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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With 4th of July stuck in the middle of the week, I thought I’d grab this opportunity to introduce you to a couple of the interesting people in my life. Ventriloquist Mark Merchant, who I got to meet with this week along with his lovely wife, Cindy, and Jim Swanson, a Bothell legend. Oh, and a few drunk English singers as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m on the left
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 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 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.”
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
For a few moments, let’s escape the craziness of our world and come along with me on the adventure of a guy I know with an absolutely fascinating life.
I like to fill up my blogs and podcasts with topics I feel you’d probably like to hear about. Maybe a fact you didn’t know or introducing you to a cool person that I’ve had the good fortune of meeting.
The Donnie Dacus story (pronounce that DAY-cuss) will, one day, be a must-read book. I know that because he’s been working on one. The quick beginning and end of Donnie’s story is that he was born in Texas and learned how to play a guitar something fierce and then, fast-forwarding to today, he’s married to my wife’s cousin and lives in Florida.
Now for the fun part–filling in the middle.
Knowing that his life’s story in book form is eventually going to come your way, I’ll lightly touch on just some of the key points I’ve become privileged to hear over the years. When I first found out who he was, I immediately headed to Wikipedia. There, you’ll see he picked up a guitar and was teaching music and in a band by age 14. In the years to come, he would be one of the main characters in the movie version of “Hair”, take over lead guitar duties for Chicago in the aftermath of Terry Kath’s death, play with Badfinger and write songs with some legendary musicians. One of those musicians stiffed him and actually used some of his songs without compensating him. Like I said, I’ve been privy to some awesome stories that will find their way to that book, but the best one has to be when a major rock group called to ask him to join their band (a group you’ve heard of and which is still out there performing) but a meddlesome manager intercepted the phone call and told the band that he wasn’t interested.
He would only hear about it years later.
Every couple of years, we get together with Donnie and his wife, to get caught up, do a little hanging out, go to dinner, drink fine wine, talk about family. On occasion, he’ll even get out his guitar and play a song or two he’s been working on.
After a lot of success in his early years, Donnie was pushed to the outside of the music biz. He was unceremoniously kicked out of Chicago and that created a sore point that lasted decades. But, as is true with everyone, as musicians get older, they remember the good old days and the people with whom they shared the journey. A couple of years ago, Peter Cetera invited Donnie to come and join him on stage one night. The gigs started coming back as did the love of getting up on stage and showing an appreciative crowd what he’s got. Then, Danny Seraphine, former Chicago drummer, along with former bandmate Bill Champlin invited Donnie to join them on a brief tour of Japan as part of California Transit Authority.
Donnie just returned home this past Monday and while we haven’t chatted with him about it yet, we did get this video from one of their performances.
The quality’s not great and there will be no cinematography awards for this one, but what you’re seeing is a man doing exactly what he loves to do. It would have been so easy for him to say, “No, those days are over.” But they’re not and if had any doubts going in, they’re gone now. With a bunch of sold-out shows behind him, Mr. Dacus is back and he’s here to make music.
Congrats, Donnie. It’s great to see you return to living the dream. Your dream.
But eventually, could you get around to finishing that book?
P.S. Just found this review on their recent concert tour
If you know me, it’s no secret that fall is my favorite season. Football, playoff baseball, fall colors, Octoberfest, tailgate parties, all kicked off by the month of SepTIMber, as I call it. My birthday month.
I guess I would have to say that spring is my second favorite season. Or, at least, it used to be. The hope that accompanies a new baseball season (at least for a month or two), the Sounders start playing again, the cherry blossoms at the UW, the daffodils and tulips putting on a show. Oh, sure, there’s pollen and every discomfort that comes with allergy season, and maybe a little more rain that we’d like, but that’s what keeps it so green around here, right?
But as you know, these days, the weather is getting a little squirrelly. I’d love to complain about the amount of rain we’ve gotten (and we are on track to tie or break the April rain record) but I have family and friends back in the midwest, and they’re re-living winter! Check out this picture my cousin posted from her home in Minnesota.
I’m assuming there are no kids at the bottom of that sign.
As the old joke goes, “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” That’s right, because you can’t. Except roll with it and maybe have a few laughs along the way. I read online that some people back in the Midwest have come up with the name, “Sprinter”, combining spring with winter. Others say the calendar is wrong–that it’s really January 105th!
