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June 17, 2014

This morning at the station the topic of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase which happened 20 years ago today came up in conversation. When I'm putting a newscast together, particularly the Noon show that I've been working on so far here with so many moving parts involved, it can be quite challenging and requires sharp concentration. But on this day I did have a moment or two to chat, and I noted to one of my considerably younger co-workers that I was old enough to remember 6/17/1994 and that, indeed, it was as crazy of a day as they say.

If you can hunt it down, ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary about that day, June 17th, 1994, is worth watching, particularly if you missed out on it as it happened in real time. It's on Netflix and I'm sure ESPN will be reairing it tonight and in the coming days on its various platform of networks.

I'll be heading to Nashville later this week for my sister's wedding on Saturday. I'm thrilled for Mary Beth and I look forward to seeing plenty of friends and family while I'm in town. To my compadres in Music City: hit me up. It's going to be rather catch-as-catch-can, but I'll be around.

It's an interesting thing that Columbus and Nashville have very similar primary area codes: 614 for Columbus and 615 for Nashville. In many ways, the notion of an area code in the cell phone era is rather antiquated, but it's still strong enough of a presence to present a potential problem. When I give out my phone number here, I say the area code with a particular emphasis on the 5. "Area coda six-one-five" with the 5 said at about half-speed and with a distinct voice raise, like someone giving clues on the old $25,000 Pyramid game show.

So far it hasn't been a problem, at least not that I've been aware of, and I don't particularly want to give up my old number to get a 614 line. So, for now, I won't.

In my last column I mentioned Breaking Bad being in the top tier of all-time great television shows, and it did the near unthinkable in living up to the billing in that magnificent final season. It was inspirational, to be sure, and someone with far more patience and time than me put together a well-constructed 2-hour cinematic recap of the main storyline of the show going from the very beginning through the first half of the final season. If you haven't seen Breaking Bad, avoid it -- some of it won't make sense to you and it has spoilers galore. But if you have, in some ways it helps to tie together stories that I had either forgotten about or where the seeds were planted very early on in some brilliantly long-arching storylines.

I also mentioned watching Dexter on Netflix last week, and one thing I was remiss in not writing about last time was how well the show paid homage to movies that clearly were an influence. Some were more subtle than others: American Psycho with the Patrick Bateman reference on the fake DEA listing, Seven with the hacker melting his fingertips to avoid leaving prints, and even Memento with the burning of the Polaroid photo. Again, it's not an all-time great program, and I already know how many people were disappointed with the ending, but it makes for some entertaining viewing in my downtime.

The 2014 World Cup is underway, and so far it has been filled with the excitement and drama that one would expect from such a prestigious tournament. Here in the United States there isn't a widespread obsession with soccer that most of the rest of the world seems to have, but even people with only the most fleeting of interests in the sport get drawn in once every four years. When it's nation vs. nation in something that so many people care about so passionately, even if it's soccer (or football as most of the rest of the world refers to it), it's remarkably compelling.

For example, today Brazil and Mexico played to a 0-0 draw in group play. That might sound boring to you, but I assure you that millions of people watching live from around the world were enthralled. Considering Brazil's rich soccer history and the fact that they are hosting the tournament, along with Mexico's similarly rabid support for it, the stakes weren't at knockout round level intensity, but there was a buzz in that stadium that was palpable.

On tap before I leave for Nashville: four new tires and getting my car registration switched over to Ohio. Setting up a way to mount the front license plate that Ohio unfortunately requires has been a pain, but I ordered a product that should allow me to do it and maintain some style. My 2000 Honda Accord might be 15 years old, and the transmission is not in good condition. It's also starting to show its age in little ways, like the brake light out notification staying on in my console even though there aren't any lights out or the way the radio scanner button pops off if I hit a bump too hard. But it still looks very sharp, and considering how close my commute is to work and the relative low mileage it has, I'm going to stick with it -- at least for now.

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