IMR: 1998: May: 11 -- Monday, 10:44 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
My first and only in-class final -- Hawaiian 202 -- was this morning at 7:30 a.m. I actually left for campus shortly after 6 a.m., and trotted up to the empty classroom in Moore Hall for some last-minute studying.

Now, Kekeha had hinted that the final would be brutal, consisting of two of three parts of a story. The first third we'd translate to English, the last third to Hawaiian and the middle we'd have to make up ourselves. All the while using all new sentence structures and assorted markers.

The only thing he gave us to study, however, was a one page worksheet of 16 sample sentences and three multiple choice. So, having missed the study session on Saturday (overslept) and barely able to study the night before, I did the worksheet as my classmates trickled in.

Everyone was worried, although apparently few were worried enough to have done the worksheet themselves. Everyone clustered around the few who ventured answers, hoping to get one last vital pointer.

When Kekeha wasn't there at 8:40, we started entertaining fantasies of walking out and escaping the ordeal altogether. Unfortunately, he walked in a few minutes later, before anyone had built up the resolve needed for a mutiny.

With little fanfare, he passed out the final.

It was a one-page worksheet of 16 sentences and three multiple choice. In fact, apart from one or two different nouns and verbs, it was exactly the same as the study guide.

As one pidgin-prone classmate exclaimed, "Frickin' guy!"

Of course, no one was complaining. Well, no one except those adventurous few who'd studied the sentence structures alone, anticipating the original three-part story format. I finished in thirty minutes, and waited another ten for someone else to leave first before turning mine in.

I think I did well. Though I imagine it would have been hard not to. There wasn't anything I didn't know... meaning my tendency to make basic, stupid mistakes are the only threat to a solid "A."

I waited outside to say goodbye to John (that was his name in class, too), whose attendance record for the semester rivaled mine. We would always call eachother when the other wasn't in class, thankfully rarely missing class on the same day.

I would have bombed many a quiz were it not for his warnings. It's hard not to remain vigilant about coursework with someone else watching out for you.

Unfortunately, I think I'm the only one continuing on to 301, as many students take languages up to 202 only because they have to in order to graduate. Thus, John and many of the other classmates with whom I've survived the semesters will be woefully absent next fall.

So all that remains to make it out of this semester alive is a Hawaiian storybook (in lieu of an oral presentation) and a long-feature for Borg's magazine writing class.

For the former -- a history of the place now known as Mililani -- I'm dragging Jen and Katie out of the house early tomorrow morning to take some digital pictures of the neighborhood. The elementary school, the high school, the shopping center, my mother's house... and we'll probably stop in to steal some food.

For the latter -- a follow-up on the SPJ (Society for Professional Journalists) versus SHOPO (State of Hawai`i Organization of Police Officers) FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) battle from years ago -- I've already interviewed UH journalism professor Gerald Kato and his predecessor, attorney Jeff Portnoy. The folks at SHOPO, however, have been less than diligent in returning my calls.

This past Mother's Day was Jen's first. In no small way an important milestone in her life. As Sunday drew near, and as television ads pushing flowers and silk blouses proliferated, she could only say with awe, "I'm a mother!"

Indeed she is a mom. A wonderful, warm, affectionate, properly paranoid and adorably obsessive mom. Sure, she was called into service a few years earlier than specified in her lifeplan, but her performance has been spectacular. She sings songs and plays baby games that would make a lesser Leo scoff. She has a proven sixth sense for infant ailments. And she laughs, cries, sighs and squeals at Katie's every move, her life now wrapped snugly and lovingly around our daughter's.

Given our tight finances, however, my ability to honor her for her maternal excellence was limited. She asked, as she does for every special occasion, only "a hug and a kiss," but I wanted to give her more.

And ironically and amazingly, I was able to do so with the help of another first-rate mother: my own.

We plotted via e-mail. Mom would help me get Jen something special, and in return my gift to her would be a household chore or two. It came down to a gold locket and chain for Jen and a long-overdue scrubdown of the guest bathroom for mom.

