Fine. Then I’ll Resort to Bribery

Back in September, I returned to the Northwest radio airwaves on KRKO in Everett. It’s got a decent AM signal at 1380, with an FM signal that is a low-power edition and pretty much available only around Everett.

That’s why I’ve been encouraging friends and relatives to try out the station via streaming. It’s not hard to do, but it does require some extra steps and perhaps some you’ve never bothered to try before.

Now, I’ve got friends and family across the country and even a couple out of the country that have been listening to the station, and occasionally catching me in the morning. To me, it’s almost like having a private station that let’s me goof around in the early hours and fills up the rest of the day with “Everett’s Greatest Hits”–a tasty blend of the bigger hits of the late 60s, a lot of 70s and a few 80s thrown in.  I seriously love the blend of music, which is what enticed me to go back to radio and why I’ve been inviting you to give it a try. It could change the way you listen to radio.

The evolution is already underway. People are getting their music streaming via Apple Music, Google, Spotify and such, and maybe the idea of listening to a radio station via streaming seems odd, but here’s the deal. We live in a very hilly area. Drive down to Edmonds and you’ll lose just about every station here. Listen via streaming and you’ll get a clean flowing stream of great-sounding music. I’m hearing instruments for the first time on songs I enjoyed back on the 1960s on AM radio.

  1. To listen to KRKO online with your computer or tablet, just put in krko.com, click on the LISTEN LIVE button and you’re in business.
  2. On your phone, same thing. Open your browser, put in KRKO.com, click LISTEN LIVE and then PLAY and here comes the music.
  3. Have your phone connected to the Bluetooth in your car? Do step #2 before you start driving, change your stereo’s input to audio and you’ll enjoy the music through your car speakers.
  4. Have a Smart Device, like an Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home?  Just say your magic phrase and then, “Play KRKO” and you’re on board.

Why am I going to all this effort to get you to listen to KRKO. It’s because of what’s happening next week.

Imagine being able to stick this into somebody’s stocking: a pair of tickets to see the Rolling Stones during their No Filter stop at Century Link Field next May 22nd! Thanks to the gallant efforts of our promotions goddess, Kayla, we have five pairs to give away next week. A pair a day. Just listen and when you hear the cue to call, be the 3rd caller at (425) 304-1380 and you win. It’s that simple.

What’s the cue to call sound like? It’ll be different each day. But I’m posting what it sounds like every morning at 6am on the KRKO Facebook page. If you like our page, it’ll show up in your stream every morning.

I’ve already talked with several out-of-staters who are going try because, look–at the price of those concert tickets, it would be cheaper to buy the airfare and watch ’em here with free tickets, so why not?

Make sure you’re listening every day next week between 6am & 9am for the cue to call because we’re giving away a pair of tickets every day, on Everett’s Greatest Hits, KRKO. Good luck!

And if this is what it took to get you to try the radio station, it just reinforces the fact that bribery works.

Tim Hunter

What It Was Like

December 4th, 2018    4:15pm

So, last Saturday night was the big finale. As sad as it could have been, I appreciated knowing that this was going to be my final night as the town crier at the Santa Claus Arrival at Bothell’s Country Village Shopping Center.

It wasn’t my choice for this holiday tradition to end, or that of Leann Tesoriari, who operates this quaint village of shops in north Bothell.  She was one of the family members who voted to continue this urban oasis, but was out-voted by family members who wanted to cash-in while the selling was good. 

Hangin’ with Leann

And that’s totally understandable. Yet, with the sale of the property and all those stores disappearing over the next six months to make way for one of those mixed-use “urban villages”, it was just another reminder of another thing going away. One more of those places that we’ll remember fondly and that will inspires stories as we tell future generations about what used to be on that property.

I was trying not to get overly macabre about the event. My plan was to go in, live in the now and experience every second of what I was about to do for the last time. And that’s exactly what I did.

For all but one of the previous 18 years of my life, the first Saturday of December meant that I would find myself checking into the Country Village offices around 5:45, put on my Dickens-era top hat, a shawl, a scarf, grab the scroll of announcements and, of course, my town crier bell. Then, from 6-6:50pm, I would walk all over the shopping center, ringing my bell and announcing things like, “Hear ye, hear ye!  Santa Claus is coming! Sports & weather next.” Or, “Hear ye, hear ye! Santa Claus is coming to town, just like the song said.”  I had fun with it.

Doing this as many years as I have, I knew the routine, what to do, where to be, what to bring. After the first decade or so, I decided to go on line and buy a real solid bell. A big brass job, that really clanged. In-between Christmas’s, it rested on the top of a shelf right next to my desk.

As we prepared to dash out the door, I went to that spot to grab the bell and it was gone. Not there. Maybe I put it on another shelf?  My wife theorized I had loaned it to someone. I didn’t remember doing that.

We had a bell crisis.

We reached out to the friends hosting the pre- and post-arrival party and Annette said that she had a bell I could borrow. That was great, but what happened to my bell?

We arrived at the Dwyer house, where Annette informed us that she couldn’t find her bell, but a store at the Country Village where she worked would loan us a bell. The Santa Arrival would be saved.

I went to the Shopping Center early to pick up the bell and the owner said I could have any bell I wanted. My eyes went straight to a rather ornate bell with a $90 price tag on it. If it slipped out of my hand during the evening and got bent, I would no doubt be buying this bell. I would be the most careful town crier in the history of crying.

With the $90 bell

Off to the offices I went, to pick up my outfit. I lifted the cape, pulled out the hat and underneath it all was my bell. I had accidentally left it with them for the past year and it wasn’t until tonight that I even knew it was here. I returned the ornate bell, and then begun clanging like I had never clanged before. I went into stores, always asking first if it was OK for me to cry in their store.  One woman replied, “Absolutely! I’ve been here every year you’ve done this for the past 18 years.”

The rain held off. The night was mild for a November evening. The dancing elves and The Grinch entertained the crowd as Santa and his lighted Gingerbread sleigh made his way to the crowd. He waved his magic candy cane and the Christmas Tree lights came on.

The Christmas season, for me, was now officially underway. For one last, jolly evening, we put on a magical show for hundreds of young, awe-struck eyes, followed by a gathering at Center Court area to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. The line was long, but no one seemed to care. Santa Claus had come to town and I had announced it, just as I always have.

As I look back at the previous Santa Arrivals at Country Village, they all had names. There was the year that “Someone parked illegally and we had to have the car towed so Santa could arrive.” There was the year of steady rain and a soggy Santa. The frigid cold year. The year that, back when Santa actually flew in on his sleigh dangled by a wire, that he came so early, we weren’t ready for him. There was the year he got stuck.

For our finale, this will be remember as the year the event was literally saved by the bell.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

The Final Ho

Once again, it’s the holiday season, and along with it, so many events that have become a tradition for me. 

Over the next couple of weekends, I’ll be attending my wife’s Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle holiday concert, the Norwegian Commercial Club’s Fishermen’s Night seafood feast, emceeing the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce’s Julebord, the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber’s annual Holiday Wine Walk and multiple holiday parties that have somehow been wedged on to the calendar.

I also have certain things I try to accomplish during the three week December stretch prior to Christmas. The writing of an annual family update letter to accompany our Christmas photo cards, writing and producing a Christmas song and video with a good friend who’s a singer and producing my 18th annual “Ho Ho Brother” Christmas CD. It’s a collection of unique holiday songs and comedy bits I create, that’s basically a one-hour escape into the Christmas season. Over the almost two decades I’ve been doing that project, I’ve tried my best never to use the same exact song twice.

However, the one event I’m looking forward to most is coming up this Saturday. It’s the annual Santa Claus Arrival at the Country Village in Bothell. I arrive at 6, put on my Dickens-style town crier outfit and then run around ringing a bell, announcing that Santa is on his way. Then at 7 o’clock, I dash over to his arrival spot and welcome him to Country Village. I was thinking I had only been doing that a decade or so, but in going back over my earlier blogs, I’ve been enjoying this tradition since the year 2000. This will be my 18th Santa Claus arrival at this folksy collection of shops.

And my last.

I’ve blogged about my adventures there before. There’s this one from 2009, and another from 2015.  There was the year we changed Santa’s and when I wrote about the artist who does holiday sculptures who actually looks like Santa.

Now, after almost two decades of welcoming Santa to the Country Village, we’ve arrived at the final time. Yes, the Village has been sold to a developer and beginning mid-2019, they’ll begin tearing down those vintage buildings, clearing out the land, and building a mixed-use setting of condos, apartments and stores. It’s the way of the world and by this time next year, everything will be just a memory.

Over the years, we developed a nice little holiday routine around this event. We arrive at the home of friends who live nearby, have a pre-function, then I head down to the village to cry. The rest put the party on pause, come down to watch me do my thing and then we all head back to holiday party, part 2.

I have to give a shout out to Leann Tesorieri, who runs Country Village. She was the one that asked me to do this event years ago and has been inviting back ever since. I’ve already interviewed her for a documentary I plan to do about Country Village so that future Bothell residents can realize what was once there.

Saturday is going to be a special day. One last time, I’ll put on the town crier garb, run around the Village saying, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” and telling the crowd once again that my face may not look familiar, but my hand rings a bell.

It’s tradition. Join me if you can. I’d recommend getting there and wandering around by 5:30 for the sake of parking.

So, Ho-Ho.  I’m saving the last one for Saturday.

Tim Hunter

When Comedy Was King

I have long been a fan of comedy.

I was raised with it. When we went to Showtime Pizza back when I was a kid, we’d sit on picnic benches in this family pizza joint and I would not even remember the pizza, but I did recall the silent comedies on the big screen overhead. A honky-tonk piano provided the soundtrack to epic movies from the likes of Chaplin, the Keystone Cops, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy.

There’s always a root to my weekly columns and this week, it was the result of mentioning Laurel & Hardy to a young woman. She looked at me as though I had mentioned the Smoot-Harley Tariff. That made me sad.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were a comedy team that inspired me at an early age into wanting to make people laugh. I personally enjoyed the euphoria that came with busting a gut and much like physicians are inspired to save lives, I’ve since been drawn to making people laugh. I want to share that great feeling.

That’s why I’m thrilled that a spotlight is about to be cast on them again in a movie that tells their story. You’ve got to remember, these were people creating a lasting product in a brand-new industry, one that started out without sound and who made the transition to creating film classics with sound. These two were the goofball nerds that made the viewers seem superior so everyone felt better about themselves.

If you have Amazon Prime, take the time to watch “Stan”.  It’s a fictionalized account about the last time Stan Laurel visited a dying Oliver Hardy. Incredibly well done.

And coming soon to a big screen near you, “Stan & Ollie.” I’ll be honest, I can’t wait for this one. I know very well that there is a behind-the-scenes part of every show, as I suspected with Laurel & Hardy, and I look forward to seeing their untold shocking story.

There have been many comedians and comedy teams over the years and most are beloved by us without knowing the many challenges that went into their careers and why they were driven to make us laugh. We’re all allowed so long on this rock to make our mark, to achieve what we want, to give people a reason as to why we were here in the first place.

Laurel & Hardy were destined to make us laugh. If I could go back in time and talk with just about anyone, it would be sitting down with those two and asking where the inspiration came from. Head to YouTube and experience a little for yourself. 

Laughter changes people, it makes them feel better. Laurel & Hardy were healers and gave us a medicine that has lasted for generations.

I hope that someday, other comedians will emerge with comedy that goes beyond their generation. Only time will tell.

For now, we have Laurel & Hardy. Back in the day, when comedy was king.

Tim Hunter

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past

I’ve rambled a lot over the years regarding my gratitude for everything I have, as well as everything I’ve experienced over the years, good and bad. Each incident we pass through affects us for the rest of our lives. They help to shape us and we add those moments to our memory banks, to cherish and to reflect upon.

Thanksgiving is a truly wonderful holiday. Kudos to Mr. Lincoln for recognizing that we have an incredible bounty for which our souls need to appreciate. I’m not talking material possessions. I mean sunrises like the one this morning, the fresh smell of the rain, the giggling of the neighbor girls in the street. 

With the way people embrace Christmas, I fear that the power of Thanksgiving is gradually being diminished and it’s becoming the holiday that just gets in the way of the Big C.  That was evident when stores started opening up on Thanksgiving Day to fuel the frenzy even more. When I was a kid, that would have been unthinkable. For that matter, when I was growing up, stores (including the mall) were closed on Sundays. Can you imagine? If I allow myself to be visited by the Ghost of Thanksgivings Past, I would be treated to a return visit of some pretty good times in my life.As a kid, I’d see me sneaking the green olives with the pimentos from the nicely decorated table. I’d smell that green bean casserole with the Funyons on top. During the years we went over to my aunt & uncle’s house, where my paternal grandmother also lived, there were garage dances after dinner, with a record player spinning polkas or whatever music they enjoyed dancing to in those days.

In my early 20s, I was playing radio in Yakima and we did a promotion called, “KQOT Gives You The Bird.” We gave away turkeys by going to a phone booth and making a call to the station. The first person to arrive there won the turkey. There was our WKRP moment when two people arrived at the same time and it made for great radio. There was also the time that one of the sales guys called in, there was accident involving two people trying to be the first and the person phoning in quickly departed the scene, for liability’s sake.

