The Time I Was a Buffoon

I can’t believe I did that.

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

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

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

Unless you’re me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sigh.

Tim Hunter

Brothers in Comedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim

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

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

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

My brother in comedy.

Tim Hunter

 

I was this close

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it won’t bring any of them back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

You’re Luckier Than You Realize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will press on.

I will live my life.

I will honor him every chance I get.

I will never forget him.

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

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

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

And I am blessed.

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

The History of Julio

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

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

THE MYTH

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

THE REALITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RETURN

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

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

Here’s how it sounded on KRKO.

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

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

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

How ’bout dem Hawks!

Tim Hunter

 

My 2020 Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

Tim Hunter

 

 

Happy December 17th!

A lot changed on that day back in 2003.

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

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

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

 

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

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

Children’s entertainer Tim Noah performed.

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

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

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

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

Yeah, right.

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, and Happy December 17th.

Tim Hunter

So Where Are You Going?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, and buckle up.

Tim Hunter

For Pete’s Sake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

P.S. Go Dawgs!

Saying Goodbye To The Pool Guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations on the promotion.

Tim Hunter

HO HO BROTHER 19–Quid Pro Ho

Well, I did it again. For the 19th consecutive year.

Let’s go back to where it all started, in 1999. I was playing radio as part of the Murdock, Hunter and Alice morning show on 92.5-KLSY in Seattle. Technology was beginning to pick up some serious speed. We had these cellular phone things that allowed you to make phone calls from practically anywhere if you were willing to carry the big battery it came with. It was the beginning of the digital world as we watched records and ‘carts’ replaced with amazingly clear compact discs or ‘CD’s.’

I have had several technology gurus over the years, going back to the early 1980s when I paid $1200 for a computer that ran DOS and had a monochrome monitor.  My neighbor Paul generously helped me learn all about them.

Over time, another neighbor in another neighborhood who worked at Microsoft came to my rescue more than once. Neil was a godsend as I took risks, screwed things up, but thanks to his tutelage, I learned what I did wrong and my computer know-how grew by leaps & bounds.

But it was as the century closed that Rick Taylor, the Sandusky radio chain I.T. guy, handed me a CD of Christmas music he had put together. “You what?  You found songs and then made your own CD? Tell me more.” And he did.

With enough knowledge to be dangerous, I created my first Christmas CD of holiday fun and favorites: HO HO BROTHER 1. It was a mishmash of Christmas songs, sentimental and goofy, while weaving in some of the Christmas bits I had produced over my radio career.  It was well received, and so the following Christmas I did another. And another. And another.

This became one of my Christmas traditions and I challenged myself to find songs you probably had never heard before, or different versions of the old classics, as well as creating original comedy, all blended together in a non-stop 68-minute Christmas-palooza. My self imposed rule was to never use the same version of the same song twice. In time, I even incorporated an original Christmas parody song that I wrote and local singer Alana Baxter recorded. We would even produce a music video to go along with it.

My goal was always to create a holiday experience that you could pop into a CD player and a little over an hour later, find yourself fully immersed in what this time of year was all about.

These days, I’ve got it down to a system. In fact, from the minute I put the finishing touches on the current year’s collection, I start stashing songs for next year’s compilation.

Here’s this year’s lineup:

HO HO BROTHER 2019—Quid Pro Ho

1) Dr. Phil’s Opening Big (Fred Bugg)

2) “Sugar & Booze” Ana Gasteyer

3) “I’ll be home for Christmas” Lea Michele with Jonathon Groff

4) “Christmas Tree” Meg & Dia

5) “Frosty the Snowman” Shannon & Keast

6) “Santa Stole My Lady” Fitz & the Tantrums

7) 1-877 SLAS-4-ELVS (Me)

8) “Christmas Cookies” Oak Ridge Boys

9) “Finally it’s Christmas!”   Hanson

10) “Colgate Tooth Powder Commercial”

11) “That’s What I Want For Christmas”   Shirley Temple

12) “I Love Christmas” Tommy James

14) “Little Drummer Boy”   Pink Martini

15) “A Willie Nice Christmas” Kacey Musgraves with Willie Nelson

16) “Merry Merry Christmas” John Legend

17) “Beer, Joy of Man’s Desiring” Christmas With Beer

18) “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”   Tommy Dorsey & Orchestra, Cliff Weston & Edythe Wright

19) “Christmas Comes But Once A Year”   Joe Bonamassa

20) “Jingle Bells” The Ray Conniff Singers

21) “Some Day At Christmas” Alana Baxter

22) “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”   Bing Crosby

23) “Mele Kalikimaka”   Chris Isaak

24) “O Come All Ye Faithful”   Susan Boyle with Elvis Presley

25) “I Believe In Father Christmas”   Greg Lake with Ian Anderson

26) “Walken In A Winter Wonderland”   (Scott Burns)

 

I’m really proud of this year’s edition. I stumbled across a Tommy James Christmas song he did that’s a lot of fun that I had never even heard of before.  There’s a Shirley Temple tune that brings back some childhood memories.  There are modern entries, some classics and two of my radio brothers bringing their best for the Dr. Phil open (Fred Bugg) and and Christopher Walken close (Scott Burns).  I am truly blessed.  Yeah, and that’s me not being able to resist doing 1-877-SLAS-4-ELVS.

With all the being said, enjoy this year’s collection right here.  Just click on it to listen, or right click it to save on your computer. Put it on your phone and you have a Christmas party to go!

And now with another shift in the technology, CD’s are going away, but I still make a few for those who still have players. Here’s what this year’s label looks like:

The little girl is from a photo taken in 1950s Seattle, as she gazed at all the dolls in Frederick & Nelson’s window.

I still don’t have a new song written for Alana yet this year, but we’ll pull it off again somehow. It always works out.  Last year, we did the “Someday at Christmas” you find on this year’s HO HO and filmed the video at Bothell’s Country Village, which is no more. It’s where I was a town crier and welcomed Santa most of the last 17 years. It’s amazing how quickly things we do become things we used to do.

That’s why I cherish this time of year and probably go overboard in holiday commitments and activities. But you know, one day, those will be the things I’ll remember that I used to do.

Make it count. Yeah, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it’s going to be a short holiday season, so let’s get this show on the road.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

PS Oh, and yeah, here’s last year’s Alana Baxter video. Enjoy!

 

My Soccer Evolution

Yes, to the rest of the world, it’s ‘football’. But in these United States of America, it’s known as ‘soccer.’

As for my ‘Top of Mind’ in regards to soccer, for years my response would have been Pele, Messi and Ronaldo. These days, it’s the Seattle Sounders. They’ve been my home town team for a dozen years now. When you appear in the championship game three of four years, you know you’re cheering for a team that’s doing something right.

What do I know about the Seattle Sounders? Their current coach is a guy who played high school soccer at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, and actually played with the team years ago. Drew Carey is among the owners, as is Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson, his wife Ciara and Seattle rapper Macklemore. My radio brother Ken Carson leads the “March to the Match” every week.

However, I will admit, soccer has its detractors and its hard to justify watching a 0-0 game that shaves 90 minutes off your life. (OK, nil-nil) So, how did I become a fan of this non-baseball/basketball/football sport?

It was not overnight. Going back to when I was growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s, somebody somewhere thought it would be a good idea to bring a bunch of European soccer teams to the U.S., assign them to major cities, and see what America thought of soccer. My team was the L.A. Wolves. I don’t remember much about them except the fact we never went to any games during the season, but somehow, my dad nabbed tickets to the season championship game. The L.A. Wolves won in triple overtime! Pretty exciting stuff, but that was the only year that league existed.

Flash forward to the early 1990s, when my daughter wanted to play soccer because all of her friends were. We signed her up, but the league informed us there weren’t enough coaches. So, I volunteered to coach a sport I knew nothing about. I went to a couple of coach clinics, got my cones and practice balls, and attempted to make them soccer smart. The same thing happened with my son, where their team had no coach, so I stepped up.  Waking up at 2:17AM every morning and being done with work by noon, that gave me time to catch a nap, pick up the kids at school and then go to a field somewhere and coach them.

Eventually, more soccer-knowledgeable dads stepped up and I returned to the sidelines and studied the game. I had to admit, it was pretty darn exciting.

After my kids retired from the sport, I pretty much put soccer on the backburner until I met my wife, Victoria, whose son, Nick, was an All-Kingco goalie and soccer was pretty much their sport of choice. So, back in I went.

We catch most Sounders games during the season on the DVR and then fast-forward through them to see all the scoring highlights. I have to say that the passion the die-hard Sounders have is commendable and on par with what their European counterparts are doing.

The women have already shown us that the U.S. can win a World Cup. Now, it’s time for the guys to up their game. I still know people who just can’t get into soccer and I understand. You need a person connection like your kid playing to discover the intricacies of the mini-games within the game. Much like baseball, who some people feel it’s like watching grass grow, if you learn those little nuances of the game, it’s fascinating.

And so, here I am, a Seattle Sounders fan “until I die”, as the fans chant every game. It’s a team of unlikely but talented heroes who put it all together, even when the odds were against them. And what’s not to love about that.

The Seattle Sounders have discovered the secret sauce of how to always be a contender and that definitely keeps bringing me back. I can’t wait until next year! Thanks for a great 2019 Championship Year!

Go Sounders!

Tim Hunter

My Long-Shot Presidential Prediction

Months from now, you could be passing along this piece to someone as you say, “I knew a guy who called it back in November of ’19 who called it!”

This early, we simply just don’t know how next year’s presidential race will turn out. There are so many variables that could affect the outcome, not just in the election, but also in the nominating process. However, I have a feeling, a hunch, an inner voice that is saying to me, “You know, this seems awful familiar.”

Candidates who were long-shots at this stage of the game (before the first primary) ended up receiving the nomination of their party and winning the whole thing. Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, was a very unlikely candidate.  Ronald Reagan, a former actor from California? C’mon. And Bill Clinton, a governor of the hog-raising state of Arkansas made it to our nation’s highest office, coming out of what seemed to be nowhere.

I remember a fairly tight presidential race that took place in 1960. I wasn’t into politics, since I was only five years old, but I do remember hearing things.  Oh, I was oblivious to the mentions in the evening news or in the newspapers (since I wasn’t very good at reading quite yet). In fact, my memory of that time in my life is pretty limited and slowly fading. Yet, I do recall hearing something that I have cited over the years in conversations where someone states that a particular candidate could never be president because (fill in the blank).

During that Presidential Campaign of 1960, somewhere along the line I heard that there was no way that John F. Kennedy would be elected president because he was a Roman Catholic. As we know now, not so much a practicing one, but a Roman Catholic. The phrase that burned into my brain from whatever source it came from was, “Yeah, if he gets elected, he’ll have us all praying to Mary.”

There had never been a member of the Catholic church elected to be an American president until JFK cracked that barrier.  By today’s standard, a pretty small barrier, but that was just the beginning of the evolutionary 1960s.

Years from now, I’m going to remember hearing people say, “Oh, Pete could never get elected president because he is gay.” Here’s where I go out on the skinny branches–I believe Pete Buttigieg will be the next President of the United States.

Several months ago, when he was a true longshot, I sent $50 his way, hoping that by some miracle, his candidacy could catch fire. Up until recently, it’s been Biden, Bernie, Warren and all the others. I figure the others are hanging in there so they might be considered as a running mate.

I’m convinced Pete is going to surprise people in Iowa and then, once people see that it’s OK to vote for him, his campaign is going to catch fire.

Why Pete?  Have you heard him speak. He’s eloquent, intelligent, a moderate Democrat (which is more in keeping with someone who could get things done) and has all the youthful energy that JFK did when he took office. There’s that military background, toss in manners and decorum and a Buttigieg presidency could end up being an incredible unifying gift to this country.

However the election turns out and whoever becomes president will have a small impact on my personal life and happiness. So many people act as if it’s a life and death matter and it can be if you want it to be.

From my view, I only see a man with conviction, who served his country–first in the military and then, in public office–who isn’t afraid to take the really big swing and reach for the country’s highest office.

Very Kennedy-esque. However, he’s gay instead of Catholic. I believe our democracy can survive. And so, I’m going to go with Mayor Pete as the longshot winner.

However you feel, vote, and we’ll get our answer in a year.

God bless America. (picture flag waving here)

Tim Hunter

You Just Never Know

Over my decades of working for a living, I’ve met an amazing collection of characters. You know how when you reflect upon a certain period of time in your life, certain people suddenly pop back into your mind?

That occurred this week when I was notified of the passing of a former client.

Towards the end of my tenure at Destination Marketing, a local ad agency, I worked with a client called Leaf Filter, which was run by a guy named Mitch Reed.  Having a great radio name and the pipes for it, what I soon learned about him was that back in the day, he was quite the advertising guru for one of the major New York agencies. He enjoyed telling stories about those days and always included something special in all of our meetings: he smoked like a chimney.

We’re talking indoors here people, as in meetings where, if you sat anywhere near him during the meeting, you left their smelling like you had just come from a Marlboro test facility. Our agency wanted to keep him so badly as a client that we just smiled and didn’t say anything. The one time he talked about coming up to our offices, we knew he would probably light one up in our building and I was pretty sure no one would have the nerve to say something about it. He ended up not coming.

Even though in this day and age, it’s extremely illegal to smoke indoors in an office, the other Leaf Filter employees didn’t say a word. I remember at least three meetings where I came home, threw my clothes in the hamper and took a shower to get rid of the cigarette smoke.

In one of my earlier shoots as a director, we shot some footage at a fellow DM employee’s house. We produced some very nice commercials for Leaf Filter and, after stumbling across this video, I see that it was in 2010. Wow, almost a decade ago.

 

I haven’t seen or thought about Mitch for most of the last decade, so when I heard earlier this week that he had passed away, my limited assortment of memories returned. But one former co-worker was sent the inside scoop about Mitch’s life and I marveled as I read about this even more colorful character. So I thought I would share this very nice collection of memories written by his former wife:

Mitchell was a larger than life character and raconteur with a radio voice, sharp sense of humor and brilliant mind, who started his career as a radio broadcast journalist, but spent most of his career in advertising.

He was born and raised in Philadelphia, the son of Quaker and Jewish parents. The family business was Jacob Reed’s Sons, a clothing retailer with a 159 year history including outfitting the army and navy dating back to the Civil War. The flagship store on Chestnut Street that’s now a CVS Pharmacy, still stands as a historic building in Philly.

He was an athlete who was sought after by every MLB baseball team. Baseball was a passion but he was even better at hockey and played goalie. He would have loved to pursue a career in sports if his dad hadn’t talked him into going to college, so off he went to study at the University of Iowa School of Journalism, followed by an MBA from Fordham, which led to a career in advertising.

In advertising, he drove the creative for countless campaigns on Madison Avenue, many for P&G. When Listerine was the dominant mouthwash brand, he knocked it off its pedestal with Scope by forever associating Listerine with “medicine breath”. He would cringe if I said he’ll live on with his copy “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” but I think it’s true. Advertising and marketing was his craft and he could appeal to the consumers’ mindset better than anyone with simple, meaningful messaging.

