It’s That Week Again

Over the years, traditions come and go. Some stick, others you do for a couple of years and then they just don’t seem as important anymore.

A relatively new one for me is “Midsummer.” Oh, I’ve long known that summer officially arrives that third week in June and that people feel the need to celebrate it. In the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, it usually means a Summer Solstice parade, complete with naked bicycle riders. Yeah, it’s kind of our statement to Portland that we can be weird, too.

Since becoming involved with the Norwegian community when I met my wife, it’s big deal in the Scandinavian world to celebrate MidSummer. (oh, there are a million ways to spell that. I’m just going with the easy one) There are those who dance around a pole and celebrate. But I’m told that’s more Swedish than Norwegian.

In fact, we’ll be heading north to Lake McMurray and Norway Park on Saturday, where the residents will be celebrating down in the waterfront park. However, the only pole I’ll have anything to do with will be for some quick fishing.

Oh, and a quick side note–avoid the movie, “Midsommar.” Very, very disturbing. And they dance around a pole.

So here comes summer and we’re ready to celebrate–but wait—what about dad?

Oh, sure, mom gets her own weekend in May (we celebrate her first) and things shut down. You wouldn’t dare plan anything for Mom’s Day weekend unless it involved mom. Heck, back when Little League used to play (and I’m sure it will return again some day), games on Mother’s Day Sunday were always canceled. The day had to be all about mom.
But speaking for absolutely no fathers out there other than myself, I don’t mind sharing the weekend. I love summer as much as the next person and I’m anxious for its arrival. To me, this coming weekend isn’t about me being a dad–which I am, and an extremely proud one–but it’s about my dad, who left us six years ago.

I really need to write down all the dad stories circling around in my head when I think of that man. They’re like little treasures stuffed into a scrapbook of events that help me see those moments as if they were yesterday.


As I recently said at the memorial for my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, I can hear the sound of my dad’s voice when I think of certain phrases, like “What in the Sam HIll?”, or the 4th of July classic whenever we bought fireworks, “I don’t know why we don’t just light a $20 bill on fire.” Yep, there he is.

Dad was dad. A kid from Scotland who came to the U.S. when he was 3 years old and then was raised in West Virginia. Like everyone else, there were great moments and setbacks during his life. He survived World War II, and shortly after his return, fate would bring him to California. That’s where he landed a job with United Airlines for 37 years and met my mom, who had herself left South Dakota to seek a new life.

Flipping through that mental scrapbook of dad, I can see him in his United Airlines overalls he’d wear at work. Whenever he’d work on the cars at home, he had some United overalls for those occasions. When were young, he’d bring home some of those fake pilot badges they used to hand out to kids when they flew.  He put ketchup on his eggs. There was his collection of suits he’d always wear to church on Sunday mornings. He helped me with my Pinewood Derby when I was in Cub Scouts, was a coach, then manager of my Little League teams. One of his favorite stories to tell about those days was–I was at bat, bases loaded and I managed to find a pitch to hit over the center field fence. Yes, I had hit a grand slam home run, the only home run of my Little League career and….dad had missed it. He was trying to control some of the rowdier kids in the team dugout and by the time he looked up, I was circling the bases.

I still have that ball.

I spend a good 10-12 hours a day at my keyboard every day doing a variety of things to earn a living. Just off to my right, the little plastic bookmark they made up for his funeral is taped to the wall. it features a picture of dad, smiling away and reminding me of just how lucky I was.

It’s funny. When I judge myself on what kind of a father I was, I tend to give myself a solid “B”. It was an important role to me and I tried to be there for my kids as much as I could. I woke up at 2am to work radio until noon, come home, take a nap and then spent most of their non-school hours until bedtime together. I coached or assisted with their soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams until their high school years. I probably shaved a few years off my life with my serious lack of sleep, but I just didn’t want to miss a thing.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with them. Yet, for some reason, I am haunted by a couple of times I left them down, which of course, lowered my grade to a B.

What was my takeaway from all those years of fatherhood? My biggest advice to both moms and dads has always been–no matter how exhausted you are, cherish these years, because it seriously does not take long for them to become a distant memory.

So, celebrate your Midsummer. But as my son and my step-son both celebrate their first Father’s Day as dads, I have to have more of an emphasis on the dads. I also have to thank my father for showing me the secret to being a good dad: just be there. You’ll do the right thing most of the time, you’ll make mistakes, but just being present and in their lives will make all the difference in the world on how those kids turn out.

Plus, you’ll be giving them a mental scrapbook of their own packed with nuggets for them to enjoy the rest of their lives.

Thanks, Dad!

Tim Hunter

Turning The Corner

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel it.

Funny, the day after my latest virtual event–an auction for the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle–I’m looking at what’s going on in the world around me and it feels like we are starting to be able to breathe again.

Yeah, that was my third and hopefully last virtual auction. It should have been so much easier, but the technology is just not there yet. Oh, I put together a great Powerpoint presentation with embedded video that should have been, “click this, then click that.” But in testing the presentation in the hours before the auction, I noticed that the videos we were planning to show had distortion and were crackling when viewed by other computers. It pretty much would be unlistenable when you’re hoping people will listen and bid and stuff like that.

During my hours of pre-event panicking, I discovered that if I played the files outside of Powerpoint, everything played perfectly. So, that meant, during the auction when I’m trying to focus on the bidding and encourage people to do more, it was a festival of clunky with me having to go from me on camera, to a Powerpoint slide, then to a video, back to me, etc. In the grand scheme of things, it was like most Zoom events that we experience on a daily basis, but just below my standards. It could have been so much better, but the bottom line was–it actually happened.

We are supposedly a few weeks away from dropping all the restrictions, as long as the numbers keep going the way they’ve been going. I have a feeling that masks are going to be around for a while longer and may have just earned their way into our day-to-day living. Not having the flu or a cold for a year and a half by wearing a mask seems like a small price to pay. As Glinda the Good Witch pointed out, “You’ve had the power all along.” All we needed to do was just practice good hygiene and wash our hands. Go figure.

This weekend, Everett to the north is hosting a fun festival called Sorticulture, with bands and speakers and booths and…yes, all the makings of a real event. The Seattle Sounders have announced that they’ll soon go back to full stadiums soon. However, if you’re still a bit uncomfortable going to a stadium full of people, I’d recommend limiting yourself to Seattle Mariner games.

I couldn’t resist.

We still wear our masks when we go to the store, but more and more lately, when we get around fellow vaccinees (if that is a word), we just have fun.

Yes, the pandemic sucked. We lost a lot more people than we should have, due to our Keystone Cops approach and a divided country. It’s going to be interesting to see how history judges our reaction and how we handled it all. Then again, I wonder if it was the old classic “history repeats self” because if you look back at the Flu Pandemic of 1918, there are a lot of similar stories. Basically, a plague that terrorized the world, and when people got tired of having to deal with it, a second wave was born.

For those of you keeping score at home, they estimate that 100-million people around the world died from the Spanish flu a century ago. Right now, a conservative death toll of COVID-19 victims is just over 3-million–in the world!

When you think of how science rallied and came up with a vaccine in months, I have a feeling that a few Nobel Prizes have already been spoken for.

I walk outside to the mailbox and neighbors are out talking to neighbors without masks. People are traveling again. Plans are being made. President Reagan coined the phrase, “It’s morning in America” and that’s exactly how I feel.

COVID robbed us of a lot. Favorite restaurants closed. Companies disappeared. We couldn’t get together with loved ones and relatives for over a year. Families became divided and masks, political.

Oh, precautions still need to be taken. I’m not feeling completely out of the woods, yet. But sitting at the Skal Beer Hall in Ballard last Friday night, watching people walk by, living life again–it just felt so good. I hope I can hang on to this level of appreciation as long as possible.

When a parking spot opened up across the street, it was like it was meant to be

We’ve still got a ways to go, but we are definitely turning the corner.

And it feels good.

Tim Hunter

Never Too Late To Remember

I spent part of this past Memorial Day over at the Evergreen Washelli cemetery near our home, where several of my wife’s relatives share a final resting place. It’s also where we will set up camp one day.

Some people aren’t big on cemeteries. My side of the family has always had an attraction to them, and probably spends more time putting flowers on the markers of family members than most people. Heck, my sister Debbie and I even dragged my wife Victoria along some years ago, when we went Celebrity Tombstone hunting. If you ever want to give it a try, head to the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Southern California. It’s a goldmine of famous folks.

                    

Meanwhile, back at Memorial Day. After flowering up the graves of my wife’s relatives, we took a quick drive across Highway 99 to the other side of Evergreen Washelli, which includes a military section of those we’ve lost serving their country. Every year, volunteers put 5,000 flags out next to the headstones of those fallen warriors and it’s hard to get emotional in thinking about how sad it was these young lives were ended way too soon.

Being lucky enough to live to the ripe old age of 65 (66 in September, if you want to start your shopping), I stood there staring at a section of soldiers who had died in the late 1960s. Obviously, they were all casualties of the Viet Nam war and I was thinking, “By the grace of God, that could have been me.” I was young enough to be available for a military draft just one year, shortly before they ended the practice of enlisting people, whether they liked it or not.

That year I was targeted, my draft number was down in the 200’s, which meant I probably wouldn’t have been picked.


Now, not serving #233

I could have been in the under-150s and while the Viet Nam war was winding down, what if???

There are a lot of young men and women out there who never realized their childhood dreams; never heard the cry of their newborn child or watched a part of them growing up and heading out into the world. Standing there, you couldn’t help but feel sadness for all those lives lost, while at the same time, being incredibly grateful for all of them laying down their lives so that we could enjoy the place we call home and our way of life.

Maybe you were out basking in a rare sunny Northwest weekend, out on a boat, or getting together with friends and family you haven’t hung out with for a long time–and, without masks. Totally understandable.

But there’s a reason we have a Memorial Day. It’s a gentle reminder for all of us to realize what we’ve got, how lucky we truly are, and acknowledging those who helped make it possible. If you didn’t have a chance to reflect on Monday, do it today. Or even, just take a quick mental escape to express your appreciation for all you’ve got.

Because, seriously, it’s never too late.

Tim Hunter

HP IS DEAD TO ME

Of course, I’m referring to Hewlett Packard. A couple of guys down in Palo Alto, California, who started a company in a garage and landed a contract with Disney to help in putting together the animation classic, “Fantasia.”

You probably know them best by the HP printer that lives in your home.

I had become pretty much an HP loyalist. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a non-HP printer. Oh, wait, yes I can. It was last week, when I fired my current HP printer because of their Instant Ink program. Keep reading, because if I can help you avoid this pyramid scheme, you’ll thank me later.

So, over a year ago, I subscribed to their “Instant Ink” program. The way it works, if you need to print a certain amount of pages a month, they’ll remotely keep track of how many you print. If you go over, it’s a nominal fee. The benefit is that you don’t have to keep running to the store to buy new ink cartridges. For a while, with my usual print load, it worked fine.

Then the shirt-storm of 2020 rolled around and I had two other people in the house using the printer and the amount of printing took a serious leap. So, I bumped up the program from something like $6 a month to $12.  So, on the high side, that would be $144 for a year’s worth of print cartridges. One black ink cartridge clocks in at $50 if you buy it in the store, so it made sense to keep it going.