And then there’s the new slogan, “April showers bring snow plowers!”
Piling on, I created this shining example of rolling with the season.
So, it’s snowing a little later than a typical spring. Or, in our case out west, every day is a great day to put on the leash and take the goldfish for a walk. Stand back and realize that, at least for this brief, shining complaining moment, we’re not talking about politics or guns or porn stars or nuclear attacks.
We have a shared commonality and something we can all agree on, no matter what our outlook on the world–this spring sucks!
Ain’t it wonderful?
Happy spring, everyone!
I took part in an annual passage today. Well, part one of that passage, anyway.
I purchased a fishing license.
The end of April includes a special Saturday when I find myself up at Lake McMurray, just east of Mount Vernon. We usually get there Friday night, eventually go to bed and then I get up at the legendary “butt crack of dawn” to launch a boat and go out on the “Opening Day of Fishing Season” along with all the other die-hards, including father-in-law, Ernie.
Some people don’t get fishing. Others can’t get enough. I guess I was raised in a fishing family.
One of my earliest fishing memories was when I was about five-years-old and I went away for the weekend with my Uncle Chuck, Aunt Colleen and cousin Charlie. It was my first-ever time out on a boat and while I don’t remember catching any fish, I had fun. My uncle and cousin got a big kick out of watching me eat salmon eggs. I can’t explain why I did it, I just know that it happened because he told that story for years.
A few years later, I was in South Dakota visiting relatives when my late uncle James and my dad took me out on a boat and we fished the Missouri River outside of Mobridge. They gave me one of those kiddie rods designed to keep a kid quiet and make him feel like he’s fishing. I ended up hooking and landing the biggest Northern Pike of the day. I remember asking for help and my uncle saying something like, “He’s gotta learn how to do it himself.” That’s pretty much when my personal addiction was confirmed.
Remember, I said I came from a fishing family. When we went back to South Dakotas for vacation, a Sunday afternoon thing to do was pack a picnic lunch and “head to a fishing hole.” While growing up, when we went camping (which we did most summers), family fishing was part of the adventure. I’d have to say that I had some luck passing along the curse, er, uh, tradition, to my kids. Both Christina and Tyson have fished over the years. Christina, her husband Ryan and the kids have been on fishing/camping trips. Tyson and yours truly actually slipped up to Alaska and Canada for some salmon-fishing trips and had a blast.
Yeah, I know that’s a halibut.
So, Saturday, April 28th, I will begin my day with father-in-law Ernie launching a boat on to Lake McMurray. Could be beautiful, could be a downpour. We’ll fish for a couple of hours, hoping to hook at least a couple of fish and then come back for the Fishermen’s Breakfast they put on at Norway Park. I think Ernie looks forward to the breakfast almost as much as the fishing.
Oh, and the fish we’ll catch? How big do you think they’ll be? Add on a couple of inches each time you tell the story and you could be a fisherman, too. Or fisherwoman. Or fisherperson. Whatever.
And the tradition continues….
Some rare nuggets in this one. You’ll hear a bit we did on the air for my son’s 18th birthday, back in the MH&A days, a Gardening with Frisco bit with Bill Swartz and Dan Murphy, and a couple of jingle collections. One from KING radio back in the 1970s….and the other, as MIX 92-5 got ready to fade away into history. Some really weird stuff that I thought I would share. Thanks for listening!
I’ve got this quirky little April Fool’s tradition going. Each year, on April 1st, I release a video that honors the holiday, “National Gullible Day.” It’s my probably-too-subtle attempt at an April Fool’s joke that I had planned to do just one year. But I had so much fun, I did it again last year and then, I couldn’t resist doing another for 2018.
It’s not just a quick hit. In fact, the 2018 edition of National Gullible Day clocks in at 13-minutes. If I were to ballpark the hours it took to put together, with video taping, gathering resources, editing, having things go wrong, etc. I easily put 40 hours into the project. And while there were some frustrating moments, its an awesome exercise and lets me prove to myself that I can do it.
I thought I would share a little of the behind-the-scenes of what went into this year’s video.
