Tim Versus Amazon

Look, I didn’t want this war. To be beyond honest, I love Amazon. For that one-time fee, I get all kinds of movies to choose from AND free shipping. For the most part, the prices on Amazon are about as good as I can get anywhere.

Now, I will admit that I probably paid a little more than I should have on one Christmas present in particular. But this one was in-stock, God knows what’s going to happen in the weeks ahead, and I was trying to knock down at least some of the people on my list.

This is where I need to give you some background. We live on a private lane. In fact, our mailing address is actually the back of the house, but if Amazon or anyone for that matter were to leave something out there, it would probably be stolen. Or, suffer the wrath of the elements.

That’s exactly what happened the other day. I got a notice from Alexa that a shipment had arrived. I was in the middle of work, so a half hour later or so, I checked the front porch. Nothing. I looked in the back and sure enough, some half-brained, moronic, idiot, son of a delivery person left the package I had ordered out in the rain. By the time I got to it, the box was soaked.

We haven’t had this happen for a while, but it’s happened twice now in the past couple of days. Why it’s irritating is that I’ve posted a sign in the back to NOT deliver packages there. I asked them PLEASE to bring them to the front of our house, which is half a block east of where they’re about to drop off this package, outside of a locked gate.

In fact, when I went out to the back, the box was soaked. The inside contents might have been fine, but I’m not spending $86 on a present with a soaked box. So, I immediately went over to the local Amazon drop off point, and returned this version of the gift. Then, I came home and promptly ordered the same darn thing. It arrived today and this driver knew where the front of our house was. But I was prepared to have this happen over and over until they got it right.

It was a short battle, but I consider myself winning. Now we’ll just see how the rest of the packages I order this season will fare.

I went to let Amazon know on their website that the delivery person messed up. There was no option for that. This could be a long battle. And the great Christmas war continues.

Happy holidays!

Tim Hunter

Alex and Me

To begin, I never met Alex Trebek.

Back in my KLSY days, I was lucky enough to head down to the Washington State Convention Center one day and meet up with Vanna White and Pat Sajak, when “Wheel of Fortune” did a stop in Seattle. We did interviews, took photos and both couldn’t have been nicer.

I imagined Alex Trebek to be just like that, and everyone has said nothing but that for the past week since he left us. But I would expect that–he’s Canadian. Some of the absolute most sincerely nice people I have met in my life were Canadian. I don’t know what’s in the water (or the beer) up there, but we should pipe some of it down here.

So I would have to say that one of the regrets I have from my 43 years of being in broadcasting is not having my paths cross the host of “Jeopardy.” However, it’s not like we’re complete strangers.

For the past couple of years, part of my waking up routine is to make the coffee, head downstairs and ask Alexa to play a newscast. Then, the second it’s over, I say those familiar words, “Alexa, let’s play Jeopardy.”

The theme song plays, the announcer says, “Here’s Alex” and Mr. Trebek introduces the game. Alexa asks the questions, but then Alex comes back to say thanks for playing and, “See you tomorrow.”

It’s a great way to get the blood flowing in the brain. While I’m competitive, I’m OK with whatever score I end up with for the day. Sometimes I’m amazed at the answers I come up with. Other times, I realize I probably should have read more than two books in my life. (“My Father’s Dragon” and “The Martian Chronicles.” More if you include Dr. Seuss)

I tend to average 5-6 right out of 12 questions most mornings. I have one perfect game to my credit, but far more where I got 3 or less and Alexa wraps up our session by saying, “Today’s questions must have been hard.”

But it’s all about keeping the mind alert. When I hear the answer I missed, I just press that into my memory bank for the next time. Or, for when I get that call to come to the big leagues.

Yep, tomorrow morning, the alarm will once again go off at 4:45am. I’ll make the coffee, come downstairs and tell Alexa to play KIRO Newsradio, so I can catch the end of “America’s First News” and the CBS Morning Roundup.

Then it’ll be Alex and me getting back together. His answers, my questions. It’s nice to know he’ll still be there.

Tim Hunter

Let’s Get Back To One Country

OK, I’m going to start this week’s blog letting you know this will be the last one this year to touch on politics. More fun and frivolity on the way.

Two weeks ago, I shared my feelings about the presidential race and some articles that shaped my thinking. As a quick reminder, I think of myself as an Independent voter who will cast my vote for the better person, regardless of party.

That didn’t set well with some people. I tend to overshare my views here on this nice, hidden corner of the Internet. But I also have this set up so that when I publish a blog, it goes to several other sources, including Facebook. That’s when I touched a few nerves. Follow that with a popular vote that showed half of the country voted to retain Donald Trump and we obviously have become two America’s.

However, we’ve just taken a major step into returning back to one.

I based my opinion on how I was going to vote this presidential election on what I’ve seen the current president do over his almost-four years, as well as what I hoped President-Elect Biden will achieve over his term. The day we found out the final results, November 7th, 2020, I felt more hope than I have in a long time.

If you voted for the President, that’s entirely your right and I completely support it. On the positive side, Mr. Trump drove more Republicans to the polls than anyone has in years for that party. The sad part was that he used scare tactics and threats and alleged many horrible things will happen if Biden/Harris take over. He convinced Cuban and Puerto Rican voters that they were planning to turn this country into North Cuba. The same voters who feared what would happen if Hillary got in were told what to fear if this year’s Democrats took over the office.

What will they achieve, what direction will they take this country? They have goals, but they also have a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. What gives me hope is that we’ll be done with a leadership that embraces calling names, all-capped Tweets of random opinions, and generates insane theories that some of the intelligence-challenged electorate believe without question. We’re on the ragged edge of returning to the days of two opposing political views, debating the merits of those ideas and then letting those in power vote.

President Trump was an experiment. We finally put someone in there from the outside, who would shake things up, “drain the swamp” and do things for our country. He did some good things, as well as some very damaging things. As I’ve said with every president we’ve ever had: history will judge. Were they a great president? Let’s look at the big picture 20 years from now and you’ll have the answer.

If all you know about Joe Biden is what you heard about from the president during the campaign, you don’t know him. It’s my hope that you give it a couple of years and allow our country to return to the days when people could talk politics and not feel obligated to hate each other if they disagreed.

I vaguely remember that time when I was a kid and hearing my parents and their good friends talking politics one night. My folks were considered Republicans, their friends, Pat & Lenny, were Democrats, who planned to vote for Kennedy. I don’t know the context or if it was said kiddingly, but the phrase, “Yeah, well, if Kennedy gets in, he’ll have us all praying to Mary,” in a reference to him being the country’s first Roman Catholic presidential candidate.

I just recall it being a conversation, not an argument. A discussion of what each couple thought. And then they went back to playing Pinochle. It was a time when politics could be part of the conversation and regardless of your preference, the bottom line was, we are all still Americans. We were one country.

Or, maybe that was just a dream.

Tim Hunter

Yep, I’m a Christian

Of course, to those of you who know me well, you already knew that. 

The reason I’m even bringing that up is that I’ve talked with a sizeable number of family and friends who are voting for a certain presidential candidate because they feel he is anti-abortion. 

Before we go any farther, I’m not trying to change your mind. In fact, that’s the beauty of the country we call home, we’re allowed to have different viewpoints, religions and beliefs.

To share more about my background, I was raised a Lutheran, by conservative, God-fearing parents, who helped instill my Christian faith.

What else should you know about me?

  1. I started out Republican but over time, transformed into somewhere between liberal Republican or conservative Democrat. 
  2. Heck, I was a Young Republican for Nixon, even before I was able to legally vote!
  3. As I moved into the middle ground, I even found myself voting for Ross Perot one year. I filled out a ballot for Mitt Romney. I also voted for Hillary Clinton. Go sort that out.

All that being said, my politics are wide open. Tell me your ideas, your viewpoints and then I’ll decide. Voting straight party for either side is a recipe for disaster. That’s how we elected the one we have right now.

You see, Donald Trump is not a Republican, or at least the ones that used to exist. He grabbed the reins of a wounded party like a hostile takeover and made it all about himself. It’s among the saddest political stories in our country’s history.

And using his entertainment background,he’s gotten his followers to drink the Kool Aid, big time. Truth about his corruption is “fake news.” Offer a conflicting viewpoint to his followers, and they’ll say it’s just the biased media. Ask about one of his crazy, racist, antagonizing, insulting and juvenile tweets….and dead silence.

So, as a Christian, I’ve thought about the abortion issue for years. Is it murder? Is it a right? Is it for me to decide?

Let’s start with the last one–why should I decide if it’s right or not? Who made me God?  So then, if I have no moral authority to make that decision for someone else, I should at least be able to decide for myself. I have always believed that I could probably never have an abortion for two reasons–because I tend to think that it’s probably wrong and because I’m a man. 

Why am I wandering into this touchy topic? Because the number one reason I hear people claiming to be Christians give for voting for Donald Trump is because he’s Pro-Life.  I love that term. Oh, well, Pro Life when it comes to fetuses. But when it comes to fully developed human beings being killed by the hundreds of thousands by a virus he says “will just disappear”, that’s just collateral damage.

As a Christian, it saddens me how many good people are being duped by his rhetoric and doing what they think is the morally correct thing to do. One issue and all the lies, cheating, sexism, racism and narcissisms can all be forgiven.  Seriously. 

I may never know who you vote for and I frankly don’t care. That’s your right and privilege. But if you’d open your mind for just a moment, I’ve got a couple of articles worth at least skimming over. Not for this election, as I’m pretty sure you’ve voted by now, but for the betterment of our future together.

Here’s one of the dark forces out there that may have been an influence in how you believe.

Here’s something I wish every Trump voter could read.

And at last week’s final debate, the lies you were told

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. We’ve all been hunkering down because of the constant bombardment of people telling us how to believe, to think and to vote. With this, I was just hoping to present some alternative views and facts. If you still believe that President Trump deserves four more years in office, we can still be friends. I don’t disown you. We can even talk politics if you do so with an open mind and facts. I have several conservative friends that I barb with, but I’ve also verbally wrestled some serious Democrats.

The bottom line is that we’re Americans. We the people are casting our ballots and letting the process work that we’ve set up. All I can do as an American and as Christian, is to pray it all works out.

And I’m sure it will.

Tim Hunter

Happy Anniversary

Not to a person, but to a song.

I give the history of “Bimbo #5” in the video below, so I don’t want to take too much away from it. It was a parody song I did back in my KLSY days, in fact, 20 years this Halloween season. I would bring it out every year and play it on a speaker to go along with my decorated front porch for the trick or treaters. Then, as YouTube videos became all the range, I decided to try making a music video.

I’ve done dozens of those over the years, but this was my first. My creation. I outlined what I thought I needed, talked family and friends into gathering at my Seattle home and at a Bothell cemetery, and bought one of those Flip video cameras.

Oh, sure, the quality has come a long way and I was just starting to learn how to edit video. But somehow, it all worked out.

Recently, I connected with most of the cast members to talk about that day. Of course, it’s a Zoom world, so we had a virtual reunion. But once again, that worked out well, too.

Thanks to them and to you for helping make this silly little song a Halloween tradition. Here’s the 13-minute documentary I made for “The 10th Anniversary of Bimbo #5.” Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

Tim Haunter

The Great AdVenture

As you know, I’m a busy guy. So when I have the opportunity to take on one more project, well, you know my answer is going to be, “Yes!”

The latest addition to my crazy weekly schedule has been as a writer for a new animated series, “The Great AdVenture.” It’s a series based on the main characters of a couple of phone games, “Adventure Capitalist” and “Adventure Communist.”

It’s pretty amazing how everything in my life contributed to me being able to play in this arena.

I’ve always wanted to be a screenwriter. When KLSY dropped me off on the front porch of unemployment, I thought, “Well, there’s never been a better time to get writing.” So, each day, I got up at 7 and spent the entire day writing, like it was my job. During that time, I managed to get a couple of screenplays done. Then, later, I teamed up with a partner and we wrote both a screenplay and a couple of scripts for a possible TV series. None went anywhere, but please, make an offer.

So, as I honed that skill, I stayed in touch with a woman that had interned at KLSY and went on to do a lot of show biz things, including attending Jim Henson’s school, she interned on “Saturday Night Live” and then headed to Hollywood to became quite the accomplished writer for movies and TV, especially for her passion, animation. Meet Libby Ward.

At the same time I found myself out of work and started writing movie scripts, I eventually found a job with a local advertising agency. While there, I met a driven person named Kevin Urie. He was an account manager, but had bigger things in mind. He was the president of Seattle’s Social Media Club, when that was all starting out. At that time, it was the largest chapter in the U.S.! Through that, he made lots of biz connections and went through a series of job that included a gig at Microsoft and eventually, landing a position with the above-mentioned Canadian game company, Hyperhippo. Knowing I was a comedy-writing guy, he put me in touch with the folks in the company who were trying to launch this new animated series.

Initially I wrote some commercials for the games. But finally, the big moment arrived when they started assembling the team that would make their dream of an animated series happen.

That’s when I dragged in Libby to the project. She had lots of actor contacts and grabbed some key folks to bring the characters to life, vocally. I brought in Scott Burns, a Seattle-based voice actor who is also a radio brother. For years, we had worked across the dial from each other but never together. When Scott became the audio production director at the ad agency where I worked, we became fast friends.

This truly is a modern-day effort. With producers up in Canada, actors in Hollywood and Seattle, a Hollywood/Seattle writing team and animators in Nebraska, we’re all cyber-connected and acting as if we were in the same studio.

The idea of the series is to make them very reflective of the times. So, even though an episode was written several weeks before, once the animation is done, we’ll insert a couple of lines that refer to things that happened this week. In our first episode, we had a few. But over time, we’ll get this down to a science.

On October 3rd, 2020, we put out our first episode, which is done in a three-part style so they can use each of the parts as free-standing contributions to their social media efforts. And so, the great experiment has begun.

Will it continue? We were signed for an initial agreement of ten scripts. The plan is to produce those and then weigh in if they’re considered successful. If so, this could be a year-round effort, with multiple ten-week seasons. We shall see.

In the meantime, my great adventure with being a writer for an animated series is off. Each trio of episodes are under five minutes long, so it won’t be a major time commitment. Here’s episode one, see what you think.

Thanks for watching and now you know one more thing that I’m up to these days. Yeah, I’m a busy guy.

Tim Hunter

God’s Getting Tired of That Joke

“Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen.” — President Trump

I rarely use my corner of the Internet to talk about political things, but fighting a pandemic should never have become political. Mr. President, I know of 210,000 people (as of this writing) and their families that would disagree with you. Then again, this is the same president who referred to those who died for their country as “losers.”

I remember back in February, when COVID-19 was exploding here in the Northwest, I had to send a cautionary note to my sister in Arkansas and recommend that they NOT go through with their planned visit to our 91-year-old mom. “They just don’t know a lot about this stuff, but it’s really contagious,” I said. Reluctantly and thankfully, they postponed their visit.

7-million Americans have tested positive so far. So, if you do the math, with 328-million U.S. citizens, that means only 2% of our population has contracted the disease. And what I’ve heard in response from some Trump-supporting friends is the now classic, “Well, do you really know anyone who has had it?”

As a matter of fact I do.

PATIENT 1 is a friend’s wife. She’s in her early 60’s, has those now famous “underlying health conditions” and had to make a trip to the E.R. back in January. The E.R. at Evergreen Hospital, where she contracted the coronavirus. It made her sick enough to send her to the hospital, where she spent 39 days in the hospital, a couple of weeks there on a ventilator. Before she came home, she had to have physical therapy to relearn breathing, swallowing and the basics. She recovered and made it home, but her underlying health conditions have worsened. Somehow, her husband–by following all the rules–never got it.

PATIENT 2 is a 22-year-old medical student who I saw at a doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago. She began by asking me if I knew she had a mild stroke earlier in the year and I actually had heard that from a friend. The M.A. then informed me that the receptionist had contracted coronavirus a couple of weeks ago and then, this past week, had had a mild stroke. Doctors are now theorizing that the M.A. must have had a mild case of the virus and that both strokes were part of the after effects of COVID-19.

For more about the last effects of having experienced the virus click here.

PATIENT 3 is the daughter-in-law of someone Victoria and I have both known for a long time. We’ve gotten together with her son and his wife on several occasions and just yesterday, his wife, Kelli–a real person that I know, not an urban legend–posted this on her Facebook account:

Longest post ever…So, many of you don’t know this: I had COVID-19 back in the beginning of April. We think I may have been exposed at Jury Duty (right!??) during the week prior to lock down. It was at the height of infection rates and limited testing kits in the NYC metro so I did not get tested at the time. After speaking with a tele-doc regarding what we should do, they determined that I had a moderate case and was not critical enough for hospitalization. I was still extremely sick. Horribly sick in fact: a fever that would not break for days. The worst headache I’ve ever had. Massive fatigue that felt like I could collapse from (I slept for 16-20 hours a day) Complete loss of smell and taste. Complete nausea and diarrhea and a sore throat that burned to breathe. Pressure in my chest that felt like someone was squeezing me (but not deemed as “difficulty breathing”) Night sweats that soaked through my mattress pad. Dizziness and vertigo. This all lasted for two weeks. This was considered a moderate case. I never got the cough (eternally thankful for that) It took over a month for my sense of taste and smell to return. I still get fatigued. I have had symptom relapses that come and go since then. I wasn’t “myself” for about 6 weeks. It did not feel like a cold. It did not feel like a bad flu. You do not want this. I am a very healthy 40-year-old and COVID took the wind out of my sails. I can only relate it slightly to when I had h1-n1; and that just felt like a bad flu compared to this COVID experience. I’ve taken steroids for other illnesses and have been given fluids and vitamin cocktails in the past. If I had those during my experience, of course I would have felt “better.” But just like when people take Sudafed for a cold and go to the office, they are still sick (and getting others sick.) You are not just “better”. That’s why medicines are frequently called therapies – not cures. This country (especially it’s leadership) needs to get their heads out of their asses and learn empathy. I’m embarrassed/ashamed/angry we are where we are today. Wear a f@*king mask. Stay away from people if you are sick. For God’s sake.

So, for all of you who take this pandemic as a joke, I’m going to fight fire with fire.

Torrential rains began coming down and the city started to flood. A man fled to the safety of his rooftop. A guy in a boat approached and yelled out, “Hop in!” and the man replied, “No worries–God will save me.”

Next, a helicopter flew over his house and dropped down a rescue line, but the man refused, saying, “God will save me.”

By this time, the water was to his ankles and a guy on a jet ski pulled up and invited him to hop on. The man said, “No, thanks. God will save me.”

The water rose. The man drowned and went to heaven. His first question to God was, “Hey, why did you let me drown?” and God replied, “Let you drown? I sent a boat, a helicopter and a jet ski…”

We’ve got the tools and the science to greatly reduce our chances of getting COVID. Use them, so you can stick around and vote anyway you want on November 3rd. You have that right. But living out the rest of your life with a chronic health condition or flat out losing your life just because you feel you need to ignore the science to take a political side–well, that’s just plain nuts.

Besides, I’m sure by now, God’ getting pretty tired of that joke.

Tim Hunter

Memories of a Blessed Career

For all the things I’ve been able to do in this lifetime, one of the greatest collections of stories comes from my radio days.

The next time we actually get together, even if it’s socially distant, ask me about some of the classics: “Psycho Listener That Stalked Me”, “Feed the Horse”, “Lonely Military Wife”, and of course, the immortal, “Stop That Song! Now!”

This cartoon reminded me of a running gag that lived in the production room of KLSY.

 

So in the early stretch of my 19 years at Sandusky Broadcasting (the owners of KLSY, KIXI and assorted other radio stations), they had a salesperson named “Doc.” I don’t remember much about him, but this was back in the days when sales people were expected to write their own copy for commercials.

I still remember Production Director (the guy who makes commercials) John Nixon showing me a spot he wrote. I don’t even remember who the commercial was for, but I’d never be able to forget one of the lines–“Man in blue sweater walks by.”  Uh, you know this is for radio? You know, that media without pictures? How does a blue sweater sound?  It’s like a white sweater, but darker?

Seriously, for years, whenever we’d be working on stuff together in the production room, it was not unusual for the “blue sweater” line to come up.

Yeah, for all I do, as I continue to learn and explore new skills, to this day, radio and all those great stories are in my blood. That’s probably why I’ll be hiding out on KRKO, “Everett’s Greatest Hits” for as long as I can wedge it into my routine. You’ll have to give it a listen sometime.

And who knows? Maybe if you listen real carefully, you just might hear a blue sweater pass by.

Tim Hunter

Halloween Must Be Saved!

That sounds like the name of an Ernest movie.

As you know, 2020 has been a nightmare. Starting in February, most major events were canceled, while those that were actually pulled off were done virtually–just not the same.

And now that we are heading into fall, the most sacred of nights for kids all year long–second only to Christmas Eve–Halloween is being threatened.