He was a New York ad guy until he moved to Japan to lead global ad campaigns in Tokyo where we met. He was CEO of Grey Daiko Advertising and a governor of the American Chamber of Commerce of Japan. His insight into the Japanese culture and consumer allowed countless global brands to succeed in the Japanese market. He loved his time in Japan and made lifelong friends. We fell in love with Seattle and moved here 25 years ago because we wanted to raise our kids in the most beautiful place on earth.

It seemed nothing was ordinary in his life. He’d tell stories of riding in a limo with JFK, hosting Jimmy Carter in his home, spending months with Jerry Lewis or Peter Ustinov in Israel for UNICEF commercials, working with Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell, Crocodile Dundee, Sigourney Weaver…

While with the American Chamber he met Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger and several Russian diplomats. He knew many Russian hockey players from his hockey days so he asked after several players. Dropping Russian name after name sent the wrong message. Thinking he was sending a signal that he wanted to defect to the USSR the Russians started a dialogue. He thought they were being friendly until his friend who was a US Embassy “cultural attaché” AKA CIA clued him in on what was going on. The reality was he loved to chat with people.

He always had a soft spot for The Phillies and The Philadelphia “Iggles”, but he became an avid Seahawks and Mariners fan.

He traveled the world extensively and experienced more of life than most people which added to his story collection. He genuinely cared about people and would be the first to visit friends in hospital or check in if they were sick. In our last conversation even though he was recovering from a previous stroke, he was calling to see how I was since I’d been under the weather.

Not all ex spouses get along but we were lucky. Despite ups and downs we remained family and he became BFF’s with Paul DeMars. Every conversation I had seemed to include Mitchell asking where Paul was.

At the end, he went according to his terms. We had transitioned to comfort care and were told he would pass quickly. Sure. The chaplain said prayers. Mitchell wasn’t religious but we wanted to cover all bases so we’d asked for a rabbi too. Sadly she wasn’t available until the next day, so we were resigned to not having Jewish prayers. We started playing his favorite songs and braced ourselves for the inevitable. 12 hours+ and almost 200 songs later, I’d run out of songs and resorted to playing Christmas music, which of course is when the rabbi walked in. Did I mention he had a sense of humor? He went peacefully as she was saying prayers. The day nurse had just come back on shift and said that in 25 years he had never seen anyone hang around that long, let alone 12 hours. He must have liked the music.

He was an East Coast guy on the outside, but soft and sentimental on the inside and loved nature and animals. He was many things but more than anything he loved his girls, Erica and Sara. They were his pride and joy. He was an attentive, doting dad and best friend to both. Erica inherited his sixth sense for marketing, business and appreciation for advertising, as well as love of sports and cooking. Sara shares his passion for baseball, politics, current affairs, people and is a natural public speaker and debater. They both have his gift of gab, curious mind and love to travel and explore different cultures. They appreciate good food and wine. He loved the sea, so together they went on many cruises to Mexico, The Caribbean, Panama Canal, South America, Canada, Alaska. They were lucky to have the time that they had but when someone fills your heart with so much love, laughter, adventure, imagination, wisdom and bear hugs, the loss is immense.

We will miss him, love him and remember him always ❤️❤️

I have to say, I liked the guy, but when he quit being a client of the ad agency, he instantly transitioned to being just a blip of my past. Even though it took his passing, it was nice to be reminded about those couple of years when I worked with one extremely interesting person that I actually knew very little about. Until now.

I can almost smell the cigarette smoke.

Rest well, Mr. Reed.

Tim Hunter

Chris Settle pointing out to Mitch

what we were doing next

Time IS Marching By…

I don’t know how I ended up in this particular place at this point, but time is racing along.

Oh, there have been weeks that seem like they last forever. But lately, it seems as though I blink and we’re heading into another month.

As we stand now, November arrives a week from Friday. Really?  Thank God Thanksgiving is so late; but, then again, that means there are fewer days between the end of November and Christmas. OK, quick reality check–Christmas is just 9 weeks from today.

I’d like to circle around to the thought that was inspired from all this: Make it count.

It’s just another day at work–make it count.

Got one more parent/teacher conference–make it count.

Yeah, this is a pulpit I’ve preached from before, but I’m called to remind everyone reading this collection of ramblings: if you do anything over the next couple of years, make them count.

I was just a nerdy kid who left a Lutheran elementary school and found himself in a public school with very few friends. That seems like yesterday.

I ended up a pretty popular high school student, who played on the basketball team, dated the girl of his dreams and was Senior Class President, ASB vice-president and Senior Prom King. As Walter Brennan used to say, “No brag. Just fact.”

Off into the real world I went and I can easily come up with a handful of moments where I wished I had “made them count.” But instead, I let them pass, figuring there were lots more opportunities like that in the future. That isn’t always the case.

I remember Al, the overnight security guard at KOMO radio & TV, who I befriended during my radio days there. He just wanted friends. At one point, Al had to be hospitalized and so I thought, I’ll get down and visit him eventually. He never returned.

There was a girl I was dating my senior year of college that I pretty much disbanded. I thought it was just too darn early to settle down and it probably was, but she was a quality human being and I was a young guy trying to get it all out of his system. I owe her more than an apology, but I’ve offered that and she said it wasn’t necessary.

So, people move on. Maybe I’m the one hanging on to things I should let go. I’m seriously convinced that everything that happens in our life has a purpose, maybe even a lesson attached. Geeze, I’ve learned a ton of lessons during my years on this rock and I’m grateful for all of them. I’m also big on “everything happens for a reason” in that, where I’m at today is an accumulation of everything I’ve experienced before.

And here we are. I’m here, married to an amazing women who cares about the things in her life more than I could ever dream. Oh, I love my wife, my kids, my mom and sisters, and all the relatives I stay in touch with. I really do appreciate you. But the curse of being a perfectionist is that you review what you did–good or bad–and continually reevaluate if it was the right thing to do.

And because of that “everything happens for a reason–good or bad” philosophy, I’ll have to assume my choice was correct.  In putting a high value on time, it seems like its wasteful reliving things that have already happened. They had their time, as that precious commodity disappears so quickly.

So do whatever it takes to slow it all down. Don’t be in a hurry for it to all be over. Let it breathe, enjoy the ride and while I’m at it, thanks to everyone who has been a part of my incredible journey.

And as your ride continues….make it count.

Tim Hunter

       I still remember posing for that picture

Spending the Week Surrounded By My Past

I’ve gotten on a recent kick of being sure to make every day count. Alex Trebek is the latest reminder in the news that our time here has its limits and we’ve got to make the most of that precious commodity.

This week has been chock full of little reminders of just how fast it’s all flying by:

Rip Taylor: This crazy funny man who made a living out of wearing a bad toupee and throwing confetti came into KOMO radio twice during my 4-1/2 years there in the early 80s. Back then, as Larry Nelson’s producer, Lar was on the air while I was down the hall interviewing guests and then cutting up the interviews to make it sound like Larry had talked with them. I didn’t mind because he was the star and I got to meet the celebrities passing through promoting their book or theater show or movie. Rip passed away over the weekend at the age of 84, so he had two decades on me. But it seems just like yesterday he was choking me in the KOMO hallways.

Peter Frampton: We’re going to see Mr. Frampton on Wednesday night at the Paramount. Hearing that this was going to be his last tour (yeah, they all say that but he offered up some health news that backed it up)  I felt I had to catch him one more time. We let Elton John get by recently because we just weren’t up to a late night on a work night and driving back & forth to Tacoma. Our justification on that one was that Elton will probably do a residency in the near future down in Las Vegas and we’d catch him then.  I saw Peter a couple of times back in college at the peak of “Frampton Comes Alive” and he put on a great show. We’re talking over 40 years ago and that just doesn’t seem possible.

Linda Botts: Linda has been a longtime friend, going back to my early KLSY days. We were on board the Victoria Clipper watching when they blew up the Kingdome. She was our “Royal Expert” on the Murdock, Hunter & Alice show, who would offer thoughts and opinions on all the royal goings-on in the Princess Diana era. In the small world of things, I knew Linda forever and so did my wife Victoria. When Victoria and Linda got together for lunch, she let it be known she was marrying a disc jockey, and Linda yelled out, “I know him!” Wednesday night, we’ll all be enjoying Mr. Frampton together.

Wayne Newton: I heard a radio commercial that he’s coming up here to perform at a Northwest casino and boy did that bring back memories. Flashback to my days at KOMO where I was Larry Nelson’s producer and we were welcoming Wayne to the Paramount for an appearance. It was such a big deal at that time. We were broadcasting live backstage and Larry was scheduled to chat briefly with Wayne.  Before we get to that, Wayne’s “manager” who looked like he was a stunt double for the cast of Goodfellas told me that Larry was NOT to bring up the recent debacle involving the 4th of July celebration in Washington, D.C.  You see, at that time, the Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, felt the Beach Boys were too hippy-like and so he replaced them with America’s entertainer, Wayne Newton.  So, I went to Larry, told him NOT to bring that up and sure enough, moments later, we were live on the air–with Larry asking Wayne about the incident. The manager looked at me with cold threatening eyes and I thought for sure I was going to be fit with cement shoes.  Somehow, I’m still around to tell that story.

Shirley Thom: Back in my KOMO radio days, there was a young go-getter named Shirley Thom who eventually ascended to Sales Manager at KOMO, AM-1000. This past week, they had an 80th birthday party for her at the Nickerson Street Saloon. More flashbacks to a time that seems like a handful of years ago and all the fun we had at “Your Husky Station.”

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

All these ancient memories flushed to the top of my consciousness in the span of a week. The good news is I remember them all like they were yesterday and hope to hang on to them as long as humanly possible.

Oh, sure, this is just another busy, non-stop week in the life of you-know-who as I create even more memories for that little brain of mine to absorb. But while I live in the present, I equally enjoy looking off into the distance and being reminded of some other really good times in my life.

Living in the present while being surrounded by the past. Basically, the best of both worlds. I am friggin’ lucky.

Tim Hunter

 

A Significant Date

Well, lookee there—it’s already October!

When this month arrives, everything under God’s green earth is available in a Pumpkin-Spiced flavor, we start seeing suggestions for Halloween costumes and brightly-colored leaves are tossed into every piece of advertising. As I’ve said before, this is my absolute favorite season, with the return of football and big games on both Saturday and Sunday, baseball and soccer playoffs and so much more, I welcome each day as a favorite relative making an annual visit.

So it seems only fitting that October 1st should mean so much to me. That’s the date, five years ago–October 1st, 2014–that I rolled my career dice to see what would happen.

I was in my late 50s, in a job that was slowly smothering my creativity. Whatever I came up with was dumbed down. I saw projects I was proud of be “corrected” into Pablum. I initially talked about quitting that summer or looking for work elsewhere, but my salary was boosted enough to make me stay, at least for a few more months.  But as the summer wore on, so did my patience. When I went away for an extended Labor Day Weekend, I came back to find out that radio commercials I had creatively written had been slashed down to the 4th grade reading level and targeted towards consumers in the 1980s at best. I walked into my supervisor’s office and gave my one-month’s notice.  That would give them 30 days to find someone else to take on this mental flogging.

As September 30th approached, there were going-away events, tying up loose ends, and cleaning out desks to keep me busy. After all, I had been there 10 years and a lot of crap tends to pile up. I made some life-long friends at this place and stay in touch with a dozen or so of them still today. I actually sat down to count up the number of people I had worked with in that building. It was an even 100, with a staff averaging 16-41 people at any given time. Yes, people came, people went. I was going, but not in any particular direction.

I decided this would be a great time to create my ideal work situation. Rather than going into another full-time job, I wanted to piece-meal and craft some kind of situation where I could do more of the things I love and then just keep doing those until I was ready to hang it up for good. (not that I ever think I will)

For some of those close to me, there was trepidation and concern. There are those who need that sure-thing, full-time job for security’s sake. Having been eliminated from radio positions twice in my career, I found both times that when a job goes away, everything will be OK. You gotta believe in yourself and your skills and know that someone out there is going to appreciate them.

I reconnected with a former co-worker, Corey Newton and joined Create Impulse, a local ad agency. I started Tim Hunter Creative Services and picked up a handful of clients right away, and then spent more time developing other ventures I had dabbled in–voice over work, creating videos, writing more comedy, etc.  And now, it’s been five years since this grand experiment began and I’m so glad I finally took the big plunge. I’m also very grateful that it all worked out.

I remember, somewhere in mid-September of that year, I got a phone call from Fred Herring, a Bothell real estate guy that reached out to me every couple of years to have me speak at the Bothell Kiwanis breakfast. He asked if I was available to come and chat at their next gathering and I asked, “When’s that, Fred?”  “October 1st,” he responded.

“As a matter of fact, Fred, I’m available that day.”

It would be Day One of my grand experiment, so I already had a topic: “Now this is living!”

I live a busy life and every now and then, like this week, commitments pile up and make for an on-the-go adventure. I live for it, yet some don’t understand it. “You’re too busy!”

I laugh and over-schedule in your face.

The day will come when I can’t do this anymore. But for now, I can and so I will.

And loving it. For five years now. Something I heard many years ago was that, in your final moments, you don’t regret what you did during your life–but rather, what you didn’t do.

I’m making that list shorter every day.

Tim Hunter

 

The Great Otto Correct Battle

I have always been an early adaptor when it comes to technology. I love new things and to be among the first to play with them.

I remember fairly soon after microwaves came out, I bought one, despite the fact the radioactivity coming from it was only slightly lower than Chernobyl.

When the VCR became available to the masses, I just had to have one. $1200 later,  this big silver box was perched by my TV flashing 12:00am like it meant it.

So, when cell phones began invading our world, I just had to get one.  I admit, at first, they were SO expensive that I quenched my technology thirst by using the radio station’s phone for personal appearances and such.  It was one of these:

 

Eventually, they became consumer ready and I charged into the technology with a Nokia phone. Yes, the Microsoft phone. I wanted to support the local company that provided the phone’s operating system, but that passion soon faded as friends with Androids or iPhones were able to download cool, fun programs, and I just had to watch. Eventually I made the break to Samsung and was an S3 through S8 user. But when the battery on my S8 started dying every couple of hours even after I had replaced it, I decided to finally take the Apple plunge. I bought an X last year and have been in love ever since.

Except for one thing that I think everyone struggles with no matter which brand: voice recognition.

When I began dating a special someone a dozen years ago with Norwegian heritage, the two of us developed the habit of ending our correspondences with “Jeg elsker deg”–Norwegian for “I love you.”  It wasn’t long before we abbreviated it to the initials, J.E.D.  A typical message would be, “See you tonight. JED”

Texting that with your thumbs, no problem. Saying it for the sake of a voice-recognition text is another thing. I would think that, over time, it would notice I say “JED” a lot and it would learn, but NOOOOOOO.

So, over the past year, my wife has received text messages from me that are signed with something that was supposed to be JED. Among the lack of voice recognitions created by Siri and her co-conspirators:

Chad (ironically, one of the names of her bosses)

Jen

Jihad

Chin

Shawn

John

and Judge

So, to all those people out there named Jed who have run into this modern-day challenge, I feel your pain. Something to consider: legally changing your name to “I love you.” It would help both of us out.

Tim Hunter

PS: I don’t know about you, but when it comes to Jeds, to me, this is still the most famous one.

 

Can Everybody Just Calm The BLEEP Down?

