We’re Being Played

I’m uncomfortable being cynical. It’s an easy world view to adopt, because the world gives you lots of reasons to be that way. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen and know too much. I’m not smarter than anyone, but I’ve had experiences that have shaped my viewpoint.

I take it by now, you’ve seen the much talked-about Gillette ad, “The Best a Man Can Get.” If not, here’s your chance to get caught up.

 

Yes, a beautifully shot and scripted 2-minute film on what jerks men have been over the years. Men suck. They need to change. Their time is up!

Wait. Gillette. Isn’t that a razor company? They used to promise guys a close shave. Now, they’re the moral police?

To be clear, all the negatives depicted in the commercial are sadly true. The men and boys bullying and being sexist  exist, but they’re becoming more and more the exception. I’m glad the #metoo movement finally caught up with the major schmucks in Hollywood and the business world and finally gave some of them their comeuppance.  Highly successful achievers at the top of their careers, crashing down because their victimizing ways were finally revealed. It feels like we’re finally making progress in those areas, although much like all of our other social ills, we still have a long way to go.

What’s wrong with Gillette doing a commercial like that? On the surface, a good thing to do, right? So, you really think that Frank Gillette woke up one morning, and said, “All men are pigs and we need to do something about it!”? Or, during a strategy session at their ad agency, there was a conversation something like this:

“OK, so how can we reverse our falling sales numbers and get back at those jerks at Dollar Shave Club? Does anyone have an idea?”

“Well, maybe if align ourselves with a popular social issue, people will like us more and buy our products.”

“Any suggestions?”

“Gun control?”

“No! Too hot to tackle.”

“What about legalizing pot?”

“No. The stoners would cut themselves silly.”

“How about the #metoo movement?”

“Continue….”

“Well, if we point out what jerks men have been and continue to be, then we can show them how they need to change. And once we’ve done that, they’ll owe us for shining the light on them and they’ll buy our razors!”

“But what if the guys watching aren’t really jerks and maybe made some mistakes over the years, small ones, but feel terrible and are already on a path of supporting equality and respectful treatment of women?”

(Group laughter)

“OK, then it’s settled. Let’s write up a commercial!”

So, I’m turning up the cynical gas just a little bit right now. Our world is on a fast-track of increasing available content. There’s a need to keep filling up those screens so you continue to spend over half of every day of your life watching one. You think I’m kidding or making that up? Read this.

Let’s follow the trail from the end result. What is the motivation behind what you’re watching or reading? Very few companies do things from the goodness of their hearts. Its done to move the meter, to get you to remember them or create an emotional attachment.  It’s the question everyone doesn’t want to be bothered with when they’re watching something on their phone, tablet or TV–what’s the motivation behind the content?

When you watch a comedy, they want you to laugh because then you’ll be back and the TV networks can sell advertisements and make more money. If you watched the evening news, they’re trying to jolt you and make you believe that you can’t live without catching their next newscast. Watch especially during February and the May ratings sweeps when you’ll see special reports aimed at their target viewers’ lifestyle. But at least in our household, that’s back-firing. At our house, our news-viewing time has plummeted because if we really want to know who murdered who, we can find that online any time of the day.

All this to say, before you allow a piece of video to make you feel something, consider the source and the motivation behind creating it.  Right is right and wrong is wrong, whether they make a video about it or not. Think for yourself first, and don’t let the media tell you how to think.

That’s basically how we ended up where we are today.

Is Gillette really spending all that money to produce a commercial and then buy all that commercial time with the hope of changing men and the world for the better?

We’re all being played.

Tim Hunter

PS  Have to share this Steve Kelley cartoon on the topic

 

One of the Last of the Locals

Back in September, I returned to the Seattle-area radio airwaves on 1380AM, KRKO. Their consultant, Terry Patrick, crafted a blend of songs that have been largely missing from the radio around Seattle and have been gone long enough, that they’re a lot of fun to hear again.