How ironic is it that those who downplay the seriousness of coronavirus and mock people who wear masks are determined to make Halloween happen, so their kids can go out in masks?

While my childhood Halloween memories are foggy, I do remember mom or dad escorting me around the neighborhood with my $2.99 costume with the hard plastic mask that made it so hard to breathe. But if struggling for air for an hour resulted in a bag of candy, so be it. Remember, this goes back to the days of pre-snack size bars, when if you got a candy bar, you got a real candy bar. Of course, there were those jerks who handed out raisins or apples out of concern for our health, but a couple of whack jobs sticking pins into those soon made them go away.

The tragedy of Halloween is realizing that you’re growing up. By the time your parents feel good enough about you going out by yourself, you only get a couple of years in before adults start giving you dirty looks, as if, “How dare you take candy meant for cute little kids!” Kids can be like cats or dogs. Cute as kittens and puppies, but once they grow up, some people are just done with them.

As to whether to allow kids to go out and solicit for candy on Halloween this year, I’m mixed. I believe they can be socially distant, just like some adults and come on, the whole thing happens outdoors!  Going door to door should be fine. But then, when they cluster on your porch, all excited and you have lean into that germ-riddled air to give them their rewards, that’s when it gets dicey.

I saw a brilliant idea this week on Facebook, the Candy Chute! (those from northern states prefer to call it the Candy Luge)  Either way, you get a long tube, suspend it so it can deliver your candy and then instruct each trick or treater as they approach to hold their bag at the end of that tube. Just drop in their candy and everybody wins!

Other considerations would be a Candy Cannon, leaving out a bowl of whatever you didn’t eat of that giant bag you buy, or in the more well-to-do neighborhoods, suggest that kids each “Trick or Drone.”

So, let’s put on the thinking caps and figure out something, anything, so that we can keep this annual fall tradition alive. Halloween must be saved!

Thousands of dentists across this great land are counting on it!

Tim Hunter (OK, “Haunter”)

 

Thanks, Delilah

I’ve been blessed over the years to meet some great and pretty unique people. While I usually grab this space on the Internet to pass along my thoughts on a given topic, I was moved by a Facebook post of a friend this past that I’ve decided needs to be shared.
Re-sharing it on Facebook, it could come off as one of those things you know you’re going to get to the end, and they ask you to share it. It could be true, or fabricated, being some kind of social media prank someone pulled to see how long it would go.
What you’re about to read is a post from a radio sister who I worked with during my days at KLSY. Boy, she’s had an adventure since those times when I did afternoons as the warmup act for “Lights Out.”  It was our evening show, featuring love songs and dedications and Delilah ruled the airwaves after 7pm.
I remember when her oldest son would come with his mom and sleep in the studio, because she had no one to watch him. There was the time when she was a new mom that she had pumped some breast milk and put it in the company fridge. Some employee mistook it for cream for his coffee and…well, it became one of those stories that got told a lot.
It’s amazing to think of how many years ago that was, and how yet it still seems like just a couple of years ago.
Thanks, Delilah, for writing this and for allowing me to share it.
God’s perfect timing
Romans 8:28
As many people know I lost my son Zachariah in 2017. He was my last born biological child, my late in life surprise. He was 18 and had hit some really rough patches in life. Thinking we were helping him to navigate turbulent waters his father and I got him to a counselor and a doctor immediately. The doctor put him on an SSRI, an antidepressant that we discovered too late, is deadly for almost half of the teens it is prescribed for. Less than eight months later he was so delusional and messed up from the effects of the drug, he took his life. In that instant my life, all our lives, were forever changed. Zack was a wild child, a spark of passion and light. He was a boy with a broad smile filled with immense talent and dreams for his future. And in an instant all that was taken from us.
Tonight his older brother, my first born son Isaiah, was driving home from work. He had put in a 9 hour day of training in 90 degree + temps, wearing 20 plus lbs of SWAT GEAR. He’d been up most of the night before, keeping watch over his wife and kids who live just a mile or two from wild fires. I texted with him at midnight while they were packing and waiting to see if they needed to evacuate. Needless to say he was sweaty, fatigued and eager to get home.
He was beyond exhausted when he drove across a high bridge, and for a moment his mind didn’t register that there was someone standing along the edge. He passed the stranger then suddenly realized the man wasn’t standing on the bridge, but instead he was sitting on the ledge, preparing to jump.
Isaiah stopped his patrol car in the middle of the bridge and slowly walked back towards the young man. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?” My son asked. The man said yes but warned him not to get close…
Over the next several minutes my son engaged him in conversation. Real conversation. He shared about his baby brother and how his death has impacted our family.
They talked about life, and real struggles.
My son told me it was agonizing looking down and realizing the young man was barely sitting on the ledge, one false move and he would plunge hundreds of feet to his death. Step by cautious step Isaiah moved closer. Tear by salty tear, he listened to this young man pour out his heart.
My son trains weekly at a jujutsu dojo, and is constantly training for his role as an officer. He’s in excellent physical shape. The young man was also fit and was not a small man, but when the moment was right, Isaiah sprang into action and grabbed him from behind, pulling him to safety. They struggled a bit, but before he was taken away for help at a hospital, they had a tearful embrace and he thanked my son profusely.
Tonight there is a mother sleeping somewhere who doesn’t even know how her day, her week, her very life would have turned out differently if God had not placed my son on a bridge at the precise moment her son needed him. I praise God that the heartache Isaiah experienced losing his brother motivated him to stop in the middle of his commute home, to save someone else’s son.
Thanks so much for sharing, D.
Tim Hunter

We Just Keep Going

I basically visualize myself as a football player, running down the field, helmet on, straight-arm ready to push people way, completely intent on plowing forward.

I’m one of those inward people that, when something upsets me, I dig a whole somewhere inside me and bury it. Something else comes along, I’ll bury that just to the other side. This routine continues until one day when I hit a max amount of things being buried and I erupt. Not violently, but swiftly. By the time I hit that point, I’ve wrestled in my mind what I’m going to do about each of the issues and act. That’s me.

As you’re quite aware, we’ve got a whole lot to fix in our world and it seems to be continually piling up. Of course, individually, we can’t fix everything, but we need to try to do that and then, what doesn’t get fixed can be put on a list for tomorrow.

This past week, I think the culmination of the endless bickering about the virus, the politics, the racial stripe, the senseless killings of people–all topics that I’m processing–just hit me. I was watching the evening news on ABC with David Muir, when he did a story about a kid who raised money to buy diapers and baby food for moms who were down on their luck. It was his own project and he had made magic happen for some moms, one of whom raved about what a great thing he was doing.

He was selfless. Probably 12 or so. And black.

That’s when my eyes started misting. It just made me incredibly sad that are perhaps millions of people out there, right now, unaware of what he was doing with his life, who would see him and immediately dislike him. Or distrust him. Or assume the worst. And judge him. And, if walking down the street and seeing him approaching, they would cross the street to avoid him, just to “play it safe.”

That is incredibly sad.

Hats off to those protestors who are out there, calling for racial injustice to end. The ones who are rioting and starting fires are not the same people. They are extremes on both sides of the political spectrum who have learned that chaos helps them and distracts from the important issues.

I don’t know what it will take to get to “the mountain top” that Dr. King talked about half a century ago. But I do know it will take change, both in our laws and in our values.

While protesting is a right protected by our constitution, I do think a nice addendum would be to require people to register to vote if they want to protest. Because that’s how real change occurs. When we put the right people in position to continue evolving our country. To strive to the words of freedom that were in the original design, but have somehow been assigned to only some of us.

We have a chance to do some voting in the near future. Make sure your precious right is used to help me this an even better country, now and in the future.

It would be a wonderful way to reward at least one young man for helping out so many new moms.

Tim Hunter

Another Voice Confined To My Head

I first met Debbie Deutsch on the radio.

I was a Seattle radio listener in the 1980s. I listened to several stations, but the voice that stood out to me was Debbie Deutsch. She was the voice of AAA Traffic, which the Auto Club provided to area radio stations, much like other companies did ski reports in the winter. At one point, KJR decided to make her their own fulltime employee, pairing her up with the likes of Seattle radio legends Charlie Brown and Gary Lockwood.

This was back in the day when radio traffic reporters worked split shifts. They just did. So since I was over at KOMO radio working with Larry Nelson in the mornings with Ted Garlatz up in the KOMO Air Patrol, if i was going to hear Debbie at all, it would most likely be during her afternoon reports.

Over time, I was downsized from KOMO and headed across the lake to KLSY. Eventually, Debbie Deutsch found her way there as well and a great friendship began.

They paired her up with KLSY’s “Murdock in the Morning” and for years, they were the morning twosome on Classy, 92.5fm. While I worked in production, copywriting and did weekend shifts when she joined the station, I was around enough to get to know her. THE Debbie Deutsch. As incredibly nice as advertised. That down-home, Wisconsin kind of friendly.

I occasionally tossed some produced bits their way, including a song called, “I wanna be your Murdock” which I remember producing on the radio stations amazing 8-track recorder. Wow. I did a quick search for that and couldn’t find it, but when I do, I’ll update this post and give you a chance to listen to it.

There was the time KLSY did “The Prom For People Who Didn’t Get To Go To Theirs”. Here’s a picture from that evening.

From left to right–Promotion Director Lisa Sarkies, a listener, Delilah Rene, Debbie Deutsch, yours truly, Julie Hiebert and Bob Brooks.

Eventually, Debbie and her husband Jim had a couple of kids and the idea of heading into Bellevue from north Bothell every morning lost its appeal, so she left KLSY to focus on her kids and then, become a professional storyteller. She would always tell me that she named their second son after me. To back up that claim, they call him “Tim.”

At one point, she became part of an effort to create audiobooks of a few of the Wizard of Oz books. We spent many a Sunday morning in a recording studio bringing those stories to life, Debbie as the narrator. Me, taking on most of the other character voices and a young girl named Alexandra as Dorothy. Available where ever cassettes are still sold. I’ve been trying to get the producer, Bill Wright, to get them into digital form. I’m not sure where that stands. Here’s more background on that adventure, from a previous blog.

 

Oh, my gosh, I just found a website where you can listen to audio clips from those books. This was last updated in 2001. Amazing what you can find on the Internet.

In the years that followed, I would occasionally touch base with her. Storytelling became her passion; she even joined the Seattle Storyteller’s Guild. After KLSY and I parting ways in 2003 and doing a year with the Wolf, I wandered off into marketing and advertising, but still had the radio bug. Anyone who has been in the biz knows, it never goes away.

I did a podcast (167 episodes of “The Wacky Week” podcast are out there) and had fun, but I continued to miss radio. As you know, these days I get it out of my system on KRKO, while maintaining all my other vast sources of employment. But around a decade ago, I got together with my radio brother Scott Burns and Debbie and we recorded a demo with the idea that someone might want to put this on the air around Seattle. We came up empty.  But it was sure fun doing the demo together. Here’s that demo.

I just found out last week that we had lost Debbie. She had lost her battle with cancer a month ago and word was now just getting out. I was so sorry to hear it. It would have been so nice to get one more time to chat with her. For those who didn’t know Debbie, I thought I’d give you a chance to get to meet her on her way out. You missed a class act.

And here’s the official obit that her family put together:

Debra Ann Deutsch Bulger
July 18, 1952 – July 28, 2020

Debbie succumbed to cancer July 28, 2020 at her home in Woodinville. She was the third child born to Edwin and Phyllis (Smith) Deutsch in Menomonie, Wisconsin.  She moved with her parents to Kent Washington in 1966 and graduated from Kent Meridian High School.  Following high school, she attended Weaver Airline School in Kansas City, Missouri.  Her first job was with AAA in Seattle where she gave traffic reports on KJR radio.  She later became the traffic reporter and radio personality on KJR for 9 years and then on KLSY radio.  She met the husband of her dreams at a TGIF event in Edmonds, and they married in 1985, moved to Woodinville, Washington and had 2 sons.  Debbie was involved with her boys’ sports, Scouts, and school, she told children’s stories at libraries, bookstores, the Seattle Center and the Aquarium, hosted Mom’s Camps and lastly worked as Office Manager at Feng Shui property managers in Mill Creek, Washington.

Surviving Debb is her husband of 35 years James S. (Jim) Bulger; sons, E6 USN Scott (Paige) of Dallas, Texas, and Timothy (Lauren) of Snohomish, Washington; sisters Linda Lambert of Everett and Diane Ross recently of Cassville, Missouri and several nieces, nephews, cousins and a multitude friends.

All donations will be used to plant trees in her memory throughout the Pacific Northwest via the non-profit organization https://onetreeplanted.org

Thank you for your support in Loving memory of this most beautiful woman. We’re so grateful and expectant to grow a forest!

Love,
Jim, Scott, and Tim Bulger

Shortly after popping for a few trees, I heard from her son, Scott:

Mr. Hunter it’s truly an honor to hear from you. Mom has the best stories about her time working with you! And we thought she was the coolest for being in those Wizard of Oz tapes.
Thank you for your sentiments and contribution to her tree fund. I think all of us were just as surprised last year at the initial diagnosis. She’s gone from here too early, but knowing she’s no longer hurting really does bring us solace.

Would love to take on any audio you might find, what a treasure that will be.

Please reach out anytime!

Very respectfully,
Scott

I cherish the time I got to spend with her, and I know her family is feeling a mighty loss. Thanks for sharing her, guys. She was indeed one of the good ones.

The world will no longer get to enjoy her voice, which means she now joins that ever-growing club of great voices that meets regularly in my head. It’s getting crowded in there.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Forget To Boat!

Yeah, I overshare in this blog and here I go again.

So, I want a boat. I used to own one, a Bayliner Open Bow that I bought one Father’s Day weekend, many, many years ago. I loved that boat. But over time, I became the only one in the family who shared that fondness. Then, after I bent the prop on some rocks, I decided to let it go.

However, that itch has been wanting to be scratched for a long time and I felt like now just might be the right time to make a move.

There are lots of ways to go. Return to the family-sized cruiser for fun. Keep it simple and go for a basic fishing boat. Or go big with something that has to be moored, but keeping in mind, if you have a head and a galley on board, it’s a “home” and you can write off the interest.

Thinking it through, really, what I’m wanting to do is get my father-in-law Ernie out on the water again to go fishing. It would mean a heck of a lot to him, and at the same time, I could get a boat.

So, I’ve been carefully watching boattrader.com and even skimming the Craigslist ads, just to get an idea on prices. With that in mind, the other day I saw this incredible offer–a 17-foot Lund fishing boat with motor and…well, when I wrote to see if the boat was still available, this was the response:

Hi!
Thanks for your interest in my 2003 Lund 1775 Pro-V. This boat is in perfect condition without any problems, always garaged, never used in salt water and has a clear title on my name. Boat comes complete with everything including: trailer, trolling motor, 2 x GPS Hummingbird Sonar/Fish Finder Touch Screens and High Performance 4-Blade Stainless Steel Propeller, Engine 140 HP Johnson in 4 strokes, 120 hours, Length 18.
I sell it at this low price $1400 including delivery to your address, because my husband passed away 3 months ago, this was my husband’s boat and i don’t need it.
I travel a lot with my job and I want to make this deal thru eBay Motors. If you are interested in purchasing my boat, just reply me your full name, full address and phone number, so I can notify eBay Motors(with no further obligation or fees). Then eBay Motors will contact you to explain the purchase process. I look forward to hear from you.

God Bless you and your family!

Well, that’s an incredible deal. Wow. Seems like a perfect fit. I had asked if I could come over and take a look at it. Well, yes, if I was up for a long drive. She said she was Sarah Carter from Kentucky and that she preferred to sell it through EBay Motors. Didn’t know there was an EBay Motors, but I went online and sure enough, there they were. But Sarah’s boat wasn’t listed, no matter how hard I searched.

Then, within minutes of each other, I got the “invoice” from EBay motors and a prod from Sarah, asking if I had received it yet.

Hi ,
Tim, did you received the invoice from eBay Motors at your email address?
I’ve just got a notice from eBay Motors, saying that they had sent you the details on our transaction at your email address.
Just wanted to be sure, that you have received it and you understood how to make the payment.
Please get back to me asap and inform me when you will be able to make the payment so they can start the delivery process at your address!
I’m waiting for your payment confirmation, keep me posted!
Thanks a lot!

That seemed odd. Like she was in a hurry to make this happen. About that time, my wife stopped by, I told her what was going on and she said, “Sounds like a scam to me.”

I don’t have any experience with Ebay Motors, but it does exist. The way she explained the process: they would invoice me, I’d give them the $1400, they’d send the boat in two days, and then I could check it out for five days and if I didn’t like it, I could send it back and get a refund on my money.

It was about then that I thought I better look into things. I looked up Sarah Carter on Facebook, WhitePages.com and even checked the obituaries for a Carter that passed away in Kentucky over the past couple of months. Zero.

Next, I took a closer look at the invoice “Ebay” sent me. Here’s what it looked like.

Looking good. But my wife’s comment made me realize I should probably do a little investigation. So, I contacted Ebay to verify this was legit. Completely bogus.  Which I would have thought once I got to the bottom of the agreement and saw that they wanted the payment in EBay Gift cards.

I had even told this Sarah Carter how sorry I was for her loss.

So, they’re out there, scamsters in all shapes and forms. They took a swing at me with a Craigslist ad from Kentucky. Or, they said they were from Kentucky. The person from EBay said a lot of times the people claim they’re on a military base, so you can’t come by.

My little boat heart is broken. My father-in-law and I will be fishing from the shore again this weekend. But then again, I saved $1400.

Huh. Maybe I should go buy a boat!

Tim Hunter

MY WORLD JUST BECAME A LITTLE LESS FUNNY

Actually, we all share in this loss. This past week, my longtime radio brother from a different mother, Skip Tucker, passed away suddenly.

It was one of my usual busy Wednesdays, with Zoom calls a plenty and projects to tackle when I came up for air to quickly check Facebook. There at the top of my feed was a note from Skip’s sister, Melody, that he had passed away. What? When? How? I couldn’t process it. It didn’t make sense. This had to be the worst attempt at a practical joke in history.

Just a few weeks ago, I had received a text from his girlfriend for the last two and a half years who had asked me to make a video for his upcoming 70th birthday. Oh, I was going to roast him. I had some really fun pictures from the past that I was definitely going to share. Then suddenly, I learned that Skip wasn’t going to reach his landmark birthday.

We met at my first-ever professional radio job at KQOT, a daytime radio station in Yakima, back in 1977. Skip was a part-timer, a “weekender” that lived up in Ellensburg. At one point, I was made program director for the radio station, which meant I never really stopped listening. One Saturday, I had the station on while Skip was being Skip and I heard the Debbie Boone song, “You light up my life.” 10 minutes later, I heard it again…and again. After Skip played it like four times in an hour, I called the hotline and said, “Skip, why are you playing that song so many times?” His response: “I really like it.”

That’s Skip on the far right (not politically)

This was back in Skip’s very religious days, that connected him with the equally religious disc jockey Ichabod Caine. Not only did he introduce me to Ichabod, who graciously offered to critique one of my airchecks (a recording I still have to this date), but we also did a road trip over to Seattle to visit Ichabod in the 1970s hey day of KJR. What I remember most about that visit was that we were in a studio when Ichabod knocked over a glass of water and, without missing a beat, yelled out, “Quick! Somebody get some fire!”

Skip and I stayed in touch as we went our separate ways in the radio world and beyond. He eventually found himself in Los Angeles where he spent the rest of his days living his dreams. He was a KFI “Eye in the Sky”, he did some acting, he eventually found his way into being a presenter for the Karrass Company, that taught people how to be better negotiators. I actually attended part of one in Seattle and it was amazing to see the confidence of this new-and-improved Skip Tucker who commanded the attention of the room. He even wrote a book on how to become a better negotiator which I bought from Amazon this past week. If it’s not one of your strengths and would like to improve your skills even for just day-to-day life stuff, here’s where you buy it.

Skip was also an avid diver. Not like in soccer, but as in the water. As you can see, when he wrapped up the negotiating stuff, he focused on the diving world and by the Facebook posts that followed his passing, you can see he made a lot of friends.

While knowing Skip for over 40 years, I also became pals with his sister, Melody, after meeting her at KOMO radio. She used to capture game highlights for the Husky broadcasts on Saturdays. We worked on a syndicated radio program together with Ruth Walsh for a while. In time, Melody became a lawyer.

Country music listeners might remember the radio personality Penni Coyne. That was Skip’s other sister.

I was a pall bearer for their parents, as each left this earth.

