Sunday, July 03, 2011

3 JUL 11: Mac and D's

As I drove to this weekend's worship service, something was missing. It wasn't because I left something at home. I carried a "Good Book," a notebook and a hymn book - while the more technologically advanced people in my congregation carried fancy things like cell phones.

A small white garage was no longer along Warm Springs Road, near Jordan High School. Emilio's Auto Repair was bulldozed this past week. I knew it was coming, because a large letter D was sprayed on the building several months ago. In city government language, that means destroy - not a place selling diesel.

I made sure to take pictures of Emilio's Auto Repair during the spring, before the wrecking crew arrived. After all, a bit of Columbus business history was about to come down. And Synovus already has offices down the street, in a building which looks like a converted school - as if Synovus can afford to expand to other historic buildings anymore.

So what's the big deal about Emilio's Auto Repair? A sign above the door told you. It was once the home shop of Emilio Masciovecchio - better known as "Mac the Mechanic." He was a Columbus man who gained national fame for a while. And he didn't have to work full-time at The Weather Channel or ESPN to do it.

Newcomers to Columbus might remember that TV and radio name. Mac the Mechanic had a weekend talk show in Atlanta, which I think was on the air before "Car Talk" became a mainstay of public radio. I don't know if he was ever on the radio in Columbus. Did "Talkline" ever talk about anything other than politics and crime?

Mac the Mechanic used his Atlanta radio reputation to become an occasional guest on CNN. And he often had the ear of Dick McMichael, lobbying to appear on WTVM's noon news. Masciovecchio certainly understood that line about the squeaky wheel getting the grease....

Emilio Masciovecchio certainly seemed knowledgeable about cars. He'd bring parts to the TV studio for props which I didn't recognize. But then, I'm the kind of guy who waits until a long road trip to double-check that I really had my oil changed weeks ago.

Mac the Mechanic died more than five years ago [22 Dec 05] -- yet I fear he's become a lost name in local history. Hopefully one of his classic red work shirts is in the Columbus Museum collection. And hopefully it's not close enough to be marked by Doug Wallace's chalk.

The legacy of Mac the Mechanic hasn't disappeared completely. Masciovecchio's Car Care Center is in business on Buena Vista Road, with a much larger work space than Warm Springs Road offered. But his family never seems to make TV appearances. The Tires First guys rolled right into Mac's familiar spot.

Meanwhile, the only things left in Mac the Mechanic's old spot on Warm Springs Road are three gas pumps. One look at diesel fuel selling for $1.34 per gallon should tell you why some people are nostalgic for the 1990s.

-> There was an inspiring moment the other day at poker's biggest event. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: People are talking about the Columbus Civic Center audit - and some people think the talk is going too far....

The news media is boxing the ears of Dale Hester and it is so wrong..Mr Hester is a good honorable man who has been treated unjustly. Why not look into the background of the person who might be stirring this cauldron..Turn about is fair play!!

Hmmmm -- who's responsible for auditing the city auditor, anyway?

If you believe city officials, more than one spoon may be stirring Dale Hester's proverbial cauldron. Several "whistleblowers" reportedly came forward after Hester retired from the Civic Center Director's job in January. And it doesn't sound like any of them are hockey referees.

It apparently will be up to Columbus Police to decide exactly how honorable Dale Hester has been. It's doing a follow-up investigation of the Civic Center audit -- and it's noteworthy to me that defense attorney Stacey Jackson hasn't raised any objections yet.

In a related note, the Albany Panthers won the Southern Indoor Football League title Saturday night. The announced attendance at the Albany Civic Center was 7,453. That's 371 percent larger than the crowd which watched the Columbus Lions win the championship at home last July. I'm not sure the Jehovah's Witnesses even could top that, if they combined their convention into one weekend.

SCHEDULED MONDAY: Is everything good about America disappearing? We're checking into that....

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