They began playing that music and fine-tuning the songs in July and it wasn’t until mid-August before we embarked on our Norway trip that I confirmed, upon my return, I’d take on morning show duties for them.

To be clear, this was an add-on. The only thing I dropped from my hectic routine was my weekly podcast, which I had been doing to satisfy my radio Jones. Otherwise, I continued my life-as-normal routine as a writer for Radio-Online, operating Tim Hunter Creative Services, being the Chief Creative Officer for Create Impulse, doing auctions and events, being a member and on the board of the Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Northshore School District‘s General Advisory Committee, plus taking care of my comedy clients–a ventriloquist, a comic strip and a political cartoonist.

Basically, I said I could offer so much time and they excitedly accepted. It took some fine-tuning to my schedule and getting a rhythm going, but I think we’re there. It’s funny, but some people I talked with about my opportunity after 14 years of radio silence thought this decision was based on the money. Hardly. In fact, that is in the description of my salary. “Tim Hunter shall be paid hardly anything.” Says so right on the contract.

I have to say the thing that drew me most to KRKO was the fact they were and remain being a local station. Oh, you’re probably saying to yourself, “But Tim, there are lots of local radio stations.” Not true. I’ll rattle off a few: WARM, Movin’, KOMO, STAR, KIRO, KJR. All are owned by godless, bottom-line out-of-town corporations and some of those stations have even gone through a couple of ownership changes from the time I left radio until my return.
KRKO is owned and operated by the Skotdahl family. I’ve known Andy, the “Big Guy”, for decades and he is one committed hardcore set on preserving his local station. You’ll hear what some might call “small town radio” things, like carry the AquaSox and Silvertips games, high school football and basketball and such. Some of the clients you’ll hear advertising on the air you may not recognize, because they’re primarily in and around Snohomish County. But besides being among Washington State’s first radio stations, KRKO (and it’s sister station, KXA) are the last of a dying breed. Local.

Their broadcast signals don’t travel far. AM will stalk you out of the county, but the FM’s are low power versions that are pretty much heard only in Everett.

But it’s their online streaming capabilities that really got me excited. There are multiple ways to listen to KRKO, no matter where in the world you live. On the website, KRKO.com, just click the LISTEN LIVE button, click the play button and there we are!  Got an Alexa or Google home?  Just say the trigger phrase and “Play KRKO” or even “Play Everett’s Greatest Hits” and start enjoying the music. You can even go to our Facebook page and on the left is a STREAM LIVE button. If you don’t see it, click on the SEE MORE to the left and you’ll find it.  Oh, if you have Bluetooth in your car, just stream the station on your phone and you can enjoy the music in your car while driving. It beats the heck out of a scratchy FM signal in hilly Seattle.

Well, if it’s in Wikipedia, it must be true.

The result has been incredible. This morning, my sister in Arkansas wrote a quick note to say, “She’s loving that Christopher Cross.”   Cousins Judy & Bill down in Santa Barbara are listening, as well as relatives and friends in West Virginia, South Dakota, Florida, Nevada….oh, and yes, you, too, Dagny, in Norway.

2019 feels like a year of change. Maybe that will include how you listen to the radio and who you tune in. I honestly think you’ll find the mix of music we play on KRKO fairly addictive and pretty soon, you’ll have a new favorite radio station. We just might actually change the way you listen to radio.

And I actually think their morning guy is kinda funny. Well, at least kinda.

Consider this your invitation.

Tim Hunter

 

A Season of Traditions

Christmas is a wonderful time of year.

It’s a celebration with memories and traditions that take me back to my childhood. We would go out, pick out a tree, then bring it into the house and decorate it. It was when the manger scene went up on the hearth, when mom baked her collection of Christmas cookies, when presents slowly piled up underneath, and our family would go to enough church services to hit a yearly quota.

