day, Environmental Control Officer Jane Cole stands at the curve in the road that winds up and over Hookers Gap, in west Buncombe […]

Letters to the editor

Break the (e-mail) chain If you have an e-mail account, you probably receive silly forwarded chain-letter e-mails. I’m so sick of chain e-mails. Some are merely annoying — like the “Good Luck Teddy Bear.” Others are vaguely interesting, but replace actual conversation — like the form letter asking mildly nosy questions like, “Describe your first […]

Blues in the light

The year is 1938, the place is a Chicago residence hotel — and the music’s a-howl on the twilight breeze. And that’s just a milli-splinter of the picture. UNCA’s Black History Month celebration has already brought us poetry readings, films, discussions, dances, storytelling, music and drum circles — but there’s even more to come. The […]

Letters to the editor

Mistreatment of blacks continues, Mr. Green I want to first congratulate Peter Loewer for the sensible words about Cuba [Commentary, “Yanqui, si! Cuba, no!” Feb. 9]. Peter, please give us more columns like this, and less complaining about things like theaters and airplanes. But what I really want to comment on is the letter from […]

Into the night

People entering the basement of the Buncombe County Courthouse this Monday afternoon are struggling to get their bearings. They are greeted by the sight — and sound — of hundreds of people already waiting in the lobby for their turn to appear in night court. Night court serves as an entry point for most people […]


Fertilizer for the soul When the heartwarming Chicken Soup for the Soul became a bestseller in 1994, creators Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen began casting about for other demographics to explore. Now, 24 titles later (including Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul and Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul), the indefatigable duo is launching […]

Letters to the editor

Weary of weather forecasters I am weary of the cocky, over-confident, pontifical, unprofessional weather announcers who lack the humility or courage — or perhaps the knowledge — to cite their mistakes and to explain what happened to change the normally expectable. The shame is not in making a mistake in predicting irregular natural events, but […]

Sisters doing it for themselves

The best things in our increasingly mass-produced lives are still grown regionally. The simple things, the uncorrupted things — the things that gild our days and seasons — grow in highly specific soils and climates. New England is particularly known as a fertile breeding ground for folk music — and a crucial slice of a […]

Letters to the editor

Support low-power FM radio I am a supporter of creation of a Low Power FM (LPFM) radio service, as outlined in the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in docket MM 99-25, which called for creation of 1,000-watt and 100-watt commercial and noncommercial LPFM stations nationwide. It has come to my attention that the FCC intends […]


Smart growth and human health Designed for community leaders and activists alike, Western North Carolina Tomorrow is sponsoring an emerging-issues symposium, to be held at the Grove Park Inn, on human health and the environment in the 21st century. Keynote speakers, including Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and a bevy of acknowledged academic experts, will […]

Letters to the editor

Thanks for the open forum I want to compliment you on your editorial courage in publishing the letter from Ginny Godfrey [Dec. 15] strongly expressing disappointment regarding her unfortunate experience with the Catholic Church. While you may be criticized instinctively, as a matter of reflex, by some offended Catholics, you deserve the plaudits of those […]

Good to know

If our world is still intact by the time this article appears, Y2K-philes who expected the worst may be left with black holes of gloom in their once-eagerly-racing hearts. No matter: Kent Davis Moberg, a WNC author now on tour to support his nationally distributed book, The Magic of Our Universe: Beyond the Facts (Camelot […]

Organic engineerin­g

On a cool December day at the Beaver Lake Sanctuary, you can hear sparrows skittering amongst the leaves in the thickets. You’ll spy them, too, hopping amongst the still-green leaves of swamp marigold in the mud flats. A bright red cardinal chirps and hops across the boardwalk. A chipmunk tries to slink away, unnoticed, when […]

All Over The Guy


This is an agreeable little film that is almost certain to disappear without a trace theatrically before finding a home as a perennial on the Sundance or Independent Film Channel. And that’s something of a pity because, yes, it’s a small film and the only names you’re apt to recognize in the credits are supporting […]

Along Came A Spider


A superior suspense flick that showcases a great Morgan Freeman performance, a nicely twisty-curvy plot that never loses its way no matter how circuitous, Along Came a Spider is something rare these days: a movie that tries to be nothing more than a solidly entertaining genre effort and yet doesn’t skimp on the intelligence and […]



Tony Goldwyn as Jesus? Giancarlo Giannini as the Pope? What’s going on here? What’s going on is, of course, another “faith-based” drama of the sort that gets booked directly into theaters without benefit of a traditional releasing company (though Paramount is somehow involved with this one). These films usually aren’t very good, and tend to […]


Philip Kaufman is a filmmaker whose intentions almost always seem greater than his abilities (The Right Stuff, Henry and June, The Unbearable Lightness of Being), so it’s a pleasure to report that intentions and ability have found even footing in Quills — one of the most fascinating and literate films to come along in some […]

Race To Space


A Sean McNamara film? Yes, that’s what it says on the posters and on the film itself. And who, pray, is Sean McNamara? Well, according to the Internet Movie Data Base, he’s a filmmaker who has been making movies in a similar key to this one for some considerable time. It’s just that previously, none […]

American Pie 2


When you’ve built a surprise summer hit out of the precarious premise of one’s “first-time,” an impossible question looms: What can you possibly do for a follow up? The makers of American Pie 2 don’t waste their time trying to answer that question. Unlike its predecessor, the second helping of American Pie doesn’t include plot […]

Just Married


Oh, dear, it’s the film industry’s annual January White Sale — the cinematic equivalent of the bargain table of remaindered books at Barnes and Noble. The only difference is that the movies being hastily dumped into theaters are rarely a bargain. Just Married is certainly no exception, and it’s only distinction lies in the fact […]

Two Can Play That Game


In a summer that’s seen too many limpid romantic heroes, Two Can Play That Game, with its long line-up of lusty lovers, is refreshing proof that sex is still a passionate pursuit for most players. It’s also a feminist nightmare: All these confident, high-struttin’, top-rung grabbin’ women, with everything going in life for them, still […]