I have this book titled 100 Best Solitaire Games that I’ve been reading.

When you are single like I am, you are always doing things like sadly playing solitaire to kill time while all your married friends are living out their idyllic existences dancing and laughing on the beach together under a moonlit sky.

Anyway, you may not know this, but it turns out that there are lots of different ways to play solitaire. However, growing up I always played it the same way: with the four piles at the top and the seven columns of cards, and you could go through the deck three cards at a time; and, if you could use the top card of the three then you could try to use the next one under it and so on. You could go back through the deck again, three cards at a time, for as long as you could keep going. If you got rid of all your cards, you won, and if you couldn’t then you were a loser.

But one time I was watching someone else play and they went through the cards in their hand one card at a time and they told me you could do it that way but if you did you could only go through the deck once. Anyway, that’s when I knew there were other ways to play but I didn’t know there were 100 other ways to play until I read this book. So I was going through this book wide-eyed, kind of fascinated at all the possibilities.

Toward the end of the book I turned the page and I kind of did a double take when I saw the chapter: “Solitaire for Two Players.”

As you can imagine, I eagerly read how to play that version of solitaire and it turns out that it’s much, much better because you can play with a friend, and it’s much more sociable. And then I realized that you can expand that version and now I often have four, six or even eight friends over at a time to get some really good games of solitaire going …

About three weeks ago, it was a very nice day outside and I started painting the fence in my front yard – something I only do once every few years. After I finished one section, I took the hose and washed off the paintbrushes and called it a day.

The next day, I came out of my house and my front yard was a lake. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it hadn’t rained for days, so it didn’t make any sense why my entire yard should look like the Okefenokee Swamp.

Suddenly, I got this really sick feeling and looked right out into the middle of this scene that was straight out of Waterworld, and there was my hose, still pumping out a strong stream of water as it had been doing all night and day, ever since I’d hosed off my brushes the day before.

Some people might not know this but, when you use a lot of water, you are not only charged more because you used more water – you’re also charged a higher rate after a certain point. The city has a “tiered” water-pricing system, and when you get up high you are paying $3.48 a unit rather than $1.96 a unit.

So I knew my water bill was going to be astronomical compared to what it usually is because I don’t use much water each month and my bill is always the same low price.

I told a few people what had happened and everybody said the same thing. They said something like they knew someone something similar had happened to, and they said, “Just tell the city you had a leak and they’ll reduce the bill.”

And I said, “Oh no, I’m not going to lie about it.”

I’ve never asked for forgiveness from the city for anything and I had a lot of good points to make because it was simply an honest mistake and I’d never made one like that before.

So I waited for my outrageous new water bill to arrive and, when it did, I called the city and I tried to plead my case to the city people, and the woman said I needed to come down to city hall and talk to them, so the next day I did.

(Several weeks ago the Rhino Times wrote that the most complex maze in the world is the Villa Pisani Labyrinth in Stra, Italy. The Rhino Times regrets the error: The world’s greatest maze is the city hall in downtown Greensboro.)

After looking for the right office for about four hours, a nice lady finally told me that I needed to take the elevator down to the bottom floor and tell my story to the cashier. When I got there, the woman told me, oh no, you need to drive down to the police station on South Elm-Eugene Street because that’s where the water people are. So, then, I got in my car and drove there and signed in and waited and, after waiting there a while, finally a lady came out and took me back to her cubical.

I told her my sob story about washing the paintbrushes and leaving the hose on. I showed her the previous bill and the new bill and I told her she could check my old bills and I suggested that, depending on the meter used, the city could verify that most all the water had come out at one time.

She looked on the computer and looked over my permanent record.

“Well, I can certainly tell that something happened,” she said, citing the clearly uncharacteristically high bill.

“Oh, so this was an outside hose?” she said, my story apparently just connecting.

“Yes,” I said.

“If it’s outside, we don’t offer any forgiveness,” she said.

“How come?” I asked.

“If it’s outside, it’s negligence,” she said.

I said, well, how about this: How about if I pay for all the water, but I do so at the normal rate. That way, I said, I’d still be paying for all the water that came out of the hose – I just wouldn’t have to be paying nearly triple for it.

The lady said that, no, in cases of negligence such as mine, there could be no forgiveness whatsoever. She said there were no exceptions. She didn’t add, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” but that was the vibe she was giving me.

Now, at that point, I had already put too much effort into it and I was just, like, whatever, it’s only money, and besides, as you are no doubt painfully aware, you can’t fight city hall.

And now I’m done with this whole chapter of my life but before I close the book on it, I would simply like to offer the City of Greensboro the following suggestion: It’s a lot more negligent to absent-mindedly walk 50 times past a kitchen sink or bathroom shower that’s blasting out water inside the house all night and day than it is to not know a hose is doing so outside.

To me, it’s more negligent if the giant water flow is inside rather than outside. Just sayin’ …


Here’s my pick for Worst Prediction of the Year. While I was waiting in the lobby of the city’s water department, a woman said to me, “I know you.”

And I was like, “I don’t think we’ve met, actually.” And she said, “No, I know you. Wait a minute, you work for the Rhino Times don’t you?”

I said, “Yes, I do.”

And she smiled and said, “Oh you don’t have to worry. You write for the Rhino – they’ll give you what you want.”


A spider has built a big web near my front door and I have let the spider stick around for a while, but it doesn’t look like it catches much, so I look at it and kind of feel sorry for it every time I come in or leave the house. I feel like spiders would do better if they didn’t sit right in the middle of the web the whole time and instead they took a page from the highway patrol and hid in some brush off to the side. I feel like, as it is now, right smack in the middle of the web out in the open, the spiders are just there going, “Look at me! Here I am, bugs! Fly over this way so I can trap you, kill you and eat you!”


You probably know what your name is, but do you know what all six of your names are?

My friend News 2 Weatherman Eric Chilton had a fun post on Facebook recently that I thought you might enjoy. I know most people have already done one or two of their names, but it’s fun to sit down and do them all together.

“Everyone has six names,” he wrote. “Try it.”

These are the ones from Eric …

Your real name: Eric

Your soap opera name (middle name and street you live on): Eric Orchard.

Your Star Trek name (first three letters of your last name, first two of middle, last two of first): Chieres

(By the way, Eric, I think this is actually your Star Wars name not your Star Trek name – it’s two different fictional universes.)

Superhero name (color of your shirt and item to your right): Blue Lamp

Goth name (“Black” and name of one of your pets): Black Arthur

Rapper name (Lil’ + last thing you ate) …

He wrote that his was, “Lil’ Burger. LOLOLOLOL.”

So, anyway, those are Eric’s, and he inspired me to figure out mine.

Real name: Scott

Soap name: Dayvault Cornwallis. (That’ a pretty good soap opera name if you ask me.)

Star Trek name (or is it Star Wars): Yosdatt

Superhero name: Yellow Back-scratcher

Goth name: Black Maggie

And my rap name: Lill’ Organic Chicken with Dijon Sauce.

(And hopefully) this will inspire you to take three minutes and do the same so that you know all of your names.

It hit me after I got done that Eric had forgotten to include your seventh name – your stripper name (first pet’s name plus your favorite food.)

For instance my stripper name is Bambi Merlot.

I’m just kidding, my stripper name is “Sparky Chocolate,” which, come to think of it, isn’t that that far off from Bambi Merlot.

So, what are your names?