SO, I’M A WRITER

I’m content.

I sat down this week to keep my blogging streak alive of letting the thoughts in my brain spill out on to the Internet, when I realized that I had no bee in my bonnet. (And to be honest, I haven’t worn a bonnet in years. People talk.)

Nope, which coincidentally is the name of a movie in theaters these days, I’m good. Our weather, by Northwest standards, has been exceptional. Too hot for some, but a nice blend of 70s and 80s, with a brief wet down last week and no forest fire smoke, which in recent years, had become traditional.

The work/life balance isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Projects keep showing up on top of my weekly duties and, if I’m not done by 5-ish, the rest can wait until the next day. A regular work day begins before 5am, so a “normal” day for me is 12 hours long, but at the pace I like and can control, and mostly, made up of things I love to do.

Being older and wiser (more old than wise), I’ve been working on not getting riled up on everything there is going on out there in our world. With our over-abundance of information constantly being fed to us, it’s so easy to be upset about this and concerned about that and even worried about the other thing.

Nope (there’s that word again), I’m not going to allow myself to get caught up in that. It’s not up to me to save the world, or point out to other people why they’re thinking the wrong way (and they really are), I just want to take it all in, good and bad–acknowledging the bad, but savoring the good.

I’ve always had this crazy theory that all of us receive the same amount of good news and bad news in our lives. It’s just dispersed in various size doses, but when the clock hits zero, we will have all experienced an equal amount of good fortune, and pain and suffering. Maybe you’re the type that had a lot of hard hits in your younger years, but now have a nice steady life going. Or, perhaps you hit early success, but things haven’t been very good since then.

Then there’s the third type of person that spends their life striving for balance. Sure, they don’t get as many highs, but they also don’t sink to monumental lows. I like to think of myself that way. I’ve never been driven to become famous. My goal has always been to be comfortable financially and spend my time doing the things I like to do, including making people laugh and feel good.

As Walter Brennan used to say back in the days of “The Guns of Will Sonnet”: No brag, just fact.

It was a western that only lasted two seasons, so maybe you weren’t as impressed with the show as I was.

Going back to where this all started, right now, I’m really content and doing my best to hang on to that. I’ll savor what’s left of summer, and I look forward to flying to my hometown of Torrance, California, later this week to help my mom celebrate her 94th birthday in the only childhood home I ever knew.

And so, with everything just rolling along, I really don’t have much to blog about this week. Then again, it just took me 585 words to say that.

Oh, well. So, I’m a writer.

Tim Hunter

August Is A Rough One

I remember back when I was growing up, watching all the big names of entertainment begin to disappear. Hope, Crosby, Sinatra and so on. It seemed like, after a while, you couldn’t go a day without hearing about the passing of a famous name. And almost immediately you’d hear, “So who’s going to be next? They always happen in 3’s!”

It seems that these days, they’re getting group rates.

The month of August already makes me do math because when the 7th rolls around, that was the day my dad left this earth. He came up in conversation over the weekend and I realized that on the 7th this August, it had already been 7 years. Yet, it seems like yesterday.

In the past couple of weeks, August 2022 has claimed some of the headliners in my memory bank, including the likes of Bill Russell, Tony Dow and just today, Olivia Newton-John.

But the biggest stunner of this year’s class of ’22 has to be the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.

Even the most die-hard baseball fans around the country will never really understand what impact that man had on my life and so many other fans of those ‘Bums’. He began his broadcasting career with the Brooklyn Dodgers before I was born and continued bringing each game to life on the radio and eventually TV every year of my life as I was growing up.

He wasn’t just “that guy on the radio.” He WAS the Dodgers. Vin didn’t just describe the action we saw on the radio, but he spent a lot of his time spinning baseball yarn after baseball yarn, with stories that would sometime go an entire inning. Think how amazing that is–he broadcast Dodger games for 67 years on the radio. I turn 67 next month.

He was the voice calling the game when Sandy Koufax, my childhood idol, pitched one of his four no-hitters. I can still hear Vin saying, “Swung on and missed! A perfect game!”

In the days when games on television were a rarity, when they did show us the Dodgers and Giants tangling up north in Candlestick Park, we’d be glued to the TV and were able to enjoy Vin’s voice with pictures, being able to actually see Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Johny Podres, Ron Perranoski, Maury Wills, Jim Gilliam and Wes Parker. Oh, and the Davis brothers, Tommy and Willie.

The one game that stands out was the time the Dodgers and Giants were going at it and some bad blood between San Fran pitcher Juan Marichal and Dodgers catcher John Roseboro erupted with Juan taking his bat and attacking Roseboro. As the benches emptied and madness ensued, I can still hear Vin saying something to the effect of, “You Little Leaguers at home watching at home, that’s not good sportsmanship.”

Wow, Vin was talking to ME!

Back in the 1960s, there were three television networks and a couple of local stations. That was it. Most nights during the summer, our TV remained off (come on, they were showing reruns) and the time I had before putting on jammies and going to bed was spent listening to Vin Scully and his partner, Jerry Doggett, delivering the pitch-by-pitch details.

Memories eventually fade. Next year at this time, we’ll be mourning the loss of another round of people I grew up with. However, two of the sounds I will never forget are my dad’s classics like, “What in the Sam Hill?” and “Go ask your mother,” and Vin Scully’s declaration that something special was about to begin: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”

I’ll always hang on to those, especially this month. Yeah, August is a rough one.

Tim Hunter

My Accidental Meeting

It was the least-likely way I ever expected to meet a legend, yet somehow, it still happened.

I was off to Costco on a stock-up run, and to see what else I could find that I probably could live without, but at that price, how do I say ‘no’? It’s why they say that the most expensive vehicle to operate these days is a shopping cart at Costco.

I had just entered the store with my cart, my mind trying to recall all the things I so vividly thought of while I was at home, when I noticed an older gentleman sitting at a table near the books. Curiosity got the best of me, so I went over to see who it was.

It was Bill Friggin’ Russell.

Yes, the Boston Celtics legend that broke my Los Angeles Lakers heart on multiple occasions during my childhood years. Yet, here was this Hall of Fame basketball legend in the middle of a Costco, with no one in line, no one talking to him, just sitting there. It was like someone was setting a trap for me.

As I walked up to him, I kept thinking a door on the floor would open and I would be taken prisoner. But no, Mr. Russell just looked up, smiled and said, “Hi, how you doing?”

I did what any other red-blooded sports fan would do in this situation. I started blubbering about how nice it was to meet him, how great he was and yes, I’d like a couple of books. He asked who he should sign them to, and I think I either asked him for one for me or my son, but definitely I had to have him sign one for dad, who witnessed all those Lakers defeats with me. And besides, this was Bill Friggin’ Russell.

I thanked him and wandered away, stunned that I had just met him in a Costco book department. However, it was not surprising once you realize that Bill chose to retire in our area and had a nice place on Mercer Island, just east of Seattle, on Lake Washington. He was fairly active in the community, once even lending his voice to a Seattle Children’s Theater production.

The book was a great collection of stories of how it used to be, his fondness for his coach, and other stories from the times, that were not good. I’ll let you read all that stuff for yourself. But just the mention of his coach’s name, Red Auerbach, knocked loose one of those little memory nuggets tucked away in my brain. Back in the 1960s, the N.B.A. was a world away from today’s version. I’m not making this up–Bill played for the Boston Celtics and his coach had this tradition, which I witnessed many times on those nationally televised games. Whenever the Celtics had a big enough lead and a win was secured, Coach Auerbach’s tradition was to light up a victory cigar. Yep, there was the coach, with a big smile on his face, smoking his stogie on the sidelines as he watched the final minutes of a game roll off.

Of course, today, the coach would have had to leave the game and stand at least 25-feet away from any entrance. Not as effective.

Here’s the book he autographed for me.

As you can see, he really wanted people to know about this special relationship with Auerbach. After reading the book and seeing how Red stood up for Bill on multiple occasions during those extremely racist 1960s, it made all those Laker losses a little easier to take.

The praises continue to pour in about Bill and his life, and the more you learn about him, the more you realize what an amazing person he was.

And, to think, I got to meet him, at Costco.

Tim Hunter

Does That Make Me A Bad Sports Fan?

I have a confession. I cheat.

I grew up a major sports fan–playing Little League baseball, dreaming that one day, I would be the next Willie Mays or Sandy Koufax. I was also a big basketball fan, watching every Lakers game. I played endless games with dad out in the driveway that prepared me well for four years of high school b-ball.

While my kids were growing up, I ended up coaching or assistant coaching most of their teams. Hadn’t planned on being a soccer coach, but when none of the other parents stepped up, I committed to attend a coaching seminar, quickly learn the rules, and see what I could do.

I didn’t really follow football while growing up, but have really become a big NFL fan, although a huge college game beats that any day. I keep up with my L.A. Dodgers, while trying to support our local Mariners. Until recently, that was really tough…but this year, there’s some magic in the air.

Then our town got its own NHL hockey team, and of course, we’re the home of the Seattle Sounders soccer club.

In recent years, I’ve actually learned how to play and enjoy watching golf on TV.

So, that’s a lot of sports to follow and those of you who know my frantic schedule will understand that I just don’t have a whole lot of free time. Basically, these days, I can sneak in sports in little parcels of time. And that has led to a practice that works for me and my schedule. But is it right? Does it make me a lesser fan?

I’m a fast-forward freak.

Sounders played tonight? Oh, yeah, I know that. Got it on the DVR. I sit down when it works for me, turn on the game and hit 4X forward. Keeping an eye on that score box at the top of the screen—Oops, there’s one! I rewind to see the setup, witness the goal and then return to fast-forwarding.

The Kraken and the Mariners both had a game tonight? Hand me that remote. I can watch a 2-hour Sounders game, a 2-hour U.S. National Soccer team game, a 2-hour Kraken game and a 3-1/2 hour Mariners game–at least the parts where they scored–in about an hour. And that includes a bathroom break.

Huskies kicking off at 12:30?  That gives me until around 2 to take care of duties around the house, then hop on the DVR and fast-forward my way through the game. Me and the world will finish around the same time. I’ll just have watched much fewer commercials.

I mean, what’s the harm? I get the moments you watch a game for, in a nice fillet-o-event with no commercials and just all the good stuff.

Frankly, with retirement in the near future, maybe I’ll go back to watching sports the old-fashioned way, live and drawn out. But in the meantime, my fast-forwarding game plan works well in allowing me to enjoy the sports I love in a time window I can easily accommodate.

But I have to ask: does that make me a bad sports fan?

Tim Hunter

BACK IN THE LUTEFISK SADDLE AGAIN

There are lots of things we haven’t done in three years.

When we kicked into COVID mode and shut down almost every tradition and festival imaginable, things went away with no guarantee they would come back.

Two of those things that were put on hold was the Ballard Seafoodfest and the FIshermen’s Fall Festival and that meant I wouldn’t be hosting any lutefisk eating contests as part of my annual collection of weird crap I do.

In fact, the Fall Festival people have already canceled this year’s edition and so last Sunday, when I grabbed the microphone at Seafoodfest, the corniness, the bad jokes and puns, all came rushing back to me like Marjorie Taylor Green at a Qanon garage sale.

But then I realized when I say Ballard Seafoodfest, it may come off as just another summer festival. Far from it. And so, I thought I’d do a quick seminar on “How to Seafoodfest.”

The Salmon Barbecue

They do it every year, and the aroma just pulls you in. The salmon is prepared in their secret, amazing way, with lots of alder smoke present in the end result.

A Quick Stop at Skal

It’s a Viking bar in Ballard and one of our faves. We watched it being built and admired how the owner, Adam, hung in there with every curve ball you could imagine. For special occasions like Seafoodfest, they offer “Walk-up shots”, where you can grab a quick shot of aquavit and a polse (a Norwegian hot dog, wrapped in lefse)

Booths and Ballard Businesses

Besides the Lutefisk Eating contest, Sunday is a bonus day because you get all the booths, the live bands, and the beer gardens, plus all the stores you probably never got a chance to explore are open, AND, the Sunday Ballard Market is opening for business.

            Now, Let’s Talk Lutefisk

Yeah, there was pent-up demand for the annual Lutefisk Eating Championships. Normally, I’ll get there prior to the competition and we have to beg the crowd for a few more competitors. This year, all 10 slots were filled, including these two.



Sorry, I don’t remember their names but they were from Santa Barbara. While on the flight up, their mom saw the competition coming up Sunday and knowing they’d be there, she signed them up. They were incredibly good sports and made a go at it, but they were bumped out on the first round. And I should mention that their mom told them it was a SALMON eating contest.

Special thanks to Debbie, Cory and the gang at Mountain Pacific Bank who always staff the contest every year, as well as The Landmark, which dares to allow their kitchen to be used to prepare it. Oh, and of course, that lutefisk is from THE place to buy yours, Scandinavian Specialties in Ballard.

Congrats to one of the usual suspects, Al Johnston, who showed up to regain his title this year, and special thanks to Seattle City Councilman Dan Strauss who helped out as a judge and kept his distance.

Yeah, if you’ve never been, I know northwest summers have lots of options when it comes to festivals, but I hope you’ll include a little lutefisk in your summer plans next year.

We’re always looking for new competitors.

Tim Hunter

Not Too Busy To Weigh In

Man, the last couple of weeks have been crazy. Life stuff, work stuff, the holiday disrupting the routine, you name it. But I have maintained my forever tradition of getting out at least one blog post a week.

Yet, as I sat down to write this week’s edition, I noticed a couple of things. Last week’s edition was still in draft form and I never published it. For Pete’s sake! And then, the week before, I had published it but not pinned it to the top, so it showed up lower in my blog feed and may not have appeared as something new.

I’ve been holding off on diving into the Roe vs. Wade thing because I have friends and family on both sides. Living on the left coast, most of our connections out this way were appalled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent reversal, sending back whether abortion should be legal or not to the states.

It sounds so nice on paper.

I was raised in a fairly conservation Christian church, Lutheran to be exact. And not one of those “Let’s make women pastors” type of synods, but rather the type where the men ran the church and women were not allowed to vote in church matters. Yep, that’s man’s stuff.

I can feel a couple of readers tensing up right now.

With that upbringing and Roe versus Wade being decided in the year I graduated in high school, I spent my early adult years believing that getting an abortion was probably wrong, so I probably shouldn’t get one.

Being a guy, you can think that way, especially when you’re 18.

Say I evolved, say my mind grew, whatever–it wasn’t long before I realized that it just didn’t matter what I thought. It wouldn’t be my choice, it would be that of whoever was carrying the fetus.

OK, about now, I’ve got some relatives writing up some signs to march and protest in front of my home. I realize that there is nothing I could say to you, to change your mind. You have your feelings about the topic and therefore, you can choose whether or not you would ever have one. Meanwhile, there are countless incidents where a pregnancy is not in the best interest of the mom or the eventual baby.

Those against abortion have convinced themselves that they’re fighting for the rights of the unborn. They’ve made them human and consider them existing lives. If you truly believe that, then don’t get an abortion.

But not everyone shares your view and talk about a can of worms. So, the fetus is a person? Then that pregnant woman pulled over this week should have her ticket dismissed for riding in the carpool lane by herself. Or, at six weeks, let’s remove the fetus and see if it survives.

Oh no. You can’t do that. It’s not a real person yet, but it will be some day, so we must protect it at all costs. And if that means blowing up abortion or forcing these procedures to the back alleys to protect the sanctity of life, so be it.

Then, once abortions are banned everywhere, we can take on alcohol. I’m sure we can find some place in the Bible that drinking it makes it a sin. Ignore the Last Supper or the fact that Jesus turned water into the stuff. Oh, I know we tried once before, but now we have a Supreme Court who will back us up!

Again, there’s no way I’m even attempting at trying to convert anyone to any point of view. But what this all has to do with is respecting each other to make our own decisions and then, if not correct, endure the consequences.

To summarize–it’s an incredible polarizing topic but trying to enforce religious views on a non-religious population is insanity in its purest form. Oh, sure, yours is the one true, correct belief and everyone else is all wrong, but……oh, please.

I wasn’t even planning to go this deep on the topic. But what I have been doing over the past couple of weeks is saving the memes that passed through my Facebook page. They reflect my beliefs, but out of respect (yeah, the ‘r’ word) for those with differing views, I didn’t put them out there in front of the masses to fuel the hate speak.

But this is my little corner of the Internet, so I can do whatever I want here. And so, I’m posting these.

I did hear one proposal, where all men would be required to get a vasectomy at age 18 and then, when they’re ready to have children, they could get it reversed.

But then again, we would never tell one gender what they should have to do with their bodies.

OK, there. I got it all out of my system. Yes, it’s been an incredibly busy last three weeks for yours truly. But not so busy, that I couldn’t weigh in on this topic.

Tim Hunter

When It’s The Last Time

If there are any creative inventor types that follow my weekly therapy sessions on this blog, I’ve got a couple of ideas I’d like to offer up.

First, we need to invent fireworks that track where the person lives that bought them and logs the time they were lit off. Then, by using the free app, “Revenge Against the Bastard” (available in the app store of your phone) you could repay that bozo who thought it was funny to light off an M-80 at 6am on the morning on the 4th of July, or who kept blowing things up until almost midnight.

The other invention I’d like to see is a bit more futuristic, but it would somehow let you know when you’re about to do something for the very last time.

Because, if it really is going to be the last time, but it’s a negative experience, those are easy to recall. I remember the last time I was let go at a couple of radio jobs like it was yesterday. Then there was the final day of another job I couldn’t stand, so I quit. And, of course, there’s the last time the Seattle Mariners were in the playoffs.

But then there are those life events that you would have enjoyed and cherished so much more, if you had only known this was going to be it. The last time you hung out with the neighborhood kids, the final time you got together with your high school crowd, or even when you went to visit someone who was sicker than they admitted, and you never got to see again.

For a decade, one of my annual routines was doing the play-by-play for the Bothell City Cable Channel’s coverage of their annual “Freedom Festival” parade on the 4th of July. I think it was in 2008 that Joyce Goedecke, the city’s Public Information Officer, invited me to co-host the parade with her. Being a radio guy, I seized the opportunity to do some on-camera work and we had a blast.

Soon after that, Joyce left for greener and sunnier pastures, so I inherited an annual tradition that I looked forward to every year. Having lived in Bothell and raising a couple of kids there, going to the parade each July 4th meant I would run into some former neighbors, or people from the Little League days or when I was a member of Bothell First Lutheran, and so on. It was like a family reunion.

And with Joyce gone, I was matched up with a series of different co-hosts over the years–Joyce’s PIO successor, Joy Johnston; Bothell Municipal Court Judge Michelle Gehlsen; Dr. Eric Murray, President of Cascadia College; former Bothell City Council member Tom Agnew; and last but not least, serial Bothell civic leader Mike Rue.