On Sunday, after stopping to get mom a real Mother's Day gift, we headed up for our weekly visit. Through the careful spending of money we didn't quite have, mom got a gift certificate to Angelo Pietro -- the modern Italian restaurant that's been a favorite of ours since before its move to fancier digs near Ala Moana. Jen loved the locket, even though we've yet to find a photo of Katie small enough to fit. And I gave that bathroom a cleaning the likes of which it had probably never seen.

At one point during the afternoon, while I was tackling some nasty window grime, mom pointed out that everyone else was relaxing in the living room.

I looked out and saw Katie napping on Jen, grandma napping on her chair, and mom watching television. I imagined, at that same instant, Gayle -- my stepmother -- resting somewhere, perhaps chatting with Eathan on the phone.

I thought, "I have all these wonderful women in my life." And I felt both blessed to have their love and embarrassed that I have not yet reached the point in my life where I can truly start giving back to them.

Todd, having spent the day chauffering his girlfriend around town, made it home in time to join everyone for the big Mother's Day dinner. It was at Jade Garden, a Chinese restaurant in Waipi`o. Uncle Al, Uncle Jack, the Ishiis and assorted family members partook of a seven-course feast, Katie courteously napping through most of the evening's festivities.

It was the first time in nearly a year that I saw Antonio, uncle Jack's youngest son. In fact, it was the first time Jen had ever met him. Since he last made a family appearance, he had apparently changed his nickname from "Chip" to "Tony," and had grown a goatee. We listened to his tales of gainful employment at an upscale formalwear shop at Waikele, where he sells at least one $600 or so outfit a day at six percent commission plus wage.

What the hell is Joe Moore up to?

Joe, the single most recognizable (if not respected) talking head in local television news, caused a little tremor in media circles last Thursday.

Ever since Channel 2, once Honolulu's NBC affiliate, was bought out to be a FOX station two years ago, Joe has made no secret of the fact that he doesn't much like his new network. He goes out of his way to say he's been watching shoes on the other networks (right at the anchor desk), and regularly makes wisecracks about the FOX shows that precede his broadcast.

His comments have gotten him into trouble now and then -- enough to warrant an entire installment in a recent Advertiser series on the local television news business. And at one point there were rumors that he was going to jump ship to another station. He stayed, however, turning the gossip into a silly stunt that annoyed many a viewer.

(At 6 p.m. he teased, "I'll tell you about moving to a new position on our late broadcast." At 10 p.m. he said, "I'm moving to a new position." Then shifted in his chair. Har-de-har-har.)

Some suspected history was repeating itself when, finishing up his broadcast Thursday afternoon, he said he'd have something to say after the 10 p.m. show. But it didn't sound like a joke.

He said he'd had some profound thoughts since becoming a father a few weeks ago -- thoughts about the way he makes his living and about the FOX buyout. Comments, he said, that could very well mean it would be his last night on television. "If I'm not at this desk tomorrow," Joe said, his voice wavering, "Thank you for letting me into your homes over the years."

Jen and I immediately got worked up over his promised statement, but I was especially anxious. Although I'm no fan of Joe (frankly I think his spontaneous news commentary borders on unethical), as a journalist I'm easily consumed by any movement in the industry.

So we -- and no doubt thousands of others -- tuned in at ten o'clock to hear what he had to say.

He played it straight the entire broadcast, making me wonder for a moment if he'd say anything at all. But after the sports and weather, he took a deep breath and delivered his precious message. (Yeah, so what if I did sit there at my computer and transcribe the whole thing?)

"There is a lot of crap on television." Say, Joe, thanks for the news flash, but...

I was baffled. I understood what he said, all right, but what was the big deal? How was that supposed to get him fired? Sure, to old-school journalists, making sarcastic asides while delivering the evening news is poor form, but it's nothing new. Especially for a network as elegant as FOX. And Joe knows as well as anyone that he alone carries that station -- firing him would be financial suicide.

Having posted the whole flap to USENET and assorted mailing lists, there were soon a number of interesting theories on what went down:


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 11 May 1998 · Last Modified: 18 May 1998