So, last Sunday was going to be epic. We didn’t have any plans to speak of, were going to spend the day putzing around the house and maybe run a few errands, all after the Seahawks finished their early game.

I got up, turned on the TV and the screen was blue. I was able to switch to Netflix or Prime, no problem and the cheap digital antenna I hooked up worked. So, there was something wrong with the cable.

I did a couple of resets of the system without any luck. I got a Xfinity/Comcast person on the phone, we tried a couple of his tricks and still, nothing. So, I booked the soonest service appointment they had available which was Monday afternoon. Go without cable for over 24 hours? Unthinkable. My plan was to run over to the Comcast store when it opened at 10am, swap boxes and if that ended up being the problem, I’d just cancel the repair appointment. This should work.

In the meantime, a bunch of panicky emails started circulating from my KRKO & KXA radio brethren up north.  Apparently, a staff member had posted a picture of some teens and several of our Facebook followers were pointing out that they were allegedly flashing “White Gang Signs.”  The immediate response by one of those in our group was to take it all down, which they did.

But what’s this White Gang sign thing? I apparently operate in different circles and I’m not doubting there is such a thing, but how did several of our listeners become such great experts in this field?  Well, let’s start with the controversial picture:

 

OK, I’ll give you that they’re white. There’s three of them, so technically, it could be a gang. A small gang, but a gang none the less.  But before we start making accusations about some teens in Snohomish County, why would you immediately go to the darkest place possible? Do you know these kids and what they are into?  My God, how many times did I mug the camera when I was in my teens, doing goofy things.

So, are they “White Gang” signs?  Well, you be the judge–here’s a website that identifies all of the possible White Gang signs.

Not really a lot of matches, unless you’re considering the classic “OK” sign to be a gang sign. Are you willing to go there and think the worst of these kids because of the OK sign they’re flashing?  Then I’d just like to quickly point several other White Gang members of whom you may not be familiar.

 

Yeah, I always knew they were up to something

 

You tell ’em, T-Pain

 

Such a young age to be a racist

 

No, Johnny, No!

 

Paul, how could you?

 

Hermione, say it isn’t so!!!

 

I should have known by the gang hoodie.

I think that’s a hoodie.

All this to say, just calm the BLEEP down. Like I said, if you know those kids are White Gang members, SAY SOMETHING TO THE POLICE. But if you’re just trying to troll from the confines of your parents’ basement, get a life. Or go after some of these other, more well-known targets above, Mr. or Mrs. Gang Sign Expert.

Now, back to my cable situation. Well, with the Seahawks playing at 10am, my game plan was to hop in the car and be at the Xfinity/Comcast store right when they open, swap out boxes and hopefully be back watching the game by the second quarter. It seemed crazy enough that it just might work.

Except, when I arrived, I found out that they don’t actually open until 11am. Well, rather than running back and forth from my house to the mall, I called my wife and said I was going to go hang out at The Ram, have a beer and watch the game until the cable store opened.  I pulled up to the Ram–and it was closed. They didn’t open until 11. So I headed over to Stanford’s and they also didn’t open until 11.  OK, that’s it, I surrender. I’ll burn up a little more fossil fuel and go home for 20 minutes and then head back.

My second trip proved more fruitful. Within 3 minutes, I had handed over the old box, grabbed the new one, and zipped home.  VICTORY! It was a defective cable box all along!  My big beautiful 70-inch television was once again filled with Seahawks football and my precious Sunday morning was back to normal. I was elated.

So much, I flashed myself the “OK” sign.

And all this left me with just one question: Can everybody just calm the BLEEP down?

Tim Hunter

PS  So now the move is on to make all of those people pictured above racists. Here’s the story

 

The Most Expensive Concert Ever

 

For years, I knew Chris Isaak existed.

People who use to listen to “The Mountain” here in Seattle or even going back to the KZAM era, there were people who knew Chris Isaak was around.  I actually knew several die-hard fans who went to see him every time he came to the northwest, which was pretty much every year.

So, when a friend of ours asked if we wanted to go see Chris at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery on September 7th, we immediately said, “Yes!”

Chris had a big hit with “Wicked Game” and I personally love that song. Whatever else he played, people seemed to like. I heard that in concert he was very personable and like to talk with the crowd and tell stories. Sounds like a good time to me.

So, we committed to the concert. Tickets were $50 each to sit on the lawn and listen, which is my favorite way to enjoy concerts at this venue. So, keeping track, we’re in $100 so far.

The day of the concert, we arrived later than I would have liked, but hey, for a $50 concert and to hear someone I’d always wanted to catch, that’s a deal. Oh, parking was $20.

Now, we’re inside the gates and had to buy some wine. You’re no longer allowed to bring in wine to the concert, even if it’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. You have to buy it on premises. I purchased two bottles at the outside booth, while my wife bought one bottle inside the winery–grand wine total spent, $110. For those of you keeping score at home, we’re now up to $230 for the event.

I’m not even going to include the cost of the food we bought for the picnic. But for a while, all was great.  The opening act was tolerable, the crowd was growing excited, and then, the big moment: Chris Isaak took the stage.

It was everything I had hoped for–energy, excitement about being there, he told some stories about life, etc. OK, there were those on-going flashes of lightning in the background throughout. Then, the moment came–a disembodied voice let us know that we needed to evacuate. Yes, due to the lightning storm danger, we were asked to leave everything where it was and head either to our cars, or inside to the winery.

Oh, sure, “to our cars.”  Can’t think of a better place to be than a car during a lightning storm.

So, there we sat, inside the winery, awaiting word on the concert. At one point, an employee without a sound system to assist her announced that the winery had gotten permission to go later than normal 10pm curfew, should the concert be able to resume. Yay, us!

90-minutes after coming in to avoid the lightning storm, we were told we had 20-minutes to go outside, retrieve our soaking-wet blankets and chairs and get out of Dodge. Yes, the concert was officially canceled.

It doesn’t matter how you break it down. I went to the Rolling Stones concert in August and got two hours with free tickets. I go back to my U-Dub days, when I fell asleep during a Led Zeppelin concert, only to hear the first couple of songs and then the last song. At least four songs, for something like $40.

For Chris Isaak, $230 was spent for four songs. That figures out to $57.50 per song. That right there is a pretty expensive way to do a concert.

Chateau Ste. Michelle hasn’t said a word. Apparently, we’re supposed to eat it. We’ll stand by, awaiting further results, but it’s going to make me think twice about going there–as much as I love that venue–to know that you can go $230 deep for four songs.

Yep, absolutely the most expensive concert I’ve ever been to…..

WAIT!!!!!

And now this late-breaking update!!

Seriously, I was just about to hit “publish” when I thought I’d check the Chateau Ste. Michelle website to see if there was any update from there. There was.

Provided we get to go, Chris Isaak is no longer the most expensive concert I’ve ever attended.  I’ll have to figure that one out later. In the meantime, I wonder if  we already have something planned on the 22nd?  Hmmmm, I’ll have to check.

Tim Hunter

Visiting Scotland and Ireland 101

 

One of the Scottish castles, most likely once attacked by Vikings. Notice the picnic tables the Vikings used in the foreground.

OK, I can’t resist–here are some stories from my recently completed adventure which took my wife Victoria and me through Scotland and Ireland. This will sound crazy, but it’s the first vacation where it was just the two of us–not traveling with relatives or visiting relatives–since our honeymoon almost 12 years ago. That’s long enough to make a Scotch!

And that part is coming up….but first:

So this doesn’t become a long-winded travelogue full of things that mean more to us than you, I thought I’d pass along some of the things I learned along the way so you might benefit from my gained knowledge.

First off, this was my first vacation where I really turned over a lot of it to a travel agent. The story behind the one we picked (Jo at Tangerine Travel)–I was leaving a Bothell Kenmore Chamber meeting a couple of months ago when a woman approached me and asked, “Are you the Tim Hunter who used to be on the radio?” I said, “Maybe…..”  That’s when she let me know that her name is Jo but long ago, she was my newspaper girl Jody and that she babysat my kids a couple of times. These days, she was a travel agent.

So, with this reacquainted friendship and the fact I once trusted her with my kids, I thought I should see what happens when you let an agent handle everything. I’m totally convinced it’s worth the $40 per person fee for planning everything and being there on the other end, if anything goes wrong. Oh, and things can.

THE FLIGHTS

Probably the first nugget I’ll pass along has to do with the Irish airline, Aer Lingus.  For those of you who don’t know, Aer Lingus is Gaelic for “lost luggage.” Two weeks before we left, my step-son Nick and his wife Samantha left Seattle bound for a Scotland/Italy vacation. The day before coming home, Nick got his bag. Sam hasn’t seen hers yet, three weeks later.

When we flew from Edinburgh to Dublin, Victoria’s bag made it. Mine was nowhere to be seen, as dozens of others were also missing from our flight. We were told by an Aer Lingus rep that if the flight was full, that some of the heavier bags may have been bumped to a later flight. Mine finally arrived a day later, so I only had to make due for roughly 30 hours.

The main flight from Seattle to Dublin takes around 9 hours. You can watch a lot of movies and avoid a lot of sleep during that time. They called it “coach”, but I feel we flew in Leprechaun Class. Those seats were obviously designed for people much smaller than me. Then again, when the woman in front of my wife leaned her seat back, the video screen for Victoria was about 10-inches from her face.

The jets they flew were Airbus and new, so that was a plus. However, the flight crew on the way over must have had family members taken hostage because they were more tolerant than friendly. However, on the way back, we had a happy crew including a singing flight attendant.

THE CAR RENTAL

Yeah, I took the big swing and rented a car for our exploration of Scotland. Wheel on the wrong side, driving on the wrong side, the works. A close call of almost pulling out into oncoming traffic as I left the rental place inspired me to driver overly-parnoid the entire time. It paid off. No incidents except for a couple of curb encounters of the gentle kind the first day. It takes getting used to, but it can be done. For what we did, it was perfect. City driving is far from fun, with all the one-ways and reverse turns and boy, are they big on round-abouts, which are tricky enough when you’re driving the proper direction. Our first night in Edinburgh, we arrived to the city in our rental car around 6pm….and at 8pm, we broke down and asked a taxi driver to lead us to our hotel.  Oh, we had a Garmin, but it tried to direct us to roads that are usually open–but that were closed due to the annual International Fringe Festival. (the nickname is ED Fest, so that’s not what you were thinking) To see the country and get outside of the cities, its best to rent a car. But I’m figuring next time, by the time you figure in rental, gas and parking, it’s probably break-even to just taking the bus or train to get around. And less stressful.

THE ACCOMODATIONS

Jo came up with a nice blend of hotels to stay at, most including breakfast as part of the price.

The Parliament House–The hard-to-find when you’re new in town, but totally worth it destination. The cleanliness of the rooms blew my wife away and their in-hotel Bistro offered up delicious, not-over-priced food, with food allergy accommodations. It felt very homey.

 

Highlight of this place–I’d have to say the breakfast

 

Loch Ness Clansmen Hotel–It is right across from the lake where Nessie calls home and a nice headquarters for a day. We did two nights there, which really weren’t necessary, but it allowed us to explore on a more leisurely pace. From Edinburgh, it was a 5-hour drive through the Highlands to get here, which allowed us to visit the Culloden Battlefields to the north and Urquhart Castle to the south. Oh, and we went looking for the Queen’s summer castle which was under heavy guard so when we found the royal distillery, we called it good.

The famous Highland Games were actually held when we were there, but not having cash, we couldn’t get in. The nearby bank machine had been cleaned out. We felt it just wasn’t mean to be.

Highlight of the Clansmen–Dave’s perfect Cosmo.

Jury’s Inn GlasgowThis was a centrally-located hotel, which made for easy discovery around the city. We were given an executive corner room. My wife thought it was one of the best rooms we stayed in. However, the main point of coming here was to flush out some family history, as my dad was born in the town of Wishaw, not far away. We believe found some new branches of the tree which I’m going to flush out on a recommended website, Scotlands People.

Highlight of this destination–we hopped a cab and had dinner at a place called the Hillhead Book Club

Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge –Then it was back to Edinburgh for a couple of days. We had only really spent 12 hours there our first visit and I’m so glad we took the time to see more of the sites of this city. Now, the plus side of this hotel was its location. We were surrounded by the city and walked our little tails off. The drawback of the Ibis: it’s for the hipster generation. Very minimalistic. Want more than 4 power outlets in the room? Out of luck, pal. Want a nice, cushy bed? How about a box frame and thick mattress pad thrown on top. We considered it glamping. Oh, and if you want to reach the front desk, the room doesn’t have a phone. You’re supposed to reach them on the app, WhatsApp.  Again, for me, the food was fantastic and I made the most of that included breakfast.

Highlight of this destination–it’s central location allowed us to walk and see so much!

The Clarence–So, off to Dublin we went for a two night stay before heading home. The headline on The Clarence is that Bono from U2 owns it. No, we didn’t bump into him. Adequate accommodations with double windows to help keep the late night sound of Dublin’s partiers from waking you up. But BINGO as far as location goes. We were in the center of this fabulous city and just down the lane from the Temple Bar and a 25-minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse.

Highlight of the Clarence–location, location, location (and a really friendly staff)

COUPLE OF QUICK THINGS ON FOOD

These are Langoutstines, in-between a lobster and a crayfish. Delicious.

I managed to have haggis every day of our 9 day visit. It’s served with a grain and tastes more like a spicy bread burger. In Ireland, they must not like the name, so they served it as “white and black porridge.”

Between all the distilleries in Scotland and the Guinness Store House in Dublin, you’ll be happy. I promise you.

ODDITIES

They say things differently. For example, instead of the sign saying “Exit”, they have:

 

Or, instead of saying “For Rent”, they have:

 

Over there, they have another word for speed bumps:

And they have a sense of humor:

     

In summary, this trip has to rank up there with among the greatest vacations I’ve ever taken. While we drove a lot, I feel there was so much we could have seen. Next time, I could easily envision a train/bus adventure, with lots of walking thrown in.

Half my heritage is Scottish. I can see why they loved the country so much and called it home. I also realized how difficult it must have been for them to leave it all behind for a new country. But I’m so glad they did.

Tim Hunter

The Long And Winding Stones

Last Wednesday, August 14th, the long-awaited, much anticipated Rolling Stones “No Filter” concert took place at Century Link Field and the longest concert journey of my life finally came to an end.
This goes back a couple of years, to 2017, when a Norwegian friend of ours asked me the question, “Do you like the Rolling Stones? If they came to town, would you like to go?”
It’s kind of like someone asking you, “Would you mind winning the lottery? I know the money is messy and causes problems, but…”

“YES!” I replied, “Tell me when and where to be and we are so in!” It turns out this person was the cousin of Keith Richards’ wife. They hadn’t seen each other since the World’s Fair in Seattle in 1962, when she and her family came to visit.  Over the years, this cousin grew up, met Keith at a party and 36 years later, they were still living the rock ‘n roll dream.

Then, late last year, the Stones announced they were touring and would hit Seattle in May. We contacted her to see if her offer was still good and she said absolutely.

On the work side of my life, my radio addiction job at KRKO up in Everett rounded out my Rolling Stones experience. An out-going promotions director managed to talk the Stones promotional folks into setting our station up with ten pairs of tickets, half on the 100 level and the other half closer to the moon, than to the stage. But they were still Rolling Stones tickets.

