In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit

It’d look a whole lot better with you up in it

– Florida Georgia Line, from the song “Cruise”

 

When President Trump came to my neighborhood for a fundraiser two weeks ago, myself and hundreds of other gawkers and looky-loos were standing around and, before the president’s caravan (15 or so dark black SUV’s with tinted windows) arrived, the cops made an announcement to everyone lining the street.

“Do not jump in front of the president’s vehicles!” he said. “They will not stop for you! They will not stop!”

The cops made that statement over and over again before the president’s caravan blasted down Cleburne.

Mr. President, if you’re reading this, I don’t brake for people in front of me either, but I’m not sure that, when it comes to legal liability, it’s wise to announce that fact publicly beforehand.

Just a little advice that might help you out.

Also, a couple of other things: The speed limit on Cleburne is 35, not 55, and, according to North Carolina law, any window tinting on your vehicle still has to allow for 35 percent visibility, so you might want to get that fixed in case you get pulled.

I just wanted to throw that out there for the president before I started the column this week …

 

I like the News & Record reporters. They are the loyal competition and I always talk to them during the long government meetings where we have to sit together at the same table.

But here’s the thing I don’t get: How come at the start of meetings, when everyone says the Pledge of Allegiance, the N&R reporters always kneel?

What’s up with that?

 

If you haven’t heard, Twitter is expected to double the allowable size of tweets from 140 characters to 280. They began testing the longer tweets out in certain markets last month. That’s great for a lot of people who feel constrained by the character limit, but it also means that an already tight presidential schedule will have to be cut in half.

 

I went to a movie the other day and I didn’t have my Regal Crown Club theater rewards card with me. Those points accumulate every time I buy a ticket and it gives me perks like free concessions and free tickets if I see enough movies and earn enough points. I didn’t have my card with me but I wanted to get my points so, before I bought my ticket, I said, “Can I give you my phone number?”

The teenage guy in the ticket booth asked, “For the Crown Club?”

I had to catch myself to stop from saying, “No, not for that – I just want you to have my number in case you feel like calling sometime.”

I’m glad I didn’t say anything, because, not 30 seconds later, I realized how easy it is to say something dumb like that in the course of interacting with fellow humans.

When I handed my ticket to the usher, he took it and said, “Enjoy the movie!”

“You too!” I responded cheerily.

 

Speaking of embarrassing mistakes, I got a kick out of this. Take a look at this announcement. It’s for an Oktoberfest celebration, but check out the date that they have printed on there: Saturday, September 30.

That same group, I hear, is having a Christmas Eve celebration on New Years Day of 2018 and is throwing a Cinco de Mayo party on April 28 of next year.

(If you don’t understand what’s wrong with this picture, the German word “Oktoberfest” is actually related to our word “October.”)

 

Florida Georgia Line has a new album coming out soon, and I heard that for the first time they have a song that doesn’t involve having sex in a Chevy. (I think the song in question is about having sex in a Ford.) I like all of Florida Georgia Line’s songs so far, but even I am glad to see they’re expanding their horizons and branching out musically by trying something new like this.

 

Speaking of movies, I said in that section above that I “bought” my ticket, but the truth, of course, is that I don’t “buy” tickets anymore because that is so passé. I go to movies for free like all the cool kids.

Yes, it’s true: After an agonizingly long wait, my MoviePass finally arrived. And now I feel bad about giving MoviePass such a hard time in recent weeks because it is, quite simply, the best thing since sliced bread.

Better, in fact.

If you are still one of the sad sacks who is actually paying to go see movies, listen to my advice like you have never listened to any of my advice before: Get a MoviePass.

It really works; it works every time. You pay $10 a month and then see a movie a day to your heart’s content. MoviePasses are like gold if you can get your hands on one.

In addition, even though MoviePass is paying for your movie, every time you get a free movie, the theater’s rewards program piles up more points in your account that you can use for free tickets and free concessions. So now every time I buy a ticket, they go, “Uh, you have enough points for a free ticket, do you want to use that? And I look at them like, “Free movie ticket? I’ve got free movie tickets coming out the wazoo as it is.”

Now, I had an extremely hard time getting my MoviePass card and the wait was very hard on me. And I see online many others who applied – in some cases way before I did – who still haven’t gotten their MoviePasses.

One thing you might try that worked for me is, right after you apply, complain constantly over and over again in your column about not getting the card, and, eventually, they’ll probably single you out and send you one.

Anyway, I love MoviePass but there are a few things you should know …

  • There is no customer support. You can’t get in touch with the company ever, period. They don’t respond to emails or online chat help, nor do they answer the phone. I’ve heard you can’t cancel the card if you want to because you can’t reach anyone at the company. (Why in the world would you want to cancel your MoviePass card? ). As far as I can tell, absolutely the only people the company employs are the ones who print the cards and send them out.
  • Be prepared for waves of guilt. I feel very guilty all the time now. I am getting better about it gradually but usually the whole time I’m watching a movie I feel like they’re going to realize that I got in without paying and throw me out. Every time the usher comes in to check on things, I get that same feeling you did when you were a kid and you had snuck in to the theater by having your friend let you in through the exit door.

I think I’m going to start paying for some movies every now and then just to help with the guilt.

I also feel guilty that I’m taking advantage of the company because I am their worst nightmare. I go see movies all the time, and, every time I do, MoviePass pays the theater the full ticket price. If I go to a movie every other day, that means that, each month, they’re paying the theaters about 15 times what I’m paying them.

  • This too shall pass. MoviePass is going to go belly up soon. The business model is insane and cannot possibly work so don’t be sad when it goes away and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I did some research on the team that started MoviePass. Their previous startup had a business model where they just took large piles of cash and set those piles of money on fire. That was it; that was the entire business, just taking piles of cash and setting them on fire. And no, I don’t know what they were thinking.

  • It will spoil you rotten. Here’s how spoiled I am now. Sometimes I’ll see a movie in the afternoon and then want to see one that night and I get really angry because MoviePass won’t pay for two movies in the same day. I mean, what’s up with that? I get really mad, and I’m like, why can’t I go to a second free movie today? Why do they have this draconian limit of one movie a day? What kind of rip off is this?”
  • There may be hidden terms and conditions I don’t know about. I heard one person talking on a podcast about MoviePass and he said that, at some point while using the service, “They probably get to fill your pants with scorpions.”

And I imagine he’s right. I mean, there must be some kind of catch. After three months of the service, the MoviePass people will probably show up at my door and say, “OK, we’re here to fill your pants with scorpions.”

And I’ll say, “You can’t do that!”

And they’ll hold out the contract and say, “Sir, it’s right here in the terms and conditions you clicked ‘agree’ to. Please don’t try to tell us with a straight face that you clicked on the ‘agree’ button without thoroughly reading the terms and conditions.”

Anyway, so far at least, no one has been by to fill my pants with scorpions, but I’ll let you know if that happens.

 

All right, that’s it for the column this week. There’s a 7:45 showing of Geostorm so I gotta stop writing now …

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden