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A light look back and forward

Posted: December 27, 2013 10:41 a.m.
Updated: December 30, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Isn’t that a great cartoon by Ariail up there? I love how Baby New Year’s coming in on a drone, taking a selfie as Old Man 2013 looks on incredulously. It’s inspiring, even ... at least to someone who needs to write an end-of-the-year column.

2013 has been, to say the least, an interesting year locally, nationally and globally. I’ve already talked about things on the local level -- from those we’ve lost to the biggest story of the year. As we finish off the year, I’m going a bit more light-hearted with a look back -- and ahead -- at some highlights from the past, and, perhaps, some to come.

I’ll start with my most recent personal news. Some of you may remember a column or two and a series of blog posts from a few years back when I purchased my iPhone, the iPhone 4, as a Verizon customer.

Well, you’re looking (figuratively, of course) at the proud owner of a new iPhone 5s from Sprint. Why the change? Well, one reason is that my 4 was starting to show its age, with wear and tear from various drops and plops, including sometimes non-existent external sound and a few other glitches.

The other reason has to do with long-term savings. For those of you who follow such things, you may remember that Verizon used to offer unlimited data plans. No more. The only way I could have stayed “grandfathered” in -- and there was no guarantee that would last forever -- was to never upgrade my phone ... or pay through the nose for my data usage. The 5s is a far superior phone, in my opinion, than the basic 4 I had, but I’m such a data hog that I really needed an unlimited plan. Therefore, a trip to the nearest Sprint store -- carrying a wonderful deal from my credit union to boot -- and, voilà, a new, better phone with a (supposedly) lifetime unlimited data plan. Very nice.

The other nice thing is that I qualified for Sprint’s One Up program, that allows me to pay for the phone on a monthly installment plan and upgrade on an annual basis rather than at the end of the two-year contract. That’s where looking ahead to 2014 comes in. Rumors have it the iPhone 6 could be a radically different phone. One rumor is that it will use a curved or even flexible display. It’ll be nice to upgrade when it comes out -- if I want to -- rather than waiting an additional year or more.

Now, all I need is one of those FM transmitter doo-hickies to play my Spotify playlists from the iPhone to my car stereo.

Throughout 2013, my sons and I have enjoyed sharing certain entertainment highlights. From the world of TV, we’ve enjoyed animated fare such as Marvel’s various series and DC’s direct to video movies. At the movies, we thrilled to new installments of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor; the new Superman, Henry Cavill, in Man of Steel; and -- just the other day while my father was in town -- the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy (if you haven’t seen it, go for Smaug, the dragon -- fantastic!). Coming up in 2014 are the next Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier; The LEGO Movie (for a great laugh, check out the trailer); The Amazing Spider-Man 2; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Transformers 4: Age of Extinction; Guardians of the Galaxy and, of course, The Hobbit’s finale a year from now.

Oh, back to TV. We just watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, featuring the last turn from Matt Smith as The Doctor and Peter Capaldi’s entrance. It was lots of fun (although the 50th anniversary show was better) and we can barely wait until next August for the next 13 episodes.

For us older folks, I’ve been really impressed with two FOX TV shows, Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow. My favorite episode of any series, however, had to be “Ho’onani Makuakane” (Honor Thy Father) from Hawaii Five-O a few weeks ago. This powerful episode had McGarrett and co. dealing with a cold case from the days after Pearl Harbor where a Japanese American at an internment camp was murdered for his katana. The episode is still available on the show’s Web page over at CBS.com. Please watch it. Very, very powerful.

With the exceptions of the return of Jack Bauer in a 12-episode “24” run, Game of Thrones and Sherlock, most of what I’m looking forward to entertainment wise in 2014 is at the movies. I’m especially interested in seeing how Chris Pine does as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in Shadow Recruit; Johnny Depp in Transcendence; perhaps Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow; and Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and more in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

It’s been an interesting year here at the C-I. We’ve seen a couple of people come and go. Today, we welcome new staff reporter Gary Phillips, a journalism veteran most recently from Pageland (we’ll introduce you to him more thoroughly on Wednesday). I know that we’ll continue our nearly 125-year tradition of bringing you the news of Kershaw County and all of its communities in the way only we can. My hope is that we’ll have more good news than bad news to report. Either way, you can count on us to do so as we always have: with integrity and with a commitment to local journalism that has garnered us not only awards, but respect both locally and around the state.

My hope for you is that you had a very good 2013 and that you have an even better 2014. Kershaw County is a great place to live. I feel privileged not just to live here, but to help lead a team of excellent journalists in telling the stories of Kershaw County -- your stories.

Happy New Year!

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