We gave away a pair a day right before Christmas and the phones melted down.  Five very happy KRKO listeners had Stones tickets in their hands for the holidays to do whatever they wanted to do with them.

The New Year begin with great anticipation of a legendary show come May. But then we got the word that Mick Jagger needed a procedure to keep him going and the Seattle concert was post-poned until August 14th.  We checked with our ticket source and she told us we were still on for tickets!

That was scary because we had scheduled a trip to Scotland and Ireland in August and I just knew they’d reschedule when we were gone. But the rescheduling gods smiled upon us.

On the radio side, we had more fun giving away more tickets. We asked people to “Show us your KRKO” and they did. That’s how you entered the contest.

After we gave those away, we had a couple of pair left and so we steered people towards EverettPost.com, a sister company of the radio station. I encouraged people on my Facebook to enter and one friend who entered to “support the radio station” ended up being the winner. I didn’t do the drawing, so it just all worked out.

The day of the concert, our friend was up from Eugene, Oregon, and we picked her up and drove to Century Link Field. Her V.I.P. tickets came with a special parking pass that had us by the tour buses underneath the parking garage. They had a police car blocking the entrance until the sniffer-dog made sure you were OK.  We parked and headed towards our rendezvous with other cousins at a local watering hole.

They let us pass

After a libation or two, we got in line and waited about 20 minutes before they opened the gate. Our passes got us into the stadium and to a special V.I.P. reception, although basically it was beer, wine, potato chips and chocolate chip cookies. Still, a nice setting that allowed us to overlook the filling stadium and enjoy a free drink or two.

View from the V.I.P. lounge

A guy who was there and getting a lot of attention, posing for pictures with people and such turned out to be the Stones’ long-time keyboard player who has been with them since 1982. I guess the die-hard fans knew that. It was news to me.

So, off to our seats we headed and according to the tickets, we were in row 6. With help from the ushers, we found our seats, sat down and couldn’t see the stage. It was probably 100 feet away and you had to stand to see it because of that stuff in the way. My wife, Victoria, even checked with an usher to see if we were in the right seats. We were.

It turned out that “equipment” in the way was actually part of a stage that ran out into the crowd. When the band came out and performed out there, they couldn’t have been more than 40 feet away. It was amazing.

Yeah. THAT close.

Needless to say, it ended up being a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The opening act, Lukas Nelson (one of Willie’s sons) knocked it out of the park and I’ve already bought a couple of the songs he played that night. But the Stones and their entourage completely delivered.

From the 5-story screens, to energetic performances that didn’t betray any of their ages, they were as good as ever. Maybe better than ever, because as you know, the older you get, the more you appreciate things like still being here and doing what you love. And it was all capped off with fireworks overhead.

There had been talk about getting backstage passes, but that went away when Keith’s wife stayed home with their daughter to work on the daughter’s upcoming wedding. Oh, well.  Would have been nice, but maybe more than my little brain might have been able to comprehend that night.

I’m sure there are lots of other stories I’m forgetting, but the bottom line is, at this point, that was the greatest concert experience I’ve ever had. And at last, my great Rolling Stones adventure was complete. An oddysey that began two years ago, culminating in something I’ll remember as long as I’m breathing.

You can’t always get what you want, but in this case, I really, really did.

Tim Hunter

Sometimes, You Can Go Back

It seems completely bizarre that the year 1969 was 50 years ago. Half a century has passed since I was 14-years-old, growing up in my hometown of Torrance, California.

It was the year I graduated from 8th grade and made the transition to high school. I took a summer school class–P.E. of all things–so that I could spend some time on campus before going full-time in the fall.  The Beatles were still together, although they had gone all hippie and there were rumors of them not getting along. And while it was the year we finally made it to the moon, it had been a long decade. The Viet Nam War kept escalating,  a president, his brother and a civil rights leader were assassinated and people were anxious to get to a fresh new decade and move on.

 

The Levy Elementary School Class of 1969

 

While the major spotlight of the 50th anniversary of 1969 fell on the moon landing with a little bit left for Woodstock, for the 14-year-old kid growing up on 226th Street, when I recall 1969, I go straight to the Manson murders.

Remember how back in 2001 when those passenger jets crashed into the Twin Towers and it took your brain a long time to accept someone could actually do that intentionally? When Charles Manson and his followers went on their killing sprees–two separate nights, with stabbings and mutilations–it was unthinkable. That anyone could go in and butcher people like that. Who were these monsters? it resulted in news coverage that rivaled what you saw during the O.J. trial.  Being in the Los Angeles area, I remember a lot of people wondering, “Oh, my God, could we be next?”  We had made the transition from hippies representing peace and love to whacked-out psychopaths with crazed eyes that carved swastikas on their foreheads and killed people. The hippies they arrested said they were inspired by the Beatles song, “Helter Skelter.” They even left that written in blood at one of the slaughters.

In the months and years that followed, Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Squeaky Fromme, Patricia Krenwinkle, Linda Kasabian and Susan Atkins became household words. The Spahn Ranch, a former site where they filmed a lot of westerns, had been engraved in our minds as the home base of Manson and his followers.

 

All this to say, I was very aware of what happened that fateful summer and was curious how Quentin Tarantino was going to work it into his new movie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I’m going to avoid spoilers as best I can because the strongest payoff for that movie is for you to be completely unaware of where it’s going.

For a teenager growing up in Southern California in 1969, this movie had a profound effect on me. I was two years away from a driver’s license, so if I went anywhere in a car in those days, I was a passenger. The same was true of Tarantino, so he intentionally included a lot of shots of vintage Southern California from the passengers’ point of view. To do that, he had to recreate streets, freeways, signs and traffic as it was 50 years ago. That’s where this movie became a time capsule for me. As the plot thickened, I was fixated on all the billboards, the now-defunct stores, and the bus stops with ads on them for things like TV Kids Show Host Hobo Kelly (who I had completely forgotten about) and L.A. news guy George Putnam. Everywhere I looked, I was back in the So Cal I grew up in, 50 years ago.

To be clear, this movie is not for everybody. Tarantino loves his f-bombs and extreme graphic violence so I can’t recommend it to mom. But if you allow yourself to get past that stuff, you will be treated to one amazing movie. It’s not a documentary, it’s a fairy tale. It’s not how the story ended in real life, but rather, how you wished it could have ended.

DiCaprio, Pitt, the entire cast acted their rear ends off. I’ve only seen a couple of Tarantino pictures because the cartoonish violence is often too much. But in this case, I had to restrain myself from breaking out into a standing ovation. It was that feeling you get when watching the coyote get crushed by something he intended for the roadrunner…times a hundred.

One probably shouldn’t make Oscar predictions in my current emotional state, but Leo and Brad are very deserving and I think a little gold statue is due to Mr. Tarantino, if nothing else for the fantastic time machine he created. He took me back to that unsettling summer of 1969 and made it all better.

Then again, isn’t that what fairy tales are supposed to do?

Tim Hunter

One Last Time Again

OK, I’m going to let you know this up front–this week’s blog is about gun control and mind control.

You should know going in I’m not a Trump fan. For the few things he’s done I’ve liked, the majority of his acts are unbecoming of a president and display his ignorance. Why there hasn’t at least been a coup to overthrow his Twitter account is beyond me.

However, I’m not buying the claim that he is a racist. That’s a pretty nasty claim and very reminiscent of the 1950s when, if you wanted to invoke emotion from voters, you’d call someone “a Commie!”  That worked quite well for the Republicans at the time. Maybe the Democrats feel its payback time.

That being said, there is absolutely no room for racism or any of the ism’s in our world. That is a learned behavior and like all the other prejudices, develops from our surroundings. We can stop it.  However, just throwing it out there to fuel a political base is wrong and diminishes its significance.

Now, if you choose to read on, keep in mind none of this is designed to change your mind. I’m just trying to explain my thinking.

Some will agree, others might agree partially. And I know some will read this and call me flat-out wrong. That’s the way you think and I’m all for you having your own thought process. This is how my brain works.

If you live your life one-sided, you’ll only know half this world. I don’t want to look at the limited menu, I want the full version so I get to make the final choice.  Too many people today are thinking with political party brains and are as closed-minded as the people they’re criticizing.  Because I’m a D, you know I feel this way. Or, since I’m an R, of course I’m against that.

Again, live your life that way, it’s your choice.  OK, here we go:

The Two Most Recent Mass Shootings were different, but the same. An unstable person having access to weapons of death that allowed them to kill a lot of people quickly. We should be using the resources of the most powerful nation in the world to make sure it never happens again.

First step–An immediate ban on all assault-style weapons. 100%, no question.  Let’s do it for a year and see what happens. Where is the harm?  Although, a better question might be, how many lives could we save?

Second step–Identify all the possible causes and realize they are real possibilities. We’re currently divided into two teams, the R’s and the D’s.  If you’re on one side, you’re blaming certain things.  D’s credit the president, his divisive comments and weak gun laws. R’s point out mental illness and video games are the causes. It just might be all of them.

Third step–Require news services to report objectively and not with an agenda. Again, I’m in the middle and not a Trump fan, but if you remove the rose-colored glasses, the news anchors are framing everything from the D playbook. If you missed the huddle, the current play calls for everyone to use the word ‘racist’ and ‘hate’ as often as possible when talking about the president.

PROOF?:  Yeah, a pretty bold claim and because the president has suggested that before, it can’t be true, can it?  Let me point out how quickly Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” and the various network news anchors jumped right on board to connect the president’s tweets and statements to the white nationalist agenda of the El Paso shooter. His mental instability was downplayed because it wasn’t a mental illness thing, right? We know he was deep into his dysfunction but don’t even know if he even paid attention to the president or followed his tweets. I’d argue that you’d have to be pretty crazy to walk into a Wal-Mart and start shooting innocent people you don’t even know. Now, let me ask you–did you hear one mention on any newscast about the Dayton shooter that he was an Elizabeth Warren supporter and politically, a progressive liberal?  It was true, but went un-reported. By the way, the Dayton shooter was a noted troubled soul since at least 2012 when he had a kill list of his classmates.

If your current news service isn’t informationally-based, you need to switch. However, if you want to be fed the Kool Aid of your politically liking, stay right where you are.

Oh, and by the way, in case you missed it, there was a third mass shooting over the weekend. It happened in Chicago over three days, with 12 dead and 66 other people shot. That’s more than Dayton. Why wasn’t that a part of the weekend news coverage? Because you couldn’t connect that to the president and make it part of the game plan. Chicago is a D-town and we wouldn’t want to have the public realize that a major city run by the Democrats has had 278 people shot and killed so far this year (as of this writing) and 1,365 shot and wounded. In the Windy City, a person is shot every 3 minutes. That wasn’t reported because there was no presidential connection and they already had plenty.

My cartoonist friend, Steve Kelley, summed up the situation nicely.

Blaming doesn’t change the situation. We’ve got a serious gun problem, a serious mental health problem and an over-coddling problem.

The Second Amendment no more guarantees you the right to bear automatic weapons than it does to own a cannon or bazooka. Those are weapons of war. Period. We managed to have an assault weapons ban for 10 years, from 1994-2004. Kudos to the 1994 congress for having the guts to pass that bill because attempts to extend it have been blocked ever since, thanks to legislators in the pockets of the N.R.A..

Again, I’m not trying to persuade you in any direction. As you’ve read, I’ve used some Trump talking points as well as views from the Democrats. I’m in the friggin’ middle. The part of America wondering when our leaders are going to finally do something to fix what’s seriously broken.

Ideally, before the next one. You should not have to go to the store wearing a flak jacket.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, The Hack With It

Every now and then, you discover a “hack”–a better way to do something you’ve been doing differently all your life and in an instant, life just became easier.

This happened years ago when I was a producer at KOMO radio for the Larry Nelson show and interviewed an author named Jerry Baker, who promoted himself as “The Impatient Gardener.” Jerry was a certified hoot and had put together a collections of things you could do in your garden using common household items. Dish soap to fight aphids, beer in your lawn to breakdown thatch and the home run, “Grandma Putt’s Tonic.”  This was a major blend of things that you sprayed on your lawn and that made it grow like a weed. The major ingredient–ammonia. It’s like heroin for your lawn, making it grow and green better than any expensive lawn food you could buy.

OK, that covers the outside. Now, let’s head indoors.

To my shower.  We have a tile shower in our master bathroom. A couple of years ago, I hired a guy to come in and steam it clean, at a cost of over $500.  He made it look like we had the thing re-tiled. So that’s what those tiles looked like.

But over the past couple of years, the black was slowly returning. I was planning to give it a couple of years before I had the professional cleaner back, when then I read a post from a friend on Facebook. Kristina Strombo, you get full credit:

I’ve tried all the Pinterest concoctions for cleaning grout, and they don’t work. Except one: Squirt toilet bowl cleaner along the grout, and 15 minutes later scrub with a brush and mop up.  This was even less elbow grease than my steam cleaner. I don’t often use chemical cleaners, but this situation is dire.

Not that I doubted you, but that just seemed too easy.

None the less, I went to the Dollar Tree, bought a couple of different toilet bowl cleaners, then returned home and emptied the contents of one of the bottles all over the tile. I gave it a little more than 15 minutes, got down with my grout-scrubbing brush and the scum and evil crud came off like butter.

Maybe it’s because you get older and things like this give you a thrill. To me, it meant not having to spend another $500 and being able to start every day getting into a clean shower.  If you’ve got a tile shower that looks like its from an old YMCA, here’s your hack!

At long last, I’ve finally out-smarted a shower. Thanks, Kristina!

Tim Hunter

Hey, Swedish Hospital–Let My Visa Go!!!

Going back to the old testament, Moses led the Children of Israel (many of whom were full-grown adults) through the desert for 40 years before finally delivering them to the Promised Land. It was the ultimate example of how a man always refuses to stop and ask for directions.

Look at that desert on the map and you would think that, at some point, someone might have said out loud, “Uh,  Moses, that last sand dune looks really familiar.”  But he persevered until he got them to the promised land, although he wasn’t able to actually go with them. I believe his actual words found in Exodus 34, verse 27 were, “What a ticker!”

So, even after four decades of effort and trying to do the right thing, it still didn’t work out.

I know that feeling, on a minor scale. You see, 9 days ago, after another successful Lutefisk Eating Contest at Ballard Seafoodfest, my wife and I headed back to our car which was parked in the Ballard Swedish Hospital parking garage. Yes, it cost money, but we felt it was a safe place to leave our car and it was.

As we went to leave said garage, I came to the gate. There was no one there, but I had done this kind of thing before. I put in the parking ticket, with the strip showing like it demonstrated and then the machine asked for payment. I stuffed my VISA card into the same slot (like they do at SeaTac airport) and suddenly, I knew something was wrong. The machine grinded and grinded away. I couldn’t get my card back out. It turns out there was a slot below for the credit card and I had mistakenly stuffed it into the parking ticket slot. OK, my bad. I was an idiot.

I pushed the “Call for help” button and confessed my moronic sin to the voice that answered. She informed me that they didn’t have anyone on duty, took my name and phone number and said someone would call on Monday so that I could get my credit card back.  All would be fine.