I’m not sure how long Skip’s website will remain up, but check it out before it comes down. It gives you a great idea of his comedic style. He called it his “House of Chaos.” Sometimes, I suppose, you could consider his life was a bit chaotic, but Skip wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Every week for I don’t know how many years, Skip would send out a weekly email on “Website Wednesday.” I even had a spot on my website for Skip’s Website of the Week.  Here was the last edition of Skip’s Website Wednesday that I received on August 5th:

Website Wednesday
a subsidiary of Skip’s House of Chaos
(The 234,453rd Most Interesting Man in the World)

“From the Large Intestine of the Internets,
through the Sphincter of Electronic Mail,
peeing like a baby on a changing table
into the brisk digital wind…”

My gym just went bankrupt.

Who’s the quitter now?

Top of the Heap:  The Perseid Meteor Shower and Other Skywatching Events This Month

The Most Beautiful Drives in America, According to Long-Haul Truckers

18 Times Barack Obama Was Unequivocally You  (Thanks, Spidermonkey) 

Who Are ‘America’s Frontline Doctors‘, the Pro-Trump, Pro-Hydroxychorioquine Weirdos Banned From Social Media?

The Most Fascinating Shark Discoveries Over the Last Decade (Thanks, Laura!)

12 Words With Very Different Meanings  in the U.S. and the UK

Exploring the Solar System (Thanks, Jackpack!)

Robot Umpires in Baseball

A Non-Comprehensive List of Birds That Piss Me Off

Finger Tricks to Pull on Little Kids (not counting “pull this”)

The Coffee Kings of the Old West

Next-Level Beach Volleyball

10 (Mostly) Bloodless Horror Movies, for When You Wanna Be Scared, Not Unconscious

If she hadn’t been wearing a bra, it would’ve been game over

Seven seconds that illustrate 2020 perfectly

So many bad decisions

Face mask fails

Every self-help book ever, boiled down to 11 simple rules

Skipnote: Website Wednesday is a by-request only mailing list.  If, for any reason, you don’t want to receive it, simply reply to this email and let me know. No hard feelings.  Now, on the other hand, if you know someone who you think might like getting WW every week, have them drop me a line.

 

Be safe out there! Try not to end up on YouTube.

  Skip    ಠ_ಠ

 Website Wednesday archives

Unabashed plug:
Order a copy of my book,
How to Negotiate When You Hate Negotiating
paperback http://bit.ly/skiptuckerpb

or e-book http://bit.ly/skiptuckerkn

You might want to check out those archives for some really fun websites and articles.

Part of what makes it so hard to accept the fact that Skip no longer walks this earth is that we remained a part of each other’s lives all the way to the end. He was one of my small group of really, really good friends who didn’t keep track of when we talked last. Whenever we saw each other, we just picked up where we left off.

When Skip posted on his Facebook page a few weeks ago that he had a 12-hour cancer surgery, I shot him a text. He may have been much worse than he was letting on, but he wasn’t going to let me know it.

Once again, the “You Light Up My Life” gag reared it’s ugly head.

And through the modern convenience of the phone version of Scrabble, “Words with Friends”, we had connected several times for some pretty one-sided battles. Man, he just cleaned my clock in that game, with final scores like 421-180. Finally, a few weeks ago, I beat him. I didn’t know how, but now I think I do. He had other things on his mind.

We were playing again when all of a sudden Skip quit taking his turn. I’m going to leave that one right where it is.

It won’t happen right away, but in time, I’ll learn to speak of Skip in the past tense. For 43 of my 65 years, he’s just always been there and now, suddenly, without a whole lot of warning, he’s gone.

If you didn’t know Skip Tucker, I just wanted to make sure you met him on his way out.

Oh, and one more Skip story. One of his funniest gags occurred when he joined a Hunter family brunch and did the old “flaming wallet” gag. Yep, he pulled out his wallet, opened it up and a giant flame shot out, without warning. It tended to leave an impression.

If you’d like to get to know him even more, listen to the podcast I did with him several years ago. Too early for me, but in time, I’ll be able to enjoy it again and remember back to that conversation like it was yesterday.

I will always remember his voice, those looks and the big man hugs we’d exchange every time we got near each other.

Dude, you did this life thing really, really right. Thanks for being a friend. Now, enjoy the time off, Skip.

Tim Hunter

Sure, That Sounds Like A Great Idea

Defund the police. Brilliant!

The Grand Overlords known as the Seattle City Council have decided that cutting back on the police force will correct all the evils of the Emerald City, and getting rid of those troublesome cops will make everything better. Now, not getting rid of ALL the police, but upwards of 800 could find themselves out of a job.

To further make the point, the organization that is supposed to protect citizens in Seattle will have its numbers reduced, so that social designers can cure the ills of everything wrong in this city. We just have to remember to put up a flyer or something so that the increasing criminal elements know that they’ll need to curtail their activities from now. Or, better yet, take a number. (“Now serving number 63, number 63? It’s your night to break into a car.”)

Idiots.

Not that our police force or any force around the country is perfect. And there have been some pretty bad eggs in departments around the U.S. that have done deplorable things while wearing their uniforms, but they are the overwhelming exception. The majority of the men and women in blue are trying to keep order, to make you feel safe. To prevent you from feeling like you need to carry your own weapon to protect yourself. And we’re losing that battle quickly.

The city of Seattle has become a land of selected law enforcement. Homeless, mentally-challenged and the drug dependent have taken over the streets as a protected species.  Career criminals rob and steal things, get arrested and then are returned to the street. This has happened so much, that it has simply worn down any efforts to enforce the laws.

You would think that trespassing, vagrancy, public indecency and other no-brainer misdemeanors had been legalized, but they haven’t. At least, not the last time I checked. But they have been decriminalized because then, if we allow people to camp on the sidewalks and crap in the alleys and burglarize homes or break into cars to steal things for their habits or extravagances, then that makes us more saintly.

It doesn’t.

It makes us out to be morons. To be weak. To be bullied by those who choose a criminal life because it’s convenient. Rather than utilize the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to ‘fix’ the homelessness problem in Seattle and King County, like get help with their addiction, get medical or psychological treatment, etc., there are people who cruise neighborhoods looking for a target. An unlocked car is just a matter of time around here, as a neighbor kid found out this past week. And after they were done with his car, they walked over to another neighbor’s house and stole a bike rack and a kid’s swing set.  How low can you get?

Sadly, we’ve already reached the point of, “Oh, I’ll report it, but nothing will probably happen” and that’s usually the case. I’m reminded of such an incident several years ago when a scum-bag walked on to my carport and rolled away my pressure washer at 4am on a Sunday morning.

And now, the Seattle police–who already have to deal with plenty of existing crime–now have to do more, with less.

The Seattle City Council envisions a Utopia-like setting, where police are gone and social workers and comfort talkers solve the problems of city life. Even the worst psychic in the world could predict the outcome of what will happen. We may not get to the level of a Gotham City, but we’re not doing anything to correct our current problems and have just set the table to making matters even worse.

The reason this is a punitive step towards Seattle Police is because this council has never had a problem throwing in new taxes or coming up with ways to generate more money for their pet projects. The soda tax comes to mind. So where did all that money go?

This would be a great time for an idea I had a long time ago–an official audit.  Go through the Seattle police budget and let’s trim the fat, just enough that they can still function properly. Then, head to city hall and do some serious trimming. You would be amazed at how much city government and spending have grown over the past decade. Is the city better off than it was 10 years ago? Hardly.

The only tool I have as a citizen with no spare time to march every day down at city hall is my vote. I can tell you now, not a single person currently on the Seattle City Council will be re-elected if I can help it. It’s sad and embarrassing to see what the council is allowing to happen in this once great city. So sad.

Tim Hunter

ARE YOU FOR IT? OR AGAINST IT?

What has happened to us?

It was within my lifetime that we were, at least temporarily, a unified country. When New York’s Twin Towers were attacked, while we reeled with accepting with the reality that someone could actual pull the trigger on such a heinous act, we all put our differences aside and we were all Americans.

These days, the only thing all Americans have in common is our differences.

Having two sides to simple issues like wearing a face mask is borderline insanity, yet we’re really just warming up. In a poll released this week, only 42% said they would want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, once we have a vaccine. So, after we test and come up with a solution to this virus, we’ll move on from “Mask versus No Mask” to “Vaccine or No Vaccine.”

And on it will go.

I hope to stick around a couple of decades so I can hear the questions I expect when people look back on this time, including, “What the hell were you guys thinking?”  Well, I can answer that now–we weren’t thinking. The American society has de-evolved into a non-thinking nation of sheep, who pick a side and then, instead of processing information, they know how to feel and embrace what “their side” believes on the topic.

I love how the millionaires in Washington, D.C. are saying that our kids HAVE to go back to school this fall. Why? To get things “back to normal” and so their parents can go back to work to return the economy to glory. A quick reminder that the people leading the charge on sending the kids to school either a) Are too old to have school aged kids or b) Make enough on their government salaries (that you’re paying) that they send their kids to private schools.

“Returning to normal” has real consequences. See California, Texas and Florida for details. World-wide, 700,000 people have already died from coronavirus. But as you would expect, we have two sides to that. One says that those statistics are true. And if you don’t believe that, you’ve got a handy collection of catchy phrases to throw out there. “Oh, not all those were COVID” or, “Well, yeah, but a lot more recovered than died!” Absolutely true, but also meaningless to those who lost a parent, a family member or a friend to coronavirus.

I have one friend whose wife spent 37 days in the hospital, including several weeks on a ventilator, and she recovered. I have a cousin in Yakima whose nursing home had a breakout, she caught it, but has since recovered. So there are two of the people who didn’t lose their life and that some will hold up and say, “See, it’s not that bad.”

It all depends on which side you’re on.

I like being on the side that wants to avoid catching the disease entirely. Sure, that means I could be over-cautious, but I’m willing to take that risk. It seems like a small price to pay. Years from now, you might want to point at pictures of me wearing a mask and say, “Boy, you were so stupid.”  In fact, I hope that happens, because the alternative–the B to that side A—is that I’m saying, “Gee, I still don’t get why didn’t roll with common sense. I miss them.”

If you can just remove the politics from your life for even just a moment, you might find that there’s a much better way to live out there. We only get so much time on this rock. Yes, you do have the God-given right to not wear a mask. To that end, no one is forcing you to get an annual physical, brush your teeth or eat healthier. Now, those are all things that will help keep you healthier and promote sticking around for a longer time, but they’re certainly not required. Our U.S. constitution protects your right to be ignorant.

Listen to your brain. It’s trying to talk to you.

Tim Hunter

Goodbye Bjarne

This is such a surreal time. Event after event canceled, weddings reduced to a small, socially-distanced collection of core relatives or just postponed with the hope of pulling it off next year. Funerals, where families gather for closure in their grief, not allowed.

Such is the case with the passing of Bjarne Varnes. We won’t be able to give him the big sendoff he deserves.

Bjarne (pronounced Byarna, although I’ve heard it like Barney with a y) was an impressive force in the local Norwegian community, and he welcomed me as a brother when I first started finding myself surrounded by all things Norwegian. When I met my wife back in 2007, she had immersed herself into the various Norwegian organizations and so, if I wanted to spend time with her, I’d need to attend meetings of the Sons of Norway, the Norwegian Commercial Club, the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, a Norwegian Ladies Chorus Concert or a Nordic Heritage Museum event. And if I was there, so was Bjarne Varnes.

He was that guy with the friendly smile who walked like he might be in pain, but he would never let you know it. Bjarne would always greet you by name and if you could spend enough time with him, he’s easily work in a story about one of his recent trips to Norway. He had construction skills, and if he had the time to help you with something, he’d be all over it.  He always had something going on.

He emceed events in a way that made everyone feel welcome. Folksy would be a good word. But like I said, Bjarne was everywhere.

He was the University of Washington employee interviewed in this NBC story years ago.

Just a few years ago, he was among the contestants at the annual Lutefisk Eating Contest at Ballard Seafoodfest.

But Bjarne didn’t just show me a lot about life, he also taught me about the inevitable. Those close to him knew he had some health issues, which is code for battling cancer, for the last 7 years. I don’t recall the exact last time I saw him, but I remember sitting down to chat with him and asking him the typical, “How’s it going?” and he replied, “Not good, not good.” But he didn’t go into detail and he didn’t stay there. He was just informing me as a friend of the reality of his situation. He then returned to that smile of his and off we went into some other subject that had to do with living and doing and being.

You know, with this pandemic, there have been a lot friends I haven’t seen for a long, long time. I heard about Bjarne’s health failing and that this was going to be it, but before I could figure out a time to stop by and see him or if that was even possible, he passed. It’s a bit hard for me to realize he’s actually gone, because he was always so alive.

I don’t know about you, but at one time in my life, I felt if I made it 75 years, that would be plenty. Soon I will attempt a soft landing on my 65th birthday, which will put me at 10 years remaining until 75; I can already tell you that is hardly enough. I know that it was far less than what Bjarne had in mind, but the thing about Mr. Varnes was–he made every single one of those years count.

Rest well, my friend. Thanks for showing me how one of the good ones do it.

Tim Hunter

 

It’s Just a Guitar

Not really.

Those outside the music world probably can’t appreciate the significance and importance of a instrument. I mean, c’mon, it’s wood, some fiberglass, strings and you strum on it, right?

My wife’s cousin’s husband, Donnie Dacus, has put his ‘Angel’ up for sale. He posted this vivid description of its importance and how much it is a part of his story in this Facebook post this week:

My Angel – The “Alive Again“ Guitar

“Angel”, my Stratocaster,  was acquired in Hollywood Calif. from Arturo Valdez, “Guitar Maker to the Stars”. He had suggested that this guitar, which he had restored, was a perfect match for my guitar skills. He had worked on all of my guitars and Valdez comes with a Who’s Who of credentials. I have included his info here.

“Angels” first coming out party was the mid 70’s.

Her first gig with me at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood, CA. I was playing guitar with Boz Scaggs on the ‘Silk Degrees’ Tour. She sang true and in the backup band were members of Toto, David Paige and myself, along with, and of course, Boz Scaggs.

After a long US tour playing the largest venues in the country, we found ourselves on the next tour with Kiki Dee and singing beside Elton John at the Roxy in Los Angeles. After a tour through the U.S. we wound up in New York playing with Kiki Dee in a large festival in Central Park to thousands of fans.

After the tour, “Angel” lived with me while I was starring in the the Motion Picture, “ Hair “, directed by Milos Foreman. She was my direct source to an instrument and comfort during that time.

After 10 months of filming we left unexpectedly, flying back to Los Angeles after hearing of Terry Kath’s untimely death by Russian Roulette. I had been introduced as a guitarist to audition for his replacement after the band Chicago had auditioned more than 40 guitarists for the position. We took quite a chance, as we were not allowed contractually to leave New York due to filming rights.

Angel sang again clearly as we began the rehearsal playing the song “Feelin Stronger Everyday“. To my surprise, we–Angel and I–were chosen as band members to begin recording immediately after my filming was completed. She is the guitar you hear on most all of the tracks on the albums, Hotstreets and Chicago 13, VI Chicago Decades Live on “ Little One “ and prominently on the intro to “Alive Again”, which was played at the Super Bowl in 1978.

She played in front of more than 120,000 plus concert goers and appeared on the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune front page with our picture together. We were featured in People Magazine October 13th, 1978.

Angel has played in front of millions of concert goers and her last prominent gig was on Saturday Night Live on “I’m a Man” during the end of 1979.

I have decided its time for her to fly again and share her story whether on stage or in person. She is bruised, scratched, and has changed in attitude but she has won many victories and fought many a musical battle. She won countless times.

She has traveled the world on more than 3 continents and been played by Leo Fender himself in his personal lab near Anaheim, CA. Leo Fender made several guitars for me as well. Wow!

Angel comes with Multi-Platinum and Multi-Gold Record status.

Please message me regarding sale of this collectable item. Cash Only. Please, only serious collectors

I know it pains Donnie to let this guitar go. If you have an interest or know someone who might, please pass along their information and we’ll connect them.
Tim Hunter

Ban the Mask!

Frankly, we’ve got so many bigger things to tackle, debating on whether or not you HAVE to wear a mask seems–what’s the word–oh, yeah: stupid.

Those insisting that preventing the spread of the coronavirus is an affront to their personal freedoms most likely started out their lives folding their arms and saying, “I don’t wanna!” A certain percentage of poorly-skilled and insecure parents then probably said, “OK, Buffy, if you don’t want to, that’s just fine with me.”

I think we have finally reached the point where we need to turn this around. Work with me on this, but I believe that wearing masks should be banned and made punishable by 6 months in a germy prison.

This works two-fold. To start with, all of us who insist on wearing them would become the outlaws. Allow us to feel that for a while. We could be the despised, the ridiculed, the ones doing the wrong thing. Maybe that would inspire some of those currently refusing to wear masks to wear one. You know, reverse psychology, which a skilled parent uses when their child say, “I don’t wanna.”

And, perhaps, by making masks illegal, those with the infringed rights might have a little dab of logic permeate their brains. Because, when I say, “No masks” I mean nada. Nowhere, now way, no how.

So, pity the catcher in baseball and that first foul tip that comes his way at 100 mph. Or the hockey goalie having to defend a flying piece of hard plastic with whatever teeth remain in his mouth. Welders, sorry, but you’re going to have to scorch a cornea or two for a while. I mean, we don’t want those rights infringed.

Oh, and you’ll be able to spot the beekeepers a mile away with those lumpy faces.

That’s right, we all need to realize that requiring masks are part of a government conspiracy. I believe it was the 8th amendment to the Bill of Rights that said, “Thou shalt not weareth a mask.” Or, maybe I’m confusing that with the 10 Commandments. Whatever.

This past week, I interviewed the head of the Snohomish Farmers Market up north. She had asked for the interview with the hope of conveying to listeners that wearing masks is a STATE requirement. It’s not political, and they don’t want to have to be the Mask Police. They just want to sell you berries or something and not risk getting a fine themselves.

But I’m fully braced for my mask ban to be rejected. We’ll probably just continue in our fractured way, with politics being the factor on whether we wear a mask or not. Estimates are that if we continue on our current course, upwards of 200,000 Americans will be dead from the coronavirus by November 3rd, Election Day.

It upsets me that so many people ignore the science, ignore the statistics and believe COVID-19 will just go away, as the president has suggested. I can only go by what I believe to be true and I believe that if I wear a mask, and use a lot of caution for the next four months, I’ll be among those around to vote in the next election.

Tim Hunter

All Over The Board

I usually start the week looking for something that tugs after me and requires me to make my opinion known on the subject. I wanted to go so many different directions this week, that I decided it would be best to write a few mini-blogs within the framework of the mothership.

MAKING IT COUNT–In the course of writing 991 previous blogs, the theme of not taking one day for granted has come up before, but this week just slapped me in the face. I’m glad to be reminded because I plan to soak every bit of this life up while I can, but dang, I got the point. Can we lay low for a while?

  • Naya Rivera  My wife & I made it through the whole series of “Glee” when it was on the air. Naya was the edgy character, the rebel with spunk, the rival for Lea Michele’s character. A couple of seasons in, we heard of cast squabbles and eventually, she left the show for a while, only to come back. I didn’t know her from Adam, but from all reports, the last moments of her life were spent rescuing her son from drowning before she went under. It was an act that spoke volumes about her. And they were just going for a swim.
  • The Bothell Police Officer who found himself on patrol Monday night, having to pull over a vehicle which turned into a gunfight and resulting in losing his life. It’s the first loss of life in that department in 25 years and not only is the department, but the entire community is rocked. In the days ahead, we’ll hear of his circumstances and how he had the rest of his life ahead of him.

It takes training, but slowing down enough to realize what’s going on around you will definitely help you experience so much more than just trying to get to the next thing. Enjoy it all while you’ve got it.

WEAR THE DAMN MASK–The arrogance, the “I know better” attitude of the millions of mental midgets around the United States of America has me at a loss. What do you need to know? There’s a virus, it can kill you and while it may not kill you, it could use you as a conduit to kill someone you love. How this “Wearing a mask violates my rights” concept ever started is beyond me. But rather than go on about it, how about a couple of visuals.

First off, if we had only been better about masks and self-isolation from the beginning, I can only imagine how much better off we would be.

And as for having to wear a mask, you really should put your common sense to the test.

GET UP EARLY AND SEE THE COMET  In case you didn’t know, there’s a comet that is only visible right before sunrise and only through this weekend. It’s called the Neowise comet and if you think, “Oh, I’ll just catch it next time,” well, that will be in 6,000 years. I’m afraid the only people around for it the next time will be Keith Richards and Betty White.

Of course, if you don’t want to get up at 4am just to see a comet, you can always Photoshop one in, right?

OK, there you go. As I said, not a lot to say about any one thing, but things to say about a couple of subjects. And blog #992 is in the books. Thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

 

Yes, You Can Be A Psychic, Too!

I always knew I could be a psychic.

See, there I go again.

In fact, the future is really easy to predict if you simply observe reality.

To be honest, it didn’t really take a psychic to predict that cases of coronavirus would skyrocket if we just went outside and continued doing what we did before the pandemic, since it was “all a hoax”. Or, “It’s not that bad.” Or, “It’s the disease that kills old people.”

