Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ranting & Raving: O.J. Simpson, Linkin Park, and More

Sometimes I just want to convey my thoughts, and right now is one of those times, so its time for me to do a semi-regular commentary.

Let's start with the sad and unfortunate news of the passing of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.  He hung himself earlier today, on what would have been Chris Cornell's birthday.  I wasn't aware of this until I read it, but Chester and Chris were real good friends, and Bennington had thoughts of suicide previously.  While this hasn't hit me as hard as Cornell's death, its still tragic and needs to serve as a wake up call to everyone who knows someone who is depressed or has suicidal thoughts to check up on them.  I don't know what was going through Mr. Bennington's head since the passing of his friend Chris, but I heard he did leave a wife and six kids behind, and was loved by many more fans.

Linkin Park started to make noise around the time I was graduating high school, and I was reminded today that their song One Step Closer is almost 20 years old.  It's hard to fathom that in a few more years that the music I graduated to will be considered classic rock (it already has been by some).  I enjoyed a lot of Linkin Park's music, but I don't think I ever owned one of their albums.  In the next few days I will probably find a playlist of a lot of their songs on Youtube and check them out again.  I really haven't heard much from them in recent years, but they always seemed like a band that could come out with a hit song at any time.  R.I.P. Chester Bennington.

On any other day, that would probably be the top story nationally, but it will be overshadowed by something else.  In fact I found out about this while waiting for the big story to develop.  The bigger story is of course O.J. Simpson.

On the surface, it really shouldn't be a big deal.  For those unaware, today was the parole hearing for O.J.  If things went well, he would be released from prison.  As it turns out, he was granted parole, but he won't be released until October 1st.  So, in a sense, it doesn't really matter what happens today, but October 1st.  I don't get why it takes 2 and a half months for him to get released, but you can breathe a sigh of relief if you R.S.V.P.'ed to go to the Pumpkin Carving Party at O.J.'s this year.

I'm really not that conflicted on this to be honest.  In years past, I would have said, FRY HIM.... okay, maybe not, but I would have been fine if he was denied parole.  However I have mellowed a bit in recent years.  Here's the thing a lot of people forget, he's not in jail for murder.  So in a sense, I don't get the lynch mob that wants him to serve 33 years for trying to get back his stuff.  Of course there's much more to it than that, but still.  The hearing itself didn't really look good for O.J. to be honest.  He actually in my opinion almost talked himself back in prison, and his attorney didn't really help his cause.  However the guy that he committed these crimes against DID HELP O.J.  He actually testified on behalf of O.J. and made some valid points.  As the victim, he's been a longtime friend of O.J.'s and has forgiven him of the crime.  In addition, he even requested O.J. only serve 1-3 years for the crimes to begin with, and he doesn't really blame O.J. for what went down, but blames the other people with O.J. that night.

What I can't get past in this crime is if we are to believe the victim and O.J., Simpson never used a gun that night.  So why should he be charged for weapons charge?  Well, in some places, since O.J. was the "mastermind" he is essentially liable for all the other people in his party.  I guess that makes sense, but by all accounts, O.J. just wanted his stuff and the other people kind of went rogue and in business for themselves, so he shouldn't be held accountable for them.  The other point is all the other people have been given parole or released already so why is he the only one still in jail?  I guess if he is the ringleader then he should serve longer than the rest, but I still think it was a bit excessive.

Where I do have some trouble with all of this though is for what he isn't serving time for.  Yes, I'm talking about the double homicide.  After it happened and likely many years after I said O.J. didn't do it.  I was a kid, so I had no evidence, but I also couldn't believe a big time sports star and celebrity could do it, and hey, he wasn't convicted.  As the years went by and the more I read and saw, I can't say I 100% agree with it now.  My belief now is that he was involved, but I'm still not sure he actually did the killing.  I can believe he hired someone, or something else may have happened where he knows what happened.  If it came out tomorrow that he admits he did it though, I wouldn't be surprised.

With all that being said, that wasn't the reason he was in jail, so I don't think keeping him there for the murders is justified.  If he did do it, than year it sucks he isn't in jail for life, but its also unfair to pin him in jail to correct a mistake the court system made the first time.

Here's something else I have to think about though as a collector.  Do I want any O.J. memorabilia?  Should I be honoring a man that I think had a hand in a double homicide?  It's a question I often wonder as think of other athletes who I may collect.  I collect a lot of Mizzou athletes, but should I?  Aldon Smith and Sheldon Richardson seem to get in trouble with the law on a consistent basis.  Should I be honoring them by collecting their cards?  I've already purged cards of former Chiefs Running Back Larry Johnson (I groan even as I type his name), and if former Mizzou Running Back Derrick Washington had cards, I wouldn't likely be trying to get my hands on them.  At what point is it okay to collect cards of a person who has done something less than honorable?  Also, would I be collecting because of their criminal fame, or the athletic ability?  Would/Should it even matter?  These are things I have to ponder.

