OK, I’ve Been Thinking…..

We have a serious homeless problem, not just in Seattle, but across the country.

The current mindset of our current city and county leadership is that if you’re not all in favor of pouring an endless supply of money at the problem, regardless of results, you’re a heartless bastard.

Hey–that’s Mr. Heartless Bastard to you!

I see parks overrun with tents, playgrounds no longer safe for kids to play off because of discarded needles, people with absolutely no hope of getting out of their current situation on their own. And some, now experiencing the only situation they can remember, prefer to stay put.

Here are a few pics I snapped at Ballard’s Commons Park a few days ago. To think, around 5 years ago, I hosted a pet show there.

     

I know I’ve blogged about this topic before, never even thinking that it wouldn’t have been resolved over a decade later. But for the millions of tax dollars poured into non-working solutions, to see homelessness spreading like a disease and worsening everywhere it goes, I need answers to the questions that just won’t go away.

Before going on, a quick recap of my personal, simplified philosophy on the topic.

There are three types of homeless people:

1) The Drug or Alcohol Users

2) The Mentally Challenged

and

3) Those legitimately down on their luck and who have nowhere else to go, except to places where the first two groups hang out.

Anyone with a milligram of compassion would like to see each of these groups get help, get off the streets, and return to a level of normal life. But what has been wrongly described as “compassion” has been to allow these people to continue their current existence, living in parks, on sidewalks, in dilapidated RV’s parked along the road.

How is that helping them?

The first two categories need serious help, which we don’t force them to do because that would imposing our values on them and violating their rights. 

I missed the memo where setting up a tent alongside a freeway, throwing your garbage and human waste outside for someone else to deal with is a right.
Within my lifetime, they had laws against such things like loitering, trespassing, vagrancy, littering and so many more that are no longer enforced. Oh, the laws are still on the books, but none are enforced because to be homeless moves you into a protected class.

Among the reasons being given for all these people on the streets and in our parks: it’s because Seattle doesn’t have any affordable housing. Local government’s answer? GIVE them a place to live and everything will be fine. They’ll be off the street and we’ll all live happily ever after.

Who are you trying to kid?

The prevailing thought is that you give the people in the beltways and parks a tool shed of their own to call home, they’re suddenly going to turn into neat freaks and proud home owners. Do you really believe that? Or will these tiny homes filled with the mentally ill and serious drug and alcohol users become nothing more than government-funded slums?

So, you’re saying that, “Yeah, they live that way now, but if we give them a place to stay, they’ll become model citizens.”  Did you never have a messy roommate?


See the source image

When 2021 is in the history books, the city of Seattle will have spent $160-million on homelessness. Just in one year.

 

Encampments, conditions at Seattle parks draw scrutiny as pandemic drags on

You tell me–with all the money that’s been spent, is the problem getting better or worse?

Seattle mayoral candidates discuss growing homeless encampment at Green Lake  | KOMO

So, you’re serious with this plan: We’re not going to demand that the drug and alcohol abusers get help, or that the mentally challenged get assistance, but we will give them a mini-house or a room in a former motel and then, things will suddenly get better? Really? 

Spending tax dollars so that Seattle’s political elite can feel better amongst themselves or have something to talk about at their next fund-raiser doesn’t work for me. 

I think we should stop ALL spending on homelessness, and slowly resume it–first, funding those programs that have legitimately shown results, and then expand on those.

Is that just too much common sense?

And also, let’s seperate the down-on-their luck folks away from the drug & alcohol dependent and the mentally challenged.  When you’re in the water and drowning, you don’t reach out to take as many people as possible with you. Let’s seriously help those asking for help.  Those are the people I want to fund towards a better life.

Helping people who don’t want our help just doesn’t make sense.  We’re ignoring the root problem and assuming it will just disappear by giving them a government-funded place to live.

Let’s say, instead of drugs or mental issues, it was a domestic violence situation. Would moving that dysfunctional family to a new residence fix the problem? I seriously doubt it.

Here’s a nicely written article for those who need more data. 

It’s an extremely complicated situation, I get it. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That is exactly what we are doing. 

And one more question that I have while I’m wallowing around in this topic. I keep hearing the phrase, “Affordable housing.”  As you know, we live in a free-market economy, capitalism and all that. Prices are all a result of supply and demand. Just because I am currently in Seattle doesn’t mean I have a God-given right to be here, regardless of cost. Play that game, and I could say, “I have a God-given right to live in Beverly Hills. Where’s my free place?”

I don’t have that right. Back in the day, when people looked at their economic situation, they made a choice as adults that maybe they need to relocate to something they can afford. Eastern Washington. A house in one of the suburbs. Sure, there’s no Lake Washington view, but you could afford to live there, pay bills and have a life. When did that become not OK?

Right now, there are some readers who made it this far that are thinking, “I had no idea Tim was such a heartless bastard.”

I’m not. I just want to aim all of our efforts towards fixing the situation, not enabling it and allowing it to continue. Forever.

I know, I know, the problem has to do with what I titled this piece.

“I was thinking….”

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

 

OK, This Time I Agree

Maybe this is why we’re only meant to live so long. From the day you’re born to the time you start dreaming of retirement, the world changes a lot. The longer we stick around, the more we are told the things we know are wrong and that we should feel bad for it.

Oh, you know what I’m talking about.

I want to focus on one of those items in that collection of corrected thought, brought to my attention last week when the Rolling Stones announced they had dropped the song, “Brown Sugar’ from the playlist of their current “No Filter” tour. I have to say, that is one of my all-time favorite Rolling Stones songs and to see it performed live two years ago at what was known as Qwest Field, it was part of an amazing night of rock ‘n roll that I’ll never forget.

But I guess now, I’m suppose to forget about it.

So, what’s the deal about “Brown Sugar?” Here’s the story, for those who want all the details. The first I heard about it, I thought to myself, “Oh, for God’s sake! What’s so bad about that song?” I found the lyrics online and I didn’t even make it past the first paragraph before I completely understood. In fact, I wondered how it had survived this long.

Here’s the first verse of “Brown Sugar”:

Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in the market down in New Orleans
Skydog slaver knows he’s doin’ all right
Hear him whip the women just around midnight.

I mean, outside of slave ships, cotton fields, being sold into slavery, a slavemaster and whipping women, what’s not to love?

I had no idea, as I reflected in this break from my morning show on KRKO.

For those of you who didn’t listen to that break, yeah, back when the song came out in 1969, I was a freshmen in high school and mom was about to make her weekly trip to Foods, our go-to grocery store for the big spend. Back in those days, they sold 45’s in the grocery store for, I think, 79-cents (I remember them being as low as 49-cents each). So, I asked mom if she would pick up the Rolling Stones’ song, “Brown Sugar” and she said she would.

I was so excited for her to return home so I could put it on my record player. But as she handed it to me, she said, “You know, I almost didn’t buy this for you, because of the song on the other side.”

It turns out they had chosen the song “Bitch” to put on the flip side.

Most of the people I have talked with about this “controversy” admit, once they’ve heard the lyrics, that yeah, it should probably go away. Everyone I chatted with had no idea that’s what Mick was singing about. I sure didn’t.

But the melody is so great, here’s hoping the Stones take some time and rewrite the lyrics to make it something that doesn’t offend anyone. In fact, I’m going to offer them a rewrite for the first verse absolutely free. However, if you want me to tackle the rest of the song, boys, it’s gonna cost you:

Gold Bond treatment for hurting feet
It’s on sale over at Walgreens
William Shatner knows he’s doin’ all right
‘Till he has to go and get up around midnight.

Let me know if I’ve got the gig, Mick.

Tim Hunter

A Remarkable Life

When you stop and think about it, each of our lives have been blessed with so many amazing people. But for the grace of God, our paths might never have crossed. I suppose, then, I’d not realize just how much I had missed out on.

Such is my situation with a guy named John Sandvig. Over the past decade, I took a crash course on all the things this guy had done in his lifetime and all the time, while we were in each other’s backyard. He was a radio guy, and so was I, in the Seattle market, 25+ years ago.

But while I was playing Christopher Cross, Celine Dion and other soft rock artists over at KLSY, John ended being the Sales Manager over at KISW during its rock hey day. While I posed for pictures with Darius Rucker, Kenny Loggins and Sarah MacLauchlan, John got to hang out with bands like the Who, Led Zeppelin and so many more.

I know we would have had a hoot together had our paths crossed back in those days, but it was not meant to be.

At one of the Soundie Awards, John got to hang with one of my all-time idols, Stan Freberg

Somewhere around 2010, I attended a Police concert at the Key Arena at the Seattle Center. It was a great show and as the last song wrapped up, my wife looked at the guy I had been sitting next to all night long and she said, “I think I know him.” The wheels spun furiously until the pieces came together and she leaned over and said to him, “You’re John Sandvig, right?”

I swapped places with her and they began to talk about old times. Technically speaking, John was Victoria’s mom’s cousin. But because they were much closer in age, they always kind of thought of each other as cousins. Over the course of time, she had lost touch with John, but this was a much-appreciated reunion.