Do you have the right to not wear a mask in public?  Absolutely. I believe our Founding Fathers included that in the fine print of the Bill of Rights.

You have the right to not wear a seatbelt and odds are, you’ll be fine. Well, unless you get into an accident. Then you’ll hear the words, ‘Told you so’ as you fly through the windshield past the person who buckled up.

Does your freedom include being able to walk out into a hurricane or tornado?  You bet. A sound-minded person probably wouldn’t do that, but you’re all about personal freedoms, aren’t you, pal?  You need to be able to prove that you’re in control of your life and that people who have dedicated their entire lives studying diseases and epidemics–well, they’re just plain wrong and don’t know what they’re talking about. And, better yet, you’ve got the president on your side.

Several weeks ago, I predicted the cases of coronavirus would skyrocket and I was right. I take no pleasure in that and actually, wish I had been wrong. I also seriously hope the University of Washington scientists are wrong when they say 200,000 Americans will have died from coronavirus by November. However, with the current explosion of cases, it’s entirely possibly we will go beyond that.

But let’s get off “Virus Talk” and make some bold, psychic predictions. Right now, you have a fairly empty downtown Seattle, as thousands of workers have been instructed to work from home. Companies are now realizing that can be done, without hurting their efficiency, and it’s becoming obvious that you no longer need to occupy a bunch of expensive real estate downtown. Now, the easy prediction would be that there will be a crash in the commercial real estate market. And what makes that prediction a sure bet is that our incredibly wise Seattle city council decided to pass what they call a “Jumpstart Tax”, which they insist only affects the really wealthy businesses downtown. (hint–it rhymes with Schmazon) The council claims this will generate $200-million, which they say they need to fix the city’s problems, mostly homelessness.

Now, I know the council members are all busy people and maybe they just forgot about how much is already being spent on homelessness in the area. As in $54 million by the city, $195 million in King County and some estimates say as much as $1 billion in the region. We’re talking EVERY YEAR! And with every passing year and all that spending, it continues to get worse.  Dare to go downtown and you’ll find a non-stop collection of people living on the sidewalks, the freeway off-ramps or any other place they choose, not because of need, but because of choice. Resources are available, but most turn them down to continue living their lives battling drug addiction or mental health issues.

So, back to the Jumpstart Tax. My prediction is that the tax will live up to its name and Jumpstart businesses to seriously think about relocating. If I owned a company and had to choose between staying in Seattle with empty offices and a $7-million tax hit or relocating to another one of the many wonderful and welcoming cities in the area, I get out of Dodge using that $7-million I would have spent in taxes to pay for moving expenses. Most likely, I’d be able to negotiate a better lease (probably with free parking) in another city, and I can put that $7-million annual hit to my bottom line. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.

If your logic is that “Oh, Amazon can afford that”, they already donate to charity without involving our extremely inefficient government. They estimate that Amazon contributed $2-billion from 2009-2017 and just this year, Mr. Bezos has pledged $2-billion a year towards the fight on homelessness in multiple cities. They even opened a homeless shelter in one of their newer buildings downtown. Amazon is actually doing something about the problem and so to reward them, you hit them with a tax? Sound thinking.

So when the last major business leaves Seattle and it becomes the biggest ghost town in the U.S., maybe, just maybe, Seattle voters will finally get fed up enough to make a change at city hall, and get the Emerald City back on track.

In all honesty, that’s more of a hope than a prediction. Frankly, I’ve had some serious doubts lately about the future of my once-favorite big city.

But you knew that. See how easy it is to be a psychic?

Tim Hunter

Another Streak Snapped

2020 continues to taint its reputation with each new day. Cirque du Soleil has now filed for bankruptcy and has let go of its 3500 employees. This week, as we braced ourselves for another new month and what terror it might introduce, we said goodbye to a comedy legend, Carl Reiner.

Just today, I got word that the Sears store where I held my very first paying job, is heading for the history books.

There I was, the newly-elected senior class president as I headed into the summer before my final year of high school. Somehow, I was invited to be a member of the Sears Teen Fashion Board. Those who know me well are breaking out into hysterics, so I’ll give you a moment to regroup. Yeah, I’ve never been known as a fashion plate, unless you include bad fashion.

What that meant was that yours truly actually modeled clothes at the mall when Sears was rolling out the new fall fashions. They had my picture up in the store, wearing those Sears clothes. They also offered up the chance for me to put in 10-15 hours or so each week as an employee. I was what they called, a “floater”, meaning wherever they needed extra help, that’s where I would be assigned. The challenging part of that role was showing up to work and then finding out where I was headed. I’d put on my shirt and tie, arrive at the store and some days, find myself out in the garden shop loading bags of steer manure into trunks of cars.

But as if all that history and transition wasn’t enough, this is also the week that, for the first time in years, I won’t be standing along Main Street in Bothell on the 4th of July, doing the play-by-play of the annual Freedom Festival Parade. I’m not exactly sure when that tradition began, but I’ve got to think it’s been most of the the last 18 years. I seem to remember starting it when I was still waking people up at KLSY, and that concluded in 2003.

Celebrating our country’s birthday brings up so many memories, as the celebration has evolved for me over the years. Back in the day, I remember the family piling into the car, kids in our PJ’s, and driving down to find a spot on the beach so we could watch the fireworks there. Back in South Dakota visiting relatives one summer, I remember marveling at how my young cousins were allowed to run around and light off firecrackers.

Of course, in Torrance, they only sold the “Safe & Sane” variety of fireworks which, at that time, was pretty mild compared to today’s version. There was Smokey Joe, who’s picture appeared on the bottom of the box. You’d poke the hole in his mouth and insert his “cigar” which amazingly smoked! There were smoke bombs, the occasional pinwheels and fountains. Lots and lots of fountains. Oh, and Picolo Pete’s, which we discovered as we got older, if you clamped down on the first ‘e’ in Pete, it would whistle for a while then explode.

However, what I remember most about the 4th was going to the fireworks stand and having dad say that phrase he would utter every year, “I don’t know why we just don’t light a $20 bill on fire.”

Years later, I called him up on the phone and asked him to say it again, one more time, for old times’ sake. Today, I’d like to share it with you.

 

While raising kids in Bothell, we lived in a fun neighborhood that developed the tradition of making a run to Boom City, circling the lawn chairs and then explosives that could win a war roar into the sky for a couple of hours. From those days, I recall the time my son wanted to light one of the mortars, which he did….but it fell over and started shooting into the crowd. People scrambled, dashing behind whatever they could find and luckily, no one was hurt. But it’s one of those scenes I can see in my mind like it was yesterday.

While our night-time 4th of July celebrations these days are pretty much relegated to the TV and watching the fireworks displays there, at 11am on Independence Day, my place is along Main Street, as the Kiddie Parade kicked things off, followed by the Freedom Festival Grand Parade. It’s pretty much the parade where if you live in Bothell, you’re either in or at the parade. People put out their lawn chairs to reserve their spots along the parade route up to a week before it happens.

Over the years, I’ve had a flurry of co-hosts, but for the past couple of years, Bothell Kenmore Chamber buddy Mike Rue has joined me for the play-by-play and we’ve had a blast. Since we will be silenced this year, I thought I’d dig out last year’s parade so you can get a taste of what the broadcast is like.

                                                                                         Freedom Festival 2019

Yes, the on-going nightmare that is 2020 has snapped my streak, but I’m planning to start a new one next year. Or the year after that. Whenever we can gather together again. These days, we just don’t know.

Enjoy your 4th and all the freedom that comes with it.

Tim Hunter

Sitting in History

So, last weekend, we took advantage of some friends’ offer to go east of the mountains and enjoy a socially distant visit to their Moses Lake cabin. This manufactured home with a massive deck right on the west shore of the Lake was an extremely welcome getaway.

By the way, for the record, Moses never visited Moses Lake. I had a friend ask if we got any new commandments when we were there, and I said, “No, but we could probably use a few.”

Anyway, back to this final weekend of spring burst of summer, with 90-degrees waiting for us. Their massive deck was the perfect spot to sit apart from each other and get caught up. At one point, our friend Ed suggested I try one of the wooden lounge chairs at the far end of their deck. It was something one of his sons tracked down last year. In fact, there were a set of two–faded teak wood deck chairs, as if on a cruise ship.

In fact, they were. There were two metal plaques on the chairs. One that let you know these were meant for first class.

Finally, I’ve made it!

The other plaque told me which ship it came from–the S.S. Bremen.

The S.S. Bremen was a luxury cruise ship made in a German shipyard that sailed the seas in the days before World War II.

Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about her:

SS Bremen was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line (NDL) to work the transatlantic sea route. Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship Europa were the two most advanced high-speed steam turbine ocean liners of their day. The German pair sparked an international competition in the building of large, fast, luxurious ocean liners that were national symbols and points of prestige during the pre-war years of the 1930s.

But as the clouds of war began to form, the ships were taken out of the cruise service and in fact, were actually used to put German soldiers in place for an invasion of England that never happened.

As World War II raged on, the need for munitions mean they would be more valuable torn apart for their metal. How these chairs survived over 90 years was a testament to the quality of their construction.

As I sat there relaxing, I pictured myself in the First Class section in the days when it was a luxury cruise ship, relaxing, enjoying the view and waiting for the server to bring me a cold beverage, which never happened.

I did spend the bulk of my deck time in one of those chairs, taking myself on mental vacations for as long as the quiet would last. Then, when the others at the other end of the deck started talking, I’d yell out, “Hey, you people in coach, keep it down.”

I’m not sure what came over me, but I simply fell in love with those chairs. How fortunate that their son was able to find these out there, somewhere and if they could talk, oh, what stories they would be able to tell.

For a while, I was sitting in history.

The weekend ended. I bid farewell to these chairs who continue to enjoy the view of Moses Lake. One day, when chairs are able to talk, we’ll have to get back together again so I can hear all of their stories.

I’ll bet they have some good ones.

Tim Hunter

Thuffering Thuckatash!

Every day I wake up and just can’t wait to see how the world is going to unravel just a little bit more than the day before.

Oh, we’ve got some serious issues and problems to deal with. Systemic hatred that should have been long gone, a killer virus that people insist isn’t that bad, etc. You know what’s going on.

But then, the other day, it was announced that when HBO Max revives the Looney Tunes cartoon franchise, Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd will no longer carry guns.

Can I tell you how relieved I am that this long-time threat has finally been removed and we can all walk the streets of Toontown without fear. Now, before you judge me as a “Second Amendment or Die” type of person (because people feel the need to instantly decide what other people are thinking these days), I’m not. I support the right to own guns for protection, for sport, for shooting practice–that’s what the forefathers had in mind. They did not imagine automatic weapons that can mow people down as a fundamental right. And when your laws don’t prevent mentally unbalanced people from owning these kinds of weapons, yes, you have a problem.

But this was meant to be light-hearted, so let’s get back to the original premise. I think if you’re going to take the cartoon weapons away from Elmer and Sam, you need to empty out all of those Warner Brothers cartoons so that it’s safe for young kids to look up from their single-shooter video games to watch a non-threatening cartoon.

I mean, after all, video games have never had a role in the mass shootings that have increased over the years. All this time, these dastardly deeds were carried out because no one could agree if it was Duck Season or Wabbit Season.

So, we’ve taken the guns away from those two characters. Let’s keep going:

We need to immediately confiscate Marvin the Martian‘s Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator. I get tired of his constant threats of blowing up the earth so he’ll have a better view.

Where do you begin with Wile E. Coyote? I mean, you could take away his anvil (after all, when anvils are outlawed, only outlaws and blacksmiths will have anvils). A better plan would to put him on a banned list so he could never shop again at Acme Products. Besides, Wile E., I think you could probably get a better price on Amazon.

Obviously, we need to remove the teeth of the Tasmanian Devil. Then, his biggest threat would be covering you with his slobber.

I’m going to assume that Pepe LePew is no longer acceptable with the ban on police using teargas and other harmful chemicals.

As for Sylvester the Cat, with our new, kinder, more gentler attitude towards the world, instead of constantly chasing after Tweety, maybe he should be required to go after Tweets and we can land him some kind of communications job at the White House.

And while we have no photographic proof, I’m fairly certain its just a matter of time before we see Foghorn Leghorn standing next to a confederate flag.

Oh, there are more Looney Tunes characters that have been brain-washing the youth of America. But if we right the above-mentioned wrongs, it’ll be a giant step forward to doing something.

What? I don’t exactly know.

Thufferin’ thuckatash.

Tim Hunter

 

Do You Need A Timeout?

Oh, I’m not saying you misbehaved and need to be punished. Then again, there are thousands of people that fit that category right now and probably why you went there.

No, I’m talking about the exhaustion that comes from the daily insanity of our leaders, the unrest, the rioting, the looting, the cabin-fever created by being good and staying home for several months. I’m suggesting that, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I’d like to recommend an escape back to the 1960s.

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait a minute! The 1960’s? With all that went down in that decade? Are you kidding me?” OK, true, that was 10 years of serious unrest from civil rights marches to anti-war protests, assassinations, a doomed conflict in Viet Nam and so much more. But there was something about the decade that, if you were around you were lucky to experience it.

Two words: The Beatles.

 

I’ve written about them before, but while searching through Hulu the other day for something new, I came across Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week.”  I remember when that came out back in 2016 and how I read that it was a must-see. I felt it was long overdue, so, my wife and I started to watch it and became mesmerized. These days, so many of our memories are cleaned up, sanitized snapshots of the things we’d like to remember fondly. But, as you get longer, those snapshots start to fade. When it comes to the Fab Four, that was simply a phenomenon I will never forget.

Just like future generations will be curious about what it was like to live through a pandemic (after all, they only happen every hundreds years or so), it’s hard to convey just how much impact The Beatles had on music and our culture. They didn’t just influence music, they town ownership of the music industry and continued to evolve it as long as they were together. In watching Ron Howard’s film, I was transported back to the days when everyone on the earth knew the names John, Paul, George and Ringo (in that order) and that a Sunday night Ed Sullivan appearance meant you HAD to be in front of the TV to see them live, because all of your friends would be talking about it the next day.

The amazing thing about Ron Howard’s film is that it includes never-before-seen footage of them in concert, as if you were there. Before I go any further, here’s the trailer for the film.

To see them all so young, to watch them grow up in front of your eyes, from those fresh-faced lads from Liverpool, to the beard hippy-esque rooftop performers, it was simply amazing. For a  couple of hours, I was reminded of a very influential stretch of my childhood, as I looked back on the 60’s from my personal decade of the 60’s. Like I said, it’s hard to convey some of the things that I’ve lived through in my lifetime. That stretch of time, from their arrival in 1964 to their breakup in 1970, all occurred during my ages of 9 through 15.

As we grow older, its not unusual to fantasize about what it would be like to have grown up at a different time. For me, that would be a big, fat “No, thank you.” Each generation has their pro’s and con’s (and whatever this generation calls itself, you’ve getting a glut of cons), but I wouldn’t trade anything for being alive when music was redefined forever by The Beatles.

Watching it happen all over again was a wonderful timeout.

OK, now back to reality.

Tim Hunter

You Know What I Can’t Wait For?

Whatever it is, this isn’t it.

Oh, I’ll be fine. I’ve got my attitude locked into survival mode. I’m viewing this bump in my life as just a tiny chunk of the bigger picture. With so much negative energy filling our world, you can see how its wearing on people. Just remember, it will pass.

It’ll be interesting to see how we look back on the year 2020, say, 10 years from now. Go with that example and think about what you remember regarding 2010. We were recovering from the worst economic downturn we had experienced in our lives. (not knowing there was a doozy in the near future)  It was the year of the iPhone 4 and the brand-new iPad arrived. Justin Bieber ruled the music world just two years after being discovered on YouTube. 2010 was prime time for the Tea Party. Doesn’t that seem like forever ago? And it was only 10 years.

That’s what I’m excited to see. How we look back at this completely insane year and just pick out a handful of things we’ll add any significance to.

It’s my hope that the George Floyd incident propels our way of life into a less-divided society. When the anger turns into action that actually improves our world–that’s what I’m talking about. Right now, peaceful protests are being used as a hall pass for violence. With all this destruction, nothing will change and opposite sides will just dig in.

As a comedy writer, this has been an extremely challenging time.  Oh, whoa is me. We’ve had ’em before. The Space Shuttle disaster, 9-11 and those other major stories that just took over the news and became all you heard about. We’ve gone from how many people have died from a virus to the number of fatalities and loss from nights of vandalism. Yet, every morning the alarm clock goes off at 5am (yeah, I’m sleeping in these days) and I once again scour the Internet for things that inspire jokes. Lately, it just ain’t easy.

Oh, I’ve managed to sneak in a couple of them, like:

  •  I’m talking to you, looters. It may be a small victory, but I hope whatever you took during your looting turns out to be the wrong size.
  • You know, if Jack Bauer were to walk in the door and this all turned out to be a season of “24”, then this would all make sense.

  • Congrats to the astronauts who left Earth last weekend. Good timing!

  • This is the most rioting in our country that’s ever occurred at one time without involving an NBA Championship.

  • I’m now realizing why the beginning of the pandemic was so hard on me. For weeks, I thought they were saying, “Wash your face and don’t touch your hands.”

I keep taking swings because it’s worth the risk of ticking off someone who probably doesn’t have a sense of humor, as I hope to reach people who like to laugh. My country cousin over on Classic Country, KXA, Stitch Mitchell, did a listener poll on his station’s Facebook page the other day. He asked the simple question, “When we get to Phase 2, will you be comfortable going back to restaurants?” and after a few comments, politics broke out and he had to take the poll down. That’s sad.

I was chatting with my almost 92-year-old mother the other night about all the rioting and such going on, and she was in disbelief on how people could be that way. “How do you raise kids like that?” I wish I had an answer, Ma.

But a man being killed on video by police didn’t start this. Nor did a man jogging down the street and being shot by an angry father and son. Or a teenager wearing a hoody being killed by a vigilante. One after another, a living human being lost their life for only one reason–they were black. The sad truth is that these stories are not new, not rare and not going away.

Add in the fact that African Americans are dying of the coronavirus at three times the rate of white people, and you have a race that is under assault. In the year 2020.

All you can do for now is to do right in your own world. Love the people around you. Enjoy each day for the gift it is. Pray or, if you don’t pray, focus all the positive energy you can generate towards justice, peace and better days ahead.

And most importantly, vote.

Then in the year 2030, when we look back a decade, we’ll just shake our heads in disbelief that our lives could ever have been this way.

I can’t wait.

Tim Hunter

 

Take my ID, Please!!

You really don’t want another me, do you?

I’m pretty sure if the question was put to a popular vote, it would be Johnson/Goldwater all over again, for those of you old enough to remember. For those who don’t, look it up. Or, just ask Siri.

One morning last week, my wife received an email notice from her employer that people were having their identities stolen and false unemployment claims were being made in their name,  The solution? Got to the state’s Employment Security Division (https://esd.wa.gov/—you’ll need this later) website and create an account.

What does that do?  Well, for those of us who aren’t filing for unemployment, it connects our name to our social security number, so cyber thieves in Nigeria can’t go in with our SS number, create an account and start stealing money from our state. And really, I’m going to have to write to that Prince in Nigeria and see if there’s something he can do about those guys. I’ve given him a lot of money.

So, I went to the site and found the form. This is what you click on to get there, down towards the bottom of the page.

I put in all the correct information on the form and clicked “Save.”  That’s when this mysterious red box showed up that notified “That social security number is already associated with another account.” What?

They gave me a phone number to call, which I did. But after waiting for a while, it gave me the option of keeping my place in line and they would call me. I chose that option. Four hours later, a rep from the state called me, kicked out the fraudulent me and gave me sole access to my social security number.

The reason I’d highly suggest you verify your number hasn’t been stolen–so far, our state has had HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS stolen using this method. Fortunately, in my case, the thief hadn’t begun siphoning off state dollars using my identify. If you want all the gory details, read this article in the Seattle Times.

So, wash your hands, wear a mask and check to make sure your identity hasn’t been stolen. All part of our wonderful new norm.

Oh, and that link again is https://esd.wa.gov/

There really should only be one of you.

Tim Hunter

Exporting a Few Memory Files

At the beginning of next month, I’ll be in the window where I need to sign up for Medicare. I was just cutting classes at Torrance High School to go down to the beach and now I’m doing “Senior Stuff.” OK, well I guess that was Senior Stuff back then, too.  I’d just like to give AARP the credit for being the first to point out that I was getting old, because they hit you with junk mail about joining AARP starting at age 50. It’s part of your turning-50 birthday package.

But even though I’m crossing into that 65+ threshold, I’ve still got a lot going on. I’m multi-tasking more these days than I was in my 30s and 40s. My brain goes 100 mph because I like it that way and I fully expect, at some point, I’ll have to shut it off and just relax. But until then, I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it.