Over time, the 4th of July turned into an all-day event with friends in Kenmore hosting an after-party, where they would take in the parade, and then we’d retreat to their house, just hanging out, getting caught up and celebrating the 4th as you should, with a barbecue. It was a nice, thick slice of Americana.

In 2019, Mike Rue and I were paired up again, not knowing about the looming pandemic that would cancel the parade for the next two years. We also didn’t know that when the parade would return in 2022, the city would decide to go a different direction and we would no longer be a part of it. People at City Hall change, I don’t live in Bothell anymore and apparently, it was just time to go in a different direction.

So, when the holiday rolled around this year, I’ll admit, I was a bit bummed. That is, until I decided to go to YouTube and watch the coverage of the 2019 Freedom Festival parade. Within a couple of minutes, a smile returned to my face. I spent the early part of the 4th this year being sad, thinking about that being the last time I would do the parade. But, as I watched the fun Mike and I were having, I couldn’t have been any prouder of our efforts three years ago. In reviewing myself, I’d have to say it was one of my better times in front of the camera. The team of Tim & James did their usual stellar job of capturing the parade and making us look good and frankly, I was at peace with the whole thing.

And so, I thought I would share it with you.

Even just watching the first couple of minutes, you can see we were having a blast.

Thanks to everyone who made the 10 years I was able to emcee the parade some of the most fun events of my life, with special thanks to Joyce, the city of Bothell, Tim & James and my assorted co-hosts, especially Mike Rue.

I will speak well of you all in the old folk’s home. And I’ll definitely use the “my crew” joke a lot, since I had only used it one time.

And I couldn’t resist chatting about it with Maury the Movie Guy on my KRKO morning show. Here’s that exchange.

This experience has just reinforced one of my personal beliefs: never just walk through something. If you are going to do something, do it big, like it could be the last time.

Because if it ends up being your finale`, at least you know you gave it your best shot.

Tim Hunter

The NW Just Got A Little Less Funny

By this stage in life, you’ve no doubt met hundreds of people during your years on earth. Some, one-time events, others are in it for the long haul and they become a part of your life. For me, Scott Burns is one of those rare life-long friends who will always feel like a brother, no matter how far apart we may live.

Including Las Vegas.

After spending the last 41 years in the Seattle area, gracing the airwaves around here on such stations as KJR, KUBE, Young Country and KBSG, Scott and his wife April have packed up and headed to the sunny southwest on a new adventure.

I don’t want to repeat too much of what you’ll hear in this podcast, but for the last couple of decades, the times I’ve laughed the hardest were when I was with Scott Burns. He was the audio production guru at Destination Marketing, where I hung out for just shy of 10 years, both of us recovering Seattle radio personalities. In other words, we weren’t introverts.

Besides the above podcast, here are a couple of audio collaborations I worked on with Mr. Burns:

At one point, I was hoping Scott and I could finally partner together on a radio station, and so we pitched KRKO back in the day with this demo that included the late Debbie Deutsch.

Scott was always willing to help me out with some of my crazy projects, including this open to one of my annual Christmas CD’s.

But perhaps our biggest collaboration was when he willingly put on the green paint and sweet-talked his wife April into help bring my song, “Bimbo #5” to life. It was my first-ever music video that I shot on a Flip camera. Here’s the 10th anniversary special I put together.

What a proud family moment!

All this to say, I’m going to miss you Scott Burns. And I was just handed a special thank you note signed by all of the H.R. Directors of the radio stations where you worked. They sincerely appreciated the job security over the years.

In this stay-connected-no-matter-how-far-away-you-are stage of our existence, I look forward to the next time we connect and laugh our rear ends off.

In the meantime, the Pacific Northwest just got a little less funny.

Tim Hunter

This Week, I’m Stepping Back

Next year, it will mark 50 years since I roamed the hallways of Torrance High School, down in southern California. So much happened during those four years there–I learned so much about me, started grasping how the world worked, fell in love for the first time and met friends that I still stay in touch with all these years later.

Most I haven’t seen in almost half a century. Again, Facebook allows us to connect, see what we now look like, and what all has happened in our lives since those days. There have been the occasional class reunions, but I honestly can’t remember who I saw and who I didn’t.

Today, one of my FB friends from those days, Paul Wolcott, shared the story of his life and the meaning of today’s date. I thought I would share it with you:

Forty years ago this morning I woke up in the hospital, couldn’t move, IV’s everywhere, pain everywhere, some kind of orthopedic apparatus sling around my hips. I remembered what happened. I didn’t realize it was actually worse than I thought it was when it happened. I wanted to know how Gary was doing. He didn’t look so good when we were hit earlier in the morning. 0140 hours in the morning to be exact. Nobody would tell me anything more than he was at another hospital and being cared for and I was doing fine.

June 1982, 1800-0200 night shift motors, Hermosa Beach, California. Me and my partner/best friend, Gary Dean Moss. Working the best assignment in law enforcement, police motorcycle duty, extra pay, take home bike, motor boots, leather jacket. It was all good.

Gary and I had attended the LAPD Motor training school six months prior. A difficult school taught by veteran motor officers. The training was two weeks of intensive drills, skills, cone patterns, 40 MPH decel, combination braking, friction point, stress and dirt. We loved it.

The Saturday night shift started out routine enough, prowling the city for CVC violations, DUI’s, suspicious characters. Writing tickets, taking T/C reports, boundary disputes, backups the usual routine stuff. Weekend summer night in Hermosa Beach, plenty of people rolling into the city to have a good time.

Towards the end of our shift we set up on Ocean Dr at Aviation Blvd to cherry pick speeders and possibly a DUI. Gary and I sat there on our bikes and just talked about our day and what we were doing when we got off shift and what we were doing on our days off. We talked about our girlfriends, Gary had a new one. He felt bad because they had had a fight earlier in the day before work. He was going to make it up to her and apologize for being a jerk. I was seeing Carol Glover, I was going to her house after work. We’d been seeing each other for about seven months, I met her on her birthday, introduced by mutual friends.

As we sat on our bikes, we poked fun at each other, laughed about stupid things, the usual chatter between friends.

We heard the whine of a couple of motorcycles headed towards us from PCH, two rice rockets moving fast, east on Aviation. Instinctively we fired up our bikes and gave chase.

Approximately 60 MPH as we crested the slight rise in the road at Prospect, solid green. Light traffic was moving west, the two speeding bikes were just ahead as we were about to light them up.

A white Ford Fiesta was going west on Aviation, suddenly, without signaling the white car turned left crossing our path just before we reached Harper Ln. the border with Redondo Beach. (He was going to the Jack in the Box)

No amount of braking or evasive moves was going to do us any good. (I only laid down 18’ of locked wheel skid). We were doing 60 MPH. Simultaneously we slammed into the car. Gary hit the space between the front bumper and the right front tire. I hit the passenger door. Momentum kept us in motion. I landed approximately 90’ from the point of impact, Gary a little further slamming headfirst into the south-east curb line of Aviation and Harper. I was in the middle of the street. I was conscious. I felt pain. My arms and legs didn’t work. But I was in pain, a good sign. I could see Gary lying there, not moving. I tried calling out to him, nothing. I tried to check to see if my gun was secured, I couldn’t move my arm. I tried to get to my radio to call for help. I couldn’t move my arm, my hand. What are those sticks poking out of the top of my glove? Completely helpless.

A citizen who was behind us saw the whole thing and stopped to help. He got on the radio on my bike and said this “Officer Down, Aviation and Prospect”. That’s it. Redondo Beach officer Mike Higashi responded, “Was that officer down or what?”.

Gary still wasn’t moving.

Debris and wreckage strewn all around us.

I could hear sirens. The citizen that called for help came to check on me. Told me to lay still. Go check on my partner.

The first officer to get to me was Hermosa Beach police officer Phil Keenan and his trainee. I asked him how he was doing, I told him I was fine, go check on Gary.

More officers were arriving. Redondo Beach officer Paul Burch arrived on scene. (Before joining the force he was an RN in the ER at South Bay hospital). He evaluated Gary and made the decision not to wait for paramedics. He and Phil Keenan bundled Gary up put him in the back of Burch’s black and white and rolled Code 3 to South Bay ER. I could hear the radio, Burch demanded a gurney to meet him at the ER entrance. Gary was in full cardiac arrest.

More units arrived. Officer’s I had gone to the police academy with, familiar faces. Comforting faces. Stressed faces.

I’m still waiting for paramedics. I learned later there had been a mix up in dispatch and the paramedics didn’t get the call right away. One officer yelled into the radio “GET THE GOD DAMNED PARAMEDICS HERE NOW!”

There were four people trapped in the car. My bike intruded 3 feet into the passenger door. My body crushed the roof line in. Thank goodness for my vest.

The paramedics arrived more familiar faces. The ambulance arrived. More familiar faces.

Redondo Beach officer Mike Kaye arrived at the scene, we went through the academy together, I asked him to go to Carol’s house in Manhattan Beach and let her know I was going to be later than expected.

They took me to Little Company of Mary hospital in Torrance. The pain was getting worse, but I was still conscious and aware of what was happening. Chaos in the ER. Nurses, doctors, staff, police officers, vitals. More pain, everywhere. No pain meds till after X-Ray’s. They cut off my boots, my leather jacket, my breeches, shirt. Cold. Shock.

X-Ray’s, more pain. Mike brought Carol to the ER. I told her it was no big deal I’d be out in the morning. The nurses gave her the task of putting ice on my pelvis. I didn’t know why. Learned later, internal bleeding.

Finally, the gift of morphine. Pain was gone. Can I leave now?

Six hours of surgery.

Both arms broken, both wrists fractured and dislocated, compound fractures in my left hand (the sticks), fractured pelvis, broken back, both knees fractured and as a bonus, fractured right patella that was removed during surgery.

More morphine please.

Gary is in intensive care at South Bay hospital they told me, being cared for.

On June 24th, officer’s Jim Chizmar and Spike Kelly came to the hospital.

Gary died this morning…………

Gary’s memorial service drew hundreds of police officers from all over the state. Police helicopters flew past my hospital window in the missing man formation. Body Glove donated their boat to spread Gary’s ashes at sea off of Torrance beach.

A lot of time was spent in physical therapy or “pain and torture”. More surgeries. I regained use of my limbs, my left hand was functional. I got to learn how to walk again. I could finally go home after three months, two at LCM and a month at Daniel Freeman hospital for PT and OT and more surgeries.

The number of visitors to the hospital slowed, but Carol came every day

I spent three months in the hospital. The nursing staff was incredible and caring. They had to do everything. They fed me, changed my bedding, bathed me, gave me my meds, everything.

Carol and I got married on Gary’s birthday, March 19th.

Hermosa Beach Police officer Chuck Griffitts, Gary’s academy classmate, son was born at LCM, he named him Gary. He became a police officer.

I was forced to take a disability retirement in June 1983 when my 4850 time ran out. More surgeries, more PT.

The deuce that hit us had a .13% BAC. He was found guilty by a jury of one count of misdemeanor DUI and given probation.

In July 1985 I returned to full duty. I went back on motorcycle duty in 1995 and took a service retirement in 2008

We learned much later, the two motorcycle riders we were chasing had committed a robbery in another city.

Carol and I divorced but have stayed friends. I will, for the rest of my life be grateful to her for getting me through the most difficult, significant, life changing event I’ve ever experienced. Nothing before or since has been this bad.

I think about my best friend Gary Dean Moss every day.

I’m sure if every one of us were to take the time to write down a compilation of our life’s most traumatic moments since we left the safety of high school, the friends we’ve distantly stayed in touch with would be amazed at what we’ve been through. Some are willing to share, others prefer their privacy. But by this stage of life, all of us from the class of ’73 have a unique story to tell. I’m thankful Paul was willing to share, because I had no idea of all those challenges he had been through. Wow.

It’s why, this week, I’m deferring to my fellow Torrance High Tartar, class of ’73. Thank you, Paul.

Tim Hunter

Go To A Graduation

I came to a major realization over the weekend. One of the most uplifting, positive and inspirational things you can do is go to a graduation ceremony. And the higher up the educational chain, the better.

Of course, these days, everyone graduates from everything. I see people post pictures of graduations from pre-school to kindergarten. Second to third grade, etc.  In my lifetime, I personally experienced three graduations– 8th grade, going into high school; high school going into college; and then college, heading off into the real world.

And I as mentioned a couple of times on my radio program, while I don’t have many regrets in this life, one of them is not walking in the ceremony when I graduated from the University of Washington back in 1977. At the time, it felt unnecessary and a bother.

As far as other ceremonies I’ve experienced over the years, there were the high school and college graduations of my kids, step-kids and in-laws. This past weekend, I attended the graduation of my daughter-in-law as she walked and got her degree from the UW’s Foster School of Business. My son and his future wife, graduated together from that school a couple of years ago. Part of the festivities is a pre-ceremony reception where classmates excitedly got to see each other one more time before launching off to parts unknown. You’d see them hug and then, introduce their family to the student with something like, “Mom and Dad, this is the Steve you’ve heard me talk so much about!”

There were different ethnicities and cultures, blue collar, white collar, all the collars, smiling and posing for selfies and organizing group shots and with a genuine excitement about life and the future that you just haven’t seen in our world over the past couple of pandemic-laden years. This wasn’t my day, this was all about the graduates and so I just soaked it all in from my front-row seat.

While watching the events of the day, I couldn’t resist thinking back to those three graduations of mine:

The 8th Grade Event

I had gone to a small Lutheran school for grades 1-6. So, when it suddenly shut down at the end of my 6th year, I found myself thrust into public school during some of the cruelest years for new kids. 7th & 8th grade, I attended Sam Levy Elementary in Torrance, California. At long last, I got to go to the same school as all my friends on our street. But at the same time, I was a new kid, which meant getting picked on a lot. I’ve long psycho-analyzed myself to that being what flushed out my serious comedy side. The bullies would pick on you, but if you made them laugh, they’d pick on you slightly less and eventually say, “You know, you’re all right.” In time, we became friends.

High School Graduation

I had a high school relationship that was full of ups and downs. She was the girl across the street, an adorable cutie, one year ahead of me. There was something inside of me that said I should probably get away from this situation, and so I applied and was accepted to attend the University of Washington along with my buddy, Greg “Tank” Lucas.

As challenging as those 7th & 8th grade years were, high school was a bit of a fresh slate. There were four elementaries feeding the high school, so you basically didn’t know 75% of the student population. I gotta say, those were great years for me. Got to play basketball, made life-long friends, did the rah-rah thing and was Senior Class President (my election speech was a stand-up routine) and A.S.B. Vice-President (no opponent, didn’t have to make a speech).

The Grad Night experience for all of us at Torrance High School and many other So Cal high schools as well, was to walk and get your diploma, hop into a bus and go to Disneyland for the night. Yep, they kept the park open all night for students to stay out until 5am, then take the bus back to school. I don’t remember the details, but I do recall feeling on top of the world.

College Graduation

I got to college ready to graduate. My master plan was to take 18 credits a quarter, instead of the usual 15, and that way I’d only have to go three years plus one quarter. If only breaking up with a girlfriend, partying and having fun hadn’t caused me to actually fail a math class my sophomore year. I still did graduate a quarter early, which also contributed to my decision of not walking in the graduation ceremony. I was really done with the idea of school by this time, and I was anxious to get out there and actually do what I wanted to do–and play radio. I went through the ads of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, drove over for an interview, got hired and moved to Yakima. Come to think of it, I was probably there while people back in Seattle were donning their caps and gowns.

Now, back to present time and my realization that this would probably be my last graduation until the grandkids revive the tradition. All my kids and Victoria’s kids have done what they set out to do and so we’ll be giving up that experience for a least a decade or so.

But what an experience it can be, to be completely surrounded with hope and promise and dreams and goals, swirling around so much, you can feel it. Here’s a little video I put together from Sam’s walk last week.

 

 

Give yourself a serious boost of positive energy–go to a graduation.

Tim Hunter

Well, I’ve Reluctantly Joined The Club

You can’t say we didn’t try.

My wife, Victoria, and I had spent the better part of the past two years and 3 months doing what the CDC recommended, following every word of St. Fauci, wearing masks when others had decided they were through, never wandering into a grocery store with a bare face and yet this past week, we got COVID.

We found out on Monday, Memorial Day, that we had been exposed to someone with the virus on Sunday. Then, we learned we had also been exposed to two more people at a wedding the previous day on Saturday. (aka, the bride & groom)

And with that, our luck ran out. I kept telling myself for several days that it had to be a cold. I mean, for God’s sake, there are still colds and flu’s out there. Not EVERYTHING has to be COVID!

But on Friday morning, after testing every day since Tuesday, I finally got the double bars. Victoria earned her stripes on Sunday.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Friday, I was scheduled to be the reader, music man and goofball for an auction in Everett benefitting the Campfire program of Snohomish County. Then, Sunday, I was on tap to once again be the auctioneer for the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle Fish & Meatball dinner. Victoria was equally crucial to that event, but had to harness her delegation powers

Shortly after my positive test, I spent the morning scrambling to find replacements for me, so that the shows could go on. Kudos to buddy Ken Carson who took on the Campfire thing solo, and then showed up to wow the crowd at Sunday’s Norwegian gathering. Ken, they loved you. Looking forward to working with you at the Bothell Boosters Auction in less than two weeks. I should be clean by then.

Meanwhile, back in sick bay, I figured I would pass along what knowledge I’ve acquired during my unplanned travels down this road:

I’ve been sicker: The symptoms seem to come in waves. A plugged nose, followed by a runny nose, a slight burn in the lungs, tiredness. But when you get down to it, it feels more like a mild cold that I’m pretty sure is thanks to having my two Moderna vaccines and a booster. We were planning to get that second booster but wanted to wait until our schedule slowed down a bit, in case there were any side effects.

We’ve also had several friends also catch the crud over the last week say exactly what I’ve said–“I’ve been sicker.”

If you can get Paxlovid, get it! That’s the Pfizer product that helps speed up recovery and I’m hoping it does. There are several qualifying factors that allow you to get it–being over 65, having certain health conditions, etc.–but if you qualify, it’s a game-changer. What I can tell you about it–the biggest warning is that it doesn’t play well with a lot of other medicines. So, if you’re taking something regularly, you may have to stop for the 5-days you’re Paxloviding. (ooh, look, I made it a verb!) I had heard that when you take it, you start feeling better on the second day. That may have been true, but I wasn’t feeling that bad to begin with. I’m now on day 3 and to me, the headline is that the story I heard about how you get a metal taste in your mouth–absolutely true.

Prepare to be amazed how word spreads–Seriously, we had told less than 5 people that I had tested positive on Friday morning and by 9am, I had gotten messages of support from two people who had absolutely no connection to those 5 friends. This is why I have my secret identify plan ready for when I finally do win the lottery.

You’ll be forced to rest–Geeze, I got in all the episodes of “Stranger Things”, caught up on “Barry” and discovered how great “The Lincoln Lawyer” is on Netflix. So, there is an upside.