That’s what I’m trying to explain. I’ve only known this guy for a little over 10 years, but in that time, I learned so much about him.

Prior to meeting him, I had heard Victoria reference his parents, Jerome and Clair, who were like Ballard Norwegian music royalty. They sang all over town, threw fabulous parties and Ballard was their stomping ground. I know on more than one occasion, we’ve gone and placed flowers on their graves at the cemetery not far from us.

John grew up in Ballard and attended Ballard High school. For a stretch, John dated a nice girl named Bunny. However, when high school ended, they went their seperate ways.

I learned that while at Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma back in the day, he was in a band called The Deacons. They had a regional hit with a song called, “You can’t get there from here,” with John singing the lead vocals. Remember, he came from a musical family. They performed together from 1964-1968 at all kinds of Northwest venues, including a one-year stretch where they did over 300 shows.

In 2014, the Deacons reunited for one more performance at PLU for homecoming. 50 years later, the band was back together. In fact, John’s wife Bunny actually sewed all their band costumes for them. Yes, Bunny, from those high school days. After attending a Ballard High class reunion, there were now both single and they fell back madly in love. For the last 10+ of John’s life, he got to spend his final decade on earth with his high school sweetheart.

I loved how the sign said, “In Person.”

Wow, that PLU concert was 7 years ago. This blog helped me remember that night.

A couple of years ago, John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At first, it was a slow decline, but it just kept getting worse. The last two to three years of John’s life were spent in a thickening fog. We got to see him a couple of times, and, at first, he was so excited to see us. In later visits, it took time for him to slowly remember who we were, when that smile of his would return. But sadly, after visiting with him, 30 minutes later he wouldn’t have remembered we were even there.

Damn you, Alzheimer’s.

He took his last breath this year on July 11th. That happened to be John and Bunny’s 12th wedding anniversary.

This past Saturday, family and friends gathered to look at old pictures of all those years gone by, and share stories. It wasn’t surprising that there was a flood of fun and laughter as we reflected on the life of this man who came into the world only 76 years ago.

He was a man of faith, a caring husband, father, grandfather and friend and even though I only scratched the surface of knowing him, I had a chance to witness his world and the people around him. There’s no denying, John Sandvig was one remarkable man.

George visiting John near the final stretch

Former Seattle Supersonics stadium voice, George Toles, recorded a video eulogy that was played on Saturday. He had lots of stories about John and their radio sales days together, with a few jokes tossed in. My favorite: “John is now up in heaven, where there are no tears, there are no wars, and there are no Houston Astros.”

It was completely my pleasure to know you, John Sandvig. Rest well. I promise you’ll be among the first people I look up.

Tim Hunter

 

Attack of the Time Vampires

Let me begin by saying, “I’m a busy person.”

If you know me, I’m a multi-tasking fool. I like it. I appreciate it. I’ve known people who have done something similar to what I decided to do seven years ago—get out of the 9-5 routine and put together a collection of jobs, of things I LIKE to do, and make a living that way–but that just weren’t as lucky getting enough jobs to keep them busy. Yes, it was a risk. But at some point, you cross a threshold where you believe in your abilities enough that it just all works out.

I am a flat out achievement addict. I have a collection of year-round projects that I like to take on, despite my already busy schedule, because I like being busy.

There’s my annual April Fools Day video project, “National Gullible Day.” I am organizing another Christmas CD, as I call it, a collection of songs, memories and comedy that has been a passion project of mine for 21 years now. I write and produce a Christmas parody song every year with local singer, Alana Baxter. Again, not for financial gain, but because that’s what I enjoy doing!

A typical day for me begins at 4:45am. I listen to the radio news while on my rowing machine, play a round of “Jeopardy” on my Alexa, and then it’s off to writing for Radio-Online. Once that’s completed, I have a hand-written list of projects by my side, to cross off, one-by-one, as I do them. While I’m working on that list and crossing things off up above, I’m usually adding things down below.

That list could include my daily radio show, this blog (I have to remind myself), do a podcast, produce a podcast, do social media posts for my clients, write up a newsletter or design an email blast, produce a new video ad for one of the clients, and so on and so on.

Each day, I dive into a pile of tasks and frankly, I impress myself with what all I end up accomplishing by the end of the day.

That is, unless I experience the much-dreaded, “Time Vampire.”

Time Vampires are real. They’re out there lurking. On a day you have exactly enough time to do 14 projects, they’ll contact you and make it 19. And while either talking to you, or going back and forth with emails, they cost you time for one or two of the projects you had hoped to get done.

They don’t suck blood. They suck time. That’s why I call them, “Time Vampires.”

For the most part, they mean no harm. It could be they don’t even realize that they’re harming my daily work efforts. The one that really drives me nuts is when they tell you about a project that, with planning you can work in sometime over the next couple of days, but then they drop in that key phase, “by tomorrow.”

And of course, you’ve developed an “Oh, I’ve got this” mentality so that no matter what gets hurled your way, you make it happen. Maybe not your absolute best work, but you get it done.

Now, before you start referring doctors who might help me with this phenomena, let me assure you that Time Vampires are real.

While the blood-sucking variety has such fear-mongering names like Dracula and Nosferatu, Time Vampires are known by softer, less threatening names like Inconsiderico, Imposeonya, and the worst of them all, Screwyooallup. Let’s compare them:

So, just know that they’re out there and they will show up when you least expect them. 

And when you find yourself running late or just not achieving at the level you like to be, you have someone to blame: the Time Vampires. It’s what I do.

You have been warned.

Tim Hunter

Celebrating A Week Of Accomplishments

Every now and then, I’ll take on a new challenge and while I may not be the poster child for how to do the task, I figure what I didn’t know, I know now. That keeps the wrinkles coming in the gray matter and I’m just that much more equipped to deal with projects and situations in the future.

But this past week was like a New Skill Boot Camp. I emerged with so many new insights and nuggets of knowledge that I thought I’d share a few of them.

THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM

It’s a half-bath where the shower curtain rod is mostly used for hanging clothes to dry. We had the tub refinished once before, but it didn’t take long for the white to start peeling off. It looked like hell. So, I turned to Yelp and found The Seattle Bathtub Guy. Guess what he does? The reviews were great, his work amazing, and if we ever need that kind of work done again, he’s my go-to guy.

In order for him to access the tub, I was told I needed to remove the toilet. My wife and I discussed it and decided while we were removing it, we might as well replace it with a nicer-looking, more efficient one, which we purchased. Once the tub was refinished and it was safe to go in there, I put my YouTube knowledge to work, found a couple of videos of how to install one, and went to work.

Step one is setting the new bowl down on the wax seal perfectly, so it seals up as you tighten down the screws. Just like in the video. But when I connected the bowl, it leaked. I tightened the bolts more, it still leaked. The answer eventually became obvious that you REALLY need to tighten those bolts, which I did and the leaking stopped. I had heard too many scare stories about over-tightening bolts on a toilet, it cracks and you get to buy a new one. I’m thinking that applies more to the floor bolts, than the bowl.

WEAR GLOVES

So, the biggest lesson I learned was that I should have been wearing gloves. Some of you may be yelling at your computer or phone screens now, thinking, “Ew! How could he do all that without wearing gloves?” To me, it was get in, get it gone, get out and then wash your hands really well. I think that theory would have played out, if I hadn’t splashed some sewer water that went up by my mouth and into my eye. That opened the door for a bacteria to get into my system which allowed Montezuma to enjoy his revenge without using up any frequent flyer miles. Looking at the positive side, I increased my vocabulary and now know what “Campylobacteriosis” is.

Heavy duty gloves have been ordered on Amazon.

THE HONDA HEADLIGHT

My step-daughter asked I could change a headlight for her, on her 2005 Honda CR-V and my immediate response was, “Of course I can!” Then, off to YouTube I ran again, to see what I was getting myself into. See, if you’re old school like me, you’d think you have to remove the big headlight, put a new one in, and then adjust it so it’s at the right level. Oh, what a different world in which we live.

So, in this case, you go under the hood, unplug the light, remove a rubber gasket, and then try to find the clip that needs to be sprung so you get the bad bulb out and replace it. Un-doing the clip was by far the hardest part, but once I got that, I was in and out in less than 7 minutes.

THE BACKED-UP SEWER LINE

We try to be good. Using minimal amounts of toilet paper, flushing more than usual, etc. We live in an older home, so it’s probably to be expected, but we’ll get the occasional backed-up sewer line. 

It seems to happen about every couple of three years. Sometimes, I grab my 75-foot pipe snake and can knock it loose. But the last time, it couldn’t reach the problem. I went to Lowe’s, looking for a 100-foot long snake, but they didn’t have any. Then I saw this thing called “a bladder.”  Again, I’m sure there are advanced homeowners out there right now saying, “Well, yeah, duh, Tim.” But in my 30+ years of owning homes, this device had never crossed my radar. 