However, I know there are physical limitations. That gray matter upstairs can only store so much, so occasionally, I like to export a few memory files to this blog so I can let them go and free up the space for the new stuff that’s coming in daily. So, here I go again. Some deep dives of stories and tidbits that are currently buried in my brain, but are now being moved to the Internet for storage.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF A DODGER KIND

Back in the 1960s, I grew up in a baseball family. The Los Angeles Dodgers were our team and most nights, we didn’t sit in front of the TV, but rather listened to the radio as Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett called the play-by-play. On occasion, we’d get to venture out to Dodger Stadium, usually in the cheap seats, to witness a game live and in-person. I don’t remember how he got ’em, but one time my dad got his hands on some front-row seats along right field. As we’re sitting there, the guy next to us yelled out at Lou Johnson, the Dodger outfielder. The next thing you know, Lou came over and talked to the guy. He might have been 3 feet away, dangerously close by today’s social distancing standards. I sat there in awe, and listened to the conversation while staring at ‘Sweet Lou’. Being that close, it was then I noticed that part of his right ear was missing. Apparently, he had lost it in an auto accident years before. I understand that, these days, he’s still working with the Dodgers in community relations.

I’M LETTING THIS ONE GO, LAUREL

God bless you, Laurel Scherer, wherever you are. Back in the third grade or so, I attended Emmanuel Lutheran Church’s private grade school. The church we attended had a school, with probably no more than 25 students total, divided into two classrooms–grades 1-4 and 5-8.  The memories from those early years are gradually fading away, so I thought I better preserve as many of those stories as possible. I’ll start with Ricky Niemeyer, who I became friends with and then, one day, he just stopped coming to school. His mom arranged for him to come back for one more birthday celebration with his friends before losing his life to leukemia. Hard to believe with today’s medical treatments, but back then, leukemia was a death sentence.

At recess, we played on an asphalt parking lot because that was all they had. There were lots of dodge ball and kick ball games, using one of those red rubber balls. I should also mention Terry Smith, who went down in history as the first person ever to tell me a dirty joke. There was another kid named Paul. One time, I went over to his house to play and they served us hamburgers and this thing called mayonnaise. It was awesome!

But Laurel Scherer comes to mind for a couple of reasons. She wore braces which, back then, were a major commitment. I remember being good friends with her, although I probably damaged it that time I gave her a push to help avoiding being called “out” in hide ‘n seek and she went face-first into a flag pole, chipping her tooth. Wherever you are, Laurel, I’m sorry.

And one more Laurel story. I saw this happen and it just left an impression. I was standing in our play area, watching Laurel climb up the slide in her dress. Yes, back then, girls had to wear dresses to school. Well, she got to the top, sat down on the slide and began heading down. Only problem was, her dress caught on something at the top. All in one motion, she slide down the slide, leaving her dress at the top and the second her feet hit the ground, she made a beeline to the girls’ room.

OK, Laurel, that was it. Last time around for that story, at least, as told by me.

MRS. REES

Around the 4th grade, the classes at Emmanuel Lutheran Grade School were big enough that it warranted adding a classroom. It was then that an attractive, red-headed woman named Mrs. Reese took over the class I was in. I had never really known a redhead until then, outside of the little red-headed girl in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I wouldn’t say I had a schoolboy-crush on her, but I can still see her vividly. A couple of times, her husband came to visit the classroom and I thought, “What a lucky guy!” Then suddenly, she was gone. I don’t know where went, but I do know she was no longer at the school. I eventually heard that she had gone through a divorce and, as awful as they are these days, back in the 1960s it was considered something you just didn’t do, especially if you were a woman. I just remember wondering, ‘How could someone so nice get a divorce?’ As I experienced later in life, it happens.

Wow, I look at the class picture of that year and I can pluck out first names of a lot of those kids: Carolyn, Thomas, Kerry, Dillon, Tim, Laurel, and Andrew.  To the rest of my classmates, I’m sorry those memories have already gone to the dark side.

OK, enough for this round of memory purging. I’m letting these go and if I ever want to think about those people again, I’ll just come back here. Or, I’ll ask you, since they’ve now filled up some of your space.

Tim Hunter

When Radio Held Us Captive

As we all stay hunkered down in our homes for the better good and to turn around the current pandemic, I was recently reminded of the power of radio and the times of my life when it held me hostage–by choice.

Great radio can trap you in a car and make you gladly late for things. Back in my KLSY days, that was the standard of a great bit or break–when people would call and say they couldn’t leave their car until they heard what happened.

Nothing today in my neck of the woods comes even close to that. But I can recall those special people in my life, starting with Gary Owens on KMPC. Yes, Gary, the announcer on “Laugh In” had an amazing voice and a sharp wit to match. Growing up, while others were listening to Boss Radio on KHJ, my mom would have KMPC on in the car when we heading home from school. By the time I reached my teen years and was occasionally driving home from high school, I remember sitting in the car in the driveway, waiting to hear how “The Story Lady” or “How the West Was Won” would end. I could easily tolerate another Bert Kaempfert or Henry Mancini tune if it meant catching some Gary Owens comedy. Here’s a great example.

Flash forward many years to my KOMO radio days, when I first became aware of Paul Harvey. Paul was a midwestern, conservative broadcaster who did a 15-minute news & comment segment every weekday. It was serious “destination radio”–whatever you had going on, a phone call, a meeting, whatever–it had to be done in time for Paul Harvey. And there was no way you would leave until he got in his kicker story at the end and you’d hear that famous, “Paul Harvey……..good day!” Here’s a newscast from 1963.

Around that same time, Gary Lockwood was ruling the morning airwaves over at KJR and had created this bit called, “Police Blotter” which usually turned into a 10-minute laughfest and there was no way you could listen to it and not crack up. While I was working in the morning while they did that bit, they finally realized what a nugget they had and started repeating it later in the day. Again, there is no way you could leave until the bit was over. Here’s an example.

You were held captive.

Gary Lockwood passed away a little over a week ago down in Florida, in his sleep, at the age of 74. Way too young, but as my former broadcast partner Bruce Murdock once pointed out, “We all only get so many wake-ups. Morning guys use theirs up twice as fast, because of those naps we grab in the afternoon.”

Within the same week of hearing the news about Gary, we found out that former KUBE morning guru, Charlie Brown, is in hospice and not long for this world. Charlie also had some legendary bits, so I’m told. However, being on the air as the same time as him and being a competitor, I never heard them.

And in the same 10-day period–in fact, on May 1st, 2020–Hubbard Radio executed a nationwide bloodbath of layoffs. Here at the Seattle outlet (formerly known as Sandusky Broadcasting, where I worked), 17 people lost their jobs on a single day. Lots of them were friends of mine who were in the same building when I was let go 17 years ago.

Yeah, that’s the dark side of the business. One day you’re #1 in the ratings and then the company decides they need a new program director or while you’re doing good, afternoons aren’t clicking so let’s fire them, etc. You know that going in, it’s the nature of the business. I had two ‘surprise going away parties’ in my 30+ years. Frankly, once the shock of that first firing or layoff subsides, you realize it’s just a kick in the butt for you to do better and prove the bastards wrong.

It is the power of radio, that one-on-one connection through a mass medium, that brought me back to mornings on KRKO. And if I ever break out into one of my bits and make you late for something, then I’ve done my job–to keep you captive using radio and maybe, if just for a while, help you forget about being held captive in your home.

Tim Hunter

 

Trying To Retain It All

This is a serious test for all of us. Face it–with Stay-At-Home, a killer disease lurking out there, everyone working from home, more Zoom meetings than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime (and that was just this week), misinformation, disinformation and plain old accurate information and having to sort through all that–we are just friggin’ stressed.

I do my best not to focus on the pandemic and let stress rule my life, although my work load has been heavier for the past four weeks than it had been for the past five years. I’ve got some incredible things going on and one day I can share those stories, but for now, I’m concentrating on winning what we’re going through together and making notes of all these unique and historical events along the way.

I’m an information hound, getting up at 4am every morning to begin searching through the Internet for interesting things people would want to talk about on the radio. That’s my job as a writer with Radio Online. So I know what’s going on, believe me.  Then, I shift in to “Day Tim” mode, and concentrate on work and not really pay attention to the breaking news or emerging stories from the day. I give David Muir around 20-minutes at the end of the day to tell me what I missed, borrow a little bit of local news from KOMO TV4, and then detach from current events for around 10 hours.

I’ve found it a healthy balance. Some feel they can’t quit listening to news or talk radio because they might miss something and they want to know everything immediately. Let it go. I’ve seen posts on Facebook that if we got rid of all the news for a couple of months, things would probably get a lot better. Well, yes, for those who don’t catch the bug. The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.

Grab a moment and just marvel at how different the world around us has become in just a couple of months:

Our air has never been cleaner. During my daily exercise walk to the mailbox, it’s downright impressive.

Traffic–which was up to two hours from Everett to Seattle just a couple of months ago–is gone. None. With everyone working from home, you no longer have to plan on what time you were thinking about that trip. Want to zip over to Kirkland at 4 o’clock?  These days, no problem.

Think of all the money you’re saving by not driving or taking the bus to work? Car insurance companies have started offering rebates to keep their clients happy.

Here in Seattle, we’re paying $400 or more for our car license tabs every year, just so we can build a mass transit system we put off for decades and frankly, one I’ll probably never ride. Now, do we really need it?

Companies have been forced to realize that they can still make money and conduct business with people working from home. And with a cautious return to the old ways, there may be a shift in the workplace universe where people just stay at home and companies save millions on renting space, office supplies, desks, etc.

But it’s tough out there. Financially, emotionally and just about every ‘ly’ in our vocabulary. If you’re strong, this is where you can put your talents to work and help those in need of support. Some are struggling now, but one study I read said that by mid-June, a lot of people are going to begin snapping.

All the while, we continue to add pandemic stories to our memory banks. There was the guy we saw at QFC this week, wearing a Darth Vader masks with the voice to match. There are the jokes, that try to defer the scared into a nervous laugh. The one that jumps out for me is:

Q: Can you use coffee filters as toilet paper?

A: Yes, but it may affect the flavor of the coffee.

However, one of the moments that is pressed in my brain as a result of this week came last Saturday morning. My father-in-law had another fall and was rushed to a hospital, where they gave him a total checkup. Thank God all was well and he dodged another falling bullet. But when I picked him up at the hospital (as the official ambassador of healthy people for my family) he told me that while he was there, they didn’t give him any breakfast or lunch. Innocent enough, as they weren’t sure if he was going to need some kind of procedure, so they would need to keep his stomach empty. But where his mind went, as he’s just about to turn 91, is that this was going to be it. He was never going home again. He was scared.

So, all of a sudden, there it was–what someone was honestly thinking, that he would never see his family again and never had a chance to say goodbye.

Those words, his voice, still occupy my brain and are a constant reminder for me to always check in with people. Ask everyone and anyone you chat with how they’re doing. That’s how we’re going to get through this together.

And remember as many of these stories and experiences as that gray matter of yours will allow.

Stay safe.

Tim Hunter

Yeah, I’ve Just Got To Say Something

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the news lately, there’s an outbreak of something called, COVID-19. I don’t know what happened to the first 18, but apparently this is one bad-ass virus.

So, everywhere you look, society is shifting, our world is evolving. Now, with 360-million Americans running around there that leaves rooms for all kinds of beliefs to develop as to what’s really going on out there.

There’s the theory that this all started with someone eating a bat sandwich in a wet market. I love the speculation that since 5G was first tried in Wuhan (where this virus supposedly originated), that the spread of the virus is somehow linked to 5G.  China has claimed that it’s something the U.S. put out there. There are the Bill Gates’ accusers, who say HE started this, just so we’d all need an inoculation to save us, only to use that as a path to have people inject tiny little tracking devises into our systems. Oh, and then there was the theory out of Cambridge that the coronavirus actually started last September and maybe not even in China.

Let us pause here to review what we actually know:

  1. COVID-19 spreads like wildfire.  Ask the 60-choir members who got together up in Mount Vernon last month, maintaining social distance and using lots of hand-sanitizer. 45 members ended up with the virus, two died.
  2. You may not show symptoms up to five days after contracting it. So, you feel fine, you get together with friends, your aunt and some neighbors and one swoop, you’ve infected a half-dozen people.
  3. The virus gets airborne. It lives on surfaces for up to several weeks. You’ve got your phone out, a floating droplet latches on, you put the phone up against your face and welcome to the club.
  4. Social distancing works. If you aren’t where sick people have been, you can’t get sick.
  5. Wearing a mask is a good idea. That wasn’t the recommendation when this started, but probably should have been.  If you have to go out, wear a mask. It would be a shame to have made it this far, only to come down with it now.
  6. Our first fatality from the virus was on February 29th. Since then, over 42,000 have died. That’s in just 51 days.

And now you’ve got people saying, “You’re suppressing our rights!” and demanding that they be allowed to go back out there.

Being a big of the U.S. Constitution, I’m all about an individuals rights. However, something that’s missing in that wonderful document is…well, maybe it’s time for a new amendment: the right to be stupid.

So, let me get this straight. Even with stay-at-home orders, social distancing, hand sanitizer, endless hand-washing and masks, 42,000 people have died and you want to get back out there and act like everything’s normal?  This may surprise you, but I completely support you.

Before I go further, let me review my political stance–right in the friggin’ middle. I like to make my own decisions, not have one party or the other give me blanket answers for every issue. I was raised Republican, live in an extremely blue state, but enjoy talking politics when it can be civil. Although, truthfully, that’s tough to come by these days.

So, as a by-stander watching history happen right before us, I see a group of people holding up their Trump Posters and saying the government is suppressing them. I would say the government was trying to save them from themselves, but I’ve grown weary. So, get back out there. Suck in the air, mingle with people, share a beer with someone you don’t know. Because the world has seen this show before.

In 1918, the “Spanish Flu” arrived and people were asked to stay indoors. One 104-year-old survivor was on our news recently and she remembers her parents telling her the story of how they took her up into the mountains to protect her from the flu. The biggest lesson from that pandemic was that there was an outbreak, that started to subside. But with the end of World War I, people were done being locked up inside and living in fear and it was during that second wave that the flu claimed the majority of its victims. The first outbreak killed 5-million people. The second wave claimed upwards of 50-million.

So, yeah, get back out there. I mean, if the Democrats and the Republicans were teams and I were coaching the Democrats, I’d be saying, “Yeah, get them back out there with the virus. Sadly, those people will lose a lot of the people they love, if not their own lives. But they won’t be around to vote in November.”

If you don’t believe me or the experts, ask the mayor of New Orleans who didn’t want to cancel Mardi Gras because of the impact it would have had on the local merchants. Ask the governor of Georgia, who at a press conference a couple of weeks ago, actually said, “Why didn’t they tell us that you could be contagious and not have symptoms?”  Apparently, common sense travels slowly.

There’s the old joke about the guy on the roof of his house after a big flood.

A rowboat passes by and says, “Hop on in!” and the guy says, “No, God will save me.”

Next, a power boat pulls up and says, “C’mon, get in!” and the guy replied, “Nope, God will save me.”

Then, a helicopter flies overhead, drops a rope and says, “Grab on”! and the guy yells out, “No! God will save me.”

Well, the waters continue to rise, the guy drowns and wakes up in heaven. The first thing he says to God is, “Hey, how come you didn’t save me?” and God replied,

“Well, I tried. I sent two boats and a helicopter.”

Use your brain. If only for a while, pretend we’re all on the same side. On the other side of this, those of us still here will have a lot of stories to share.

Yeah, I just had to say something.

Tim Hunter

Heapin’ on the Help

Each week we gather here to read the latest thoughts that have oozed out of the gray matter in my skull. We will continue that tradition, not only talking in the third person, but also, this week, with a purpose.

These days are challenging for everyone, on so many levels. Suddenly finding yourself in a home work routine, trying not to leave the house anymore than you have to and when you do actually venture outside, you’re masked and gloved up and practically bathing in hand sanitizer when you return. As you can tell, I’m speaking to the people that are taking this all seriously, and plan to be here when we arrive at the other side of this pandemic.

Every day, I witness how easy it would be to spiral down along with the deluge of the day’s bad news–the latest totals, the newest death count, the next big event that’s been canceled.  I’ve adopted a ‘heads ‘n tails’ approach to following the virus, with a morning check-in of news while I work on my contributions to Radio-Online, and then I get lost in my busy days, wrap it up at some point, watch the 5 o’clock KOMO news and the national ABC newscast that follows, and my curiosity is satisfied. That’s what is going on out there, I know what’s going on right here at home.

Throughout my career, positive attitude has always worked for me and it continues now. I do my morning radio show, keeping it positive–with a combination of silliness, useful information and a musical escape for the masses wanting to get away from the COVID-mania going on.  I even put a video together this weekend to help explain how to listen to KRKO.  I swear, if you’re a day over 40, you’ll love the upbeat music.

So now that you know all the ways there are to listen, I sure hope you’ll give us a try. Put it on in the background while you work at home. I promise, you’ll find it habit forming.

Now, about today’s theme, helping. Well, I’ve already assisted you in how to listen to a great radio station. Days before our state’s Stay at Home order went into effect, I was able to shoot some very fun virtual wine tastings with the women of Goose Ridge Vineyards. I’m very proud of how they came out, and encourage you to visit their YouTube channel to enjoy all 8 of them. By the way, they’re now also making some awesome hand-sanitizer if you’d like to stock up.

At Alexa’s Café in Bothell, Leigh Henderson is doing something very cool. Monday through Friday from 11:30am-1:30pm, she’s putting out jars of soup. As in FREE for the taking. It’s her homemade tomato basil and all she asks is that when all this is over, you pop into the restaurant and say hi sometime.

Up in Arlington, Ryan Berg, the owner of The Shop of Arlington Tire Pros is doing a lot of good up in his community. He already works on several civic projects, he’s buying lunch for his crew every day from one of the local restaurants, he brings in a shower unit each week for the area homeless and since he’s been ruled an essential business, he gets to stay open and work on the local police and fire vehicles, if they need it. How do you top all that?  He’s announced that The Shop of Arlington Tire Pros will provide FREE service to any first-responder who needs work done on their car.  And going even further, he’s including all grocery store workers as part of that crowd. If you know someone in the North Sound, be sure and make them aware of this special offer.

And keep your eyes on the Facebook page of Lyle Ronglien. A very talented musician who has performed all over the Northwest and when he’s not performing, he drives a bus for the Northshore School District.  Well, you do the math–a performer with no place to perform and with the schools shut down, he’s got a whole lot of spare time on his hands. What he has been doing is what a lot of musicians are doing–creating virtual happy hours at a local restaurant. Recently, we watched him perform from The Cottage in Bothell for a couple of hours, which helps promote their ‘to go’ menu, we get to enjoy live music and then he has a tip jar for people to toss a couple of bucks in online. You can also find out where and when he’s going to be performing next at www.lyleronglien.com 

Oh, and one other suggestion. You can do this thing–put together a Zoom meeting with friends or family you haven’t seen in a long time. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve virtually gathered with former co-workers I’ve missed, some great friends I don’t want to lose touch with and enjoyed a couple of family gatherings for a birthday and Easter. It appears to be the way of the future and how we’ll be getting together, so you might as well start having fun with it.

All this to say, there is good going on out there in the chaos. I’d like to sneak in a quick thank you to my sister Terri, who sent us some homemade masks she put together. A quite fashionable look, I must say.

By the way, if you know of some good going on out there that you’d like to share, please drop me a note or respond to this blog. It’s up to us to support each other and focus on the positive, since we’re surrounded by the negative.

Be safe and I’ll dig up some more good by next week.

Tim Hunter

 

Watching For The Signs

We’re all living like a sequestered jury, except with full access to the media.

It’s as if we’re part of that first colony on Mars, where we spend every day living inside. If we dare to venture outside, we need to gear up, but instead of spacesuits, we put on our home-made masks, gloves and hold our breath every time we get near a living entity.

Yes, welcome to the Stay-At-Home lifestyle of the coronavirus pandemic. This wasn’t on anyone’s radar at the beginning of 2020, but someone pointed out the fact that this year’s New Year’s At the Space Needle had to be canceled and that should have been an omen.

What we do know is that we are living through history. This is the first time around for this killer virus and there’s just a whole lot that we don’t know.

We’ve learned that it’s easily transmittable. It hangs in the air. It lives on surfaces that we touch, then rub our eyes and it’s off to the races heading for our lungs. I’ve heard there are at least 8 strains of the virus and that you can have it but not show symptoms for up to five days. The Governor of Georgia just learned this the other day and asked why no one had told him. If only he had started watching the news back in January. I have to add one other things–to the states who have decided not to implement the “Stay at Home” philosophy, your swimming pools must also have peeing sections.  A month from now, you’re going to be so overrun and not be able to figure out how it happened. So sad.