It’s the world in which we live. Another friend who caught it this week made the frequently made comment, “Well, if you haven’t gotten it yet, it’s just a matter of time.” As part of a team that was doing SO good about avoiding it, I’d have to agree. But even though it seems like it just won’t go away, we’ve at least worn it down so it’s now a lighter form of the original and the vaccinations seems to be doing their jobs.

If you have any questions or want thoughts from someone who sits in the front row, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d use my radio address, tim.hunter@krko.com because it’s the least busy of them all.

Glad to help in any way I can, especially now that I’m a member of the club.

A very reluctant member. Meeting adjourned.

Tim Hunter

You’ll Never Know How Truly Grateful I Am

As I grow older, I’m turning into a mush pot of emotions when certain events roll around.

Take, for example, Memorial Day. At the time of this writing, it was yesterday and due to our busy schedule, I didn’t have time for something I really enjoy doing every Memorial Day–visiting the military section of nearby Evergreen Washelli Cemetery.

Now, it’s not because I want to get to know the neighbors, as my future is in the fifth row of a mausoleum across the street. But for each of the major patriotic holidays, I feel the least I could do is go over in person and say thanks to all men and women who gave their lives for this country.

For years, Memorial Day weekend to me was what it is to so many people–the official kickoff of summer, when you’d pack up the car and go on a road trip. Maybe a camping adventure to see how much rain your tent could absorb or going across the mountains to a cabin on a lake somewhere. As Americans, we’ve been trained that Memorial Day weekend is that special time when cars go on sale, or that it’s a great weekend to buy a new appliance. After watching all the commercials, you almost feel guilty if you don’t have some kind of barbecued meal. I mean, to not have some kind of a barbecue is almost un-‘Merican. (yeah, sometimes when you’re waving the red, white & blue, you drop the ‘a’ in America)

But I would say the past 5 years or so, with that amazing patriotic display less than 5 minutes from our house, I find myself drawn. To take pictures, to read the headstones, to reflect.

That’s why today, the day after the holiday, I zipped over while the flags were still up. If you want to feel the holiday, it’s simply the way to do it. And this year, I randomly wandered into a special row and started reading the headstones.

Notice the theme. This row included multiple service members, all of whom died in 1969. That was the year I graduated from 8th grade and was bracing myself to head off into high school. Some were World War II or Korea war vets. But most were 20-somethings that were drafted, shipped off to southeast Asia, and sent home in a flag-draped pine box.
Where that hits home with me is that in 1973, I graduated from high school. That same month I picked up my diploma, the U.S. military draft officially ended.

That was close.

Even though they stopped drafting people and the Vietnam war wound down, they still drew numbers for people born in 1955.


My birthday put me in at #233. I’m not exactly sure if that meant I would have been sucked in, or missed it, but no matter.

How different my life would have been.

The graves before me were those of people who died in the service of our country. You may not have approved of the conflict or the politics of the time, but the way I look at it–they served so I didn’t have to.

To the active and retired military who may stumble across these ramblings, I just want you to know I get it. I sincerely appreciate everything you have done to keep the rest of us out of harm’s way.

To those who think you don’t need to worry about things like that anymore, I offer you one word: Ukraine.

The Washelli cemetery is just one of hundreds of place where our soldiers have gone to rest. Whenever I drive by, I’m always reminded of their sacrifice. But when Memorial Day and Veterans Day rolls around each year, I just can’t help but stop by for a visit to reflect, one more time.

Age increases my appreciation. The phrase, “Thank you for your service” takes such little effort to say when one of our military is standing in front of you. But it’s a powerful way to show you get it and that you sincerely appreciate what they do.

In the meantime, thanks dad, Uncle Bob, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Larry and father-in-law Ernie, Cousin Rick, and to all the veterans we have lost over the years–thank you!

You’ll never know how truly grateful I am.

Tim Hunter

What Else Is There To Say?

I don’ t want to live forever, just long enough to see random mass killings by a mentally deranged person never happen again.

They say our country is experiencing a mental health crisis. That’s how we try to explain why an 18-year-old with automatic weapons can walk into a Texas elementary and mow down 20 kids. Or how we dismiss another teen going to a grocery store in Buffalo to “kill black people.”

I can’t do this again. I’ve gotten up on my soap box before, preached the gospel of reasonable gun control and the idea of preventing mentally unstable people from going out and stocking up on the tools they need to commit mass murder. Preventing this from happening ever again just makes sense. Every single time. Yet, the N.R.A. continues to use the politicians in their pockets to prevent anything from changing. Damn, they’re good.

So, instead, I’m going to share a few of the more poignant and powerful Facebook posts I read after this latest mass execution at a place that was supposed to be safe. Starting with a photo of just some of the victims.

So true, George.

NBA Coach Steve Kerr said everything for me instead of talking about game 4. 

Until Tuesday, Irma Garcia & Eva Mireles were 4th grade co-teachera at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, looking forward to a well-deserved summer vacation. They were two days away.

And if you didn’t know, Uvalde, Texas, is the home of actor Matthew McConaughey.

Hey, congress, why don’t we start with trying to figure out how someone with severe mental problems could go into a gun store six days after his 18th birthday, buy two AR-15 style automatic rifles and ammo, and then two days later, go to an elementary school and shoot kids?

I’m fairly certain that’s not one of the rights our forefathers were trying to protect.

Seriously, what else is there to say?

Tim Hunter

PS I guess there are a couple of other things left to say.

Zero Degrees of Separation

You know how it goes. You meet someone you’ve never met before and while chatting, you realize you have a mutual friend or aquaintance.

Let me tell you a story….

So, on Tuesday, while I was Norwegianing (I swear it’s a real word, Spellcheck) my brains out at the annual Syttende Mai celebration down in Ballard, I noticed a guy chatting with my wife, and it seemed like he was referring to me. I was in the middle of a conversion with someone else, so I continued chatting until we wrapped up. Within seconds, this fellow came over and introduced himself.

“Hi, my name is Alex and you used to work with my mom!”

Well, if this was a movie, this could have gone all kinds of ways. But to answer the first question you had–and I had thought of it, too–no, he wasn’t my son.

It turns out that Alex’s mom was Heather Muphy, a woman I worked with years ago when I was at Destination Marketing, when we were making TV commercials. Heather was a production director or something like that, just great people and over the years, we stayed in touch the way most people do–watching each other’s Facebook posts.

But that’s just where my connection to Alex began.

Besides working with his mom, Alex said he had known my brother-in-law Kris for years. Then, I found out that he also knew Bruce Johnson, the Rowland Studio photographer, who was the official photo guy for Syttende Mai. Alex had gotten to know Bruce and my late radio buddy, Larry Nelson, back in their Chandler’s Crabhouse days.

It keeps going.

I was then introduced to his wife, Barbara. Not only had she worked at KING-5 for a while, but these days, she was at a company called Tri-Films. More connections. I had interned years ago at KING on the radio side, (although, I did chauffeur around the owner, Dorothy Bullitt for a week once while her regular driver was on vacation) but for a time, I was also a contributing writer to some of the projects Mark Dickison and the team did at Tri-Films.

They informed me that Mark had passed away years ago from pancreatic cancer. One of those cases where, here one day, diagnosed the next and gone within months. So sad. Mark once gave me the opportunity to write some jokes for the 75th birthday party that Bill Gates was putting on for Warren Buffett. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done, writing one-liners for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diane Sawyer and others, back in 2005. I always wanted to get a copy of that gig, but never did.

Oh, yeah, back to Alex. Apparently, he followed his mom’s footsteps into the entertainment industry and besides being a stuntman, he has a stuntman agency here in Seattle that he operates with Barbara, called Seattle Stunt Company. Check out his IMDB, and you’ll see he did stunts on a lot of the movies you’ve seen.

And may I add, all this, and a really nice guy.

So, how did Alex discover this connection between his mom and yours truly? Apparently, he’s a member of the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard–just like me–and while showing his mom photos of a recent lodge event, she saw a picture of me and said, “Hey, that’s Tim Hunter!”

Such a small friggin’ world!

Tim Hunter

No Guarantees

Life is tricky stuff. You don’t want to obsess about what can go wrong, but you also don’t want to take it for granted, be oblivious to what’s going on around you and have life just blur by.

It’s precious stuff, folks.

Several things have triggered this week’s round of self-therapy. One is the recent flurry of bad health news surrounding some of the famous broadcast folks in our area.

You know how you think, “Oh, that was a couple of years ago, maybe five at the most.” Then, I look to see when radio icon Bob Rivers retired from broadcasting and it was 2014. Seriously? 8 years ago? My wife and I were lucky enough to grab an in-studio spot to witness the last broadcast up close, as Bob and his wife Lisa sold their estate out in North Bend and headed to the northeast, where they came from. They settled down on a pretty cool place in Vermont and Bob, among other things, took up the hobby of making maple syrup. Damn fine, maple syrup, I might add, as I bought a couple of jugs of this year’s harvest following some Facebook posts about the process. You can order some right here.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Bob dropped this bomb on his blog. He’s in a fight for his life, so that means he’s going to be taking some time off from his blog and podcast, to put up the good fight. In his words, “It’s serious. And there are three forks this journey can take. One may be brief, nuff said. The middle fork, and most likely, as I’m an excellent candidate for surgery, brings me back to a good quality of life for at least a few years. The third fork in this path has led me to two patients from the same medical team as me, alive and kicking in their 80’s.”

It’s just not fair.

Another Seattle radio guy who came from a famous role on a 70s TV series, Danny Bonaduce, has also taken leave from his morning show at KZOK. After his “Partridge Family” days, Danny went to into radio and had settled down in Seattle for the past 11 years. However, a couple of Fridays back, he announced he was going to be taking a medical leave for an undisclosed illness. His sister described it as a “mystery illness.”

And it was just last October that Channel 13 Meteorologist M.J. McDermott handed off the reigns of her weather duties to a friend of mine, Brian MacMillan. I chatted with M.J. about her future plans and she was so excited to be able to retire and pursue some of her other dreams. You can hear my interview with her here.

But a mere six months after hanging up her thermometer, M.J. got her bad medical news. She was diagnosed with Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma, Stage 1, and has started undergoing treatments. Not in her retirement game plan.

Now, all of the above folks and yours truly are part of fast-growing 60+ club and I’ve been encouraging people to pass along their prayers and positive thoughts as their beliefs dictate. When you get into this age category, it’s amazing how many friends and family you start hearing about and the unfortunate health woes that stalk them.

It goes back to my original thought–life is tricky. Hearing about all three of these brothers and sisters in broadcasting experiencing these health problems is just one more reminder of our frailty; but we just don’t want to think about that all the time. I mean, why spend what time you do have left worrying about how it will someday be gone?

I’ve known about their health news for a while. What I didn’t know about until this morning was the diagnosis this young student I don’t even know received this past week that just grabbed my heart. We were all in her position at one time–excited to head out into the working world, starting a life, raising a family….all those regular life challenges that are tough enough. But then you get slapped with a thing like this.

Life shouldn’t be a battle, but for far too many of us, it becomes one, when we least expect it. And it’s even more cruel when it happens to someone in their 20s, just starting out.

I’d say the bulk of us all that drive to get that next promotion, upgrade to a nicer car or home, go on the vacation that we’ve always dreamed of taking. These days, I find that what I’m trying to do in my own world is take it all one day on a time, treat every day as the precious gift it is, and be grateful for what I don’t have.

If you need examples of those things, go back to the top of the page.

Keep fighting, Maddie. Godspeed to everyone having to alter their life plan to deal with bad health news.

And if that doesn’t include you, there’s the first thing you should be grateful for every time you wake up.

Tim Hunter

This Just In….

You’ve lost me.

Oh, sure, I probably should have put something in the title that let people know this was intended for our news providers to read–especially radio and TV–but they wouldn’t bother anyway. They know better.

For starters, you’re reading something right now that was written by a news junkie. A guy consumed with what’s going on in the city, the nation and the world. I need to know everything that’s happening, especially for my hobby of writing jokes. For the longest time, I had my DVR to catch a 5 o’clock local news, and then a 5:30pm National News broadcast. My choice for quite a while was the #1 most watched newscast, ABC News with David Muir.

But that has now been deprogrammed from my VCR.

If you care for my opinion and maybe even be open to hearing my reasons for being done with that daily routine, here we go:

  1. It’s old news. For starters, the evening news used to be a nice collection of everything that happened in the day, for those of us who were too busy with life or work or family to try to catch one of the newscasts on the radio or TV. We’re no longer dependent on that. If you care, you receive a constant stream of information 24 hours a day on your phone, tablet or computer. By the time 5pm rolls around, the local news may contain a new story or two, but it’s usually a rehash of what we heard the day before.
  2. It’s bad news. I gotta say, locally, FOX 13 does a nice job of telling me things I didn’t know. Oh, they include the bad stuff, but the “bad stuff/new stuff” ratio is much better there. The rest of the locals all showcase the latest shootings or the continuing COVID saga. Add to that having a spouse that has hit the wall on negative news coverage and, if I am going to try and watch a newscast, I do it later in the evening after she’s gone to bed. And of course, by then, its old news.
  3. It’s repetitive news. I know its a tricky balance between telling people actual news, and repeating something they may have missed, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the same b-roll from the day before as I’m being told this is ‘breaking news’.
  4. Crying Wolf and not Blitzer. As much as I enjoy ABC’s coverage, the hype has worn thing. Watch the opening of “World News Tonight” and you’ll, “Breaking as we just come on the air”, “Breaking news” or “This just happened….” Rarely true. And again, unless its a seriously new breaking story, west coast viewers are getting a newscast 3 hours old.
  5. Now there’s News on Demand. For breaking news about major stories, I keep an eye on the Drudge Report and CNN. If I’m sitting at my computer, I can just say to my Amazon Echo, “Alexa, play ABC headline news” and if the missiles have actually been launched, they’ll tell me. Anytime I want.

So, what’s the answer? I truly don’t know and wonder if the “Evening News” is just an outdated model that will eventually go the way of the local daily newspaper?

Now, I know I’m about the farthest you can get from a ‘typical’ viewer. I get up at 4:45am every morning to write for Radio-Online, a radio show prep service for disc jockeys. Yes, I’m writing up stories about news items that won’t be used on the air for another 24 hours, but that’s why I write up a salad of stories and news items that, when you hear them, you’d say, “Dang, I didn’t know that!” Plus, that makes the radio listener think more highly of the voice passing along these stories, like, “Boy, they sure know everything that’s going on!”

So, when I’ve fed my last Radio-Online tidbit of information, it’s around 9am. When things happen during the day, I’ll add them to the feed, so that tomorrow morning, there’s as current a collection of information as possible.

Perhaps the TV evening news is hanging on thanks to a dwindling population. If you watch who the advertisers are during the newscast, you can see they skew older and disease-ridden. Really, how many medical disclaimers can you take in a 30-minute period?

Legends have occupied that space in American homes over the years: Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, Huntley/Brinkley, Peter Jennings, oh, and Frank Reynolds. The technology was different back then. A nightly newscast was the only place you could get a roundup of what happened during the day. These days, the evening news best serves the graveyard shift worker who slept until 4 and wakes up to watch while eating a bowl of cereal.

I used to watch for nostalgia’s sake, but I’ve reached the point where I’m willing to let it go.

Plus, it allows me to get caught up on “Barry.”

It’s all about getting the most out of your available time.

Tim Hunter

Before The Parade Passes Me By

So, for years, I’ve been the voice of a couple of parades–the Bothell Freedom Festival Parade and the 17th of May Norwegian Constitution Day Parade in Ballard.

That includes at least 15 years in Bothell and another 10 in Ballard. So, I’ve got a combined 25 years’ worth of farting around and making smart-Alec remarks about what goes on before me as the parade passes me by.

In Bothell, my co-hosts over the years have included Joyce Goedeke, Joy Johnston, Judge Michelle Gehlsen, Dr. Eric Murray, and Bothell Civic Leader Mike Rue. While behind the mike in Ballard, I’ve hung out with Dori Monson, M.J. McDermott, Karen Pauley and Bjorn Nalum. Yeah, you can tell by the rotating names, I’m hard to get along with.

However, several weeks ago, I got the email that Bothell no longer needed my services and after a decade of doing the play-by-play for the city cable channel, I was officially retired. That’s fine. Time moves on and because of COVID, it’s been three years since the last time I had done a parade. I get it.

Now, normally, the place where I broadcast in Ballard over the loudspeakers to the crowd is where the judges make their decisions on who wins which awards, and it is THE place to be at the Syttende Mai Parade. But this year, things took a turn.

I was informed that my co-host of the past couple of years for the 17th of May parade was not going to be able to make it this year. Then, I was told the judges would no longer be based at my broadcast location, but rather an earlier stop along the parade route. So, it would be just me, on my own, from a new location in Ballard known as Bergen Place Park–I was still honored to be able to do it, but needless to say, my enthusiasm was dampened.

Then, I got an idea. A real Norwegian that I have a great rapport with, Ozzie Kvithammer, could be my new co-host. Slip him a couple of Aquavits and God knows what could come out of his mouth. He agreed, so brace yourself.

If you are planning to head down to Ballard for the big parade on the 17th of May, by all means, get within earshot of our broadcast to the crowd at 20th & Market and I promise, we’ll be at least entertaining. If nothing else, you’ll want to say you were there when we actually said THAT over the loudspeakers. The streets start packing in there around 4pm, the parade steps off at 6pm.

I’m down to just one parade, but I’m looking very forward to making this one really count.

Tim Hunter

Is That The Retirement Bug Coming On?

For the bulk of my life, I have been running a marathon with no finish line.
If we were to sit down together and try to figure out what makes me tick, what keeps me going, I would probably point out that I have already (I think) determined that during a session with myself.

For the majority of my life, I have felt like the clock is ticking. None of us know how much time we get, but I just want to make sure I get in everything I want to do before the timer goes off. The problem with that is that as I check things off the top of the list, I keep adding more items to the bottom. You see how this works.

The result is a constant need to keep going, to push, to drive myself. Having a hand-written list to the right of this keyboard so that when I get another thing done, I cross it off. When I get too many things crossed off, I start a new list, importing the tasks still left to do from the old list. It’s the only way I keep it all straight.

But what I’ve noticed happening is that some of the things that make up my work week are seriously losing their importance to me. Things I feel I have to do, or really should keep doing, I’m getting dangerously close to pulling the plug.

It must be part of that mental adjustment that occurs in your brain when days of playing with grandkids or going wine tasting or sneaking away for the weekend have a much greater importance in your life. You realize that those are the things that make you happy, that reduce the stress in your life and thus, help extend that precious life of yours.

I remember when my broadcast buddy Larry Nelson was forcibly retired from KOMO radio. It was basically a surprise going away party–“Surprise! You’re going away.” In the months and years that followed, as I continued to feel that radio addiction, I would talk about him coming back to another station, returning to Seattle morning radio and showing the bastards at KOMO and, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t that he was defeated, he was just content with those things that retirement offer–lunches with friends, golf, trips to Mexico, grandkids. I just couldn’t understand how he could let radio go.