Let’s say you have a blocked sewer line. You attach this bladder to the end of your garden hose, bring it in through a window and then start feeding the garden hose into your sewer line until you can’t go any further or you’ve run out of hose.  Here’s the key. First, you turn on the water slowly, so that the bag of the bladder fills with water. While doing that, it expands and creates a seal in the pipe. Then, you crank the water pressure up to max and whatever was blocking your main sewer line is blasted out and you have cleared out your drainage problem.

While our minds are in the gutter, with our summer being as dry as it was, the roots of those thirsty trees in your yard may have found a way into your sewer line and you won’t find that out until the first heavy rains of the season. 

BARBECUED RIBS

This has absolutely nothing to do with fixing up anything. My son, his wife and the grandkid came over on Saturday for my birthday dinner (one of several this month) and he brought along ribs. Not just any ribs–barbecued ribs from Peg Leg Porker.  While on a business trip back in Tennessee, Tyson had been told about this place for great ribs. He was so impressed, that he eventually brought his wife back there. And, for my birthday, he had them flown out for our celebration. OMG. Now, I’m a big fan of Carolina Smoke up in Bothell, and until I am asked to judge a Rib Off between the two, I’ve gotta say that Peg Leg Porker was in the realm of “to die for” ribs.

As I mentioned on my little radio show on KRKO each morning, I’m big on knowing things. I feel you just can’t know enough and so, when I learn something new, I’m glad to share. Hopefully, there’s a nugget or two in there that makes you just a little bit more smarter.

Or, if you already knew all these things, I’ll at least feel a little less dumb.

Tim Hunter

 

It Just Doesn’t Have To Be That Way

I don’t know about you, but I quickly became consumed with this whole Gabby Petito situation.


It’s not like heinous crimes haven’t become a daily part of our lives. All it takes is opening yourself up to the flood of information aimed at us daily, and you’ll quickly get your fill.

From the beginning of the Gabby story, I sensed something incredibly wrong. As the days rolled on, more and more revelations indicated this just wasn’t going to turn out well.

It started September 11th, when Gabby’s family reported her missing. They hadn’t heard from their young, 22-year-old daughter for several weeks. She had been on a road trip adventure with her fiancé` and even though they traveled to the middle of nowhere, it was unusual for her not to check in for that long.

Back home, her best friend hadn’t heard from Gabby on her birthday. That wasn’t like her. Then, it was revealed that the guy she was traveling with had returned to his parents’ home, with HER van and had been home five days before the rest of the world found out that Gabby was not with him. First, his parents wouldn’t allow police to talk with him. (wait, he’s an adult, right?) Then, they said he had actually left their home several days before and that they “didn’t know where he was.” I hope over time that, if their son is convicted as Gabby’s killer, that the parents are charged with something to do with harboring and aiding a fugitive.

I started writing this on Monday. Tuesday afternoon, we got the word that the medical people had identified that body found near Grand Teton National Park matching her description was actually Gabby.

Over time, I’m sure we’ll find out the complete story, learn every sordid detail, and set up our DVR’s to record the story when it arrives on 48 hours. It’s what we do.

But the reason I’m diving into this topic this week is because it didn’t have to be that way.

As you probably saw on the police body cam footage when they were called out because of a reported domestic dispute, Gabby was shaken. She was not happy, she was crying and told police matter-of-factly that she and her boyfriend had a fight. Police didn’t have enough evidence to take any steps, neither wanted to press charges, which we now realize probably could have saved her life. With insufficient evidence of a crime, there was nothing they could do and had no choice but to let them go.

I look at pictures of that cute, bubbly 22-year-old with her whole life ahead of her and having all of her future adventures robbed from her and it just makes me sad. Watch her videos and see how full of life she was. See the news reports with her parents pleading for information about the whereabouts of their daughter and feel their pain.

Again, it just didn’t have to be this way.

From the second we’re born, the clock is ticking. We’re free to choose whatever path we want, we’ll make mistakes and if they’re bad ones, we’re the ones that pay the price. It’s how the world works.

I just wish somewhere along the line that someone would have said to Gabby, “Are you sure about this? Is he hurting you? Are you sure you want to connect your life to this guy?” It always amazes me that someone so out-going, seemingly so happy, could have a level of insecurities that kept her there and in harm’s way.

Apparently, to his credit, one of the park rangers actually did that very thing, but by that time, she was beyond reach.

Monday, I celebrated my 66th birthday. While I hope for many more years to come in the future, I’ve already enjoyed a lot of friggin’ years and a lifetime of experiences. Most were good, but there are some bad ones in there. That’s true for everyone. As long as we stick around, there will be more major decisions to make–potential turning points in your life. Looking back I feel really good about 95% of my life-changing decisions, with only a couple of minor exceptions.

They say that when you’re down to your last few breaths, it’s not the things you did during your life that flash before you, it’s the things you didn’t do. If your life isn’t quite what you had in mind, please, make a change. Switch directions. Have confidence in your abilities.

Career-wise, I’ve had three major shifts in my lifetime. Two were not my idea, the third was all me, rolling the dice and believing it would all work out. And it did. That’s what is going to fuel me into my feeble years. Between now and then, I’m going to continue doing exactly what I want to be doing. Absolutely, I’ve been blessed, but it’s the good things I’m focusing on, not the things that go south.

If, right now, your life isn’t going the way you had planned, remember: it just doesn’t have to be this way. Especially, in relationships, physical violence at any level is not normal, is not acceptable and undeserved. Period. And you have family, friends and even complete strangers that will support you in making a change.

I only wish someone would have passed along that speech to Ms. Petito earlier. God’s peace to her family.

Tim Hunter

PS ABC Meteorologist Ginger Zee wrote this article after the Gabby story reminded her of her own situation in her earlier years. Worth a read.

SIGNS I WAS IN THE MIDWEST

OK, one more collection of thoughts from my 3-state adventure last weekend, that took me from the Land of Lincoln, through Indiana, over to Michigan and back.

I was entertained by the signs we saw during our 10 hours in the car.

However, I couldn’t resist starting our trip with a few questions about the obvious. When we were in Chicago, that big lake where the city is located–why isn’t it Lake Illinois? Nope. Chicago is on Lake Michigan. I asked if there was a Lake Chicago in Michigan. Kristi told me, “No. But there’s a Michigan City in Indiana!” Of course there was.

I feel like they’re just doing this to tick me off.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d offer a collection of the signs that caught my eyes during our condensed weekend in the middle of the country.

Yes, Eminem’s street.
I don’t mean to be critical, but that’s not how you spell romance.
Yes, Battle Creek, where Kellogg’s is headquartered.

Of course, when we arrived to the scene of the crime, they had to make sure we knew their slogan: “Pure Michigan.”

I’m thinking a Husky snuck on board this bus to change this sign.

If only he could have gotten to the team.

And a sign I was SO glad to see. I didn’t even know that Bob’s Big Boy Restaurants were even still around.

Hello, Big Boy!

Well, maybe not exactly THAT building. This could be where they make that other Pfizer product you’re familiar with.

Anyway, just wanted to share. Plus, it helps me remember if I write it down.

Tim Hunter

Oh, Hail! My Lost Weekend in Michigan

Well, actually, I didn’t lose, my team did. I actually won more than I lost during our recent adventure.

So this plan slowly evolved over the years. Once we heard Michigan was coming to play in Seattle, followed by them hosting us the following year, we toyed with the idea of going back to Ann Arbor when it was the Huskies’ turn to travel to the Midwest.

Then, COVID hit and last year’s meeting in Seattle was postponed to 2028. Great.

We have a couple of Michigan friends and the more we talked about it, the more we decided to make it happen. I have friends that have done the Husky road game thing and the idea of me being able to go back and see “The Big House” in person, it was pretty much a bucket list item.

Of course, this was back when I was believing all the hype about how good the Dawgs were going to be this year.

So, I thought I would pass along everything I learned from this experience so that, should you ever decide to try and do a Road Trip Weekend, you’ll gain from my lessons learned.

The traveling trio

Here’s how the game plan looked:

FRIDAY:

Catch an 8am flight, arrive in Chicago around 3pm, hang out with our Wolverine friend, Kristi, and then get up early and hit the road.

SATURDAY:

Get up early and hit the road. Wait, I just said that. We arrived in Ann Arbor by 2pm with a couple of potty stops thrown in, grabbed some lunch and began walking.

We walked all over the U of M campus, hearing stories of our friends’ time back on campus. At one building, as we were going in, a future Wolverine leader asked me, “Washington….is that D.C. or the state?” I answered his question so he wouldn’t have to look it up.

From campus, we walked to a nearby golf course, where Kristi’s family had a tailgate party set up. We were surrounded by a sea of Maize & Blue. We enjoyed the delicacies of the day and then, walked to the game. Notice the key word, “walk.”

We were surrounded by 108,000 fans, most from Michigan, with a smattering of Purple and Gold throughout the stadium, including us.