How long will this continue is anyone’s guess. The governments are torn between saying what the worst case syndrome could be and the perfect scenario viewpoint. As with so many things, the truth is usually in-between, but it’s my personal unprofessional prediction that we’re not going to feel comfortable about going outside and being around people again until late July at the earliest. I mean, why would we dare to go back out there and defy it, only to launch another breakout and months of self-quarantining?

I’ve got a game plan and I thought I would share. Ignore parts you don’t like and adopt the ones that work for you, but at least, it’s doing something rather than waiting to be rescued:

  • What can I do right now, while locked up, to put myself in a better position for the after-life? (and by that, I mean after the virus retreats)
    • Cut things from my monthly spending I really don’t need, especially being locked up at home.
    • Explore side job possibilities now, while I don’t need them, just in case.
    • Look for opportunities to grow, to learn new things, to make myself even more marketable.
    • Not stress about might happen or could happen. That does not help.

I’m a big believer in the philosophy that things happen for a reason. For me, it has always worked out. I’ve lost two jobs at very key points in my lifetime and each time, though far from easy, I ended up better off than I was before.

Its very fair to say I’m a driven person. I figure that, somewhere down the line, when I shut down, BOY, am I gonna shut down. In the meantime, I’m on a mission to achieve, to do, to produce, to generate comedy, to express creativity in as many ways, shapes and forms that I can.

So, with that in mind, you can understand that I’m watching for signs that I’m not losing my edge, or dulling my drive. Yesterday, I realized one of those signs. Oh, you’re probably going to excess drinking and no, I’ve been able to maintain that nicely. What I noticed yesterday was that I went through an entire day without putting on a pair of socks.

You heard me right. I showered–in the morning–and went through my usual workday routine that starts every Monday through Friday at 4am. By 4 in the afternoon, I realized that I had no excuse to wander outside and so, I didn’t put shoes on. Like, right now–I put socks on around 11:30am with the anticipation that at some point today, I’m going to wander outside. Maybe to check the mail, or even to just inhale some of that fresh, northwest, “there’s no traffic to pollute the skies” air.

But, yesterday was a Sunday. I actually got out a pair of socks to put but they never made it to my feet. I even walked out to the mailbox and put something in the outgoing slot, but I did that barefoot. Maybe I’m overreacting but to me, that felt like I was slipping. Like I was just this side of going through an entire day of never showering and wearing pajamas all day. That won’t happen.

Why? Because I’m watching for the signs. The No-Socks Sunday was my wake-up call. I won’t be defeated. I will come out of this thing stronger than ever, even if takes a couple of years.

Well, maybe I won’t make it a couple of years. I’m probably good through July. But I’ll be wearing socks.

Tim Hunter

No Foolin’ Around on National Gullible Day

April Fools’ Day is one of my favorite holidays. Well, it’s not a holiday, but it’s a high-holy day for pranksters which usually includes readily-available forgiveness for silly little stunts.  From the innocent greeting of that first person you see on April 1st, asking if they heard that Amazon is delivering massage therapists, to the more elaborate radio stunts I’ve taken part in over the years. One year, we had a cell phone ringing in the background but not acknowledging it. People listening would keep checking their phones and then realize it was a prank.  Years ago when I was at KOMO radio, boy, did we tick off upper management when we did a mock Seattle April Fools Day Parade on the air. I believe it was the CEO who was so incensed that he commented, “What if someone in Lynnwood came all the way down to Seattle and there was no parade?” Last year, with the consensus of management,  we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the mythical Jetty Island Concert on KRKO

However, this year–on the air and around the home–prank fibbing just didn’t feel right. Each day, since this virus began its attack, we have faced a steady stream of “is it true or not?” and frankly, it just wears you out. We are all in survival mode, doing whatever is in our power to protect our families, and somehow make it to the other side, while trying to sort out what’s true and what isn’t.

But I was not about to give up my annual April Fools’ tradition of producing a fake TV news cast. I mean, come on, you go in knowing its all made up. It’s a celebration of fake news, all in an effort to make you laugh. Think of it as a video form of “The Onion.”

I tell you, this year was not easy. People had other things on their minds. They were at home, with kids, just trying to survive. A couple of my volunteer actors had to bail. One never responded to my request. I have to say, of all the years I’ve done this, I’ve never had anyone just not even respond to the request, but I understand. This is my passion, my project and my guess is, some of these people have grown up over the years.  I’m still just a kid when it comes to this stuff, especially on April Fools’ Day.

If nothing else, consider this a welcome distraction to the serious tone of our current world and enjoy a 10-minute escape from reality.

Here’s this year’s edition of the NGD Network’s coverage of National Gullible Day.

Have a happy one.

Tim Hunter

THE REASON THOSE SONGS MEAN SO MUCH

I would have to say for the bulk of my adult life, I did not like looking backward. History was something to use to your advantage, to learn from and what was done was done.

It was for that reason that I avoided listening to “oldies.”  As I grew older, I saw many people in my generation hitting a stopping point in their music growth and, doing what everyone’s parents did, latch on to the songs from their past.

There were different degrees of hitting that lockdown switch. Some hit it on their way out of high school; others, made it as far as college before deciding this was as good as it got.

I have an inner-urging that requires me to know what’s going on, or at least, I did. Over the past decade, I’ve found the newer songs to be rather mundane, sound-alike and non-imaginative.  Then again, that could be what happens when you get older. I remember my parents not understanding what the deal was with groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

So during the bulk of my adult years, I followed modern music. Playing a lot of the softer, contemporary songs during my radio days, while secretly listening to other stations play the B-52s or Huey Lewis and the News when I wasn’t at KLSY playing Celine Dion. Music serves a purpose. It’s a comfort zone. The right blend is like a familiar room with exactly the colors and fabrics you would choose if it was up to you.

If you have bet me money years ago that, one day, I would end up at a radio station that played all the hit songs from my high school and college years, I would have laughed in your face. I was doing more than my fair share of trying to keep up with what was new, watching trends, knowing who was in and who was out. Writing for the show prep service, Radio Online helped, in that I couldn’t stay stuck in my generation. I needed to know what was going on now!

Well, here I am, working at a radio station that brags they’re playing “Everett’s Greatest Hits.” That is actually a collection of the best testing, best-researched songs of the late 60s, the entire 70s and a little bit of the 80s. Yep, exactly the kind of station I thought I would never listen to or even be involved with.

But, I’ve gotta tell you, there was something special about that music I had playing on my radio in high school. “25 or 6 to 4”, “Knights in White Satin”, all those songs from 1969-73 were the soundtrack of some really big years for me. I remember the Moody Blues “Isn’t life strange?” playing on the radio when I tried to break up with a girlfriend. We ended up staying together, much to my detriment. Years later, she broke my heart, breaking up with me over the phone from 1300 miles away. Yeah, that’s the old “Sign from God” story you’ll hear from me when I get tipsy enough. Two months later, she married the minister that convinced her to break up with me. But in completely honest hindsight, it was truly the best for both of us.

The songs KRKO plays take me somewhere happy, somewhere forgotten on a regular basis. Geeze, I mean Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” was a monster hit when I was at KQOT. So many stories there. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman” was one of the 45’s I have somewhere in my basement.

The oldies, as people call them, are the songs that bring comfort. That you put away for years and then, when things in our modern world come apart, we love to hear and have them stir up memories.

You don’t need to listen to me, but with all local sports gone, KRKO is now playing 99% great songs, one right after the other. Our consultant tells me that after 9-11, Oldies Stations soared in the ratings. We have the challenge of a fairly week FM signal in Everett and a muddy AM station. But man, do we shine online. I’m just being honest.  Here are three ways you can take KRKO for a test drive and enjoy Everett’s Greatest Hits:

  1. If you have an Alexa, just say, “Alexa, play KRKO, Everett’s Greatest Hits”
  2. On your computer or tablet? Just put www.krko.com in your browser and click on LISTEN LIVE
  3.  You can do that on your phone as well, or download the app which lets you hear the station with a click of a button. To do that, just visit the Apple Store or the Google Play store. It’s free

If you need an assist, please let me know. Of all the stations out there right now, we really do keep it upbeat, positive and do a heck of a lot to help people get through our current insanity.

It’ll do your brain good. And who knows what memories we’ll knock loose tomorrow.

Take care,

Tim Hunter

Social Distancing Myself

Yep, I’m doing it. For just the length of this blog, I’m going to separate myself from the seriousness of the whole coronavirus pandemic and pass along all the lines I’ve heard and seen over the past couple of weeks.

Oh, this covid-19 is serious stuff and I’m viewing this all as a student of these historic times. Our world has changed forever and all this, with us not knowing how this concludes or even if it concludes.

All that being said, for a couple of minutes, relax and laugh as much as you can with this compilation of nuggets. Some are mine, lots are borrowed from the pages of Facebook:

  • It’s now official. Due to the coronavirus, the beginning of spring is being delayed until September.
  • I mean, you look at the timing of this coronavirus outbreak. I think it’s pretty obvious to me—God likes football
  • My job is to help you avoid the harsh realities of the world and provide a little escape from it all. We’re like Calgon for the ears.
  • People are panicking and already trading sex for food. It’s crazy. Anyway, I got two tacos.
  • Have we tried unplugging 2020, waiting 10 seconds and then plugging it back in.
  • If you bought 30 rolls of toilet paper, you owe three to the church. Tithing is still in effect.
  • I need 25 friends to dress up like zombies and join me in walking around the neighborhood. Can’t let this quarantine go to waste.
  • Are tortillas flushable? Asking for a friend.
  • I honestly hadn’t planned on giving up this much for Lent
  • “Family Feud” has shut down production because of coronavirus. However, there still is no cure for Steve Harvey
  • The NFL has approved a 17-game season. If the season delays go on long enough, so might Major League Baseball.
  • So, the governor closed all the bars. Someone’s having a hard time giving up alcohol for Lent.
  • Thinking about it, the safest time in our recent history was when we moved the clocks ahead an hour. For 60 minutes, nothing happened.
  • A Seattle Starbucks worker was diagnosed with coronavirus. The store became suspicious of him when he spelled a customer’s name right.
  • I feel like I’m in season 5 of my life and the writers are just coming up with ridiculous stuff to keep it interesting.
  • I have a 24-pack of toilet paper I’d like to trade for a 3-bedroom house.
  • President Trump says he hasn’t been tested yet for the coronavirus and, if you think about it, if you were the virus, would you?
  • There’s now talk of extending the April 15th income tax deadline because of the coronavirus. In a related story, at H-and-R Block, H has been asked to stand six feet away from R.
  • In New York City, a conference on the coronavirus has been canceled because of the coronavirus. The announcement was made by the Department of Redundancy Department.
  • Wow, the NHL, the MLS and the NBA have all suspended their seasons. At this rate, pretty soon the only things left are going to Betty White, Keith Richards and the Hallmark Channel.
  • By the way, this hour’s rundown of the coronavirus cancellations is being canceled, due to the coronavirus.
  • ESPN is going to reverse the spelling of their name to NPSE (No Public Sporting Events)
  • The WHO has declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. But all those dogs that were quarantined can now be released, since it’s been proven they can’t carry the disease. Yes, WHO let the dogs out.
  • The hottest drink these days? The Quarantini-its just like a Martini, but you drink it at home all by yourself.
  • Back in my day, if you TP’d a house, you were getting back at someone. Today, you’re doing them a favor.
  • Day four of no sports. Found a woman sitting on my couch. Apparently, she’s my wife. She seems nice.
  • Day five of no sports. Just found out my wife’s favorite color is yellow. Who likes yellow?
  • Coronavirus tip-wear a Dallas Cowboys jersey. You won’t catch anything.
  • Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.
  • If everything gets canceled and you’re forced to stay at home and nothing happens-that was the idea!
  • What if they close the grocery stores and we have to hunt for food. I don’t even know where Doritos live.
  • Dr. Oz says that couples should have sex while quarantined. I can hear husbands everywhere saying, “Sorry, honey, but doctor’s orders!”
  • My thought: Soccer, baseball, the NBA, the Kentucky Derby, the Boston Marathon, all canceled or postponed until at least September when football begins. To me, that says that God loves football.
  • The federal government is talking about giving us all $1,000 in stimulus money to spark the economy. Well, it’s not like we’re going to go out and spend it all on toilet paper.
  • Casinos are asking for bailouts from the federal government. Shouldn’t they at least be required to roll 7’s?
  • Bethany Frankel says she is creating coronavirus kits. Oh, goodie. We’re saved!
  • Sorry to say that there is already a long list of scammers at work over this coronavirus. For the full list, please send $100 in unmarked bills to…
  • OK, so you went out and cleaned out the stores of toilet paper, bottled water and enough food to last several months. Now, the good news–I can finally quit bugging you about putting together an earthquake kit.

And a couple of my Top Five Lists:

TOP FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY SHOULD NOT DO BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS

  1. Go to a Face-Touching party
  2. Practice your deep-breathing exercises in a crowd
  3. Keep putting off getting tested because you haven’t studied
  4. While eating out, shake the hand of a different stranger between bites
  5. Accept a challenge to a Cough-Off

TOP FIVE SIGNS YOU’RE GOING A LITTLE STIR-CRAZY AT HOME

  1. Yes, it’s wrong, but you’ve used relatives’ names to create March Illness Brackets
  2. You can’t wait for the next robocall
  3. Named the dust bunny under the fridge, “Herman”
  4. Organized the macaroni by size
  5. You’ve developed a home version of curling, with a robo-vacuum and a Swiffer broom

All this to say, whatever happens, don’t lose your sense of humor. It’s the only thing that will keep us going. Stay home, stay vigilant and let’s all look forward to the day in the near future when we can reduce our social distancing by at least half.

And if you know of someone having a tough time right now that could use a little pickup, please pass this along.

Tim Hunter

Coronavirus: No big deal, right?

The short answer: wrong. Dead wrong.

We’ve had pandemic-type breakouts quite a few times over the last century. Things like Ebola and SARS became household names and while we knew they were bad and killing people, it was “mostly over there somewhere.”

Amazingly, I’ve had some social media friends asking to have someone explain to them why everyone is freaking out about the coronavirus. I’ve had relatives express that it’s all media hype. It’s for you people that I’m writing this.

Thanks to professionals who spend a lot of time to research such things, I’ll turn it over to them. In fact, here’s a breakdown on how it’s NOT just like the flu.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a time when the federal government didn’t want to know that it had come to the U.S.. There were actual cases here, but local medical people weren’t allowed to test. But they did it anyway. Here’s that story.

I understand the tendency to dismiss it all as media hype when it doesn’t immediately affect your world.  When tornadoes hit Nashville last week, it was horrible. But, it didn’t reach me, so I just moved on with my life. It didn’t make it any less terrible for the folks who live there. I also didn’t think the media was making it look worse than it really was.

Consider this coronavirus thing a world-wide tornado. It’s not maybe coming your way, it will.

People are doing all they can to trick themselves into believing, “It’s just like the flu.”  Well, yes, except there is no vaccine. What can a flu do when there is no vaccine? 102 years ago, the Spanish Flu sickened 500-million worldwide, killing upwards of 50-million. Sure, it was only 675,000 Americans, so it really wasn’t that bad.

That was flu humor.

Look, I’m no medical expert, but here’s what I know:

  • A guy that I work with, his home-bound wife tested positive for the virus. The only places she had been in the past week was the emergency room of a hospital. Now she’s in the hospital and he’s self-quarantined for 14 days.
  • A woman that works on the same floor as my wife actually showed up on the news last night, talking about her experience with catching the disease. She told the TV camera that she went to a party and then went home and had a high fever that same night. If so, she would be the only case where that happened. It usually takes 5 days or more to develop symptoms. But all that time you’re wandering around, continuing with your usual routine before showing any symptoms, you’re contagious.
  • I have a friend whose mom was in the Life Care Center in Kirkland. They lost her to the coronavirus last week.
  • They estimate that the virus was in our area for up to six weeks before it was detected. That gave it plenty of time to spread.

The choice is yours. Treat this all as media hype and you’ll soon experience all the adventures we’re having right now. Respect this virus, do all the basics we should have been doing all along, and we’ll get through this.

And a quick reminder of those basics:

  1. Wash your hands. Not ‘run water over them’, but soap and warm water for 20 seconds, then dry them on a clean towel.
  2. Don’t touch your face. This has been the hardest for me. That’s how anything you’ve touched reaches your face.
  3. Keep a distance of 6-feet or more from people.
  4. Use wipes to clean your cell phone once a day. Remember, those hands you pick your cell phone up with have touched everything. And then, you’re putting the phone right up next to your face.
  5. No hugs, handshakes or even fist-bumps for the time being. You’ll live.
  6. Cover your cough. Not with your hand so you can wipe the germs elsewhere. Into your elbow. It can be done.
  7. If you’re stick, stay home. I know that’s a ‘duh’, but ever since employers made sick time equal vacation time, no one wants to waste a day of vacation being sick at home, so they bring it to work. It’s always been wrong, but needs to not be tolerated. Bosses, send ’em home.

Keep up on the latest, read all you can but for the sake of being informed, not to worry. Common sense can really help you out a lot right now. Listen to that inner voice.

Stay safe.

Tim Hunter

Sorry, I Didn’t Catch Your…Bug

We are entering new territory.

The coronavirus, aka Covid-19, is pretty much a part of our conversations at least a couple of times a day.

We knew something was coming. Here in Washington State we were ‘lucky’ enough to have the first detected case in the U.S., the first confirmed fatality and we continue to lead the nation in souls lost to this brand-new virus.

A long-time friend of mine posted just the other day that her mom was the latest victim at that convalescent home in Kirkland, the epicenter of our Northwest outbreak.

Every day, a new count, a new detail. But the drum keeps beating on how doing the basics, the things we should have been doing all along, can help us avoid the virus.

  1. Wash your hands. I mean, REALLY wash your hands, with soap, for at least 20-seconds, front and back. (the best analogy I’ve heard is to pretend you’ve just chopped up Jalapeños and you’re going to put in your contacts next)
  2. Cover your cough. Into the back of your elbow, please.
  3. If you are sick, stay home.
  4. If you insist on going out into the public, wear a mask.
  5. Don’t touch your face without washing your hands or using hand-sanitizer first.

I’m sure there are other things you can do, but those basics are what a civilization that survives needs to be doing. If the coronavirus gets us all into those habits, it could make for easier cold and flu seasons in the future.

But for now, the focus is on the virus named for the beer. (It isn’t, but a recent CNN survey found that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beer “under any circumstances” because of the coronavirus) 

I’ve been oversaturating myself on information and true facts regarding the outbreak and here’s what I know:

  • The elderly (people over 60…crap) are more prone to having a rough go at it with the virus.
  • Those with secondary health issues (the majority of the fatalities in the U.S.) are the most susceptible.
  • For some reason, kids seem more resilient. There have been no pediatric deaths in the U.S.. However, they say because kids seem to be less affected by it, they could be carrying the bug before symptoms show.
  • The majority–80% of the cases of coronavirus–are mild.
  • There’s a lot we don’t know about it. I heard on the news just this morning they think there are two different strains. There is no cure or vaccine.

At this point, America has eagerly morphed into panic mode. John Kay of Steppenwolf was supposed to perform in Everett this Saturday. He canceled because of what he was hearing about the Seattle-area on the news.  I saw one headline the other day that labeled Seattle as a Ghost Town. I wanted to contest that, but just in the last few days, I know of several companies and local governments who have gone into “stay at home” mode. They’re encouraging people to stay at home to help stop the spread. The University of Washington, King County and where my wife works, Nanostring, among them. This morning, traffic was holiday-light, as if people were all out of town on vacation. Instead, they were at home, hoping to avoid catching the bug.

The Northshore School District up north where my kids went decided to just close schools for up to 14 days, this after they had already closed for a couple of other days. Emerald City Comic Con is next week. Vendors are dropping out left and right. The famous South By Southwest gathering in Austin next week is endangered, as some attendees are already announcing they’ll pass. Japan had said earlier that there was absolutely no way they would be moving the Olympics this summer. Now they’re saying they’d be open to delaying it.  The latest James Bond movie was supposed to hit theaters by April. That’s been bumped to November so that this coronavirus outbreak has a chance to settle down.

I can’t believe I spent all those years preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse when I should have been watching the Dustin Hoffman movie, “Outbreak.”  By the way, the folks at Netflix brought it back this month, for those who need to catch up.

 

It’s been bad, but we’re on track for things to get much worse. We saw a couple of panic shopping outbreaks last week, with people stocking up on toilet paper, for God’s sake. Gatherings are being canceled, people are scrapping trips they had planned and looked forward to, because we just don’t know where this is going to go. A treatment or vaccine could be up to a year away. They hope the warmer summer months might help it partially go away but, again, there’s just so much we don’t know.