In my late 20s, the Ghost would show me the year of the big Thanksgiving Day windstorm where we lost power and I was forced to barbecue our turkey for Thanksgiving dinner that year. I’ve been preparing my turkeys that way ever since.

Several years later, during the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days on KLSY, we interviewed Chef Paul Prudhomme several days before Turkey Day and asked how he was preparing his turkey. He told us he was brining it for 24 hours before baking or barbecuing it. A gallon of water, a cup of sugar, a cup of salt and flavorings–you pick: onions, garlic and the magic ingredient, Liquid Smoke. That has become my standard procedure.

One year, yours truly had to spend the day before Thanksgiving dressed up like a giant turkey, along with my broadcast partner, Bruce Murdock. We first had our legs shaved on the air, and then took our turkey costumes downtown and walked around as penance for the guys losing KLSY’s “Battle of the Sexes.”

In these later years (now officially qualifying for geezerhood) I find myself turning into a sentimental pile of mush, deeply realizing how precious time can be. You can really look at things two ways: Looking around and noticing all the things you don’t have, or realizing the endless things you already possess. I prefer the latter. Frankly, it’s a much better way to live.

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past has nothing but good things to show me and, once again, for that I am grateful.  The really good news about him is that he could work 365 days a year if you’d let him, but most people choose just the one day to focus on all the things for which they could be grateful. As always, I appreciate you, the reader, for stopping by and spending a couple of moments with me. 

And what else could I say, but thank you. It only seems right.

Well, that, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tim Hunter

The Psychic Curse

Yeah, I wrestled with what I would title this piece. I remembered the old, “Small medium at large” headline from years ago, but fought it off. Valiantly. What I want to say is that I have a curse–I have psychic powers that some of you may not enjoy.

You see, once again, the Washington State Cougars are in first place of the Pac-12 North Division and, should they win next weekend, will be one win away from a 9-1 start to their season and pretty much a cinch to win the division.

But (full disclosure), I’m a Husky.

What does that mean? I attended the University of Washington (from 1973-77) and am a proud Dawg who hates the Cougars on one weekend every year. See, I have too many friends that are alums of the school that resides in the Palouse and I understand their pride. They feel the same way about WSU as I do the UW. And I do cheer them on when we’re not playing each other, because I think what’s good for the state is good for the Pac-12 which is good for college football.

Further disclosure is that I am a Mike Leach fan. When he became coach of WSU, I knew they would succeed because he’s a real head-knockin’, won’t put up with BS kind of football coach that they really needed. This year’s record speaks for itself.

OK, this is where I put on the turban. Now, you can question my psychic abilities and I’ll give you that, because my theories are based purely on experience and following these two teams over the past five decades.

When it comes to the Apple Cup game (this year, held the day after Thanksgiving), it’s going to be a winner takes all game. The Huskies are in second place and have a bye this weekend. The following weekend, they play the Oregon State Beavers, who have had a rougher season than Rick Grimes on ‘The Walking Dead.’  So, the two should meet up in Pullman with the winner going to the Pac-12 Championship Game and the loser going to some nice, but less-desirable Bowl Game.

As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see a Husky win in Pullman that will make Cougar fans even more bitter. It’s one thing to lose and not make the Championship game, but for the Huskies to be the ones to knock them out? Unthinkable.

In the Apple Cup, the lease likely thing happens. Do I have to bring up the “Snow Bowl” and the phased, “Rose petals freeze in 30-degrees.” The team that shouldn’t win usually does.  And this year, with WSU going in with only one loss, ranked #7 or higher and the game being played in Pullman–c’mon, that’s a no-brainer: of course the Huskies will win.

I think this is what draws me to college football so much more than the professionals. In fact, we attended the most recent Seahawks debacle against the Chargers (I’m steering clear of the whole San Diego/LA thing) and it sure seemed like the referees were told to keep it close and favor the Chargers. College football is still made up for dream-inspired athletes hoping to make it to Sundays and I just love that.

So, Cougar fans, just trying to give you a heads up. If you pay attention to history and think that this is script from what’s happened in the past, the Huskies show up in Pullman and crush your dreams. However, if they don’t and you guys really do win the Pac-12 North, I will be among the first to congratulate you and promise to post a picture of me in my WSU Cougar shirt. I own one. Yeah, I’m one of those Huskies that pulls for you every game of the season except for one.

But I’m afraid my psychic curse tells me that won’t be necessary.

Go Dawgs!

Tim Hunter

KING For A Day

I got to relive a part of my youth this past week. They don’t come often enough, but when they do, I embrace them with everything I’ve got.

I was invited to attend a KING Radio reunion earlier this week, across from the new location of KING-TV, at Henry’s Tavern, in the shadow of Safeco Field.

I’m wondering where to start this tale, where to begin setting up this story. Let’s head to my senior year of college at the University of Washington.

Crap, I’ve got to go back a little further. You see, when I arrived in Seattle to attend college, I was doing it because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I wasn’t sure what I was going to study or what my major would be. All I knew is that I had a girl back home that, once I finished college, I was going to marry and then grab a job somewhere doing something. Maybe work for the airlines.

However, late my sophomore year, I got a phone call from that girl, who let me know she had a sign from God to break up with me. Funny, God hadn’t said a thing to me about it. Anyway, two months later, she married the minister that helped her realize that sign from God and I had a clean slate as to where my future would take me.

Thanks to a fellow down the hall in the dorms, I found out that you could actually major in Communications and study radio & TV. Awesome!  So, off I went. While I gained experience in both, I was attracted to the control you had over the entire project on the radio side, and headed excitedly down that path.

During my final two quarters at the UW, I grabbed an internship at a Top 40 radio station in town called KING. My first quarter there, I interned under the Public Affairs Director and primarily wrote PSA’s for the jocks to read. While not the most exciting work, it did give me the opportunity to see the inside of a real radio station–how it worked, what the people were like, and connecting me with some real radio pro’s. I got to know the air talent of that time–Rob Conrad, Dan Foley, Andy Barber, Rick Scott, Joe Cooper and Big Jim Martin. Eventually, Bruce Murdock came up from Portland and took over the morning show. I met a weekender named Dave Christianson. The sales staff included the likes of Dana Horner, Ralph Heyward, Don Cannon and others.

The second quarter I interned there, I was under the direction of Steve Lawson. Steve was the production director at KING radio and the voice of KING-TV.  Believe me, you’ve heard his voice.  After KING, he went on to buy the Kaye-Smith studio and launched Bad Animal, where Heart, Steve Miller and so many other legendary Northwest bands recorded their hits.

All of the people didn’t need to take the time to mentor me, but they did. And over the next several years, most played a part in the direction my radio career took me.

Of course, Bruce Murdock and I were paired together at KLSY. In the early days of my time at Classy, Rob Conrad and Ralph Heyward wanted me to come and work for them at a new station called, “Magic”, but I stuck with KLSY.  When I arrived at KLSY, Dana Horner was the General Manager. Don Cannon was a good friend of Larry Nelson’s, so during my KOMO tenure, our paths would cross often.

My KING experience taught me a lot and forced me to cut my radio teeth. After I graduated from college, I hung around working for minimum wage, hoping a job opening would eventually pop up. I did odd jobs like music surveys over the phone, running mail, answering request lines, going to promotional events. I remember standing on the stage at the Seattle Center’s Center House at a KING Teen Dance, watching a flood of high schoolers moving away to “Dancing Queen” by Abba. This was the big time.

The KING Broadcasting empire was run by Dorothy Bullitt, one of the most powerful women in Seattle. One week, when her regular driver went on vacation, they trusted me to be her personal driver. I would arrive at KING in the morning, get the keys to her Volvo, drive to her Capitol Hill mansion, pick her up, and then take her where ever she wanted. Lunch at the club, down to inspect how the work was coming along on her boat, whatever Mrs. Bullitt wanted, her wish was my command.

But even though they liked me, they just couldn’t justify hiring someone so green. When I lost out on a radio copywriting job to someone who had been a writer for Planned Parenthood with zero radio experience, I hit the road and headed east to Yakima. The rest is the beginning of my radio history.

On Monday, for two hours at a bar in downtown Seattle, I reconnected with some much-older, yet still familiar faces. Some of them I hadn’t seen in 40 years. People I had gotten to know early in my career, in a building that has since been torn down. I bounced from conversation to conversation, getting caught up on what we were all up to these days. While I was pretty much “just the intern” during my time there, you could feel the camaraderie of this group of people and how thrilled everyone was to get together one more time.

Our lives are a series of phases and special moments. We all get them. It’s up to us to recognize them, appreciate them and cherish them when they’re gone. I went through more than a half-dozen call letters during my radio career, but on this particular day, the others had to take a back seat for a few hours.

Monday, I was KING for a day. Thanks for including me.

Tim Hunter

 

 

Surrender

Surrender can mean all kinds of things:

A)  As a matter of fact, it’s my favorite Cheap Trick song

B)  It’s the title given to Ren Durr when knighted

C)  I just friggin’ give up!

For those of you playing the home version of our game, the correct answer is “C”.

Today, I arrived home the proud owner of a new iPhone XS.

This is big news in my electronics world. For years, while a proud owner of Apple stock purchased the week of the initial offering and a long-time fan of the company, their innovations and the quality of what they offer, I still went for the underdogs.

Oh, I’m still a PC guy when it comes to computers (for now). I love my Microsoft Surface and the only intention I have down the line is to get a larger one for those times I can spread out. But the way I use laptops, I’m usually scrunched on an airliner with the guy in front of me leaning back and the Surface is the perfect size for someone who likes to fly and be productive, without having to type with his tongue.

Now, back to phones.  Way back when, as the earth was cooling, the iPhone arrived. It cost more than the alternatives and, at the time, since they made Windows phones, I went with that. As I watched friends show me the latest cool apps out there on iPhones and and Androids, I was content knowing that I was using a Microsoft product. Supporting the home team. Admiring the high-quality of those three available apps.

After two Microsoft phones, I suffered way too much from app-envy and decided to go Android. I believe the Samsung Galaxy was the one that lured me over and eventually, I found myself the proud owner of a cutting-edge Samsung Galaxy S6. It was the bee’s knees as us hipsters like to say, had a cool screen, took pretty decent pictures and videos and I was quite content.

For a while.

I think I had that phone for at least three years (or 187 in phone years) and even though I had to replace a screen once and the battery, it still served it’s purpose. After all, this was about making phones calls, right? Keeping up with social media, checking your email, etc. You know, all those things that help you completely ignore what is going on in the world around you.

But the email program never really worked that well. I would send an email and it would take minutes to reach someone across the room. Someone would ask if I had received an email they had sent earlier in the morning, and I hadn’t yet. Or, something I received yesterday could no longer be found.

However, for Samsung and the Android nation, it was the battery life that ended this non-iPhone streak. If I didn’t keep a careful eye on it and continuously keep charging it, I could find myself with a dead phone by noon.  I had to carry a portable charger with me, to bail me out at events where I wanted to at least grab a couple of pictures. Or at least be reachable.

Last week, while driving home from an event, I wanted to call my wife and let her know I was running late. My phone had died, so I charged it up as fast as I could. After getting it up to 5%, I tried to make a call and after a couple of rings, the phone died. At her end, it was the husband she hadn’t heard from trying to reach her and then suddenly be gone. She called a couple of times but of course, I had a dead phone.

Victoria is the proud owner of two iPhones, one for work and one for personal. Both go an entire day without recharging.

So, I decided to see what my options were at the T-Mobile store. I could have gone the way of an iPhone 7, but then I was buying a dependable option from 2015. Or, since I don’t change them up every year, I could go with one of the latest and have it satisfy my technology urges for at least a couple of years.

I’m one of those who loves the new toys and, being electronics, I’m sure this is on the ragged edge of a business expense. (consult your tax professional) But I had reached the point of seriously wanting a phone that could consistently show signs of life. A phone that could get email and take pictures. Bottom line–that worked.

And so, sorry Samsung.  Nextel, you would have gone away anyway. I have joined the Apple nation and am excited about being able to take beautiful pictures, constantly check my social media and email accounts and completely ignore everyone around me.

I have officially surrendered to the Apple Army and am looking very forward to my new adventures.

Tim Hunter

Thanks, Mr. Allen

My phone lit up like a Christmas tree today when the news came out that Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, had finally lost his battle with cancer.

Celebrities and well-known figures pass all the time.  After John McCain’s recent passing, we experienced a huge national send-off, with praise coming from both sides of the aisle. We were reminded about what a great man he was. Paul was equally great, but in different ways and his departure has hit home with me for a lot of reasons.

I’ll rattle off a few–he helped co-create Microsoft, which is a part of my every day life. He was a Northwest guy who did things to make his home town a better place. He developed the South Lake Union area of Seattle with more on the way.  He was the owner of the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers. His love of music and pop culture resulted in “the Blob” at the Seattle Center, formerly the Music Experience Project, now a museum known as MoPop. The resident radio station, KEXP, is the frequency he bought from the University of Washington after I graduated from there. Back in my day, it was 90.5-KCMU, which is where I first began my decades-long love affair with radio.

