CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Popourri, Miscellany & Pastiche

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By W.T. Wimpy Hiroto

(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on September 1, 2010.)

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Let’s try a different approach this week. Trepidation is the byword when attempting something new at this stage in life but where’s the excitement if you don’t break the mold every now and again? Who says you have to eat corn flakes in the morning? Say your prayers at night? Lunch at noon?
Since the existence of CR2S has been somewhat in upheaval of late, I find myself treading in calm water wondering whether to dog paddle to near shore or strike out into the unknown beyond the waves.  What the hey. Who cares?  Last one in is a Jappo who looks like Richard Chamberlain.

Sounds that no one hears: A big shot. The bark of trees. A ring around the collar. The crack of dawn. Eyes popping. Money talking. All of which is a lead-in to promote the use of hearing aids. CR2S is going to “look into” the matter. Which means “I don’t know when” but “sooner than later.” There is strong evidence that treatment of hearing loss improves quality of life. What? Yeah, a study found adults who correct a hearing loss are more likely to participate in social activities and less likely to report sadness and depression. On the other hand a Swedish study found women who had more depressive symptoms ate more chocolate than less depressed women. Many indulge no matter its sugar or fat content and is the top food craved by women. So I have a question: Why do more men need a hearing aid than women and why aren’t there more he-men like me who are chocoholics?

How many of you have ever met a billionaire? Someone high among the Fortune elite? When Kenji Ishizaki was in negotiations to open a Yamato  Restaurant at elegant Fashion Island in Newport Beach, I tagged along. Those were the days you didn’t have to have a lawyer in order to breath. Donald Bren was in charge of development back then, not yet chairman of Irvine Co. I remember he took us through such minutiae as size of signage and operating hours. Last week a jury determined he doesn’t owe two adult offspring any more child support. (They were seeking $400,000 a month retroactive.) Putting aside his estimated net worth of $12 billion and 16th rank  in Forbes magazine’s top 400 Americans, etched in my mind is how swank the man’s office was at the time.

Talking about finances, the Republican gubernatorial candidate is Meg Whitman. Am I the only sideline observer who wonders if that is her given name? I’m sure it’s not Megumi.
Far from being obsessed by the all mighty dollar, I was nonetheless flabbergasted, if not shocked, by the announcement that the average combined debt for U.S. bank-issued credit cards was a whopping $4,951 per! Which in June fell to the lowest level in eight years.

I find it interesting my rehabilitation schedule is almost identical to that of Lindsay Lohan. She at UCLA’s rehab center. Mine at USC’s medical center. Of course circumstances are somewhat different. She’s in lock-down and I’m in physical therapy. And I can have beer or booze to my heart’s delight. But, strangely enough, no such urge. At the conclusion of my 10 weeks of PT I don’t imagine I’ll have to fight off the paparazzi.

Harvard University has revoked a degree in public administration it gave to Donald Heathfield. It turned out Heathfield was really Andrey Bezrukov, one of the 10 Russian agents deported as part of the spy swap with Moscow. I wonder where he is now?

One in 7 new U.S. marriages in 2008 were interracial or interethnic, an all-time high.

Since this is the Rafu and not Sports Illustrated, mention of Hiroki Kuroda’s near-miss no-hit no-run effort should not be considered a case of xenophobia.

Been a long time since a Dodger game was so intense and exciting. Too bad Kuroda doesn’t have the charisma that Saito-san (now of the Braves) has. At least he’s a (slight) improvement over Hideo Nomo. And no matter the standings and wild card status, I worry about the longevity of Hong Chih Kuo’s left arm. And the “poor” guy doesn’t even make a million a year!

Was in the throes of self-pity recently only to be reminded of the flooding of Pakistan and the plight of Chilean miners. Add the past tragedies of Katrina and Haiti and life’s speed bumps don’t seem so onerous. A total awakening occurred when the latest collection of Medicare “This is Not a Bill” arrived in the mail. Fellow seniors are familiar with the medical billing cost review of your latest doctor’s visit. Or (unfortunate) sojourn for a hospital stay. I mean to tell you, folks, they can talk all they want about the virtues of Canada, Japan and Germany when it comes to health care, but I’ll take a good ole U S of A hospital bed anytime.

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by e-mail. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of
The Rafu Shimpo.

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