Monday rolled around. No phone call. I called the phone number for the garage and no answer, just a recording and a beep so I could leave a message. I gave them my name and phone number, recapped the situation and asked them to call me for an update.

On Wednesday, Deja vu. No one had called back, so I left another message, asking for someone to get in touch with me. I would come to you, just let me know where to go.

On Friday, I was pretty ticked. So, around the time when their office was supposed to open, I called. It was the machine again, asking me to leave a message. Oh, and I did.  It was a good one. The summary–I’ve called multiple times, you haven’t called me back and I want my VISA card.

That afternoon, I did get a call. I’m theorizing she got the short end of the office stick and had to deal with the cranky customer. She explained that they had no credit card with that name on it and that the person in charge suggested I just get a new one. I explained to our loser of the office pool that if I do that, it’ll come with a new number and I would have to change the card on file for around 15 different accounts. That would be an incredible  pain. Can you please check one more time to see if my card is sitting in a box somewhere?

She asked for my phone number and said she would check. That was the last time I heard from here.

Today, Monday, 9 days after their machine ate my credit card, I was informed by the latest voice to call me that they don’t have my card and that I should just get a new one.  I’ve been watching my account, to see if it was improperly used and I’ll be doing that for a while, but in the meantime, I’ve ordered a replacement.  With the same number, because I don’t feel I should be punished for an inept parking lot system. I believe my card is somewhere in someone’s desk and it’s just too much trouble to track it down.

So, here you go, Swedish Hospital. Let’s make you famous.

Let my VISA go!

Tim Hunter

PS: And Swedish, this is what the VISA logo looks like, if it helps.

It’s not anywhere I want it to be.

 

 

 

 

You Can Have My Spot

Some weeks I can’t wait to see what comes out of this keyboard and others, I fight the urge to pile on to the latest political unrest. It seems like there’s a new one every week and while I have thoughts on each fresh, disturbing topic, I attempt to keep most of those opinions to myself, or discuss them verbally with open-thinking people.

Oh, the occasional politically-themed blog sneaks out, but I prefer that this little corner of the Internet be more positive and uplifting. Even when I break down and dive into a politically sensitive topic, my hope is to contribute  some balance to the topic.

Not a whole lot of possible balance this week, so I’m heading to space.

Actually, I’m not.

You see, there’s been a lot of talk about going back to the moon with the 50th anniversary of the first time we were there rolling around this week.

That was an amazing time in our country. Even with a war raging on in Viet Nam, a decade-long pursuit of safely landing Americans on the lunar surface happened when I was 14-years-old. I had graduated 8th grade and was bracing myself for entering the world of high school. During the summer, I took a cross country running class to get in better shape to try out for the basketball team in the fall. I remember buying a bottle of salt tablets because that’s what the coach said would help me retain water. God knows what my blood pressure went up to.

I do remember all the hoopla surrounding the moon landing. I’m pretty sure I have the front pages of several newspapers tucked away in boxes under the house. The Law and Order candidate, Richard Nixon, was president and so much was going in the world to compete for my attention from other things like, oh, girls.

Seriously, when you’re talking 1969, you’re talking about the Manson murders, Woodstock, the first Pontiac Trans Am came out, the “Miracle Mets” and gas was 35-cents a gallon. It was a completely different world.

Receiving my 8th grad diploma from Sam Levy Elementary.

Yes, I was a proud Levy Llama.

Years later, I’ve naturally aged like a Facebook app and hear today’s explorers saying that they’re looking forward to going to the moon. If we somehow manage to make commercial travel to the moon possible in my lifetime, I think I’ll pass.

I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing, first-hand, what it’s like up there.  But there are already so many things down here that I haven’t seen or experienced yet. I only made it to Yellowstone National Park for the first time a couple of years ago thanks to my son’s wedding. They booked a venue in Montana and I was able to cross that off my bucket list.

Next month, I’ll be heading to Scotland for the very first time and among our stops, visiting the town of Wishaw where my dad was born.

You see, as far as places I’d like to visit in my lifetime, the moon probably is #2,589 on the list.

Think the flight to Australia is long? And then, to fly all the way up there just so I could look out at a bunch of rocks and craters and tell the old joke about, ‘That’s why they don’t have a restaurant up here–it lacks atmosphere.” And what happens when you’re in that space suit and you fart?  I definitely need an answer before I put one on.

Moon, I can see you just fine from here. A few of us might come your way for a visit, but I’ll pass.

To the explorer who can’t to fly there, you can have my seat.

Tim Hunter

Just How Insane Does Seattle Have To Get?

To paraphrase a politician’s once-famous statement, “I know Seattle. I’ve lived in Seattle and played in Seattle and right now, you’re no Seattle.”

The place that branded itself “The Emerald City” years ago is a far cry from that right now. Unless there’s an Oz book out there where the Cowardly Lion is passed out from smoking some of the Scarercrow’s stash while Dorothy is free-basing something with the Tin Woodsman’s left arm.

That sounds insane, but apparently that’s the new normal in Seattle.

You know how people would come up to you and say, “My, how your kids have grown!” and you know they have, but you hadn’t really noticed because you see them every day. I realized yesterday just how crazy Seattle has gotten when a guy with obvious mental issues and 22 arrests to his credit decided to start stabbing people out in front of the downtown Nordstrom.

Hey, Nordstrom, you can’t buy publicity like that!

But not to worry. Our mayor says that Seattle is safe. She insists on it. Well, she didn’t say it after this incident, but she did last year after another unbalanced person decided to just start shooting at passing vehicles, people, whatever, killing two.

Yesterday was the equivalent of someone saying “My, how your kids have grown!”  But instead of those words, I found myself getting text messages from people and talking on the phone with my mom in California, who were all shocked at what had happened at Nordstrom. My immediate response was, “What happened?”

You see, I had a busy day, with lots of work followed by meeting a friend for happy hour, then dashing home to catch baseball’s All-Star game. I had missed the evening news on television, really hadn’t checked Facebook, so all was well in the World of Tim. Meanwhile, the rest of the country had its eyes on the terrible tragedy that had occurred in Seattle.

Living here, it’s just not surprising. Nor are car break-ins, needles on the ground, and camping tents put up on any vacant spot in the city. The other day, I parked my car in downtown Seattle and while walking my usual route, passed two new tents that had been set up next to the sidewalk. The irony was that the spot they had set up was marked as a “No Parking” zone, so that if you had parked a car there, you would have gotten a ticket or have been towed away. But put up a tent, urinate or defecate on the street, or shoot up drugs–in Seattle, that’s fine! Oh, none of that is legal, but doing whatever you want as a homeless person is perfectly fine here in Crazy Town.

I should point out, that allowing your city to be taken over like this isn’t cheap. The Seattle area somehow spends over a billion dollars EVERY YEAR on homelessness with highly publicized, minimal results.

At the afore-mentioned happy hour, my friend told me about another guy who cashed out here in the Northwest and headed back to his native Vermont, where he bought a 4,000 square foot home on 20 acres with a barn and territorial view for around $700,000. The guy and his wife are enjoying life, have honeybees, and make their own maple syrup and sell it to neighbors. Hearing him describe the place where the guy now lives and the lifestyle he enjoys made me take a deep breath and realize that the possibility of living that way still exists.

That’s going to be a few more years down the road for me. In the meantime, we have some elections coming up next year where the city should be able to clean house and replace the crazies in office who have allowed this gem of a city to deteriorate to a free-range mental institution and drug den. Ideally, I’d like to get Seattle back to some normalcy, helping those who accept help and locking the rest up. I know at least three people from yesterday’s incident that would probably agree with me.

I pretty much consider next year’s elections a referendum on the future of Seattle. I fell in love with this place over 40 years ago and it still has so much going for it, but frankly, Seattle is having its own mental breakdown. My hope is that we’ve hit bottom and eventually will begin climbing back up. Or maybe we’re not there yet.

Just how insane does Seattle have to get?

Tim Hunter

Happy Birthday, America!

You’re looking good, at 243! Actually, they say that 243 is the new 220.

Oh, you’re not perfect. Then again, who is? I, for one, am going to use July 4th as a reminder of what a great country I live in. One that was founded on freedom and that allows and encourages us to complain about you the other 364 days of the year.

These days, the 4th of July means going back up to my adopted hometown of Bothell, where I get to do the play-by-play of the city’s Freedom Festival Parade for the city cable TV channel. Then, we head over to Mike & Annette’s house for the traditional after-party. Before dark, we’ll be home to protect the home from errant bottle rockets and attempt to calm the pets.

That’s how I celebrate these days. I’d like to take you back with me to my earlier celebrations.

I remember those days of growing up on 226th street and the anticipation of going to the fireworks stand with my family to pick out this year’s assortment. Would we go to one of the much advertised Red Devil fireworks stands, or that new brand, Black Panther?

The kids, bouncing around like we’d eaten a box of sugar cubes, would point at the giant assortment, knowing that dad would pay that much. Most years we did the $14.99 family fun pack, but it seems to me there were at least a couple of years where we went big and got the $19.99 value pack.

Each assortment came in a box wrapped in cellophane that had to be ripped off so you could see and handle all the contents. There were those fountains that you’d light and then watch as a shower of sparks would burst out for 10-seconds or so. Those had to be saved for the night of the 4th for the full effect.

There was the Log Cabin, a cardboard box made out to look like a log cabin that you’d light and smoke would come out the chimney for a few seconds. Wow.

Of course, each box came with at least one Piccolo Pete. A firework that basically whistled loudly for 12.57-seconds and….that was it. Over the years, as we got older, we learned that if you clamped down on the second P, it would whistle for a while and then explode. We were such rebels.

Pinwheels eventually made their way into the packs. There were smokeballs that you’d light and watch them smoke for a few seconds. Oh, and those snakes. You’d light a match, hold it on that little black tablet and ash snakes would pour out of them along with the delightful smell of sulfur.

And of course, there were sparklers. Another treat reserved just for the night time celebration, out on our driveway, where dad made sure that a bucket of water was standing by for us to toss our burned ones into. We were very neat celebrants.

In California, sunsets are pretty consistent throughout the year. So, we’d do the family fireworks in the driveway around 7 or whenever we’d convince our parents it was dark enough. Then, we’d all pile in the car and drive over to some hill in Redondo Beach to watch their big fireworks celebration over the ocean.

I’ve opened up this little time capsule as a reminder that on the 4th of July, you can immerse yourself in all the good of the holiday and go a little red, white and blue.  There are some who would argue that there’s no way they could celebrate because of everything going on—-the threats of nuclear war, racial inequality, people being locked up for the color of their skin, GMO’s, Global Warming, whales washing up on the beaches, etc.  That’s true, if you want to surround yourself with all that’s wrong in the world.

Thankfully, my parents chose not to do that back in the 1960s. Our home wasn’t filled with the daily news diet of everything that’s wrong and believe me, we had plenty surrounding us. Assassinations, war protests, race riots, a war raging on in Southeast Asia and so on.

It’s good to be aware of your surroundings and taking steps to make this a better place, but to make your day-to-day existence all about the problems of the world–that’s going to make for a long and miserable life.

And you only get one.

My advice–go to one of those remaining “Safe and Sane” fireworks stands and buy a box of snakes. Sit down on the curb and light a few of them. Watch as they amazingly come to life and then, blow away with the wind. For a brief moment, you’ll be a kid again and happy to be alive on another 4th of July.

Oh and one more thing. One of our family traditions growing up was going to the fireworks stand, getting that assortment pack, climbing back into the car and hearing dad say that phrase he’d say every year. Decades later, I would call him up on the phone and ask him to repeat those words on my radio show.

To hear my dad’s famous phrase, click here.

Happy birthday, America.

Tim Hunter

Dude–You’re ‘The Dude!’

Things happen in our lives and I’m pretty convinced, all for some kind of reason. It doesn’t have to be a great one, but like a jigsaw puzzle with a billion pieces, that little snippet of time plays some part in the story we are creating on this earth.

I’m trying to dig deep and flush out those stories that really had no significance in my life, but that I would like to preserve for posterity or if nothing else, for just a fun flashback when I confined to a rocking chair at a retirement home staffed by former Playboy Bunnies.

Here’s one such story.

Back in the early 1980’s, I had been hired by KOMO AM-1000 to be the morning show producer for Larry Nelson. Larry was the on-air superstar, I was the guy in the background doing things to make him sound better.

I was all of 25-years-young, with my post-college experience limited to three years of playing radio in Yakima, Washington. One of my assigned duties was to conduct interviews, take out some of the clips and then write up a script so it would sound as if Larry Nelson had talked with our special guest.

That meant that over the years, I got to meet authors, movie and TV stars, and formerly famous people trying to eek out a few more minutes in the spotlight. I could drop names, but I’ll save that for a future blog.

This time, I’d like to tell you about the dude named Jeff Dowd.

The Seattle International Film Festival was around 4-years-old and their promoter was a guy named Jeff Dowd. I remember when he showed up to record an interview, he was quite a bit overweight, and frankly, dressed like a slob. I mean, this was KOMO radio, and I had to wear slacks and a tuck-in shirt, so what gave him the right to just show up as if he was helping someone move?

No matter. For a couple of years, when it came time for the festival, Jeff would reach out, come in and we’d record tidbits about the hot movie that year or some of the special guests that were scheduled the show up.

Then, in 1984, as it happens in radio, KOMO threw me a surprise going away. The face I was going away was a complete surprise. Jeff became one of those folks I had got to know through the job, but I never saw him again.

In talking with him, I knew he had aspirations of going to Hollywood, where they made the movies, and getting involved with the industry. Apparently, he did, although I didn’t put the pieces together until many years later.

Jeff got to know the Coen Brothers while they were promoting their first film, Blood Simple. The next thing, he became the basis for one of their most popular characters, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski from The Big Lebowski.

Yes, Jeff Dowd was the real-life “Dude.”

I don’t know what was going on in my life when “The Big Lebowski” came out, but I’ll be completely honest with you–I’ve never actually seen the whole movie. I need to do that one of these days. I’ve heard so much about it from friends that were fans, I almost feel like I’ve seen it.

But none the less, it’s based on the life of a guy that was one of the puzzle pieces of this yet unfinished story. And that makes one less piece to find among those that fell off the table.

I just thought I would share.

Oh, and here’s the link to the story that flushed out this memory. Best of luck, man. After all, you are, the Dude.

Tim Hunter

 

Saying Goodbye Again

Things come, things go.

While I’ve seen the likes of Newberry’s, Woolworth, Pay ‘n Pak, Frederick & Nelson and so many other businesses fade off into history, I understand that we live in changing times. But every time it happens, there’s still a bit of sadness to it.

Even things that stuck around but have evolved over the years, like going from The Bon Marche` to Macy’s, require an adjustment.

And as we hit mid-June and watch the grads head off into their unknown future and we excitedly leap from Spring to Summer, I’m being required to accept yet one more change in my life.

This is the final week of Steve’s Café in Bothell.

They will serve their last meal this coming Sunday, enjoy a Monday off (as that has been the only day Steve takes off for many years) and then on Tuesday, they’ll host an Open House and farewell gathering to anyone who wants to stop by and say goodbye, from 1-6pm.

For 22 years, Steve has gotten up at 4am most days to head in and serve his specialty–good old-fashioned, American diner food. He’s worked hard, along with his wife Marlene, who waited on tables. In later years, a server named Lori joined the team. What I loved so much when I stopped in for lunch was climbing in a booth and looking at those old black & white photos from Bothell’s days gone by.

