Wow, this year is really speeding by. It’s already getting cold outside. Already. And it was just spring like two days ago. There is clearly no time whatsoever to waste, so let’s get straight to it.…


I was at Atlantic Beach recently, sitting by the pool with my nephew Parker Yost, and I caught a glimpse of his iPhone, which was just in tatters. And I said, “Oh my goodness? How in the world is that iPhone even working – and how did your phone get in that condition??”

He said he had no idea; he said it was just “normal wear and tear.”

I had a bottle of Coke I was holding and I’d forgotten to bring a bottle opener and Parker noticed and said, “Oh, I can get that for you.”

Thinking he must have a bottle opener on his keychain or something, I handed the bottle to him. He took his iPhone and, I’m not making this up, somehow shoved the edge of the phone under the cap, using the phone as a bottle opener, and popped the cap off.

I’m still not quite sure how he did that, but I do think I have a better understanding of how his $800 smartphone got to be in the condition it’s in.


Speaking of phones, I understand that some people like to look at their phones a lot. Look, I get that. In fact, I look at my iPhone 6 a lot, all day long in fact.

But I wholeheartedly do not approve of a new trend that is very disconcerting and impolite: Newscasters buried in their phones while they are on the air doing a report. People. Come on! You are in the middle of a news broadcast to thousands of people. Is that really the best time to check to see who liked your latest Facebook post or to read the latest messages on Instachat?

For goodness’ sake, put your phone down while you are reporting a story on TV! Most of the news spots are only two minutes long – can you really not go without checking your phone? Certainly you can stay off the Twitter or the whatever for two minutes for heaven’s sake.

I first saw this happen on a local newscast a few years ago, and now I even sometimes see national newscasters doing it. It can be some major story on terrorism and they are giving a report about London being on high alert or whatever, and I want to yell at the TV: “If what you are saying is so important, then why do you keep glancing into you phone?”

The really sad thing is that, these days, they don’t even try to hide the fact that they are doing it. Come on, people, excuse me! I hope my trying to stay informed isn’t interfering with your social media life.

The scary thing is that now I see it happen at Board of Commissioner and City Council meetings. More and more I see people come up to the podium to address their elected officials and, while they give their two- or three-minute speech, every five or 10 seconds, they will glance down at their phone. They don’t even do the courtesy of masking the fact that they are looking at the phone.

I guess they figure it’s OK, since they see news reporters doing it all the time.


The latest controversy over Confederate icons and statues has a new causality. ESPN pulled sportscaster Robert Lee from a college football game because his name – close to Robert E. Lee’s – might stir up controversy. That move by network officials does not bode well for ESPN’s up and coming college basketball commentator, Osama Hitler.


A new poll has shown that President Donald Trump is now more popular than Congress. In a related poll, pollsters found that people would rather eat balls of cat hair than handfuls of fire ants.


County attorneys are famous for trying to stay under the radar and out of the woods when it comes to politics and their political affiliations and leanings. In this state, county attorneys are hired and fired by the board of commissioners, which, in the case of Guilford County, is a board with five Republicans and four Democrats.

That, for instance, is why they almost always register to vote as unaffiliated. They also always step aside during any political conversations and they certainly never say anything that reveals how they vote.

I knew all that but I didn’t quite know the extent to that until the other day at a county meeting when Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne showed up and some people complimented his tie, which was a very nice one, he held it out from his chest and said, “And look, it has some red in it and some blue in it.”

You know, because red states are Republican and blue states are Democratic.

So, think about that, when it comes to county attorneys, even their ties are non-partisan. And I’m willing to bet all of Mark Payne’s ties are that way: with red and blue.

There is probably a county attorney store online where every item on sale is red and blue. County attorneys probably always recognize each other in airports or at the park because of their red and blue suitcases and red and blue thermoses, and they probably give each other secret nods of recognition as they pass by.