And after the walk from the library where we parked, to the campus, to the tailgate party and then to the game, we got to stand pretty much the entire game if we wanted to see it. Despite the fact we didn’t want to, we still stood.

As the game ended, we headed out to our rendezvous point to meet up with our group and then WALK back to the library. Throw in post-game traffic and a 25-minute drive to our hotel room and we didn’t lay our heads down on our pillows until 2am.

SUNDAY:

The alarm went off at 7am, we met up in the lobby at 8:15am and then headed to a breakfast place I found in Yelp. it was awesome. What a discovery!

After breakfast, we made a couple of stops before beginning the trek back to Chicago.

Our first destination was a place called Novi, around 30-minutes out of Detroit, where my cousin Pat lived. I mean, c’mon, we had traveled all this way and to be just a few moments away from a cousin I had only heard about and never actually met–I just had to get by and say hi!

From there, we swung through Kalamazoo, Michigan, the hometown of our Wolverine tour guide, Kristi. We got the abbreviated tour, stopped by to see her parents, pick up a cooler that had been left with one of her brothers at the Tailgate party, and then headed off to the Windy City.

Oh, and on our way out of Kalamazoo, we drove by the Pfizer plant where they made that now-famous vaccine.

Hours later, Kristi dropped us off at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, where we caught our flight home.

Since we were flying home on a Sunday, both my wife and I wore our Seahawks blue. As we made our way through the terminal, a little voice yelled out, “Hey!” I turned to look to see if he was talking to me and he was. It was a 3-year-old kid wearing a Seahawks jersey, so I yelled, “Go Hawks!” and he replied, “Go Hawks!” What a special moment. Nice to see parents raising their kids the right way.

Was the whole trip worth it? Absolutely, for so many reasons. A Husky win would have been the icing on the cake, but I did pick up some tips about trying this kind of thing, so I thought I’d pass them along to you.

Give yourself more time.

Yes, you CAN do it in three days, but trying to do everything we did in that allotted time was insane. Several of us had Fitbits on and we figured we had taken 26,843 steps on that Saturday. Up to this point in my life, I haven’t taken that many steps. It was so many, my Fitbit reported itself stolen. That’s 75 flights of stairs.

Lesson: Pad both sides of the trip and give yourself a couple of days to do things leisurely, rather than wedging them in. Your knees will thank you.

Bring a Portable Phone Charger

I had actually thought of this and charged mine. I just left it at home. The result was, I was constantly on the prowl for energy sources so I could charge my phone. It wasn’t about me being connected. it was largely due to the fact our game tickets were on an almost dead phone

Lesson: Bring TWO chargers.

Keep reminding yourself to be in the present and take it all in. It already seems like forever ago and I’m realizing that I brought back almost more memories than I could pack.

It’s a trip I’ll be talking about for years, filled with special moments and lessons. My goal is to try and remember at least half of each.

Go Dawgs! And, until we meet again, Go Blue!

Tim Hunter

The Conspiracy Continues

Right now, there are so many half-baked concepts being passed around like they’re God’s truth, it can be overwhelming.

Of course, you’ve heard the one where the COVID vaccine contains microchips so that Bill Gates can control our thoughts? Apple is said to be working on one of their own that is easier to use.

And then there are those rocket scientists insisting that horse de-wormer will prevent COVID. Most of those people were rushed to emergency rooms, but the good news–not a single worm among ’em.

But it’s time for me to rip the cover off of a longtime secret organization that has terrorized me every single year during the Husky football season. This dastardly group is so evil, they don’t even have a name, but I’m outing them now for all for everyone to know about.

I’ll begin by figuring out a name to call them. Since apparently their goal is to prevent me from being able to relax and enjoy watching a U.W. football game, I’m going to assign them the handle, the “Talidawg.”

The Talidawg (or T.D. for short) uses everything in their power to make it almost impossible for me to watch Husky games. My best guess is that sometime in July or August, they begin plotting out all the variables that help them keep me from watching games.

They have more tools than ever to accomplish their vile objective. There was a time that all fall football games were a 12:30 kickoff and that was that. Then came along the Pac-12 channel and TV determined how to stack the games on television to fill a broadcast day. That meant that some days, the games could start as early as 11am, or as late as 8pm, all based on my weekend social calendar. And, of course, they wouldn’t announce when the games would take place until two weeks away, after we have made social plans.

Get invited to a birthday party in the evening? Definitely a night game that weekend. Going out of town for the Labor Day Weekend? Let’s make that a late afternoon game, since we don’t have WiFi up at the cabin. (Ha–I cheated the bastards last weekend by streaming it on my phone, although, in this case, it would have been OK if they had blocked it)

During full-blown COVID last year, it would have been easy to catch all the games because we were trapped at home. The problem there was that the team caught COVID and only played 4 actual games before being contagiously removed from the Pac-12 Championship game.

This coming weekend, I out-foxed them. We are actually going to Michigan to see the game in person. Sure, after last weekend’s debacle, I’m having second thoughts. But life is all about the adventure, right? It’s also nice of me to give the Talidawg the weekend off so they can come up with more ways to block me out of the rest of the season.

One thing about me, as a die-hard University of Washington Husky fan, I’m in it for the long haul. I was a season ticket holder (although, it was the last season I did that) the year the team went 0-12. Talk about being a glutton for punishment (not to be confused with a gluten). I’m pretty sure that year was the one the Talidawgs consider their greatest achievement.

Do you know how awful that season really was? It was so bad, the official school poster for the season (which I have around here somewhere) didn’t even have all 12 games listed. They forgot the last one against Cal.

Damn you, Talidawg!!!

Which, by the way, I also have a theory that the Talildawg is made up of a consortium of Ducks and Cougars that are quietly working together, so as not to attract attention.

I win this weekend. The team may not, but I will. However, I’ll be ready to continue the good fight when I return, as their little conspiracy continues to torment me.

Go Dawgs!

Tim Hunter

Bringing The War Back Home

I’m done. I’m withdrawing my forces from Facebook.

Maybe I’m a freak, but I prefer to have my Facebook feed filled with positive things, funny jokes, updates on friends, the latest on family–you know, that kind of stuff.

Those who know me are well aware that I can tolerate things for so long, and then I’ll snap and make a change. I’m not talking going ballistic, but just saying to myself, “I’m so done with this” and acting towards a permanent solution to the situation.

And that’s where I am with Facebook. It took a while (for the past couple of years, tolerating those fanatical political posts) First, hiding their sources so I wouldn’t have to see anything more from that source again. Then, when they insisted on putting their ignorance on full display, I “snoozed” ’em for 30 days. And, as I mentioned before, I have a “three snoozes and you’re out” rule, so in the course of the past couple of years, I’ve had to unfriend several people. No loss.

But returning to my personal Facebook philosophy, I just don’t go there to argue, especially about the whole masking and anti-vaccine thing. That’s a no-win situation. There’s the science and then there are the weak-minded believers who parrot the misinformation they’ve found on a website or heard from the radio or a politician and they know it all. More than scientists, more than those with common sense, they just know.

Such was the case this past week, with I found, what I thought, was a nice collection of thoughts on the whole masking issue. (which has so many people wondering, “Why is this even an issue?”)

Make sense? Basically, asking people to mask up for others, not themselves. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights does it refer to the right to bare faces. But oh, no…this is where the “You’re infringing on my rights” thing reared its ugly head.

Did he really just say that? Yes he did.

As you can see, I was flustered and had to mock the misinformed Tim that, indeed, part of the problem is that those reluctantly masking up are doing it half-assed, because they have to. That doesn’t help control the spread of the virus.

You people simply don’t realize how much you and all of us have to lose.

Sadly, this whole political divide is rooted in the rule of former President Trump, who had four years to spew his hate, fuel our national divide and preach his “us against them” gospel from our nation’s highest bully pulpit. The snake oil salesman had a sizeable amount of buyers.

I just don’t want to get into this topic on Facebook, only to leave there all ticked off until I return, and then see even more annoying comments. I’m moving the discussion to here. Want to post a response to what I have to say? Have at it. This is the correct platform, not Facebook.

So, I’ll begin.

Let’s start with “If the virus is surging, masks don’t work” comment. Dear God, such ignorance. You’re the kind of person that probably thinks, “He died in a car crash? How could he? He was wearing a seatbelt! See, they don’t work.”

Masks are a PART of the solution. However, even if you wear them properly, you still need to practice social distancing and wash and sanitize your hands. Or, did you think the pandemic is over?

I know that’s how they thought things were going down in the south.

I have absolutely no idea what people think they have to gain by fighting what we know works and avoiding the vaccine? You’re looking at the results of your actions. Instead of wrapping up this pandemic, you’re not only extending it, but you’re giving the virus an opportunity to morph into yet another variant. More on that in a moment.

