Recommended diversions

“No Country For Old Men”

There’s a whole list of movies (films?) I’ve seen that I respected, on many levels enjoyed, and don’t have an overwhelming urge to see again. This isn’t a comment on the quality of the films, but maybe a statement of just how brutally honest they were, how ugly a portrait of ourselves and our little world they painted and convinced us to stare at for, say, about two hours.

So far, this really isn’t sounding like a “recommendation,” so let me clarify — “No Country For Old Men” is an astounding experience that’s chock full of “Coen-isms;” moments that manage to pull a guilt riddled chuckle out of you despite the horror you’re witnessing onscreen. This time, however, there’s not much more levity than those few scenes. There’s barely even a soundtrack. Simply shot, simply told — this is simplicity in an almost brutal sense. Things sometimes just don’t work out. People get into situations, can’t extricate themselves from them, and the worst happens. Wound tight from the first scene, “No Country For Old Men” doesn’t let up much over its two-hour course. This sense of dark, inevitable momentum leaves your nerves frayed afterward, and I’m certain this movie will be on my mind for weeks to come.

Snow? Nawww...

I’ve lived here in the mountains for over four years now, and have come to grips with a certain misconception of what constitutes “winter” in these parts: I figured it snowed quite heavily every year and turned the whole area into a veritable living postcard of winter goodness. Nope. We had heavier snow in Charlotte every year — Charlotte for Pete’s sake. The kind of city immobilizing, watch the weather channel in awe, hike up to the grocery store with the dog to get some soup kind of snow that I’d love to see here. Without the week and a half long power outages, of course.

Homemade anything

Yes, everything’s better made from scratch. Muffins, pies, cakes, heck — even pimento cheese, which I had heretofore patently expressed infinite disdain for, in the right hands (and with the right ingredients) trumps store bought instant gratification any day. Yes, this is an obvious, err... observation, if you will. But one can easily loose track of the difference after getting used to those oversized sugarbomb calorie explosions they pass off as “muffins” at the gas station, or a steady diet of prefab mush from Taco Bell. Not only does some of the greatest guacamole call little old Sylva home, it’s now sharing a postal code with taste bud pummeling carrot cake and pecan pie recipes as well.

— By Chris Cooper

The Naturalist's Corner

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