But then, one day, when I really needed to be able to print something, my black ink ran out. I looked in my office cupboard and there was every color in the printer rainbow except black. HP had not sent me one, even though they were monitoring my use. I contacted them via chat, I believe, and they said I would have one IN A WEEK!

That did me no good, so I went out and bought a $50 replacement for the black. (which I didn’t have time to do, but I made time)

A while later, that black ink cartridge ran out and I had yet to receive a replacement for the first black cartridge that ran out. OK, this isn’t working, so I went online and canceled my participation in the HP Instant Ink program.

I received an email that confirmed my withdrawal from the program, but with a nice little surprise. I’m sure it was in the fine print somewhere when I first signed up. But because I’m leaving the Instant Ink program, all the HP cartridges I had standing by in assorted colors WOULD NOT WORK WITH MY HP PRINTER because I had withdrawn from the program. If I remember correctly, they wanted me to send them back.

Well, maybe I was reacting emotionally and maybe this wasn’t such a bad deal after all. So I restarted my subscription to Instant Ink, which lasted several weeks until the latest black ink cartridge I had purchased at the store ran out of ink.

This time, I tried to reach someone at HP. Someone, anyone. I called a number and made contact with someone I could barely understand who informed me after I was on the phone with him for five minutes and explained my story that there was nothing he could do to help. I was told I had to call another number. I was done.

Wanting to take a sledge hammer to the printer, I opted instead to head over to an Office Depot and shop around for a new non-HP printer. Something I learned there—they have printers on display, but that only lets you know what they look like so you can order one. Due to so many people working from home these days, there’s a printer shortage going on.

But now there’s a glut of hand sanitizer. Funny how life works that way.

In any case, I decided to buy one final black ink cartridge from HP. That will be the last of my money they will get. It was the big one, so that should last long enough until my new, shiny Brother printer arrives this week. 

I’ll continue to use the HP printer until the black ink runs out, and then it has a therapeutic date with a sledge hammer.

FYI, in researching which printer to buy, of course, I went to Consumer Reports. On their list of recommended All-in-One Printers, the top four are Brother. Keep going down the list, and it’s back and forth between Brother and Canon. The first HP printer doesn’t show up until slot #14.

I’m thinking that Consumer Reports must have been an HP Instant Ink subscriber.

Now I have to go back to Consumer Reports and go over their list of recommended sledge hammers.

HP, you’re dead to me.

Tim Hunter

PS–The day after writing this blog, my Instant Ink subscription expired. They charged me a final FU $17 and then, disabled the printer from printing. As mentioned above, all of the Instant Ink cartridges were disabled. Now, remember, I had purchased (over $50 worth of Black Ink) a non-Instant Ink cartridge….but now my printer won’t even print with that. The mob boss at HP has shut me down. You may not be able to tell, but this pisses me off even more.

HP is now irrelevant.

PSPS–So, I just got off with chat support where I was told that in order to use my printer again, I will have to buy non-Instant Ink color cartridges for the $50 black & white one to work.

And I was told, “Yes, you do.”

Fortunately, I was able to find some non-HP color cartridges so they have seen the last of my money.

Long live Brother.

I Survived

Last year, I helped the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce put together a virtual Julebord, a Norwegian Christmas dinner that was broadcast on their YouTube channel. Normally, a posh gathering at the Seattle Golf Club, but being deep in the throws of COVID, I assembled this virtual replica of their event and it turned out really nice.

Nice enough, that when Seattle’s 17th of May Committee saw itself facing the same dilemma for this year’s “Syttende Mai” celebration, they contacted me to replicate the magic for them.

After all, in 2020, this COVID thing started slow and hit hard quickly, catching a lot of people off guard. Last year’s Syttende Mai events were just flat canceled. Although, there was a group of us who put together an unofficial car parade, just to keep the city’s streak a live. After all, Seattle has been celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day since 1889. Here’s a feature I put together out of that unofficial parade.

But that’s only the parade part of the celebration. The day traditionally begins with a fancy luncheon at the National Nordic Museum and that’s what I was contracted to recreate virtually for the 17th of May, 2021. Here’s this year’s program, for your viewing pleasure.

Hundreds of people from around the world tuned in, from relatives in Norway, to family and friends throughout the United States–Florida, Minnesota, Anchorage among the viewers. While it was first broadcast live at 11:30am on Monday, you’re now able to watch the full broadcast, or just the program or the After Party on their YouTube channel. There have been over 1,000 combined views of the event so far. For the record, Seattle’s 17th of May celebration is the largest outside of Norway.

I also put together this collection of music & memories, which played before and after the main program. You may see some familiar faces in here.

I feel like the December production was my Master’s course to be able to take on something as big as the virtual Syttende Mai. It gave me all the healthy paranoia to out-think what could possibly go wrong, because there’s always that one thing. Actually, there were several along the way. I have basically lived this project for the past couple of months and when 11:30 am rolled around this past Monday, May 17th, and the darn thing actually began broadcasting like it was supposed to, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I’m extremely proud of how it turned out, grateful to the 17th of May Committee for trusting me to make it all look good, and thankful for all the accolades that came in during and after the broadcast.

The bottom line–I survived!

Hipp, Hipp, Hurra for Syttende Mai.

Tim Hunter

What vaccinated people do on the 17th of May

It’s A Small World After All

   

Anyone who has chatted with me knows I love this group. Some associates I’ve met over the years have become life-long friends. I have not been shy about sharing that this group of 300+ Northshore business owners is my favorite of all the assorted organizations to which I belong. No politics or cliques, just down-to-earth people, all trying to help each other out in this crazy world we’ve found ourselves in.

It was because of my membership that I found myself invited to a sneak peek at the new The Lodge at St. Edward Park last Thursday night. What a treat! We got to see the result of a four year struggle to turn an abandoned seminary into a posh hotel. A serious accomplishment and a blessing for the region, in particular, the city of Kenmore.

While we explored the facilities last Thursday night and enjoyed a drink in the downstairs bar where the seminar students used to get their haircuts, the consultant for KRKO Radio (my current radio employer) was checking in for the night with his wife. Yes, they were among the first to be able to spend the night in this new treasure and we would have had a drink together, if only one of us knew the other was there.

My wife and I were downstairs on Thursday night, while Terry Patrick and his wife were checking in upstairs. How did we find out about this near collision?

While I was there, I recorded an interview with the general manager and broadcast it on my KRKO morning show the following morning. Terry never heard it, as he was enjoying a night away. Then his phone rang.

It was due to a phone call from his sister in Michigan, asking if the place they were staying was the same one she just heard about on the radio. His sister (just like you) can stream the show online and when he said, “Oh, I don’t think so,” she replied, “Well, it’s a former seminary in Kenmore, etc.”

So Terry called me to ask if I had done anything about The Lodge at St. Edward Park and the coincidence was solved.

From Kenmore, to Michigan, and back to Kenmore again–a group of people who didn’t even know the other was there, were all sharing the same experience.

Wait–how did Terry and his wife end up grabbing a room the night before the hotel’s grand opening? Apparently, he lives across the street from the developer. A portrait of the guy and his wife appear in the hotel lobby. Yeah, that’s who those people are

What are the friggin’ odds?

Even if you don’t spend the night, The Lodge at St. Edward Park is a treat to experience, with QR codes around the facility to explain the historical significance of all the nooks and crannies there. Put it on your list.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be in the bar downstairs when you check in.

Tim Hunter

Another Reminder Of the Lucky Life I’ve Lived

I’m sure everyone could do this to a degree. Look back at your life, in sections–the growing up days, my high school days, my college days and so on. The sections keep coming and as you grow older, you compartmentalize certain stretches of your life such that when you open them up again after a while, you get a rush of dusty memories.

That happened this morning when I saw the news about the passing of KOMO News Anchor Bill Brubaker. He was part of the cool kids down the hall in TV when I first arrived at KOMO Radio in the early 1980s to be Larry Nelson’s producer.

Look at those guys. Brubaker, Ray Ramsey the weather guy and sports guru Bruce King. They were the stars of 1980 TV news.

And to think, I found my way into the KOMO Broadcasting family thanks to being a goofball.

While working at KMWX radio in Yakima one day, KOMO news anchor Bob Gillespie heard me do a bit on the air with the Job Lady. Oh, yeah, someone from Washington State Employment Security would be allowed to call up the station and record a 1-minute dry-as-toast read of a few job openings. One of the most boring things ever broadcast–on a daily basis!

That day when Bob was listening, I apparently introduced the Job Lady using the Tonight Show theme as if I was introducing Johnny Carson. It cracked him up. So when he returned to Seattle and heard that Larry Nelson was on the lookout for a producer, he gave him my name. Larry called with that deep booming voice, I agreed to come over for an interview even though I was weeks away from getting married, I accepted the job, got married, went on a honeymoon, came home, moved to Seattle and started working at KOMO, AM-1000. All in a period of about four weeks.

In the KOMO building, radio and TV were at opposite ends of the building, so you didn’t really see each other very much, except with the occasional all-company meetings or the annual company picnics at Vasa Park in Redmond.

As an employee of the radio side, I felt obligated to watch KOMO TV Evening News, back when people did that at the end of their work days. Those were the days of Ruth Walsh, Bob Throndsen, Harry Sloan and other names unfamiliar to today’s TV audiences. Some did double duty, like KOMO Radio’s Brian Johnson, who did a slow transition from radio to TV news. And, of course, the crazy Ray Ramsey, who added so much to KOMO Radio mornings after doing the 11 o’clock news on TV the night before. They had a special hookup at his house so all Ray had to do was crawl out of bed and in front of a microphone and magic would happen.

I’ve got to share at least one of those breaks. Here’s a fun little time capsule to enjoy. Remember, this was on ultra-conservative-Ray-Conniff-has-too-much-of-an-edge KOMO radio.

I’ll be forever grateful that I got to know Ray. We had a mutual appreciation of each other’s comedy skills.

KOMO Radio was a long-time player in Seattle radio history, going back to the days when all the big entertainers were on radio. Here’s a picture of me along with Rip Taylor, standing in front of that famous mural of all the great radio stars of the past. My office was directly behind this wall.

I was only at KOMO radio four and half years before heading across the lake to KLSY. But during those years, I got to know a lot of people that I stayed in touch with over the years. Gina Tuttle, Mike Hamilton, Bill Swartz, Keith Shipman and others, we all still stay in touch, even if it’s just a quick Facebook howdy.

In my years after leaving KOMO, some of those TV friends remained a presence in my life. For quite a few years at KLSY, our Apple Cup tradition was to have Steve Pool and Kathi Goertzen on the air to play our “Battle of the Sexes”, with Steve representing Huskies and Kathi, of course, the die-hard Coug. Those were a lot of fun.

I even got to take part in a Radio-versus-TV local production of the game show, “Family Feud”, with some of brothers and sisters in radio and some of my old KOMO-TV friends. Here’s one of the episodes, if you’d like to walk down memory lane.

Swartz later provided some impersonations for various bits we did over the years at KLSY, as our gardening expert Frisco (in Seattle, there’s a gardening TV personality whose name was Cisco Morris). I can’t resist sneaking in one of those breaks, where Bill imitated both Frisco and Mariners broadcast Ron Fairly.

Hear it here.

