Archive for August, 2011

I'm turning 70 - still with lots on my plate

August 12th, 2011

I turn 70 on Saturday (Aug. 13). I don’t feel it, at least for most of the time.
I think the secret is being active in mind, body and spirit.
When I discovered that Martha Stewart also turned 70 this year, (Aug. 3), it made me realize that 70 is just a number. Some days I feel 80ish; other days 50ish. It’s all a matter of attitude — and activity.
No, Martha’s not an idol or role model; I just use her as an example of aging gracefully amid a mountain of activity. This woman publishes a magazine, does TV, writes, cooks and crafts ... and even went to jail. You get the idea? She has the zeal of a 30-year-old. And she certainly doesn’t look 70. So he is a model of getting older without being old. As in a discarded entity.
One recent morning over an assembled breakfast, I admitted to a few of my ex-colleagues at The Advertiser that this year was my big 7-0. They thought, and I quickly objected, that a party was in order. I don’t like the fuss of a cake with 71 candles —that’s at least four boxes of candles — so we’ll have a lunch, not a party. I hope so, anyway.
My wife Vi will take me out to dinner with our 13-year-old grandnephew John, who stays with us much of the week, and his mom, Kasha, will join us. Again, it’s dining out, not a party.
I’ll also assemble with a couple of other close friends for dinner another night. Something simple. No hoopla.
My party days are over. Getting together for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner is fine; it’s what a retiree should do. Eat, maintain contact with a chosen few; keep a sane pace.
I’m not in denial; not trying to undo or evade the 70th.
I'm proud to have made it this far, earning a few feathers in my newspaper cap along the way. I just don't want the spotlight. I had one when I retired. Well, I had several parties — including that humongous one with Waikiki’s best (my pals) performing. Remember?
When I look at my dad, who turned 95 on July 5, I feel privileged to have survived seven decades, remain in fairly good health (except for annoying and occasionally painful sciatica and earlier carpal tunnel syndrome issues). I shudder about the next decade or two, which could bring on cruel realities accompanying age.
There will be challenges with mobility, memory and everything else associated with the elderly. Dad still lives alone, by choice; but he really needs home care, but he rejects that notion. While he can bathe himself, but he can't cook or clean, so my sister and I bring in meals for him as needed to his modest apartment he and my late mom bought late in their lives. My wife and I do the housekeeping and laundry chores, too.
At 70, that’s a task. We have our own home and space to tend to and while my wife still works, I have some community commitments that require monthly meetings. Though retired, I still write a column and enjoy traveling — stuff you’re supposed to do when you’re pau hana.
I have plenty on my plate, but I left the stress of the work place when I retired. Stress adds to your aging; look at Barack Obama; he was fully black-haired when elected; look at him now, salt and pepper galore. I'm getting grayer by the year, too.
I don’t hike or golf or go to a gym, but I used to take infrequent walks. That’s the extent of exercise. A pinched nerve, causing sciatica, became an issue; this situation intensified during my recent New York trip, where walking is the only way to go (between subway rides). The pain recurred with expected regularity, prompting my wife to utter: “By next year, you’ll need a wheelchair.” I shudder at the prospect; I’ll struggle and cope and adjust the pace, allowing more time to get to destinations.
I am frequently busy, creating local-style note cards as a hobby, largely to share with friends and some “fans” who find them worthy of scribbling a note of aloha, thanks, whatever. This is where the mind works; the imagination; the creation; the execution. I like to experiment with local things, like food, and just concocted a card depicting BBQ sticks and loco moco, to complement a saimin number I’ve been doing for years.
This expression is linked to a tradition; I’ve always thought it was PC to formally write and send a note to anyone who does a nice thing for you, or express your aloha to someone special who did something special. Remember writing a card and mailing it and personalizing your sentiments ... instead of just pressing the “send” button on your computer? I’m still old school.
I am a proud owner of a Zippy’s Senior Card, which costs $3 for two years, but enables you to get a 10 per cent discount on food (excepting liquor and promotional meals, like the current Miso Garlic Chicken plate). No laugh; I use the card at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the discount includes Napoleon Bakery purchases, from birthday cake orders to Napoleons.
I acquired by AARP card years ago, but have only twice benefited from age-applicable discounts; the organization for seniors have not mined the hotels and car rentals that I general use.
Speaking of discounts, I know about those at Ross, Prince Court and Hakone at the Prince Hotel, Shirokiya, Don Quixote at St. Germaine Bakery and Shirokiya. I qualify for senior admission to films and local theater groups. There are age differences (60 or 65) and merchants’ senior days vary. One more “senior” benefit, at the tender age of 55, means discounted coffee at McDonald’s, Jack in the Box and Burger King.
So there, aging has privileges. In this troubled economy, any discount helps.