MY SEGMENTS–All of my contributions were shot downstairs in my office, using a green screen and being a one-man production company. What you saw were actually shot in the THIRD retake. The first time, I recorded all the lines, but then some things changed. People who were supposed to be in it bailed out. Extra guests and ideas were thought up after the first shooting. So, I did a second round of takes. (yes, that means setting everything back up that I had put away because I thought I was done) But this time, the clip-on lavalier microphone had some technical issues, popping, clicks and such. So, I had to shoot some of my scenes a THIRD time. To add more challenges, as I was putting things together, changes took place where I needed to re-do the audio, but I figured a way around that, where I recorded new audio while being off-camera.
THE GUY IN THE WEATHER SCREEN–That’s my former supervisor, Chris Settle. Chris is that go-to guy you can always count on. When you ask, “Can you scratch your butt and pick your nose on camera for me?” and without missing a beat, he asks, “What time?”, that’s a go-to guy. That was actually shot on the roof of the building where I used to work at Destination Marketing.
THE HOROSCOPES–I hope you took the time to read them. I had a blast writing them. That was the result of last year’s weather guy being unable to play again this year. Apparently, some of the other news people at his station demonstrated bad judgement in some of their outside projects, so Brian was unable to join us this year. As I watch our own local TV news deteriorating, I thought I’d take a gentle poke at the industry.
DORI MONSON–I admit, I’m a fan. I actually got Dori to join me in announcing the 17th of May Parade in Ballard a couple of years back. One of my proudest appearances on his radio show was when he put me on the air with seconds to go one day and I blurted out the line, “You know, if God didn’t want us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.” Dori actually was going to help out in last year’s Gullible video, but his schedule just got too busy. So, I approached him earlier this year and he was all for it. But, as you would expect, he’s got so much going on in his day that this didn’t happen the first week. Finally, 5 days before show time, I reminded him and he stepped up to the plate, knocking it out of the park.
THE WALL GUY–Joe Doyle was the crazy guy on camera. That was quintessential Joe. He’s actually a Bothell kid who went to school with my daughter, went down to Hollywood for a while but missed the Northwest. He does stand-up comedy around the area and even had a guest spot on the TV series, Z-Nation. Now, for the background story on the wall between Bothell and Kenmore. That was an idea I proposed to the Bothell Chamber, to help promote the fact that Kenmore is being brought in and it will soon be known as the Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce. My suggested plan was that, on April Fools Day, we’d put out a press release with a video, as if there was really a wall going up between Bothell and Kenmore with a website name. Then, when you visited the website, you found out it was an April Fools gag and the announcement that the two cities were now co-Chamber members. However, there were some people in higher places that felt saying that a wall was being built between the two cities might be taken seriously and it could scare people. As you witnessed, it is the most terrifying piece in the entire production.
THE SEATTLE GULLIBILITY CONFERENCE–That was shot at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard during their recent Heritage Day celebration. I had several folks reluctantly try some lines for me, but they ended up on the cutting room floor. May I also add, the Thank You bouquet they sent over is beautiful. Great job Howie on putting your presidential demeanor to good use.
GARDENING WITH GRETA–Brian, our banned weatherman, was kind enough to coerce his talented and lovely wife to do the gardening bit and the two of them shot that in their kitchen. What a team!
THE DEAD END BIT–Kudos to father/daughter team, Mike Rue and Brittany Wells, for nailing the idea I had of a clown behind a reporter. That took two attempts as it was pouring the first time we planned to shoot. Again, another go-guy, Dale Amundsen, was asked if wouldn’t mind filing his fingernails for me on camera and his response: “How short do you want them?”
THE CLOSING SONG FOR THE CREDITS–This is the miracle piece. I had reached out to a local singer and asked if she would do a silly National Gullible Day song for me. She agreed and was so excited, but said she was working a lot of hours at her regular job and asked if could we do it on Friday. Yes, two days before broadcast. Friday rolled around, I hadn’t heard from her, so I shot her a note on Facebook and she let me know that the day she was supposed to be off, she had to work and she was sorry. Couldn’t do it. So, there I was, with no song and everything else in place. I remember singing along in the car with a Neil Young song and while I’m no Neil Young, I could sound NY-esque. So, I created an album cover for a NEAL Young, found a music bed that I could sing Happy National Gullible Day over and, in the second take, I hit the golden “well, that’s good enough!” But a Neil Young sound-alike should have a harmonica bridge somewhere in the song. I had a gap that was perfect for that, but didn’t have a harmonica. Honest to God, I went to YouTube, searched for ‘playing a harmonica’ and there was a guy playing a harmonica, just basically demonstrating how it worked. I took that, laid it over the top of the music bed and it sounded like it was meant to be that way. That was a goose bump moment.