Look towards the back of the restaurant and you’ll catch a glimpse of Steve, preparing whatever order Marlene or Lori brought back his way.

The word on the street is that his location will soon become a trendy whiskey bar.

For now, the smiles are still there, but it’s as if time is telling Steve to maybe take life a little easier. Last year for a while, the restaurant had a sign on the door letting customers know they had to close early on Wednesdays so Steve could get some medical treatments. He’s made a full recovery but maybe that adventure inspired him to fine-tune his life a little. He admitted when I was in last week that the 4am wakeups have gotten old. But while the café may disappear, Steve says he’d go stir crazy at home and wouldn’t mind getting a part-time job somewhere, doing something. Perhaps with the school district?

The countdown is on and Steve’s Café right there on Main Street in Bothell has less than a week to go. Stop by and wish Steve well, if you can. They serve breakfast all day, but may I recommend my usual–the Ruben Sandwich with his homemade potato chips.

Once again, it’s time to say goodbye. This time, it’s Steve’s turn.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Go Messin’ With My Papi!

The Boston Red Sox have always, somehow, worked their way into my life.

Now remember, I was born and raised a Dodgers fan. I mean, I came from a serious Dodgers family. On most nights at our home, the TV wasn’t on, and we would listen to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett tell us how Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, Tommy and Willie Davis and the rest of those L.A. Bums were doing. To this day, Sandy Koufax remains my all-time, most-revered baseball hero.

But, as I do, I digress.

While living most of my years in Dodger Blue and trying for four decades to embrace Mariners Teal, the boys from Boston insisted on being a part of my life.

I remember being at a party at the Columbia Athletic Club in Mill Creek and watching that famous “Buckner ball” incident (he, a former Dodger) and having Boston snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, which resulted in losing another World Series.

Years later, a recruiter for Boston University passed through the Northwest and captured the interest of my son, Tyson, who packed up and headed to Beantown. Because of that connection, I began following the Red Sox more closely. It was during his sophomore year that they finally broke the ‘Curse of Ruth’ and won a World Series. It was that team that I got to know really well, including Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez and a guy nicknamed ‘Big Papi’, David Ortiz.

Snuck into Fenway a couple of times

On a business trip to Toronto in 2007, not long after I landed, I was whisked away to a Blue Jays home game, with great seats down behind home plate. No sooner had I sat down than Manny and Mr. Ortiz came out of the dugout and practically walked in front of me. I will never forget that moment.

As Pedro retired and headed to the broadcast booth and Manny’s faded off into the sunset, David Ortiz became the grand old man of the game and pretty much the soul of the Boston Red Sox. From the Dominican Republic, he took his adopted home town of Boston very seriously, and when the Boston Marathon bombing took place, it was Big Papi who address the crowd when it was decided we must continue what we’re doing or the terrorists win. Yes, he dropped an F-bomb during his passionate speech, but no one seemed to care. Well, except the TV censors.

Then the shocking news this week out of his home country that someone had tried to basically assassinate David Ortiz. Six people have been arrested, we’re hearing that they were paid $7,800 to take him out. Why? Who’s behind it? More to come, but a sad twist to his post-baseball life.

My David Ortiz Red Sox t-shirt now has even more special meaning. It sounds like he’ll recover and may I just suggest to him to spend a little more time up north where you are and will always be loved by fans.

Oh, and one other connection baseball fans in the Pacific Northwest share with David Ortiz–he started out his professional baseball career as a Seattle Mariner.

Back in 1996, the Seattle Mariners  had a loaded roster: Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson and 20-year-old Alex Rodriguez. They were trying to win a close wild-card race and believed they felt they could do better than third baseman Russ Davis. So, on August 29th, they sent a minor leaguer to the Minnesota Twins after the season in exchange for veteran Dave Hollins.

Which made Seattle the only team to ever trade David Ortiz. What did Minnesota do with him? Released him after the 2002 season. Then it was off to Boston and the rest is Red Sox history.

The nighly news is crammed full of disturbing stories, but this one really hit. Maybe this explains why I’ve just had this unsettled feeling all week. Bottom line–Don’t go messin’ with my Big Papi!

Get well, Mr. Ortiz.

Tim Hunter

 

I Wonder if That’s What Heaven Is Like

Ask someone their idea on what heaven is like, and I’m sure you’d get all kinds of answers. I imagine it’s a collection of all the good moments, all the positive things that emerged during one’s life story.

Put my mind to a pop quiz and I’m imagining that walk with my Grandma Hunter, holding her hand as we walked on the next block, which had some mean kids. They said something cocky, and my grandmother told us to just ignore them. I was probably around 7.

There’s George, the first family dog, who was so spunky and, looking back, probably the perfect dog who just wanted to be loved and run. I remember we took him over to “the fields” to let him run and he did. That was back when Torrance had vacant lots, which are long gone.

There was that gang of mine at Immanuel Lutheran Church’s school, which were my best buds for the first six grades. Then, the church suddenly closed the school and I found myself thrust into public schools, having to deal with being “the new kid.” Traumatic at the time, I harnessed the confrontations to bring out my comedy skills. It prevented at least a couple of beatings.

High School was beyond awesome. I hit my stride, was a basketball player, a senior president and A.S.B. vice-president, prom king, you name it. And, after a long uncertain stretch, I got to be the boyfriend of the girl next door. (OK, well, across the street)

College days were fun and one of these days, I’m going to make that a film script, but I left with a ton of great memories and classmates that I really enjoy seeing again. We pulled off a reunion last year, but there were still some people I really wanted to see that didn’t make it.

OK, back to the concept of heaven. I was lucky enough to work at an eastside radio station called KLSY. There were several KLSY’s—when I first started, the next phase, the phase after that and the Mix 92.5 phase.

Last week, a spontaneous reunion broke out, featuring phase 2 of that adventure.

Remember, I was there 19 years of my broadcasting career. A lot can happen in radio in a couple of years, let alone 19. The crew that assembled that afternoon at the Ram Restaurant at Northgate was a wonderful time capsule of that KLSY era. By this time, I had joined Bruce Murdock as part of the Morning Show, (First, the Breakfast Club, then Murdock & Hunter…eventually, Alice got her name in the show, “Murdock, Hunter & Alice) and that night, we had to drunk Facetime Bobby Irwin our program director and talk about old times.

You see each other and break out in smiles, ask how you’re currently doing and then, return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.  It was pretty much 3 hours that seemed like 5-minutes. Of course, there were at least two toasts to the memory of the late Alice Porter. Oh, sure, those days were far from perfect and there were insane challenges that we all shared together. But now, we could laugh at those challenges and fondly remember all the good times that surrounded them.

The old adage, “If I knew then what I know now” is so true. Probably, the number one thing I would do differently is to slow things down, to savor that time, which, of course, is a reminder that we should be doing that right now.

Up in our brain, there’s a storage locker that we fill up with all the great moments of our life.  The positive, the good. I’m convinced that is what we’ll be surrounded with when all is said and done, and that makes the end of everyone’s story just a little easier to accept.

Last week little KLSY roundup was just another reminder of just how good my life has been and I say that with the utmost of appreciation. It doesn’t mean there weren’t some awful moments along the way, but those will have no place where I’m going.

Enjoy the moments going on in your life right now. Several of them are probably heading to your mental storage locker.

Tim Hunter

The Hidden Costs

My position on the homeless situation is so incredibly clear.

Let’s break them down into three categories: 1) The unfortunate, down on their luck, 2) The drug addicts and 3) Those battling mental health issues.

All three deserve our help. They are human beings, lost souls or people who just didn’t get the breaks that we did and weren’t trained how to handle the setbacks.

With the over $1-billion being spent every year in Seattle and King County, I can’t understand how the situation is getting worse, rather than better.

Those in category one, that’s a no-brainer.  Sometimes people need help, training, guidance, support, housing, etc. I think we’re all in agreement that helping them is a good idea.

However, somewhere in our extreme thinking, free-spirited minds (or at least by the people in charge) it has been decided that leaving people alone is the right thing to do. If someone wants to be a drug addict or roam the streets mentally challenged, that’s OK. Bring ’em a sandwich and we feel so much better about ourselves. Offer them help, only to be declined–well, at least we tried.

Not the kind of world I was raised in and not what we all deserve.

Right now in Seattle, this little chunk of paradise in the northwest is experiencing a huge blight of people sticking up tents and living whereever they choose. It’s trespassing. It’s loitering. It’s all kinds of things that we have laws against, yet we don’t enforce the laws. And when you don’t enforce the laws, word gets out to those who aren’t fans of the law.

So, you may saying to yourself, “Tim, why are you launching out at the homeless situation this week?”

Because it could have cost me my life this last weekend.

In the past, I had some drug-dependent loser wheel away my $350 pressure washer off my car port at 4am on a Sunday morning. I have the grainy footage to serve as a memory.

But this past weekend, we rented a U-Haul truck from the Ballard rental facility to move my step-daughter’s things. After loading up and relocating everything, we went to a gas station to fill up the truck. As the pump chugged away, there was a strong odor of gas. I looked under the truck and everything we had been pumping had just gone all over the ground. At least three gallons’ worth of gasoline. One spark, one idiot continuing to smoke while he fueled up and we would have been toast.

What happened?  I looked under the truck. The hose to the gas tank had been disconnected from the fueling tube. Upon returning it to U-Haul, the guy explained they had been having trouble with people coming to their lot at night and siphoning out gas. Someone decided to disconnect the hose so they could get to the gas, and then just left it.  We had driven around town in the truck with the tank disconnected, another way that something could really have gone wrong.

They loosened the clamp and disconnected the hose

The location of this U-Haul store was not far from several homeless gathering spots, some living in dilapidated RV’s.  We weren’t charged for the gas missing from the tank because apparently this happened before. It’s just one of the bi-products of the Seattle world gone mad.

We dodged the bullet. This time, we were lucky.

I hope that someday, Seattle’s leadership will wake up and do something to return our area to a place you can live without fear of stepping on a needle, having your property stolen or worse. It wasn’t always this way.

I’m placing most of my hope in next year’s elections. It’s time to make a serious change.

Tim Hunter

 

There is a Now

I was gazing over to the side of my computer monitor the other day. It’s the place where I have photos of the people that are or were special in my life so that when I need a little reminder about what’s important, there they are.

Among the rag tag collection is the “In Loving Memory” thing they produced for my dad’s funeral.  There he is, smiling away, in a picture taken probably ten years before he passed. He was older, slowing down, but mentally, everything was still there.

As he approached the final days of his life, there was a lot of failures. The body was giving out, the hearing selective at best, the wit sneaking out every now and then, but dulled by 90-plus years on this earth. However, going back to that picture–it made me wonder, did I really thank him enough for all he did? To appreciate all those things he did to support his family–working overtime, slinging bananas down at the docks in Long Beach when the United Airlines  mechanics went on strike, managing the Little League team I played on.  Those Pinewood Derbies, the camping trips, the times we went fishing.
I think he knew. But with Father’s Day approaching, it causes me to wonder.

I know I did my best on the last night of his life when he laid there, unresponsive but breathing, as his life slipped away. I spent the night and talked his ear off, clinging to the knowledge I heard somewhere (and I don’t want to check into its validity because I might find out it’s not true) that the hearing is the last thing to go. That you can still reach the person by talking to him and saying what was on your mind. I tried to re-live my entire life that night, enough that when the morning came and he left, he was probably thinking, “Great! Peace and quiet at last!”

I don’t know much, but I have come to realize that one of our biggest personal downfalls is living in the future or the past, but not so much in the present. We hang on to unpleasant things that we experienced or live in fear of what might happen in the future. Oh, I’m still guilty to a degree, but I try to remind myself daily, whenever I feel overwhelmed, to just enjoy the now.

At this particular point, the only noise in my office is the keyboard tapping as I write this.  There’s no music, no TV in the background, the cat is sleeping (again), and later, I plan to wander out on to our deck and just breath in the air. The scent of cedars fills our backyard and can easily conjure up memories of those many family camping trips we took when I was a kid.

See, that’s the past, but a pleasant memory to savor like a vintage wine. It rolls around in the brain and then you put it away until a future moment. And that’s how easy it is to get distracted and leave the now.

Life is a collection of moments. You’re actually enjoying a few right now. Savor them. Cherish them. There millions and millions of people no longer on this earth who would do anything to experience just a few more.

And, at least for now, we’ve got all the moments we want.

The now.

Use only as directed.

Tim Hunter

Here We Go Again

I’m not Norwegian. But I married into it. And that’s OK.

As we approach another 17th of May (Norwegian Constitution Day), we’ll be doing the traditional stay in the Ballard Hotel for two nights, attending the big luncheon, stopping by the Leif Erikson Lodge, I will announce the parade while Victoria marches in it and so on.

It’s an all-out celebration of Norwegian heritage and good for them. But they are WAY more concerned about where their parts came from than I am. I’m a rag-tag collection of ethnicities from around the globe.  In fact, here’s what 23andme.com had to say about my make-up:

Yep, that’s what it takes to create your very own Tim Hunter. It was me before you knew that, it’s still me after you read that data. A lot of Northern European, with a splash of Eastern European that I surmise resulted from some relative’s wild weekend away.

Heritage is nice to know. Some people embrace it, while others like me say, “Eh, good to know.”

Who we are is the result of what we’ve been, our experiences, our influences. In other words, we have existed.

I look at my life’s journey and I’m extremely appreciative and happy for everything. Oh, that’s not to say there were pretty rough spots along the way, but everything resulted in my present being, in who I am today and all things considered, I’ll take it.

This summer, we’re heading to Scotland to visit the town where my dad was born, I look forward to feeling a closer connection to those roots. However, I will still be this Tim Hunter guy I’ve become.

And I’m really liking that.

Tim Hunter

 

Mother’s Day 2019

Everyone has one and this Sunday, we salute that special person we’ve come to know as mom.

Yes, dad was involved with bringing you into the world, but mom was seriously invested in the process. Remember, she probably had to give up smoking and drinking for 9 months, out of concern for the little monster she would be bringing into the world. That’s dedication.

In my case, I was the first one to come along, followed by two sisters. Dad was a mechanic out at United Airlines, while mom was a stay-at-home until the mid-1960s when women in the neighborhood began to start working outside the home.  First, she tried her hand at retail over at J.C. Penney’s and then, she worked for Home Savings, which eventually became Washington Mutual. Mom had a chance to become a manager, but opted not to, because it would have meant being sent to a God-forsaken branch somewhere around Los Angeles. She climbed the ranks to head teller and stayed there and in Torrance until she retired.

Mom has threatened to write her life story down over the years and has a few notes jotted down. A few years back, I video-taped her telling about how she ended up in California. She was raised on a farm in South Dakota and the story I remember most happened when she graduated from 8th grade. She told us she remembers crying when her parents said that she couldn’t go to high school because they needed her to work on the farm. Eventually, she moved to the big city of Aberdeen and worked there until she was 18. When her roommate and best friend headed out to California, she went out to visit for her wedding. She was the maid of honor, and my dad, was the best man. That’s where they met which eventually resulted in me.

