Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's resolutions for 2008

Here's how I will improve myself in the coming year:

1, No longer yell, ``If I drove like you I would kill myself'' at other motorists.

2, No longer try to go entire days speaking only lines from ``Animal House,'' because sometimes it just sounds wierd to say `do you mind if we dance with your dates?'' all the time. I may try an all``Star Wars'' day (`Where are you going with that thing?)''

3, Stopping using my poor immigrant upbringing as an excuse for all blunders, as in: ``I'm sorry I forgot your birthday honey, but the scurvy I developed as a result of my poor immigrant diet causes memory problems in adulthood.'' or ``Yes maam, I did say you have nice hooters, but in my country the word hooters denotes deep respect, as in `that woman with the big hooters must be a Supreme Court justice.'''

For the record, I have no plans to exercise more, lose weight or temper my bad habits.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Letter 2007

we're one of those families that sends a Christmas letter every year. Here is this year's version, which I wrote. I warn you this has been scathingly attacked by people who don't think these kind of missives should exist at all :

We know you’re all busy so we’ll keep this short:

1, Miranda turned 21 this year. We have spawned an adult. She spent the first semester of junior year studying economics in Florence, Italy. We got a lesson in economics as the Euro grew more powerful against the dollar, making everything she bought more expensive.

2, Kon graduated from Ferris High School this year and is a freshman at Washington State University. That means we are paying two tuitions. Kon seems to be enjoying college and is thinking of becoming a pharmacist.

3, Tom is 13, an 8th grader, and deep into tennis and football. He traveled the region playing in tennis tournaments last summer, and played quarterback, running back and linebacker on his Pop Warner football team.

4, Eli is 11 and a 6th grader. He plays AAU basketball, baseball and tennis, loves video games and reading. I still call him Our Family’s Baby.

5, Ann continues to safeguard our democracy with her work in AP elections and prep sports. With a presidential election looming, she is stressed out and constantly in need of a vacation. But she remains lovely and fashionable and we are very proud of her.

6, I continue to run the Spokane bureau of The Associated Press. I completed 25 years in the company and celebrated by starting my own blog, which can be found at:

Our family spent a wonderful five days vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in April. I learned the beach is my natural habitat and that I am Mexican by nature. I want to live there.

My two brothers and I did a weekend in Las Vegas during the summer. It was our first boys weekend ever and we had a blast. I also want to live in Vegas.

I visited Kon for Dad’s weekend at WSU, where we had a wonderful time. I also want to be a college student again.

We hope your family had a good 2007 and wish you a happy 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Miranda Comes Home

Miranda got home from Italy last night, and for the first time in four months all four of our kids were under our roof. It was noisy. Miranda had to travel for some 25 hours, from Florence to Munich to Los Angeles to Portland to Spokane. She brought us some fancy chocolates from the shop where she apprenticed in Italy. I ate one that tasked like pepperoncini. It was great. Her younger brothers were very excited to see her, and we woke up this morning to find she had made us coffee cake for breakfast. Delightful

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Photo

In response to overwhelming public demand, here is a photo of The Tennis Player With No Name and the Leapin O'Neill Brother. Woe to you if you ever take the court against them.

Sampras Not Only Greek Tennis God

SPOKANE, Wash. (NP) _ Nick Geranios defeated Kevin O'Neill in two sets on Wednesday night to win the coveted 3.0 singles title at The Spokane Athletic Club Members Only tournament.

Geranios, who came to the match dressed in gunslinger garb and insisted on being called The Tennis Player With No Name, took the first set 7-6 after a pulsating tie-breaker. Geranios jumped to a 5-1 lead in the tie-breaker, only to see O'Neill storm to a 6-5 advantage.

But the Golden Greek showed nerves of steel as he hung on for a 9-7 win to take the first set.
O'Neill _ who showed up dressed as Will Smith's geeky cousin from ``Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,'' and was attended by an entourage consisting of Julian Bindler _ scored aces with several of his trademark ``thunder serves.'' But neither player could serve consistently and there were numerous service breaks.

The second set was also close, knotted at 3-3 before Geranios pulled away for a 6-4 win.

It was the first singles title of Geranios' long tennis career, and comes after he posted disappointing losses in the finals of 3.0 doubles and 6.0 mixed doubles in this tournament.

``Thousands of dollars in lessons and years of disappointments went into this historic win,'' Geranios declared after the match. ``I'd like to thank my wife, Ann, and my sons Tom and Eli, for coming to bear witness.''
The match was played amidst grand pageantry, including representatives of tennis federations from many nations.
The huge crowd on hand included Bruce and Noreen Johnson, Ray Willman, and a handful of others, who afterwards pronounced themselves ``unworthy to be in the presense of such champions.''

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Carole Zeppelin

I had to drive down to Pullman yesterday to cover the hiring of a new football coach at Washington State. At the beginning of the drive I listened to a CD of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits. Then I got into a mellower mood and put on Carole King's Tapestry, thinking the contrast between Robert Plant's swaggering Rock God and King's soulful moodiness would be nice. It was. I went from climbing the Stairway to Heaven to having The Earth Move Under My Feet (I'm not a writer for nothing).

Saturday, December 8, 2007

In Tennis, Love Means Nothing

Our annual tennis club tournament has been underway for a couple of weeks, and I know many of you are breathless to know how I did.

In 6.0 mixed doubles (that means a man and a woman who can barely hit the ball) I reached the finals with my partner Sarah, where we lost in three sets. That's because the other team was a bunch of ringers who cheated us. My partner also had to carry me like a crippled water buffalo in the third set because I couldn't hit anything that didn't go out.

In 7.0 mixed doubles (which is a slightly higher level of tennis) partner Melissa and I got waxed twice. That's largely because I was playing ``up,'' (a term that means something different in tennis than in some other walks of life) , and the other teams picked on me by hitting the ball my way all the time.

In 3.0 men's doubles (in which you play with a man of equal ability) my partner Mark and I also reached the finals, only to be gyped of victory. The other team claimed they were 3.0 players, when it was clear they were really 3.5's. I think I saw those pricks playing at Wimbledon on TV. But we took it all in good grace.

Now the tournament switches to singles, where this morning I beat a 9-year-old boy 6-1, 6-1 in the opening round. There was an emotional display after my victory, with many friends rushing onto the court and declaring they thought they would never see the day. You can enjoy a photo of the ceremony above. That's me holding the flag.

Finally, last week, my wife and two youngest sons went to watch the Davis Cup finals in Portland, Ore. The U.S. crushed the Russians and it was huge. Then we visited the Sullivan-Springhettis, friends who live in Portland and work at the Oregonian. That's me on the left, Jim Springhetti and Julie Sullivan next to me, their kids Rose and Joe, and my wife Ann, who grew up with Julie. Julie won a Pulitzer Prize a couple of years ago. Sometimes she lets me hold it. It's the size of a hockey puck, but weighs a lot more, which Julie says hurts her neck because she wears it like a necklace every day. Someday I hope to own one.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Evel and I

The death of Evel Knievel got me thinking about this great American. My wife is from Butte, Mont., and on visits there I had seen Evel in bars a few times. Don't believe we ever met. But I think he should be buried the way he lived his life. They should build a huge ramp above the giant Berkeley Pit copper mine in Butte and launch Knievel's coffin down the ramp and threw the air into the chasm, replicating his Snake River Canyon jump.

It would be huge

On a completely unrelated note, my daughter just went to the Torino Film Festival in Italy and the first film she saw was called ``A Thousand Years of Good Prayers.'' It was filmed in Spokane