I really do have so many other stories to tell about those days. Special tales about some very extraordinary people I had the good fortune to meet during my crazy career. I think what amazes me the most about the KOMO stories is how much were condensed into my 4.5 years in the building. Then again, the connection never really went away.

Just a few of the stories that come to mind when I reflect on the KOMO section of my life.

Good times. Thank you.

Tim Hunter

 

The Tradition Continues

This past Saturday was Washington State’s “Opening Day” of fishing season.

Since meeting my wife back in 2007, this became a high holy weekend. Heading up to their family cabin on Opening Day Eve, getting up early on Saturday and then zipping down to Lake McMurray with my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, to catch our limit. We lost Ernie a couple of months ago and so this marked the first time I went down to that lake by myself. However, I’m pretty sure he was with me.

Some years, we borrowed a neighbor’s boat and would troll up and down that serene lake, hoping to catch a couple of rainbow trout, which we usually did. In later years, we lost access to the boat and with Ernie, it just seemed smarter to not go out on the water and fish from the dock.

Part of the annual tradition included a couple of hours of fishing and then coming back in where a “Fishermen’s Breakfast” awaited us in a giant gazebo. The menu included an egg casserole, some pancakes, hot coffee and a roaring fire and, to be honest, I think Ernie looked more forward to the breakfast than the fishing.

Ernie, back in his fishing days.

I came from a fishing family. (yes, the irony of being named Hunter has not been lost) Note, I said fishing family, not catching family.

While I didn’t spend my entire childhood getting skunked, “Hunter luck” seemed to haunt us quite a bit. But all it takes is to have that first positive experience of catching a fish when you’re a kid and it tends to stick with you.

My fishing addiction began back when I was around five-years-old and we went back to South Dakota to visit relatives. My Uncle James, my dad and yours truly made the drive over to the Missouri River and we went out on James’ boat. How fun! But this is where I fell in love with fishing. They gave me some kind of kiddie rod & reel and we were fishing for Northern Pike or Walleye, which ever one would bite. I remember I got a strike and was really struggling, but my Uncle James told my dad, “Let him bring it in!” Eventually, I did and it ended up being the biggest fish caught that day.

Then I had a chance to go up to Big Bear Lake to my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Colleen’s cabin with my cousin Charlie, where I would get to fish again!  I remember being out on the boat, where I got really hungry, so I ate some salmon eggs to see what they tasted like. My uncle thought it was hilarious. We didn’t catch anything that I remember, but that could have been because of having three Hunters in one boat.

Other times on those family vacations to South Dakota, we’d wake up on a Sunday, go to church, come home and pack a picnic and then head to one of their nearby lakes to fish for the afternoon. We have some great home movies of one of those outings, with my Grandma standing there, drinking a beer. Aw, the simple life.

Grandpa Brandner showing us how!

Every family vacation usually included some fishing. When I became a dad, I tried to introduce fishing to my two kids. When my son hit high school, I even went on a couple of salmon fishing trips with him. What a blast!

So, between my family fishing history and the tradition my father-in-law enjoyed, I just had to be out there this past Saturday morning. Did it rain the whole time? Yes. Did I catch anything? No. Did I even get any nibbles? Two.

But as I sat there on the dock all by myself, I saw fish being caught by all the folks out on the lake. Phrases like “Oh, wow!”, “Look at the size of that one!” and “That’s a keeper!” filled the air. While there wasn’t much activity at my end, it was still great to see so many families out on the water, trying to keep their own fishing tradition going.

After around two hours of being cold and wet, I started to wonder, “Maybe this is good enough. I at least came out. If it’s time for me to give up and head back to the cabin for a hot shower and coffee, give me a sign!”

Just then an osprey flew by literally right in front of me, carrying a fish.

Even the birds out fished me. Must have been a flare up of that Hunter luck.

But no matter. The tradition continued. Another Opening Day in the books.

Trying to get the grandkids hooked

Can’t wait for next year.

Tim Hunter

Prime Time Scam

I hate scamsters.

On a quick side bar, I’m hoping that one day, they’ll invent a device that allows you to send a shock to a caller at the other end when one comes in from a telemarketer.

OK, back to my main rant.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Amazon. Just look at my ordering history and you can see that I should be getting a Christmas card every year from Jeff Bezos.

So, while recently reviewing my credit card charges, I noticed this particular charge:

 

Prime video, huh? Well, that must be an Amazon charge I don’t remember. But there’s something you need to know about me: I rarely buy videos from Amazon. As a subscriber to Starz, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu and Prime, plus all the assorted channels from my Comcast subscription, why in the heck would I want to buy one more thing? I mean, if I ain’t got it on all my sources, I just don’t need to watch it.

So, I investigated.

This charge indicated I bought something from Amazon Prime and watched it on the previous Monday. I never watched anything on Monday. So I searched the phone number given online, and look what I found:

So a bunch of scum bags in India have quite a system. I alerted my credit card company and they immediately put a stop to any payments to this company (there were two) but then, of course, had to shut down my #1 credit card to which almost all of my bills are attached. As I continued to look online, it could have been worse.

So warn your family and friends. Encourage them to review their credit card bills very carefully, because a fake Amazon just might be shaving a little off the top every month.

I should have instantly known that they weren’t really Amazon. I mean, come on–they’re already getting most of my money.

Let’s be careful out there!

Tim Hunter

 

Preserving Some Seattle Radio History

This past week, radio folks who spent part of their careers with Seattle’s “The Mountain” had a reunion on Zoom and shared it with the world. It was pretty cool and makes me think we should be doing one of those with the KLSY staff while most of us are still around.

The program director that hired me at KLSY, Chris Mays, posted a nice history of The Mountain on Facebook and all that she accomplished there. That reminded me that its her story that  connected two amazing Seattle radio stations. So, I thought I would share her post and then chase it with a few more nuggets about my radio experience.

103.7 The Mountain celebrated our 30th birthday Saturday. It was a very special station, which I created. One of the questions listeners asked was about the history. This is a bit long, but it tells the tale!  A lot of people have asked me how I came to create The Mountain. The true story reads like a fairytale! I’ll try to save the details for my book; even so, it’s bit of a long journey. Once upon a time, there was a teenager growing up in the 60’s in Columbus, Ohio. It was the Vietnam and Richard Nixon era. Her parents were liberal and her brothers were draft age. She was very into music. From Carol King’s Tapestry to Grand Funk. FM radio was developing into a freeform rock. She read Rolling Stone and dreamed of moving to the West Coast to work in radio, preferably the legendary KSAN, San Francisco. She graduated from high school in 1970, the spring of Kent State, 2 hours away. Off I went to college to pursue a degree in communications. My stated career goal on graduation was to be a Program Director of a Progressive Rock Station in a major market, (preferably on the West Coast). After graduation I looked at a map of the West Coast and picked Eugene, Oregon. It was between Seattle and San Francisco, and had a college. I moved there, with everything I owned in the back of a pickup truck. I went to graduate school at the University of Oregon until I got a radio job. First was a cool little station, KFMY, then the bigger rock station KZEL. It was a freeform progressive rock station with 50,000 albums. Everyone played what they wanted. I was on the air at night as Chris Kovarik. It was rock and roll heaven! There was this guy who was a Yale graduate, spending his summer fighting forest fires in Bend. He would sit in the forests up in those lookouts, and listen to KZEL. One day he applied for a job. His name was Peyton Mays! He got hired. Ultimately, I became the Program Director and he was the Music Director. We fell in love. We both wanted to move to a larger market. I finally got my interview at KSAN, San Francisco and interviewed at KZAM in Seattle for a position as Promotion Director. I got the job and moved to Seattle. KZAM was in a struggle to retain the format and by the time I joined the staff, they had a consultant and the format was pretty tight. Within a month of my arrival, the guy who hired me (Paul Sullivan) was fired, then the General Manager. I applied for the Program Director job and got it! I worked with Marion Seymour, Kerry Lowen, Matt Reidy, and a ton of other talented people. Meanwhile, Peyton had moved to Seattle and was programming KEZX, a ‘beautiful music’ station. We had worked with his boss in Eugene. David Littrell went from KEZX to ultimately be the guy who booked the zoo, Marymoor Park and Chateau Ste. Michelle shows. This was 1981, a decade before the Mountain. So, in 1983, the owners of KZAM decided to change the format to KLSY, ‘classy’, a soft pop station targeted to women. They invited me to stay. On July 10, 1983, KZAM signed off with The Beatles ‘Golden Slumbers’. KLSY signed on with Eddie Rabbit’s Driving My Life Away. The audience was furious. I went home and cried. Next up, Peyton Mays changes the format at KEZX to a cool softer rock format with David Littrell. I hired Bruce Murdock, Tim Hunter and Delilah Rene, among others, and the station was very successful. It was the first time I had ever had a budget that included marketing, personalities and BIG promotions. I learned a lot about real radio basics from George Johns and Dana Horner. Prior to that, it had all been about the music for me. The final chapter. I left KLSY in February 1990 and was working for Broadcast Programming when KEZX changed their format back to ‘easy listening/beautiful music’. Now there were TWO of these formats. Entercom brought a man in from Chicago to do something with KBRD. G Michael Donovan interviewed me and asked what I would do with 103.7. They were thinking hip hop. I told him if that was their choice, I wasn’t their girl. Then I wrote a proposal and made a cassette tape of what MY station would sound like. Ultimately, they agreed! We had a dinner where we decided on the name “The Mountain” (The Needle didn’t have positive images). It started out more mellow than I wanted, but eventually I won the trust of Entercom and they let me morph it to what it became. There was an indisputable hole in the market for a high profile, liberal leaning rock station with incredible personalities. Or so I thought! And there you have it. From hippie teenager with a dream to ‘successful Program Director of a Major Market Progressive Rock Station’. And what a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been!

P.S. I should note that between us, Peyton Mays and I programmed progressive rock in Seattle for 25 years. David Littrell still programs some of the best shows in the market.

Chris Mays

Thanks, Chris. This is where I thank you for hiring me and giving me that break I needed to go where I went, where ever that was. 

How did I end up knocking on KLSY’s door back in the days when they were “Classy-FM”?

Due to downsizing at KOMO radio where I had been Larry Nelson’s producer for 4-1/2 years, they let me know on the same day my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our second child that I was losing my job. In fact, I remember not telling her until after the weekend that I was now unemployed, so as not to harsh the buzz about the pregnancy.

After a few months of collecting unemployment and wondering what the heck was going to happen next, I managed to get an interview with Chris Mays and eventually the G.M., “Mr. Classy”, Dana Horner. I impressed them enough take me for a test hire, helping out production guy Jeff Bach with copywriting and production during the work week, and pulling a weekend airshift.  At this point, I had been off the air since I had left Yakima in late 1979. 
Over time, Chris like what I brought to the party on weekends, enough that she wanted to stick me into afternoon drive. I remember going to a station holiday event, where I met the woman I was going to be paired up with to report on traffic and banter with, Alice Porter. She was being brought over from KEZX–yes, the radio station being run by Chris’ husband at the time, Peyton Mays. I had a lot of fun doing afternoons with Alice and it sounded like it. The station wanted that fun to move to the mornings with Bruce Murdock, aka “Murdock in the Morning” but initially I just didn’t want to partner up with him on the air. I liked where I was. So, they hired a co-host from Chicago named John Thomas and it was a morning show nightmare. The two didn’t get along, had completely different styles and it was such a caustic environment, I remember Bruce, Alice, Dave Sloan and me doing a mock exorcism of his presence after they fired him. By this time, station management really wanted to move me to mornings. So much that I was told everything from, “Well, you know, we won’t really be able to raise your salary much if you stay in afternoons” to “Eventually, you’ll lose Alice and we’ll move her to mornings.” What else could I do but agree to start waking up early again and the team of Murdock & Hunter was born. In time, that became Murdock, Hunter & Alice. That continued until December 17th, 2003, when G.M. Marc Kaye came backstage at the Village Theater in Issaquah to tell us our services were no longer needed. We had just finished doing a live Christmas show. Ho friggin’ ho. That left me just shy of a 20-year run in one place. In radio, that’s like 147 regular job years.


