Shutdown ignites strong feelings about public lands

op frBy Sarah Kucharski • Columnist

The government shutdown went into effect on the first night I arrived in Yosemite National Park. There was no phone call at midnight, no note on the door in the morning. The birds still chirped, and the redwood trees still perfumed the air. Yet there was a great sense of angst. At the park hotel’s front desk, I was just one of many tourists asking what to do next — do we stay, or do we go? The road to Glacier Point already had been closed, making the day’s planned hikes impossible. The stables were shuttered too, which meant no mule rides. Restaurants and retail operations within the valley would be closing during the next 48 hours. And so we packed our bags, shoved everything back into our rental car, and left.

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This Asheville area green building company co-owned by former Haywood County Environmental Science teacher Rob Moody and organic farmer turned Realtor Jack Bebber has just announced that it has been selected to be a part of a special edition of ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition in New Orleans.

The Plott Hound: Bob Plott writes the definitive book on his family’s famed hunting hounds

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Owners of Plott Hounds will say that the hound is unlike any other.

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Skinny Dip, Carl Hiaasen

This 512-page novel is a fast read that unfolds like a movie, painting a vivid picture of crime and adventure in South Florida. The story itself isn’t deep — Chaz Perrone offs his wife in an effort to cover up his ineptitude, but even at that he is a failure. However, the story’s moral comes from Hiaasen’s description of the desecration of the Everglades and the human nitwits who plunder and pillage the native environment for their own financial and political gain. He does all this using descriptive phrases such as “psychotic gopher,” characters including a hairy goon who steals fentanyl patches from incapacitated nursing home residents, and a hoard of animals from mating alligators to incontinent lap dogs. Hiaasen produces one of the blurbs of praise on the book jacket for Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, which though it is slightly late in the season is next on my reading list.


Feist, The Reminder

Those who have seen one of the latest in the ranks of catchy iPod commercials will recogniz Feist’s big band-meets banjo dance number “1234” seemingly stolen from some trendy, ironic British musical. This album is the breakout solo for the Canadian songstress who also has worked with another of my similarly recommended groups, Kings of Convenience on their 2004 release Riot on an Empty Street. The Reminder is split about half and half with songs as equally catchy as “1234” and sinuously, delicately beautiful ballads. It’s an album that will enjoy placement in your collection as one that oft receives play.


Judd Apatow

As of late, the genius of Judd Apatow has become a verb. When a comedy is falling flat Hollywooders are making the call to “Judd it up.” It’s an effort to capitalize on the brand of dead-pan, awkwardly sarcastic humor that has been found to appeal tremendously to those who have grown tired of the sit-coms, canned laugh tracks and politically correct punch lines designed to appeal to the mass market. Apatow has been the mastermind behind recent greats including “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “The 40-Year Old Virgin,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” and “Juno” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” both now in theaters. You’ll also find his work on television’s long-since cancelled “Freaks and Geeks” and “The Critic.” This year has me looking forward to the release of several upcoming films with Apatow as producer. “Drillbit Taylor” stars Owen Wilson. Seth Rogen, Apatow and Evan Goldberg (also a writer on “Superbad”) jointly wrote “Pineapple Express,” which features Bill Hader and Gary Cole of “Office Space” (Lumbergh) among others. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” brings more Apatow alumni including Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd, while “Step Brothers” partners the producer with writers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. 2009 promises the re-teaming of Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (both from “Superbad) with Jack Black in “Year One.” Ah to be a fly on the wall.

All that Apatow talk naturally brings me here to Created by Will Ferrell, Adam McCay and Christ Henchy this online comedy site is the home of the greatly famed skit “The Landlord.” It’s all homegrown comedy created from the minds of some of Hollywood’s finest and some of the greater world at general’s up and coming current nobodies. Next time you’ve got some time to waste (and a fast Internet connection) go on a video binge. And if you’re one of the 462 million Americans who still hasn’t seen “The Landlord,” make sure to remedy that situation first.

— By Sarah Kucharski

Filling up a room with more than a table

By Sarah Kucharski

Sunlight streams in our house’s south facing windows. The rays bring out the color in the Kiatt wood that makes up the top of the new table sitting in our dining room.

A potter’s calling: For Sarah Rolland, the process is as rewarding as the product

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Sarah Rolland first connected with clay on an emotional level. With lunch plans to meet a friend who was taking a course in Haywood Community College’s craft program, Rolland walked into the school’s pottery studio — her curiosity immediately was piqued.

Nature inspired art

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education specialist Lee Sherrill dips out a cup full of water from a five-gallon bucket and holds it up to the small group of students gathered around. He inserts a straw and captures a drop of water.

Recommended diversions

Traveling Wilburys Re-release

On June 12 the Traveling Wilburys re-released the supergroup’s two albums along with (depending on whether you buy the deluxe or standard edition) bonus DVD content and 40-page collectible book with photos, original liner notes, new liner notes and a uniquely numbered certificate of authenticity. Really, I shouldn’t have to say any more. That alone should make you run right down to your local music store and order it, lest they actually have it in stock — then you’re really in luck. For those sad and lonely few not already acquainted with the Traveling Wilburys this is the perfect chance to get a musical education. Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Rob Orbison and George Harrison teamed up to create the Wilburys as the result of what was originally supposed to be a single B-side track. Upon hearing that track — “Handle Me With Care,” which incidentally is the song I walked down the aisle to — album producers said it had to be more than just a one tune gig. And oh, how lucky we are.


Buying a House

In about a month’s time the husband and I will be moving to a new house. It’s our very first house house, not a townhouse or a condo as we currently own. It’s an all-consuming task for sure. We’ve already spent way too many hours discussing various colors tones — “too cool,” “warm grey,” “reminds me of pea soup” — and have plans out the yin yang for all that we’re going to do — landscape this, rip out that, install a new one of these, refinish those. And I have to say that there’s a great part of me that has seriously enjoyed being a girl in all this. I’ve picked out new dishes — something I failed to do for the wedding — contemplated a few new specialized pots and pans to fill all the cabinet space in what will be my new kitchen, picked out flowers for the garden and bought a new rug for the bedroom (thank you Carpet Barn). All of it is part of making a house our home.

— By Sarah Kucharski

Dance of the people: Women use traditional art form for fun and exercise

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

With vigorous hip pops and shimmies, members of the Sidra bellydancing group are sending small metal coins and beads flying. The costume decor rolls and bounces across the hardwood floor and the dancers smile, knowing that while it will take hours to sew each of the tiny adornments back on, all that shaking makes for a great show.

Recommended diversions

Afternoon Naps with the Windows Open

A recent dental surgery has left me at home the past few days in recovery. And in that amount of time it’s been amazing to see the green appear outside my window.

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