So, Keith Richards and Betty White, if the time comes where you two are really the last ones left on earth and you are reading this, here’s how it all started a way back in the year 2020. Just in case you don’t remember. If my Wacky Week website is still up, check it out. There are a few coronavirus jokes there that you guys might find funny.

Tim Hunter

 

Roger Murtaugh Really Said It All

As fans of the “Lethal Weapon” movies, my wife and I occasionally find ourselves re-watching those fun films. We’re also excited to hear that the boys have at least one more movie coming our way.

And when we sit down to watch the next “Weapon”, we know that at some point in the film, Danny Glover’s character, Roger Murtaugh, is going to utter his famous catch phrase, “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.”

Truer words were never spoken and as I continue staying heavily involved in the world around me, including social media, I know there’s a time coming where I’m going to just flat be too old.

And it’s getting closer.

The other morning, while multi-tasking my brains out as I often do, I came across an article in the New York Post about Jasmin Bleeth. It was basically a “here she is now” and I found it fascinating. It showed her in the 1980s during her Baywatch hey day, side-by-side with a phot of her walking her dog recently. Not thinking anything beyond, “Wow, that’s interesting!” I thought others might want to see this, too, so I posted it on Facebook. The only word I added to the picture was, “Huh.”

In fact, here’s the photo.

Boy, remember when Baywatch was THE show on TV?  Those slow-motion jogging scenes, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff and yes, Jasmine Bleeth. To me, the photo was a reminder of just how ago that was–it first debuted in 1989. Using a calculator and doing some quick math, that’s 31 friggin’ years ago. Wow.

I expected to see some entertaining comments, so I kept working while occasionally checking back on the post. I worked on my contribution to Daily Show Prep (that I write every morning), chatted with my wife during our morning hangout, listened to my tracks play on KRKO, even chatted with my son about one of their dogs and how it ate a bunch of rocks.

Eventually, I returned to the post and realized that I’m just not woke enough.

The responses ranged from “apparently its wrong for women to age” to “WTAF”.  I PM’d some of the respondents that appeared offended by this photo. One had a sister with a weight gain problem, and so it reminded it of her. My intent was never to be mean or offend or irritate anyone, I just thought it was interesting. The phrase “fat shaming” came up. OK, I’m done and so I deleted the post.

I know people who have gladly given up Facebook and this experience definitely pushed me a step closer. I suppose as long as I have a public persona to keep out there, I need to use it, but there will come a day when I will definitely disappear. Or, at least cut back to a very small club.

They way I understand Facebook is that it’s supposed to bring us all together. When I post something to my FB friends, it’s supposed to be like they were sitting next to me and I was just showing them something. It is and has never been my intent to offend, tick off or mislead anyone. Maybe its my fault for accepting too many borderline Facebook connections who are more acquaintances than friends.

I’m a big fan of hiding posts and ‘friends’ who put up stupid stuff, especially in the political arena.  I swear, every six months, this one shows up.

When this first showed up in my feed a couple of years ago because my cousin posted it, I took the time to inform him that Trump never said that. It was a hoax, fake news, whatever you want to call. And his response was, “Well, it’s like something he would say.”

So, rather than letting people know it was fake, it was passed on to other Facebookers, who most likely reposted it, assuming it was true.  If you’d like to read the story of that post, here you go.

And for the record, I’m not a President Trump fan. I’m following our political process and anxious to see if a viable candidate can emerge from the other side.

But look at those two examples. The Jasmin Bleeth was factual, the Trump story a hoax, and yet the Trump story is Facebook re-post gold.

It’s becoming obvious to me that the first step in making a gradual withdrawal from Facebook is to cut down my ‘friends’ list to only include people I know and can actually remember talking with in the past decade. I’ve been accepting anyone who would ask (except for a Nigerian prince. He still owes me that money) and now have 1,482 FB friends.  With almost 1500 people seeing my posts, I guess the odds are pretty good that something I post could offend someone.

And that’s a game you never win. Post a picture of a dog and someone could write, “Oh, I see, you hate cats.”  Show a sunset and someone else could post, “Oh, sure, flaunt your good weather. Back here, we’ve got three feet of snow.”

Look, if you truly know me, I’m all about positive and fun and being happy. It’s finally starting to sink in that maybe Facebook and I have different goals and expectations. I just know if I don’t have the time or energy to get caught up in a debate about something I post being mean-spirited or ill-intended. I just don’t do that.

My frustration is probably rooted in the fact that I’m just getting too old for this shit.

Tim Hunter

 

 

A Real Test

Over the past five years, I’ve manage to create a nice little routine that has evolved into a weekly schedule that pushes and challenges me. However, somehow, every week I come out a winner.

This may finally be the week that gets me.

I have my daily obligations–writing for a radio show prep service, turning out another morning show for KRKO and all the duties that come with being the Chief Creative Guy at Create Impulse, as well as operating Tim Hunter Creative Services. Yeah, my plate is pretty full.

With careful planning, I can move things around and accommodate a variation to my schedule. For example, last week I flew down to southern California to hang with my mom and sister. It just took working ahead and then going like a madman when I got back.

However, this could be the work week that breaks the camel’s back. I’ve been summoned to jury duty.

So, on top of everything else I’m doing in my weekly dash of madness, on Wednesday—I’m heading to jury duty.

This will be only the second time in my life I’ve been called. Once, when I was doing the KLSY radio thing, I left in the 8 o’clock hour to make it to Lynnwood by 9, only to be dismissed on day one.  I’m hoping for a repeat performance.

Oh, wait, back in elementary school, I was in a class play of “12 Angry Men” where I learned that I wasn’t much of an actor. I remember Mr. Ray trying his best to make me really sell my line, “But there IS something personal.”  I never got it.

I’m going all kinds of out-of-bounds for this adventure. I’m going to try taking the bus to downtown to minimize the financial damage this will have on me. Since Wednesday is normally my KRKO weekly staff meeting, I have to miss everyone this week.  And it’s downright scary to think I could get involved with something that goes on for a week or two.

I know it’s our system and my duty to serve and if I don’t do it, who will?

Follow my Facebook feed to find out what happens. As I try to work ahead on a couple of things, I already know this is going to be a real test.

Wish me luck!

Tim Hunter

The Time I Was a Buffoon

I can’t believe I did that.

Seriously, how many times have you gone to an airport and heard the overhead announcement about “unattended bags?”

You DON’T just leave a bag off to the side, or in this case, under a chair, by itself, at an airport. Period.  With all the times I’ve flown and as much time as I have spent in airports over the years, especially over the last couple of decades, I personally must have heard that announcement over a hundred times.

Plus, it’s common sense. You just don’t do that.

Unless you’re me.

So, I’m flying out of the brand-new Paine Field airport in Everett last week and I was so excited to see it. Seriously, it’s a showcase on how to do an airport–relaxed, simple, lots of help, tasty food for sale, etc. It’s been open almost a year and I had been able to sneak into a press preview event, but I didn’t really have a chance to walk around and see all there was to see until last week.

They had some really cool sling chairs that looked comfortable, right in front of a big window so that you could watch jets come and go. I saw an open seat and set up camp, putting down my glasses on the table next to my special seat, I put my coat over the back of the chair, and my briefcase in front of the chair.

But I wanted to get over and check out the Beecher’s snack bar (with that delicious Mac ‘n Cheese) and didn’t want to give up my great seat. There was no one really around, so I thought I could wander over to the snack bar, really quick. Since I was traveling by myself, I slid the laptop under the chair because as nice as the airport was, I didn’t want to tempt any would-be thieves.

I’ll bet I wasn’t gone more than 4-minutes and 27-seconds, but when I returned, I had guests. Standing there was a state trooper, an airport security guard and someone in a suit, obviously from the airport. Oh, the looks I was getting. “Uh, you know you left your bag unattended, right?” and I realized right then and there, I had completely violated all those warnings and all the common sense in the world since 9-11 changed everything. I usually travel with my wife and so, it didn’t even dawn on me that I shouldn’t wander away, leaving my bag behind. Thinking back, I should have told someone nearby that I was leaving just for a moment. But at the time, no one was sitting next to me.

Now that I have done the unthinkable, I feel all the shame they intended. The security guard tried to emphasize the seriousness of my transgression: “You know, sometimes they’ll pick up deserted bags and make people go through security all over again.”  Considering that amounted to just one person on my way in, that wasn’t really that much of a threat. But I know what he meant. I was a bonehead, a moron, a nincompoop.

I just wanted to pass along my experience, to help you avoid similar embarrassment and bringing a great shame upon your family name.

Hopefully, I’ve been “scared straight” and that will never happen again. I didn’t need to confess my crime against humanity, but I just couldn’t resist trying to help you avoid that feeling I’ve got right now.

My old English teacher, Mr. Ray, would have called me, “A dolt!” I’m going to embrace ‘buffoon. ‘

Sigh.

Tim Hunter

Brothers in Comedy

I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait to think of the next one-liner and spends the majority of his life watching things go by, hoping for a good setup to a punchline.

Gosh, it goes back to my high school days when I started a notebook to collect jokes, those I had written, others I heard from friends or from comedians I admired on TV. Of course, I tried to write enough funnies to fill an air shift when I got into radio. As my involvement deepened, I’d write more jokes. Soon, I was putting out one-liners that went to Radio Online show prep for other disc jockeys to use and to be considered each night for Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” monologues. I sold quite a few over a 10-year run.

I know that Pedro Bartes over at the Jet was also a contributor to Jay. We both would “fax” in our jokes, along with some other comedy-writing pals of mine, and then keep our fingers crossed when watching the monologues to see if any of our material was used.

These days, of course, you’ll hear my jokes on my morning radio show on KRKO, and all are posted each week on my joke website, wackyweek.com.  I send out a weekly collection to a lot of people in a mass email (and, if you’d like to be added to that list, just shoot me an email), including Seattle Times‘ sportswriter, Dwight Perry.  Every now and then, Dwight will sneak one of my lines into his column and for a comedy writer, it’s just great to get some kind of verification that someone else found your joke humorous.

Another comedy writer Dwight frequently quotes is Jim Barach of JokesByJim.blogspot.com.  Dwight’s column is where Jim caught my attention and so I visited his website and found out a few things about him. He’s a TV weather guy in Charleston, West Virginia, that loves to write jokes. He also lost his wife several years ago to cystic fibrosis. I loved that he described himself in his profile as “widower, dad.”

There was a part of me who saw all this and basically felt like this was me in a parallel universe, where life dealt him some blows, but the drive to keep funny kept him going. He likes to describe himself as “the most prolific joke writer on the planet.” I know, by quantity, he’s got me beat.

So, over time, I’ve occasionally dropped him a note about one of his jokes, or noticing a typo that he might want to fix and each time, he was gracious and appreciative. Then, on one of my recent visits to his site, I saw that he’s running for political office in the state of West Virginia.

Suddenly, the degrees of separation got smaller. You see, my dad was born in Scotland, but was raised in West Virginia. I wrote to Jim to report that connection and here’s what he wrote back:

I have read the Appalachian accent is basically Scottish in nature as a lot of Scots came over here early on to work the coal mines and then ended up settling here long term. Many thanks again!

Jim

Yes, my dad, his dad and brothers found their way to steel mills and other jobs, whatever they could get. At least, before they were drafted or enlisted.  By the way, what he was thanking me for was my donation to his political aspirations. I barely know the guy, but I know he’s a family man, that loved his wife and lives to write jokes. I think we need more of those kind of people in office these days.

Should you want to do something crazy and contribute to his political campaign, even just $5, I know that’ll freak people out as they wonder, “Why is all that Seattle money heading his way?” Donate here.

I give you laughs on a weekly basis. If you find yourself being unable to wait, always check out Jim’s blogspot.

My brother in comedy.

Tim Hunter

 

I was this close

I try to keep track of these outpourings of my thoughts and while I enjoy exploring what’s rolling around in my brain, I originally planned to try and keep these on the lighter side. But sometimes real life wins out.

Thinking ahead to this week, I was this close to talking about the solemn anniversary of the Space Shuttle disaster. It was one of those moments where you knew exactly what you were doing when you heard the news.

That particular day–in fact, 34 days ago today as I write this–I had slipped out of KLSY to join our news anchor, Karyl Levinson, in speaking to broadcasting students at Bellevue Community College. I remember we got started, telling stories about how we got into radio and the like when all of a sudden, a student came in and let us know the Space Shuttle had exploded during takeoff. We apologized to the students and then headed back to the radio station, with Karyl being the on-duty representative of our news department.

As television went non-stop in their coverage of the disaster and President Reagan gave his “slipped the surly bonds of earth” speech, the country remained in shock and disbelief. As I look back at that day, I realize that my lifetime has collected quite a collection of those moments. As you know, just when you think you can’t be shocked, something like 9-11 happens and raises the bar of shock all over again.

My lifespan has included the assassination of a president, a presidential candidate, and several civil rights leaders. Celebrities have been taken way too early and when it’s not drug-related, it’s due to a car, plane or helicopter crash. You start listing them and its mind-numbing to think about how many of the famous and legendary had their time cut so short.

Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, Jim Croce, John Lennon, Heath Ledger, Marvin Gaye, Corey Monteith, Paul Walker, Roberto Clemente, Amy Winehouse…and Judy Garland. I was 14 years old when she passed away at the age of 47. And at my age now, 47 seems so young.

Now the week where I would reflect on the Shuttle disaster has been taken over by the Kobe Bryant tragedy.

It became the latest incident where I will always remember where I was when I heard the news. We had just sat down to a brunch at my son and daughter-in-law’s home, along with her parents, when my son’s iWatch vibrated. He said, “Oh, no. I hope this isn’t true. It’s saying Kobe Bryant had died.”

Those with their phones began searching for the story and it wasn’t hard to find. By that time, an hour after the crash, there was plenty on-line to read about what happened and the additionally sad news that his second-oldest daughter was on board.

Kobe was no more important than the above-mentioned celebrities or the passengers who were also aboard that ill-fated helicopter. As they investigate the crash site, experts are reviewing everything they can and doing whatever it takes to find out what happened and what caused the crash.

But it won’t bring any of them back.

Now, I wasn’t a Kobe Bryant fan. That’s not to say I don’t completely respect his talents, his five N.B.A. championships, two Olympic gold medals and his amazing scoring ability. All this from a kid out of Philadelphia who went straight from high school to the N.B.A..  You see, I’ve been living in the Pacific Northwest since 1973, so when you say “The Lakers” that’s where I think of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Mel Counts and Wilt Chamberlain, those guys.  Kobe was part of the new Lakers who were west coast rivals of my adopted team, the Seattle Supersonics.

But he was a hard guy to not know about. As a comedy writer, he was a punchline for anything that had to do with not passing or hogging the ball. Then, there was the time he allegedly cheated on his wife and he bought her a HUGE diamond ring to apologize. That was followed by a rape charge, which was eventually dropped. One young Washington Post writer found out that you’ve got to treat a popular legend with a little more respect, rather than speaking ill about him hours after his demise.

Like I said, I didn’t follow Kobe, I only saw what I saw. In recent years, I was hearing that he was really big about spending time with his family and encouraging his daughter’s basketball dreams. He was a fan of WNBA basketball, because he believed, in time, she would be playing at that level. Just a few weeks ago, Kobe spent a weekend in the Pacific Northwest, visiting a girls’ tournament in the central Washington town of Cashmere.

I know that he used that helicopter as a way to enable him to do more. To spend less time on the freeway in traffic and be able to get to meetings or basketball games. Kobe was an over-achiever and I can understand that more than you’ll ever know. If you have that disease, you just can’t resist accomplishing even more than what you’ve already done if it’s possible.

This past Sunday morning, Kobe and his daughter went to a Catholic mass at 7 a.m. and had communion. They then returned home and boarded the helicopter to head to a game that they never reached.

I don’t know where Kobe’s head was at. Was this the new and improved “Family Man” Kobe, who had finally shaken the Playboy mentality that evolves when you’re young and suddenly rich?  Maybe. I want to believe that he had grown up, found peace and that he was thoroughly enjoying his time spending time with his kids and coaching them as I did. For me, it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and if opportunity allows, I’d love to do it again.

So now, January 26th has an incredibly sad time stamp on it every year that it passes around. It’ll be a reminder that there are no guarantees, that everything doesn’t have to make sense. We have what is right in front of us right now, so make it all count. Hug the ones you love and don’t waste a single opportunity to do good whenever you can and always do what’s right.

To me, this isn’t about an NBA superstar and his untimely death. This is about a dad and his daughter on their way to her basketball game that had a sudden, tragic ending.

God’s peace to the families of everyone lost that day.

Tim Hunter

You’re Luckier Than You Realize

In a typical day, we are bombarded by tens of thousands of messages. From the advertisements that fill every corner of that website you’re visiting, to radio and TV commercials, to 5-seconds of an ad you have to endure in order to see a video on YouTube.

But the other day, the Facebook post of a friend stopped me dead in my tracks. So, I had to share it with you and I will, in just a moment.

Over time, this friend turned into a honorary son, yet we also became big pals when hanging out together at a local ad agency. I went to an Apple Cup game in Pullman with him years ago. During that year of the Seahawks/Pittsburgh Super Bowl, we watched every Hawks game together. He was the photographer at my wedding, and we continue to work together on occasional projects utilizing his videographer skills.

As a personal anniversary passed of a sad day in his life, he wrote down his thoughts in that Facebook post and I couldn’t help but picture myself in either his position, or that of his late father. I was fortunate enough to have my father around until 5 years ago, so he saw what I became and how I was doing in life. I’ve also had the good fortune of being able to watch both of my kids grow up, having been quite involved with that process, and eventually letting them go to live their own lives and adventures.

Brian was not that fortunate. Here’s his post:

Hard to believe, but 20 years ago today I lost my dad and my best friend.

In the fall of 1999, we found out my dad had kidney cancer. Just a few months later he was gone. It happened so fast. All of a sudden, the house was empty. Our little family was devastated.

It was my senior year of high school and I became a part of a club that no one wants to be in… the “Dead Parent Club.” When you’re young, it’s a small club. Only those that are in it truly understand. I tried to do what he would have wanted me to do… take care of Mom, press on, live my life, honor him, and never forget him. It hasn’t been easy.

My dad was a police officer in Seattle. For over 30 years, he caught bad guys and built relationships with people in the city. He worked weird schedules, but still managed to have time to help coach my baseball and soccer teams, go to my jazz band concerts, and help out at horse shows. He took me to Mariners, Sonics, and Seahawks games. We were buds.

My dad was the kind of person that everyone loved. At his memorial and in the days to follow, I saw grown men and tough-guy cops crying while telling stories about him. His death had a huge impact on people. There was some sort of comfort knowing that other people missed him as much as I did.

20 years later, people still talk about my dad. They tell stories about the fun times they had with him, how much he loved his job, how much he adored his four kids, how goofy he was, and how he made them feel when he was around. No one is perfect, even my dad, but we were all better having known him.

I’m thankful for everything I have now… an amazing wife, two beautiful kids, a loving mother, a great step-dad who treats us like his own, supportive friends and family. I wish he could be here to see all of this.

20 years later, it still doesn’t feel right. It makes me sad to know that I’ve been without him longer than I was with him. He never got the chance to come to WSU for a Dad’s Weekend. He never got to meet my wife and his grandkids. He should have been here for all of that, but these are the things life throws at us. In so many ways, he’s a part of me now.

I will press on.

I will live my life.

I will honor him every chance I get.

I will never forget him.

I love you, Dad. I miss you every day.

I still can’t read that without getting a little teary-eyed. A beautiful piece, Brian, and I’m compelled to put in front of as many eyes who will read it as possible. Dads or moms, sons or daughters, the fact that you’re here and able to read it means you are luckier than a lot of people on this earth.

As the years roll by, I find myself intentionally lapsing into more and more reflective moments of appreciation. It’s a delicate balance, because you can swirl downward and only focus on the sadness of your life or what you have lost. But I prefer to flip it around and appreciate all that I’ve had and have been able to enjoy.

And I am blessed.

That’s why I did the hand-off to Brian this week. He made it through something that could have easily redirected his life into the wrong direction. Today, he’s living a dream with a beautiful wife, both of them have great careers and two darling kids.

As a son, I can’t even fathom how my life would have turned out if I had lost my father. As a dad, the idea of not having been around for my kids is unthinkable.

Thanksgiving, certain holidays and anniversaries occasionally make us realize how lucky we are. May I suggest that you make it a day practice, perhaps the first thing you do once you’ve had a cup of coffee and you’re mildly coherent. Look around at all you have and the positive people in your life. Don’t waste a moment on the negative forces out there or what you don’t have.

You’re luckier than you realize. I know I am.

Tim Hunter

The History of Julio

Someone returned into my life last week and he brought along with him a wealth of memories.

Like so many great singers, he doesn’t have a last name.  Back in his hey day, he was known simply as, “Julio–the World’s Biggest Seahawks fan.”