We can all look back on our lives and say, “If only THIS hadn’t happened” or “If THAT hadn’t happened” but the bottom line is that everything occurs as a part of your story. Sure, I wish some of those more unpleasant events didn’t happen, but that’s not our call. The radio bug still is very much alive in me, but rather than depending on it for a livelihood, its now more of a hobby. It’s a part of what I do and my little KRKO morning show is the perfect outlet to satisfy my radio Jones. Chris mentioned of writing a book some day about her radio experiences. Having written 1,031 of these blogs since 2008, my story has seeped out a little at a time, much like a leak at a nuclear power plant. Ms. Mays’ retelling of The Mountain Story was just the inspiration I needed for me to put a bit of my story down while I still remember it.

You know, I’ve seen a lot of radio hearts broken over the years.  I have to say that its thanks to people like Chris and Dana that I got to spend 35 years (and counting) of my life doing something I really love to do. 

And that’s pretty lucky.

Tim Hunter

OK, HERE’S AN IDEA

I would say it’s almost every day of my life these days that I hope to wake up and not hear of another black person being shot by a police officer.

I feel it’s a fairly reasonable request. It’s a century-old problem that you would think would no longer be present in our modern world, but sadly it continues. And each time we hear the latest version of the old story, my mouth hangs open and I am in complete disbelief.

Over the weekend, we heard of two more cases coming to the surface. One in Virginia, where a member of the military was pepper-sprayed because he didn’t want to get out of his car as two police officers pointed guns at him. Completely understandable. He was pepper-sprayed, slammed to the ground, handcuffed and eventually released without charges.

Why? Simple question. Why?

He’s suing because of that incident and that pepper-spray-happy officer has been fired.

But in Minnesota, already a hotbed because of the George Floyd incident, another black man was killed by trigger-happy police officers. This one, like so many others, was completely unavoidable. For starters, the man was pulled over by police because he had air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror. Apparently, that crime is rampant in Minnesota, achieving epidemic levels. It was after pulling him over for something reminiscent of the old broken tail-light trick (funny–it wasn’t broken when he was pulled over) that they discovered the guy had a warrant out for him. Once again–bang, shoot, dead.

And as soon as I hit ‘post’, we hear that the police officer who fired the fatal shot that killed this man said it was an accident and that he intended to fire his taser at him. Yes, seriously.

I just don’t get it and I continue to not get it time after time after time.

The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin makes me angry every night when I turn on the news for the summary. I just can’t spend the entire day being pissed off, so I confine my involvement to the ABC evening news with David Muir.

The experts have paraded through, most with damning testimony about what happened that night. Meanwhile, the defense is arguing that Floyd’s death wasn’t due to having someone put their entire weight on a knee for almost 10 minutes, but rather his drug abuse. I’ve heard that too many times, which is why I offer this solution.

If Derek Chauvin’s defense team truly believes it was the drugs that killed him and not the neck-crushing incident, then let’s test that theory. Derek Chauvin just has to agree to be handcuffed and then have someone of the same weight put their knee on his neck for 9-minutes and 29-seconds. He will also be required to say “I can’t breathe” a minimum of 28 times during those almost 10 minutes, just like George Floyd. If, in fact, that doesn’t kill Chauvin, then we can consider that drug use may have played a part in his death. If Chauvin dies, well, end of trial.

Of course, that shouldn’t happen. But neither should what Chauvin did to George Floyd, a living, breathing human being.

Some stats to absorb:

  • Since 2015, police officers have fatally shot at least 135 unarmed Black people nationwide.
  • Over their lifetime, about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police.

I’m no expert, but I’d say there is a serious problem.

Next Up…

After a brief bask in the glow of my annual April Fool’s video for National Gullible Day, it’s time to move on to my next big project.

I really should look into smaller tasks.

What with the pandemic making events like luncheons and parades uncertain possibilities, next up on my ever-growing to-do list is taking on a virtual 17th of May celebration for Seattle’s own 17th of May Committee.

For those new to the party, the 17th of May is the day that the Norwegian community here in Ballard celebrates “Constitution Day.” A big deal in Norway, with lots of parades. In Seattle, we have been celebrating the occasion for over 100 years. In fact, that annual stroll down 24th and then a left turn on Market Street is the first Seafair-sanctioned parade of the Parade Season. You’ll also see it referred to as “Syttende Mai”, which due to my absorption into that community, I’ve become really good at spelling.

In a “normal” year (remember those?), there would be a luncheon at either the Leif Erikson Lodge, the Nordic museum or both, then after some live performances in Bergen Place Park all day long, the official parade would step off around 4pm. Or 6pm. It depends on whether the holiday falls on a weekend or not.

This year marks our second non-normal 17th of May in a row. So, the committee asked me to produce a virtual 17th of May luncheon at noon on the big day. The event is free if you’d like to tune in to the 17th of May Committee’s YouTube Channel. It’ll make its broadcast debut at noon that day. Afterwards, you’ll then be able to watch it whenever you want on that channel.

Tuesday of this week, I headed down to the Nordic Museum in Ballard to film some of the traditional festivities. I’ve got a couple of other folks grabbing footage and in no time at all, I’ll have a bunch of video to edit and assemble before May 17th. Right now, I’m feeling really good about it. Actually, having done the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce‘s virtual Julebord last year, I pretty much know what needs to be done.

Some special guests you may

recognize without their masks

The jury is still out on whether they’re going to try and organize a car parade down Market Street, although a group of us organized one last year to keep the streak alive.

So yeah, here comes the next big project. I’m producing a virtual 17th of May celebration, in-between my many other duties. That’s my self-chosen life. I just like things being busy. I wonder where that came from?

For funsies, here’s my brother-in-law, Kris Templin, warming up for his performance of “God Bless America” with me playing my mouth trumpet.

OK, break’s over. Back to work.

Sure. It’s work.

Tim Hunter

WHO AM I KIDDING?

This week has so much going on!

We start a new month. It’s Holy Week, which means Maunday Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Passover is also underway. Baseball season begins on Thursday, which is also April Fool’s Day. March Madness drifts into the Final Four Championships

Or, as I prefer to call it, “National Gullible Day.”

After spending the last year collecting footage and the past month or so hounding friends to record a silly bit for me, I spent the bulk of Sunday afternoon shooting my scenes and then starting to put together this crazy annual tradition.

For those who just joined us, “National Gullible Day” is a parody newscast where we (I) act like a newscaster covering all the events of this festive day.

And, once again, I set up the green screen in my studio, steamed it as wrinkle free as I could get it, put on a shirt, tie and jacket and went into newscaster mode.

I don’t want to tell you too much about the broadcast, but since you’ve taken the time to read this, here’s a special sneak peak at the Memorialienum where we honor the National Gullible Day fans we’ve lost over the past year.

This will give you an idea of what the full video is going to be like.

Remember, it’ll be on nationalgullibleday.org, my Facebook page, and on my YouTube channel as of midnight, April 1st, Thursday morning.

I can’t wait.

Thanks for checking in.

Tim Hunter

Just One Week Away

The tradition will continue.

I was thinking about what could be the topic of my blog this week. Gun control? Oh, I’ve done that, multiple times. Besides, the last couple of posts to this corner of the Internet have been a bit on the sad side, so I need to lighten things up. I thought of a couple of really good ideas, but then they left my brain because of my current obsession.

So I thought, “Hey, why not write about that?”

While others spend this month focused on spring, college basketball and other timely topics, as soon as March 1st arrives, I know the clock is ticking and I only have a month to assemble another one of my “National Gullible Day” broadcasts.

This will mark the sixth year I’ve asked friends to give it up and be silly with me on April Fools’ Day, doing a mock newscast as if National Gullible Day was a real holiday. (or is it?) And, as it seems every year, this year’s effort is looking like it will out-do all the earlier versions. You can watch them on the website.

This year will feature some of the regular cast members, along with a few new ones.

         

             

And a sneak peek at one of the funniest parts of the video that makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it, it’s a Memorialioleum (yes, I meant to spell it that way) of the National Gullible Fans we’ve lost since our last broadcast.

You know, of all the things I do throughout the year, this is the one tradition I need to continue doing. It’s such an incredible outlet. 
I did have one idea that I self-censored. It’s a pretty hilarious concept, but in today’s uber-sensitive world, I just know it could hurt someone. While I’m usually fine with that, I just didn’t want a controversy to distract from the rest of the content.
If you want to know what it is, just ask the next time we chat.
So there’s your sneak preview. If you subscribe to my Wacky Week jokes, the link will be included there on April 1st. (If you’d like to be added to the list, just email me)
If you “like” the KRKO Facebook page, it’ll be posted there. Same is true of my Tim Hunter Creative Services page.
Anyway, you’ve been warned. I love this tradition. We can never laugh enough.
Thanks for the read.
 
Tim Hunter

And Now We Begin The “First Time” Phase

The last close family member we lost was my dad, now almost six years ago.
That was a stunner. He had been in failing health, but you just never think that one day, he’ll actually be gone.
Having a front-row seat to that level of grief, both for you and surrounding family members, leaves an impact. I know that a lot of the things we do are a part of the grieving process. It’s how we move on. Not that we forget about them, but as time goes on, the pain lessons. For me, I’ve focused on all of the things dad gave me, that we experienced together and that he demonstrated during his days here.

With the recent passing of my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, I’m being reminded of that phase you have to pass through once things have started calming down again: The “First Time” phase.

You’ve mechanically handled as much as you can–the arrangements, letting people know, writing and publishing an obituary and such. For now, you put off things like clearing out the closet because there’s plenty of time for that later. In fact, for the time being, those clothes are a comfort and a reminder of what was. They may even inspire memories of a moment or two.

The moment I was reminded of the “First Time” phase was when my wife and I were driving through Ballard. It was the neighborhood where she grew up and where her parents had lived for more decades than she’ll admit. As we came close to her folks’ home, she remembered how common it was for people to see him walking their Samoyed. As recently as a decade ago, Ernie would walk Misha, sometimes twice a day, miles at a time. He loved those walks and the dog was a friend magnet. Both got to meet a lot of their Ballard neighbors that way.
It was the first time we were driving through this area since her dad had passed and she began to get misty-eyed. I knew exactly what she was thinking and it is just the beginning of moments like this. Yesterday was the first time we had my mother-in-law over since her husband’s passing. The chair where Ernie always sat (and usually fell asleep) was empty for the first time during one of her visits.

