Recommended diversions

Slam Poetry

Poetry need not be lame. Two Tuesdays ago Western Carolina University’s Lectures, Concerts and Exhibitions series and Last Minute Productions brought Saul Williams to the Fine and Performing Arts Center stage for one of the most well student-attended shows I’ve seen held on the WCU campus.

I think they may have hit on something here. Williams has supported Nine Inch Nails, been published in Esquire, and been featured in “Slam,” which won the Sundance Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Camera D’Or. It’s a varied and appropriate set of accolades for this dynamic performer who brings word play and philosophy to his work. And while Williams was the main draw, certain props have to be given to a batch of high school poets who opened the show – in particular Smoky Mountain High School students Edward Madill and Keller Berry, and Asheville High School student Amber Sherer. You owned the stage. We’ll be looking for future works from you.

“Take the Money and Run”

A new expanded cable package has brought my home the joy of late night movies too good for TBS. Three Saturdays ago we stumbled across Woody Allen’s 1969 film “Take the Money and Run,” which of course we are too young to know was Allen’s directorial debut. We were drawn in by the deadpan quirky comedy. Allen never was attractive, but it seems as though he’s always been funny. The movie chronicles the work of lifetime criminal Virgil Starkwell, who’s too inept to fully commit his deeds — a sort of early mockumentary. Absolutely hilarious, at least to those who enjoyed “Best in Show.”

Getting a puppy

Some women get married and want a baby. I got married and wanted a puppy. My husband thought I was absolutely bonkers. We already have three cats. Hence, why we needed a puppy I said — we can raise him to get along with the cats. Though admittedly I never did ask the cats how they felt about that idea ... After putting up with my blind stubbornness and refusal to wait any longer, we finally set out on a warm Saturday three weeks ago “just to go look.” We hit two shelters and two animal rescue adoption days, coming across a litter of small brown pups being fostered by the Jackson County Animal Rescue Foundation. They along with their mother had been surrendered to the animal shelter prior to being taken in by ARF volunteers. We were suckered by a wiggly little guy with a black muzzle and a spot on his tail who after much playing with his brothers and sisters had been reduced to a soft, sleepy little rag doll. And so we took him home with us. He’s young, only three months, but is trying hard to do his best. And we’re trying hard for him – being patient, providing lots of exercise to get those puppy ya-yas out, and giving lots of love and positive reinforcement when he’s a good boy. He’d like to play with the cats, but so far they won’t have anything to do with him other than cast a leering eye from a distance or issue a hiss when he comes bounding in too close and eager. All that bounding is good for me though. Hauling my own rear end around our neighborhood on a daily basis is proving a much needed work out. If your family is considering getting a puppy, please make sure you know what you’re getting into. While baby animals of almost any and all kinds are cute, they grow up and will no less need your love and commitment to have happy lives. I won’t preach a message of coddling and humanizing, but I won’t endorse chaining an animal to a tree and only feeding it when you remember either. If your pet isn’t important to you or you simply can’t take care of it the way it needs, please release it to an adoption agency so that they can find it a more suitable home. And anyone out there thinking about making an animal a part of their family, please make adoption your first choice.

— By Sarah Kucharski

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