Lar, I get it now. I really, really get it.

For the time being, I’m going to continue doing my little morning show on KRKO because it helps keep my toe in radio, but I can feel it coming on. This September, it will have been four years that I went back on the air. I’m hoping to make it that far. But I was reminded once again over the weekend with some Easter Egg hunts and just watching a new generation learn and realize all those things I went through years ago, that’s the real-life stuff we should be taking in and enjoying.

I’m pretty sure in my final moments on earth, I won’t be thinking about that one more morning show I could have done. It’ll be the voice of a young granddaughter looking at me and calling me ‘Grandpa Tim’ and remembering back when she was that young. That was just one of the great moments from this past weekend.

In the meantime, I start to slide into the landing pattern, with a goal of touching down into retirement in three short years. Time flies by as it is, so I know that will be there before you know it. And, again, my retirement is definitely going to be a hybrid of things, with some of the stuff I’m doing now, but also thinning out the herd of responsibilities to only include the fun stuff. The things that I would do whether I was getting paid or not.
I’m not there yet, but man, I feel it coming on!

Tim Hunter

I FOUGHT THE LAW AND IT CAME OUT A DRAW

Yeah, it won’t be a song title.

Besides being therapeutic and cathartic, one of the driving purposes for me sitting down each week for the past couple of decades and sharing something that passed through my brain is to share an experience that might benefit you in the future.

So recently, I was invited to attend a meeting of the new Ballard FC soccer club at Skäl Beer Hall, to talk about an upcoming “Nordic Night” at one of their home games.

I arrived on Ballard Avenue in front of the restaurant, grabbed a spot and went to pay for an hour with the city’s wonderful Pay by Phone app. I’ve used it often and it really does make it really easy to pay for parking. And their rates aren’t that bad. 75-cents here, 50-cents there.

But when I tried to pay, I got this note of rejection.

 

 

And, of course, fearing I might need proof of this, I took a picture of it.

I tried again. Again. And again. Same message.

Well, by this time, the meeting was about to begin, so since they weren’t willing to take my money, i went into Skäl.

When I emerged 45 minutes later, there it was. Tucked under my windshield wiper, a parking ticket.

 

 

Yes, you read right. $44 worth of parking ticket. Pretty much $1 a minute while I was in there.

On the back side of the ticket, was a place to let them know you wanted to contest it and where to mail it. Oh, absolutely. I put together an explanation letter, said I wanted to fight it in court and off in the mail it went.

Several days later, I received a note back from them that I could set up a court date or write up a one-page letter contesting the citation which would mean I’d accept whatever the magistrate decided.

I chose option B and popped that in the mail and awaited my fate.

Here’s what the magistrate sent back to me:

 

 

As you can see, I am “responsible for the above committed charge.”  Even though their app wasn’t working, I was supposed to “move the vehicle to another spot.”  It wasn’t the spot that was the problem, it was the app.

So, guilty…but no fine and it doesn’t appear on my driving record. Still, it was the cost of about an hour of my time and two stamps to get to the zero fine. However, to me, it was well worth it.

To summarize the life lessons here:

  • If you’re paying by app, and the app won’t accept your payment, move to another spot. Maybe it will work there.
  • Or, you can go my route and hope to get that first-time pass. If you’ve got the time and ambition.
  • Or, just stay at home. Stop being involved in so many things and open a beer.

I think from now on, I’m going with option C.

Tim Hunter

I Was Almost At The Bus Station When My Ship Came In

So, for years, I’ve been using an Alaska Airlines card to rack up mile so that, whenever we travel, we can get some ridiculously cheap airfares.

And it’s worked great–until a pandemic came along. Then we stopped traveling. So, with almost 100,000 miles waiting to be used, I thought I’d take advantage of Costco’s offer of switching to their VISA card, which would give me rewards cash back.

Oh, I’ve been using this for everything. Xfinity bill? Pay it with the Costco Citi card, then immediately pay the card off. Basically, use it like a debit card, but just make sure to pay it off right away.

I figured my rewards would come to me like the previous Executive Member Rewards and last year, I received a check for $177-ish, which was a kick back on my in-store purchases at Costco. I even lost that check at the store and had to ask for a replacement, which they sent in the mail a couple of weeks later.

I thought that was the end of it.

But then at the end of last year, I got this email that looked about as spammy as they get.

Oh, sure. Who do you think you’re dealing with here, pal? I already got my rebate check, fools. And I’ve never received anything in the $400 club. And what’s with the info4.citi.com address? Oh, I’m not falling for that one.

A week later, the aforementioned rebate check appeared in my inbox:

Uh, well, it looks real. But I don’t have time to deal with this right now. So, I devised a plan: print it out, take it to Costco at some point and see what they have to say about it.

Well, that was in early January. As readers of this blog know, that’s when my world got turned upside down and our downstairs flooded, wiping it all out. I had printed out the coupon and it sat behind my laptop until this past week, when I was heading north to visit a friend. I thought, this is the perfect occasion to just hop into customer service, ask if it’s real and be on my way.

I walked into the Shoreline location, the guy asked me to step forward and I told him the story of this spam-looking coupon. He playfully said, “Oh, one of these,” took it from my out-stretched hand and tucked it underneath the cash in his open till. He continued his dry delivery with someone like, “Yeah, I’d just forget about it, if I were you. I’ll take care of it.”

He then handed me a quarter.

As I stood there wondering what was going on, he grabbed a chunk of bills from his till and started counting out: “20, 40, 60, 80, 100…..” and so on, until he had counted out $438 to go with my new quarter.

“It’s real?” I asked. He replied, “Yup!” I told him, “If I could get through this glass, I’d hug you.”

The spam-looking coupon was authentic. The measly 3% kickback grew to quite the size by using the card to pay for almost everything over the year.

But I couldn’t help but wonder how many other people saw that email come in, viewed it as spam, and never collected their bonus? I wonder if CITI Bank is counting on that happening?

It’s why I felt compelled to tell you about it. I mean, seriously, I almost threw the darn thing out because it wouldn’t have been worth the hassle or embarrassment to take it into Costco and ask.

Search your inbox in late December and early January for CITI, Rewards or Costco and see what shows up. I can’t believe I almost tossed away $400 because of how weary I am about receiving spam. I was this close to being at the bus station when my ship came in.

Tim Hunter

But, What About….?

Well, good news and bad news for the Academy Awards this year.

Ratings were up by 5-million people compared to last year. I haven’t heard people talking about what happened at the Oscars like this in years.

Of course, back in my day, they were more civil about it. The year Marlon Brando refused to accept his Oscar, he sent a Native American woman in his place, Sacheen Littlefeather, to refuse to accept his award for “The Godfather.”

George C. Scott also refused one for his work in “Patton” and while producer Frank McCarthy accepted the award the night of the show, he returned it to the Academy the next day, per Scott’s request.

And no one was assaulted.

It’s been amazing to see the split of opinions of what happened Sunday night. You’d think, a guy walks up on stage, strikes someone and walks away shouting profanities to him on international television. Should be pretty one-sided. Not in this day and age. There are two distinct sides to every friggin’ issue that comes along and this was no exception.

There are those who feel that kind of response was completely wrong, sets a bad precedent, was uncalled for, degraded the institution and should be dealt with harshly.

Then there are those who say he stood up for his wife and chivalry is still alive.

I believe when you get to the upper echelon of Hollywood like those involved, you lose all kinds of common sense. Just ask Will Smith’s gardener’s personal masseuse’s executive chef.

OK, so the whole thing taught me a new word: alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that can result in hair loss. Oh, I knew she had something that had caused hair loss. Hey, we’ve all got our problems and Jada had embraced her condition many times before in the private confines of social media. Among the quotes in a recent post on TikTok: “I don’t give two craps about what people think about this bald head of mine. Cuz guess what? I love it.”

So, Chris Rock ad-libbed the line (it wasn’t in rehearsals), Will Smith laughed and then turned to his wife, who wasn’t amused and the rest is history.

OK, now that’s the review of the main story. Others were upset about the “In Memoriam” collection and the fact that it didn’t include Ed Asner and Bob Saget. Others got bent about a bit where Amy Schumer referred to Kristen Dunst as “a seat filler.” As if she didn’t recognize her, or was disrespecting her. (Kristen was in the gag)

There was something to upset everyone.

However, one of the bits puzzled me more than upset me. We’ve just come through a recent purge of tearing apart actors and careers because they had been closet letches. The creators of the “Casting Couch” finally got their comeuppance, and a spotlight was cast on the weasels and low-life’s that had preyed on women over the years.

I could have sworn that the lesson was received well, there was a new morality in town and we would no longer degrade people, of either gender, ever again.

And then this happened.

Funny? I’d give it mildly humorous. Love Regina Hall. Nice of everyone (except Will Smith) to play along. These days, when I watch older TV shows and movies, I cringe when I see some of the things that we laughed at back then. There are countless incidents of “Oh, they’d never get away with that today.”

While everyone knew Regina wasn’t going to take them backstage and give one of them “a deep PCR test” and she felt up a couple of them, imagine that bit being played out with the genders reversed? It would have been Will Smith’s dream. Everyone would have been talking about that bit, and maybe by the time he slapped Chris, we would have been more focused on the outrageous, sexist bit they dared to put on the Oscars.

In the skit, in case you haven’t watch the video, among the things Regina said was going to happen when she went backstage with them:

  • Just ake off your mask…and your clothes….
  • Then I’m going to swab the back of your mouth with my tongue….
  • And we’ll do some other freaky stuff which I’ll record for Academy protocol.

Oh, I’m not mad about this in the least. I was just frankly, a bit in shock. It’s just illogical in the aftermath of #metoo.

Or, maybe I’m over-reacting and should just imagine the laughs Harvey Weinstein could have had with that bit.

Equal means equal. Just sayin’….

Tim Hunter

A Valley Full of Ghosts

With a wife out of the country, I decided to do some things I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Last Wednesday, I went up on a school night to Whidbey Island to have dinner with some longtime friends I just hadn’t seen in a while.

On Friday, I tried out the new Amazon Fresh store that opened near our home.

And over the weekend, I semi-spontaneously decided to head over to Walla Walla and do some wine-tasting. You can never go wrong there and it had been at least a decade since my last visit. As far as the tasting went, I made some amazing discoveries and brought back quite a collection.

But surrounding the delicious tastings was a trip down and back through the Yakima Valley. Since you have nothing to do but think as you drive along the highway, I started reflecting on that area and the many memories associated with the valley.

Some good, some bad.

Yakima is where this guy landed after graduating from the University of Washington with a Communications degree, wanting to put it to work in radio. I had looked in the Washington State Association of Broadcaster want ads, saw there was opening in Yakima at a station called KQOT and set up an interview.

It was a long, nervous drive as I hoped they would see the good in me and hire me for my first professional radio job. After chatting with the business manager and the owner for a while, they said, “Let’s hear how you sound.” We walked into the control room, he tapped the disc jockey on the air on the shoulder, told him to get up and I was instructed to do a show. Apparently, it was their practice when auditioning talent, they would set them down in front of the microphone and then go out and drive around, listening to them on the radio.

I was hired. $350 a month to start, bumped up to $375 if I “worked out.”

I spent a total of less than three years in the Yakima radio market, but those were three very life-eventful years..

I reconnected with an aunt, uncle and some cousins that I hadn’t seen in years down in Wapato, just to the south. They had a mobile home for rent on their peach orchard for $175 a month. OK, there was half my paycheck. Shortly after moving over, my college sweetheart came over for a visit. She missed me. But I had decided it was just too early to settle down with someone, that we needed to break up. I was a jerk to her all weekend and she left knowing that we were over. Of all the things I carry with me through this life, how I handled that still haunts me.

So, let’s see. I got to be a disc jockey, do high school dances, do a ton of radio production and copywriting. Did some serial dating, had a stalker. (that’s a whole blog in itself) On the personal side, I eventually met someone, fell in love and got married immediately prior to getting a call from Larry Nelson at KOMO radio in Seattle to come ever there and be his producer.

Yeah, in less than three years, a whole hell of a lot happened.

On my way down to the Walla Walla wine-tasting trip, I arranged to meet up with Brady Layman, who was the seasoned veteran of KQOT when I first went to work there. He was now living in the Tri-Cities and reminded me that, as a child, he had polio. It had come back to bite him again as he was now wheelchair bound. We reminisced about those KQOT days: the people, the crazy promotions, the River Floats, etc. I asked about a couple of the old gang that we used to hang around with. One had a heart transplant and was now living in Spokane. The other had a tragic end with a messy divorce that drove him to take his own life. But even though that was 45 years ago, we both remembered details that triggered the other to remember something else, and it was just a wonderful stroll down memory lane.

After posting some pictures of day 1 of wine tasting, one of my kids’ former teachers from Bothell High School reached out and said, “You’re here? Let’s wine-taste tomorrow!” So, an extra stop was added to my eastern Washington tour and Shelly Crump & I managed to sip and reminisce in the early hours of that Sunday.

Then it was on the road again, this time to Terrace Heights, east of Yakima. Gary Myhre and I had a blast together during my time at both KQOT and KMWX. He was supposed to buy KQOT and we were going to rule the valley but the deal went south, he went across town and I went with him. If you search these blogs, he’s come up before so I won’t repeat stories, but we had so much fun at those stations. He’s always been so complimentary of what I do, so it was always nice to have a fan. And here we are, 40+ years removed from those days and when we get together, it seems like it was just yesterday.

By the way, weird coincidence—both Gary and Brady married women named Peggy.

My next stop was with the one remaining relative in the area, Bonnie, who was on that peach orchard with my aunt & uncle all those years ago. Another person I’ve previously blogged about with a fascinating story, but this was just a check-in to see how she was doing since losing her partner two years ago. It obviously still hurt. We had a great catchup and then I headed home.

I wanted to drive by that peach orchard and see if that mobile home was still there, but just ran out of time. To me, I’m just amazed when I actually think of how many life-shaping events took place during my 34 months in the Yakima Valley. I’m sure if we ever get together and you start me on that stretch of time, several dozen wild stories will come to mind.

Just like with Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, not all ghosts are bad and some are there to help us understand our lives even more. I guess if I’m ever feeling like I’ve got everything figured out, all I need to do is head east of the mountains and return to the Valley of the Ghosts.

Yeah, there are a LOT of stories that didn’t come to mind during this time through.

I’ll just save those for the next time.

Tim Hunter

Life Hack #189–Go To Arizona

We’re all on this journey together and whenever I come across a life hack that is life changing, I feel compelled to pass it along.

My latest discovery occurred during the much-dreaded “Spring Ahead” weekend, which occurs during the shortest weekend of the year. Once again, we were forced to move our clocks ahead an hour to please the ghost of Ben Franklin and appease farmers who lived over 100 years ago.

This year, the time change was scheduled for the same weekend that I was invited to the wedding of a good friend, Corey Newton. He was marrying the love of his life and I was not going to miss it, so on Saturday morning, we flew down to Arizona, caught the wedding and reception, saw a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in a while, went to bed, woke up and flew back home to Seattle.

Besides being an incredible wedding, It was the most painless time-switch ever.

You see, when we left Seattle on Saturday, we were still on Standard time. When we landed in Arizona shortly before noon, we had arrived in a state that ditched the time change years ago. They are in the Mountain Standard Time Zone, or Seattle’s version of “Daylight Saving Time” year ’round.

Technically, we “lost an hour” during the flight. But who knew? On paper, it was a 4-hour flight but in fact, was actually a 3-hour flight. Think about it–when you’re on an airline, you really can’t be a good judge of time. I’ve been on 2-hour flights that seem like 5 hours, and 8-hour flights that seemed like 4. Airline flights are a lot like movies: when you check your watch, they’ve gone on too long.

In this case, I spent the three hours in flight doing some work on my laptop and then catching a short movie. The next thing we know, we’re landing in Arizona. From that point, until the time we flew home, there was no time change. We woke up Sunday morning in the same time zone in which we landed, and Seattle adjusted their clocks while we were gone.

Even my wife, who is one of the time change’s biggest critics, barely talked about it. I figure if it makes her life easier, it may just justify going on an Arizona trip every second weekend of March.

As for what we’re going to do in the fall when we return to standard time, I’m sure if there’s an easier way to do that. I guess I could try to talk her into a trip to Alaska, but that could be tricky. I’ll work on that angle.

But in the meantime, next year for “Spring Ahead” weekend, may I offer up Life Hack #189: When it’s time to “Spring Ahead”, Go to Arizona.

Tim Hunter

Thanks For Stopping By, Earthling!

I’d like to try and give those with far less living experience a scouting report so that you have a better idea of what lies ahead when you blink and it’s suddenly 50 years later.

Eventually, the world changes so much around you that there comes a day where you feel like an alien visiting another planet.

That may sound a bit over-dramatic, but let me provide some examples.

The planet Earth I grew up in is vastly different than what today’s kids are experiencing. Back in my day, when you picked up the phone to make a call, there was a cord attached to the wall-mounted base of that phone. And if you heard people talking, it was due to the fact they were using the party-line at the time and you had to check back later to see if that line was available. Oh, and long distance you had to use sparingly, because back then, that was an extra cost. I remember when I was 18 and went away to college, my first month’s phone bill was $118 because I spent so much time on the phone with my girlfriend back home in Torrance.

During my “Wonder Years”, televisions did not have remotes. You had to watch what was on or get up off your keister and change the channels, and when you did, it clicked. And we only had a total of 6 stations to choose from. Somehow, we survived.

There were no copy machines, there were mimeograph machines, with a cylinder that had to be refilled with a cheap-high fluid and you hand-cranked it to make blue-scale duplicates.

Not every game of every sport was on a TV channel somewhere. During the 1960s, most of the Dodger games were NOT on television, so I spent an awful lot of evenings listening to Vin Scully do the play-by-play of my team. When I was 8, they won the World Series–sweeping the Yankees four straight. In ’65, they lost the first two games at home against the Minnesota Twins, and then managed to pull out the series in 7 games. The next year, however, they ran into the dominant pitching of the Baltimore Orioles, who swept them in four games.

But think about that–my favorite Major League Baseball team went 3 of those four seasons to the World Series. It was just assumed they would go, if not this year, then next. Here in Seattle, we have generations of kids who have grown up, never knowing that thrill.

We not only had the Popsicle Man, but also the Helms Bakery truck driving up and down the streets in our area. I could have cared less about the bread, but the Helms guy DID sell baseball cards. At a stage of my life when I couldn’t just run down to the store to buy them, the Helms guy had the goods. I think it started at 10-cents a pack and that included 10 cards and a stick of gum you could have used to pry open a window. Thank God my mom was not among those who threw out their kids’ seemingly worthless collection.


Thank you, Helms Guy!



Move that bread stuff and gimme the cards!