THE MYTH

Julio was a lounge singer who performed at the White Shutters Inn in Renton and boy, did he love his Seattle Seahawks.  So much, that every Friday morning before a Seahawks game, he would drop off a cassette at the KLSY building that contained a customized Seahawks song which he had recorded and which we would feature on the Murdock, Hunter & Alice Morning Show. The basic formula for each song was to have a few lines commenting about the last game, toss in something about the upcoming game, work in a clever play on words involving the next opponent and then wrap up with several, “How ’bout dem Hawks!”  As time went on, he dragged in celebrities to help him say, “How ’bout dem Hawks” including Elvira–Mistress of the Dark, Tiny Tim, Aaron Brown, Stan Boreson, Scotty from ‘Star Trek’ and many others. Here’s one of several wrap-ups Stan Boreson did for Julio.

THE REALITY

I went through three different program directors at KLSY from the inception of Julio to his last song on the station.

Again, we’re talking 30 years ago so I’m going completely on what details I remember. My first KLSY program director, Chris Mays, turned me on to the song by Matt Bianco song, “Yeh, Yeh” and I couldn’t help but notice how much instrumental there was in that tune. So, I took out those pieces and created a music bed, searching for something I could do with it.

Even though KLSY was marketed as “Classy” and offered up Soft Rock songs to a mostly female audience, we still did sports things. For a while, we had a Don James show in the afternoon. Seriously. And eventually, Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg became a regular guest on the morning show. We got to know him so well, his wife Sue would do fill-in administrative work every now and then. Great people.

So, we had a Seahawks connection and it just seemed logical for me to create a rah-rah song supporting the team. The next thing you know, I did a couple of these “How ‘Bout Dem Hawks” songs and a character was born.

Back in my college years, I spent a couple of lost summers working at the United Airlines flight kitchen down in Los Angeles. That definitely needs to be the topic of a future blog. We’re talking scraping dishes and putting them into a conveyer belt where they would receive a high-temp wash and then be organized on the other side. I was either loading or unloading, 8 hours a day.

One of our supervisors was a guy named Julius. My guess would be that he was somewhere in his 50s, had a big round belly, receding hair and was always wearing one of those paper hats made popular in the food services industry. Picture him, walking around, making sure everything was moving along and then, when the time came, yelling out, “OK everybody, break time!” It’s that voice I have in my head when I sang as Julio.

Being a Latin music bed, it seemed only right to take that voice and modify the name Julius to Julio.

Eventually, we switched program directors and Bobby Irwin arrived on the scene. He was big on backstories. It was Bobby who found a picture of a mom with two kids, one around 5, the other in a stroller and taped it up in the control room so that every personality would remember that we were talking to “Darlene.” We should always say things that mattered to her, never saying anything that would embarrass her in front of her kids–THAT was our listener. He also recommended we humanize Julio and give him a backstory. Bobby gets full credit of coming up with the fact he was a lounge singer that performed at the White Shutters Inn in Renton. However, no matter how real we made him on the air, he would be Santa-esque–he would come and leave something, but no one ever saw him drop off that cassette in the early hours of a Friday morning.

Geeze, I think about those days and remember having to explain the concept to celebrities after an interview with them.  I hoped each would play along and say “How ’bout dem Hawks” for use in a future song. Elvira was all about it and ad-libbed her way through a couple of great lines.

There was also the time we did a week of shows in Japan and I even pulled off doing a Julio overseas by singing along in the stairs of our hotel in order to get the reverb. It wasn’t the greatest, but it kept the streak alive.

Then, after 7 years or so of doing Julio, it just felt like it was time for him to fade away and so he did. The Hawks were giving us very little to “How ’bout” about and so, he became a part of KLSY history. At least he survived until the Barry McKay (program director #3) era, which meant his tenure covered three PD’s!  It wasn’t long until, as staff changed over, there were KLSY employees when asked about Julio who would respond with, “Who?” and I’d say, “No, it’s who–LEE-o!”

During his run on KLSY, I easily recorded over 100 “How ’bout dem Hawks” songs that still exist, although on tape and that is fading fast. I’m trying to digitize them as quickly as possible along with the hundreds of other tapes I have under the house. It’s a “spare time” thing, which means it’s almost impossible.

THE RETURN

Last weekend, as we approached the Green Bay game, it just seemed like the perfect time for Julio to make a comeback.  I didn’t know if it would be a one-game thing, or if he would go along for the ride through the playoffs and eventually, to the Super Bowl. Besides, if Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin can come out of retirement, why not Julio–the World’s Biggest Seahawks Fan?

So, I got out the rhyming dictionary, started thinking about the subjects I could talk about or make fun of, and Julio was back. I even gave his return a little hype the day before on social media.

Here’s how it sounded on KRKO.

I was already thinking ahead to the next week. Had the Seahawks won, Julio was definitely going to be back for at least one more week. When I heard San Francisco was the first NFL with a comfort dog, I imagined Julio tossing a cat into the locker room. I was even giving thought to doing a video to go along with the song. However, it was all not meant to be.

The power of Julio and “How ’bout dem Hawks” was not enough to extend the Seahawks season. Still, what an amazing run for a really banged-up team that none of us were planning on seeing go this far. Where do we go from here?  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take up Marshawn on his advice and take care of my body, my mentals, my bread and my chicken and stand by until the next Seahawks season, 7 months away.

Hopefully, Julio will swing back around and rejoin the party.  In the meantime, you can still catch him at the White Shutters Inn in Renton, Wednesday through Sunday nights. He’s off Mondays and does dishes on Tuesdays.

How ’bout dem Hawks!

Tim Hunter

 

My 2020 Predictions

I should warn you. If you like surprises and don’t want to know about the major events of the coming year, please stop reading this right now.

OK, obviously, you’ve decided to continue and so get ready to hear my sure-bet predictions. Here are all the exciting things to come in the year of our Lord, 2020, as foretold by the Great Timbino:

First off, I’m going to work on coming up with a better name for a psychic version of myself other than Timbino. I suppose that’s a given.

In an effort to increase viewership for the next round of Democratic debates, the event will include a swimsuit competition.

Microsoft will develop obscene form letters that you can send to people you don’t like, called “F-mail”

By mid-February, early March at the latest, I’ll have all my Christmas cards mailed out.

The Seattle Mariners will try something new, offering a mid-June Escape Clause for their season ticket holders.

A confused Ozzie Osbourne announces that he’s completely lost his hearing in his left eye.

Bruce Willis agrees to do one more Die Hard movie. This one is called “Die Hard Like My Arteries.”

Larry King will divorce & remarry, maybe not in that order. That’s one of my go-to safe predictions.

With the decline in men committing to become priests, the Catholic Church will begin to use Robot Priests for the more remote parishes. The experiment is going well until one Robot Priest is accused to molesting several toasters and a vacuum.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the ultimate in modern laziness will be revealed with the flying remote control, so that you’ll never have to get up ever again.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden wins the Democratic nomination for president and surprises everyone by choosing Georgia Senator Thomas Thyme as his running mate. Yes, all the hopes of the Democratic Party are put in the Biden/Thyme ticket.  It was the lesser of the two evils, after Elizabeth Warren said she was considering Rebecca Peace of Alaska as her running mate.

And it completely avoided the impending disaster of Pete Buttigieg and Judge Judy, which would have resulted in the Buttigieg/Judge Judy ticket.

OK, the rest of the year is up to chance, but those are the sure-ins. Have a great 2020 and I’ll pontificate with you again next week!

Happy New Year!

Tim Hunter

 

 

Happy December 17th!

A lot changed on that day back in 2003.

It was the day I part of a live broadcast of the Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show on 92.5-KLSY. Several years before, we started a tradition of doing a Christmas show with live performers and this time, we were out-doing ourselves. Bryon the Producer had pulled out all the stops and arranged for us to have the Village Theater in Issaquah as our morning playground.

The theater was open to the public, so people could come and go throughout the morning as our three-hour spectacular unfolded. Among the performers that special morning–the Dickens Carolers.

Newspaper columnist and morning show fan, Sherry Grindeland from the Bellevue Journal-American and KING 5’s Tony Ventrella popped in for a visit.

 

KING 5’s Dennis Bounds read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Bryon the Producer did a performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with a local school.

Children’s entertainer Tim Noah performed.

There was an acapella group of Microsoft employees. I’m spacing on their name right now. (See, that’s why I’m writing this stuff down now)

They even sent in the Marines to plug the annual Toys for Tots drive.

It starts to get blurry but this photo reminded me of the last group to perform. It was a bell choir from somewhere. That’s about as good as I can do.

As they wrapped up and started putting their stuff away, we said our goodbyes on air and then the three of us headed backstage. It was there we bumped into Mr. KLSY, Marc Kaye, the General Manager of the station. He asked if our show was over and we replied yes. It was then we went from the high of that stellar and festive broadcast to the low of finding out that was our final show on KLSY. “We’re not going to renew your contracts,” was the exact wording. “No rush on cleaning out your office. You can get to that whenever. And we’ll have a little going away party to thank you for all the years you’ve been here.”

Yeah, right.

I went straight to the station, cleaned out my work area and packed up my car. I remember employees with tears in their eyes coming up to say goodbye. I hauled my stuff downstairs and left the halls of Sandusky Broadcasting for the final time. That “Thank You Party” never happened.

I’ve been let go a couple of times in my career. In radio, it happens. But each time it does, I’ve ended up in a better situation and that was once again very true in this case.

Yes, it was 16 years ago today and from the highs and the lows of that particular day, you can see why it is so etched in my brain.

We all have our December 17ths and now you know mine. It’s basically a microcosm of life–there will be highs and lows (not usually in the same day) but they’re all pieces of what shapes our individual world to create what we have now and I love my now.

All that being said, have a joyous holiday season and cherish those around you. They won’t always be there.

Oh, and Happy December 17th.

Tim Hunter

So Where Are You Going?

A friend of mine took me aside this past week and we had a great talk about life and happiness and all that stuff.

I’ve known a couple of people struggling with that very thing lately–being happy and how to get there. This one friend said that his therapist listened to him for a while the other day and then asked the poignant question, “So, where’s this all going?”

The doctor brings up a great question for all of us: Where is all this going?  Can you answer that? Do you know?  Are you heading towards a destination or settling on whatever destination you end up at?

If you have a choice, why not control where you’re going? And the big secret is–you can.

There are so many things that are completely out of our control and since none of us are deities, we just have to let some of those things go. (No, I’m not breaking out into a song from “Frozen”) Every single day of our lives we are faced with a seemingly endless parade of little decisions that all have an effect on where we end up. I like to use ‘driving a car’ as an example of our life. Are you just driving to see where you end up or do you have a destination in mind? This is where a lot of common sense can kick in, like if you were planning to drive to Mexico, you really shouldn’t head north. That’s the long way.

One of the best things you can possibly do to gain control of your life is to start each day in a positive mood. Sounds easy enough, but they did a survey recently and asked 2,000 people how many days a year they woke up in a good mood. The average response: 60 days a year. Seriously?  So, that means 305 days a year (one more in a leap year and that’s in 2020) your day starts in a negative mood.  For every 6 days of your life, 5 of them start sucking. Here’s an idea: flip that around!

That would be a great starting point. If there’s one thing my little 35 year radio career has taught me is that sometimes, you have to force yourself towards a good mood in order to get there on a more regular basis. At least, it’ll be that way in the beginning. If you train yourself that today will be a great day, you’ll make being positive your default mode. It doesn’t mean there won’t be some seriously sucky days ahead in your life, but you’ll be positive-based and can push those aside more easily. Plus, when you’re on the air, talking to thousands of people, each with their own day going on, what a great opportunity to be a positive influence in the start of their day!

Now, getting back to my car analogy, here’s a question: Maybe where you are right now was your destination?  You could be existing in the destination you imagined years ago. If so, enjoy it. Cherish it. If not, set your personal GPS to the goal you have in mind today and start driving.

I’ve continued to pursue balance most of my life, although I get drawn to excess. I just do. But making that effort to seek a balance has paid off for yours truly and I’ve seen it work for others. It’s so easy to look at others and do a snap judgement on whether they’re doing good or not. They may appear ‘successful’, but in reality, they could be struggling just like so many others. I got a reminder of that this week when I read that the lead singer of Roxette, Marie Frederiksson, had died. Maybe the name of the group doesn’t ring bells, but she was part of a band that had a string of serious hits in the 1980s–“Must have been Love”, “She’s got the Look”, etc.–so you might think, “Man, they’ve got it made.”

I hadn’t given her a thought in years. All I knew was that she was beautiful, had a fantastic voice, a series of hit songs and truly must be living the dream. In reality, she had been battling cancer for the past 17 years and finally lost that battle at age 61.

That was 3 years ago for me and I’ve got so much more to do in this life.

Remember, it’s not just about going–it’s knowing where you’re going. Got a destination in mind? Good, let me know when you get there and we’ll celebrate. In the meantime, enjoy the ride. Our trips are always shorter than we’d like them to be.

Oh, and buckle up.

Tim Hunter

For Pete’s Sake

If this keeps up, this corner of the Internet will be where you’ll find all the latest retirement news. Last week, I bid farewell to Channel 4 weather guy Steve Pool. This week, I’d like to put in my two-cents on Husky Football Coach Chris Petersen.

We’ll begin with the day I found out. I was on the phone with my business partner who was down in Arizona and we were talking about stuff coming up in the week. All of a sudden my phone displayed an alert from the Associated Press. It was hard to ignore, so I glanced at it while continuing to talk. I saw it just long enough that it had something to do with UW Coach Chris Petersen, but I didn’t see the ‘what’.  I immediately stopped talking and let him know I needed to check something out. Sure enough, Chris Petersen had resigned. It wasn’t ‘fake news’ or something from The Onion. I went to the Seattle Times and there it was online–our dream Husky coach was stepping down.

Petersen was the closest thing to a Don James type Husky coach we had seen since the Dawgfather. I began as a student at the University of Washington in the fall of 1973. That first year of going to college football games was a bit surreal, as students protested outside the stadium, demanding that the school fire the longtime coach, Jim Owens. He stepped down after that season and this meek and mild looking guy from Kent State University took over the program. In time, he would take the team to many prominent bowl games, including several Rose Bowl games and guide us to a National Championship.

In time, my career took me to KOMO Radio, “Your Husky Station”, which gave me multiple occasions to talk with the coach. He would come into the studio and I would be awe-struck. There were times when I helped his wife record radio commercials for QFC. In my early days at KLSY, we had a Don James show, believe it or not. And for one of the Dawgs’ Rose Bowl appearances, my KLSY broadcast partner Bruce Murdock and I ordered breakfast to be delivered to his hotel room and he called us up to say thanks.

Yet, for all those times I was with the coach, I never got a picture with him. There was one spring game that I went to when I saw him in the stands and we chatted, but I didn’t want to bug him for a picture. After thinking about it, I went back, but he was gone. He passed away shortly after that.

Coach James resigned after the team was gonged with sanctions for things the boosters were caught doing. He could have stayed, but the team would have been bowl ineligible for years to come and he knew that his time was done. The years that followed were dismal. Losing seasons, including an 0-12 debacle, and a series of expensive but short-term coaches that left the program wallowing in the mud for longer than we deserved.

Then, when Steve Sarkisian wandered off to U.S.C. (and both sides got what they deserved) we were lucky enough to talk Chris Petersen to taking over the program. He had performed miracles at Boise State and I remember seeing him on TV when he was hired, talking about this gig being his dream job. I thought for sure we’d have him for decades.

Thanks to an event called, “Raise the Woof” that the football program puts on every year, fans can pay $75 to hang with the entire team, the coaches, etc. and get a chance to actually talk with the athletes and their leaders. One of the years we went, my wife and I each won a Chris Petersen bobble-head. She had hers autographed. I thought at the time, “No, that’s silly.” Now, I have another regret involving a Husky head football coach.

The reasons Chris Petersen is leaving the program have not yet been revealed, other than he feels he’s done with head coaching. It’s something he’s been doing for 33 years. He says he’s a Husky for life and, after a recharge, plans to come back to the U.W. and work with the other athletic programs to help them achieve as much success as possible.

He was here only six years, but they were crucial years. Petersen righted the ship and brought the program back to Don James’ standards. He even kicked one guy off the team last year because he wouldn’t listen. This guy thought he was better than the team. He now plays in the NFL, but I believe after being kicked off the team, he even came back later that year, apologized and made amends with the coach.

The loss of Chris Petersen is hard and what makes it harder to accept is not knowing the ‘why’. But I’m excited about the future, about the foundation that Chris Petersen built and is now handing off to another brilliant football mind, Jimmy Lake. There are greater days ahead.

But for now, for the second week in a row, I’m saying goodbye to someone I hugely admire. Should I ever have the chance to speak to Coach Petersen again, I’ll only have two words to say: “Thank you.”

Tim Hunter

P.S. Go Dawgs!

Saying Goodbye To The Pool Guy

One of the kindest, nicest, most sincere people ever to make a career out of broadcasting, Steve Pool, has retired. There have been specials and interviews and articles written this past week and from all that, you would think Mother Teresa had been at KOMO-TV all these years. Well, I never knew Mother Teresa, but I did get to know Steve and all this praise is well-deserved. Frankly, everybody got to know Steve.

Because the guy that was doing the weather forecasts all those years with modest confidence was exactly who you would have met if you bumped into him on the street.  How long have I known Steve?

I have to drag you back to the early 1980’s, when I was hired to come over the mountains from my radio life in Yakima and become Larry Nelson’s producer on KOMO radio. That was back in the days when KOMO radio and TV blurred together, although when you work the 4am-noon shift, you would miss a lot of those TV folks who didn’t wander in until the afternoon because they would be there until almost midnight.

Every morning on the Larry Nelson morning show, Steve’s predecessor, Ray Ramsey, would check in and do the forecast from his home studio. The two of them created some legendary radio and had so much fun, it would drive management upstairs crazy.  They’d get gonged for having too much fun, and then slowly work the silliness back in. Ray was a quick-witted silver fox, who had been known as ‘Hay Head Ray’ back in his Spokane radio days. Somehow, he had made the transition from radio to television and often wore extremely loud plaid sports coats to work which I’m sure had viewers adjusting the color on their TV sets.

In time, management became less fond of Ray and as you’ve seen in local news around here in 2019, it was time to move on to the next generation. Enter Steve Pool. He wasn’t Ray and I’ll be honest, at first I was a bit resentful. But there was no way I could watch Steve’s performance and hold him accountable. He simply inherited the position. If it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else. And Steve was good.

In time, I found myself over at KLSY and Steve Pool was our “TV weather guy”.  That relationship lasted several years, enough that we could arrange Steve “the Husky” Pool playing against Kathi “The Coug” Goertzen for several years. Each edition was a blast. They replicated my relationship with several really good Coug friends where we’d flip each other flack, but in the end, it was just a game. The really drunk fans from each side take it way too seriously.

I even had the fortune of going down to Los Angeles once to represent Seattle radio as part of a charity “Family Feud”, with host Ray Combs emceeing a matchup between Seattle radio folks and the KOMO-TV news team.

 

Truth is, Steve and I were never best friends. But he was a solid friend. The kind, when you saw them after several years, it was like time had never passed. I’ve noticed that about me. I don’t really have any good buddies or friends, aside from my wife. Probably, KRKO’s “Maury the Movie Guy” would come close, but we only see each other once a week and we spend most of our time together doing a podcast. But when you’re one of my friends, there is no time involved. I could see you a week ago or five years ago, but the next time we connect, we just pick up where we left off. And if that is the definition of a friend, Steve Pool definitely falls into that category.

He’s a Facebook friend (as probably most of you reading this are) but I didn’t want to play that to get an interview with him before he retired. I did reach out to Dan Lewis last week–we connected over the years and after he retired–but I just wanted to chat with Steve if only he was up for it. So, I went through the proper channels and emailed the KOMO press relations office, just as anyone else would seeking an interview.

Monday morning, my phone rang and, when I didn’t recognize the number, I just let it go to voicemail. Once it had reached that mark, I listened. It was Steve, saying, “Yes, let’s do this thing.”  I called him back and this is the interview I had with him, which I chopped into bits for my KRKO morning show. (Hey, it’s a morning music show–3 minutes max and I have to be done)  However, if you’d like to hear our entire conversation, it’s right here.

It’s like when Frederick & Nelson closed, or Pay ‘n Pak went away, or when Stan Boreson left us, another chunk of the Seattle we all knew over the past 40 years faded away just a little bit more. Sure, we could be all sad about it, but I choose to remember all those great times, including ones I didn’t even bring up in this little roundup of memories. A really good guy just beat cancer, which reminded him of just how precious life is, and he decided to make every day count.

Which is a reminder that we should all be doing that, whether we’re retired or not.

Steve Pool, you’ve enjoyed a career well-lived. Now, let’s focus on that real-life thing.

Congratulations on the promotion.

Tim Hunter