It’s so funny, but if you ask me to remember mom stories from growing up, I could bring up the fact she was a Cub Scout den mother or some nice memory, but what always comes to mind is sitting in back seat of our Ford Fairlane after being picked up at school and how she got pulled over just down from our house by a motorcycle cop for failing to use her blinker when she turned into our neighborhood.  She was mortified. I’ve often thought of writing to the governor to ask for clemency.

Oh and another story I remember. Mom was determined to graduate from high school, so she went back and got her G.E.D. from Torrance High School, the same high school me and my sisters graduated from.

I’ve always been a big fan of everyone getting their life stories written down for future generations to enjoy. I’d love to hear all those details about the big decisions they had to make or the setbacks along the way. It’s an assurance that we all somehow manage to pull through; that as much as we think we’ve got it either tougher or easier, we all go through our own versions of life.

Last weekend, my sister Debbie and my mom came up for a visit. It’s been years since she’s been up here and we were able to do one of those bucket list things for her–catching the Skagit Valley tulips in bloom. She was blown away.

Mom is 90 and turns 91 in August. We threw her a big party last year and, if you never saw it, I put together a fun video to salute her, which I’ll stick in here, in case you haven’t seen it.

 

 

So, as we approach another Mother’s Day, I have to express my gratitude to the powers that be that allow me to still chat with my mom on a daily basis. She’s in Torrance, but all three kids give her a call once a day, just to check in. In the meantime, she continues to enjoy life–gardening in her yard, hitting the Dollar Store for deals, reading her newspapers and continually trying to get caught up with all the shows on her DVR.

It’s a good life and knowing what all she had to go through in raising me, a well-deserved one.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma!

Tim Hunter

Opening Day of Boating Season

 

Here it comes again–another notch in the spring belt, the Opening Day of Boating Season.

While the rest of the country goes bonkers over a horse race in Kentucky, we’re all about the 106th annual celebration of all things nautical in Seattle, when crowds line the Mortlake Cut next to the University of Washington to first watch a series of crew races, followed by the traditional parade of boats with all the yacht clubs from the area showing off their finest.

It’s free and for a lot of people, an annual tradition. Bring the lawn chairs and set up camp as you watch yachts, steamboats, vintage craft, sailboats and more float by to the cheers of the crowd.

We won’t make it this year, but I have to admit I have quite a few of these under my belt.

Back when I was Larry Nelson’s producer at KOMO radio in the early 1980s, KOMO was “your Husky station” and part of that honor included broadcasting the crew races. I remember the voice of the Huskies, Bob Rondeau and the Husky Crew Coach Dick Erickson, doing the play-by-play as the KOMO 4 helicopter flew overhead.

The day didn’t end there. KOMO’s Traffic Reporter Ted Garlatz invited everyone on his boat to go out on the water and hop from yacht club to yacht club. To be honest, I’m surprised we didn’t crash into anything along the way. Or, maybe we did and just kept going. Yes, alcohol was involved.

Years later, I went on a sentimental trip there was a previous father-in-law, who had been a coxswain for the UW back in the late 40s. He loved being back there again, as he had done his fair share of opening day regattas. I’m convince that he’s the guy yelling instructions at the rowers in the blown-up picture on the wall of the Northgate Ram Restaurant.

Then, when I first got together with Victoria, we were regularly invited guests aboard the Oberg’s boat for opening day.  First, going out with the rest of the yachts that were tied up and then, eventually, just partying from shore and walking over to catch the parade.

Yes, that first Saturday in May means a lot of things to lots of people. To some, it’s the Kentucky Derby, while others look forward to the annual free pancake breakfast at McLendon’s Hardware. No matter how you celebrate it, it’s a special day. This year, we won’t be going to the cut, but instead are heading up to catch the tulips that made it this far. Oh, and it’s my wife’s birthday.

As I said, it’s a very special day.

Tim Hunter

A Warning About Facebook

Imagine you’ve had a Facebook page for your business for years. Then, one day, without warning, it disappears.

That’s exactly what happened to one of our Create Impulse clients a couple of weeks ago, Jack Carroll’s Skagit Hyundai.

It was a Thursday when I got a note from Corey, my advertising co-conspirator, asking what was up with their Facebook page after he received this note:

I had never had this happen before. I’m racking my brain, trying to come up with theories and possible reasons–maybe a customer got ticked off and went ballistic on the Facebook page to get it shut down. I was hoping that Facebook would give me an explanation.

Good luck reaching a human. It took over a week of getting non-answers and generic responses, thanking me for reporting it. One auto response said I should report the offending post. How could I do that when you took the entire page down?

I worked on the theory that maybe a disgruntled customer had gone on their page and written a bunch of nasty things, to get them kicked off. I would think that would get the post gonged, but not the whole site. I even found an extremely nasty review posted on Google the day before the page went down. It turned out it was from a guy who was denied a car because he was in the middle of a bankruptcy.

Bottom line: their page was history. All the photos, all the reviews, all the posts–gone. Let’s see, at the rate of a post a day for three years, that’s over 1,000 posts I’ve put up that just disappeared. And the more I pleaded with Facebook for an explanation, the more the generic messages came back.

While I continued working on getting some sort of explanation from Facebook, I reached out to every resource I could think of–a contact at iHeartMedia who asked his expert, and a tech writer for the Washington Post that actually responded. All of them had never heard of such a thing.

As I looked for ways to crack the Facebook barrier, I finally found a link where I could chat with someone. I wish I could show you how that conversation went. The summary–apparently, when the car dealership set up their Facebook page, it was done as a person and not as a business. The FB rep said that they were clamping down on such pages and eventually, there would only be real people with non-commercial FB pages. A business would need to have a business page.  This blog recalls an experience from a couple of years ago that someone else endured, very similar to the one Skagit Hyundai had to deal with.

I asked Facebook if it would be possible to get the list of people who liked the page and I was told “No!” because they were “misled” to Like the page as “friends” and not a business. Oh, brother. I think I’ve used up my quota of quotes.

So, it’s back to ground zero. We’ve begun rebuilding the following of Skagit Hyundai. If you wouldn’t mind Liking their page and helping me boost the numbers, I would really appreciate it.  I’m doing the posts, so I try to at least make them entertaining.

Here’s their new Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/Jack-Carrolls-Skagit-Hyundai-616048762199459/

or just search for them on Facebook: Jack Carroll’s Skagit Hyundai.

Is your business Facebook page a personal page? I would highly suggest you make the switch. Today.

Tim Hunter

Stop and Smell the Tulips

I could have gone a lot of directions this week in this little therapeutic corner of the Internet.  Last week, a client’s Facebook page was just taken down without warning. A generic message from Facebook said that there had been hate speech or something like that. With this week’s posts having to do with the Mariners, tulips and Hyundai’s, I had no explanation as to how this could have happen. I was unable to reach a human entity at Facebook and even wrote up a report that Mark Zuckerberg was harassing me, just to get their attention.

The page remains down.

But then you have things like the fire at Notre Dame, the insanity of the presidential campaign already heating up and, I’ve made a decision: I’m dropping a flying water tanker on it all and going back to those tulips.

Yes, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is off and running up north once again. I’ve actually talked to several people this week who have lived here all their lives that have never been. With this weekend looking on the sunny side, it would the perfect occasion for that first trip, so here are my suggestions for a great time in the tulips.

  • First, get a brochure. They’re free to download at the festival site. If you can’t make it this year, you can have them mail a printed version you one so you can plan for next year.
  • When we went last weekend, the forecast was for rain. That actually turned into a blessing, as the crowds were WAY down and we just drove right in, hit Tulip Town, and even managed to get out by the fields in-between rainstorms. While it was gray, the colors in the fields were still beautiful.
  • I mentioned Tulip Town. We like it because it’s an all-in-one experience. Free parking (which can be hard to come by this time of year) and for $10, you can hang inside their festive barn, see displays, do some shopping and then, head out to the fields. When it’s not rainy and muddy, they have wagons you can ride in that take you around the fields. Otherwise, like last weekend, we had to walk it and it was really muddy. Like walking on ice.
  • There are other farms and fields. That’s when you’ll need the map that’s included in that brochure.
  • And Skagit County has finally spoken up. Apparently, when the lines get long and the cars get backed up, so do people. They’ve had a problem with people going to the bathroom in the Tulip Fields. It’s so much of a problem, they had to create PoopSmart.org. Plan ahead.

While you’re up in the area, swing through La Conner. An artsy little town on the river with a bunch of fun shops, restaurants and a brewery. It doesn’t get much better.

If this weekend is more dedicated to Easter or Passover, I get it. But we probably have a couple of more weekends of blooms for you to catch and by then, the crowds should have died down a little. We live here, it’s a rare treat right in our own backyard and something you really need to experience, if you haven’t already.

With all the craziness in the world around us, it would be good to stop and smell the tulips. Yeah, it’s time.

Tim Hunter

A Penney Not Saved

Oh, it’s official–the J.C. Penney store at my nearest mall is going away. The Northgate Shopping Center, which opened in 1950 as one of the country’s first post-war shopping centers, is going through a massive renovation that has no room for the big anchor stores that every successful mall needed. Penney’s is going through the closing process and Macy’s will be right behind it this July. In a few years, the shopping center will be transformed into a mixed-use center with hotels, housing, offices and the headquarters and practice facility for our new N.H.L. expansion team.

The going-out-of-business signs went up a week ago. There are those guys on the street corners, holding up the 50-70% off signs. We decided to go take a look and it was sad. Yes, times change, things come and go, and yes, we scored some great deals. But what we saw when we got there really drove home the point it was going away. You can’t access the downstairs. Where the men’s department and housewares used to be is now where all the shelves and racks are being stored. All the merchandise has been moved upstairs with ‘All Sales Final’ posted prominently everywhere.

I’ve always joked that the two places I only buy clothes are Costco and Penney’s.  That joke has now been cut in half. Penney’s is where my mom went to work, back in the 1960s when women dared to start working outside the home. Since my parents had one vehicle, I remember dad and us kids all piling into the car around 9:30 in our pajamas and then head over and wait outside the employee entrance for when mom got off.

Victoria’s dad was a school teacher, but started working at Penney’s to help supplement the family budget and was one of the first hires of that new Penney’s when it opened in Northgate many years ago. As a retired Penney’s employee, I believe he gets the employee discount for life, as long as he can find a Penney’s store still open.

But now, like so many things of his generation and now, my generation, it’s going away. I have to say, it’s very strange to see things that have been around your entire life just fade off into history. Perhaps it’s just another reminder to appreciate the day and all that is around us. I’m going with that.

Tim Hunter

I Did It Again–No Foolin’

Most people as they get older are looking for ways to make their lives easier. I seem to be doing the opposite.

Oh, we’re not talking brain surgery on the side while saving the world, or anything like that.  But the little radio show I do each morning for KRKO in Everett pretty much erased any “spare time” I might have had, and has made each of my work weeks challenging, to say the least.

But it’s what I love to do, so quit yer complainin’!

Back in January, as I looked ahead to the year and saw the traditions I like to continue, I wondered how the heck I was going to pull off another National Gullible Day video. Its a silly little tradition I started four years ago, producing a news-like report for a fictitious holiday that also happens to land on April Fools’ Day.

Being the goofball I am, I’ve always loved April Fools’ Day. My radio career gave me an annual opportunity to prank thousands of people at a time. From live coverage of the big April Fools Parade in downtown Seattle, to something as simple as having cell phones ring in the background while we were on the air, making people think their phone was ringing.

In fact, this year on the radio, KRKO celebrated the 40th anniversary of “the concert that set the standard for all the others except Woodstock.”  We promoted it as “The Return of the Jetty….Island Concert.”  I even used Star Wars font when I put together this visual:

You can even see at the bottom of the sign being held up the words, “We didn’t Photoshop this.”

The idea was that we were celebrating the anniversary of a big show that never really happened. Adding to the absurdity, we were celebrating the 40th anniversary of something that happened in 1972. Do the math.

This is my favorite hourly I.D..

And my favorite break had to be my interview with Sir Paul McCartney.  Thanks to the very talented Scott Burns for hooking me up with Sir Paul.

Oh, yeah, the National Gullible Day video.

Like I said, as if putting together this silly three-hour radio show wasn’t enough, I was determined to crank out another April Fool’s Day extravaganza.  I spent the entire year, stashing footage that I would be able to use. About a month out, I started scripting some bits and then called in favors from people who didn’t owe me anything, but I knew they would love to be involved. In fact, if you watch over the years, we have some recurring characters.

I set up taping sessions in between appointments. I asked for voice-overs from my radio friends and permission to use the images of other friends. I grabbed the gang from one of my clients, Opus 111 Group, and asked them to be people “who were at the Jetty Island concert.”  I tried to get all the pieces ready by Friday, got up early on Saturday to shoot my on-camera parts and then, put it all together.

Some of the behind-the-scene nuggets from this year’s video: Check out my bed hair.  I woke up with it sticking out, tried to wet it down, but as you’ll see, it would not stay put.  When the guy talks about building a raft to get to the concert, those photos are actually of me, Skip Tucker and Terry Michaels from KQOT in Yakima at our station’s first-ever River Float.  The guy you see who found the long-lost movie of the first April Fools prank on film?  That’s Leif Eie, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in a couple of months.

Every year, it’s another passion project. No one’s getting rich and frankly, at times, I don’t think my wife completely understands why I do it. It’s just me. If you would do your job for free, then you win.  I’ve already started collecting things for next year’s edition and, if you would like to be included, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Just remember, at some point in my life, I’m expecting all this to be held against me.

Here’s the 2019 edition of National Gullible Day. Enjoy.

Tim

The Art of the Podcast

It takes a lot to impress this guy when it comes to media. I’ve known some pretty talented people in both radio and TV over the years, and for something to grab my attention, it has to be extremely remarkable.

Now, in the arena of podcasting, I seriously don’t have a lot of experience. Then again, I never felt the need. I’ve got the thousands of channels on my cable TV system, along with everything Prime and Netflix has to offer. I stay up on local radio, subscribe to Sirius XM and have my phone loaded with some pretty good songs. I’ve got media aimed at me from all directions, so the last thing in the world I needed was one more medium to become familiar with–the podcast.

Not to say I’m completely unaware of that world. For the longest time, I felt it was “an Apple thing” and being a die-hard Windows Phone/Android guy, I figured I would leave them to the nerds and hipsters. I heard that Adam Carolla, when his radio career went away, launched a fairly successful podcast and continues with it to this day.  Respecting the category, I actually produced a 10-20 minute podcast–the Wacky Week Podcast–for 167 episodes before my stalled radio career was revived. Sort of an Adam Carolla with .005% of the audience. For me, this was more like audio-scrapbooking, as I wanted to preserve some of my radio moments of the past. Seemed like a good way to use the podcast technology.

But one day, I was listening to KIRO in the afternoons when the now-departed (from radio, not the world) Ron & Don were interviewing a guy from a Salt Lake City radio station about their podcast, called, “Cold.” The topic was one of those morbid, “I can’t believe this happened” subjects where a guy undoubtedly made his wife disappeared and then, blew up the house he was in along with his two young sons. Sort of the “if I can’t have them, no one can” mentality.

I had followed the case from afar and, after listening to the host on the radio, decided to embark on my very first podcast experience (outside of my own).