I knew someone that played in his rock band. This friend would get a phone call and it would be Paul, asking, “You wanna fly down to Portland tonight and catch the Blazers game?”  We heard about his yacht, his toys, his companies, his passions. But on top of it all, he loved his music.

Paul Allen’s passing hits me particularly hard because he’s just two years older than yours truly. That’s just too young. It seems like a lot of the conversations I’m having lately with my friends and family have to do with retirement. How do you know when to pull the trigger? What’s the smartest thing to do to be prepared for it? Do you wait and work longer or call it quits at 65 and enjoy whatever you have left of this life?

We had heard about Paul Allen’s battle with cancer before. It went into remission and then, it returned. When you think about it, if there was anyone who would be able to have access to the latest science and technology at any price, it would have been him. He was recently ranked as the 46th richest person in the world, with a worth of $20.3-billion.

I never met Paul Allen. From friends who did know him, he was a very private person. He did what he had to publicly, but preferred privately living his life. The time we are allotted on this rock is all we get and, as I’ve said before, 65 years just doesn’t seem long enough.

But if that’s all he was going to be given, he really made his time count. If there’s one thing I have to express my appreciation for is bringing a Super Bowl winning team to this town.

Mr. Allen, you will be remembered. Thank you for all you did for your home town and the Pacific Northwest.

Tim Hunter

 

 

Here’s to a Successful Failure

I was chatting with a Millennial the other day, the much-maligned generation that some say feel entitled or simply expect everything to just go their way. And when it doesn’t, it’s “not fair.”

Now, while you’ll see that sentiment a lot online, I actually know of several very hard-working M’s that demonstrate a lot of the driven qualities I possessed at that age. However, in my conversation the other day, I was encouraging a certain person to pursue their dream. Not adjusting your dream to increase your odds of doing something, but taking a few chances, risking enough that you could fail. And they would have nothing of it.

When I suggested that they pursue one of the career paths they were interested in, this 20-something said, “Oh, that probably won’t happen. I want to concentrate on the sure things that I know will happen.” Translation–I’ll settle for certainty, even if it means minimum wage from now until I retire.

Unacceptable.

My head almost exploded with thoughts Not just what came to mind regarding my philosophy on the topic, but also the experiences I’ve had over the years.  From the 50,000-foot level, you could think, “Boy, that Tim is one lucky guy! He is actually living his dream, doing what he wants to do, the way he wants to do it.”

I would agree, but with a caveat.

I made it to this level of my life thanks to one thing: failures. Things that didn’t happen, that didn’t turn out the way I wanted, or things that were going well that just blew up.

I remembered being asked to be the featured speaker at Canyon Park Junior High School a long time ago. I wanted to say something to these kids that would actually matter. So, I did an entire speech about failure and not being afraid to try for what you believe in. My own kids probably heard my Ken Griffey, Jr. analogy a million times while they were growing up. “You know that amazing catch he just made? Oh, he could have thought that there was no way he’d ever catch that ball as it almost made it over the fence, but he tried and he succeeded.  How many times before that did he try to catch a home run ball and miss it? Every single time. But eventually, trying succeeded.”

In my speech to the grads, I brought up some of the greatest failures in history, as well as their generation. Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney and others were major failures…until they succeeded. Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and so many others starred in horrible TV series, some that were canceled after only one episode. But they got back out there and kept going.

I can’t even begin to tell you about the many, many projects that I was involved with over the years, that I thought for sure would be my big success story. There was an audio tape tour of Edmonds that I recorded; an Inspector Gadget computer game, where I was a cheaper alternative to Don Adams who didn’t charge $1-million; project after project that I did with the hope this would be the big payoff, which never happened.

Truth be told, you can do anything you want in this world. You can achieve whatever it is you desire. What most of the Millennials (and really, everyone, for that matter) don’t realize is that the biggest obstacle in the way of you being hugely successful is one person: you.

I do a great variety of things, not for monetary gain, but because I believe they are positive contributions to this swirling rock.  And I know that, for every one of me, there’s another person strictly focused on the monetary gain that determines if they come out the winner.

Once you decide which side of that fence you’re going to reside on, the rest is easy. If you try something beyond your comfort zone and fail, you will grow and, you’ll have at least tried. I can’t believe I’m bringing this up again (for like the third time in the past couple of days) but I hear that what people think about most on their deathbed is not what they did, but what they didn’t do.

So, take a swing. Believe in yourself. If you fail, congratulations. You’ve just gained a valuable education without racking up any college debt as a result. Your biggest growth will occur once you’ve gotten past the fear of failure.

Get out there and fail at something, would ya?

Tim Hunter

STOMPING THROUGH MEMORY LANE

Between you and me, time management has been a serious struggle lately. I’m coming to the realization that all the coffee’s and lunches I so leisurely took in-between my assorted work duties  will need to be cut back to better accommodate my little return-to-radio dream. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and while I’m having a blast, in order to be at my best in everything I’m involved with, I’ve really got to slow down and focus.

To that end, I got that wonderful “caught up” feeling the other night and decided to celebrate by going through the piles of papers that had collected beside my desk. The piles were made up of things I wanted to take a closer look at, when I ‘had time’.  So, Tuesday night, I made time.

I followed up with some emails to people that I had promised to get back to, sent out some monthly invoices and found a few mementos I had fished out of one of the boxes under our house. I have several of those boxes and when recently rummaging through one of them, I yanked a couple of fun things out.

The student ID was from my Junior year at Torrance High School, the Mighty Tartars. (that was our mascot) The hair was getting longer than I’m sure my parents preferred and I started parting it in the middle. (what a goof!)  Just to the right of that is a KQOT car window sticker, from my first professional radio station, a daytimer over in Yakima, Washington. After unsuccessfully trying to land a job working in Seattle radio right out of college, I opted to move to eastern Washington to cut my radio teeth. I remember that job interview to this day. I sat there with the owner and office manager, talked for a while and then they said, “Let’s hear how you sound.”  We walked into the control room, the owner told the guy to get out of the way so I could take over for an hour. They then went out and drove around, listening to me on a car radio, deciding if I was the right fit for the station. I was nervous as hell, but somehow, they liked what they heard. I got the job at Q93 for a whopping $350 a month to start and then, if I worked out after a couple of months, it would get bumped up to $400. Who said a college education wasn’t worth something?

But the item in the upper right corner was a surprise. I didn’t even realize I had pulled it out with the other things. That’s the inside of a Thank You note from the Student Activities Director at Torrance High, Mr. Tryon. During my terms as a Senior President and A.S.B. Vice-President, I’m sure I gave him many gray hairs.  Those years grow more distant by the day, but I seem to recall that I irritated him a lot. I was a goofball and probably not what he thought of when he thought of student leadership.

But on my way out, he gave me a Thank You note. I probably haven’t read it for over 40 years and I actually didn’t intend to pull it out of the memory box, but I accidentally grabbed in with the other stuff. The picture above is a little blurry, but here’s what it said:

“June 12th, 1973 (probably a high holy day to him, as I was finally graduating and leaving campus)

Tim,

Who says vaudeville is dead?  Just that you have such a perfect sense of timing is no reason to believe your (sp, and he was an educator) destined to become a second Harpo or was it Groucho? Keep yourself well, OK.

Respectfully, Mr. Tryon”

Here’s a guy that I thought pretty much was annoyed by me (and he still probably was) but he saw that whatever I was going to do in my future was going to have to do with making people laugh. There is not a greater high for me. When I ran for Senior President, I actually had a script that was one-liner after one-liner, including such groaners as, “My opponent has the face of a saint!” after which a friend in the audience yelled out, “Yeah, a St. Bernard!” That incident pretty much sealed my deal. Over the years, hearing the comedy roar of a joke that works, creating jokes for my various comedy clients and those 8 years of actually selling jokes to Jay Leno and hearing them delivered on the Tonight Show, all combine to make me remember I’m one lucky guy.

Life is not about the accomplishments, but about doing what you love to do and then, oh yeah, it happens to be your job, too.

Each week, as I sit down to write one of these blogs, I seriously never know where the muses are going to take me until I start tapping away on the keyboard.  Occasionally, there are weeks where I sit down with an agenda. But in this week’s case,  I took an accidental stroll Memory Lane and what a fun little stroll it was.

Tim Hunter

Norm!!!!

That’s a yell that was reserved for a beloved member of the cast of “Cheers” on TV. But if you said that four-letter word among Seattle radio aficionados, there would be only one.
Norm Gregory passed away this past week. In this Amazon/Starbucks/Google version of Seattle, his name may not mean much to the techies. But Norm’s presence on the Seattle airwaves will long be alive among those who were lucky enough to hear him back “in the day.”

I first became familiar with his style and voice while I was in the School of Communications at the University of Washington. While I was setting myself up for a career in this field, I was listening to Norm live my dream.

You see, Norm Gregory, as much as he would argue against it, was a legend in this market. He was a familiar voice on KJR-AM, helped launch KJR-FM, was a presence on KZOK and eventually found his way to afternoon drive on KOMO-AM. That’s where I had the good fortune to meet him.

Now, I worked with a local radio legend. This was back in the days when I was the producer for the Larry Nelson Morning Show on KOMO, and Norm entered the scene when the station and their afternoon host Don Chapman parted ways. First off, I liked Don. Unfortunately, he was on the irresponsible side and probably never should have used that station credit card to fill up his boat, but his gravely voice and those Husky Hooper Bus Rides are pressed in my memory forever.

When Norm arrived at KOMO, it was a major leap for that MOR (Middle of the Road) station. I mean, here was this “rock” voice smoothly talking to the conservative masses in a style unfamiliar to their current audience, but it was a voice I was well familiar with. I remember getting some phone calls and letters who first thought of his style as “growling” and “arrogant”, but I recognized it as the sound of the cool, hip and all-knowing voice of the next generation. My generation.

I worked mornings as Larry’s producer, Norm was afternoons. Understand that, at a radio station, those two dayparts are worlds apart. As I told his brother, Brian, I was once assigned to be Norm’s producer when KOMO (because we were the Husky station) was lucky enough to be the local radio station for the final four when it visited Seattle in 1984. I showed up to help Norm; he didn’t need it. He was a self-contained jock, with sheets of show-prep he had written so that he was prepared his way for the broadcast. I handed him my stuff and just watched.

In radio, there are three types of broadcasters–the Self-Absorbed Super Jocks, the middle-of-the-road nice guys (and gals) and the quiet, inward types who turned it on with the mike switch. While Norm may have come off as the Super Jock, he was very quiet and inward. He was all about doing radio the way he felt it should be done and was a presence on the Seattle airwaves we won’t see again. Guarantee it.

Nice obit in the Seattle Times that’s worth a read.

One of the great voices in Seattle radio has gone silent.

Tim Hunter

100 MPH

 

Yep, I knew it was going to be challenging and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

First off, seriously, if you have not checked out my newest radio station yet, you have to do that. Now, I’m going to assume the bulk of you reading this right now are outside of the Everett area.  If so, there are so many ways for you to listen to KRKO.

Let’s start with Alexa. If you have one of those Amazon devices, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to listen. Just say, “Alexa, play KRKO” and you’ll start getting the music.

To listen on any device–computer, tablet, or phone–just go to KRKO.com and click LISTEN LIVE. It’s that easy.

Just a reminder, I’m on from 6-9am, Monday through Friday and not a lot. Top of the hour ID and three times an hour for a couple of minutes each break. But that allows us to get in more of the songs.  So many of these songs were abandoned by the Seattle stations and we’re actually playing them and a lot. I was just chatting with the consultant, Terry Patrick (the voice you hear identifying each of the songs) and I had to tell him I’m still hearing songs for the first time. That is, ones I haven’t heard anywhere else for eons.

Hey, we’re small-town radio. We feature the High School game of the week on Friday nights and carry minor-league baseball and hockey games, but that’s what really appealed to me. This is sincere radio,  the way we all expected the medium to be when we got into this business.  The staff has been very welcoming to me and is doing everything they can to help me make this work. I wanted to play in radioland again, but not put my current career on hold. So, I’ve added one more thing to my crazy schedule, all in the name of fun.

So, I’ll ask–if you would like to play, if you’d be up for me to call you up some day and drag you into a conversation just let me know. Drop me a note and the best time you’re available for calling to tim.hunter@krko.com and I’ll definitely take you up on the offer.

The first couple of weeks have been challenging. My main computer crashed last Saturday, so I ordered a new one while I turned the old one over to the Geek Squad folks at Best Buy. Amazon failed me, saying they would deliver it on Sunday by 8pm…then 9pm….then promising it no later than TUESDAY!  Fortunately, the folks at Best Buy came through and got my existing computer up and running in time to record Tuesday’s show.

If stress shaves a few seconds off your life, I could go at any minute. I will say, it’s a bit of an adjustment to go from a fairly stress-free routine to a daily high-anxiety setting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Again, KRKO is on 1380AM and 95.3-FM, but mainly only in the Everett area. You can get a scratchy AM signal in Seattle, but I’d highly recommend streaming via KRKO.com  It’s the new way of listening to the radio, without all the static that comes with FM.

It’s that small town radio station I thought I would work at one day again, with occasional glitches here and there….but I’m loving it.