I don't own any O.J. Simpson cards, but I'm not sure if I ever would if I found one at a good price.  I admit I looked on COMC last night just to see what some are going for, but I had no intention to buy one.  However as collector's are we also collecting history?  Sometimes I show my nephews or other people some of my cards, and I tell them stories about those players or something that reminds me of them.  I am preserving the past, wouldn't have a card of Simpson keep that part of history alive?  I mean if you are buying a card second hand from COMC or ebay or a card show, its not like O.J. will be making money on that card.  On the flip side though, if his cards starts selling, wouldn't Topps or Panini want to offer him a contract to sign some cards to release?  Its a vicious circle that I have to decide if I want to be a part of.  In the end, if I end up with one of his cards, I won't be upset, but I'm also not seeking them out either.  It could be a good talking point for future generations.

How soon will O.J. start attending card signing after he's released?  Would you go to any of them?  I mean in his shoes, I would book as many of those as I can, though as a collector, I'm not sure I'd want to attend one.  Also would that look good on the dealer to book O.J. Simpson for a signing?  Again, I can see both sides, but not sure I'd want to be involved.  Though again, he was found not guilty so if he really didn't do it, why should he be punished for it?

So let's switch gears a little bit.  Last week I got an email I was hoping for, it was from Netflix.  It was for a one month free trial, and I took it.  I've been waiting so I could watch the new season of Orange is the New Black.  After I signed up, I binge watched it, and let me say, I'm pretty disappointed.  I'll try not to spoil much, but the time span of the season is three or four days and it involves a prison riot.  Without saying much more, I thought a lot of the season dragged, and instead of 13 episodes, it could have been done in 5.  It's almost like they forgot about some of the characters for 2-3 episodes then remembered to use them again.  Some just disappeared then showed back up, and well, I don't know.  I hope next year is much better.

Since I finished up that show, I am waiting for Ozark to be released with Jason Bateman.  I'm not sure what to expect, but I hope its good.  After that there isn't a whole lot for me to watch but reruns of shows I like such as Burn Notice, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, Leverage, and Limitless.  I added a few others I may check out too and will try to watch as much Crossing Jordan as possible in the next couple weeks as I can.  I got caught up on The Ranch, and while I really liked the first 10 episodes, I feel like they've started to stray from the original idea a bit.  It's still good, but its not must watch anymore.  I will say this though, after trying out Hulu earlier this year, I think it is much better than Netflix, and I could see myself using it a lot more.

Yesterday I was on twitter and I saw Shane McMahon's name trending.  At first I didn't think much of it because it was the day after Smackdown aired, and sometimes WWE stuff trends a while longer.  However, I was curious so I clicked on it.  To my surprise I read he survived a helicopter crash in the Atlantic Ocean.  I didn't appear to be too bad, but it still was really interesting.  I've always liked Shane, and due to his daredevil ring style, many were quick to make jokes about it.  "Of course he survives a plane crash".... "Shane's bumps are starting to get out of hand"...

The truth is, I almost missed out on the entire story for a couple reasons.  First, if I didn't click on it, I wouldn't have heard about it.  There seemed to be no press coverage of it outside of the New York market where it happened.  At first I thought, so what, he survived, no big deal.  But then I thought more and one of the reports made me realize something.  Not only is he the son of WWE owner Vince McMahon, his mom Linda is one of Donald Trump's cabinet members.  I would think it would merit a little more coverage than it got, but oh well.

The other reason I almost missed out was because after the WWE Money In The Bank PPV in June, I've more or less cut off wrestling.  I watched maybe 20 minutes of it since, and check out my favorite wrestling site maybe twice a week, down for maybe 5-10 times a day.  For years I've said I needed a reason to stop watching, and now is the time.  The PPV was the last day I had a free trial to the WWE Network, and combine that with storylines I don't care about, it was the best chance for a clean break.  I'm not saying I'm never watching again, but maybe a few months off is what I need.  When I had the network I only watched the old WCW stuff anyways, so its not like I watched much modern stuff (aside from 205 Live).  Without the Network, I could watch Raw, Smackdown, and ROH, but I just don't feel like it.  Its to a point that my interest in checking out the new Netflix series GLOW is waning each day.  Its on my list, but I just can't get motivated to watch it.

Well, I think I've ranted and raved long enough.  Sorry it was so long, I just wanted to clear my head again.  It felt good, and also makes me excited to write two days in a row.  I've been working on sorting some cards, and have a lot to scan, and even more to post, so hopefully I'll be blogging more soon.  Before I go, one more thing on O.J.  He said when he gets out he could find all kinds of stuff to do, one of which is he could start blogging.  I so want that to happen.  Just think if he wrote about collecting.  That would be awesome, he would kill at it.... um.. wrong choice of words.

Anyways thanks for reading and have a great night.

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