My diet of cartoons included all the Warner Brothers “Looney Toons”, before the days of editing out anything that resembled violence. The rest of my gang included, “Rocky & Bullwinkle”, “Beany & Cecil”, “Felix the Cat”, “Astro Boy”, “Gumby” and Sunday morning’s before heading off to church, I’d try to sneak in an episode or two of “Davey and Goliath”–which used the Gumby-style early attempts at Claymation animation.

Most of those characters are confined to my memory bank, with an occasional sighting whenever I get nostalgic about my childhood.

Speaking of nostalgia, while some may view it as a sentiment waste of time, a new study claims that looking at nostalgia actually triggers something in the brain that helps relieve pain. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better.

So yes, the world I grew up in was quite a differently. What’s interesting to me is that, in comparison to all that kids have today, I never noticed that I was missing things. In fact, I had everything I needed.

It was a very simple time. I mean, we considered Tang a major breakthrough in space age technology. So, when I compare that era of my life to today’s extremely complicated world, you can see why I almost feel like I was raised on another planet.

 

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thanks for stopping by, Earthling.

Tim Hunter

My Brilliant Idea

OK, I have a quirky fondness. I love that all the days of February match up with most of the days in March. If the 1st of February was on a Tuesday, in March that will be true as well.

Then I got to thinking—what if we made every month of the year just 28 days long? Think about it–over time, if someone said the 16th, then you’d know over time that it had to be a Wednesday.

Naturally the next step is, uh, Tim, what about the remaining days of the year? I went that direction and multiplied 28 times 12 months and that gave me 336. Subtract that from 365, the number of days in a typical year, and you get…..29!

This is where my plan kicks in.

So, we have a dozen 28-day months of the year, January through December…and then welcome the 13th month which, because I thought of this, becomes the 29-day month of Timvember.

Now, the cool thing about Timvember is that we call get it off. All 29 days. I mean, c’mon, we’ve already put in a full year. We deserve a month off. And, of course, for the leap years, Timvember would be 30 days long.

Now, I’m sure there are some details to work out, but bottom line:

  • We’d get in 12 months of a calendar year.
  • Still enjoying all the pre-established holidays.
  • I’m trying to figure out the downside.

Look, I’m the idea guy. Explain to me why this isn’t a great idea. I’m sure they called Julius Caesar crazy for redefining the calendar, but sometimes it takes a leader to make big things like this happen.

Wait a minute–the Ides of March are coming up. And I just booked a lunch with a friend of mine, Frank Brutus on the 15th.

Uh, I’d like to withdraw my proposal and go back to the quiet life I’ve grown to know.

But you have to admit, it’s a brilliant idea.

Tim Hunter

Tell Me What I Can Do That Will Really Matter

After that long buildup with the expected result, Russia has invaded Ukraine. Who could have predicted that?

What you could see coming is the flood of traditional responses that Americans have developed from an assortment of tragedies over the years. Hashtags, Facebook profile pictures with an added graphic (in this case, the Ukranian flag), an industrial strength bombardment of ‘thoughts and prayers’, and so on. All well-intentioned efforts, but does it really help –oh, maybe we feel better about ourselves, but does it do anything to help Ukraine or punish Putin? Do you really imagine Putin flying through his Facebook feed and saying to himself, “Wow, maybe I screwed up?”

The steps our government and others are taking seem to be inflicting some economic pain. We’re closing air space to Russian airlines, freezing assets, sports events with Russian teams are being canceled, the ruble is plummeting in value and the Russian government has bumped up the interest rate to 20% with more increases on the way.

I do have questions for our leaders, like, “If we do sanctions and don’t the results we hoped for, then imposed more sanctions and then more sanctions after that, why didn’t we do all those sanctions at once at the beginning?” Sanctions take time to have an effect. Ukraine is out of time and has Russian soldiers, tanks and fighter jets attacking it right now. Things that will be painful for Russia a month from now seem like too little, too late.

Now, those are government efforts. What I want to know as a guy living in Seattle, Washington, what can I do that will actually make a difference? Something that will help Ukraine, inflict pain to the Russian government or both.

A natural instinct would be, “Well, I’ll show those Ruskies–I’ll just give up vodka!” Here’s why that won’t work.

Besides, I don’t drink vodka. (got sick on it once back in college) However, should Scotland ever decide to invade a country, I’ve got my economic hammer standing by.

Not being able to do anything substantial or meaningful is frustrating. I’m sure lots of people would like to financially fight the evil Putin empire, but in this day and age, Google “Aid Ukraine” and you’ll likely be aimed at a scam charity operated by long-time arch enemy Boris Badanov.

This is the first blog I’ve written in a long time asking you for help. I welcome all responses. I’m looking for what you know, what you personally can share. Oh, I’ve already Googled, “How can I help Ukraine?”

NBC offered up this collection. Time put together this list. And I’ll just assume we can trust the Washington Post, who published this group of charities.

Again, that’s what others are suggesting. I want to know what YOU know, what you can tell me. Maybe something I missed or that just isn’t getting the publicity it deserves.

When you read stories like this, that’s not press hype or “fake news”–that’s reality.

Please. Just tell me what I can do that will really matter.

And thanks.

Tim Hunter

My War With Wordle

Earlier this year, I started noticing these weird posts by people on my Facebook feed. Something like this

⬜🟨⬜⬜🟨
🟨🟨⬜🟨🟨
🟨🟨⬜🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

At first, I wasn’t sure if my computer monitor was going out, or if the ‘Ruskies were trying to pass along a secret message to their spies here using a special kind of code.

Eventually, I learned that it was a result you’d get when playing the online word guessing game, Wordle.

Wanting to stay on top of social trends, I thought I would investigate. I played the game, got a kick out of it and most days when I get up, it’s one of the first things I do. (after making coffee and playing Jeopardy with Alexa)

Since you’re only allowed to play it once a day, it helps you from getting addicted and wasting a lot of time with it. I’ve been stumped a couple of times and then kicked myself for not being able to figure it out.

But then, Wordle-gate came along.

Around a month ago, the New York Times bought the game and fears immediately surfaced that they would start charging for this daily challenge. Was that the Old Gray Lady’s evil plan?

Well, not yet. But what some people were talking about online is that since the Times bought it, the puzzles have been getting harder. At first, I laughed it off as just a bunch of whining players who were stumped a few too many times. But then, last Sunday’s word made me re-think my position.

The word of the day? “Tacit

And I wasn’t the only one to notice that particular word. Now known among loyalists as “Word 246”, people were pretty ticked about that choice.

Yes, people were really upset.

Be honest–when was the last time you used that word?

Maybe when you were drunk, and slurred the sentence, “I’ll have to ask it”, which sounded more like “I’ll have tacit.”

Or, maybe you had an upset stomach and remarked, “I’m dealing with tacit indigestion.”

What exactly does ‘tacit’ mean? The dictionary tells us that means, “understood or implied without being stated.” Use it in a sentence? “Your silence may be taken to mean tacit agreement.”

Oh, yeah, I say that all the time.

I have never heard of that word before in my life. I’ve never used it and I can pretty much promise I’ll never use it in my remaining days. Why? Because if I did, I would have to explain what I just said.

So, are the new owners of Wordle trying to build up our vocabularies? I already have Reader’s Digest for that. That’s not why I play the game and if they’re going to start tossing me curve balls like tacit and have me guessing at words I’ve never heard of before, well, then, two can play at that game.

On Sunday, when I had figured out the ‘acit’ parts of the word and was only letter shy of nailing it, I did what every red-blooded Wordle player would do. I fired up Google and asked, “Words that have acit” in them.

Since there was only one possibility, I entered the missing ‘t’ and all was right with the world. Take that, Wordle.

It’s the first time I’ve resorted to this because I do want to keep adding wrinkles to my gray matter. I’ve solved some of the puzzles in 3 guesses, while others took me the full six guesses with the “Whew” comment from Wordle as I guessed correctly on my last try.

For now, I’ll keep playing Wordle. If you haven’t tried it out yet, do that here.

And one other hack that I stumbled across. Play the game on your phone first (a different IP address) and since the world is playing the same word that day, learn what it is on your phone, then guess it with one guess on your computer. Impress your friends. Influence your enemies.

What does the future hold for the game of Wordle? I don’t know, but if I get a chance to chat with the future, I’ll have tacit.

Tim Hunter

 

Sometimes You Can Go Home Again

I guess when it comes to that, I’m a pretty lucky guy. 

It’s not the first time I went back to the home I grew up in; to that blue collar street in Torrance, California, where my parents bought a home back in 1952-ish and raised a family.

But, for some reason, this time around really tugged on the memory strings.

   

Yeah, Mom & Dad bought that little 1200 square foot, 3-bedroom rambler in a brand-new development that was going into a field in this fast-growing suburb of Los Angeles. The story goes that they initially only had the choice of one home, the last one unsold, which was right on the busy street to the west. But then, a sale fell through on a home in the middle of the block and they purchased it with dad’s G.I. bill rate, for $11,9000.  I remember as a kid, walking down the street to the Bank of America with their final house payment in hand. I want to say their monthly nut was around $86 a month.

I was the first to arrive, followed by two sisters who shared the room down the hall until I went off to college. Then, they finally got to have their own room. It’s so funny to go back now and realize how small things really are. Yet, at the time, it was all the house we needed.

The backyard, which as a child seemed huge, was probably only around 800 square feet. But it was where we played in the wading pool, ran around with the family dog, posed for pictures for the home movie camera and, again, it was all the backyard we needed.

Mom is just one of two people left in that neighborhood from when I grew up there. As my sister Debbie pointed out during this visit, as troublesome kids go, we were a pretty mild lot. She couldn’t resist bringing up the time I got caught sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night.  “Snuck out? Through the window?”, mom remarked. “It’s a good thing you didn’t get hurt!”  “Uh, mom,” Debbie continued, “he was sneaking out to go visit Bette, the neighbor girl across the street.” Thanks a lot, Deb.

But it was true, I made a couple of successful reconnaissance visits during the middle of the night, until one time I was caught. You would have thought I had committed mass murder, and that bust abruptly ended our 2am rendezvouses. 

Yeah, the Fonti family across the street had three stunning daughters, and I had fallen madly in love with the middle one. That first-love romance continued until my second year in college, when she called one Thursday morning to let me know she had to break up with me because of a “sign from God.”

A couple of months later, she married the minister who helped her realize she had a sign from God.

Oh, well…

But the rest of the homes up and down the street offered brighter memories. I had a gang of kids that I hung out with, back in the days when you’d leave home in the morning to go play and your only obligation was to be home in time for dinner. I always relied on Mr. Toman’s whistle, which he belted out around 5pm and we’d close out another day of adventures.

In my elementary school days, the gang consisted of Mike, the other Mike, Glen, Kelly, Kenny, Karen and her brother Dennis, and some other characters that came in and out over the years.

We played a lot of tennis ball baseball, keeping track of those homers that would sail over the house across the street. There was hide and seek, some football that started on lawns—but, when some of the older kid-less neighbors started yelling the classic, “Get off my lawn” we’d switch to playing on the asphalt of the street.

As we got older and a little more daring, we’d climb aboard our bicycles, ala ‘Stranger Things” and ride down to the elementary school or over to Del Amo shopping mall, where we once saw candidate for Governor Ronald Reagan speak from the back of a flatbed truck.

We traded baseball cards, we had fights, we went to movies on Saturday morning, and celebrated birthdays together. It’s like I was lucky enough to grow up in a normal neighborhood, doing the normal things kids should do, in a suburb of Los Angeles.

These days, I could never imagine just letting my kid wander around down there, without a military escort.

Oh, it’s not like a chunk of innocence wasn’t lost during those years; that’s a normal part of any childhood. There was the Cuban Missile Crisis–one of my friend’s lived at a house where they had a bomb shelter in the backyard.  There was the JFK assassination, the Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy assassinations, the Watts Riots, the Manson Murders, the Viet Nam War, the draft and so many other things. I remember thinking for a time that it was just the way the normal world was—wars, riots, every now and a then, a leader was shot to death. Those were your 1960s.

And here I was back at the scene of the crime. 

Standing out in the front yard, I could look at each home, and each would generate its own memory. Right across the street, that’s where an older couple named the Kidds invited our family over to watch the Tournament of Roses parade on a real color TV.  A couple doors down from them were Fred & Carol, a fun couple who ever now and then would invite us to come over and swim in their swimming pool. It was the only one on the block. Go the other direction, and that’s where Irv lived, nicknamed “the Bachelor” because he was single for years, although he married late in life. Way up at the far end of the street were the Slingerlands, who had a cute daughter named Pam, but I never really got to know her. For a couple of years, I hung out with Irene, who lived a few houses up. The kids teased her because she had such long toes, and gave her the nickname, “Bozo.” 

Oh, man, how could I forget Raylene Crocker, who was the first next-door neighbor I played with? She was a year older and when I was 5 years old, she decided to plant a big old wet kiss on me. My very first.

We all remember that special street or lane where we spent those care-free days of our childhood. How lucky am I to be able to go back and visit the place mom and dad raised us? This time, the memories were thick and it made me realize that I better start writing these down somewhere before they get away.

And so I have.

Tim Hunter

A Journey I Dared To Take

Oh, yes, the legendary “Senior Pond”,

where no underclassmen dare be caught.

 

Thanks to whoever is the driving force behind the Torrance High School Memory Wall. It’s a Facebook page with the sole purpose of letting graduates of T.H.S. know about classmates who are no longer with us. 

If you ever need a reminder of how grateful you should be, dare to see how many of those people you use to hang out with, are gone.

Looking back, high school is such a brief part of your life experience. Yet, those are amazingly powerful years that had a serious influence on what kind of adults we all became.

I roamed the halls of Torrance High School from the fall of 1969 until graduating in June of 1973. Some folks would rather forget those years. I cherish every single memory my increasingly feeble brain is able to retain.

Thankfully, there are others that feel that way and who get involved enough with preserving memories that they create a Facebook page and actually keep track of who’s still around, and who isn’t.

Those who leave us are put on the Memory Wall. Recently, they offered up an Excel spreadsheet of all the Torrance High School Tartars who had used their allotted time on earth. While there were a lot of folks I didn’t know that came before or after me, when I came across the name of a former classmate who had since passed, I was sad to think that their journey was over. But seeing some of those names knocked loosed a flood of memories:

Dave Sanford was a couple of years ahead of me but was a super-jock whose picture appeared several times in my first two high school yearbooks.

Danny Gans went from the kid I played with in Little League to the Las Vegas mega-star. His life was cut short due to an unfortunate combination of drugs and heart disease. Read more here.

Dexter Wolfgang acted as flamboyantly as his name at a time when you just didn’t do that. Looking back, the guy was a lot braver than most of the students who teased him.

Greg Stadler was one of those guys all the girls longed after, yet his ego was so in-check. Just a good guy. I had heard he had gotten seriously into the “born again” thing. I found his obituary online. 55 is way too soon.

There are dozens of others from that 600+ person class who had also passed away. As I scanned all the names, I noticed the last names of some of my classmates, which means they had lost their older or younger brothers or sisters.

The organizers of this page were also kind enough to keep us posted on some of my favorite teachers, like Mrs. Wright, Mr. Buck and my counselor Mr. Ronan (who I blogged about recently). People who devoted their life to teaching and who may not have realized the impact they had on so many young lives.

We lost them to cancer, to Alzheimer’s, to heart disease, to COVID. All leaving much earlier than they planned, while serving as yet another reminder to appreciate the fact we’re all still here to remember those life-changing days.

It’s a sobering reminder, but a journey I’m really glad that I took.

I’d highly recommend taking a similar stroll down your own path. 

Oh, the power of a high school yearbook.

Tim Hunter

For Fred’s Sake

You’re thinking, “Wait, Tim. You mean Pete’s Sake, right?”

No. I’m going with the insanity happening in the Seattle media market this week and randomly tossing away the name everybody knows for another one.

The change I’m referring to is the call letter change happening at KOMO radio, where after almost a hundred years as KOMO, this week the station will be renamed KNWN.

Originally, I was ticked off at the current ownership, Lotus. But broadcast buddy Gregg Hersholt informs me that Lotus actually wanted to keep the KOMO call letters. However, the evil Sinclair empire decided to spread salt around the Seattle radio landscape and take the call letters with them. According to Gregg:  “The new owners spent months trying to convince Sinclair to sell the call letters. They wouldn’t budge, and it’s their loss because our affiliation was a benefit to them.”

Here’s the news story.

Apparently, one of the things that comes with growing older is you get to see the things you know get new names–Ernst to Lowe’s, the Bon Marche to Macy’s, Payless to Rite Aid, Weight Watchers is now WW, and on and on.

I’ve already blogged about the specialness that came with being a part of the KOMO family for almost five years. You can catch up here.

So, Sinclair gets the credit for taking the call letters and going home. KNWN is supposed to mean K-Northwest News, a phrase that KIRO has already tagged to their top of the hour I.D. as part of the radio wars.

But the bottom line–we’re saying goodby to call letters the area has known since 1926. Yeah, another 100th birthday we’re not going to see.

Back in the day, you wanted to make radio stations easy to remember. So, instead of four letters that all started with a K, you went with names that you could pronounce, like “KOMO” and “KIRO.” That would help them remember what to write down if they had to fill out one of those ratings diaries from years gone by.

These days, it’s all done digitally. People carry around something that logs who they listen to, so they don’t need to fill anything out. 

It saddens me to think of all that history that’s being tossed out. I haven’t been bummed out like this since I found out they were going to tear down the old KOMO radio building, that I haunted from 1980-1984. I remember my little office that I shared with Larry Nelson, the morning guy. Just outside of that office was a wall with a mural of radio stars who had been featured on KOMO over the years. The greats of the 30s and 40s. I believe in the remodeling, that wall was torn down.

With Rip Taylor in front of “The Wall”

It saddens me to watch a place so full of personal memories and that for decades, was a part of the daily life of people in the Puget Sound area. be relinquished to the history books. During my tenure, there was Brian Johnson’s 7:45 Morning Report (when Larry Nelson would head to the bathroom and shave); Bob Rondeau, the voice of the Huskies for so many years, was the “sports guy” who did the morning sports report; KOMO was the on-air home of Paul Harvey, with an abbreviated 5-minute early report at 5:30 and 8am, and then the full “Paul Harvey News and Comment” at high noon. I can still recall when we moved to the new technology, from a phone-line report to a satellite feed. It was like he was in the studio.

That was back in the days of “Destination Radio”, where people came for personalities and other things they just couldn’t get anywhere else on the dial.

KOMO was, of course, your Husky Station, which allowed me to meet so many of the Dawgs of that time, including head coach Don James. He knew me as Larry’s producer but would always greet me like an old friend whenever our paths crossed.

Another big phase was the arrival of AM-Stereo. It was going to change the industry. The announcers were told to start calling the station, KOMO, AM-Stereo-1000. I remember the big AM-Stereo kickoff event we did at some fancy estate up on Capitol Hill.