Tim Hunter

It’s Actually Happening

Four years ago, I rolled the dice big-time, gave up a nice-paying but not rewarding job to pursue my professional dreams. I could have easily crashed and burned and found myself working with former Cosby cast members at Trader Joe’s, but the crazy plan actually worked.

My goal was to create a working situation where–

  • I was doing what I wanted to be doing with people I liked
  • Earning enough to cover the bills, with a little left over
  • Create a balance of all the things I love, so I’d be able to keep doing it until I retired

Later this month, I crack the 63-year-old mark, so retirement is within sight. However, my definition of retirement is probably different than most. That will probably just mean thinning out the list of the many things I do, eliminating the less-rewarding and focusing my efforts on just the fun stuff.

Right now, I have my own creative services company, work for Create Impulse as their Chief Creative Officer, emcee events like this week’s Lutefisk Eating Contest at the Fishermen’s Fall Festival (I believe this is the 15th Lutefisk eating competition I’ve emceed), write for Radio-Online every morning, aim jokes at my various comedy clients and produce videos. I churn out a weekly Ima Norwegian cartoon, a podcast, write a blog and consult several clients. Then pile on top of all those things the duties and activities that come with being involved with ten or so clubs and organizations, and you could say I’m one busy person. But I like busy and when my schedule is mostly made up of things I love, what else would I rather be doing?

But underneath it all, I’ve had this need to do one thing that has been missing from my life for 15 years. Radio.

Seriously, I was thinking that one day, we’d move to a smaller town somewhere and I would latch on to the local small-town station just to satisfy my craving. Remember, I spent over 30 years of my life in the biz, and when it decided to push me away, I embraced developing new skills and pursuing other goals. That I have done.

I can now direct, shoot and edit videos and commercials, thus adding a nice collection of abilities to my skillset. But here’s the crossroads I came to: Radio is and has always been fairly unstable. Formats change, program directors love you or hate you, it’s entirely possible to come off a great show and be told that you’re done. I know. It’s happened.

Which begs the question, “Why would I risk all that I’ve developed to plunge back into the unstable world of radio?” I’d welcome the return, but not by risking everything I’ve built up. After all, been there, done that. So if I were to venture back on the airwaves, it would have to be a perfect fit and be able to be piled on to everything else I’m already doing. Are there enough hours in the day? I believe so, for the right situation.

Over the years, I’ve reached out and talked with Andy Skotdal who own’s Everett’s KRKO. He knew me from my Seattle work and was always interested in connecting. But I didn’t want to start something there, only to realize a month or two later, this isn’t what I really wanted to do. At one time, he was thinking a news station with me doing mornings. Not really my thing. I’m a goofball, you know that. Then, they went into the Sports Radio arena and, again, not for me.

Then, earlier this summer, they flipped to a music station. And not just a regular music station, but what they call “Everett’s Greatest Hits” which amounted to the songs I used to play on the radio. A few 60s, mostly 70s and some 80s. Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John. And, with an up-tempo feel.

Chuck Maylin, formerly of KBSG (the great Seattle oldies station that is no more) and veteran consultant Terry Patrick have created one fine-sounding station that, for now, didn’t have a morning personality.

Today, that changes.

I initially reached out to them to maybe track out an afternoon shift or weekend, just to satisfy my radio Jones. (not to be confused with Jones radio)  They were interested, but had someone internally for mornings and if they were to add an afternoon voice, it would be a “down the line” thing.

Then, the guy who was to host mornings parted ways with the station. So they had a need.

We talked and agreed to make this happen, but not until after my recent Norway trip. It just wouldn’t make sense to start on the air, and then disappear for a couple of weeks.

So, today, Monday, September 10th, I begin a new chapter in my broadcasting career. I’ll be hanging out at 1380-AM and 95.3-FM from 6-9am Monday through Friday. I would highly recommend streaming the station, which you can do easily with one click at KRKO.com.

I am incredibly blessed, because I’m going to get to enjoy playing radio again, on a small-town, local-owner radio station, while continuing to live my big-city life.  Here are a few of my fellow KRKO-kateers, excited to hear I was joining the team.

OK, well, mildly intrigued might be a better description.

Everett’s Greatest Hits, here I come.

Tim Hunter

 

Norway My Way

I just came back from a whirlwind tour of Norway from Bergen to places I can’t pronounce, to more places I can’t pronounce, then Oslo and over to Tau near Stavanger.

Now, anyone can take you on a normal tour of that beautiful country. I thought I’d offer up some of the more unusual sights I enjoyed during our trip.

One the places we passed on our walk through Bergen.

 

What I say, but I took along my 12th Man flag. Go Hawks!

I thought about stopping by and saying hi for a spell, but we kept moving.

 

Actually, a mom and her son.

 

Some Norwegian forest wisdom.

 

I got your fruit display right here.

 

No matter how hard you try, you can’t make dried cod eye-appealing.

 

I believe this was an ad for a Norwegian rapper, Snoop Lass.

 

If you want to know how to pronounce it correctly, consider it a question: Who’s Fleeden?

I don’t know how you can get more Norwegian than Omar’s Pizza.

Yes, there’s a ski jumper there. They were landing on soaked-down grass.

 

If you go with color codes, you can ignore the labels.

Yes, they have their own version of “Idol.”

 

                             This is to warn drivers to be careful because some Norwegian kid could be                        walking their toy slug and not notice you.

 

Nothing says freshness like a duck.

 

Get out of the city and you’ll see that Norwegians are seriously into rock stacking.

I was asked to sit down here so both ends of the horse could be represented. Uh, wait….

By the way, for those of you wondering, this trip paled in comparison when it came to taking photos. My first visit to Norway, I took over 4800 pictures using three different cameras.  This time, using my main camera and my phone, I only snapped 2,341 pictures.  I’m making progress.

Tim Hunter

My Thoughts On A Major Issue

I hate to get too political in my little corner of the Internet, but something happened during our vacation that violated my rights and which forces me to speak up.

It’s time for all airlines to protect our rights as passengers to be able to put a piece of carry-on luggage over our own seats.

Yes, I know it’s a pretty strong statement, but here’s what happened. Our little five person travel group took up five of the six seats on a row of our Iceland Air flight back home to Seattle. By the time we were allowed to board, we walked down the aisle only to find that both sides of the overhead space above row 13 was already full. I mean jammed packed!  The other person that completed our row hadn’t even shown up yet! But the greedy passengers surrounding us had already grabbed our space.

That’s just wrong. We ended up having to wedge in our packages and coats into the space behind us, which made exiting the jet that much more challenging when the flight was over.

C’mon! At today’s prices, you should be guaranteed at least a little of the space over your own aisle.  I didn’t pay a discounted price. Oh, sure, I could have tossed out the bags over our aisle, but I didn’t to cause an International incident. We’ve got enough people doing that these days.

Am I asking too much? Am I over-reacting due to jet lag? Probably. I’m tired.

Tim Hunter

Dodged a Bullet

Well, these days, bullets pretty much fly everywhere, so let me rephrase that. I just went through an experience where there were a lot of red flags, but I just kept going and it all worked out. Let’s see if you would do the same.

Let me begin by saying I’m frugal. “Cheap” is such a harsh word. Frugal sounds more wise, that you’re being Ben Franklin-ish. “A penny saved is a penny earned”, that sort of thing.

So, when I was shopping the Internet recently to find the best rate on a rental car, I came across a lot of deals. One company I had rented from before and their pickup location was in the back of a hotel. A bit weird. And the last time I rented from this other one, the car smelled smokey. We get enough of that in Seattle.

It’s why this company I had never heard of before sounded like a new low-cost winner–Right Car. I looked ’em up online and they existed (it wasn’t an online scam), they were world-wide and headquartered in Canada. Canadians are trustworthy, right? So, off I wandered down the path of renting from them.  The reservation was made, I printed out the paperwork and we were set.

The big day came to fly to Los Angeles to celebrate mom’s 90th birthday. RIght Car was to have a Volkswagen Jetta waiting for us and we’d be off to mom’s.  Our jet landed at 10:30am, taxied until around 11am, we grabbed our bags and headed to the waiting area as described on the paperwork. And waited. And waited. Now, in Right Car’s defense, how were they to know that a moron would park his car at the airport with a bunch of movie prop grenades and guns which caused police to shut down Terminal One and put the airport into gridlock?  Needless to say, 45 minutes passed before the Green Line Bus arrived. Oh, yes, lots of other companies drove by (and several times) during that time, but Right Car didn’t have their own pickup shuttle. At least that came to the airport. We were told to take a city bus which delivered us to a parking lot around a half-mile away.

Apparently, this is a new thing. Rental car companies are popping up left and right, to cash in on all the people coming and going from a major airport. At this parking lot, there was a sign that said, “Right Car”, so we waited by it. One of the drivers who worked for another one of these pop-up rental places told us we had just missed their van.

So, we waited again. And waited. And waited.  One of the other people waiting with us decided to walk it, since it was under a mile away. We gave it 45 minutes until I summoned a Lyft, which took us to the car rental facilities in around 10 minutes for $7.

And this is where we arrived.

 

Uh, yeah.

The building looked like something that Steve Martin would use to operate a movie production company, like in “Bowfinger.” Inside, a make-shift office with employees that seemed to know what they were doing. We did the paperwork and then headed out to the car. Everything seemed fine. Some nicks and scratches were noted. Nice trunk space. Then I closed the trunk and saw the license plate.

Yes. A paper license plate, printed out on someone’s computer. My theories were either the car was stolen, or the license plate had been. I went with the lesser and assumed this poor rental company had a license plate stolen from the car and they needed to keep it out there to make money.

What added a nice layer of “What’s going to happen next?” was that I lost my driver’s license at Sea Tac airport somewhere between the TSA check point and the gate of our flight.  Fortunately, I had my passport with me, so I could get to where I needed to go. Then again, I drove around L.A. all weekend without a driver’s license in a car that had a paper license on it. Yeah, I was pushing it.

When we went to the rental place to return the car on Monday, we discovered they didn’t open until 8am. And that was a slow process. We were finally able to turn the car in by 8:15. However, the driver apparently overslept and their van was not yet available. I got out the Lyft app, just in case. But she eventually arrived, we made it to the airport in time for a flight and there was a happy ending.

In the end, I have to admit, I dodged a bullet. There were so many things that could have gone wrong, and I ignored quite a few red flags. After arriving at SeaTac we headed straight to their wonderful Lost & Found department, where they had my driver’s license. It either fell when I was at TSA or someone turned it into them.

What have I learned? Stick to the reputable companies. It’s taken three such misadventures, but this one cured me. Yes, it’ll cost a little more, but the extra money you pay will reduce the stress of the experience which I believe will give you a couple of extra minutes on this earth in the long run.

And besides, when you stick to one of the major companies, they throw in real license plates on your rental at no extra charge.

Tim Hunter

 

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #176

A virtual treasure trove of bits from the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days. An environment feature, we take you camping, you’ll hear a mash of the TV “Boot Camp” with Elmo from Sesame Street, and even what a MH&A PlayStation game sounds like. Sure.

They Really Were Some Pretty Good Old Days

Last Sunday, I got to enjoy a wonderful stroll down Memory Lane. I gathered with friends from my college days, when I was living in a dorm named Terry Hall that no longer exists at the University of Washington.
You’re saying, “Oh, Tim, they still have a Terry Hall at the University of Washington.” Different one. They tore down the building I lived in for three amazing years back in 2014. When the last of the students moved out in December of 2013, the Seattle Police actually used the building for SWAT Team training before the wrecking ball showed up to do its work.

Taking me back to my time at the original Terry Hall means going back over 40 years ago. That’s weird. Growing up, when my parents talked about 40 years ago, that would have been referring to the Great Depression and pre-World War II.  But here I am now, in this 60-year-old body with a mind that thinks he’s still 35, reminiscing about those days in the 1970s like they were yesterday.

Terry Hall was my first experience at living away from home. It’s where I learned that if you spend too much time being lovesick over a girl from your home town, you could end up with a $112 phone bill. Yes, kids, there was a time where long-distance calls actually cost money. I was attending school at the UW, but my social world was this building full of other kids who had left the nest and were reinventing themselves into the people they wanted to become.  I arrived in Seattle as a black-belt in goofball (no surprise to my high school friends) but being away at college allowed me to be a goofball on steroids. A few examples? Oh, sure.

Like I said, no surprises there.

These were the transition years. Going from a kid whose parents provided a safety net to being a semi-adult with full adult responsibility. There was so much learning going on, both in and out of school. The three years I lived in Terry Hall pretty much shaped my future. The high school girlfriend I was supposed to marry decided to set a new course. A guy down the hall, Bob Carey, gets full credit for telling me about the broadcasting program at the U-Dub. I remember thinking, “You could play on the radio and learn about television and call that a major? Done deal!”

Each of the people at the reunion triggered different memories. There was Erika, the girl from Germany, who once tried to teach me skiing. Jen and Abdoul, who both ended up working for a local city. My long-time pal, Steve, who knows more incriminating things about me than anyone should. Even my old roommate, Les showed up. That was a treat. Les and I ventured away from the dorms my senior year of college, to a funky house in the Fremont district of Seattle. That house still stands and is now actually a barbecue place. Seriously, this was our home.