AND A FINAL MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT–I thought of this as I was wrapping things up. Rather than just the song ending, how about one more little goof before wrapping it up. I asked Fred Bugg from my radio-days-gone-by if he’d lend me a Trump voice and it was back several hours later.
THE FINAL STEP–That happened Saturday night, when I uploaded it to my YouTube Channel, send the link to all the participants to provide to their attorneys, updated the website (www.nationalgullibleday.org), posted it on social media and then, it’s stand back and see what happens. Two days later, its at 134 views, so I am pleased. No more than half of those are me.
If you get inspired and would like to join the party, let me know. Glad to drag you into next year’s edition of National Gullible Day.
Thanks for the read and for watching!
PS–In case you haven’t seen it:
Got quite a collection going in this one. You’ll hear some voices from the past, including Wendy Mann, the track announcer from Longacres, and Bill Swarts bringing us his Ron Fairly to help kick off the baseball season, as well as more Murdock & Hunter shouts than one person should ever have to hear. Enjoy!
Life is going really well right now for me. It’s actually been doing that for a while.
I’m not gloating, just stating the fact. I’m grateful to be doing what I love to do, all while enjoying decent health. Now, don’t confuse “going well” with perfect. Oh, please. There are lots of things going on around me that could be used to spiral down and feel like the world is against me. It’s easy to wake up every morning, dreading what could possibly go wrong next. There’s a White House joke in there somewhere.
I’ve got some very good friends and family members that lately, have been dealing with some pretty ugly blows. Health, marriage, their lives. Things that can happen in life, real stuff, but also things you have to deal with and move on the best you can. And that’s never, ever easy.
A phrase I’ve learned to love is, “But, by the grace of God, go I.” We’re all human and share this experience called life. If you’ve ever seen a slasher pic or watched “Survivor”, all you have to do is think that bad things could never happen to you and the next thing you know, it’s your turn.
I appreciate you making it this far through these ramblings, but hang for just a bit longer. Think of all the good in your life. What’s gone right, those things you possess that are beyond what you ever expected. If it helps to write it down, make a list. It will amaze you. And when you think of all that you have, the “what I don’t have” list pales in comparison. And how did you come to put those on your ‘what I don’t have’ list? Most of our wants, aren’t really needs. Through marketing, society and friends, you’ve been trained to want those things and do whatever it takes to get them.
The trick about wanting things and getting things–it’s an endless journey. As soon as you get something, you want something else.
Some day, yeah, I’d like to own my own boat again. If it works out, great, if not, I’ll be just fine. I’ve just got to remember the many life lessons I’ve had along the way. The reminders, like being in a job I couldn’t stand, being let go from one I loved, losing a father, saying goodbye to longtime friends. Those things, as sad and potentially traumatic as they could be are continuing reminders to remember what’s important. To appreciate today, this day. To wake up in your own home with the person you love, the smell of coffee, all the potential of a brand-new day, and facing a list of projects that are exactly the kinds of things I love to do.
Maybe life is going well because I no longer need those reminders to appreciate what I’ve got. Oh, see, there you go, this is where the tribe meets behind your back and votes you out at the next council.
But before they vote, they have to ask themselves–does Tim have a hidden immunity idol? It could be another thing I’m being thankful for. Just sayin’…
Are you living an appreciative life? If not, how many reminders will you need?
Taking you behind the scenes this week. During my KOMO radio days, my producer role often had me running the boards for recording sessions. I saved a couple of those sessions so you’ll hear some raw tape along with a finished product or two. Starting with Bob Rondeau and Larry Nelson talking about the Final Four in Seattle….and then, Stan Boreson and Larry record some Ballard Seafoodfest promo’s. Enjoy!
I have lots of guesses. Drank or ate green stuff on Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day? Slipped over to the University of Washington where the cherry blossoms are putting on their annual show?
Weekends come and weekends go. Some are a celebration of surviving the work week. Others are savored and drawn out as long as possible until the inevitable Monday morning rolls around again.
