Well, Christmas is coming fast upon us and the kids are all snug in their beds like a mouse, and I’m sure you are shopping like crazy and running around to malls and stores like a chicken with its head cut off (though, of course, a chicken that could somehow still see to drive and one whose feet could reach the pedals to operate a motor vehicle.)

Anyway, all those technicalities aside, like I said, I know a lot of you are still way behind on your shopping – and you therefore think you don’t have enough time to read the column this week. However, you actually do have time because you don’t have to worry about Christmas shopping because I have a terrific, affordable, last minute gift idea that will be suitable for all your friends and family for Christmas. So sit down, take a breath, and a swig of the eggnog – the adult kind if you catch my drift – and just kick back, relax and read the column.

Because you do have time despite what you think, since my brilliant Christmas idea will cure all your shopping woes in one fell swoop.

In the meantime, let’s get on with the column …


I have an Amazon Echo in my kitchen, which allows me to call out questions mid-air and then hear answers back. And the other day I was trying to plan ahead and I needed to know what day Christmas fell on this year.

I told myself, Scott, you can now use modern technology to find an answer. I called out my question …

Me: Alexa, what day does Christmas fall on this year?

Alexa: Christmas will be on Dec. 25, 2017.

You know, years ago, in the olden days before there were any talking voice assistants or all of this smart technology, in order to answer that question I would have had to look around my house, find a calendar, pull it out, page through it until I got to December, which would have been at the very end – and only then could I have found out that Christmas fell on the 25th of December.

However, now, in 2017, almost magically I can get that answer instantly, just like that. So if you’re wondering what day Christmas falls on this year because you’re trying to make plans – well, look no further: As Alexa has so well pointed out, Christmas Day falls on Dec. 25 this year.


Every day, you wake up and try to do things that will help improve the world and help fix some of its problems; and, most days, you feel like it’s all for naught, as Shakespeare would say.

However, every now and then something will happen and you’ll realize that sometimes your hard work is in fact paying off and you are able to see that maybe you are accomplishing some good in the world after all.

Well, in that regard, I had something of a major personal victory recently in my battle against what is literally one of the world’s biggest corporations. If you don’t know, I’ve been greatly concerned for months about the lack of quality control at Google – exhibited by the fact that, in their latest operating system, Google had a cheeseburger emoji (an icon like the happy face, the frowny face, etc.) with, unbelievably, the cheese on the bottom of the burger. If someone insanely did that in real life, of course, the cheese would drip all over the bottom bun and onto the plate, not to mention all over your hands when you picked the burger up.

Well, ever since that happened, I’ve written about it and I complained again and again and, finally, in the Thursday, Nov. 29 Rhino Times, I put it all together in a particularly scathing article about the absurdity of having the cheese on the bottom – and then, the very next day, Google announced out of the blue that they were fixing the icon in the new Android system software. The cheeseburger emoji would finally have the cheese on the top just as the Good Lord intended.

It just goes to show you what steadfast persistence can accomplish, even when you’re up against a very formidable foe.

So, basically, I am about to finish 2017 with a big smile on my face and I consider it a highly successful year after getting one of the world’s largest companies to back down.

So now, I’m done with this issue entirely, and I promise that you will never, ever, see me write one word about this topic again. Google has fixed the problem (and I assume has sent me an apology in the mail over the mishap), and, as far as I’m concerned, this is a dead item that is completely over and done with and there is no need to ever mention it again.


But before we move off this subject of where the cheese should go on a cheeseburger, and other items concerning cheeseburger emojis, there’s a related matter I need to address. During this debate, in which I researched hamburger emojis extensively, I found something else very disturbing.

Apple, the lettuce goes on top of the burger, not below it, as you have it in your emoji.

Uh, hello, Apple – there is a reason they are called “toppings.”

I hope that, given your nearly trillion-dollar market cap, you can find the resources to address this problem and I hope I don’t have to brow beat you into doing what is right like I had to with Google.


OK, you’ve been very nice and patient, and now it’s time for my terrific gift idea that saves you money and makes everyone happy at the same time. I have to say first that I didn’t come up with this idea myself: The first time I saw it was last year when someone gave this gift to me and I thought, “Well, that’s certainly extremely clever.”

Anyway, here’s what you do. Just have some nice colorful cards printed up that say the following: “Dear ______, for Christmas this year, a gift of $100 has been made to the __________ charity to help those in need this Christmas.”

People love this gift. It’s not crass and commercial like many Christmas gifts. Instead, it’s heartwarming; and you can have a bunch of the cards printed up for next to nothing. You can literally, in one fell swoop, take care of all your friends’ and families’ Christmas gifts for under $10.


So that’s about it for the column this week, but before we go, I’m happy to announce that I have a very big surprise for all of you. It’s something I think you will really like. I definitely do appreciate you being a loyal reader of the Rhino Times, and for Christmas I got a list of every man, woman and child in Guilford County and I’m happy to announce that, as a gift to each of you – I have chosen a charity and given $100 to it in each of your names.   I have done that for every one of you.

That is my Christmas present to you. Merry Christmas!

Please, don’t feel compelled to get me anything in return. For me, it’s enough just to know that the blind homeless orphans will have a much better Christmas this year thanks to all of your $100 donations.