Some of the First Times just happen. Others happen because you plan them and welcome the reminder. For example, on April 24th for the Opening Day of fishing season, I’ll be at Lake McMurry, where Ernie and I fished almost every year for the last 13 years.

As the First Times become less frequent, then you start asking yourself questions: Do I start saying “Mom’s House” after a lifetime of saying “Mom and Dad’s?” The caller I.D. says, “Mom and Dad”–should I change that?

Yes, their physical presence among us has ended. But there is no more suffering, no more pain, and I take comfort in that. And really, these special people that played such a big part in our lives aren’t going anywhere. They’re in our hearts, our thoughts, our souls and each gave us the most important gift of all–being able to know them. I could sit down with you and tell you a million stories about my dad. Just thinking of doing that made me misty-eyed, so I’d probably tell them to you with the voice of a blubbering idiot. And then, after a brief break, I could blubber a few stories your way about Ernie.

For that, I know I’m lucky. I’m blessed to have had two positive figures like them in my life.

David Eagleman gets the credit for pointing out that we all experience three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

Gentlemen, you’re going to have to settle for just the first two for now, because for as long as I can breathe, I’m going to be talking about you.

After all, there’s a lot to tell.

Tim Hunter

Weekend Without Ernie

Last Thursday night, Ernie Templin left the planet.

Who’s Ernie Templin?

Those who were fortunate to know Ernie knew him as one of the kindest, nicest people ever to roam the earth. For those who grew up in Seattle, he might have been the school teacher you remember so fondly. Or, maybe he was the guy that sold you men’s suits at J.C. Penney back in the 1970s, as he worked multiple jobs to support his family. In later years, he was seen around town at almost every Norwegian event or taking his white, fluffy dog, Misha, for a walk around the Ballard area.

  

I think it’s safe to say that one way or the other, people around here knew Ernie Templin. When I began doing the marketing for my wealth management client, Opus 111 Group in Seattle, I met Donna and Bill Driver–a brother and sister team that were thrilled to find out who my father-in-law was. Why? Because back in the day, they were both his students.

Donna was kind enough to write down some of her memories of Ernie:

Mr. Templin was my sixth grade teacher. All the kids hoped to get into his class. I was slated to be in another class, but my next door neighbor was the PTA president and got me switched to his.

It was a great year. I remember making a weather station that had a ping pong ball anemometer. He had us keep detailed charts and analyze our data.  I still love a good spreadsheet.

We divided into groups for math. He took the high group and told us he was preparing us for advance math in junior high school.  We were challenged – both boys and girls.

He taught us to follow directions.  Once he gave us test that he announced would be timed.  It included “poke three holes in the paper”  and “yell hurrah when you get to question 7.”  What many of us missed was question 1. “read all the questions before you begin.”  Because when we got to question 20 it read: “Now that you have read all the questions, just write your name at the top of the sheet and stop.”  There were a lot of red-faced hot shot sixth graders.

You learn a lot of interesting words.  He taught us the shape of a story:  Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Denouement, and Resolution.  I have been trying to work denouement into conversations ever since.  It is such a great word.

We had handwriting practice daily.  His penmanship was beautiful and he let us know that we were to take our time and do it well. 

Friday was art afternoon.  We loved coming in from recess to find out what he had set up while we were outside.  Once in awhile he would have some of us stay in and set up – a plum job!  I was most fond of water colors.  My favorite project was making a color wheel by mixing primary colors.  He must have been tired of us one day, because he had us cut thousands of teeny tiny pieces of paper and do mosaics.  It took a looooong time.

But the thing I’ve used most in my life is fractions.  Every time I double or half a recipe I thank Mr. Templin for teaching me those skills.

Those are just the academic lessons.  By example, he taught us to be good people. He didn’t put up with unkind words and encouraged us to see the good in all our classmates. He loved a good joke and enjoyed laughing with us.

When Jon and I joined the Sons of Norway, I was delighted to reconnect with him. I walked in the Syttende Mai parade with him until he was unable to make the trek, and was then honored to serve as his chauffeur in subsequent years.

On my list of important people, he ranks near the top!

Another one of his students, David Horsey, went on to be quite the political cartoonist.

And I’m sure there were others.

To me, Ernie was what happens when you win the Father-in-Law lotto. When I married his daughter, I found myself with a fishing buddy once again. Some of my fondest memories as a kid included going fishing with my dad, but it had been years since I got to go hit a lake on Opening Day. That became our tradition, every last Saturday in April. Most of the past 13 years, we would head up to the family cabin up near Lake McMurray on a Friday night and then wake up in the pre-dawn hours to be among the first hauling in the trout. To be honest, I don’t know if Ernie was as excited about the fishing as he was about the Fishermen’s Breakfast, which volunteers served next to a roaring fire in the lakefront pavilion. 

The routine was to charge the trolling motor the night before, wake up early, launch the boat we borrowed from a neighbor and fish from 6-8am, then come in for the breakfast, and then enjoy more fishing afterwards. We never set any records, but we had a great time. 

Over the past couple of years, we lost access to the boat and so we were forced to celebrate the tradition from the fishing dock. Not as fun or successful, but we just had to be there on Opening Day, especially for the Fisherman’s Breakfast.

I was trying to figure out a way to get a boat in the off-season, just so I could take him out for one more round of trolling the lake. But after falls on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and once while in recovery, I put the brakes on that idea. 

Like I said, Ernie meant a lot of things to a lot of people and it was all good. If you’d like to get to know this amazing man a little better, I’m including a video I produced for his 90th birthday, almost two years ago.

The world can’t afford to lose any nice guys, so we took a serious hit last week. 

But he left behind a legacy. He left everyone that knew him with lots of positive memories and and an endless assortment of things to remember about him.

Thanks, Ernie, for everything you gave me. I was never one of your students, but you sure taught me a lot.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Tom Hanks This, Seahawks!

Come on, who hasn’t seen “Castaway” with Tom Hanks? If you haven’t, you may be excused from this week’s blog. Well, OK, if you insist on sticking around, it was about a guy who survived a plane crash and lived on a desert island and befriended a volleyball named Wilson.

While attempting to escape his isolation, Hanks built a raft and he and Wilson took to the water. But after pushing himself so hard, he dozed off…and Wilson just floated away.

I feel like the Seattle Seahawks are about to lose their Wilson.

Yeah, it’s that dead time of year for football fans, months before the draft and even longer before the guys return to training camp. So, sportswriters try to keep your attention by putting things out there. For example, start with one team being interested in Seattle’s main guy, Russell Wilson. They’d never really let him go, right? Then, have Russell’s agent say that, if a trade is going to happen, it can only be to certain teams. Then have the mayor of one of those acceptable cities put together a video saying they would love to be his new home.

First off, Russell Wilson is a great quarterback. He’s already won a Super Bowl for this city and he could have won a second if we had just handed the damn ball to Marshawn. But what has been amazing to watch over the years is this team willing to risk their major investment just to save money with a piece-meal offensive line. I’m sure Russell, like me, watches Brady, Brees and other quarterbacks around the league actually having protection and not having to run for their lives on every play.

At least, that’s how it has felt over the years, so I checked. Russell Wilson has been sacked 394 times, an average of 43.8 sacks per season—more than any other QB since the 1970 merger.

The man has done so much for this city. He’s visited the Seattle Children’s hospital and the sick kids there every week since he arrived. He’s been a positive force, when negativity is so much easier. He’s been a role model, started youth programs, takes responsibility when the team doesn’t win and on and on and on.

And you’re thinking about letting him just float away?

That’s the tough part of being a professional sports fan these days. It is, after all, a business and decisions are not made on loyalty or quality or character. I completely believe that Russell has at least one more Super Bowl in him and I would love to have him bring home another trophy here. I’m not sure what I would do if they traded him away, or how it would impact my fandom.

To Pete and John–you’ve got a guy that has given his all to the team and this city, on the field and off. Make this work. Get him an offensive line. The defense is humming, you’ve got some amazing running backs and receivers. Get him an offensive line.

Oh and in case I haven’t brought this up yet: get Russell Wilson an offensive line.

Great player. Great person. Keep him here.

Thanks.

Tim Hunter

Thanks To The Gurus In My Life

One thing about the personal PC, it fueled my endless thirst for how those things work and has always inspired me to find out how to fix computers myself.

I know my dad had hoped I would have embraced his knowledge of car engines and how they worked. However, at that point in my life, girls and basketball had a higher precedence.

But there came a time in my mid-20s when the personal computer arrived on the scene. I knew I needed one and so I spent upwards of $1800 to get this monstrosity with a mono-chrome screen, a keyboard, a wired mouse and a mighty 20MB of storage. That seems almost unthinkable. I remember buying it at computer store in Bellevue, bringing it home and starting to mess with it. This is long before Windows–we’re talking the land of DOS, with 5-1/4 inch floppy drives and commands that you memorized so you can type them in and make magic happen.

On the very first day I owned my new friend, I played around with commands and in no time at all, I discovered that “format” was a nifty way to erase everything on the computer. Crap. So, I walked around the corner and reached out to a neighbor that knew all about these things. He reinstalled the operating system and got me back up (with a stern warning about the ‘format’ command). There would be many more neighborly visits in the future.

But that first valuable lesson has lasted a lifetime when it comes to dealing with computers: for the most part, it’s hard to seriously mess them up. There’s usually an undo or some kind of action that will save your bacon and data at the same time. Now, it’s not like I haven’t had the famous Blue Screen of Death or forgotten to save a document, only to lose everything I had been working on. Oh, and there are those hard-drives that I thought would be a permanent storage unit solution for valuable family photos, only to have them crash. But, for the most part, I often encourage someone who is afraid of what they might do to a computer to just take a chance.

Years later, when I moved to a new neighborhood, I met a new guru. Neil probably had the biggest impact on advancing my understanding skills when it came to computers. He was quite a busy Microsofter at the time, but he would always be glad to help me undo something I had screwed up, or install a new piece of hardware. Over the last 20 years, I have probably had to reach out to him three times when I felt I needed his expertise, but thanks to him, a lot of times I have been able to figure things out myself. Not sure when the last time was that I called him for a rescue, but I know it was pre-pandemic.

So these days, I’m sitting pretty and feeling in control of my computer world. Well, except…

I had hung on to some old hard drives that had crashed and much like Disney’s head, I was holding on to them with the hope that someday, the technology would exist to rescue the data on those damaged disks. Plus, I went through a stage where I stored things on something called an iOmega Zip Drive, with funny little disks that could retain pictures, documents and such. I had two of the readers and around two dozen disks sitting around in drawers. Apparently, Windows 10 decided not to let you connect to them, so once I depleted my knowledge base, I needed a guru. I looked online and found that there was a local shop called PC Fix just down the road in Ballard.

I went there and found a one-man shop. The guy that runs the place was laid back, had a pony tail and was great to chat with. On that first visit, he gave me advice and told me what I needed to know, no charge.

Finding a good geek that you can trust and that charges a fair price is a real find. We talked about my dead hard drives and Zip drives and he said, “Bring ’em on down and we’ll figure it out.” I’m excited to see how much he can retrieve.

Bottom line is that I’ve found my latest guru. Just thought I would pass it along your way, in case you’re in need of your next computer expert. Parking is tricky after 3pm, so best to stop by there during the day.

I guess one of these days, I should find out his name. But good guy.

You’re welcome.

