Well, it was interesting to see Amazon’s big announcement last week that it has started some sort of “new cutting-edge shopping experience” for customers where you walk in to a physical store, select what you want, take it and walk out of the store without ever going by a cash register or even talking to a store employee. Amazon is billing this as some kind of brand new 21st-century thing, but I’ve been shopping this way my whole life.

And no one has ever called me some sort of futuristic tech pioneer.

So forgive me if I’m not that impressed and if I just don’t get how in the world this is anything new. What’s next Amazon? Some sort of newfangled device called a “match” that lets you start a fire without rubbing two sticks together …

 

Well, the name “Central North Carolina International Airport” – the official name of the Piedmont Triad International Airport for the first 23 days of January – apparently “didn’t take,” as they say. It may be back later but, for now, it’s on hold.

It could be a good thing that they’re holding off because I can tell you that, during the first 23 days of the year, when the airport was called Central North Carolina International, the rest of the world certainly hadn’t caught up: Nothing reflected the new name; all websites still said PTI; no one around here was using the new name and, heck, even the airport was still running “Fly PTI” television commercials after the name changed.

Apparently, Siri didn’t get the memo either. Now, I will be the first to admit that you can’t always judge things by what Siri knows or doesn’t know because, well, let’s be honest: Siri is not exactly the sharpest woman in the shed if you know what I mean.

Still, even she can find most places you ask her to find.

However, I had to go to the airport in January, when it had the new name, and I got out my iPhone and said, “Siri, get directions to Central North Carolina International Airport.”

When I asked her to do that, she took a while and, then, very confused, she responded, “Which Central North Carolina International Airport? Tap the one you want.”

Here are the three Central North Carolina Airports she asked me to choose from…

Ñ Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina.

Ñ The International Civil Rights Center and Museum. (You know, center,” “central” – what’s the difference?)

Ñ North Carolina Central University. (Not technically an airport, but I think they do have some aviation classes.)

In other words, when asked for directions to the airport using the place’s actual name at the time, Siri had absolutely no idea where to take me.

When I then asked her for directions to “Piedmont Triad International Airport,” Siri knew right away what I was talking about. (Interestingly, when I asked directions to “Greensboro Airport” she knew right away as well.)

My point is this: Whatever you think about changing the airport’s name, these days people find airports using their iPhones; and I think we can all agree that Siri is confused enough as it is without throwing new things at her such as brand new names for giant central landmarks.

If every time someone asked directions to our airport, they’re sent to North Carolina Central, they’ll probably end up flying out of RDU since they will already be in that area and will no doubt be running late by the time they realize their mistake.

 

Like you, I had the flu recently and in my case that finally allowed me time to lay on the couch and watch The Fate of the Furious movie. That’s the latest film in The Fast and the Furious series if you didn’t know. I enjoyed the movie a lot but I hate the fact that at neither the start or the end of the movie do they tell you whether it was a true story or not. So they just leave you wondering in that way.

 

Speaking of the flu, this map below shows you which states are having a major flu epidemic right now. Those states are shown in pink.

 

I’ve been writing for the Rhino Times for over 15 years now and, this week, I wrote my favorite line I’ve ever written, but then I removed it from the news story it was in. But it was too fantastic a line not to use somewhere, so I’m including it here in the column this week. It was in the story about how Toyota-Mazda chose Alabama rather than Greensboro for its giant new car plant. In that story, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen was telling an economic development group that the loss “stung” but was he encouraging everyone to stay enthused and continue going after other major projects.

This is what I wrote: “His message to the group was that if you get stung by a bee you need to get right back on that horse and have some hair of the dog that bit you.”

 

I get so worried about porch pirates during the Christmas season that, in November and December, I have everything I order delivered to the highly secure World Headquarters of the Rhino Times at 216 W. Market St. in Greensboro.

I hate porch pirates and I think there should be a law that says you can shoot them on site if you catch them in the act because, you know, if you ordered a new Apple Watch, and you’ve already been waiting four weeks for it, and it finally comes, then it stinks to high heaven to get home and find out some random criminal is enjoying your watch instead.

Anyway, I was talking to Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes the other day and he said that some of the porch pirates they catch are really something with their denials no matter how much evidence the department has. Barnes said his officers caught one man who was on video clear as day.

Barnes and his men were like, “But that’s’ you, there you are, right there in the video, plain as the nose on our faces – and also right there, in the background, that’s your truck!”

But the man just kept saying, “Hey, it wasn’t me.”

I asked Barnes how in the world guys like that tried to explain why, if they weren’t the culprit, there’s a video recording of someone with their exact facial features in their exact clothing, taking someone else’s package and putting it into a truck that looks exactly like the truck they own.

Barnes told me, “They usually say, ‘Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”

 

The News & Record last week had a bunch of front page, above the fold, stories with headlines like, “Protesters bash Duke rate hike.” At the same time, there were also demonstrations all over the state over this. The issue was covered on TV news as well, where everyone was complaining: “Duke shouldn’t raise prices! Duke is evil to try and get more money from us! Don’t let them get away with it!” You name it.

Listen, I don’t like higher prices on things any more than the next guy, but, for goodness’ sake people, if you think Duke’s prices are too high, just send your kids to a different college.

I looked it up and, according to some random website that came up when I Googled it, there are 2,618 colleges in the US. If you think Duke’s prices have gotten too high, don’t send your kids to college there. And calm down. It’s not like Duke has some sort of monopoly on a basic fundamental human need like food or electricity.

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden