CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Some Daze Are Worse Than Others

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By W.T. Wimpy Hiroto
(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on January 19, 2011.)

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Peanut brittle you
can write a poem about;
Wouldst it be haiku?

I can count to five
then continue to seven.
I can write haiku?

CR2S has a revelation to make but a person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because of its sensitive nature, refuses to confirm or deny the allegation for fear of retribution. I can’t elaborate because I’m not authorized to make a statement while negotiations are in progress.  [There was once a time when nothing could appear in print without confirmation from at least two sources.  Nowadays, “news” can be disseminated without establishing or identifying sources. ]

Has CR2S admitted being appreciative of having this Page 3 space reserved each and every Wednesday?  No?  Consider it done, however belatedly.  Sometimes you forget your blessings. You know, like the *Social Security check that comes like clockwork the first of every month for fortunate retirees.

[*Ole WTH enjoys the feel of government-issue checks, none of that new-fangled direct deposit convenience that’s been available for what? Twenty years?  And as long as we’re in a revealing mood, I admit never signing up for that Plan D stuff regarding prescription drug discounts and filling the infamous “donut hole.” Which means, if you’re of the younger persuasion, I’m that rare, unselfish fellow who doesn’t take full advantage of Medicare, leaving you Baby Boomers more of the shrinking pot, no matter how meager. However, if you’re a senior peer, it’s merely another example of my nohn-key attitude, someone who still pays bills with check and stamps.  One of these days I’ll leave the 20th century and enter #21.

Last week I (sort of) endorsed the Kindle. Shazam. I get an e-mail extolling the virtues of the Barnes & Noble Nook, at the same time chastising me for attempting to influence in favor of Amazon’s reader. Which made me pause, reflect, and be reminded of the old saw about “if it’s in print, it must be true.”

A long time ago, before the advent of the “spring forward, fall back” daylight savings formula, I erroneously published a reminder to turn clocks back an hour when it should have been ahead. A devoted reader (a UCLA booster) was so certain CR2S was correct, he backed his conviction with a large wager.  He lost, of course, but learned a valuable lesson; henceforth he never believed anything I said.

A longer time ago, a journalism school professor advised [us]to take great care when quoting interviewees, taking excerpts from speeches, official statements, eyewitness accounts. (This was before tape recorders.) There would always be someone ready to pounce on any mistakes made, he warned, not to mention potential lawsuits and professional embarrassment. This was decades before Google and all of today’s search engines and social networks.  Opinion pieces give columnists a bit of leeway. Under a byline you can paraphrase, challenge, opine, mock and some, I daresay, have a tendency to lie. (I wonder how he would react to the likes of today’s Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry and bloggers?)

Accuracy and versatility was paramount in the old days. Conjecture was never to appear in reporting; like Jack Webb, only the facts, ma’am. In those days there was no such creature as a specialty writer: No one’s strict expertise was to critique architecture, restaurants, books, automobiles, food, fashion. Today CR2S strives to be relevant every week. Mostly we succeed (hurrah).  Then there are unavoidable lapsed moments (boo) to be kept at a minimum.

It’s awfully frustrating when you can’t remember someone’s name, the second refrain of a ballad, an elusive word that’s “right there,” anything followed by a thwarting, “Oh, you know what I mean!”

My current dilemma is that white stuff left after peeling a banana or tangerine. Shoot, you know what I mean!  If you strip a banana from the bottom up instead of from the stem as most do, the stringy gunk comes off with the peeling and is not left on the fruit. Now, segue to the tangerine that is indispensable this time of year.  Why is it wrapped in all that white fibrous, threadlike stuff I can’t think of the proper word to describe, after being peeled?  For such a sweet, succulent and oh-so-easy to peel fruit, why are we left to laboriously take more time picking away at the whatchamacallit?

At least they are seedless now. [Want a pomegranate from Afghanistan?]

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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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