We remembered classmates who weren’t there and wondered what they were up to. Who was still around? Who is about to retire? Who has already retired?

I got to meet spouses and hear about their kids. It was a small group, but with all the value of a big fancy class reunion.  These were people I saw every day, that became a part of my life. They were the folks I would look for, when sitting down in the cafeteria and with whom I worked with in the kitchen. That picture of me up above in the white hat? That was taken when I had the dorm kitchen job of milk runner, where it was my responsibility to make sure none of the milks ever ran out. I was also a fry cook and on egg days, I would cook around 1200 eggs or flip 1500 pancakes in the morning for breakfasts.

Get me going and there’s a movie’s worth of stories that, maybe, someday I’ll write down. In the meantime and for now, they’re alive and well up in my brain. A few of the forgotten ones were knocked loose again last weekend. We all agreed, we HAVE to do this again sometime soon. Those really were some good old days.

The hardest part about pulling off one of these mini-reunions? Yes, all those various schedules make it a challenge. But the most difficult part is admitting that everything we talk about happened over 40 years ago.

That’s hard.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #175

Lots of MH&A fun from the KLSY days, including the winner of a Ski Boat Marathon competition, Alice’s crutch phrase being brought to light, what a sports broadcast sounds like when it’s over-sponsored and several of Michael Jackson’s phone messages on his 30th Anniversary hotline (which does sound remarkably a lot like me sped up). Hang on!

One Last Lesson

My former morning show partner used to always say, “It’s a pretty poor day when you don’t learn something.”

I usually followed that by saying to myself, “Well, how about learning a new slogan?”

Over the years, I’ve found that more true than not.

A quick side-diversion–that’s what I like so much about the game of baseball. You think you know everything there is to know about the sport and then all of a sudden a situation occurs or a play happens that has never happened before. And you pick up one more wrinkle in the grey matter.

My head is pretty jammed full of stuff. I’ve heard before that we keep shoving things in there until it gets full, and then we start letting go of the lesser important things. I don’t know about that. I can still arbitrarily let you know that the intro time of James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face” is 25-seconds and really, it begins to fade around 2:15, although the time listed on the label is 2-minutes and 25-seconds. I’m an information junkie and, being a writer for Radio-Online and getting up at 4am every morning to gather data, it still excites me to learn something new.

This is where I bring in Marjorie. The quick connect is that she’s my sister-in-law’s mom.  When I married Victoria and added her extended family, I got to know Marjorie while taking in the many family events. We’d banter briefly about how she was doing, what’s new, the usual small talk.  Several years ago, I helped her out a couple of times with her computer. She was eager to know how to use it and keep up with emails, even though a lot of 80-year-olds were happy to not have anything to do with those contraptions.

Over the past couple of years, Marjorie has had some real health battles. A couple of weekends ago, she had to be rushed to the hospital and everyone thought they were going to lose her.  But, as she had done several times before, she rallied.  However, this time, Marjorie made it known she was done. No more hospitals for her. She wanted to get back into her apartment and not leave until her final breath.

Just last year, we celebrated her 90th birthday. In a fairly short amount of time, she needed the help of a cane and walker. She was tired of struggling to keep going. She decided she was done and had no interest whatsoever in wrapping things up at a hospital. So, she put out the word and night after night, her family and friends came over to say goodbye.  Not teary-eyed crying sessions (although, I’m sure there were a few weepy eyes) but spending one last time together, getting to hug the great-grandkids one more time or see a longtime friend. Although, by this age, you’ve outlasted a lot of those.

Last Thursday night, my wife, her daughter and I headed up to Marjorie’s apartment and hung out for a while.  A couple of hours, maybe. She did not appear in pain and, to be honest, when we left there, we all wondered if this was really it. She was lucid, talkative, laughed, and freely discussed all the goodbyes of the past week. Marjorie was planning to check out and so if you wanted to say one last goodbye as if to someone going on a long trip, you were encouraged to stop by.

Friday came and went. On Saturday morning at 4am, Marjorie headed off on her trip.

She told us during our visit that she had been having recurring dreams where a bus kept pulling up and invited her to get on board. She wanted to know where it was going, but they wouldn’t say. So, she didn’t get on.

Maybe this time they told her. Or, she just decided to finally take them up on their offer.

Marjorie did it her way and so impressively. The goodbyes, checking out when she was ready, tying up the loose ends and moving on in her time. I’m looking up from my keyboard at the “In Loving Memory” card of my dad who went home to his creator exactly three years ago today. He was just shy of his 92nd birthday.

We’re never really ever ready to let our loved ones go, but from their point of view, they eventually hit a point of wanting to move on. I get that. We do that all the time with friends, social circles, cars, jobs and such. You hit a point, and you recognize that it’s time to make a change. It makes sense that we’ll all feel that way at some stage of our lifetime where you just say, “Hey, I’m getting on that bus.”

I helped Marjorie out a couple times with her computer, but she got in the last lesson. She demonstrated the art and style of going out your way. Well done.

Tim Hunter

Always Go For The Fences

The easiest thing in the world is to just say, “Oh, it’ll never happen.” And when you have that attitude, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it won’t.

I like to take swings. To go deep. To push until I hit my comfort zone and then go a little further. With over six decades of living behind me, I guess I always have.

So when we were thinking about things to try and do for my mom’s 90th birthday bash coming up later this month, we came up with the usual, “Oh, we should ask the president to….” and we stopped. Yeah, I suppose, technically, it would be cool to hear from any president. I suppose. I guess.

Then we got to thinking about people my mom has admired and rising to the immediate top–entertainer Carol Burnett. As I have blogged before, we watched a lot of her shows in the home I grew up in. After I was gone, “Mama’s Family” was a big favorite that continued her appearances on mom’s TV.

I started the wheels spinning, fired up Google and put in, “How to get Carol Burnett’s autograph” and several things came up, but one site in particular. It was the address of her agent. On the site, it said that Carol actually grants these requests. All you needed to do was include a stamped envelope and what you wanted her to sign and she would get to it when she could. I read a couple of reviews and all were positive, but there were comments about how long it could have taken. One fan had written in February and didn’t see it until December. That got me to thinking.

What could I do to make my request stand out? As I have told you before, in the freakiest of coincidences, a guy I went to high school with in Torrance, California, grew up and MARRIED Carol. Seriously, he was the drummer for the CBS orchestra, they got to know each other over all those years, clicked and got married. That’s when I dug out my high school year book, the one from my senior year, which included a picture of Carol’s husband when he was just a sophomore in high school.

Thank you, Brian, because that might have greased the skids.

I put in the request several weeks ago and, to be honest, had forgotten all about it. Then, last Saturday night when talking with my mom, she asked if I had gotten Carol’s autograph for her.  Go figure–I was really expecting it to not come in for months and here it arrived weeks before her birthday.

Yet, another example of, you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Now to see if either President Trump or former President Obama can keep up with Carol. I’ll let you know.

Tim Hunter

 

Another Box Checked

I drove up from Southern California in the fall of 1973. I was doing one of the many ‘rolls of the dice’ in my lifetime, giving up what I knew for adventures in an exciting new place. My best friend in high school, Greg “Tank” Lucas, was heading to the University of Washington after escaping from Torrance High School. His parents had a vacation place on the Hood Canal, and when Tank graduated, they were heading north to call it home. They were kind enough to allow me to tag along.

I had been up to the Seattle area summer before and fell in love with the Northwest. It was so green. I remember describing it to others as a place where you could live where we would go camping. Kudos to my parents who supported my leaving the nest so far behind and allowing me to head to the place I have called home now for 45 years. I’ve spent almost 75% of my life in the northwest, some east of the mountains in Yakima, but mostly in Seattle.

Yet, it’s amazing that you can spend so much time here and never get around to doing things you’d do if you were a tourist in the Emerald City. One of those on my imaginary list was visiting the gravesite of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon. Another was to get over to Sand Point and experience the Soundgarden, for whom the Seattle band was named. I checked both of those off last year.

This year, I had planned to finally get around to visiting the grave of the legendary Jimi Hendrix. I was making my way through this very intermittent week–busy,  slow, busy, busy, slow–when I saw a gap and made a dash for it.  I got on I-5 and it was a crawl, eventually breaking loose at I-90. But after crossing the bridge, I headed south on I-405 that was also at a snail’s pace. This was not going to be easy.

45 minutes after leaving home, I arrived at Renton’s Greenwood Cemetery. Technically Renton, yes, but right on the outskirts of Newcastle. I expected an older, more run-down graveyard hosting a rock star that passed away in 1970, but it was actually very well kept and Jimi’s gravesite was more a monument.


As when you heard his music, as I stood at this mini-temple, I felt as if I were near greatness. Thinking about it, there really had been a calling for me to visit. I was listening to Dori Monson the other day talking to one of the Isley Brothers, who claim they gave Jimi his first gig. I remember Pat O’Day’s great story how Jimi brought his guitar and amp to one of the concerts he was promoting and when an amp on-stage blew, Hendrix offered his to the band if he could get up on stage.  Just today in the early morning hours, a friend had posted an early Hendrix music video. Everything just combined to say yes, I should be here.

People had left guitar picks and flowers. I’m sure as soon as I left, someone else would walk up and pay their respects. We never know how much time we’ll be given to do the things we need to do on earth. It’s as if Jimi knew his time would be short. All the accomplishments that continue to earn him praise all these years later were achieved by a young man who died at the age of 27.

I don’t know why it took me 45 years to get my butt over there, but I’m really glad I did. If they aren’t working on a Hendrix bio pic yet, they need to be. So, I can check that one off.

And now, to the next item on my list, once I think of it.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #173

 

Some fun moments from the Murdock, Hunter & Alice era of my days at KLSY.  You’ll hear Bill Swartz and Dan Murphy in our Gardening with Frisco feature, an interview with LeAnn Rimes, some Harry Potter madness and the time that Mr. Murdock fell into Tom Cruise.

 

 

The Other Jones

I have been extremely blessed to meet some amazing people over the years, not through any of my doing, but I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

During the early 1980s, through a series of coincidences and quick decisions, I ended up working as a morning show producer at KOMO radio at 4th & Denny in Seattle. It was during my tenure there as Larry Nelson’s producer that I got to meet people like Stan Boreson, Don James, the recently retired “Voice of the Huskies” Bob Rondeau, as well the famous folks who passed through the building from Steve Allen, Johnny Mathis and Patty Duke. Then there was the fun bunch from KOMO-TV down the hall–Dan Lewis, Kathi Goertzen, Ray Ramsey, Steve Pool, Ruth Walsh and so on.

Another fellow I had the good fortune to get to know was an engineer named Lloyd Jones. I can’t even begin to tell you what a great guy he was, on top of being a go-to engineer who settled for nothing less than perfection. Lloyd enjoyed working with wires, antennas, transmitters and all those electronic gizmo’s that keep a radio station on the air. Meanwhile, his brother, was often in the spotlight during that era–a guy by the name of Quincy Jones.

Yet, one more name to sneak in here before I turn things over: Keith Shipman. I got to know Keith when he was a fresh-faced graduate from WSU, who found himself being KOMO Radio’s 3rd sports guy. We had Bob Rondeau in the morning, Gary Johnson in the afternoon, and Keith cutting his teeth with reports on the sidelines during Husky games. Yep, a Cougar who found himself in Husky country.

Keith and I will always that fateful Friday morning in 1984 when the general manager called each of us into his office, one by one, to let us know we were being cut due to budget shortfalls. Yours truly, KOMO News Director Gary Stewart and Keith were all shown the door. Keith went on to being a TV sports guy over at Q13, worked a big at KJR and then headed off to Bend, Oregon, to run a radio chain there. Over time, he’s ascended to being the president of both the Oregon and Washington Associations of Broadcasting. He is one busy guy.

But not too busy to write this wonderful salute to Lloyd Jones last week, on the occasion of what would have been his birthday. After reading it, I had to share so that you could have the chance to meet Lloyd.