During my brief tour of duty in the building, I got to know so many people in the radio biz, as well as some of those fancy TV folks down the hall.

On the radio side, (and apologies if I forget you), Larry Nelson, Bob Rondeau, Gary Johnson, Brian Johnson (no relation), Dale Good, Bob Gillespie, Harmon Shay, Jim Reed, Monte Grau, Wanda Hutton, Pat Eisner, Shirley Thom, Kathy Cozu, Leslie Soule, Karen Heric, Rita Carrier, Bob Adkins, Keith Shipman, Eric McKaig, Gina Tuttle, Stan Orchard, Bill Swartz, Michael Hamilton, Roger Nelson, Jim Reed, Keith Johansson, Norm Gregory, Don Chapman, Joe Coburn, Jaynie Dillon, Kirk Lawrence, Rich Osbourne, Melody Tucker, Ted Garlatz, Jr. & Sr., and a host of others whose faces popped up in my head, but whose names escape me. Cut me some slack—that was 40ish years ago.

On the TV side, I got to know Ruth Walsh, Ray Ramsey, Bruce King, Kathi Goertzen, Dan Lewis, Dan Ibabao, Dick Foley, Steve Pool and others.

And two great engineer types–Stu Hitchner and Lloyd Jones, a classic character and brother of Seattle’s own Quincy Jones.

In just under 5 years, I packed in a lifetime of memories, not to mention all the life changes that took place while I was in the building. I was hired a week before my wedding and started after we returned from the honeymoon and moving over from Yakima. My daughter was born during my KOMO days, and I found out that my son was on the way the same day I was told I was being laid off.

If you want to read the adventures of KOMO in Seattle radio history, Wikipedia has a nice write-up here.

Management didn’t always make the best choices for the future of the station. It was the original flagship station of the Seattle Supersonics, until they let KIRO swipe them away. I had also heard a rumor while I was there that, at one time KOMO had an FM frequency but gave it away to UW, which became KUOW. I don’t have any verification of that story, but it’s a good rumor.

A radio station isn’t a building, it’s a frequency. It’s that place on the dial that you go to out of habit, so really, changing its name doesn’t really impact anything. When I go to AM-1000, I’ll be reminded of those years, of people who were and some, still are, a big part of my life and my history.

KOMO, I’m sorry to see you go.

Now, I no longer want to live forever. I just want to live long enough to see some company to buy out the Sinclair folks and re-name it “Evil Broadcasting.”

For Fred’s sake.

Tim Hunter

 

An Update From The Front Lines

So you know, we’re not losing; we’re not winning; we just fight on.

January 3rd, 2022. A day that will live in infamy. Hey, imfamy’s a big place. It has more room for another date.

That’s the day I stumbled down the stairs at 4:45am as part of my morning ritual, on my way to my office to begin another 12-14 hour day doing what I love to do–writing, creating, producing videos, and putting together another morning radio show for KRKO.

However, as I approached the lower level of our house, I could see a reflection in the rug. That’s not right.

It seems that on the same night we had a massive snow melt, toss in a serious dose of heavy rain, and our sump pump dying and the result:  water filled our lower level, up to two inches in some areas.

Insurance company contacted, water abatement company retained. Now, to make it all happen.

Cue the snails.

I get it. We were not the only ones who suffered flood damage that day. In fact, local companies were slammed so we had to fire up the patience. I know one of the folks from Servicemaster said they normally have rows and rows of equipment in their warehouse, but right now, the shelves were empty.

STAGE 1–The Dry Out

A collection of fans and dehumidifiers were brought in to run 24 hours a day downstairs to help the drying out process. It didn’t help the carpeting downstairs, which had been soaked, to dry out and soon, the air downstairs was a moldy stench of yech. First, “the packers” (no connection to Aaron Rogers) came and took everything away from downstairs, deciding what was totaled and what they could keep and store in a storage unit. Next, after a week of fermenting, the rugs were finally removed which helped make the downstairs air healthier than downtown Beijing during rush hour.

STAGE 2–So, what’s next?

The way the process has been described to me is that once the packers have gone through everything they took, they will send us an inventory list and it’s up to us to make sure everything is included. (Oh, yeah, I remember everything that was downstairs). Then, someone is supposed to come in and test the linoleum that was glued to the cement and the walls and see if any asbestos lurks therein.  To do that, we just found out that the lower level needs to be sealed off so the air can be tested. Since they don’t want the downstairs air to come upstairs, until they get the results IN THREE DAYS, we need to turn our furnace off.

It just keeps getting better.

STAGE 3–What comes after that?

I don’t know. Eventually, the insurance company will say, “Here’s a few Sheckels to help you get things done” and redoing the floors and the walls can begin. After that, we’ll begin refurnishing the spaces and then, after that, our crap in storage will be dropped off and we can recreate a typical all-American lower level.

STAGE 4–Realizing this week’s fresh hell

So, the day after “the great seal off” started with me playing the part of MacGyver.  I walked into a kitchen with a thermometer showing me it was 35-degrees outside and only 63-degrees inside the house. I sprung into action and turned our oven up to 400-degrees, leaving the door open so it would be a heat source. I started the coffee, of course, but I also put a pan of water on the stove and brought it to a boil. My wife had a small personal heater next to her work-from-home workspace and I brought that in. WIthin 90 minutes, I had the internal temp up to 70-degrees and was pretty darn proud of myself.

But the lower level continued to be sealed up:

  • Want to do a load of laundry? I’ll just go downstairs and….
  • Oh, we’re out of paper towels and toilet paper. I’ll just go downstairs and….
  • Making spaghetti sauce? I should dump a little red wine in. I’ll just go downstairs and….
  • Crap, I ran out of checks. I’ll just go downstairs to the office and….
  • And the real capper, this morning, while blow-drying my hair, the fuse blew and I was suddenly in the dark. Oh, I’ll just go downstairs and…

However, no way we’re going to live the next couple of days with a powerless bathroom. Adding to the misery, the power alarm I hooked up to the new sump pump’s power source started whining. Great.

So, I masked up and broke into the fuse box room long enough to reset the power. I’m probably now covered in a thin coat of something toxic, but for the time being, it’s not noisy and well-lit.

QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN

Will we have black mold or asbestos in our floors or walls? If so, will our insurance cover the repairs to remove it? Will our stuff be valued at full value? Will all of this take place soon, or wrap up by April? Why am I wasting valuable blogging space to tell you all this?

I never thought it would happen to us. As I learn things, I hope I can pass along useful tidbits that might help you, a family member or friend should they find themselves in a similar situation.

I did meet with a guy from a construction company today that will actually handle everything with the insurance company and I got a good vibe from him. He would act as our agent in getting this all taken care of, and his company came highly recommended by some good friends.

As I continue my temporary, surreal routine of working from a table set up in the kitchen and doing all the writing, video and audio editing and crafting only the finest in comedy, I crawl into my work to keep from being bummed by our situation.

But as I tell my radio listeners tomorrow morning, if you hear me one morning doing Fondue recipes, you’ll know I’ve cracked up. Just keep that Fondue pot handy.

Tim Hunter

OK, Mr. Ronan, NOW It’s Your Turn

By the time you reach your mid-60s, it really is amazing when you sit down and just think about all the people you’ve met and experienced life with, that made a brief appearance in one of the many chapters of your life. Chapters with characters that now are no longer a part of your book. But when reminded of them, it jars loose a few memories you’re proud that you could actually recall.
Get me started on my high school years and you’ll knock loose a flood of memories. (great–more flooding) Favorite teachers, classic life moments, falling crazy in love with the girl next door, being Senior Class President, highlights of my brief basketball career, etc.  I know some people are extremely done with those years, while others hang on to them as if they never ended. One of my post-retirement goals is to finally finish a movie script about those days at Torrance High School, if nothing else, to help preserve those stories for later years when memory fails.

In late December, I was minding my own holiday season, trying to get the career to calm down so I could enjoy my favorite time of the year when I got word on Facebook that Mr. Ronan had died.

If I said, “Mr. Ronan” to any of my fellow Torrance High School Tartars from the Class of ’73, they’d know immediately I was talking about one of the two counselors that helped guide our class through our high school years. Not a small task, when you’re put in charge of directing teenagers in a hurry to grow up, with raging hormones, falling in love with a new person every couple of months, all the while, dancing with the devil known as “popularity.”

Of course, by now, the memories of those days have softer edges, but Mr. Ronan definitely still stands out. It made me smile to think that Jerry lived into his 90s and that dealing with me hadn’t shorten his time on this earth. And when I heard that he had written his own obituary just waiting for that inevitable day, I just had to share it.
 
 

Gerald Thomas “Jerry” Ronan

 
I’m dead – took the last bus out December 9, 2021.

As the sixth of Maggie McGraw and railroad bridge builder Thomas S. Ronan’s nine, the journey began 1926 – on the day winter leaves Camelot. Great good fortune was mine from that at-home birth, merely yards from the banks of the Missouri River in Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Life-long friends, school work, paper routes and four years at Loupe’s Drug Store filled happy boyhood years.

High School graduation in 1944 and induction into World War II Navy duty for two years were simultaneous events; Navy service was growing up time. After an interlude of a year at First National Bank in Pierre, I was off to four years with the Jesuits at Creighton University in Omaha; they calibrated my compass and awarded me a diploma.

That Bank in Pierre had been home summers and college holidays – a post college year in the bank provided a one-way ticket to Europe on the Queen Mary for a two-year-plus adventure. It was a dream come true – Salzburg, Austria was my Shangri la.

Back to the South Dakota prairies: Ranch kids, responsible, almost adults, boarded in town, kept the Lemmon High School lights and the faculty on for ten-hour days. It was a memorable school year and the beginnings of a career with emerging adults.

Following a summer of English classes at Georgetown University, a continental crossing landed me on El Prado Avenue and Torrance High School in 1955. It was to be Home. Thirty-seven years in the “mother school of Torrance” with winning kids and colleagues passed in the seeming flip of a page. It doesn’t get better.

Leave taking was not easy. As classes and volunteer activities kicked in, life took on a new meaning. My affection for Torrance with its small town caring citizens was reaffirmed on a daily basis. I was never far from those Torrance High Tartars.

Never regretted a move – each chapter was a happy experience. Good-byes and leave takings were difficult. Transitions were tough, but life has been good. Trust and gratitude are key. Family and friends are the treasures. Along the way USC awarded me a Master’s degree; my remains go to their Keck Medical School. For my transgressions – for my omissions – I beg absolution.

One by one, Tom and Maggie and now the eighth of their nine has taken leave. Only “kid sister” Helen Pike of Janesville, Wisconsin survives. Her two sons, three of seven other nieces and nephews and their offspring remain. All nine and their issue have made me proud.

Join me in spirit for a Mass at Nativity Church as I make this final transition Sunday, December 19th at 8:00am.
What I recall about the man is that he took his job so seriously. He truly wanted to help students successfully head off in the direction they hoped to go, offering suggestions on classes to take and how best to get there. I’m sure he had a hand in helping me choose typing as an elective, at a time when that was “a girl’s class”, to help create future secretaries. Yeah, this was a long time ago.  But that skill was an important part of what got me where I am today, wherever that is.
He took his job and responsibility seriously, but with a subtle humor that I very much appreciated. I’d have to say that it influenced my preferred style of comedy, because while the laugh-out-loud yuks are fun, there’s nothing better than a subtle masterpiece that sticks in people’s minds.  Clever comedy is an rare art and a great example is still found today in my high school yearbook. 
I remembered Mr. Ronan had written something funny when I asked him to autograph my yearbook and when I dug it out of the bookcase and looked it up, I was right.  Imagine your high school counselor, the person charged with helping you direct your way through those crucial years, writing you a note like this:
 
 
I could imagine some parents flipping out. “All the world’s a stage? Get off?” What do you mean by that?
I take it that he recognized a screwball when he saw one, but that he knew I was going to be just fine.
Wow, he spent 37 years at THS. That’s amazing. I wonder how many other people can look back on their careers and think, “You know, you’re right. He did have a huge part in how I got to where I am?”
I hope a lot. 
Mr. Ronan, sincere thanks for all you did for me and hundreds of other Torrance Tartars. It was appreciated a whole lot more than you’ll ever know.
Tim Hunter

With Apologies to Mr. Ronan

For the second week in a row, I had planned to dedicate my little corner of the Internet to my high school counselor, Gerald Ronan. He passed over the holidays and it started a minor flood of memories that I was going to pool into a blog.

Last week, he got pre-empted by the Great Flood of 2022 in our lower level. OMG, what a nightmare. A week later, they’re just now taking out the soaked and moldy-smelling carpet from downstairs. Hopefully the lingering smell in our house (upstairs as well) will gradually improve.

Then, this past Sunday, we got the news that Bob Saget was found dead in his Florida hotel room, at the age of 65. There was a time in my life when 65 was so old. Now, that’s two years in my rearview mirror.

Bob gained his early fame as the dad in one of those “T.G.I. Friday” shows on ABC. Friday nights, my kids would make an appointment to be in front of the TV, watching that family-friendly collection of characters, and where science perfected that breed of human called “the Olsen Twins.”

Those years are a little fuzzy, but most likely, that was when mom & dad probably went out and hired a sitter, who used TV to entertain them until bedtime and then, the easy money came in. I was not much of a “Full House” fan, but I was aware of its popularity. After all, I was in the “know everything about pop culture” business.

Of course, each of the actors on that show went on to reach additional fame in various ways. John Stamos went off and played with the Beach Boys for a while, Lori Loughlin became a college advisor and the most popular girl on cell block C, and Dave Coulier went on to be the guy whose last name everybody pronounced differently, broke up with Alanis Morrisette inspiring an album and became a household name as the guy who used to play the Joey on TV that wasn’t on “Friends.”

Bob Saget, however, wanted to let the world know he was funnier than what you saw on “Full House.” He became the first witty host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, the narrator on “How I Met My Mother” 

and a stand-up comic that packed theaters, not night clubs.

That was his passion, that’s what he loved to do. After his last show Saturday night, he posted this on Instagram:

I love that one of the last things he remembered doing was something he loved to do.

And just a week before his own departure, Bob posted this tremendous salute to another very funny person:

This amazing woman was exactly who you wanted her to be…

Razor sharp wit, smart, kind, hilarious, sincere, and so full of love.

From the first time I snuck into “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” at 15 years old and watched her hit everything she said out of the park, to decades later, getting to hang out with her on several occasions, I had a small peek into what a remarkable talent and human being Betty was.

We were on an ABC jet once for a junket and I was sitting across from her, both of us sipping Bloody Mary’s. We had been laughing for hours— I looked into her eyes and faux romantically said, “How ‘bout it, Betty, you and me in the bathroom? Mile High Club?” She answered me before I had a chance to finish the invite— “Of course, Bob, you go in there first and I’ll meet you as soon as I finish my drink.” And then of course she went right to sipping from her straw. I waited in that bathroom for over two hours. (That would be the joke on a joke part, in case you take things literally.)

She always said the love of her life was her husband, Allen Ludden, who she lost in 1981. Well, if things work out by Betty’s design— in the afterlife, they are reunited. I don’t know what happens when we die, but if Betty says you get to be with the love of your life, then I happily defer to Betty on this.
My deepest condolences to her family and friends.
Betty White. My God, we will miss you.

I have never considered myself a comedy expert, but more of an aficionado (yeah, I needed spellcheck to help me out on that one) of what and who is funny. Being completely honest, I never thought of Bob Saget as really funny. He was a type of funny, that some people appreciated, but he wasn’t my cup of tea.

Around 10 years ago, we went with friends to a Bob Saget performance at the Paramount and it was a bit of a jarring experience for me. The warm-up comedian, whoever it was, was genuinely funny. However, the Bob Saget comedy fans were done with him within a few minutes and started booing him. How sad.

Then Bob came on the stage and it was one of the most profanity-filled, moderately funny sets I’d ever sat through. The crowd loved it, but it left me feeling like we had just wasted a lot of money on someone not very funny.

As I read the posts on his passing from comedians I do enjoy and respect, they have a tremendous amount of admiration for his comedy chops and that makes me think I should find some sets on YouTube and give him another try a decade later. Regardless of his comedic ability, all of them say he was one of the nicest guys in the business and that scores a lot of points with me. You don’t to be a jerk to be successful, you just don’t.

Yeah, looking back at that evening with Bob Saget, I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the foul language and the topics he covered. It was if he wanted to completely destroy anything having to do with the “Full House” version of him, and he felt the best way to do that was to swear his way out in front of his former TV audience.  Those of you who know me know I’m far from a saint and foul words occasionally come out of these lips, but sparingly and for effect. I find profanity a lazy way to get a cheap laugh. Tell me something funny!

Some of my favorite comedians today–Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Lewis Black–far out-swear what I heard from Mr. Saget that night, so maybe I’ve evolved. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for the X-rated version of Danny Tanner.

I know what I definitely wasn’t ready for was losing him at the age of 65. Another one in that parade of reminders that our time is limited and we just never know when our clock will expire.

But I do know that Bob Saget went out on top, doing what he loved for an audience that loved him, as people who loved him mourn his passing. And I just don’t think it gets much better than that.

And, swear to God, Mr. Ronan, you’ll get your turn next week.

Rest in funny, Bob.

Tim Hunter

 

 

2020, Too?

Let me begin by saying I’m already looking forward to 2023.

I honestly don’t know what happened. The New Year started with a quiet evening at home, doing our best to stay awake until midnight, watching an embarrassingly cheesy show from the Space Needle and then going to bed.

New Year’s Day was pretty smooth. Got to watch some of the Rose Parade coverage, saw the float from Torrance (where I was raised), watched some pretty good football games and did what you’re supposed to do on a typical first day of the New Year.

That’s where it stopped. Or, if you look at it this way, when it all started.

On Sunday, I was hanging with someone who complained that he and his wife had been experiencing headaches lately. Wait. What? You mean, like you weren’t feeling well, and you came HERE?

Shortly afterwards, we found out he tested positive for COVID. We had only been around him for 45 minutes, but you never know. So far, we’re clean, passing our first test. One more on Friday and we will have somehow dodged that bullet.

But then it got worse.

Monday morning, I got up at the usual time, 4:45am, and headed downstairs to my office. I noticed a reflection from the carpeting as I got closer. By the time I stepped on the ground level, I was standing in 2-inches of water. Our entire downstairs was flooded. Our sump pump, apparently inspired by Antonio Brown, just decided to stop working. Melting snow and pouring rain didn’t help and our entire lower level was underwater.

At first, I went into “Fight the Battle” mode. I tried to get the sump pump to return to life, but without luck. While trying to move things around downstairs, the paper shredder popped open and scattered shredded paper bits into the water. To this day, anytime you walk downstairs, you leave a trail of paper bits all over the house.