This past weekend, something very special happened down in Los Angeles. It was the fulfillment of a promise that a dad made last year. He and his daughter had decided they were going run their first-ever marathon when the L.A. Marathon rolled around in 2018. The dad was a high school classmate who I’ve blogged about before, Mike Duarte. All the background details are right here.
With reading that, you know that his daughter was one of the 58 people shot dead in Las Vegas last fall by a crazed gunman. Christiana Duarte was celebrating her new job with the L.A. Kings hockey club and taking in a country music concert with thousands of other people. She and her dad were supposed to begin training for the marathon when they returned.
Mike had made a promise and so on Sunday, after months of training, he ran the L.A. Marathon in Christiana’s memory. Her loss made no sense. Her promising future, extinguished. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and grief Michael and his family went through and endure to some degree every day.
There were 24,000 people running on Sunday from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica, including one broken-hearted dad, running for the memory of his daughter and keeping that promise he made to her.
I thought you should know.
God’s peace, Duarte family.
Doing the St. Patrick’s Day episode, with everything Irish I could come up with from the archives. Scott Burns, Eric McKaig, Dan McGuire, Robert Geller–wait for it–from Emerald Downs and, of course, actual sound of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland with a little help from radio brother Matt Riedy. Enjoy!
OK, each week there comes a time when I’m staring at my keyboard, deciding what topic I’m going to tackle in this week’s blog. I can get political (but fight it off as much as humanly possible) or observational or practical. I’m choosing option C.
And it comes from recent experience. You see, a couple of weeks ago, my computer began making a beeping noise. At first, when it was booting up and eventually, on random occasions. I went online and looked at Yelp reviews about where I could take it for an exam. I don’t know if you saw the story about Best Buy’s Geek Squad, but apparently, some of the computers they were given made their way to the F.B.I.. Not that I have any great secrets I’m hiding, but I decided to look for a local tech geek.
It turns out I had a failing hard drive. Living a rather precise life without room for things like failing hard drives, I asked a local computer repair shop to replace the drive. Now, that gives me a new, faster drive. But what about all the programs that were installed? Well, first, I had to ask my backup company (backblaze.com) to send me a hard drive with all my important files on it. Then, I had to reinstall all the programs. Basically, I lost a week, but still managed to get everything out I do in a “normal” week thanks to having the backup service and having a dependable laptop to rely on.
The point of this week’s ramblings is this–you need a backup plan. Hard drives fail and usually at the most inopportune time. An unsolicited plug for BackBlaze–there are others and I just chose this one, but it constantly backs up where your computer is, 24-hours-a-day, online. Should it crash on a Tuesday, you can order a hard drive backup copy of your C-drive the day before it crashed and get everything back. Photos, files, projects, they’re all there.
Now the reason I felt strongly compelled to touch on this subject this week is because I had a recent hard drive fail. That’s when you need a backup system and your turn is coming. I mentioned BackBlaze, but here’s the deal (as my brother-in-law Kris likes to say): If you have Comcast Cable or most of the other major companies, they offer a free Virus protection. Log on to your Internet provider account, go to support and search for Norton.
In the case of Comcast, they GIVE you the $160 package of virus protection AND backup. So, you’re just a download away from having everything you have on your computer backed up, for free.
Seriously, reach out to me if you have questions, because just knowing that all those photos, documents and files are backed up “just in case” is incredible peace of mind.
You’re welcome. Now get back out there!
I was talking with an avid Seattle Mariners fan the other day about the team re-signing Ichiro. I was excited about it, because he brought a lot to the Mariners during his first term and, even though he now clocks in at 44-years-old, he could still bring a lot into the clubhouse if not on the field.
The friend downplayed the impact and expressed a bigger concern about all the injuries the team’s had since they started spring training. I was acknowledging the early season bad luck when he then blurted out an explanation, a possible theory behind those injuries.
The Mariners’ hats.Over the years, baseball has proudly become one of the most superstitious of all the sports. When a pitcher walks to the dugout after an inning, he steps OVER the chalk baseline, never on it. When a batter backs out of the box between pitches and does his ritualistic batting glove adjustment, it’s to better his odds of getting a hit. Fans are equally superstitious, turning their hats around in the 9th inning to convert them into “rally caps”, as if what they’re wearing will cast some positive mojo upon their team.