Rarely a day goes by when I don’t think of my friend Lloyd Jones. He passed away 20 years ago today, of cancer. Lloyd was the broadcast engineer for the Husky Football Radio Network from its flagship station KOMO-AM Seattle. He was a prince of a man. A Coug. An Air Force veteran. A lover of music. An extraordinary husband who loved his wife Gloria and adored his son Marlon. One damn fine broadcast engineer. He taught me many lessons about life. Because I took an interest in how radio waves made their way from a transmitter to a car he taught me some of the fundamentals of engineering. What’s FM stand for? “F**king Magic!” he would say. Whenever I put my hands in the back of a transmitter to troubleshoot or change a tube he was the angel on my shoulder reminding me not to electrocute myself (“always use the grounding stick, if you can find the damn thing!”). He attempted to teach me how to drink a scotch liquor – Lochan Ora – on Husky football charter flights – with no success. When my daughter was born he began sharing parenting lessons (“all boys are poison – remind her of that every day…..every….day”). His attention to detail was unparalleled. “This shit ain’t magic – you need time to set things up!” True in broadcasting, true in life. There are several other Lloyd-ism’s that aren’t fit for print, but make me laugh out loud every time I think of him. Shortly after he retired from KOMO in 1997 I learned that he had surgery, so I sent him flowers at home to cheer him up while he was recuperating. The phone rang at my desk at KCPQ-TV the next morning and Lloyd’s first words were “Shipman, I’ve waited 50 f**king years to get flowers….(long pause for effect)… and I get ’em from a guy!” We laughed our asses off for the next 45 minutes. I asked him what the surgery was for; he told me it was a hernia (it was cancer). The last time I saw Lloyd was at Bob & Molly Rondeau’s house not long before he passed away. They assembled members of past and present Husky football broadcast teams for a lovely dinner, and we all laughed and told the same old stories and laughed some more. He looked as handsome as ever that evening and though frail didn’t give us a hint of how ill he was. As Lloyd readied to leave he went around the room and said his goodbyes. When he got to me we embraced and he looked me in the eye and told me he loved me. I thanked him for being such a great friend and mentor and told him how much he meant to me. Never thought he would die. I cried a lot on July 13, 1998 after I learned of his death. We knew each other for 20 years – he played an profound role in my development as a young adult, and I am forever grateful that I was privileged to know him. Still miss him to this day. Lloyd would have been 83.

Thanks for sharing, Keith.

Tim Hunter

Oh-Oh….

Those of you who subscribe to my Tim Hunter Creative Services weekly newsletter know that I keep pretty busy. If you’d like to be dragged into those adventures, please just let me know and I’ll add you to the email list.

The point being, I’m busy and fully embrace that lifestyle. The majority of what I do is stuff I love. I’m writing, producing videos, comedy bits, crafting jokes for a ventriloquist, a comic strip and a political cartoonist, blogging, producing a weekly podcast, emceeing events, the occasional auction, etc. It’s a montage of things that I would choose to do for nothing, but they are actually generating an income. Go figure.

Yet, while I could easily just continue doing what I’m doing with plenty on my To-Do List, I’m giving serious thought to adding one more item. It’s a guilty pleasure and something I did for over 30 years. Now, I don’t want to jump back into that arena again full-time, because I’ve spent the past four years creating my current dream situation. But if somehow, I could get back and play a little bit on the radio again, I’d have to take that opportunity. If nothing else, to get it out of my system. Although, I truly believe, there is no known cure for radio.

There have been meetings, there have been talks. It’s possible that I’ll have an answer for you next week. I just want to make sure it’s a perfect fit, something that I could continue doing for a while and not just an experiment for a couple of months. I also have some travel on the horizon, but they said they would accommodate that.

So, let’s see what happens. I promise to let you know when I know.

Thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

The Last 4th of July

It’s been confirmed that the last of them will go away sometime in September. The week following the shutting down of the last Toys R Us, they announced that ten more Sears stores would be closing soon.

This will be the last 4th of July America can shop at Sears.

Sears & Roebuck, to be exact, although I think Mr. R had his name cut off a couple of years back. Younger readers may wondering, “Why the big deal?” and I can understand why you feel that way. I recently walked into the North Seattle store and was in there at least a solid 5 minutes before seeing anyone–customer or sales person.

To feel the way I do about Sears fading into history is because that store has been there all of my life and not just in the background.

Growing up, the Sears Christmas Catalog would come in the mail sometime after school started and begin fueling the dreams of what you wanted to ask Santa to bring this year. I’m talking full-color, half-inch thick, page after page stuffed with dolls, toys, race cars, trains, pogo sticks, you name it. It was Santa’s job to bring what we picked out, but Sears was kind enough to put everything into one, often-viewed catalog and let us know our possibilities. I’ve got a 1962 “Wish Book” as it was called back then that I will never let go.

There was a time that Sears was “Where America Shopped.” That was their slogan and it was the truth. My back-to-school shopping trips always took place at Sears because they offered “tough skin” jeans, with the extra layer of material on the knee, for boys who tended to wear them out. Little did I know at the time that I was predicting a fashion trend where pre-ripped jeans would go for $100 at Nordstrom. Sears also had those “Husky” sizes, for the beefier kids among us.

When dad needed a tool, of course he bought Craftsmen. That was the Sears brand with the lifetime guarantee. If your hammer, screwdriver, whatever ever broke, bring it back and Sears would give you a new one.

Sears holds a special place because it was just several blocks from our home and back then, we would often find ourselves over at the Del Amo Mall. It was their anchor store, where they had a garden shop and lawn mowers and color TV’s and stereos.  Sears had everything you needed. They had built that reputation since the early days, when they even sold homes. Yes, houses. Down in Ballard, there are quite a few “Craftsmen Homes” that were sold as kits.

One more thing. In my junior year at Torrance High School, because of my rah-rah involvement with school, etc., I was asked to become a member of the Sears Teen Fashion Board. THE WHAT?  They invited students to be on this board, which involved an occasional fashion show where we would model Sears clothes, they put our pictures up prominently in the store and gave us a couple of hours working. That was my first paid job outside of mowing lawns.  At first, I was a “floater”, which meant you could end up in Children’s Clothing (the department, not actually children’s clothing), Lawn & Garden, or Hardware. When you showed up, they put you where ever they were short employees.   In time, I became strictly Division 9–Hardware.  I knew the tools and when someone had a question, I could actually sound like I knew what I was talking about. It was during my tenure there that Sears converted from the old key cash registers to computerized versions and I became very good at that. I could ring up a sale and then wait a minute for the computer to catch up with me.

Some of my former Division 9 co-workers

Remember that lifetime guarantee Craftsmen tools offered? One time a customer came in holding on to an ancient-looking ratchet. Sure enough, even though he had it since 1947, we just gave him a new one. Yes, it was a different time. How different?  Shortly after I started working there, they began being open on Sundays, from noon to 5pm.

So, how could a company that had everything, where everyone shopped and felt at home from the moment they walked in and grabbed a bag of that free popcorn…how could they go away? The answer–very slowly.

Not enough attention was paid to what customers. There was competition. Loss of brand value, like in appliances. Kenmore was once a sign of the highest quality and dependability. That slowly faded away.

I stopped by the Southcenter Sears store today and it was depressing. Employees going through the motions, sales people trying to talk customers into getting a Sears credit card, knowing full well the store disappears in a couple of months. The visit helped me realize that’s probably my last time inside a Sears.  They just aren’t what they used to be.

Saying goodbye to a part of your life isn’t easy and it seems like these farewells are becoming more frequent. However, as it’s often pointed out, aging has its drawbacks, but it’s better than the alternative.

Tim Hunter

A Couple of Quick Life Hacks

Somehow I’ve avoided waxing philosophical for the past couple of blogs. However, now I’m suffering from wax buildup, so here are a couple of quick observations that hopefully, if you embrace them, just might improve your quality of life. Even just a little.

PRAYERS

For the most part, I’d have to say the majority of people I hang around have some kind of religious background and most live spiritual lives. Now, I’m not talking flame-throwing, trying-to-convert you types. Just people who have included God in their existence down here on earth.

It’s due to that exposure that, from the way outside, I’ve made this observation. When one of life’s negatives interferes with their lives–cancer, injuries, loss of job, divorce, whatever–they’re quick to request prayers for the person afflicted.

My personal beliefs support that suggestion. However, a couple of things are going on out there. For one, people have started saying it about everything and everyone. At times, it reaches the level of someone saying “Bless you” after a sneeze.  Are they really suggesting a person be blessed because of a nose irritation?  Or, is it just something we consider a polite and a caring thing to do, and do it instinctively, rather than with thought?

Now, rest assured, I believe in the power of prayer. I’m big on positive energy, whether to God or just being positive in your thinking. (This is where I’ll highly recommend watching or reading, “The Secret”. It’s currently available for free on both Amazon Prime and Netflix, if you’re a subscriber) And, if someone requests prayers and you pray, I believe it helps. What has me wondering is how many people actually pray for the requested purpose, or do they just give it lip service because it’s the polite and caring thing to do?

Another theory on that point is that when you request prayers, you’re actually saying, “Will you help me worry about _______?” and if that’s what you end up doing, then you’re actually creating negative energy towards that circumstance.

Maybe. Maybe not. Just something that emerged when I dwelled on the topic too long.

FACEBOOK

OK, I need to say this. Somewhere along the line, Facebook has evolved from a cool social platform for college students to a news source for anyone with political leanings. Oh my God, people, Facebook is nothing more than a cork bulletin board on the Internet where people stick things up for themselves. IT’S NOT A NEWS SOURCE.

To post things on Facebook, all you need is an account. If you want to post things that are half-truths or flat-out lies, all you need is an account. If you want to add credibility to your outrageous liberties of truth, buy a website with a name like ithastobetrue.com or notalie.com. (For the record, you can buy “It has to be true dot com”, but “Not a lie dot com” is taken) 

Facebook was meant to be a way for you to show how much your kids have grown, what you look like these days, to get caught up with old classmates enough that you don’t have to attend the reunion. You know, that kind of stuff.  You may have heard about the Russian bots and trolls that saturated Facebook during our last election. You’ve noticed how negative the election ads have been getting over the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, because of our busy lives and deciding that accuracy is a luxury we can’t afford, negative works. So, if you’re posting with an agenda, you’re putting things out there to lure in the sheep that want to believe what you’re saying is true.

A couple of weeks ago, pictures were shown of immigrant kids, covered in foil in cages and we were appalled that President Trump’s administration would allow such things to happen. Only problem–those pictures were taken in 2014 during the Obama administration. That was the fine print retraction.

I had a relative post something completely false about President Trump and I cited an article in the New York Times that had disproved it. After promoting this on his Facebook page, I called him out on it and said that it was false, here’s the link. He told that it didn’t matter, it’s the kind of thing he would do.

Important footnote–I am far from a Trump supporter. It’s my hope that someone–anyone–with character will step forward and get the country to unite again in the very near future. But currently, both sides are being as divisive as I’m ever seen in my six decades on this earth and we really need to right this ship.

But back to the subject at hand.

If it helps, Facebook is no more a reliable news source than a community bulletin board. Anyone can post stuff. You don’t need authority or accuracy. If you think aliens are trying to steal your thoughts, you can put it up there. Some people will read it and feel bad for you. Others will believe you and warn others, while the majority of us will quietly unfriend you and hope you don’t notice.

And so, I’m becoming quite an expert on one of Facebook’s special features and I encourage you to give it a try.

I’ve never been a fan of the Snooze Bar on clock radios. As we used to call it in morning radio, it’s “the devil’s tool.” If you set an alarm, get up when it goes off. If you want sleep later, decide that the night before and set it later. We’re adults here. That being said, I highly encourage you to utilize the Snooze Button on Facebook. The next time a friend or relative says something stupid or untrue, you could encounter them and get into a debate online. Or, just “snooze” them for 30 days and enjoy an entire month free of them and their negativity. 31 days from now, you may be reminded why you snoozed them and do it again, but at least you have that option.

Time for me to emerge from the philosophy tent and back out into the joke-writing world. Here’s hoping that you found something useful in these ramblings and, if not, simply crumble up your screen and place it in the garbage can.

Tim Hunter

 

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #169

Since I’m re-watching the old “24” series with Kiefer Sutherland, I thought I’d dig out a couple of interviews Murdock, Hunter & Alice did with the stars back in the day. Here’s a couple of chats, featuring Tony Almeida and Sherry Palmer.

See and I wasn’t kidding about the DVD.

What I Learned On My Long Weekend

 

I’m on the left

I’M BACK

Yeah, I’m coming off of a long, on-the-road weekend. So, I thought that this week, I would drag you along on my adventures. Buckle up!

THE TRIP

The goal was to attend my niece’s wedding in Little Rock, Arkansas. The challenges were many, including the fact there are no direct flights from Seattle and that a round trip would take at least one stop, up to 9 hours in travel-time and cost over $400.

So, I came up with this scheme: use my Alaska Airline miles and fly directly into a city, then rent a car and drive to Little Rock. It turns out, with miles, I could fly round-trip to Dallas from Seattle for miles and $19 cash. Sold! Add in a rental car and gas for a little over $200 and I ended up saving $200, arriving in Little Rock in the same amount of travel time as if I flew there. Plus I got to see parts of the country I may never see again.

Zapruder was standing on this ledge when he took the home movies

THE TOURIST SPOTS

My mom & sister decided to join me on my indirect adventure so we met in Dallas, grabbed a hotel room and then we got up Friday morning and hit Dealey Plaza & the Kennedy museum in the infamous Texas Book Depository. There is so much history in that little chunk of Dallas. As you look down from the 6th floor of the building, you can see white X’s on the road where each of the shots hit the president. You could easily spend hours there listening to audio and looking at a exhibits, but we had an almost five-hour drive ahead of us and a rehearsal dinner to get to.

WHAT STUCK WITH ME THE MOST was when they pointed out that in 1960 when Kennedy was elected, over half of the population of the United States was under the age of 25. Today, that’s like 25%,.

The day after the wedding, we went to the Clinton Presidential Museum not far from our hotel. I was not a fan of the man but I have to say that the museum won me over a little, at least, giving me a higher respect of his accomplishments.  And kudos to the creators for including the Monica Lewinsky chapter of his presidency. I have to say, it’s very odd, looking at a museum of things where you remember everything that happened.