Tim Hunter

PS–I got his name and he retrieved lots of data I thought was lost.  Thanks, George! If you need a new guru, keep him in mind. 

 

Preserving Those Lost Memories

It’s funny how aging works. There are you, reaching your 30s that quickly become your 40s and then all of a sudden, your 50s show up.
I’ve always described the 50s to friends on approach as the decade I’ve seen people really reach their stride. By that time, the kids have started migrating out of the house or are already gone, you’re putting the finishing touches on paying for their college (or contributing as much as you can) and now you’re on approach to retirement, but with a doable chunk of years to go.
I know that it was in my 50s where I had to make a crucial life choice–continue living the way I had been living or make a break towards something better. Looking back, it was one of the wisest yet most difficult decisions I ever had to make, but I thank God I had the guts to do it.

That being said, I’ve reached the next tier. In fact, I’m in the mid-60s now and with lots of friends and relatives already participating in future decades, I’m seeing their memories begin to fade. A totally understandable phenomenon, as if you think about our brains being giant file cabinets, you really only have so much room.

I know that in my brain, I’m still retaining so much information I really don’t need (like the instrumental opening of “Breakdown” by Tom Petty is 27 seconds and the song is only 2:29) but there was a time when that was really useful info, especially when talking over an intro on the radio.

All this to say, there are some fun nuggets from my childhood I’d like to hang on to and rather than relying on my busy brain that will eventually fail, I’d like to tuck away a few of them right here:

I grew during a time BEFORE area codes. Our phone number had a name: it was FRONTIER 5-1777 (not the real number. C’mon, give me a little credit). That meant FR5-1777 and when you reached to the rotary dial to dial a number, you’d do the F (3) then the R (7) and the rest of the number. But before you dialed, you had to pick up the receiver and listened to hear if there were people talking or if there was a dial tone. We were on a “party line” that meant others used the same dial tone and if someone was already on, you had to wait to make your call.

TV and I grew up together around the same time. By the time I was in elementary school, the networks began pushing limits to try and get more viewers. When I was in 3rd grade or so, I remember a note being sent home from the parochial school I attended, urging parents not to let us young, impressionable minds watch the TV show, “Combat.” (not sure why they also didn’t warn us about “My Mother The Car”) I don’t remember my parents’ reaction, but I know it remained my favorite Tuesday night TV show. C’mon, it was about wars and guns and battles. A common birthday present during those years were cap guns or air rifles that didn’t shoot anything, but made a popping sound. These days, kids get all that from their video games.

Not sure if it’s still true today, but as a boy growing up, I had plenty of lapses in good judgement. There was the time when I was five that I bit the cheeks of a fellow kindergartener because they looked liked “peaches.” (seriously) Her big brother met up with me on the way home from school the next day to make sure it didn’t happen again.

And then was my classic case of Kid Karma. Once, while playing Hide ‘n Seek with classmates on the playground at Immanuel Lutheran Church, a girl named Laurel Scherer was about to touch the flag pole and yell, “1-2-3 on Tim!” For some reason (and this is where that brain of poor judgement kicked in again), as we both approached the flag pole, I gave her a shove. She fell face first into the pole and broke a front tooth. Of course, I felt horrible and despite my actions, we remained friends for the rest of our elementary school days together, but WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Oh and, for the record, I was ‘safe’.

Back to the Kid Karma. Years later, I was hanging out with my fellow Cub Scouts in front of my parents house (mom was a Den Mother) when one of them threw a rock that perfectly hit one of my front teeth and broke it in half. I’ve had a cap on that tooth ever since.

I guess it’s time to whip out the old philosophy I dig out often–what we are today is simply a culmination of everything and I mean EVERYTHING that has happened in our lives to this moment, good and bad. That includes those really bad decisions or events that occurred over the years. They all combine to make up what they call “a life.” We’ve all had a wealth of experiences and I’m a firm believer in that it’s not what happens to us, but how we handle it.

I’ve already written a few movie scripts and have others in mind. But maybe one of these days, I’ll write one that will include a collection of these long-lost stories in a film about my life. However, before I take the time to write a complete screenplay, I’ll have to check and see if Brad Pitt would be willing to be the lead.

Allow me my delusions. I’ve got quite a collection.

Tim Hunter

PS–Second row, boy on the far right. (in the photo, not politically)

What a Friggin’ Coincidence

So, I started the week at the eye doctor for my annual check-up. Truth be told, this exam was scheduled a couple of Fridays ago and I just flat-out spaced and missed the appointment.

I set 126 reminders on my phone, on Alexa, I wrote notes, I was not going to let this happen again. I arrived 15-minutes early and was among their first patients of the day. Since they hadn’t seen me for over a year, they handed me a printout and asked me to verify that all of the information on the paper was correct.

I started with the phone number. Nope, that’s wrong. I checked the address, wrong again. Up and down the page, none of this information made sense and that’s when I headed for the name.

Right there, as plain as the nose on my face: Tom Hutyler.

That’s just down right freaky.

You see, three decades ago, Tom and I worked together at KLSY. Tom had been the afternoon guy, but the station decided to take me off weekends, put me in afternoons and shift Tom and those dulcet tones to the mid-day slot.

But you couldn’t have Tom Hutyler on the radio, followed by Tim Hunter and the station’s first suggestion was for me to change my name. I had never used an alias (or “radio name”) on the air in my career, so I offered an alternative. What about adding my middle initial as a differentiator? They bought it.

So, for a while on 92.5 KLSY, it was Murdock in the Morning, followed by Tom Hutyler, and then me, Tim J. Hunter.

Most of the disc jockeys I’ve known over the years arrange the shifts in this hierarchy: if you can’t have the morning show, grab afternoons. If afternoons are available, put your foot into mid-days and then wait. Well, Tom wasn’t about to wait and the next thing you know, he was off to a successful run at KUBE and then, he wound up over at KOMO radio, where he still anchors the news today. That is, when he’s not being the voice of T-Mobile Park for the Seattle Mariners. Yep, when you hear that stadium voice, that’s Tom.

Back to this bizarre coincidence. I shot Tom a quick Facebook message and let him know about what had happened. He let me know that he had an appointment later that same day.

What are the odds? We go to the same eye clinic and had booked appointments on the same day.

I figure when he got there for his appointment, they probably had him review my contact information. You know, come to think of it, I haven’t seen Tom in person for a long time. Maybe I better book another eye appointment?

Tim Hunter

Not a Rainy Day or a Monday

Yeah, it was the one of the most challenging 24 hours I’ve had for a long time.

To be honest, by the time Monday rolled around, I was happy to have made it to the work week. Things just seem a lot calmer during my jam-packed work days. 

Last Saturday, thanks to my daughter, my wife & I were able to get our first Moderna COVID-19 shots down in Olympia at St. Peters hospital. We were thrilled to have the opportunity and so we made the 90-minute one-way trip to the state capitol. After getting our arms poked, my wife and I then had a chance to hang with my favorite nurse and get caught up on her family and such. Then, once we cleared the 15-minute wait period, we headed north back home.

Initially, it wasn’t so bad.

But when Sunday morning arrived, my left arm was SORE! I equated it to feeling as though someone had swung a baseball bat as hard as possible and hit your arm. However, that’s only where my fun weekend began.

That very morning, I went to flush the toilet. A common, normal thing to do in a home, but upon pushing down the handle, the water didn’t disappear. Ruh-oh. I gave it another flush and it wasn’t going anywhere. Then I heard water backing up in the laundry room next door and I knew we had a blocked drain again.

Yes, it’s happened before. We have an older home and that’s one of the things that comes with the ‘charm’ part. Occasionally, water that tries to flood our basement and a main sewage line that occasionally clogs. A couple of times I’ve had to call out a plumber to do his magic, but before surrendering to a $300+ fee, I went outside and retrieved my 50-foot auger.

It was completely in the pipe with no luck but I gave it one last little twirl and a push and WHOOSH! The drain opened up. Working with sewage is really not one of my favorite things, but you do what you have to do and I chalked that up as a win.

But before the champagne could be chilled, it was snack time! That was when I reached for a handful of pistachios (after showering and washing my hands multiple times). A couple of chomps and OUCH! I hit something hard, which I assumed was a shell that slipped past the factory. I pulled out the object and would you look at that–half a tooth! Yep, it was half of a former tooth of mine from the lower right corner of my mouth. It had apparently decided it was time to split.

And, oh yeah, my arm really, really hurts!

As luck would have it, I was very fortunate to be able to get into my dentist who made magic happen. He told me I was lucky because there were all kinds of ways for that tooth to have cracked that would have caused a lot of problems. Of all the possibilities, I had won the broken tooth lottery. It’s a nice way to win something, without all that messy money. And not anything that, after insurance coverage, $499.18 couldn’t fix.

So I guess in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t that bad of a weekend. I’m still breathing, I’m halfway to being inoculated against the coronavirus, and in a couple of weeks I’ll have a new cap in place and no one will be the wiser.

It’s all about how you view things. And it wasn’t rainy or a Monday. So, let’s get down!

Tim Hunter

Another Collection of Mini-Rants

Each week before I sit down to write a blog, I look at what I’ve written lately and if I’ve gone too political, I try to head back to the lighter side for one or two weeks. This week, there were too many things I wanted to comment on. So, instead of a long-winded piece on a single topic, I’m going to conduct self-therapy and give you my thoughts on a trio of things I felt compelled to write about.

MINI-RANT #1

I’ve slowly abandoned KING-5 news after watching them push out of the names I knew and found myself migrating over to KOMO, channel 4.
Of course, back in my KOMO Radio days, I watched our sister TV station all the time, with the likes of Ruth Walsh, Bruce King and Ray Ramsey. Then Dan Lewis and Kathi Goertzen came along and made me stick around. But when they left, I went to the surviving long-time folks over at KING. As they disappeared, I headed back to the new, likeable kids over at Channel 4.

A commercial that has played a lot over the past couple of months is a spot recommending prayer to the down-trodden, hosted by Billy Graham’s son, Franklin. He kind of sounds like his dad and every time it came on, it reminded me of Billy and those days when he was the spiritual counselor for every president that came along, regardless of party.

So, that gave Franklin an edge with me. He had a positive message and I thought, “Well, that’s cool. He didn’t turn into a Jim Bakker or anything. He seems alright.”

I’ve had a change of thought.

As if the right-wing militia’s carrying and holding up Bibles as they stormed the Capitol Building a couple of weeks ago wasn’t bad enough, the Revered Franklin Graham just blew up his reputation by saying….

Oh, I can’t even repeat it. I think it’s best you read it for yourself, so you don’t think I’m making it up. It’s all right here.

Seriously? Seri-ous-ly? So, Rev, you’re equating Donald Trump to Jesus? 

You’ve lost 100% of your credibility and your mere voice makes me sick. I suppose that’s why God invented mute buttons for TV. 

By the way, just curious–How much did your soul go for?

MINI-RANT #2

I’ve been scammed.

So, I wanted to issue this warning about buying anything that looks too good to be true on Facebook. 

Facebook offers are like those candy bars by the cashier. They’re impulse items. Do you really need one? Nope. Would it fun to own one?  Sure. Does it really cost that much? Not really.

SOLD!