Oh, and there have been some great team superstitions that turned into traditions. Of course, the most famous was the “Curse of the Bambino”. The Boston Red Sox had a player named Babe Ruth, who was not only a great pitcher, but also had quite the bat. For some reason, they traded Babe to the Yankees in the 1919-20 off-season. Die-hard Red Sox fans know that the curse was credited for keeping the team out of the World Series for 86 long years.
When tavern owner William Sianis took his goat to Wrigley Field back in 1945 to promote his Billy Goat Tavern, he was kicked out. So he placed a curse on the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs didn’t make it to the World Series for 71 years. Apparently, that’s all a goat curse will get you.
Now, back to the Mariners. I’m sure not going take credit for this theory. In fact, here’s a nice article on the subject. But the bottom line is that the Trident that appears on their hats is apparently bad luck. Oh, sure, the head of Neptune’s spear usually means good luck. But, to make it look like an ‘M’ for Mariners, they turned it upside down. You know what they say about horseshoes and if you turn them pointing down, the luck will run out? Same thing. With the Trident pointing down, all of the Mariners good luck has just run out.
Amusing theory. It would be absurd to think that it could actually be the cause of all their injuries. Then again, the team has never made it to the playoffs in years that the down-pointing Trident appeared anywhere on their uniforms.
Maybe just to amuse those superstitious people, we should get rid of the Trident for a season or two. Like now. Is it gone yet?
In the immortal words of one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Bud Light, “It’s only superstitious if it doesn’t work.”
Welcome to the perfect 25th anniversary.
It was a celebration that was supposed to take place in the future, but I felt the odds were against it. It was the Murdock, Hunter & Alice 25th Anniversary Show! Here we were, 13 years into this radio experiment, around 18 months away from imploding and going our separate ways. Maybe I sensed something, but I thought it would be funny for us to put on our 25th Anniversary show now, rather than wait. I mean, why take chances.
This week’s Wacky Week Podcast is probably my best and most entertaining one I’ve cranked out yet. Truthfully, I was looking for something easy to keep me on schedule. Earlier this week, my computer blew up. It took precious days–days that I normally would be putting together a podcast–and I’ve spent the last day re-installing all my programs.
I stumbled across this CD and man, this is quintessential Murdock, Hunter & Alice. You’ll hear voices no longer with us like Alice and news guy Jim Kampmann. Paul Tosch and his brief stint with us before heading over to KOMO as their “Eye in the Sky.” There’s Alice, the beer-drinkin’, chain smoking psychic, Mike Evans, Susan the Astrologer, and my good friend Ken Carson, who was the emcee for the morning.
This is a beefy one, so listen to it as you have time. Great stuff and a wonderful collection of just how much could be had on the radio.
Thanks for listening, then and now.
I’d like to introduce you to one of the acquaintances I’ve made over the years. A fellow by the name of Bill Wright.
Bill has been employed over the years by various companies and that’s about all I know. It’s apparently the kind of stuff that, if he tells you, he has to kill you. So, I didn’t ask.
I’ve known Bill as a determined producer. A guy with ideas who passionately does all he can to make those ideas become reality.
I don’t exactly remember how met all those years ago, except that I was a hired voice for some projects he produced. Bill has always been a major fan of the Wizard of Oz books. Yes, that was meant to be plural. 13 of them were written by the original author, L. Frank Baum. A total of 43 official books have been written by various authors over the years.
Back in the 1990s, Bill decided he wanted to turn a couple of those adventures into audio books. He brought in Seattle radio traffic legend Debbie Deutsch to do the narrating, hired a 12-year-old girl named Alexandra Barkley to provide the voice of Dorothy, and yours truly did ALL the other voices. There were many a Saturday and Sunday afternoon in the Lake City recording studio where we spent hours laying down all the voice tracks. Local audio guru Bob Majors did the tweaking and the next thing you know, there were audio books. (although, as of this writing, they are only available on cassette)
Over the years, it seems like Bill & I would get together, hear about each other’s lives and then off we’d go to our neutral corners. A couple of years ago, I helped his daughter with a demo video for a cooking show. Then, earlier this year, he reached out to me about a special project.
And this one is special.