WHAT STUCK WITH ME THE MOST: There are blue boxes full of documents up and down the library in shelves, like books. Over 4,000 of them on display. And that is only 2-3% of the documents resulting from his two terms. Everything is required to be preserved, no matter how insignificant.

At the Clinton Presidential Library

THE WEDDING

The wedding itself was quite the family affair and I was so glad I could make it. We were unable to make my nephew Matthew’s wedding a couple of years ago and I won’t be able to attend his sister Laura’s big event this fall. However, the middle child, Megan, hit a window where I could actually be present. Laura was the Maid of Honor, Matthew was one of three ministers involved in the wedding and their father, my brother-in-law Darrell, another minister, was also in the wedding. Everything went fairly smooth with only a few glitches that happen with every wedding. The biggest challenge was the heat. Little Rock decided to hit the 90s that weekend, with a humidity to match. The church had some air conditioning, that helped. But unfortunately, the hotel where the reception was held, had challenges. They could not get the temperature below the 70s most of the night, which made for a very sweaty evening. On the bright side, doing the emcee duties for the reception, most of my jokes went over. The ones that didn’t, I blamed on the heat.

With our version of the Royal Couple

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

I thought of this gag, but in the madness and heat of the evening, I forgot to do it. Here’s what was going through my head earlier in the day.

After the Best Man and the Maid of Honor made their speeches, I opened it up to anyone else who would like to say a few words about the couple. No one stepped forward. That would have been the perfect occasion to have done the gag.

What I supposed to remember to say was, “OK, well, I’ve got a quick story to tell.  The second I arrived in town, I walked up and said, “Look, Megan, I know you and I haven’t been very close over the years and I didn’t get to see you a lot, but it warms my heart to see you getting married and I’m so happy that you found the one and your soulmate.”

And that’s when my sister Terri chimed in with, “Uh, Tim, that’s Laura. Megan’s over there.”

Dang it.
Carters everywhere!

A COOL SIDE-NOTE

When we arrived at our hotel, there were people everywhere wearing lime green shirts. Reading the back of the shirts, they were all part of a Carter family reunion. How awesome. They were everywhere. In talking with a couple of the extended Carter family, it seems that years ago, a couple with the last name of Carter had 15 kids. Over the years, the kids had kids, their kids had kids and now, every year, they gather somewhere for a reunion. It’s a weekend-long event including upwards of 200 people.  I think I heard that next year’s event is in Denver.

THIS TRIP’S SENIOR MOMENT

So, we enjoy a great dinner at a Dallas restaurant, a bit of an upscale establishment, with valet parking. After dinner, we headed out to the car and I tell the valet I was driving a silver Hyundai Ioniq. He spends five minutes looking for the keys, can’t seem to find them and then I remember, I’m NOT in Seattle. Our rental car was a white Ford Escape. More Ginko, please.

I’ll be honest–I was tempted

WHAT I LEARNED DURING THIS TRIP

My old broadcast partner, Bruce Murdock, used to always say, “It’s a pretty poor day when you can’t learn something” and I have to agree. Here are a few of the nuggets I picked up during my 5-day adventure:

  • Apparently, this area of the country has run out of names. They either borrow them from existing places like Paris, New Boston and Mount Vernon, or they take names and scramble them. For example, Texarkana and Arkadelphia. (I’m not making this up)
  • Texas is like Washington used-to-be. They don’t sell liquor in grocery stores, you have to go to a liquor store if you want your hard stuff.
  • Where I live, it’s common to hear in the winter, “It’s 25 with a windchill of 17.” Down in Texas, I heard, “It’s 97, with a heat factor of 101.”
  • Talk about two worlds. I was seat 32 D when I took off from Seattle. (I was so far back in the jet, I think technically, I took off from Tacoma) On the return flight, I was 4A. Just to satisfy your curiosity, 4A was much better.

ONE OF THE BEST MOMENTS OF THE TRIP

It happened when I approached the elevator at our hotel. As I walked up, a guy said out loud, “I think it’s broken, we’re going to have to take the stairs.” As he turned around, I saw he was wearing a San Francisco Giants baseball cap. At that particular moment, I was in my Los Angeles Dodgers polo shirt and pointed it out to him. “You know, we aren’t supposed to get along.”

“Yeah, I know,” he responded. We continued walking towards the stairs and I thought I’d clarify the situation. “Actually, I live in Seattle now. Los Angeles is where I grew up and I’m a Mariners fan now.”

He said, “Seattle? That’s the city I hate the second most. Damn Seahawks.”

We flipped each other grief, got to the second floor, smiled, shook hands and went our separate ways. That was cool.

I figured it was for the guy behind me

THE SOUTH

The one depicted to us up in the northwest is the red-necked bigot named Bubba that still lives in the 1950s. What stands out as you go about your business in Texas and Arkansas is the amazing display of manners. “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir”, doors being held open, people waiting for the ladies to go first, both black and white. People saying “Hi!” or “Good morning” as you walk past them. Manners and civility are quite alive in the south, at least in Little Rock & Dallas.

Heading into Dallas

A DALLAS WARNING

Some tips. If you’re planning to visit soon, be sure to double-check everything you book, including which airport your service is at. For example, I flew into Dallas/Fort Worth airport, only to find out that I had reserved a rental car at the Love Field airport.  For Pete’s sake. Fortunately, they had lots of inventory and it was no problem switching. Then, when I went to drop off the car, I went into the airport only to find out that I had clicked on a return trip to Seattle out of Love Field. Nothing that a $50 cab ride couldn’t fix.

But my adventures weren’t over. I checked into the airline, walked out to where gates 11-20 were located and sat down between 12 and 14. Odd that didn’t have 13 marked. Maybe they felt people were superstitious and they didn’t want to put up a sign. I couldn’t see beyond the big column in front of me, but I just assumed the gate was there.  The arriving flight was late, so it looked like they would be boarding a little later than planned. The next thing I know, I hear my name being announced, paging me to Gate 13.  I walked down past gate 14 and on the left side of the concourse were gates 11 and 13. For double Pete’s sake. I was there an hour before departure and almost missed my flight. I was the very last person to board.

It was a close call with a happy ending and a lesson learned, whenever you might fly to Dallas. This could explain why J.R. Ewing was such a jerk.

WHAT I’D LIKE FROM YOU

Is that when you encounter any of these experiences yourself and they help you avoid some of my misadventures, drop me an email and let me know. We’re all in this together.

Safe travels.

Tim Hunter

 

Welcome to Nardoland

I was going to do another one of my introspective rambles that I seem to be attracted to lately. A thought or two dawns on me that brings the world into focus a little more and so I like to pass those things along. You can take them or leave them, but my hope is you’ll benefit somehow from them.

However, in spite of a very interest recent revelation, I’m going to bump that a week. Oh, I’ll get all philosophical in another 7 days or so, you’ll survive. This week, I have to share something I experienced over weekend. I lived in the Bothell area for 25+ years. I continue to be involved with the local business community, the city and the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve gotten to know lots of Bothell and Northshore folks along the way. But in all those years, I’d never even heard of Nardoland.

In my oblivious defense, Nardoland is actually not in Bothell. It’s technically in Snohomish. But last Saturday evening, when I arrived at my destination to auctioneer at the annual Bothell High School Boosters Auction, I was nothing less than stunned. The event was held at the private residence of a long-time Bothell High School fan and alum–a place known as Nardoland.

Basically, Nardoland is what Graceland would look like if Elvis was a member of the 1961 graduating class of Bothell High School. But in this case, our hunka hunka burnin’ Bothell Cougar is a guy named Ron Nardone. In the years since graduation, Ron has collected all things Bothell High school, from pictures, to awards, to giant logos, to an actual stuffed cougar.


See, I wasn’t kidding.

As you drive on to the property, there’s a building surrounded by memorabilia over there. Another one in the back of the property seemed like an old general store and next to it, the former scoreboard from the high school stadium, before their recent remodel. Ron somehow got ahold of that and each week after Bothell’s latest football game,  he puts the final score up there.

Ron generously donates use of his facility to the Boosters and what a gift! In years past, the group has had to pony up the fees for use of a country club or convention center. But for the past two years, the annual auction has taken place at Nardoland.

I spent my first hour at Nardoland walking around and trying to take it all in. I didn’t want to miss a thing. Besides the Bothell High memorabilia, there were all kinds of things from Bothell’s past. A McDonald’s Drive-Through sign, antique cars and classic school buses; it was like taking a stroll through a Bothell time capsule. Here are just a few of the pictures I snapped during the Happy hour Portion of the evening.

I was just filling in for my radio brother and auctioneer extraordinaire Ken Carson because of a scheduling conflict, so it was just pure luck that this was the year I got to step in. I had a ton of fun reconnecting with some former neighbors, seeing some old familiar Bothell faces and helping Coach Tom Bainter’s program raise the funds they need to enhance the players’ experience even more.

Add to that, Ron is the cousin of a friend from a long time ago and his wife, a Ballard High graduate, went to school with my wife’s cousin. Dang, we’re practically related!

It was a great evening and on top of all that–I got to go to Nardoland!

Here’s hoping that one day, I’ll return. God knows what Ron will have added by then.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 167

Flashing back to my KQOT days when I began my 30-year radio adventure in a small cinderblock building in Mountlake Terrace, just east of Yakima.
Ironically, I drove over to Yakima this past week for business and for old times’ sake, drove by what used to be our station. Somehow, as many as 8 people worked there and while it was archaic and poorly run, I learned so much and made lifetime friends.

Now, it’s blocked off and just a housing facility for a radio transmitter. AND it’s a Christian station. I’m assuming that’s God’s way of making up for my time there.

Enjoy some of the fun that came out of that building during my two years there.

 

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 165

OMG! Here’s a collection of bits I produced during my early days at KLSY, when I was funneling bits to Murdock in the Morning during my pre-Morning Show days. You’ll hear way too much singing, although it includes a catchy song I did for the new city of Woodinville. The first ever “Julio” song is in here, a stand-alone song I did that was inspired by a Matt Bianco song with a lot of instrumental bed and a foreman from my time in the United Airlines flight kitchen named Julius.  I produced this song and it was afterwards that we turned it into a weekly customized tune for each week’s Seahawks game. This one’s quite the time capsule, so sit back and hang on as we return to sometime in the early 1990s.

Someday Syndrome

By choice, I live a pretty busy life.

Somewhere along the line, I developed a sense of urgency to do as many of the things I want to do now. Not, “someday.”

Over the years, lots of things helped shape that outlook on life. When I was young, I had an uncle that died in his mid-30s in a car crash. I also had an aunt die of complications from diabetes in her 30s. Reminders that we don’t always get our tomorrows. My radio career also fueled my “do it while you can” mentality because in that industry, there are no guarantees. There might be a tomorrow. Or, you could finish your shift, be called back to a program director’s office and the next thing you know, you were unemployed.

I am addicted to achieving and so, to help fuel that need, I became a multi-tasker. A person who would rather say “Yes” and have to deal with temporary overload rather than say “No” and miss out on an experience or an opportunity.

But sometimes Mother Nature forces you to slow things down. Both my wife and I are recovering from sinus problems and bronchitis, which forced us to miss several social possibilities. We actually were forced to stay at home over the recent 3-day weekend and just lay low. It was while sitting in our backyard, looking out at the trees, enjoying the birds chirping and the bursting flowers on our deck that I was reminded once again I am one lucky guy. I mean, I’m looking out at a scene that could have been a Someday wish years ago. There it was, right there in front of me.

One of the traps that people can easily fall into (and I’ve been there myself) is what has been identified as “Someday Syndrome.” When that name first came to mind, I Googled it and sure enough, people have thought of it before. It’s the belief that at some point in your future, you will finally have what makes you happy. Running with that thinking, then you’re not as happy as you could be right now because you are waiting to accumulate something–a boat, a piece of property, a scenario or situation. In other words, you’re putting off being as happy as you could be for a tomorrow that’s not guaranteed.

That’s crazy.

As I looked around my yard on that 70-degree day sitting there with the person I love, I was thinking that at one point in my life, this probably was a “Someday” moment. That drove home the concept that perception becomes reality. And, if you just tweak your thinking a little bit, you may come to the realization your Someday is actually happening right now.

Oh, sure, we were coughing and barking and dealing with some health issues. But you don’t seriously think that when you get to that place somewhere in the future that everything is going to be perfect, do you?  So again, why would you wait for Someday–a day that may or may not come–to enjoy a little happiness?

While I do prefer life at 100 mph, I’m making it a point to sneak in more of those moments every now and then. To stop, breathe in the air and celebrate what surrounds me, today, rather than setting aside my happiness for what I may or may not get in the future.

Try it. The worst thing that could happen is to wind up being happier than you’ve ever been. Or ever allowed yourself to be.

Tim Hunter

I Know Those Guys

As the years roll by, there are fewer people to impress by mentioning that I knew Stan Boreson. Knew him?  Heck, I helped write songs with him for his second Christmas album. Stan was a northwest treasure and a part of so many childhoods of people who grew up in the Seattle area.

He was the grandson of Norwegian immigrants. What is it about Norwegians that they have had such an impact on my life?