So, here’s what the ad looked like that appeared in my Facebook feed right after the New Year:

Look at those giant inflatables. That would be cool to own one and stick it out in the front yard next year. Heck, at that price, I’ll order two. It’s a mystery box, but I’d take any of those 6-foot tall decorations and be the envy of the neighborhood. So, I placed my order.

At first I thought, “Wow, $16.98 for shipping. That seems like a lot. But then again, if they’re these huge inflatables, they’re probably heavy.”

Imagine my surprise this week when these two things showed up in my mailbox:

I steamed for a while, then I went to Pay Pal to report the company. Here’s how that conversation went:

So, this company:

  • Claimed that they didn’t misrepresent the merchandise.
  • Told me that what I received was ‘randomly’ selected. (funny how I got two of them. What are the odds?)
  • They offered to make it right by giving me $5 back. (Then I would only be out $31 for $4 worth of stuff)

We’ll see what happens, but if that’s their final offer, if you think like me, it’s my total responsibility to give them at least $31 worth of bad publicity and warn people every time I see one of their ads, to post this blog right next to it. I figure if I warn away just two customers from this scam, it will cost them what I’ve been shorted. 

And hopefully, there will be more down the line.

AN UPDATE:

So Pay Pal reviewed the transaction and apparently understood how I could feel scammed. The company agreed to issue me a complete refund if I returned the product.

However, to put a cherry on top of this Internet scam, fraud, rip-off and thievery and any other keywords I can attach to the Shenzhen Sixincheng Electronic Technology Co., Ltd, they required me to return the items to CHINA!

Yep, they said, “Mail it here!”

518000广东​深圳市​宝安区新安街道兴东社区72区德至高科创园8A2栋二楼210室China

Oh, sure. My guess is that the shipping costs would make the refund a wash.

So, I’m back to making sure any time I see them advertising them on Facebook, I give them enough negative reviews to cost them $36.94 in sales.

That’s a promise.

MINI-RANT #3

We’re all heading through Inauguration Week, holding our breath, waiting to see what happens.

There is such an opportunity to regain control of our country, to return to being Americans with differences of political opinions and try to undo some of the serious damage that’s been inflicted on our nation and our society over the past four years.

A local FOX news commentator did an amazing thought piece this week. It’s only a couple of minutes long and I think people on both political sides could stand to watch this. So, here you go.

https://www.q13fox.com/the-divide-with-brandi-kruse/brandi-kruse-say-goodbye-to-political-baggage

Great stuff, Brandi. You said it best. Godspeed to everyone as we try to right this ship.

Tim Hunter

I just don’t get it

Last Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, was one of our darkest moments in American history.

Not only because of what happened in our nation’s Capitol Building, but because of the response of so many people I know. This week’s blog is for you, although I seriously doubt you’ll get very far into it.

There was violence and death and everything that comes with a seditious act that was directed by the leader in power. Kim Jong Un couldn’t have been more proud. Vladimir Putin probably sent Trump a congratulations bouquet.

The unthinkable happened and it all happened from within. If this attack had been the results of international terrorists, the country would have gone ballistic! But because it was a biproduct of the populist banter that’s been going on for the past four years, for a sizeable portion of our population, it was just ‘unfortunate’. But, you know, those kinds of things happen when you rig an election.

First off, regarding this ‘rigging’ lie: that was put out there starting in the spring so Trump would have an excuse if he lost in the fall. (for the record, he’s technically lost two elections for president, if you’re talking popular vote) He doesn’t like to lose, we’re told. Research this all you want, but all 50 states verified their results, some after re-counting their ballots multiple times. In Republican states with Republican governors and secretaries of state. And seriously, if you think they somehow rigged it, why would so many Republicans in lower offices have been elected? Do you need to re-listen to Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State and the threats he made? Over 50 courts tossed out Rudy Giuliani’s claims of fraud, some of those Trump-appointed judges.

The problem was the top of the ticket. But let’s get back to last Wednesday.

We have oodles of footage of the low-intelligence, misinformed masses that invaded our halls of democracy. They overwhelmed the Capitol police, beating some of the police officers with poles–poles with American flags on them. They stole government property. They took selfies. They wore Camp Auschwitz sweatshirts. They chanted, “Hang Pence!” Hang Pence!” They put up a symbolic gallows. They brought along zip ties hoping for hostages. They mocked our nation.

Is that today’s Republican party?

One conservative friend I talked to went immediately to one of the defenses the right must have put out during their last meeting: “I heard that was actually a bunch of ANTIFA (left wing extremists) dressed up like Trump supporters.”

Even FOX News says that’s not true.

The saddest pictures to come out of the encounter were the nutbrains who brought Confederate flags with them to carry around once they got in the building. And it was all thanks to Trump supporters.

Your next line is something along the lines of, “Well, he’s not perfect, but at least he’s against abortion.”

Really? You voted for Trump because he’s against abortion, or at least that’s what you understand. You’ve been duped.

For the Christian Evangelicals using that as a reason to support this disturbed man, it’s part of a package deal. This is what you’re telling the rest of the world that Christianity is all about. This is “your side.”

Here’s what the late Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, had to say about it all.

What’s a good Christian to do on Inauguration Day? Huh. You and I both guess wrong.

And on a quick side note, Joe Biden is a practicing Roman Catholic. Abortion? For years that church was even against birth control. I guarantee he’ll never have one, but he doesn’t think he has the right to tell anyone else they can’t. OK, well, since Hindu’s believe cows are sacred, we’re shutting down all the McDonald’s in the world, right? What? Oh, your religion is the right one and has all the answers. Keep telling yourself that.

I know, I know, those are “Libtard” news sources. Or, “I’m sure that was written by ANTIFA.”

I declared my own war on Facebook the day after the attack, and so far have unfriended a dozen friends and relatives. If they want to spend their time on that social media platform parroting what the president claims or passing along his twisted lies as fact, I’m done. Seriously, done.

One of them posted this comment:  “To be clear, this isn’t about violence. This is about Big Tech trying to control what we think, what we share, how we communicate.”

Ask the officer’s family who was killed if this was about government restrictions. Ask the other officer who was so traumatized from the events of the day that he killed himself if this was about Big Brother. “Big Tech” stepped in to remove the ability of manipulative people to get others to think about overthrowing the government, sharing plans on how to do it, and communicating that they were going to attack the Capitol Building to disrupt our democratic process.

I was raised in a Republican family in California, a state where you have to declare a party affiliation, so it just made sense to be a Republican. In 5th grade, I remember riding my bike over to the Del Amo Shopping Center in Torrance, California, to watch Ronald Reagan give a speech on the back of a flatbed truck, as he ran for governor. In high school, I was a “Young Republican for Nixon” and campaigned for his re-election. Over the years, as that party de-evolved, I became more and more a centrist and started voting for the better candidate, regardless of party. I voted for Hillary in 2016 because I just didn’t trust The Donald. But when he won, I was going to give him a chance and see what he could do. I’ve always felt we needed more of a business style leader than a politician in that office.

But the problem did not lie with what we knew about Donald Trump, but what we didn’t know and what we saw for four years. The borderline insanity of his tweets. The revolving door of cabinet members. His silence when there was racial injustice, his “there are good people on both sides” quote during one of the early neo-Nazi confrontations. He was simply unable to distinguish the difference between being on a reality show, and being President of the United States.

The good news is that history will judge. We will learn even more about what happened during his tenure and his legacy will be forever cemented in the halls of dysfunction. I can only imagine the giant sigh of relief by the Nixon family, as Trump takes over the title of being the worst leader our country has ever had to survive.

With the Capitol Building incident, I find myself going from a centrist to a conservative Democrat. Rather than supporting the spineless party that saw itself taken over by a carnie and then continued to suck up to him every step of the way out of fear, I’m going to see what I can find on the left side of the aisle for a while. Even if the Republicans survive, it will be fragmented. There will be Trump Republicans and Sane Republicans, which splits the party and that means they’ll never win another election, at least in the near future.

Retired general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced last week he was done with the Republican party. Arnold Schwarzenegger was pissed enough to post his feelings on YouTube.

Both my life-long Republican mom, at age 92, and my youngest sister are actively applying to switch parties. They’ve been disgusted by what they’ve seen over the past week and I’m proud to see them do something about it.

One of the cynical questions I hear from right (not as in ‘correct’)-minded people is, “Yeah, but do you actually know of anyone who has died from it?”

I’ve heard of some distant family connections, but one closer to home occurred today.

Both my wife’s aunt and uncle were hospitalized due to COVID over in Idaho. Of course, that’s Trump country and it turns out their daughter and son-in-law were the ones that gave it to them because they didn’t believe in masks and such. In time, the aunt got good enough to come home, but not the uncle. He already had the classic ‘secondary health conditions’, but we hoped for the best. For a while, it seemed like he would pull out of it, but his lungs kept getting worse and worse. He came home to a hospice setting and passed today.

When my wife passed along the news to her Facebook friends, the daughter immediately posted a comment that he DIDN’T die of COVID. Oh, no, it was COPD and had nothing to do with the coronavirus. So, my wife took down her post, and that family can pay homage to their fearless leader by believing it’s all a hoax and amounts to nothing more than a bad cold. (the aunt actually said that)

Damn you, Donald Trump.

It saddens me that so many people have drank the Kool Aid and are willing to go to all lengths to maintain this psychotic delusion. He has proven he is in over his head. He set the stage for almost 400,000 Americans to die from a disease we could have at least contained if he had recognized it. He threw America under the bus for his own advantage, saying that COVID would “just disappear.”

I’m not saying stop being a Republican. If you hold those values, embrace them but distance yourself from Donald Trump. He is NOT a Republican. I can only imagine what President Reagan or John McCain would have to say about the events of the past week. By the way, Conan O’Brien has an excellent podcast with Ron Reagan, Jr., talking about “Insurrection Wednesday’. Definitely worth a listen.

Tim Hunter

The Party’s Over

Crap! You’re forcing me to bypass on an otherwise fun and whimsical blog for the sake of making a commentary on what’s going on in our crazy world. Again.

Seriously, there will come a time when politics is boring and where people will disagree, sort of, but the outcome ends up being a strong, ‘whatever’.

That’s how politics used to be. It was the minority side of you. What people knew about you was that you were a Beatles fans or that you watched “Dallas” and were there for that big night when you found out who shot J.R., or a gazillion and one other identifiers that summed up your major priority.

Today, it’s blue versus red. You’re either one or the other. If you’re with me, you’re right. If not, you’re wrong.

I have to confess that I am….or, was….a Republican. Why? Responsible with money, living within my means, helping people who needed help, but not just handing out money so you create a dependent class…that kind of Republican.

I was a “Young Republican for Nixon”, and voted ‘R’ for most of the elections through the 1980s. Then the party began to evolve. Suddenly, the party that was so for personal freedom and against government intervention into our personal lives made being against abortion their major issue. If you wanted to protect the sanctity of life, you had to vote Republican.

But wait. You’re saying an unfit parent who would beat their child to death in a drug-fueled rage…their right to beat that child Trumped the right of the mother who knew this was coming? Yeah, it gets messy.

Abortion. Yeah, that’s an entirely different and heavy issue. Look, I’m against abortion and I would never in my life choose to get one. But guess what? I’ll never have to do that. I’m amazed at the Biblical Monday Morning Quarterbacks who have decided that if you conceive by mistake, you are to be penalized for life. Why? Because the Moral Police say so.