Without going too much into detail, I can give you the headlines. Bill has done research about some lost stories from World War II. He’s even gotten the state of Hawaii to fund his project and we are at the beginning stages of bringing one story to video. I will be providing the narrator voice. The long and short of it is, during World War II, the United States decided to set up camps where Japanese Americans had to ride out the war. The Japanese-American males of military age were used to form units that were deployed to Europe to fight the war. One of those units provided the heroes that freed 5,000 Jewish prisoners from the notorious Dachau Nazi camp when they intercepted a death march. The irony is thick. There they were, risking their lives to free prisoners from a German concentration camp, while back home, their families were locked up.
Finally, that story is going to be told. When there’s a finished project, I’ll do my best to bring it to your attention.
Then, after a few decades pass, maybe Bill & I will collaborate on yet another project. Don’t be surprised when it happens.
Tom Brokaw wrote about my parent’s generation and called them, “The Greatest.”
You have to fully dive into what it might have been like to be alive back then and, at a time when it would have been so easy to get overwhelmed and just give up, they fought a crazed dictator in Germany and a cult-like leader in Japan (they considered him a god) and won on both fronts. Most of them had survived our country’s greatest depression only to roll into a World friggin’ War. While growing up, I never would have guessed it. Maybe it was because my parents–like so many others of their generation–just dealt with it, learned from it, and grew to appreciate all they had.
There was a time I was quite proud of my peers and how we changed the world. I’m still amazed at how much life has improved and progressed during my generation. The evolution of technology, equal rights for races, genders and more, a high value on education, questioning our government, striving to make things better for all Americans, etc. Hey, we are FAR from perfect, but we’re making serious strides and have really come a long way during the course of my lifetime.
As much distain as the younger generation has for the boomers, it’s no secret that older people don’t think very much of the Millennials or whatever the generation is after that one is called. The common thinking is that they feel entitled, spoiled, they don’t know the hardship of having to dial a phone number with a rotary phone and their toughest day is the result of Siri not providing them with the answer to a take-home test.
But, as my brother-in-law Kris likes to say, “Here’s the deal.” Those teens and 20-somethings running around today that will some day rule the world–they’re the ones who will finally figure out the gun thing.
Yes, the gun thing. This endless cycle of “It’s our right” versus “Oh-oh, someone just shot up a school full of kids again.” Seriously, how long has this back and forth been going on? Someone mows down a bunch of people with a gun, there’s outrage, a call for banning assault weapons and then, it just fades away. A few months later, we go through it all over again.
I see this “We have a right to have any guns we want” equal to “We have a right to hate people of any color we want.” It’s a generational thing that has been passed along. Good, well-meaning people, drink the Kool-Aid that is Gun Rights and feel that any control, any restriction is the first step towards the government coming to our homes and confiscating our weapons. A very serious threat–in 1775.
This is where the memorized mantra comes out on both sides, as it always does. But that’s not the point of this writing.
What I’m saying is that my generation has failed to solve the gun thing. But it’s become quite clear that this younger generation coming in, the ones who were in the schools when the shootings broke out, the ones who have seen classmates gunned down and schools go into lock down: they see the insanity.
They don’t know that they should be thinking “There’s nothing we can do about it” and will eventually do something about it.
It won’t be tomorrow or the next day, but there is a legion of future voters who are going to see the value of having their voice heard, of making the change that is long overdue. The blanket gun rights people will end up being their own worst enemies. Their “I have a right to own a semi-automatic weapons so that crazy person over there does, too” attitude has to come to an end.
To today’s students, I would like to apologize for my generation not solving the plague of gun violence. We know what to do, we’re just not doing it. You, on the other hand, will finally figure this out. I can only hope to be around long enough to see it come to fruition.
Remember, be great. In fact, be greater.
Well, add this to my continuing series of blogs written and inspired by the latest mass shooting.
Look–I’m no genius. (please, the line to chime in forms down the street) For the sake of my comedy-writing skills, my observation muscle is really in good shape. I see things, process them, look for similarities and connections to other topics and create amusing quips and comments.
There is nothing cute or funny about the Florida shootings. But part of the routine response process (“More gun laws!”/”Stricter mental health regulations!”) kind of stands out to me this time.
The true solution is going to be a compromise that’s strictly enforced on both sides.
