Mr. Trump had just returned from Finland, where he sided against his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions about Russian interference in the 2016 election during a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. “I have [asked] President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia,” Mr. Trump had said on Monday. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

And by that, Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, more than 24 hours later, he meant the exact opposite. “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’” Mr. Trump said. “Sort of a double negative.”

He looked up at the cameras, then back down. “So,” he concluded, “you can put that in. And I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.”


                    – The New York Times, July 17, 2018



Well, it’s now officially the dog days of summer.

If you don’t know where the name for these current days came from, it’s so named because this is the time of year when it’s so hot that even dogs refuse to do anything at all during the day. They just basically sit around and pant and drink from their water bowl all day long – thus the name.

And, as any dog will tell you at this time of year, the heat does take a lot out of you – it makes you dog tired – however, despite that, the world keeps turning, the show must go on and human columns must continue to be written …


One thing the Guilford County Board of Commissioners does routinely at meetings – usually without any discussion at all – is approve the minutes of the board’s previous meetings.

Now, those minutes are long and boring and merely a government-speak version of what was said and what went on, so I didn’t think the commissioners ever really read the minutes before approving them, but apparently at least one – Commissioner Jeff Phillips – does.

Recently, at a commissioners meeting when the board was being asked to approve some minutes, Phillips said he took issue with an item in those minutes.

At a previous meeting, the board had been deciding how taxpayer money was to be spent on a county project, and the minutes from that meeting read: “Commissioner Phillips stated that a recommended model would be helpful to accommodate a decision to ensure the funds are distributed haphazardly.”

Phillips read the passage out loud to county staff and others and he said he was pretty sure he didn’t push for Guilford County to spend money haphazardly.

“I felt like I almost certainly never have, didn’t that day – nor will I ever – recommend a model, on behalf of our citizens, to distribute their funds in a haphazard fashion,” Phillips said.

He suggested the county clerk change the wording to “ensure the funds are not distributed haphazardly.”

He got a laugh for his correction, but then Democratic Commissioner Skip Alston got an even bigger laugh.

Alston told Phillips, “You sound like ‘would’ or ‘wouldn’t’” –referring to President Trump’s flip-flop on Russian hacking, which was all over the news that day.


I just got back from a family vacation to Atlantic Beach and I have to tell you about Exploding Kittens.

Before I went on vacation, I came across videos on the internet of people playing the new card game and they all looked like they were having a blast, so I looked the game up on Amazon because, with my family, we always play the same old games down at the beach.

The game is a little expensive – basically $20 for a pack of cards – but trust me, it’s well worth it. (I got mine on Prime Day for $12.)

Anyway, we love it. I mean love it. Playing is a new family vacation tradition.

After we’d played just three games, my sister ordered the card game so it would be at her house when she got back from vacation, and everyone from my mother to my little niece was highly addicted.

Trust me: Exploding Kittens is the bomb.


Well, MoviePass is dead. Long live MoviePass.

If you’ve been under a rocking chair lately, if you don’t know, it’s all over.

MoviePass is – or I should say was – a service that lets you pay $10 to go see up to 31 movies a month. MoviePass paid theaters directly the full cost of tickets, so, basically, subscribers would pay $10 a month and then go see $50, $100, $200 or $300 worth of movies that month, which MoviePass would pay for.

It sounds on the surface like there’s no way a business model like that could possibly fail, but somehow, amazingly, it did. It’s still not clear what the problem was.

MoviePass stock was at $40 a share a matter of months ago; then it went to $2, and now it’s at about 5 cents a share.

If you go to, the service is still happily announcing its $9.95 plan for people to see “a movie a day,” and the company is still signing up brand new customers because MoviePass needs that money coming in for the same reason Charles Ponzi did.

It’s a funny situation because the company clearly has no money but they have three million subscribers they’re supposed to be buying movies for.

Some people, like myself, even paid for an annual subscription, and MoviePass doesn’t have the money to refund to customers. In my case, there are six remaining months on my subscription.

So they have to pretend like the service is still in existence without actually ever paying for a movie for anyone anymore. And, like I said, they are continuing to take new members (read: suckers).

Now, here’s what they cleverly do …

It used to be that you would go to the theater, then, when you were within 100 yards of that theater, you would open the app and check in to any movie you wanted, and your MoviePass card would magically pay at no cost to you.

Then things began to change.

MoviePass first said you could no longer see movies you’d already seen. (Before that, you could see a movie as many times as you wanted.).

Then they said you can’t see major big-hype movies using the card – like the new Mission Impossible movie.

OK, I was fine with all that, but then MoviePass began classifying just about every movie as a major one.

And now, at times, no movie at any theater is available. Most days, I turn on the app, and only a few movies and a few show times are listed, and it’s always some terrible movie at a terrible time. Like for instance, it might be that, for the Regal Grande on Northline, the only movie I can see is an animated kids movie at 10:40 p.m.

But even if you do want to take your 3-year-old to a 10:40 showing, MoviePass does the most infuriating thing: They sometimes remove the movie from the selection in the time you leave your house to the time you get to the theater.

The movie and show time show up before you leave but as you get close to the theater the option dissolves like a shimmering oasis image seen by lost desert wanderers. I’m starting to believe they are using your GPS data and presenting movie options to people who are staying home and then, as they get close to the theater, MoviePass takes the option away because they’re worried that you are going to actually use the card.

I read online about people who are checking the app and then leaping out of the house and speeding to the theater to buy the ticket before MoviePass takes the option away.

I see a lot of movies each month and I’ve spoken with area theaters about what can be done about the problem since I want to keep seeing movies but my MoviePass doesn’t work anymore.

Unbelievably, the only idea that theater staff has given me so far is for me to start paying for movie tickets again.