Wow, did this go south and quickly.

All this to say that, as a kid that was raised in a Republican household and that voted Republican most of his life, I’m saddened and embarrassed by what the Donald Trump Republicans are doing in the final days of this presidency. Here’s where I reach for strength:

I believe in the system. Our amazing Founding Fathers (and I’m sorry that Founding Mothers weren’t more involved, but those were the times) created a system that could survive despite a lunatic like our current president. If you’re struggling with the description ‘lunatic’, please listen to his phone call to the Secretary of State in Georgia.

All this to say, the blind loyalty to Trump after he took over the party has come back to roost. Now, you’re either a Trumper or not. That means, there’s a fraction in the Republican party so that now, it’s almost like there are two Republican parties. For now, there’s only one Democrat party and while I’m far from 100% agreement on everything they want to promote, at least they’re including more and more Americans.

At this writing, I don’t know what happens in Georgia. I know what I would like, but that doesn’t matter. It’s what the people of Georgia decide and I’m good with that.

I watch what Trump has done in his final months–pardoning cronies, ignoring the worse pandemic the country has ever experienced, continued to whine about false claims, etc. It would make me sick, but I’ve learned to let it go. History is the greatest judge of all and I only hope those who followed him, and believed him live long enough to realize the amazing scam he pulled off.

But do remember. He’s the only person ever to lose the popular vote for president twice. Yeah. That’s impressive.

Tim Hunter

PS–this was written the day before the nightmare at the Capitol Building. I’m going to let this speak for me:

A Gift For Someone Else

We’re in the final days before Christmas. If we’re not working fiendishly to get as much work done as possible so we can relax over the holiday, we’re donning (a seasonal term) our HAZMAT suits to go to the grocery store and buy everything needed for our upcoming feasts. Then we double check our gift lists and realize we’re a couple of gifts short, or even worse, the neighbor comes over and gives you a nice fruit basket. So, you panic, run over to the tree, rip off a name tag and hand them a present. Hopefully, it wasn’t that Fitbit you bought for your wife.

Our modern problems. But even as negotiations continue with the various family members on how to get together in a socially distant and responsible manner, there’s a world outside of ours filled with need.

For as much as 2020 was a challenge and setback to most people reading this, there was a gut punch to millions of Americans who were really hurt through no fault of their own. Jobs disappeared, unemployment benefits were used up and waiting in a long food line to get whatever they can to feed their family has become way too common. Governments, charitable organizations and people with far more resources than I are trying to help, but we’ve still entered an entirely new territory of need.

I’m pretty sure you’re like me in that you don’t want to just toss money at it, then return to your fortunate life and feel better. You want to make sure that whatever you donate actually reaches those people battling these incredibly hard times.

Through my job as the morning guy at KRKO/Everett, I’ve gotten to know the folks at the Volunteers of America/Western Washington. When I first heard their name, my first questions were, “Who?” and “Can they get the entire name on a t-shirt?” The past couple of holiday seasons, we’ve stood outside of a Fred Meyer up in Everett and gathered items in a fun “Stuff a Bus” promotion benefitting the VOAWW. Well, due to COVID and other reasons, that collection drive didn’t happen this year. So, take the existing need, add the pandemic bonus need, and you’ve got an organization scrambling to serve as many down-on-their-luck people as possible. And it’s a lot.

I encourage you to think about supporting your local food this year, maybe a little more than in years past. As much as I detest those donation solicits on Facebook when someone’s birthday rolls around (I just want to wish you a happy birthday, I don’t want to donate to fight your disease of choice that will put me on an relentless email list and so, instead of wishing you a happy birthday, I pretend I didn’t see your post), I’m going to give you the opportunity to help out the folks at VOAWW. On the radio for the next couple of days, I’m challenging anyone who enjoys the music we play on KRKO to donate $13.80 to the Volunteers. Of course, that’s in reference to the frequency of KRKO, 1380am.

Jessica Moore is the Director of Development at Volunteers and if you’ve got a couple of minutes, listen to my interview with her on Tuesday morning to hear about all the good they do in Snohomish County.

This year, more than ever, our extra help is really needed. Like I said, if you’ve got a local food bank or a favorite charity, take a moment to visit their website and give them even just a small dose of love. If you’d like to donate to the VOAWW, I promise you they’ll put your $13.80 to work and help the most people possible. Click here to donate.

Thanks for reading this and if you’re uncomfortable about me using this platform to ask you to donate to this incredible organization, remember my trick: just pretend you didn’t see this.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

It’s Christmastime again

Well, here we are once more.

The calendars are running out of days, we’re about to shift from fall to winter, and the various forms of Christmas surround us.

Some might say there is only one Christmas, but look around at what we go through every year. It’s an annual blend of “Awesome! Isn’t this great!” and “Oh, my God. How am I ever going to get all this done?” Add in, “No, we’re going to do it THIS way” or, “No, we were with your family last year” and there are unlimited combinations of ways for it to go wrong.

Christmas has become a blend of joyous events, parties, Santa pictures, holiday treats and gatherings, paired with deadlines, stress, expectations and hardline requirements on what makes a perfect Christmas.

Oh, I have a perfect Christmas in mind. It would be me and my kids and their kids all gathered at the house, with grandma getting a chance to see her descendants in person instead of just on Facebook. But grandma lives in California and these days, traveling is just not an option. Both my kids and their families are playing it safe and minimizing their holiday celebrations, out of concern for the safety of themselves and the family. I get it. Perfection will have to wait for another year.

Over the years, very, very few Christmas celebrations have ever been perfect. But if you look for the good, think of all those great moments you did get to experience. I start with those days as a child, when I was the one so anxious to see what Santa had brought me. Then suddenly, you find yourself a parent and get a front-row view as a dad. I remember driving one night in the Bothell area on our way home from somewhere when I saw the flashing red light on a tower at the Country Village Shopping Center. The kids were in the back seat and I pointed out the light, saying, “Look! It’s Rudolph’s nose! That means Santa is on his way. We better get home and get you to bed!”

What a great, great moment.

This year, even more than in previous years, there are ample ways for things to go south. Some families want to still get together regardless of the threat of COVID, while others are hunkering down, hopeful that playing it safe will keep them safe.

I think what a lot of people are missing is that every year, a great Christmas and a complete disaster are both there for our choosing. We can expect holiday perfection and be disappointed, or focus on just the good things that occur during this time of year.

I’m all about the latter. I’m doing everything in my power to cherish the festive lights, the great wine, the movies we watch again, the music that churns up the memories. Folks, it’s Christmas and if you need a little mental attitude adjustment, may I recommend listening to my holiday blend of music and fun this year, called Ho Ho Brother 20. It’s the 20th year I’ve put together one of these collections, and I feel it’s my best one yet. But then again, I say that every year.

Here’s to a healthy & happy holiday season. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my imagination to work so I can spend a few minutes at that perfect Christmas I told you about earlier.

Yeah, that’s nice.

Tim Hunter

My 2020 Christmas Season Adventure

I did it.

That first weekend of December for me is always a busy one, but this year’s edition was a mega challenge.
However, as you can see by this blog, I’m still here.
The cause of my early-December holiday stress overload was stepping up to help the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce pull off a Julebord. Normally, we’d all gather at the Seattle Golf Club for a festive holiday meal, I’d get up and do my goofball stuff, sing a silly song, and exorcise my extrovert demons.

However, as you know, it’s 2020 when we have no concept of what ‘normal’ is like. So, when the organization decided to try and put on a virtual Julebord. I said, “Sure, no problem. I can do that!” and I found myself into one of the biggest media projects I’ve ever taken on.

I love challenges. My daily routine is pretty much a reflection of that. I seriously pack way too much into every day, and when Monday rolls around, I wonder how the heck I’m going to get it all done. Yet, by Thursday, the bulk of those projects are done and Friday becomes a loosey-goosey play day. Or, could be. I usually use it to wedge in even more projects or to get a jump on next week’s over-commitments.

There were three major segments to the NACC Seattle virtual Julebord broadcast.

First, there was the pre-event countdown. A collection of songs and greetings along with a countdown clock so that people could find the NACC YouTube channel and know they were in the right place. The result was something you could actually put on in the background to enjoy the various performances. It includes songs by the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle, a duet named Kari & Daniel, local musician Lyle Ronglien and my brother-in-law, Kris Templin. (who is a regular performer at the in-person celebration) Plus, there’s a bunch of beautiful Norwegian scenery to enjoy. Here’s that first segment for your spare time viewing.

The next item was the really complicated one–the main program. There were multiple parts that needed to be recorded and collected, intros to the various segments to be produced and, of course, my contribution–writing a monologue and a traditional silly song to inject into the celebration.

I received video greetings from each of the NACC board members, as well as Norway’s Ambassador to the U.S. and the local Honorary Consul. The NACC president needed to do multiple segments. Kris needed to record his “O Holy Night” and then lip-sync for the video. We had to go to the home of the NACC Person of the Year and surprise him with an award, Publisher’s Clearinghouse style, and THEN, I needed to put all those pieces together.

There is no way I put in less than 40 hours on this effort, but it was all done with a passion to make it shine. I look at how perfectly it turned out in spite of all the things that could have gone wrong, and I couldn’t help but realize that my lifetime of experiences (including the failures) all came into play into making this happen.

With that said, here’s how the main program came out.

And, of course, I could have stopped there. But not me.

I added one more section to the project on my own–a Julebord “After Party.” Knowing that alcohol would be consumed during the event, when it wrapped, I was betting that people would be up for some of my comedy and things that I find funny. Maybe toss in some memories from Christmas’s long ago. And dig out some holiday home movies of that time we had Stan Boreson join the KLSY Morning Show for “the World’s Shortest Christmas Parade” in Bothell.

Something just for the fun of it. Set aside 20 minutes for this collection.

Yep, I did it.

I remember an earlier virtual event this year that we watched that turned into a major disaster. People couldn’t get in or on camera. As I worked on Julebord 2020, I was determined this sucker was going to be perfect.

Because we were drawing the door prizes the night before, that meant I couldn’t finalize the broadcast until a dozen hours before it was supposed to be broadcast to the world. I don’t know how much you know about video editing, but a video has to “render” which takes a long, long, long time. I had three lengthy pieces to render, and then I had to render all three of those together. By the time I rendered the entire program it was Friday morning at 2am. Then, I had to upload it to the NACC Seattle YouTube channel and set it to broadcast at 3:30pm.

Oh yeah, and to work in a little sleep.

Yet, it just all worked. I couldn’t wait for launch time to get here, because once it did and the broadcast had begun, I could relax. Frankly, it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle for me. We had 160+ viewers on Youtube, with a couple of dozen mores watching it through our Zoom feed of the event. Even so, that’s 160 logins plus a couple of people at each site, from Seattle to Norway, enjoy a virtual Julebord. A safe guess would be that 300 people have enjoyed the broadcast, double the normal audience at the live event.

I’m going to apologize now to my grandkids and great grandkids for the multiple times I’ll probably retell this story in my fledgling years. But here’s a tip: Just don’t get me started by saying, “Tell us again about the great Julebord adventure of 2020.”

Now you know how my December started. From here, the holiday season this year is going to be really easy.

Eggnog time.

Tim Hunter

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?

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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