THE GUN ISSUE–Yes, 200 years ago, our forefathers made sure there was an amendment guaranteeing the right to own weapons and protect ourselves. The majority of people who own guns do so for for target practice, hunting and home security. But, like everything else these days, guns have become a political commodity–are you FOR guns or AGAINST them? Say the phrase “gun control” and the die-hards immediately respond with “that’s the first step towards the government taking all of our guns away!” And, there we are, back at that Second Amendment.
THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE–Between all the social media bombardment, where our media has evolved, and let’s throw in drug abuse while we’re at it, there are a lot of unstable people out there. Some are out-right dangerous. And not just at the homeless camps, but the bullied teenager who, in this case, lost both of his parents and was living with a family that took him in out of the kindness of their hearts, not knowing the complete mental damage that had happened. Someone with a history of violence, that had been kicked out of school, who had posted on YouTube that he wants to be a “professional school shooter”…I think it’s safe to say he has mental health issues. He needed help and wasn’t getting what he needed. It seems like a pretty simple concept that someone in that state of mind should have a tag on them, somewhere, that prevents them from buying an automatic weapon that can mow people down. But in this ever-so-PC world, we can’t label someone like that because it would be violating their rights.
I probably need to re-read the Constitution again, but I don’t believe there’s a right to shoot dozens of people with an automatic weapon.
Calling on the Republicans or the Democrats to fix this falls right into the camp that there are two teams playing. We’re one nation. The NRA has politicians in their pockets: shame on them. Then again, they’re doing what the pharmaceutical, insurance and other industries do. That’s how the political game is played.
But it’s time to call a time-out in this game and take positive steps so that people aren’t sending their kids off to school and not being really sure if they’ll ever come back.
GUN PEOPLE–Yes, you have the right to an AR-15, based on that second amendment. You’ll most likely treat it with respect and only shoot it at a firing range. But here’s the deal–there’s a disgruntled ex-co-worker or an abused or battered teen planning to lash out like all those shootings he keeps hearing about. First off, is owning that kind of weapon really that important to you? If so, shouldn’t a special license and training be required? You need that to drive a car. You can’t just hop behind the wheel of a semi and start driving. You also need special training and a special license. Notice a pattern here? There’s also a high accountability that comes with owning a gun. Having one that suddenly disappears and is used in a crime or killing spree–that’s on you. Perhaps if your weapon is used in a crime, you’re charged as an accomplice or face a $100,000 fine. Maybe if you knew that could happen, that semi-automatic would be treated like gold and locked up instead of being a quick grab away.
MENTAL HEALTH PEOPLE–When people go off the deep end, it’s not them. Their minds aren’t right. In the case of this Florida shooter, dear God, how many signs do you need? If you have parents of teenagers, ask them if they have kids at their school “most likely to go off.” I pretty much guarantee they do. They always have. A snoopy grandmother in Everett this past week opened her grandson’s guitar case and found a rifle, along with his journal plotting a school shooting. She reported it. Yes, it’s family, and it could drive a wedge in your relationship, but God knows how many lives were saved by that action. Dropping all the concern about being PC for a moment, if you’re mentally ill, you should NOT have the right to buy a gun. Is that really so difficult? Get help. Get therapy. Eventually, prove you deserve to be able to own a gun. We don’t allow 10-year-olds to buy weapons. We have laws that try to prevent ex-cons for owning them. The thing is, we’re at least trying in those areas. We are way overdue to identify those who are struggling and even just temporarily prevent them from owning weapons.
In summary, this is a Gun Control AND Mental Health issue. Did you ever think you’d live in a world where a dozen or two innocent people being gunned down became a common event? The frustrating part is that political parties have become packages. If you vote in this party, you’ll get this, this and this. If you vote in the other party, they represent that, that and that. But what if I’m for this but also want that? Get my point? I think we’ve reached the time that Gun Control for Mentally Disturbed People has become THE issue. The one that will determine who gets my vote.
Because those who already got our votes just don’t seem to care.
This week, I’m taking you down to the streets of Ballard where every year, a champion is determined. Yes, several people actually compete to be the winner of Ozzy’s World Famous Lutefisk Eating Contest, during Ballard’s annual Seafoodfest. So that you don’t have to see or smell it, I thought I’d give you a front row seat on the Internet.