I went upstairs with my laptop (as my main PC that I do everything on drowned a painful death) and wrote my contribution for Radio Show Prep, as I do every morning. After that, I bolted over to Home Depot and bought a new sump pump and a 9-gallon shop vac. I hooked up the sump pump to a hose that emptied in the bathtub and started sucking up water with the shop vac. I was getting nowhere. I basically found myself just keeping it even.

Thus, the beginning of our first big adventure in 2022. An inspector came out and said, “Yep, you’re screwed.” A crew is downstairs as I type this, beginning the dry out. Then there’s a packing crew coming tomorrow to take everything out of the rooms and put into storage. Then the serious dry-out begins, followed by repairs, recarpeting and painting and then bringing everything back.

Oh, and did I mention my iPhone went into Satanic mode Monday afternoon and I’m waiting for a replacement to come into T-Mobile so I can reconnect to the world. It was writing gibberish in texts, jumping from one program to another, all on its own. Linda Blair would have been proud.

I went into T-Mobile and they said they had never seen a phone behave like that before. Wasn’t dropped. No water damage. It just went ballistic. So, they ordered one for me and I picked it up the next day. But when I got home to finish restoring it, my password didn’t work. So I had to clean it, restore from scratch and see what happens. It’s been several hours and it’s still not done. Then, because it’s a new phone and new access, it’s not connecting with Facebook. Oh, I can launch the program and put in my password, but then it wants an authenticator code. It doesn’t send me one. Now, I’m trying to figure that out. I’m basically locked out of Facebook right now.

With my main PC down, I’m doing this all on a laptop. With my downstairs studio gone, I’ve set up a portable microphone with my laptop and recording my daily radio shows while I sit perched next to my bed in the bedroom. Yep, living the dream.

With a lot of my production and writing projects, I have to download files from the cloud; everything now takes three times as long to do, and each day this week has been a serious struggle.

It’s gotta get better, right?

Or will 2022 just be 2020, too?

Tim Hunter

P.S.–I do feel like I’m tempting fate, posting that picture before the week is actually over.

The Coolest Gift

Like you, I received numerous Christmas gifts this year. Some, I’ll remember for a while. Others will fall into the abyss of memories that, frankly, my brain doesn’t have room for anymore.

Oh, it’s not like those forgettable gifts aren’t appreciated, they are. And I’m sure I’ve passed along my share of forgettable gifts over the years.

Seriously, think about your Christmas back in 2020–how many of those gifts you received that year could you actually name? Then how about 2019? See what I mean?

That further illustrates the point that it really is the sentiment behind the gift, not the gift itself. Regardless of what’s on the other side of that wrapping paper, someone cared (or felt obligated) enough to cough up a couple of bucks, use some wrapping paper from Dollar Tree and do their part to assure you have a Merry Christmas…..or Happy Hannukah….or Krazy Kwanza, or whatever I’m supposed to say.

One of the gifts I’ll treasure most this year actually came on Sunday, the day after Christmas. In Seattle, we received 6-inches of snow, missing the big day by 24 hours….but, with that, it allowed everyone to get their Christmas travels in, then go home before we were buried.

The gift I’m referring to was a phone call. From an old high school buddy I hadn’t talked with in years and probably only a handful of times since we both graduated from Torrance High School in 1973. (Go Tartars)

Mark told me he was compelled to give me a call after he returned from celebrating Christmas in a nearby state at his son’s house. He had arrived back home in Iowa to find the card my wife and I had sent him and he was touched. Not necessarily because of the typical year-end recap that appears in our annual letter, but because it was addressed to Mark and Trisha, his wife.

He felt he should call and let me know that Tricia had passed back in early November. While visiting his folks in California, he contracted COVID and not knowing it, returned home to Iowa and brought the pandemic home. He fought his way through, but then Tricia caught it and in a very short amount of time, it claimed her life.

Mark told me how he and Trisha had been talking about how they would celebrate their upcoming wedding anniversary. That would have been number 47. Mark kept telling me how blessed he had been in his life to have her that many years. But it’s just the sudden ending that was really a shock, and still is.

Mark was a very talented saxophone player and one of the fearsome foursome of buddies I had during my Torrance High School days. There was Guy, Tank, Mark and yours truly, who during my high school years, acquired the nickname “Tab” after the actor. That’s the name that went on my letterman’s jacket. It’s still there.

Any guesses who the four screwballs were in the front row?

While three of us experienced many a relationship during those formative years, it was just a couple of years out of high school that Mark became the first of us to get married. While those days softly blur, I can still remember Trisha being so sweet, so tolerant.

Mark can come off pretty strong and say some things that might tick some people off if you didn’t know the real Mark. That was just his style and it still cracks me up to this day.

I could hear in his voice the hurt and caring as he spoke of Trisha’s passing. I can’t even imagine having a lifetime of plans suddenly yanked out from under you as you finally reach those so-called “Golden Years.”

As we wrapped up our conversation, Mark asked that I go upstairs and give my wife, Victoria, a big old hug for him. “You just don’t know how long you’ve got together.”

And you don’t.  But life is a continuous balancing act. You don’t sell the house and bet it all on 31-black and see what happens, nor do you sit at home and start every sentence with, “You know, someday…..”

I know that after my chat with Mark, I need to get a little bit better about my life balancing. Sounds like a New Year’s resolution to me!

And thanks for the gift I’ll be remembering for a while, Mark.

Here’s to a happy 2022, everyone!

Tim Hunter

Another Batch of Holiday Traditions Conquered

I’m basking in the glow of that period of the holiday season where you start to feel, “You know, this is actually all going to work out!”

Mailing out the last of the Christmas cards on Sunday helped. Got the long-distance packages off in the mail. (had to pay priority mail rates, but I know they’ll make it there in time). 

And the annual Ho Ho Brother project is completely done.

A couple of decades ago, the tech guy at KLSY, Rick Taylor, taught me how to burn my own CD’s. I love learning new technology, and after watching him do it for a couple of years, I started my “Ho Ho Brother” series, in the year 2000. That means that this year’s compilation is my 21st in a long line of holiday collections.

Over the years, I feel I’ve learned the balance of what goes into a good Christmas CD (although, these days, while I burn a few actual CD’s, I’m promoting the streaming link, coming later in this writing.)  My goal is to make the collection a unique Christmas experience. Some old songs, some new songs, a few comedy bits or holiday commercials from long ago–pop it on and the next 70 minutes are fill with a healthy dose of Christmas spirit.

The past 10 years (except for one), I’ve collaborated with a local singer named Alana Baxter and, each year, we’ve created a new Christmas parody song. You’ll find the whole collection here

Among them, you’ll find this year’s timely song, “Christmas Vaccination” (done to the tune of “Christmas Vacation”, my all-time favorite holiday season film). And while the song could have been enough, each year we produce an accompanying video. Here it is:

This is my biggest holiday season challenge each year.  Basically, the steps:

  1. Find a song
  2. Write the lyrics.
  3. Record Alana singing the lyrics.
  4. Find a time in our mutually busy schedules to film the video.
  5. Find time to produce the video.
  6. Try to get all that in between the day after Thanksgiving and a week before Christmas.

And somehow, it happens.

This year, I wanted to tackle the idea of Santa going around and injecting people with the COVID vaccine, whether they want it or not. In my mind, it would be Santa visiting many homes and injecting lots of arms, but the logistics were just too overwhelming. I also wanted to pursue the idea of Santa going out to events to shooting people with the vaccine using a pea-shooter, but I only had time to shoot one scene and I scrapped the idea.

But here’s that deleted scene.

 

Sorry, Pat, for leaving you on the cutting room floor. And while I’m at it, if you’d be willing to be an extra for next year’s video–God knows what it will be–just let me know and I’ll put you on the list.

I had big plans to have a real Santa star in the video. He’s one of the University Village Santa’s and he was willing to do some scenes for me. However, we had scheduled him on the same day Alana & I were going to record the song (gotta do it when you can) and by the time we got there, parked and tried to track him down, we had just missed him. So, that inspired me to dig out the Santa suit that I inherited a couple of years from GSR Rentals in Monroe. Thanks again, guys!

Again, this is entirely a passion project. No budget, no one’s getting rich, my crew is me. It’s short of a miracle that somehow those songs turn out as well as they have. And each is a time capsule of that particular adventure we went through.

Yes, a challenging couple of traditions. But once again, conquered. 2022, I’m ready for the next challenge.

In the meantime, please enjoy this year’s HO HO BROTHER 21!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tim Hunter

 

You better watch out….

Nicest Among The Nice

I try to be a nice guy. I think it’s a good place to be.

Oh, there are a few folks out there that would argue the case. But I ‘m not claiming to be perfect. I just like to keep things positive, try to make the majority of my actions to make things better or to help others and not hurt anyone.

The other night, thanks to my brother-in-law, Kris, I was able to attend a “meet and greet” with the Prince of Nice Guys, Tyler Lockette of the Seattle Seahawks.

Even just hearing that would make the guy uncomfortable.

As kind-hearted as he is, he’s also very modest. He shows up to play football, has fun, makes great plays and then goes off into his personal world. It’s taken some time, but he’s finally accepted the fact that if he just pushes himself a little beyond his comfort zone, he can use his celebrity to make a difference. Such was the case at the event this past Monday, when Tyler was handed the microphone and it was time to turn it on.

 

 

This year, he is the Seahawks nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. If he wins, he’d be the second Seahawks to do so in a row, as quarterback Russell Wilson received the honor last year. What makes Tyler such a perfect nominee? It all has to do with the passion he has for helping out the youth from his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 2019, Tyler and his Light It Up Foundation hosted their first “job shadow” where the foundation awarded four young women from Tulsa to come to visit Seattle and job shadow members of the Seahawks organization. Much of what Tyler aims to build for the youth from his foundation is exposure.

“People from my hometown, they don’t really see what life is like outside of where we grow up, so unless you play sports, nobody is going out of town,” Lockett said “And so once you finally get out of your own city and you’re able to see what life is like outside of it, then you get a new perspective. It allows you a vision and have an imagination.”

 

 

He’s simply one of the good ones and a lot of those are usually drowned out by the loud ones and the showboats. I just wanted to cast a quick spotlight on a talented, caring and modest hero we have right here in our city.

Thanks for setting up camp here, Tyler. You truly are the nicest among the nice.

Tim Hunter

#walterpaytonmanoftheyear

Oh, Christmas Tree

I’m celebrating my 66th Christmas this year and while decorating Christmas Tree #1, my mind was full of thoughts.

There are so many things I remember from those Christmas’s growing up. That was back in the day when we’d go out and get a real Christmas tree, mom would spend an entire day in the kitchen making her various Christmas cookies and treats and my dad put his wood-working skills to use and created Mr. & Mrs. Frosty and the snow kids. For a couple of years, my folks actually put this white fiberglass “snow” on their front yard, to give the illusion of a winter look in Southern California. It only took a couple of years that formerly pristine snow had the look of 6-week old dirty snow and went away.

For my very first Christmas, at just three months old, mom & I posed in front of their glorious tree by the big picture window in the living room.

 

In time, the tree was relegated to the office, which eventually became my bedroom.

In later years, it finally earned its spot back in the living room, but not always by the picture window.

Over in nearby Gardena, where I was born and around 15 minutes from my parents’ house, my dad’s relatives lived in a home where they had one of those tinsel trees with the rotating color light bulbs. It was a thing at the time.

You’d just set up one of these:

Hit it with one of these:

And it’s Christmas.

There are several events for me that help kick off the holiday season, but it isn’t until the Christmas tree is up and decorated that I feel the season coming on. To me, that signals commitment and a time-sensitivity, especially as you watch the tree dry out in record time from the moment you bring them inside.

Back in the 1980s, the Seattle P.I. had a writer named Ann Combs. When I was at KOMO radio, I got to interview her and she told me her story of how the Christmas tree worked at her house. From the time they could reach a branch, she would have the kids do all the decorating. Oh, sure, when they’re real young, the tree was only decorated for a couple of feet. But her thinking was, when they’re old enough and big enough to reach the top, it was time for them to move out.

At our house, Christmas Tree #1, as I mentioned above, is the artificial tree I bought at Lowes a decade or so ago. I went there the day after Christmas one year to see if I could score any screamin’ deals on Christmas decorations and they had a sign up that said: “9-Foot Westinghouse Trees $20.”  I don’t know why they were blowing them out, but I actually checked with three employees before grabbing one, to make sure that sign was right. The original price was $259 or something like that.

So that’s the artificial tree in the house. Then, for our living room, we buy a shorter, real tree that goes up on a raised platform. Around 5-feet is perfect (and also, cheaper). That’s the upscale tree, with the fancy Norwegian ornaments, the clip-on candles and such.  The normal routine is for me to decorate the one in our dining room and Victoria does her fancy one in the living room.

For me, that’s perfect. The dining room tree is where all the ornaments I like are hung with care.  I’m talking Husky and Seahawk ornaments, some of the hand-made ones that have survived the years, and the ones that scream, “Oh, Tim must have decorated this one”–several Scottish ones, a Christmas pickle, a JP Patches and Gertrude ornament (a Seattle kids’ show host from the past), a Bigfoot ornament, my Santaur (looks like a cross between Santa and a….oh, let me just show you)

Plus, a bunch of cool Christmas ornaments from places Victoria and I have been over the years. Leavenworth, Alaska, Florida, etc.   It’s a friggin’ thing of beauty!

As a public service, while decorating the tree this year, I took some mental notes and would like to offer these up just in case you’re about to tackle the tree-decorating chore in the next few days.

TIM’S TREE TRIPS

1) You always start with the largest ornaments on the tree, by carefully placing each in front of the burned-out lights you just can’t seem to figure out.

2) Always buy a new box of ornament hooks in November when they first show up. Oh, sure, you bought one last year, but good luck finding that one.

3) The best part about artificial trees is, if there’s a thin spot, you just bend the branches.

4) Well, and the fact you don’t need to water them.

5) Candy canes trim a tree nicely. I’ve been using the same ones for a decade now and should anyone steal one from the tree, I bear no legal responsibility for what happens.

6) When shopping for a tree, remember, the person helping you is trying to sell more trees. So, if you ask a question, they’ll probably going to tell you the answer they think you want to hear. For example, the classic one my wife always asks is, “Are these trees fresh?”  The following response ranges from, “Oh, yeah, we just got ’em off the truck yesterday!” or “Absolutely! Sure. You bet!” without any qualifying for their statement or an explanation for why that “Hillary in 2016” bumpersticker is stuck between the branches.

While there are lots of parts of the Christmas celebration I can take or leave (did I SAY lutefisk?), I just gotta have my real Christmas tree. The watering, the needles, the price—yeah, I can understand why a lot of people have gone to fake or no trees at all. Maybe someday, I’ll have to opt out.

But for now, just give me my tree and no one gets hurt.

 

Tim Hunter

A Salute To New Ideas

When people ask what I do, I have to give them the old “Jack of all trades” description of my work routine. Oh, I could just mention the top couple of jobs, but my professional style is more similar to that guy on the Ed Sullivan Show with those spinning plates.

For my younger readers, here’s a clip.

The biggest lesson I took from my three decades of playing radio is that you need to evolve, you need to keep fresh, learning what’s new and constantly have some plates spinning. That lesson was really driven home with my first radio departure, when I found out that I was losing my job on the same day I had a son on the way.

After that, I made sure I always had multiple gigs going. A main one and a bunch of smaller ones, in different areas. I was constantly learning something new and with each new skill, I considered making myself more valuable. What it did over time is give me an overwhelming urge to one day break off and not work for one company, but with as many people and projects as I could balance.

Always be fresh, always try something new.

Throughout my career, I’ve been involved with dozens of new ideas. There were hits, there were misses, but each gave me a new skill and perspective on something I previously had no experience with. Back in the days before Linkedin, it allowed me to constantly make new biz acquaintances.

There was the time I did an Inspector Gadget impression for a computer game. The company wanted to hire Don Adams (aka Maxwell Smart) but he wanted $1-million. So, for $20 an hour, I said every phrase imaginable and they used my poor man’s Inspector Gadget voice. Sadly, they didn’t have the computer game part quite figured out, and the game didn’t play on computers very well. I have a copy of the CD-ROM, but with a quick Google, I actually found a way to play it and hear my voice from almost 30 years ago right here.

Then, through various friends, I was introduced to a guy who had a brilliant idea. Do tours of cities like, oh, say, Edmonds, on a cassette. You’d put it on in your car, hit play, the tape would tell you where to drive and what you were looking at…and then, tell you where to go next. It was a bit of a flop, too. And I’ve got a couple of those still wrapped in plastic.

Going a way back, I remember connecting with former KOMO news anchor Ruth Walsh, who wanted to try launching a syndicated weekly radio show.  We did episodes for a couple of months, but it soon faded away….

The great ideas just kept on coming. One that was fairly successful was an audiobook of a couple of the “Wizard of Oz” stories. A guy named Bill Wright who owned Piglet Press and was a huge Oz fan wanted to create several audiobooks (yes, more cassettes) and we actually produced three of them. I say “we” as in the late Debbie Deutsch, who was the narrator; a girl named Alexandria who did the voice of Dorothy; and yours truly as EVERYBODY ELSE.  We’d record for hours at a studio in Lake City, and then audio guru Bob Majors fixed the sound to perfection. Former Bothell High School Principal Bob Stewart told me that he and his kids loved them as they drove across the country on vacation. Nice to know they’re still out there.

I was lucky to work on quite a few new projects during my lifetime, but geeze, the pace at which new stuff is coming out these days is insane!

What brought me down this rabbit hole? Well, I have a daughter-in-law that is taking a big swing. One of her classmates from graduate school has launched a new venture and she’s going to get on board Map Your Idea.

Right now, to introduce the product and get people to use it, it’s free. That allows this startup to build up a collection of examples of how small businesses and organizations are putting it to use. Go ahead, visit the website and see how it works. It’s pretty intuitive and who knows, your work or organization just might find it quite useful.

All this to say, I love innovation. And trying. Success is also a nice biproduct, but the experience and the lessons you take along with every swing at the plate will someday find a way to be quite valuable in your future.

It’s good to know things. And I hope you’ve taken a few big swings in your lifetime.

New ideas–I salute you!

Tim Hunter

Putting the Thanks into Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day means a lot of things to different people. It’s a day of stress, of family get togethers, watching football games, hanging lights, planning out the shopping, drawing names and of course, eating turkey.

Somewhere in all that we try to think about all that we’ve got, how fortunate our lives have been, and immerse ourselves in gratitude. Because when you sit down and think about it, each of our lives truly are blessed. It’s downright sad that the bulk of the holiday season is all about “what more can I get” than “you know, I’ve really got more than what I need.”

I mean, for God’s sake, you can buy anything with a couple of clicks of a mouse these days. I’ve gotten to the point where, if I need it, I buy it. If I don’t really need it, I’ll pass.

I wouldn’t say I’m non-materialistic, but when asked to write up a list of what I would like for Christmas, it was a struggle. Most of what I wrote down is what I’ve put on that list for the last 15 years. And when Christmas Day rolls around, when all the wrapping paper has been ripped off, I’ll have some nice holiday bonuses to enjoy. But as far as importance, those gifts are near the bottom.