Latest ‘Five-0’ casting: Locals bypasssed again

August 11th, 2011

It’s time to raise the red flag; in its sophomore season, “Hawaii Five-0” is going hog wild casting new characters with story arcs. But whoa, the players are all Mainland actors, no doubt well qualified.
But the newest announcement, of a pretty face with supposedly some pedigree in maritime museumship, hit a nerve with me.
The actress in question is Autumn Reeser, certainly a gorgeous and competent actress, to portray Dr. Akina, a curator of a maritime museum. The rub is, she’s a potential love interest for Scott Caan, the resident cop Danny “Danno” Williams. Surely, she doesn't look like a Dr. Akina, especially if she's single.
Unhook ‘em, Danno.
Why not a local woman, who won’t be wearing a bikini every third appearance, in a potential story arc that would make her glow like a Manoa rainbow to viewers here and abroad?
These secondary roles habitually overlook local candidates. I’d abide by the recent signings of Tom Sizemore, Terry O’Quinn, etc. etc. etc. Perhaps they will provide a wallop, over the next few months, that will retain “Five-0’s” popularity and ranking in the Nielsen ratings.
But in the hiring-locals poll, the latest sucks big time. Certainly, Reeser brings a portfolio of credentials that includes Fox’s “The OC,” ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” and HBO’s “Entourage,” but wouldn’t a local face and talent bring more credibility to the part in question? And who names these figures?
Consider the possibilities: an ocean wahine who might have been paddled to Micronesia as a Hokule’a team member, an Olympic swimmer, an oceanography expert with a keen in interest in whales. And who looks and talks local.
Could have been an opportunity for the CBS to finally book a resident with acting smarts (we have 'em, guys) to ultimately give “Five-0” that made-in-Hawaii cred. The show and the network are missing the boat.
Reeser’s part will stir viewers, who still remember the first-season finale, when a presumably preggie Rachel (Claire van der Boom), the ex of Danno, leaving Hawaii on a Hawaiian flight to Newark with their daughter Grace (Teillor Grubbs) in tow. What’s up with that?
Will the new love interest discard and dismantle Danno’s only ohana? If Danno needs to be smitten, why not with a local kitten? There are far too many Mainland faces in the lineup and a disturbingly noticeable absence of real Hawaiian smiles.
Sure, Island actors are being hired, but so far in minimal background roles, with Taylor Wily (Waiola Shave Ice man) being the exception. His face, his bod, his lingo say it all: he is Hawaii.
Kelly Hu, one of our actresses with film and TV credits, was recruited for a role that was dubious, a public safety liaison, so she was summarily disposed of after three episodes last season. Heck, she could have had a go with Danno.
Masi Oka is being upgraded to regular status, as the coroner Dr. Max Bergman, this year. He looks local, like Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim), but isn't. Further, he speaks ... funny; definitely not local.
One big A+ to the creators: the splendid panorama of Island landscape during season one. Five-0” is doing the best job of staging our city — any city — with colors and moods and action that rival big-screen stuff. This season, launching Sept. 19, the cameras will roll on Neighbor Islands, too; imagine the photo op potential; imagine the booster shot this will be for our ailing visitor industry, which has been desperately trying to get out of ICU and out of sick bay.
With Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) expected to get cozy with Lauren German, who will play an ex-Homeland Security type, is “Five-0” aiming to be a soaper disguised as a cop procedural?
Why not throw in a love interest for Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), too?
One man’s opinion. No, no, no.
One more thing: Restore “Book ‘em Danno.” Redundant, but resonates with viewers who still adore the original and are trying to embrace the reboot. I think it was used perhaps three times, then dropped.
If you have to get rid of anything, try McGarrett’s sister; if you can kill the governor, you can do it.
So what’s your opinion?

Bruno Mars has a date with ‘Sesame Street’

August 10th, 2011

Hawaii-born superstar Bruno Mars will make an appearance on “Sesame Street” this season — the first popster from the Islands so honored and only the second resident to join the Elmo, Cookie Monster, Miss Piggy and Big Bird.
Mars’ actual appearance date has not been announced; the beloved children’s TV series, airing on PBS, begins his 42nd season on Sept. 26.
Mars is the prolific singer-composer known for a growing list of hit tunes that include “Just the Way You Are,” “Grenade,” and “The Lazy Song.”
Jim Nabors, widely known as TV’s Gomer Pyle and a longtime favorite on the music and concert scene, is the only other Hawaii resident who has been on “Sesame Street” with the Muppets.
Despite Mars’ trouble with a cocaine possession arrest last September, the educational children’s show with rigid house rules of conduct and behavior has booked him for a gig. Earlier this year, Katy Perry, the leading pop singer of her generation, taped a segment for “Sesame Street” which never aired because of the “Firework” singer’s risque attire. Similarly, a recorded Chris Brown appearance was yanked after his arrest on anger management issues.