Another aspect of the anti-vaccine movement–wait, let’s start calling it the Pro Covid movement–is how conservative Christians have fought against vaccines, masking and such. As a Christian and a Lutheran at that, I just don’t get it. For those using their Christianity as an excuse for not getting vaccinated, a couple of useful nuggets:

What is it about the southern U.S. that breeds so much mis-information?  I know someone whose doctor told them that, if they were thinking about having any more kids, she shouldn’t get the vaccine. Based on what?  And then, there was the Arkansas doctor who decided that an animal de-wormer would be a good way for his patients to avoid getting COVID. Nope, not making that up.

So, they’ll risk taking an animal de-wormer, but not the vaccine? Really?

Then there’s U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, who claims that scientists are refusing to look at the potential benefits of using de-wormer to fight COVID because they hate Trump.

The circus continues.

Where do they get these crackpot theories?  Well, of course, the Internet, but also the blabber-mouths on the radio passing along their spin on the situation.

Let’s take a moment to honor some of those broadcasters right now.

Here are four that joined the COVID is a Hoax Hall of Fame over the past month–

  • Marc Bernier, a right-wing radio host in Florida opposed to vaccinations, has died of COVID-19 after a three week hospital stay.
  • Phil Valentine, a conservative radio host in Nashville who mocked vaccines and spread misinformation about the coronavirus has died of COVID-19. He was 61
  • Jimmy DeYoung, whose Christian radio show “Prophecy Today” was carried by 1500 stations worldwide, died of COVID on August 15.
  • Dick Farrell who called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “lying freak” and said COVID vaccines are “poisonous” died on August 6.

Coincidence or karma?  Your call.

This makes me wonder, what is the Anti-Vaccine, Anti-Masker’s vision for the next 20 years? Is it so they’ll be able to say, “Ha! See, we didn’t need to get vaccinated!” or “You guys were such sheep! Remember when you used to wear masks all the time?”

You know what those of us who did get vaccinated and wear masks are going to be saying in 20 years? “How’s it going? Good to see ya. Remember that guy who thought the whole virus thing was a fraud and that masking and vaccines violated his rights?  Where’s he buried again?”

I have to say those masks “that don’t work” have helped me stay cold and flu-free for 18 months and counting. That’s the first time I ever remember that happening. It’s not a major inconvenience for me to slap one on before I go into the store if that ends up meaning years of not getting sick. Glad to do it, and my wife and I plan on doing just that.

And when did you get all high and mighty about vaccines? Have you never had one? You know, your kids aren’t allowed in school without certain vaccines. It’s how we made things like measles and smallpox a thing of the past. Or, were those an infringement of your rights? Those failed arguments have a history.

So people don’t get vaccinated, don’t wear masks and don’t social distance because they have a “right” to not do those things. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Variants. (I’m fighting the urge to be snarky and say, ‘I’ll wait while you look that up in the dictionary’)

I’ll simplify this. Play that game and, in time, you’ll catch coronavirus. Could be the original strain, the new and improved Delta variant, which is out there killing the unvaccinated now, or one of the new variants on the way and they ARE on the way.  We’re learning about Lambda, while just this week, the World Health Organization starting looking at the Mu variant.

Eventually, we could have a variant which isn’t repelled by our current vaccines. Ready for another shut down?

So, for the Anti-Vaxers, Anti-Maskers and the “COVID isn’t really that bad” crowd, for all the above-mentioned reasons, THAT’S why we’d like to see you vaccinated. We actually want to see you stick around.

Then we can get back to arguing about less lethal things, like if the dress is blue or black.

Face it–we were happier back then.

If you need help in deciding what to post on Facebook that I’ll actually enjoy, how about something like this?

Argue away in the ‘Comments’ section below because this is where you should get it out of your system, not Facebook.  I may argue with you here (not gladly) but not a drop of it on Facebook. Got it?

My forces there have been withdrawn and relocated here. However, if you insist on tainting my Facebook feed with your ignorance, ironically, you’ll be “masked.”  Heh-heh.

Tim Hunter

P.S.  My co-worker, Amp Harrell wrote this nice piece on Facebook that I think fits in here. Nicely said, Amp.

Friends, I have to share something. Thursday morning, I heard something on a national newscast that I did not expect. I heard a student reference Rutherford County Schools. For those who don’t know, he was speaking in favor of a mask mandate, as he lost his grandmother to COVID.

He was interrupted and mocked by adults in attendance, and at least one person visibly laughed.
Ultimately, by a narrow margin, RCS voted to institute a temporary mask mandate. By a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 margin, respondents to the tweet announcing this were loudly against it. Their comments also alerted me that there’s apparently a way to opt out, which doesn’t make it a mandate anymore.
Why do I care? Because this is MY school system. I attended school at McFadden, which is now a Murfreesboro City School I believe but may have been RCS when I attended. I opened Rockvale Elementary, and graduated as a Valedictorian from Riverdale High School. I broadcast softball against Siegel and basketball against Blackman; I also broadcast Oakland football’s championship run in 2018 before saying farewell to Tennessee by calling my alma mater Riverdale’s games in 2019. I even got a chance to call games FOR my school against a school I almost attended instead (Blackman) and one I would have attended if it had existed (Rockvale HS). I even called middle school basketball games at Stewarts Creek. I don’t get a lot of “from here” credit since we moved around so much, but I don’t think anyone can argue I’m not a product of RCS.
As such, I don’t say this lightly. Rutherford County? You need to get yourselves in order. Grown ups mocking a teenager whose grandmother died, because he had the audacity to suggest we all should wear a face covering during a global pandemic? Going on twitter to pout like a child that you’re against the rulings or that you’ll openly defy them? Who are we?
…actually, at this point, I’d like to say “Who are YOU.” This behavior doesn’t represent me. If anything, I’d like to point out how this “I know what’s best at all times” attitude is forcing these schools to let our children down. Allowing parents to opt their kids out of a mask mandate during a global health crisis is much like making sex-ed an “opt in” and allowing unqualified instructors to lie to our children. The most virtuous bible-belt area around, but you wonder why you’re seeing more teen pregnancies. After all, abstinence is 100% effective.
You don’t want “new math” in the classroom. You don’t want “critical race theory” or controversial books. You don’t want transgender children to use the restroom where they feel safest. You want to make sure creationism and intelligent design are taught alongside the theory of evolution, but you don’t want our children to learn anything positive about Islam. You don’t want qualified educators to take the place of parents when teaching (or ignoring) things that could lead to 18+ years of commitment and hard work. But you’re more than happy to build a screen door on a submarine because only 1% of people will die, and kids seem to do better with this virus anyway.
If you don’t see why this is a problem, then you are the problem. To my friends in the county I left behind…I’m sorry. I wish you good luck. But I don’t know if you have room to take those wishes home, with the overflowing “thoughts and prayers” you get from your politicians.

Return to Nardoland

I came back.

Last Saturday night, I did my first live, in-person auction in almost two years.

It kind of came out of nowhere. I remember talking with master Bothell Booster fundraiser Kim Monson earlier this year about the Bothell High School Boosters possibly having an auction, but it wasn’t until a week and a half ago that they asked, “Did you get our email?”  I hadn’t, but Auctioneer Extraordinaire Ken Carson reached out to me to see if I had heard about it and the show was on!

And so, on Saturday night, August 21st, Ken, yours truly and the family and friends of Bothell High School football players gathered at the magical place known as Nardoland.

You could have lived here your entire life and never known that Nardoland exisits. For anyone who attended or had kids at Bothell High School, this is Mecca. I actually wrote a blog about this place several years ago and to this day, I still get random emails from people all over the country who stumbled across the story and want to know how they can get in to see it for themselves.

After the auction last weekend, I actually had a great chance to just sit down and chat with the owner, Ron Nardone. He played football for Bothell back in the early 1960s and remained so proud of his alma mater, he turned his spacious property into a Smithsonian-like salute to his Bothell High School Cougars.

Ron said he only allows events at his place three times a year. For his Bothell High School class reunions, for his wife’s Ballard High School reunions and for the annual Bothell Boosters event.

 

How you know you’re in the right place

Let me just take you on a tour of the memorabilia on display at Nardoland.

 

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This is Ron, riding around his compound in a golf cart given to him by a friend down in Palm Springs.

It belonged to his friend’s mom

 

Ken & I had to get in a quick picture with Coach Tom Bainter. He’s entering his 22nd year as head coach of the Cougars.

And, of course, former Bothell City Councilman (and Cougar assistant coach) Del Spivey was there. I think he’s stalking me.

 

One of the cool auction stories from the evening: Every year, they offer a package called, “Hekker in Hollywood.” Former Bothell High football player Johnny  Hekker went on to QB at Oregon State and then, became a punter in the N.F.L.. The package included two seats of the game of your choice to watch him punt footballs for the Los Angeles Rams down in L.A., two passes to Universal Studios and $500 cash.  Ken was wrapping up this item with the traditional “Going once, going twice….SOLD!” when a woman claimed she wanted to bump the bidding higher.  At that moment, quick-thinking Coach Tom Bainter called up Johnny and asked if he could double-it and he did.

I also hear that, in the off-season, Hekker is known to return to his Edmonds home and come over and work with the kickers at Bothell High during spring practices. What a guy!