As I get older, some of the most precious gifts to me are time. Time spent with people I care about, from college buddies of long ago, to friends and family that I just don’t see that much anymore. As you read in a recent blog, I lost a cousin a couple of weeks back–a cousin I didn’t even know I had until three years ago. I’ll tell you, she’s come to mind quite a bit lately, because dammit, we just weren’t given enough time together. If I could have had anything for Christmas this, just one thing, it would have been to have one more sit down with Diane.

That’s probably why the Facebook post of a longtime radio friend that I read yesterday really hit home with me. Sean and I worked together briefly a long time ago, back when radio was still in black and white. We’ve both lived lifetimes since we last saw each other and while I lament the passing of my cousin, he’s still absorbing what it’s like to lose a child. 

 

Last year was to be the first Apple Cup in 20 years I watched without Griffin by my side. It will instead be this Friday. Again, in the interest of transparency, our shared experience was less shared than an experience when it came to watching the Apple Cup. For the last ten years or so, Griffin spent nearly the whole game on his phone, WhatsApp-ing with who knows who whilst I watched every play with the intensity of a dog watching its owner slowly fill its dog dish with the evening kibble. Griffin’s experience of the Apple Cup was via replay: my overly emotional reactions cueing him to look up from his phone to watch the replay. For the first several years that he had his phone, it nearly ruined the game for me. I’d look over at him, hunched over his phone and mutter just audibly enough, “Cougar loving Duck fan can’t be bothered to watch the frigging game.” But over time I resigned myself to the fact that this was way we shared our passion for the Dawgs, shared memories one replay at a time. I’ve pondered over why the holidays are so difficult a time for those of us who have lost a loved one and why it is possibly trebly hard for those who have lost a child. The only answer I’ve come up with is space. The holidays offer us an opportunity to slow things down at work and school and create more space for reflection, relationships and fellowship. That space becomes a yawning breach when one of those for whom it is designed is no longer with us. Our reflections project into the present and worse yet the future as we transpose memories of holidays past on to holidays future and grieve the loss of both. Sadly, ironic in this for me is my own tendency during past holidays to watch time speed up as the stress of making every memory special drained them of joy, and filled that space with missed expectations and crooked Christmas trees. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. When our Christmas ad season now begins in late September something has definitely gotten a little out of whack societally. The pressure to make our holidays look like our favorite movies (or at least like the Home Depot commercials) is very real and very unrealistic. We press a year’s worth of entertainment into 20 days all while trying to encapsulate (and dress up) our family’s victories over the past year in our Christmas letter (assuming we remembered to snap the holiday photo when we were on Vacation in August). So, as we approach this holiday season, our second without the one person in our family who seemed to have the season in its proper perspective, let’s make a promise to one another. Let’s allow ourselves to be the imperfect beings we are. Let’s celebrate the lean the Christmas tree is taking to the right. Let’s allow our kids to build their memories their way, if only via replay. Let’s skip that seventh Christmas party and walk the neighborhood and look at the lights with our family. Let’s write a Christmas letter that tells it like it really happened. And certainly, let’s at the very least make some time to sit and be quiet in the space the season allows and hear what’s there is to be heard.

I’m pretty sure that’s what Griffin would recommend

 

And if your eyes are a little moist right now, you might as well read Sean’s message to his late son on what would have been his 23rd birthday

Meanwhile, back at the holiday, when you find surrounded by Thanksgiving this Thursday, be present. Take in those moments and store them in your brain like a fine wine. Because the older you get, they’re the things you’ll cherish a lot more than anything that makes it on to your Christmas list.

Happy Thanksgiving. And thanks for being out there for me.

Tim Hunter

No, Not The Lodge, The Group

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again–there is no other stretch of years I’d like my life to include than the decades I’ve fortunate enough to experience, especially when it comes to music.

I’m a Boomer. Born in the mid-50s after the war, raised in the turbulent 60s, going off to school and moving into adulthood in the 70s, raising a family in the 80s, 90s and a couple of years in the 2000’s (by the way, what do you call THAT decade?) and getting ready to eventually wind down in the 2020s. The current guestimate on when I’ll “retire” is early 2026 and even then, I plan to define retirement as “doing only the things I like to do.” Most of which, I’m doing now, so it may be hard to tell I’ve retired.

As I look back at all that happened with music during my lifetime, I am truly blessed. It’s a span includes legends like Elvis, Chuck Berry, James Brown, the Fab Four and all the British Invasion bands and really, the evolution of what is Pop Music. During 50 of my 66 years, a group called The Eagles provided some pretty memorable songs. And a couple of Saturdays ago, we got to get together again and revisit those songs and so much more.

Part of the magic of the evening was that we caught the show in Seattle’s brand-new Climate Pledge Arena. Yeah, a bit of a dorky name, but reflective of the facility. This was built as the ultimate in arenas, delivering a completely zero carbon footprint. The ice for the hockey team is made from rain they collect. The electricity is generated from solar. Everything served comes in recyclable containers and is compostable. But with all that, they still gave the building amazing acoustics, such that as we listened to the Eagles play, it was like we were listening to them in our living room. I mean, that clean. Toss in an orchestra AND a choir and I get goosebumps just thinking about that night.

Don Henley mentioned in his early banter that their first album came out 50 years ago. Do the math and I was a sophomore at Torrance High School with a crush on the girl across the street. KHJ was LA’s “Boss Radio” station and when I finally got my driver’s license and could borrow the folks’ car, I’d roll down the windows and crank up the radio, listening to “Take It Easy” or “Witchy Woman”, which were on that first album.

I’ve had favorite groups come and go over the years. The Beatles were the first, followed by the likes of Three Dog Night (I had the poster on the wall and, in fact, took it with me to the UW), the Moody Blues, Electric Light Orchestra and so many more. I enjoyed the Eagles, but it’s as I get older that I realize I should be including them on that list. They were a band that played a kind of country-rock sound that was fun and cool, but in my younger years, not among my favorites.

However, when they performed that Hotel California album wall-to-wall and then played over two hours of “greatest hits”, my God, what an amazing team. Yes, Glenn Frey is no longer with us, but his son Deacon and Vince Gill covered for him nicely. When they added Joe Walsh in the mid 1970s, the band ascended to amazing new heights.

Before the intermission, Don Henley said they would be right back to play “everything we know” and he wasn’t kidding. They returned with all their hits PLUS Joe Walsh doing some of his classics PLUS some Don Henley solo pieces AND letting Vince Gill show that he was not just a country music bumpkin. He and Joe Walsh broke out into a guitar duel on one song and if you closed your eyes, you couldn’t tell who was playing.

Earlier this year, when I heard their tour was passing through Seattle, the day tickets went on sale I just had to buy a pair. Being a radio weasel, I could have waited and hoped for free tickets to get in (that’s been known to happen) but I was going in with the idea that this is probably the last time I’m going to see them all together like this. And I did not want to miss it.

And it was an amazing treat.

If, in the future, they do make it back up this way again, or if they launch a Vegas residency, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to experience that band. I left the Climate Pledge Arena proud of the place this city has built, and thankful that I was able to see the group that pretty much has provided the soundtrack to most of my life.

And as they continue to be where I am, as I continue doing that morning show on KRKO, we play more than our fair share of Eagles songs.

Each one generating their own unique memory for me.

Musically speaking, dang, I’ve had a lucky life.

Take it easy.

Tim Hunter

The Trip Continues

This past week, I lost two people in my life. I tell you this, not for sympathy, but to share the strange connection they shared and to give you a peek into their lives.

DIANE

The first was my cousin Diane. She was the newest member of the family, even though she had just turned 70.

Let me explain.

In early 2019, I signed up for ancestry.com. I don’t remember if it was a killer deal that I couldn’t resist or what inspired me, but I thought it would be fun for at least a year.

Not far from where I live, there was a woman whose son, I believe, bought her a one-year subscription to Ancestry as well. The son knew of his mom’s life situation and thought it might cast a little light on any possible relatives out there, somewhere. And it did–me.

Diane lost her parents over a decade ago. First her dad, then her mom. When her mom went to her heavenly reward, she left behind a note revealing that she had, in fact, been adopted. Mind blown. Having known several adoptees over the years, I know that some think, “Well, that she my BIRTH mother, but my mom and dad will always be my real mom and dad.”

And then there are those who are curious and just need to find out, “Who is out there?”

Diane had already exhausted the obvious attempts at having the birth records reveal who her parents were, so off she went to Ancestor.com (and to my dying day, I will always be grateful she did). When Diane signed on, I showed up as a relatively (pardon the pun) close connection, like at the cousin level. How could that be?

By comparing notes, having members of the family do some thinking, tossing out some theories and ruling out the dumb ones, we came to the conclusion–she really was my COUSIN!

How can that be? Well, it turns out her mom was my dad’s sister. At the time my aunt was in a place where she could not keep the baby, so she gave Diane up for adoption. We think there was some back-door dealing when it came to how the adoption happened, as Diane was born in Long Beach, California….but ended up being adopted by a family not far from my aunt’s house and was raised in the same city where my aunt lived. One of the theories tossed out there was that my grandfather was in the same gambling circles as Diane’s adoptive parents. But we’ll never know.

And to top it off–she was living just across the Puget Sound area in Washington state, over near Bremerton.

Bottom line–Diane was thrilled at our connection! We were able to round up pictures of her mom from my old photo albums and tell her all about the life of the mom she never knew. When my mom and sister, Debbie, flew up from California that summer, we gathered and chatted and all of us could definitely see the Hunter family resemblance.

As we occasionally checked in with each other over the past two years, she never stopped expressing her gratitude for connecting with her and it brought her such happiness. It just helped fill in so many blanks.

Unfortunately, the clock was ticking and our time together would be limited. She had been battling cancer. Diane actually beat it once, but as I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s a mean son of a bitch and this time around, it eventually became too much. Our time together was just shy of three years which points to the classic life lesson, you just never know how much time we have.

In recent weeks, I knew life was fading for Diane, but when we heard the news, I was still surprised. Yet, relieved. She was in a lot of pain and life, I’m sure, it became less and less of a life to look forward to waking up to. God blessed her with an amazing partner, her high school sweetheart, Russ, who helped her every way he could until the end. To get to know both of these kind, caring people AND to be able to know we were related is one of the things I will always treasure.

One of the last projects she tackled in her final days was finding a home for her beloved horse, Beau. 

PAUL

My friend, Paul, has been in my life since I married my wife, Victoria. Paul, and his partner, Rod, all lived together with my brother-in-law, Kris. Paul was known for many things–his incredible Christmas tree collection that would go on display in their home every year.  Oh, I have to show pictures.

 

Paul also an amazing gambler. He could go to a casino (Angel of the Winds among his favorites) and bring home winnings in the tens of thousands! When health allowed, he had a meticulous backyard and could identify almost any of the beautiful plants growing back there. He loved to cook and create new masterpieces in the kitchen.

And he also was quite well known around the Seattle area for his alter-ego, Asia Cache.

 

 

Yeah, there was another side of Paul that his close friends knew about. To be honest, it was a world I had not previously been familiar with, but was so fun to hear about whenever those stories surfaced.

Sadly, Paul, like my cousin Diane, was also relentlessly pursued by cancer. Towards the end, there were good moments, surrounded by lots of bad days and so, with doctors’ approval, he chose to leave the building on his 66th birthday. 
I’ll forever be able to hear his laugh.

THE THREAD

I was only recently made aware of the connection of these two souls. While in Long Beach, Washington, earlier this year to scatter the ashes of a cousin who passed last year, I had an extended opportunity to reconnect with another cousin, Bonnie. Bonnie was adopted by my Aunt Jan and for my entire life, I’ve always known here as “Cousin Bonnie.”

The woman that adopted her, my Aunt Jan, was the woman who gave up that baby, my cousin Diane, 70 years ago.

It turns out that back in Paul’s drag “Hey Day” as Asia Cache, he, his partner Rod and their friends would make the long drive to Puyallup to party at a bar called Trax that was owned by my cousin Bonnie and her partner.

Talk about a small friggin’ world.

A world that is now minus two of the more amazing people whose paths I’ve crossed during my lifetime and so, I just thought I would share.

It really is a long, strange trip.

Tim Hunter

 

My Amazing Day

Every now and then, a day comes along that’s so special, you can’t wait to tell people about it. This is in no way an attempt to brag, but a way to inform about the wonderful adventures I had this past Sunday and definitely, something is in it for you.

For starters, a good friend of mine was given tickets to see the Russell Wilson-less Seattle Seahawks play at Lumen Field against an even worse team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.  OK, we might have a shot.

But this day was so much more than about a football game.

Both of us were excited to try out the new Seattle commuter train, that seems more like the shuttle they have installed at SeaTac. Automated announcements, telling you which side to exit and which stop is coming up next. It was amazing.

Now, I admit, I was a bit irritated by what I initially saw. Oh, you go over to what used to be the Northgate Mall and there were signs up in quite a few areas, where they charge $20 to park. I was thinking, “Wait—I have to pay to park AND pay to get down there?” This is breaking down quickly.

But while there ARE pay parking lots, there are still plenty of free spots and garages for you to choose from. OK, we’re over that hurdle. Now, what’s it going to cost to ride this train?

With two seniors trying to figure it out, we had to ask for the local King County cop for help, which he gladly provided. We had the right idea, we were just doing the steps in the wrong order. Got an Orca pass? You can use that to pay or plastic money. I had an Orca card I had loaded $20 on a couple of years ago, but just never got around to using. So, our transportation was paid for. What’s it cost for a senior citizen to take the train down to the International District for a short walk to Lumen Field?  $2, round trip.

How long did the trip take? (and you’ll notice, I haven’t even gotten to the game yet) 15 minutes, from leaving the Northgate platform, to getting out in the International District.  Return trip, same amount of time, although when you’re heading back, the trains are pretty packed. Something I can endure for 15 minutes.

It was the feeling of a big win as we walked to the stadium, passing lots that were charging $50 to park. And then you get to wait in all that traffic to get home.  Seriously, from the time our train started moving to the time I pulled in my driveway was less than 25 minutes.

Now, it’s time to talk about all the bonuses:

THE DAY—this was a picturesque, classic northwest fall day with the trees screaming with color, the sun-drenched blue skies, the crisp fall air and no rain.

THE GAME–No Russell Wilson, but even though there were a few missed opportunities along the way, the Seahawks pounded the Jaguars.  When the Jags actually scored with not very much time left, we decided that if snuck out now, we’d beat some of the train rush. Of course, while we were in the restroom, we heard on the radio broadcast that the Seahawks ran an onside kick back for a touchdown. I’ll swear ’til my dying day, I saw it.

THE TRAIN–We knew this was the way to go. The eastern U.S. and Europe have known this as long as there have been tracks. If you want to read the frustrating Seattle history of how we avoided doing this a half-decade ago, read this. If you didn’t know about it, it’ll blow your mind. (they said that a lot back in the 1960s)

THE COACH–Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren was inducted into the “Ring of Fire” and is now the 14th member of that special group of people. In his speech, he referred to the TWO championships we should have. I’m sure he was referring to the year he was cheated out of a championship by the Pittsburgh Steelers and the referees that were on their payroll.

                                             

HALLOWEEN–The icing on the cake: there were fun costumes and goofy people around during the game. It was a fun atmosphere and on top of that, the first home win of the season. It was numbing.

This Friday, I’m going to attempt talking my wife into taking the train down to the Eagles concert, getting off at Westlake and hopping on board the Monorail to the Seattle Center. Bet you didn’t know that all of your public transportation to any event at Climate Pledge Arena covers the cost of your public transportation ticket? We’ll see how that works.

It might be a future blog.

But nothing is going to tarnish the memories I have of last Sunday, my amazing day.

Tim Hunter

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

 

Hate in America

I’m down in Southern California and currently staying outside the Los Angeles area, enjoying the cool ocean air, a high of 72-ish, and just a perfect, beautiful, relaxing setting.

The calm before the dark cloud

This morning, my wife and her cousin were sitting out on the cousin’s front porch, sipping on coffee and enjoying the quiet of the morning. The cousin and her husband recently returned to living in their house after doing something really adventurous–renting out their home for the school year as they traveled and enjoyed the world.

Now they’re back living at their beautifully remodeled home. Returning to that scene at the front porch, one of their neighbors walked by on this gorgeous, sun-drenched morning as the two women chatted and yelled out, “You should put your flag back up!”

The cousin explained that they had been out of the country for a while and that the woman may have been confused with the neighbor next door, who flies an American flag.

“Oh, not the American flag. The TRUMP flag!”

The cousin responded, “Oh, that wasn’t us. But we can still be friends!”

As the woman walked away, she yelled back, “Not really. I don’t speak Chinese.”

Who knew that sheep could be so hateful? Wait a minute–I guess we already knew that! And I suppose we also now know she probably wasn’t vaccinated.

Another reminder that hate in America is alive & well. How sad is that?

Tim Hunter

The Sad Truth

Every morning, the alarm goes off at 4:45am (yeah, later than it used to be–I’m slackin’) and after burning off 300 calories on the rowing machine, I begin writing my daily contribution to Radio Online, a show prep service for disc jockeys around the world.

Part of each day’s submission are one-liners or jokes I think up. I started doing this back in the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days and when that went away, Radio Online hired me to be a staff writer. That was almost 20 years ago.

I’m pulling back the curtain a bit to share with you something that happened last week. A joke occurred to me, I wrote it out as a comedy contribution, but the more I thought about it, while I’ll humbly suggest it was clever, it also felt like a sad commentary on our country’s current situation. Seriously sad, but very true.

And I’m pretty sure some people would have felt it was over the line, so rather than have hate mail pour into Ron & Lisa who operate Radio Online, I thought it would stick it in here.

See what you think:

So, let me walk through this. Our country is very divided. One side got vaccinated, the other side called the pandemic a hoax and insisted on not getting the vaccine, carry around a proof-of-vaccination card or wear a mask because it violates their rights. Yet, the unvaccinated ones are 99% of the Americans being hospitalized and dying. Doesn’t this seem like it will just all work out?

Seriously, if you’re putting your health at risk just so the other side can’t “win”, how in the hell does that make sense?

Think it through. Are you willing to risk getting the virus (cases of which have doubled in the U.S. in the past week, again, among the unvaccinated) just so that one day, you can point and laugh at people and say, “You were so stupid. Wearing a mask. Washing your hands all the time. Having ’em inject an unproven drug into you. Ha! I’m smarter than you.”

I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager against that happening.

I can’t help but think of the person saying that they refuse to get the vaccine because they don’t know what’s in there…as they’re eating a hog dog.

Sorry, but you were seriously misled during a massive void of leadership in our country. But that’s the sad truth.

And it’s not the first time. Amazing how history can repeat itself.

Tim Hunter