One mom’s view of a summertime ritual

August 9th, 2011

Roy Sakuma’s “Wildest Show in Town,” the Wednesday twilight feature at the Honolulu Zoo, is one of this city’s summertime faves.
It’s been happening on humpday, providing midweek relief from Wednesday workaday stress or simply an escape hatch for those still on summer vacation.
One more program remains at the zoo — that’s this Wednesday (Aug. 10), when Ho’okena harmonize and share Hawaiiana — where music and mammals and merriment prevail in a joyous, successful run marking 25 years. Then we wait a year for another round of shows.
For one Hawaii mom, this zoofest — which used to be free, but now requires a $3 donation to offset costs — has been a sanctuary for pau hana pleasure for her and her now grown son (she continues to attend).
One of the lures is the chance to win a brand new ukulele. And Audrey Farias, who won a KoAloha ukulele in a drawing earlier this summer, is ecstatic about the “Wildest Show in Town” concept.
For many summers, she and her son Noah, now 36, attended the Wednesday events.
“I was a divorced young mother, who always had Wednesdays off, and the price was right, free,” she said. “We couldn’t wai for the (annual) schedule to come out.”
Instead of buying kau kau on her limited budget, she brought her own affordable edibles.
“We would eat crazy food, like Ritz (crackers), Laughing Cow (cheese), salami and pimento olives,” she reminisced in a note to Roy Sakuma, organizer of the family-targeted series.
Noah, she said, was a savvy moocher. “It didn’t take him long to introduce himself to others, especially those who had the best eats,” said Farias. “It got to the point that several families were calling his name and feeding him weekly — like they had a date or something, which felt like I was being stood up routinely.
“We grew up under those stars ... (though) not every concert was his favorite; he loved the Marine Band, maybe because they were loud and marching around without anyone reminding him to sit down.”
Farias and Noah have shared precious memories over the decades, leaving “fingerprints on my heart,” she said. “I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way,” Farias told Sakuma. “I thank you for your 25 years of undying service to me and the people of Hawaii.”
“I wanted to share her beautiful letter,” said Sakuma of the fan mail. “Such a wonderful story; it just makes me so thankful that I continue to do the zoo concerts.”
About the KoAloha ukulele Farias won this summer: she almost didn’t.
See, to get a chance to win, you can enter a drawing — one per person. But as she was filling in her entry, she was distracted by a cellphone call.
“She took the call and was unaware that her friend filled out her form,” said Sakuma. When she realized she hadn’t filled in her entry slip, she returned to the tent to get one to qualify for that evening’s drawing.
“She had two entries and didn’t realize it until her friend told her how lucky she was sthat (the friend) had completed the form,” said Sakuma. “It really bothered her and she called me. Such integrity.”
Oh, there was one sleepless, painful night before Farias could spill the beans to Sakuma.
“I felt (I was ) at the top of the mountain...until I realized the huge mistake,” she said. The joy of winning turned into dreaded disappointment because she felt honesty was the best policy — and that she had to report the innocent double-entry to Sakuma.
“My heart was pounding ... before making the call,” she reminisced.
Then Sakuma told her she could retain the uke; that hers was an honest mistake.
“Like the other things in my life that are too big to wrap around my head, I gave it to the Lord (to decide),” she said.
When she discovered the decision, she felt “amazing peace, like a blanket just out of a dryer ... I will always cherish the blessing.”
Because she doesn’t know how to play the instrument, she’ll get lessons: “God’s mighty power will be necessary when it comes to learning how to play,” she said. “Hopefully, I will soon be able to strum praises to the Lord.”
And, no doubt, take weekly how-to-play classes at a Roy Sakuma studio.

Finale at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 10); gates open at 4:35 p.m.
Honolulu Zoo
$3 at the door
Mini-guided tours of zoo to the first 30 who sign up
Entertainment by Ho’okena

Peter Fonda an easy glider in ‘Five-0’s’ second season

August 8th, 2011

TV Guide reports that Peter Fonda, a big-screen star (“Easy Rider,” “Ulee’s Gold”), will make a small-screen guest appearance, portraying a murder suspect on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” this fall.
Fonda, 71, will surface as a treasure-hunting sea captain out to prey on victims and bilk them out of millions in an episode set for October viewing.
His crime antics will be a menace to Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and crew.
Part of Hollywood’s legendary and inconic Fonda clan (dad was Henry Fonda, sister is Jane Fonda), he was the centerpiece of the 1969 biker film, “Easy Rider” and only rarely does TV dramas. His most recent tube credit is a guest role on “CSI: New York.”
Fonda is a sometimes visitor to the Islands and is a pal of Barry Flanagan, one of the founders of the pioneering Maui-based Hawaiian duo, Hapa.
Fonda thus adds luster to the Hawaii-filmed procedural drama, outshadowing Terry O’Quinn, Tom Sizemore, William Baldwin, Booker T. Jones and Laura German, all set to be part of story arcs in the sophomore season of “Five-0.”

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