I had probably only been to Ballard a handful of times in my life prior to meeting my wife, Victoria. An uber-Norwegian, it quickly became clear that if I wanted to spend any time with her, I would need to join all the clubs and organizations she belonged to, which I did.

I said in the beginning that one of the things I liked so much about the Scandinavian community in Ballard is that it reminded me of the area in South Dakota where my relatives live. A folksy, everybody-knows-everybody kind of place. Growing up in the Los Angeles Fastlane, the concept of slower-paced living appeals to me.

But there’s another Norwegian influence out there that I’m dedicating this column to: a fellow named Leif Eie. You may know him, many have interacted with him over the years, but the more I find out about the things he did, I simply marvel.

I met Leif years ago when I was Larry Nelson’s producer at KOMO Radio. Leif was in charge of SAS–Scandinavian Air Service–that flew in and out of Seattle, taking people all over the world. Leif wisely knew the power of getting a popular personality behind his product and so he would often arrange for Larry and his close friends to go on travel junkets. The boys would get to travel to all kinds of fun destinations, which of course, Larry would talk about with his first-hand experience in their SAS radio commercials.

For four and a half years, I did the early rise as Lar’s producer and we became quite close. I use to love telling him that he was like a great-great-great-uncle to me. That’s also where I first got to know Leif. Now, we’re talking four decades ago, but what I remember most is here is the guy with the Seattle keys to an airline, and he was simply a nice guy. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch. He sent me a copy of a CD he had recorded. He’d pass along things he thought I’d find funny.

As I became more and more involved with the Seattle Norwegian community in recent years, I met more and more people who had a Leif Eie story to tell. He was the guy that negotiated the lease for the Nordic Heritage Museum with the Seattle School district. He had written some books. He had recorded some songs. He had started a Norwegian dinner 40 years ago that continues to this day at the Normanna Lodge in Everett. He worked with friends like Ozzie Kvithammer and John Hughes in the early development days of Bothell. He was a founder of the Seattle Sister City Association and made our first official relationship happen with Bergen, Norway.

That’s why I so thrilled when I heard Leif finally finished a book on his life story. “Modern Viking: The Traveling Tales of a True Norwegian” just came out this month and you can order it right here. To be honest, I don’t know how it got it all in one book or if this is just going to be the first in a series.  In any case, should you ever have the good fortune to meet Mr. Eie, you will never forget him.

I see online that he’s heading towards his 90th birthday next year and you seriously wouldn’t know it. The mind is still so sharp–his wit, the charm, the pleasantries, they’re all there.

I did some digging and even though it’s out of season, here’s one of the great moments in Seattle radio that includes all three of those men I mentioned above and admire so much. It’s from one of Stan’s visits to KOMO around Christmas and we stuck Leif up in the KOMO Air Patrol with Ted Garlatz for the morning.

I’m very proud to say I got to know Stan, Larry and Leif. I’m not saying that in a boastful way, but with appreciation and the realization I know I am very blessed to have had my life path cross theirs. Each has had a long-lasting impact on my life and how I live. Thank you, gentlemen. I am forever grateful.

Yep. I know those guys.

Tim

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #163

A last-minute catch-up with longtime friend and British Royalty-watcher Linda Botts.  Linda helped us out with a true British perspective back in the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days on KLSY and so I’m dragging her into my little Wacky Week podcast. Good stuff. God save this bit!

Tax ‘Em All And Let God Sort ‘Em Out!

The idea of a head tax has never been a good idea.

 

So, the Seattle City Council did it. They passed the highest-ever “head tax” in the country this week, hitting Amazon and other large businesses in the city for $275 per employee per year to supposedly help in solving the homeless problem in Seattle. And it is a problem, along with drug addiction and mental illness. That’s actually three separate issues being bundled under the name, “homelessness.”

This council’s solution to anything has always been “spend more money.” Not “solve the problem”, just spend more money. Remember, the city of Seattle spent $54-million on homelessness services last year alone. Since cutting spending isn’t in their vocabulary, that has to mean the $50-million generated by the Head Tax will go on top of last year’s spending and so over the next year, $104-million will go towards the efforts.

With the majority of the population against the tax, the Council ignored that fact and went ahead with it because they think they know better. I’m then going to assume that this will improve our situation. Notice I didn’t say “solve the problem”, just improve it. Therefore, if you double your spending and the problem gets worse, you have failed and you should return all of that tax money to the businesses.

Better yet, this is a wake-up call to the voters in Seattle to take these City Council elections a little more seriously. Instead of voting in ideologues who match your shade of blue, we need people in office who know how to run a city. Small business owners and community servants, not politicians and tax addicts. There is no place for tents on the streets and freeway off-ramps, needles on playgrounds and people shooting up and defecating in public.  That’s not civilization.

Low-cost housing is a lofty goal. But if we’re spending millions of tax dollars to create people where mentally-ill, drug addicted people can just continue their lifestyle out of our public view, who is that really helping? It inspired one more analogy. The city of Seattle is a beautiful car everyone wants. But when you start it up, it puffs smoke and leaks oil. This City Council’s solution is to get it a new paint job and a couple of shiny coats of wax and that’s supposed to solve the problem. “Isn’t that beautiful? We feel so much better about ourselves.” Yet, it does nothing to remedy what’s really wrong.

I can’t be the only one who would like to take this back to square one. Let’s identify all the money set aside for the battle against homelessness and do a hard sort of what actually works and what doesn’t.

My previous blog tossed out some numbers on Seattle’s current misguided efforts. This Amazon ad gives a strong reason why we need different people in charge.

Seattle has the opportunity to become a better and even greater city. But that requires great leadership. This is where you come in.

Tim Hunter

Overdosing on Analogies

You’ve probably heard about what our Seattle City Council is considering–a Head Tax on companies like Amazon.

It’s not surprising from this council that five of the members brought this idea to the table. This group of elected officials (so, see, the blame actually comes back at us) LOVES to raise taxes. I’d say they’d like to spend like a certain group of people, but the Drunken Sailors Local 1460 have threatened me with a lawsuit. I think that’s what they said. Or, it could have been warm soup.

This city council’s solution to everything is to slap a tax on it.  Their claim is that, if they nick Amazon with a tax on every worker, that’ll give them $75-million to spend on the severe homeless problem in Seattle.  I have so many thoughts exploding in my head that, for therapeutic reasons, I’m going to just rattle them off here:

More Money Spent By Government Does NOT Solve the Homeless Program–Do you think we forgot a mere two years ago, when you said that Seattle needed to double it’s $75-million commitment for battling homelessness to $150-million and we went along with it? I didn’t. Last year alone, Seattle spent $53-million on trying to solve the homeless issue. You’d think that should make a serious hit. In the past two years, our homeless count has gone up 40%, from an estimated 3,000 to 5,000. (and you can find bigger numbers if you want) Over the past decade, the city has spent over $200-million on the homeless issue as it gets progressively (ironic, huh?) worse.

Cutting off Their Nose–Spiting one’s face can come back to bite you. It’s an old cliché. So nailing Amazon for a Head Tax may give our city council another $75-million to flush down the drain, but at what cost? I remember a few years ago when people were complaining about how Boeing was getting too many tax credits. That they should be paying more of their “fair share.”  I forget what year that was. I’ll have to go down to their company headquarters IN CHICAGO and ask.  Oh, and speaking of the Windy City, there’s a town that tried a Head Tax. It turned out to be a job killer and that was a lesson learned seven years ago. So, City Council, if you’re going to nick Amazon for $75-million, that will affect their future decisions about placing employees here. Just this past week, they announced thousands of new jobs up in Vancouver and out in Boston. If they permanently scrap building that high-rise in Seattle and locating jobs here, estimates are that it could cost our economy something like $3.5-billion. Brilliant!

Misguided Politicians–There’s nothing more irritating when a politician uses the “us versus them” approach.  Identify an entity as wealthy and say, “They can afford it” and all of a sudden, you’re doing “the people’s work” by trying to take their wealth away for your purposes. (While not mentioning the six figures you pull in or the thousands of dollars being aimed your way by political interests)  When you vilify someone or something as responsible for your problems, things happen like the French Revolution. The people were rallied by blaming their problems on the rich. That was when the Head Tax first appeared, but in a much different form.

An Addiction Problem–I thought of this while I was formulating my thoughts for this blog but then, while listening to Ron & Don on KIRO yesterday, Ron used the “addiction” analogy.  The city council is addicted to spending your money. They are out of control and say that if you give them even more money, they can solve the homeless issue. The problem is that the people we’re talking about don’t want to be helped and are perfectly happy staying in their situation. So are the homeless drug addicts.

The Shoplifting Analogy–Shoplifting exists. You and I know it. The store owner knows it. For the store owner to protect his business interests, he needs to keep an accurate inventory, figure out how much is being shoplifted and then increase his prices to cover that loss. In other words, when a few steal, the rest of us pay for it. The store owner doesn’t.

If the Seattle City Council wants to bully Amazon into paying a Head Tax because they need to “do their share”, they can shoplift that tax money, but most likely, Amazon will just adjust the cost somewhere else to cover it. The charity that would have benefitted from Amazon will now lose their money to the money addicts down at city hall.

Amazon is doing things to help but doing it and then moving on and getting back to business. Remember their gesture a year ago today regarding Mary’s Place? That was a commitment for perpetuity. Oh, and then there was their donation of space for five Farestart restaurants in the Troy Block development. 

It would only make sense that if the city council is going to bully Amazon for their $75-million worth of lunch money that gestures like those will go away.

Look: There’s the Money!–KIRO’s mid-day mouth, Dori Monson, pointed out that during Ed Murray’s reign as Mayor of Seattle, he added 1300 jobs to the Seattle payroll, most of those (with benefits) clocking in at the $100K range. That’s $130-million of employees that could be eliminated and then use that money to help solve the problem.  OK, half of ’em. That gets you $65-million to fiddle around with.

Selective Law Enforcement–As I’ve blogged about before, what’s very frustrating to me is that we have laws that prevent the camps and squalor that have spread all over the city. Growing up, my family loved camping. However, I never remember dad saying, “Hey gang, let’s pitch a tent over on that sidewalk or underneath that freeway overpass!” Besides having no place to fish, we knew that there were vagrancy laws as well as the old classics like trespassing, and loitering, as well as possession of a controlled substance, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. All laws still on the books, but these days, if you are “homeless”, you’ve become a protected species and if we let you get away with violating those laws, we’re showing compassion.

The Term “Homeless”–Look, if we’re going to spend millions of dollars, a couple of things. A) Anything we do needs to have tangible results. B) Let’s start with the homeless who have found themselves in an unfortunate situation and want to get out. The guy who’s life went south and spiraled out of control, the single mom getting her kids out of a domestic situation and has no place to go. People who are just down and out and need a helping hand.

Now, the drug addicts and mentally ill who resist assistance and have chosen the streets as a “lifestyle”–that doesn’t work. As much as the U.S. Constitution protects their right to live on the streets, I also have the right to not have my car broken into or property from my carport stolen in the middle of the night to help fuel a drug habit. Some people cringe when you talk about forcing them to get help, but apparently that’s OK if your drug of choice is alcohol, but not meth or heroin. (see Selective Law Enforcement) If we’re truly concerned about healing these people and giving them a shot at a long and healthy lifestyle, they may need intervention. It’s the kind of thing families do for one of their own.

There was a time when people who chose to live on the streets were called hobo’s, vagabonds, or drifters. I don’t remember Red Skelton’s character “Freddy the Freeloader” having a heroin addiction and leaving a trail of needles behind him. As I see it, there are three camps: the truly homeless, the drug addicts and the mentally ill. Each should receive treatment and our help, but all in completely different ways.

Put Up or Shut Up!–Here’s a concept, o’ Wise Ones down at City Hall. Go ahead with the Head Tax, get that much needed $75-million and then, in two years time, if the number of homeless and drug addicts living on the streets increases, we’ll consider it a bust and you’ll have to refund every penny of it to Amazon. That’s called accountability. Look it up.

A Quick Reminder!--All that tax money we’re talking about is actually YOUR money. They take it from us and then are supposed to spend it wisely to run our city. That part of the equation has apparently been thrown away.

To Summarize My Approach–Cut loose all those new city employees we’ve hired over the past four years and add that money to the homeless pool. Now, with those millions of dollars standing by, start from scratch. Every program currently in place is given a thorough review. Every six months we ask, “Are there tangible results? Did we save or help at least one person and help them get out of being homeless?” What we desperately need are results. We’ve got the money already for what is needed. We live in a place with plenty of brain power. Those need to come together.

Tim Hunter

 

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #161

This week, I take you to Grand Opening weekend for the brand-new Nordic Museum in Seattle (Ballard), chatting with three of the key folks–Marianne Forsblad, along with the museum’s Jan Colbrese and Eric Nelson.

                                       

 

Might as well toss in this article about the museum from AAA

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #159

Something old and something new. From the KLSY Murdock, Hunter & Alice days, a BATTLE OF THE SEXES featuring a visiting wizard and witch from “The Wizard of Oz” and a chat with Cory Nelson, who is riding his bike from here to the east coast this summer. Seriously. Just because.