Oh, my God.

What the team at KSL did with their “Cold Podcast” was a detailed explanation of what happened and how it all went down. How the couple met, what went on in their lives and all the details about how Susan disappeared and what happened when the boys were dropped off at their father’s house on their last day in this world.

There were not only interviews with the police, family and friends who were anxious to tell this story, but also audio recordings of both Josh Powell and his dad, who both kept audio journals. Add in some actor reenactments for the rest of the characters is this tragic story and for 18 episodes, I was completely mesmerized. In fact, I want more.

Every Wednesday meant a new episode and I couldn’t wait for the day. It never disappointed and was always done with the idea that this really happened and stories just like it are continuing to happen every day.
If only someone had spoken up sooner.

If you’re into the podcast technology, it’s called The Cold Podcast and I highly recommend it. Or, you can listen to all of the episodes via the website they set up, which is the preferred method of my 90-year-old mother. She absolutely loves it. They give you details that are disturbing, but done factually and not for shock value.

It’s heart-breaking to hear the story and you get this overwhelming feeling like you want to help but know you can’t. While I was aware of the news-story side of it, after hearing The Cold Podcast I am very much planning one day to visit the graves of those two young boys, Charlie and Braden, down in Puyallup’s Woodbine Cemetery. I feel it’s the least I could do out of respect for their memory and for those two souls who never had the chance to grow up.

Kudos to the KSL team that put in all the time and effort to make this audio achievement happen. It really is a must-listen–If not now, soon, or on your next road trip. It’s one of the highest forms of a podcast, with each episode inspiring you to hug your loved ones the next time you see them.

Tim Hunter

What a Great Week!

Weeks come and go. There are those that drag on forever while others blur by and the next thing you know it’s Friday.

I’m doing my absolute best to savor this one. This is a great week!

Sunday, while most people were celebrating the day with green beer, we found ourselves sitting out on the deck of my step-son’s home in Kirkland, sipping DeLille wine and playing with their new pup, Ollie. The dog couldn’t have been cuter, the wine crisp and chilled, the skies the bluest we’ve seen in months. I don’t know how many times I  commented on them, but it was the kind of day you dream about when you’re battling through one of the high-stress varieties.

Meet Ollie

And that was just Day 1 of this awesome week.

Monday and Tuesday were more sun-drenched days and I believe both set records for all-time winter highs! Oh, sure, we could shift the conversation to global warming and our impending doom, but this is just what we needed after getting all that late winter snow just a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, I get to go hang with my KRKO gang for a weekly meeting and talk about what silliness we have planned for April 1st. Be sure to tune in, I think you’ll enjoy it.  It’s also when the baseball season kicks off at 2:35am, with the Mariners and A’s opening up the season in Japan. Spring also officially arrives that day, at 2:58pm. A perfect time for an at-work welcome party, which I think will be a popular concept this year. People are ready.

Yeah, the work things has hit a nice stride, where I’m feeling a doable balance. I’m working on a couple of video projects, was grabbed to emcee an auction in June for the Bothell Boosters, shot several scenes for my upcoming “National Gullible Day” video for this year. There’s just a lot of good things happening.

Thursday, March Madness kicks into high gear and Friday evening, I go to the Silvertips playoff game and during the first period, get to go out on the ice and give away a boat on behalf of KRKO. Dang!

That doesn’t mean that the week is perfect, by any means. But it’s illustrating even more that our good weeks and bad weeks are basically determined by what we focus on. The good or the bad. I know I could pull out a couple of bad things going on right now–oh, they’re there–but all that is good has been distracting me. And it’s working.

So, if this has been a rough one for you, give it a try. If you need to, write down a list of what’s been good and what’s been bad about the week.  Then, tear off the bad part and throw it away. Realize what’s good and remember, good attracts more good.

And another thing–I filled out my March Madness Brackets and at this point of the week, I haven’t gotten one wrong. I know that’ll change next week. Or, as soon as Thursday. But no matter—I’ll just write that down on the right side of the page and tear it off when I’m done.

That’s enough for now. Gotta get back to my great week.

Tim Hunter

You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are

I was doing one of my many multi-tasking days last weekend, where I went there, decided while I was there to go there, and so on…and next thing you know, I was grabbing a freeway on-ramp to go south on I-5 and head home.

As I approached the on-ramp, the flashing ramp-metering flashing yellow light was on–meaning, I was going to have to slow down and come to a stop, to a point where the ramp-metering gods would decide it was OK for me to merge on the freeway.

I awaited my turn and then, the golden moment arrived. OK, the green moment. It was my turn to go. As I gave it the gas, I head off to the sound of a horn honking behind me. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, I saw a young 20-something with an angry look on her face, hitting the brakes and laying her hand on the horn.

As I drove away, I realized what had happened. She was pissed. Pissed that I had stopped on the freeway on-ramp (as required by law) because of the on-ramp metering system. (A quick side-note–my college roommate’s brother actually helped design the ramp-metering system. You may cheer or boo as you wish) 

As I merged on to the freeway, I glanced occasionally in my rear-view mirror to see if she had joined the rest of us on the freeway. As I suspected. she had laid on the horn honking in anger. But as I pulled away, she realized she had screwed up and vented when she should have been humble.

She had screwed up.

Maybe she was looking down, distracted by a text or a phone call. No matter. She came around the curve of that on-ramp and barely braked in time to avoid rear-ending me, giving me a nice case of whiplash and giving her insurance rates that would make Antonio Brown sweat.

In other words, she dodged a HUGE bullet.

My hope is that she accepted all that came her way. The realization that she avoided a mistake that would have followed her for life, if nothing else, for a couple of years. Young lady, you may not realize how close you came to really screwing up your life. And mine, for that matter.

But the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I was hitting acceleration and avoiding the collision as she was realizing that she needed to stop and barely pulled it off. It was one of those rare life moments where everyone got out of it unscathed.

Young lady, whoever you are: you don’t realize how lucky you are!

Tim Hunter

Yet, Another Reminder

I have to tell you the foreword of this experience. This past Monday, I had to visit Evergreen Hospital for a prostate biopsy. Yeah, great. It was everything I hoped it wasn’t and then some, but I survived without nary a girlish scream (that I’m aware of). However, as I sat in the waiting area, when my wife came to get me, she had tears in her eyes. Of course, my comedic mind took me straight to, “Oh, disappointed I pulled through? Interfere with your plans?”

Then I realized this was serious. Crap. I hate serious stuff.

It turns out while my insides were being used as a practice court for prostate hockey, she had received a phone call. It was from her son, Nick, with the news that they were going to have to put down their dog, Teddy.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Teddy was healthy, full of energy, all of 8-years-old. At least, that’s how she was the last time we saw her. However, since then, something had been not right. She became lethargic. The initial doctor visits resulted in the theory that she was anemic. While I was having my procedure, they determined that Teddy had a ruptured spleen, cancer and that it was only a matter of time.

Wow, that’s a lot to absorb in such a short amount of time. Here I was, ready to lay claim to having the worst Monday possible and my crown was quickly snatched away. And it just wasn’t right.

Teddy dated back to the young couple’s final year at the University of Washington, where they met. Despite being starving college students, they rolled the dice and got this incredibly cute pup, which they bestowed with the name, Teddy.

Where they were, so went Teddy. Hikes, breweries, you name it. They had planned to keep their bed a dog-free zone. That was a short dream. On occasion, they hoped to sleep in on a Saturday. Teddy was certain to make sure one of them was up. She was even the ring bearer in their wedding at the DeLille Winery.

Teddy was the kind of dog I hoped to have one day as a part of my immediate family. For the time being, I was looking forward to dog-sitting when they went out of town. But, for now, having her as a grand-pup was just fine. Whenever we’d get together, she’d be so excited, then she would calm down and want to be petted. Stop for a second, and she’d nuzzle her head under your hand so you knew you were slackin’.  I think on rare occasions, I heard her bark.

Now, there we were. Standing in a vet’s office patient room, with Teddy lying on the table top, just not acting like herself. There were plenty of tears in the room and she obviously was picking up on the sadness. Everyone took turns petting and caressing her soft fur, but when you stopped, that familiar head-nuzzle just wasn’t there. Her body was shutting down in spite of all the love that surrounded her.

As family and friends poured in, I think we were up to 10 people crowding that room and the lobby. After everyone said their tearful goodbyes, her parents stayed with her until she went to that place with no pain.

It was a surreal day that finished with an even more surreal reality. Teddy was gone, but hardly forgotten. In time, I’m sure another dog will come along in the young couple’s lives. All I know is that they have got one hell of an act to follow.

For the time you got to spend on earth, Teddy, I’m really glad we got to spend a little bit of that time together. Yet another reminder in my life, to make every minute count.

Tim Hunter

 

My World

I’m a staff writer for Radio-Online, a radio show prep service with subscribers all over the world. I’ve been getting up at 4am for over a dozen years (too lazy to count right now) and putting together a collection of things that disc jockeys could say to their audiences, without having to think of them.

I write jokes, come up with topics to talk about, and create games to play with their listeners. One of the games involves giving you the slogan a company uses and then, you have to identify the company. So while I’m out and about living my life, if I hear or see a slogan, I turn to my iPhone and text the message to myself so I can use it when that quiz rolls around again.

The other day, I saw a commercial for Microsoft and noted their slogan, “Empowering us all!” I grabbed my phone, dictated the message and hit send. As I did, the words that voice-recognition heard caught my eye. It said, “Microsoft. Empowering asshole.”

Well, close enough.

Tim Hunter

I Live in a Special Place

Look, that’s no secret. Ever since I slipped up here in 1973 to attend the University of Washington and fell in love with this state, I’ve known that this is one, special place.

I remember describing the northwest to friends as “somewhere you could live in the kind of place we used to go camping.” When you fly into Seattle and look out the window as you’re about to land in Seattle, you may find yourself thinking, “Oh, my God, we’re going to crash into a forest!”

When my fiancé Victoria and I were house-hunting back in 2007, we did a lot of looking around. I had a home in Bothell and worked in Edmonds. She had a house in Ballard and worked in downtown Seattle, so we were looking for a neutral corner. To be honest, I didn’t even know the Broadview area of Seattle existed. But our realtor, Bruce Fulton, found the house we’ve called home for the past 12 years in the heart of this north Seattle neighborhood.

During some of our get-to-know-the-neighbors gatherings, I found out that our little neighborhood was among the “Parade of Homes”, one of the earlier versions of the “Street of Dreams.” I believe 7 of the homes in our neighborhood came with swimming pools, although all but two have been filled-in. Between leaves dropping and our far-from-resort-weather, having a pool in the northwest really isn’t that great.
Tonight, while working on social media posts for a client, I was doing some research into Seattle history and I came across some nuggets that simply blew me away. The “Broadview” area of Seattle is up around the 125th-140th area of the N.W. streets.  Our home would have a spectacular view of the Puget Sound if it weren’t for all the trees and neighbors, but then again, that’s among the things we loved about this area.

One of the things I learned about this area of North Seattle is that they used to have a place called, Playland. An amusement park located on Bitter Lake that opened in 1930, at a cost of $750,000 to build. This was back in the time when that was a long way out-of-town. The area where we live now used to be where people would have their vacation or weekend homes. Playland opened in 1930 and made it all the way until 1961 before closing forever.

Now, add to that, they used to have an Aurora Race track out here, as well. No kidding.

 

Can you imagine?  Piling the family in the car and then heading out “to the country” to take in some auto racing while sitting in the giant wood bleachers?

And what area would be complete without a drive-in movie theater? It was a mile or so, due east of where we now live.

I’m sure you could get similar results with almost any neighborhood. Do a little digging, Google your neighborhood’s name and you just might some surprises about what went on before you got there. In my case, an amusement park, a race track and a drive-in theater, all made my neighborhood a destination for people to go and play almost a hundred years ago. All those places have been torn down, paved over and are now anything from SHAG housing to a car dealership or even a Dollar Tree store.

Thanks to those who took the time to capture those memories on film and everyone who helped preserve them along the way, so those of us around now can look back and marvel about how special this place is that we live.

It was special then. It’s special now.

Tim Hunter

 

 

Don’t worry–I was punished!

First off, to be clear, I’m one of those who hears that snow is in the forecast and I get all excited. I love snow. Well, I used to.

You see, a typical Seattle snowstorm shuts down the city for a couple of days and then we get back to normal. It’s a nice break, forces you to slow down and for a day or two, our little corner of the U.S. is turned into a temporary winter wonderland.

With my wife having to head to Florida to run a global sales meeting for work, I got to join her at the end of her duties.  We then hopped over to visit her cousin and her husband for a few days in the Tampa/St. Pete area. It was pretty much the most vacation I’ve had for a long time. We watched the snow reports from Seattle while we sat on the beach, enjoyed 70-degree weather, and I even snuck in a round of golf. (my first time in three years)

A quick home movie of one of the things we saw: the Don Cesar Hotel. It was a whole lot of pink (lighter than the T-Mobile kind) that had a bunch of history behind it.  Here are just a couple of photos from that historic hotel:

There were grouper sandwiches, beautiful sunsets, warmth, fun, great company and a whole lot of relaxing. So, when it was time to head back to Seattle, we were ready. We wedged in a lot of fun in those 5 days and knew when we landed that it was going to be one snowy mess in the Emerald City.

And it was, but it took time to get there.

You see, flying back on Monday, we were within half an hour of landing in Seattle when the pilot announced that we weren’t landing in Seattle. We were heading to Portland, Oregon. Oh, boy.

Initially, after landing, we exited the plane and were told to stand by for an announcement in half an hour. Then another half hour. Then ANOTHER half hour. Finally the announcement came as we saw the flight crew walking away that our flight was canceled. Seattle wasn’t accepting any more flights and we were out of luck.

So, now what?

The airline (whose name rhymes with Schmalaska) let us know that our bags were on the way to baggage claim and that we should contact their reservations agents to decide what we wanted to do. Well, we wanted to get back to Seattle that night. It wasn’t going to happen.

All the flights on Tuesday were full except for a few remaining seats on the 11pm flight, more than 24 hours away. So, we decided to grab a hotel, rent a car and drive home. I dashed to Hertz, they told me all their one-way rentals were gone, so I headed over to Dollar and scored a Honda CR-V. By 11:15pm, we were in a hotel room. 5am came early, but I woke up, did my morning show prep writing and we were on the road to Seattle around 7:45am.

The drive wasn’t bad. A few occasional stops, but what’s new? We arrived at the airport parking lot where I had parked my car and I had to wade through a foot of water to clean off the snow and make it drivable. We dropped off the rental car, and arrived home around noon. But there was one more challenge–to be able to pull into the driveway, I had to shovel out a spot.

All this to say, while I was out of town for the big record-setting Snowmageddon of 2019, I still got to share in the ‘fun’ when we got home.

As awesome as it was in Florida, those getaways never ever feel like home. They’re a brief escape, very temporary and I know that over time they’ll offer ample dream fodder. Really, if you’ve lived in the northwest for any amount of time, you know you need at least one sunny getaway during our dark and dreary winters. This was mine. I enjoyed and savored every moment of it. But for those who were stuck here for this record-setting snowzapalooza, rest assured, in the end I was punished.

But I would do it all over again.

It’s good to be home.

Tim Hunter