We’re certainly not nervous. We’ve done this a few times and we prepare a lot.

– Brian Cullinan of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the guy who screwed up the Oscars


SpaceX will fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon in 2018, the company’s founder Elon Musk announced Monday (Feb. 27).




Well, the new TSA guidelines came out this week and it turns out that now, when you are going through the lines at airports, they are going to be patting you down even closer. TSA officials said that, with the more aggressive pat downs, everyone will be patted down by “an officer of the same gender.”

Since these days Facebook currently lists over 50 (and counting!) genders, I guess they are going to have 50 or so TSA agents at every airport security checkpoint – one for every possibility. I’m sure that will not slow down things at all and I feel confident the new system will be completely hassle-free.

And you thought taking off your belt brought things to a crawl.

Anyway, the good thing about being a columnist rather than a TSA agent is that that isn’t my problem. My job is a much simpler one: merely filling newspaper pages with words, so let’s get right to it it …


Don’t let your 9-year-old niece use your Apple Music app on your iPhone for even a few minutes. For the next three weeks, Apple’s recommendation engine will be force-feeding you Disney princess songs.


There’s a new bipartisan bill working its way through the state legislature that would allow the serving of alcohol at public establishments before noon on Sunday. I hope I don’t get anyone in trouble by saying this, but my church has been serving wine on Sunday mornings for as long as I can remember.


So, the good news is that SpaceX is going to start flying people to the moon next year.

That means it’s all all happening: As we learned last month, the flying car will finally be here in July, and, now, it turns out, a private space flight company will be taking us to the moon in 2018. The two seats for the first flight are already sold out but I’m looking into how I can go on the second flight, maybe in 2019. I’ve been very busy filling out my astronaut application form and trying to find out how much the trip will cost me.

SpaceX, if you don’t know, is owned by Elon Musk, the real life Tony Stark. The company has already lined up two paying passengers for the first trip to the moon, but they are keeping hush-hush about who those two people are.

That ship is going to blast off next year on top of 400,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen, fly through space for a few of days, circle the moon, come back and hit Earth’s atmosphere at about 25,000 miles per hour, which will generate temperatures of 3,000 degrees before the return capsule plummets into the ocean for recovery.

I wonder if the passengers will have to sign any liability waivers or other legal forms before they go.

By the way, 2018 seems awfully early to me for private companies to be sending people to the moon – but, if you think about it, it shouldn’t be that difficult to do. I mean, after all, how hard could it be? It’s not rocket sci–

OK, on second thought, maybe I’ll let a few other people go second and third, and I’ll hit the fourth or fifth flight sometime after SpaceX has worked out the kinks.

After I read the news story about the moon flight, I started to recall a few things about them and I thought: Wow, isn’t SpaceX that company that’s been sending up rockets for the last decade and giving us all those YouTube videos that are so fun to watch because the rocket always ends in a spectacular spiraling ball of flames. So before we shout with glee, “Fly me to the moon!” let’s a look at Space X’s track record 

2006: SpaceX’s first launch. The rocket explodes within 40 seconds of takeoff.

2007: They try again. The engine fails and the rocket plummets to earth.

2008: This was a famous one because they took up the cremated remains of Star Trek star James Doohan, who played Scotty. The rocket takes off, goes into a tailspin and plummets into the ocean.

2015: The SpaceX rocket goes boom right after launch.

2016: The rocket explodes before launch this time, while they are filling it up with fuel.

So I would say that they are now absolutely ready to take humans into space.


Speaking of the big upcoming SpaceX trip, news reports just say that two private citizens have signed up and paid for the trip and they don’t say any more than that, but I can tell you – I guarantee you – that those two passengers are a couple who want to go up in that rocket for one reason and one reason only: to have sex in space while orbiting the moon.

I can assure you that those two are friends with a couple that is always casually throwing in at key parties, “Oh, by the way, did we mention that we’re members of the mile-high club.”

“Well, that’s nice,” the new moon flight passengers will say after the trip. “Becky and I are members of the 238,900-mile-high club. I’m sorry, what was that you said again? One mile high? Was that what you said?”


By the way, if you need further evidence that the whole enterprise is a scheme to make money from randy and braggadocious astronauts/passengers, just consider this: Every time you say “SpaceX” to the iPhone in dictation mode, the phone types it out as “space sex.” Nine hundred million iPhones can’t be wrong.


Most tax collectors are mean people with a reputation for being harsh and uncaring, but, in Guilford County – from former Guilford County Tax Directors Jenks Crayton and Francis Kinlaw to current director Ben Chavis – the county has had very nice people collecting taxes.

The current tax collector, Chavis, is an ordained minister who gives a passionate barn-raising prayer before every county commissioners meeting. I spoke to him on the phone this week and I asked him if he was sick because it sounded like he was. He said he was and that it was because he had mowed three lawns on the weekend and that seemed to have done him in.

I hung up, but, later, I started wondering: How many houses does the tax director have?

I sent him an email: “Why did you mow three lawns?”

And he responded, “Mine, church, & widow in my congregation.”

So I was pretty impressed. I say that but right now at this moment he is probably out shutting down and seizing a group home for handicapped orphans because they were three days late with their property taxes.


Say what you will about the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA), but never let it be said that that group can’t take a joke. One of the themes that group pushes like crazy is that Greensboro and High Point are working together now to bring in economic development, but when the Rhino Times recently did a story on a new joint logo they are creating, we ran our own version of a logo that had the two cities portrayed as boxers battling each other. When I got to the next GCEDA meeting the agenda in front of me contained the logo the Rhino Times had created.

That was courtesy of GCEDA President Loren Hill. (Though the logo made it onto the agenda, I highly doubt that they are going to make that the official logo.)


The Polar Plunge is a great event and the Special Olympics is certainly a worthy cause, but it’s just not the same sacrifice when people are jumping into 70-degree water on an 80-degree day – something I do happily from May through September every chance I get.

I know they can’t find a colder month than February to do it and you can’t really move the whole thing up to Canada – but I figure they could at least come up with a new name for it since Polar Plunge is no longer appropriate. I did their work for them and came up with a pretty good new name: the Solar Plunge.


Brian Cullinan of PricewaterhouseCoopers and his female accomplice in the Oscar scandal have been canned as the people who handle the envelopes with the winners. For next year, the Oscars organization has hired Steve Harvey to take over those duties.


If you think that that is all I have to say about that Oscar fiasco – well you are sorely mistaken.

People! Stop announcing the wrong winners! How hard is it to keep track of who is Miss Universe or what picture won Best Picture?? Notice these screw-ups always happen in the worst possible way.   They never mess up announcing who won Miss Congeniality or what picture won for Best Sound Editing of an Animated Iranian Short Film Having to do with Acorns or Cheese – or some category like that no one cares about.

Also, why would you get PriceWaterhouse to do anything of importance? Do you know who they are? They were the longtime auditors of AIG. They were the ones who said in 2008, “Oh, did we say yesterday that AIG’s assets were worth $1.1 trillion. We meant actually to say $1.27.”

Yes, it’s really surprising someone from that firm wasn’t on the ball.