This year, circumstances forced them to make this an outdoor event. In years’ past, we were all jammed inside the giant garage. But this year, they went with a large tent in the fresh open air and I’ll bet this is how they’re going to be doing this for years to come. By the way, here’s the picture that resulted when I asked folks to hold up their bid cards.

 

I actually originally asked them to hold up their vaccination cards, but they didn’t think that was funny.

My favorite line of the night: “Tonight, I’d like to ask you for your prayers. Oh, I’m healthy, doing fine. I just want to win the lottery and quit my job!”

However, that’s definitely not true. I can’t wait for my next visit to Nardoland. I just might have to blog about it again.

Tim Hunter

PS KOMO TV’s Eric Johnson did a great piece on Ron Nardone and Nardoland. Watch it here.

You’re An Idiot

I think it’s a safe assumption that all of us care, at least to some degree, what others think of us.

It’s why we spend so much on clothes, or hairstyles or the car we drive around that’s really just something that gets us from here to there. We feel we have to have a specific sports shoe or post pictures on social media that reinforce the image we desperately want, so the world will think of us what we want them to think of us.

God, we’re a mess.

There are some of us who insist we don’t care what others think of us or, better yet, that they need to demonstrate that they’re superior human beings and that the rules, common sense and science don’t apply to them.

They just know better.

And it’s a powerful belief. So powerful that it helped extend our COVID-19 pandemic way beyond how long it would have run had everyone able to get the vaccine would have taken the shot.

I’m just imagining someone from the 1940s being transported to the future and finding themselves in 2021 as we continue battling this pandemic.

GUY: Wow, the world is an amazing place.

ME: Well, yeah, it is. I mean, just in the last ten years, the technology breakthroughs have been amazing.

GUY: What’s that over there?

ME: Oh, it’s a robot that vacuums our floors for us. We also have phones we carry around with us, that double as a camera and that connect us to the Internet where ever we go.

GUY: The Inter what?

ME: Oh, never mind. But as amazing all of our technology is, we’re actually battling one of the worst pandemics in the history of the earth.

GUY: Wowsers!

ME: Did people really say that back then?

GUY: Not really. But you’re writing this. Well, hopefully it won’t be long until they come up with a vaccine.

ME: Oh, they already have one.

GUY: What? You mean, something that cures it?

ME: No, but it helps prevent people who catch the virus from getting worse and keeps you out of the hospital.

GUY: So, I suppose they don’t have enough for everyone?

ME: Oh, they do. But the vaccine became political last year.

GUY: Wait, wait. So, they have a vaccine that works and people are intentionally not getting it?

ME: Yep. Some say it’s because they don’t know what’s in there. Not that it’s ever stopped them from eating a hot dog. Others think tracking devices are embedded in the vaccine. There are even some who say that it will make you magnetic. I’ve got a niece whose doctor told her not to take it if she’s planning to have more kids. Oh, and others say they won’t get it because it’s against their rights.

GUY: Well, if it were me, I’d at least wear a mask

ME: But there are some who say that wearing a mask violates their rights.

GUY: What about people having a right not to get the virus? Especially when they know how to prevent it. You know, I think I’m going to go another 50 years in the future and see how this all turns out.

ME: Oh, I can tell you. The people who use the science will be here. Those who think they know more are taking their chances and could end up not being around. And we don’t know the long-term effects of what COVID does to the body. There are some battling symptoms months after initially catching it.

GUY: So, this is becoming like a natural selection thing.

ME: Yup. Like the caveman who went outside because it wasn’t fair that the T-Rex was forcing him to stay inside. Or the scuba diver who went in the water without a mask, because it violated his rights. You can’t save stupid.

GUY: You know, I think I’m going to head back now. You know, back then, all we had to worry about was World War II.

ME: Nice talking with you.

GUY: I can’t believe they can avoid it, but choose to get it.

ME: If we ever figure that one out, I’ll let you know.

Actually, we have figured it out. When President Trump said the virus was no big deal, that this was all just going to magically disappear, how he spent the last year of his term mocking Dr. Fauci and the science, when he downplayed the significance of the vaccine, caught COVID and still got the vaccine, but didn’t encourage his followers to get it, he ended up with full credit for mishandling one of the biggest attacks ever on our species.

Not to mention the deal he struck with the Taliban where 5,000 prisoners were released last year (gee, what do you think they were doing last week?).

And then, on Inauguration Day, inciting a riot at the Capitol Building to try and overturn the election verification process.

He basically was torching the country on his way out. 

If you’re a Trump fan (and I know quite a few), I’m sorry. Not for what I said, but what history will bear out over time.  History is the final judge and I promise you, it won’t be pretty.

There’s the old joke about the heavy rains that resulted in flooding. A man was standing on the roof of his house when a guy in a rowboat came by and yelled, “Hop in!” The guy responded, “That’s OK. God will save me.”  Shortly afterwards, a guy on a jet ski came by as the water kept rising. The guy yelled, “Hop on!” and once again, he responded, “No, God will save me.”

Finally a helicopter flew overhead, dropped down a rope and he yelled up at the chopper, “No thanks. God will save me!”

Well, the water kept rising and the man drowned. 

When he got to heaven, he saw God and said, “Hey! How come you didn’t save me?”

God replied, “I tried. I sent a boat, I sent a jet ski and a helicopter!”

This quote I saw on Facebook sums it all up: “What doesn’t kill you morphs and then comes back to try again.”  As long as we keep allowing the virus to developed new strains, we’re going to stay right where we are. And people 50 years in the future will look back and wonder what the hell we were thinking.

Get the vaccine so we can argue about all this in the future. However, if you stick by your guns insisting it’s not for you, you can’t say that you didn’t at least have a chance. Actually, it’s possible you may not be around to say that.

And, by the way, you’re an idiot.

Tim Hunter

 

What A Vacation Feels Like

Oh, it’s been a while.

I’ve kiddingly labeled a recent 2-day stay in Leavenworth as a vacation, because it’s really been the only time in the past 17 months that we got away from the usual routine and even though it was less than 48 hours away from home, I took it.

But last week, we flew out of Seattle and hit Santa Barbara for a few days, then went off to my hometown of Torrance, California, to hang with mom as she approaches her 93rd birthday. A total of 9 days away from home and I loved every minute of it.

Oh, I still got up early every morning to write for Radio Online. But just a couple of hours writing compared to my usual 5am-5pm days just felt like a vacation.

In Santa Barbara, Victoria’s cousin Judy and her husband Bill treated us to four days of seeing the town and experiencing walks on the beach, some fun restaurants and even an event called Viva La Fiesta.

Now, I’m not going to recap the entire trip, but I did want to share some photographic memories of our time there.

We also visited a woman named Terry who had lived in her home on a hill for 30 some years and had turned it into a showcase dessert garden. Here are just a few of the visual treats we enjoyed.

We then headed south to the place and the house where I grew up. My folks bought it a year before I arrived and mom still takes care of it. While we did a lot of hanging at home, helping mom with some of her projects around the house, we also snuck in a Dodger game while we were there. And, did an early celebration for mom’s upcoming birthday.

I’m telling you, I honestly haven’t shut down and relaxed like that since I don’t know when. I highly recommend it. As I sit here looking at those pictures and fondly remember those 9 special days, I can’t help but think, “So, THAT’S what a vacation feels like.”

This concept could catch on!

Tim Hunter

Here I Go Again

I’m on the prowl. I’m boat shopping again.

Growing up, I had occasional brushes with them. In home movies, you can see a 4-year-old version of me (hmm, I don’t recall a life jacket) on a rowboat during vacation up in Washington State.

The big story around that visit is that a cousin of mine put a brand-new engine on that boat, went out in the water and it fell off, sinking in the mud below and was never seen again. Apparently, he hadn’t attached it very well and it was the reason someone had to row.

A rare photo of the boat with an engine

A year or so later, I went up to Big Bear Lake and went out on a boat fishing with my uncle Chuck and cousin Charlie. I don’t remember catching fish, but I do remember them thinking it was hilarious when I decided to try eating some salmon eggs.

One time during a South Dakota family trek, my late uncle James, my dad and I went out on the Missouri River, with me latching on to a huge Northern Pike. It’s trips like that one that makes one a fisherman for life.

However, I never really owned a boat until I was married, a couple of kids in and had cracked 40. One Father’s Day I went to look at an ’88 Bayliner Capri and fell in love. I had something to play with during the Lake Chelan vacations and even came home from work one day, grabbed the kids, got us lunches from Boston Market and then went out on Lake Washington to have the Blue Angels fly over our heads. Now, that’s how you do it here in the northwest.

A quick side-story about that. Five days after purchasing the boat, a brand-new Hooters Restaurant opened up in Lynnwood, north of Seattle, and the Murdock, Hunter & Alice show paid a visit to settle the dispute about it being “a family restaurant.” As we walked in the door of this brand-new restaurant with all the Hooters Girls greeting us, one yelled out, “Tim!” It was the girlfriend of the guy who I had bought the boat from. Small world.

I had that boat for around five years, but while my love continued, the rest of the family became a bit bored with it, resulting in me going out by myself more often. That just made it too much work. Add in the time I took the kids to Lake Wenatchee and bent the shaft by going over some rocks and it was a sign that it was time to sell.

In recent years, for a time, we had a boat to borrow up at Lake McMurray, where Victoria’s family cabin is, but that went away. So now, I feel I’ve got this life thing under control, I could afford a small boat payment every month and I know I would use it. I just want to make sure I don’t buy something that lives in the repair shop.

That being said, I came close to pulling the trigger on a ’91 Bayliner yesterday. I really wanted that boat. It was $4500, which is the same price I paid for my Bayliner back in the day, and it looked pretty good. Just on the dirty side, as I was told that it had been in storage for a year.

Where it broke down:

  1. I was told it had been sitting around for a year. The last time it had been licensed was 2012. Hmmmm…
  2. The seller said that he had all kinds of work done to it. I called the shipyard where it was being stored and was told that they didn’t do the work. I wonder who did?
  3. I asked the yard if they could do a mechanical check, and they said they could–at $175 an hour.
  4. I checked with BECU about doing a boat loan with them. They don’t loan money on boats older than 25 years.

For those reasons, it just got too complicated. I had a check with me, ready to fill out, but the inner voice said this wasn’t the one. So, my quest continues.

I know, I know: “The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”

And now, the shipyard where I visited yesterday said they had a similar boat to the one I was looking at, and they had done all the maintenance on it. I’m going to see that at noon today. We’ll see what my inner voice has to say about this one. Wish me luck.

Here I go again.

Tim Hunter

What My Hair and My Patience Have in Common

You’ve probably already guessed correctly–they’re both thinning.

While I can’t do anything about my hair, I can actively try to remove most of the negativity in my life. Spot a negative comment on social media–just ignore it. But what if it really ticks me off? Use that handy feature where you get to block all futures posts from that source. What if the irritating comment is made by the actual “friend”? Snooze ’em for 30 days. Three snoozes on the same friend? Just unfriend them.

I’m touching on this topic because I violated my own rule the other day by commenting on someone’s complaint.

No need to get into names, but let’s just say this friend was a former high school classmate. After one of the reunions, we became Facebook friends and it’s been fun to see some of our other classmates show up in her feed over the years. Really, I don’t remember much about her other than what she looked like back in those days, and that embarrassing moment at our 20th reunion when we bumped into each other in an elevator. She smiled and said, “Tim!” and I said, “Karen!” and that wasn’t her name.

One of the few things I did know about her is that she is a die-hard Dodger fan, the team I have returned to as “my club” with the legacy of disappointment that has become Seattle Major League Baseball.

Last week, she made a post that I understood was a “shame on Dave Stewart”, the former Dodger pitcher who was part of the team during their 1981 season. Apparently there’s a reunion coming up to celebrate that team, but Stewart was refusing to take part of it because of how the team was handling the Trevor Bauer situation.

Her post made it sound like Dave Stewart was wrong about shaming the Dodgers organization. I made a “consider the source” comment and put the link to the story of that time Stewart was arrested for trying to pick up a prostitute.

I never should have done that.

She went straight to, “Oh, Tim Hunter (and included my name so it would go everywhere), picking up a prostitute and beating up a woman are not the same.”

What? Where did this go south? Was she saying I was defending Bauer’s actions? Huh? So, now I’m defending myself. So I had to respond.

I commented, “Your words, not mine. I wasn’t making that comparison.”

I don’t need to relive the conversation because I’m not letting it take up any more of my energy or time, but after a couple of rounds of pointing out to her that the Dodger organization had already suspended him–twice—pulled his merchandise from the store and canceled his bobblehead night, but were awaiting a final legal ruling before doing anything permanent, I realized that she was on a vendetta and nothing I could say would make the issue right in her brain.

As I mentioned, I just don’t need that in my life. I ended up spending 15 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back and once you steal time from me, all I can do is to make sure you don’t do it again.

This morning, there was an awesome post of a dog snuggling with a fawn. I just stared at it and then watched it play again. I felt good. It was positive. That’s where I want to live. This isn’t the same one, but see how something like this makes you feel.

My youngest sister and I had a chat about this very thing last night. She’s trying to do the same thing in her life–shut out all the negative influences and simply enjoy what’s good out there…and you can. The negative will always be out there, but it’s up to each of us individually to block out as much as possible. I’ve mildly pursued doing this in my life over the years, but now it’s become a passion and I’m loving the results.

Positive inspires positive. Negativity can take over your life. Just ask that former Facebook friend, whatever her name is.

Tim Hunter

Apparently, It Ends At 65

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with fireworks. But after 65 years, I’ve decided to call the whole thing off.

Growing up in Southern California, I was there when “Safe & Sane” fireworks were all the rage. Every year when those firework stands opened up with names like Red Devil and TNT (I mean, how family-friendly sounding can you get?) we would all pile into the car, park in front of that firework stand and dream of getting the biggest pack of fireworks they would sell us. Well, that was the kids’ view. As far as mom and dad were concerned, they’d usually pop for a $15-$20 assortment pack that we’d fight over as to who could hold on to it in the car on the way home.

But all three of us–my two sisters and moi–knew the second we hit the car, dad just had to blurt out his traditional phrase, “I don’t know why we just don’t light a $20 bill on fire!”

I think dad secretly enjoyed lighting off those sparkling fountains and log cabins that smoked. There were the Piccolo Pete’s that would explode if you clamped down on the ‘t’, but of course, we didn’t find that out until we were older. Oh, and Smoky Joe.

You’d put something that resembled a cigar into his mouth and it would actually smoke. Very anti-climatic, especially since during those days, most parents were doing that all the time.

But still in the eyes of kids, it was awesome. We’d enjoy a whole half hour of black or rainbow snakes, a couple of fountains, some sparklers with at least one of us burning our hands and then it was time to pile into the ’59 Ford Fairlane or the ’66 Chevy Impala to go find a parking spot down by Redondo Beach, to watch the bigtime fireworks they would launch off the barge.

There was one summer when we made a family pilgrimage to my mom’s home state of South Dakota during the 4th of July. The reason I remember it is because they actually sold firecrackers. I had never seen any close up. A cousin quickly fixed that by lighting one and throwing it up by my ear. Gee. Great.

The years passed. I became more interested in girls, I went to college, took a radio job in Yakima, got married and then moved back to Seattle to play radio here. There was a stretch where, due to my chosen career, I found myself at those big public displays. There was the Cellular One Fireworks Show at Gasworks Park one year, where we laid back on the lawn and looked up to an incredible show. Same for the 4th of Julivar’s a couple of times along Seattle’s waterfront. However, the drawback of those shows is that by the time they’re over and you walk back to the car and fight traffic, you’re getting home at midnight or even later. I had a couple of those in me, but then we made the switch to the neighborhood displays.

There I was, married, in my 20s and living in a neighborhood full of 20 and 30-somethings, and boy, they knew fireworks. The annual tradition became gathering in the cul-de-sac and watching each other launch all the not-safe-and-sane fireworks we had purchased at Boom City, up in Marysville. Looking back, it’s a miracle none of us were ever seriously injured. Including that now famous moment when my son lit a mortar that tipped over and shot exploding bombs at the crowd as they dove behind lawn chairs. You may have read that an NHL goalie was killed by one of those this past weekend when he took a direct hit in his chest. He was only 10 feet away and never stood a chance. He was just 24.

There’s something about the 30-to-40-year-old American male that attaches celebrating our freedom by blowing things up.  As kids got older, lifestyles changed and we successfully dodged house fires by bottle rockets landing on our cedar shake roof, you just hit a point where, “OK, that’s enough.”

As a sneak peek at the future for my younger readers, there comes a time when the 10 o’clock TV fireworks satisfy your fireworks Jones. You watch, you turn off the TV and by 10:30, you’re asleep. Well, until the 30 and 40 somethings in the neighborhood get out their illegal reservation fireworks and try to out-do each other.

Our current 4th of July routine is to watch the Macy’s or Seattle fireworks, call it a night and then try to sleep through what the surrounding neighbors have planned. One of the jokes I wrote about this weekend is that 1:30am on July 5th is my favorite part of the 4th of July weekend, because that’s usually when my neighbors run out of things to blow up.

Every year, my wife swears it’s worst than last year. To me, they’re all the same. Geeze, one of them this year actually set off a car alarm in the neighborhood. It was that big of an explosion.

And then, if you have a pet who just doesn’t understand, I’m sure you have learned to hate the holiday even more.

It could be maturity. It might be burnout. Whatever it is and the reasons behind it, the whole fireworks thing ended for me when I hit the age of 65. Nothing sad at all about it, I had my fun, but those days are now behind me. I’d continue to ramble on about the topic, but I’ve got to go chase some kids off my lawn.

Tim Hunter

I’m Tired Of Being Historical

Things happen, they get written down into the history books and we move on.

When I think of all the things that happened in my early years–the turbulence of the 1960s, the loss of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr., the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall–that’s a pretty impressive list.

But I gotta say, the last couple of years have really gotten out of hand.

First, the pandemic. COVID-19 started slowly, with nobody thinking it could really be that bad, or that it was just like a bad flu bug. Some still believe that. But basically, it was a once in a century event, often compared with the Spanish Flu outbreak of the early 1900s.

OK, so it happens every 100 years and I just happened to hit the life lotto. Great.

But then, barely a year later, we’re now going through what has been described as a “once-in-every-1,000-years” event, with Seattle hitting all-time high temperatures–hotter than ever recorded–and three days in a row of triple-degree heat! Something that’s never happened before.

So, in 2020 we had a once-in-100 years occurrence. Now, in 2021, we’re experiencing a once-in-1,000-years event. My theory is that next year, 2022, we’ll be on tap for a once-every-10,000-years occurrence. I don’t want to come off as overly pessimistic, but give it a little bit of thought: what could next year’s “bet you never thought THIS would happen in your lifetime” event be?

I may have to reconsider that comet insurance policy I recently turned down.

Whatever. We’re all in this together. But I am getting a little tired of being historical.

Tim Hunter

Welcome to Seattle: Part 1

OK, I’m going to embrace it. More and more people just keep moving to Seattle, making real estate prices skyrocket, the roads even more crowded and giving us all growing pains in every direction possible.

I can’t change that, but the least I can do is make it easier for our newer residents to know how things work around here. So, this is the first in a series I call, “Welcome to Seattle”, to give our new neighbors an idea on how we think and do things.

In this inaugural segment, I’m going to talk about the seasons. Seattle has four of them, so as you spend time settling in your new home, you’ll find yourself developing these beliefs and eventually, say them out loud yourself. Feel free to print this out and put it up on your refrigerator for easy reference.

Let’s start with our current season:

SUMMER

This is when you’ll hear multiple complaints about various topics. The most notable, when we shift from complaining about how cold it is to complaining about how hot it is. The season always begins with the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year. If it naturally occurred to you that you should be complaining that the days are now getting shorter, you have potential.

Among the phrases you might hear:

  • “God I hate mowing my lawn.”
  • “It’s too hot! Man, I can’t wait until fall. Football, the leaves turn colors….it’s beautiful in the fall around here.”
  • “Well, I guess this won’t be the year for the Mariners…”
  • “Oh-oh, here comes fire season again.”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the heat in!”

FALL

Absolutely my favorite season because of football and cooler weather. Throw in fun holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and the countdown to Christmas (most of which takes place in fall) and you can see there’s a lot to like about fall.

But this time of year comes with it’s own seasonal collection of complaints:

  • “Oh, my God, it’s getting darker earlier and earlier!
  • “Time change weekend? Again? I hate that! I thought we approved getting rid of it. It takes me days to recover.”
  • “Crap. look at all those leaves in the yard. And most are from the neighbor’s tree!”
  • “Well, at least there are some former Mariners on some of the playoff teams.”
  • Well, winter’s almost here. I hope it snows this year.”
  • “Don’t open that window! The rain will blow in!”

WINTER

This is peak complaining season in the Northwest. I’m pretty sure its when S.C.D. (seasonal complaining disorder) was invented. I mean, what’s not to complain about? The briefest amount of sunlight daily, when the clouds actually allow the sun to sneak though. “50 Shades of Gray?” Oh, that title had to have been invented up here. By the time the Winter Solstice arrives, it’s iffy if the Seahawks will make the playoffs, the Huskies and Cougars have their fingers crossed to make it to a modestly respectable bowl game and we start hearing about how good the Seattle Mariners are going to be next season. I leave out the Sounders, because they’ve actually given us less to complain about.

So its a very gray period featuring rain, occasionally snow, a make-good windstorm should it fail to show up in November, and the fact that everything you do has to be inside because of the weather that rules the outdoors.

The classic winter complaints you can practice ahead of time:

  • “God, this weather is SO depressing.”
  • “We really need to plan a mid-winter vacation to someplace sunny next year.”
  • “I can’t wait for spring! The flowers, the buds on the trees, the lawns turning green again!”
  • “I’m ready for some baseball. I hope the Mariners do well this year!”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the cold air in!”

SPRING

And now, we complete the cycle and prepare to start all over again with summer complaining right around the corner. As Mother Earth wakes up again, we enjoy flowers and blossoms, along with pollen, hay fever, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

This season’s typical complaints:

  • “It’s too cool!”
  • My God, will it ever stop raining? I can’t wait for summer to get here.”
  • “The Mariners are going great in spring training. Maybe this is the year!”
  • “Time change weekend? Again? I hate that! I thought we approved getting rid of it. It takes me days to recover.”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the pollen in!”

That’s all you need to get started. Practice daily and in no time at all, people will think you’re a native.

Welcome to Seattle.

Tim Hunter

It’s That Week Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

I still have that ball.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, Dad!

Tim Hunter

Turning The Corner

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

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

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

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

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

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

I couldn’t resist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it feels good.

Tim Hunter

Never Too Late To Remember

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

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

                    

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

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

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


Now, not serving #233

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

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

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

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

Because, seriously, it’s never too late.

Tim Hunter

HP IS DEAD TO ME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HP, you’re dead to me.

Tim Hunter

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

HP is now irrelevant.

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

And I was told, “Yes, you do.”

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

Long live Brother.

I Survived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line–I survived!

Hipp, Hipp, Hurra for Syttende Mai.

Tim Hunter

What vaccinated people do on the 17th of May

It’s A Small World After All

   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the friggin’ odds?

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

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

Tim Hunter

Another Reminder Of the Lucky Life I’ve Lived

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear it here.

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

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

Good times. Thank you.

Tim Hunter

 

The Tradition Continues

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

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

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

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

Ernie, back in his fishing days.

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

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

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

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

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

Grandpa Brandner showing us how!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trying to get the grandkids hooked

Can’t wait for next year.

Tim Hunter

Prime Time Scam

I hate scamsters.

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

OK, back to my main rant.

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

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

 

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

So, I investigated.

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

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

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

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

Let’s be careful out there!

Tim Hunter

 

Preserving Some Seattle Radio History

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

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

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

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

Chris Mays

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

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

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

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


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

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

And that’s pretty lucky.

Tim Hunter

OK, HERE’S AN IDEA

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

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

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

Why? Simple question. Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some stats to absorb:

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

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

Next Up…

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

I really should look into smaller tasks.

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

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

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

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

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

Some special guests you may

recognize without their masks

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

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

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

OK, break’s over. Back to work.

Sure. It’s work.

Tim Hunter

WHO AM I KIDDING?

This week has so much going on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t wait.

Thanks for checking in.

Tim Hunter

Just One Week Away

The tradition will continue.

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

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

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

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

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

         

             

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

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

And Now We Begin The “First Time” Phase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After all, there’s a lot to tell.

Tim Hunter

Weekend Without Ernie

Last Thursday night, Ernie Templin left the planet.

Who’s Ernie Templin?

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I’m sure there were others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Don’t Tom Hanks This, Seahawks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great player. Great person. Keep him here.

Thanks.

Tim Hunter

Thanks To The Gurus In My Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re welcome.

Tim Hunter

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

 

Preserving Those Lost Memories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh and, for the record, I was ‘safe’.

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

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

What a Friggin’ Coincidence

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

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

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

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

That’s just down right freaky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Not a Rainy Day or a Monday

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

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

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

Initially, it wasn’t so bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Another Collection of Mini-Rants

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

MINI-RANT #1

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

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

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

I’ve had a change of thought.

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

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

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

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

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

MINI-RANT #2

I’ve been scammed.

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

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

SOLD!

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

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

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

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

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

So, this company:

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

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

And hopefully, there will be more down the line.

AN UPDATE:

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

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

Yep, they said, “Mail it here!”

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

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

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

That’s a promise.

MINI-RANT #3

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

I just don’t get it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that today’s Republican party?

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

Even FOX News says that’s not true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn you, Donald Trump.

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

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

Tim Hunter

The Party’s Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow, did this go south and quickly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

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

A Gift For Someone Else

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

It’s Christmastime again

Well, here we are once more.

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

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

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

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

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

What a great, great moment.

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

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

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

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

Yeah, that’s nice.

Tim Hunter

My 2020 Christmas Season Adventure

I did it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yep, I did it.

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

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

Oh yeah, and to work in a little sleep.

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

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

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

Eggnog time.

Tim Hunter

Tim Versus Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy holidays!

Tim Hunter

Alex and Me

To begin, I never met Alex Trebek.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Let’s Get Back To One Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or, maybe that was just a dream.

Tim Hunter

Yep, I’m a Christian

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

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

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

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

What else should you know about me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I’m sure it will.

Tim Hunter

Happy Anniversary

Not to a person, but to a song.

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Halloween!

Tim Haunter