The official kickoff for this special season was when the Sears Christmas catalog arrived in the mail. That allowed us to see for ourselves what you were going to ask Santa for that year. To help the old guy out, we sometimes cut out the pictures of the toys we wanted and pasted them in our annual suck-up letter to the Claus, hoping that he wasn’t too careful checking that naughty-and-nice list of his.

The more holiday seasons you live through, it seems the more traditions you include in that “It ain’t Christmas unless I” collection. We probably have a lot of them in common–need to watch, “Christmas Vacation”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.” (at least one version) Then there’s putting up decorations, sending out Christmas cards, and of course, the shopping.

But besides all those normal routines, I’ve developed a collection of rather unique traditions of my own. There was the Santa Claus arrival where I was the official Town Crier for 18 years at Country Village in Bothell, but that appears to have run its course. In 2000, I began a tradition of assembling a collection of Christmas songs, comedy bits and audio memorabilia and making a CD that I called, “Ho Ho Brother.”  This year’s 18th edition is among the best. You can listen to it here just by clicking on this link.

Then, another tradition was added into my holiday season routine six years ago. My radio brother-from-another-mother Scott Burns introduced me to a young singer named Alana Baxter. I wrote a parody song about Christmas, she lent her voice to the project and we even shot a video to go along with it.  We started strong and have just kept getting better at it. Yeah, I’m being too modest.

We’re managed to pull this special effort five of the last six Christmas seasons and this year’s endeavor was among the toughest. With all my jobs and side-hustles, plus my recently-added radio gig, the time to make this happen just wasn’t there. But I swapped sleep for writing lyrics, got ’em to her and we went into express mode.

Friday, December 21st, Alana came by and she recorded the song. I mixed down a rough version and then we drove up to Bothell’s Country Village to shoot the video. I really wanted to showcase the Village one more time before the scheduled wrecking balls turn it into a memory next spring.

This year, we’ve twisted the lyrics to Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas.”  Stevie’s version was about world peace and ending war and much more noble efforts. Our version is just about all those things that go wrong at Christmas and drive us crazy. But then again, are they just things or could they actually be traditions? I’ll leave that one up to you.

Another amazing thing about this year’s video. It was shot entirely on my iPhone Xs. It’s my first-ever iPhone and they have completely won me over.

Finished in time for the holiday and destined to be part of my 2019 Ho Ho Brother CD, here’s “Someday at Christmas” by Alana Baxter. Enjoy.

And Merry Christmas!

Tim Hunter

 

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

I had another one of those reminders again the other day.

Slow it down. Be in the present. Appreciate the now. It’s so easy to think, “I’ll be happy when _________.” But the truth is, when that happens, you find something else that puts off happiness again.

My wife & I attended the funeral for Kim Nesselquist on Monday at the Nordic Heritage Museum. It really was a Who’s Who of the Norwegian Community–Norway’s Ambassador to the U.S. was there, former Secretary of State Ralph Monroe sat behind me and on and on. But this isn’t about name-dropping. It’s about Kim and what a reminder his life was of living the right way.

If you knew him, no explanation necessary. If you never had the pleasure of meeting him (and you would know if you did), you missed one of the greatest human beings to occupy this planet.

Oh, sure, there were achievements and honors and awards. But what was always most important to him was his family. And doing the right thing.

It’s tough to lose someone at any time of year, but losing a husband, father and son at the young age of 63 is mind-numbing. The cancer that eventually claimed his life made for a long, slow, painful departure, but a time he maximized as best he could.

Nine months ago, Kim’s body crashed. It was the most terrifying night imaginable for his family as he flat-lined TWICE for minutes that felt like hours. Somehow, doctors were able to save him. But it was what he brought back with him that gave him the peace he needed to accept his destiny.

Kim said that while he was flat-lining, he felt an incredible peace. It made him realize how wonderful that next life would be and as much as he didn’t want to leave his family behind, it helped him in accepting a situation that was out of his control. He also remembered experiencing an earthquake while he was under, waking up to find doctors pounding on his chest.

I’m telling you all this because, basically, that’s what this season is all about. I’m not going to get all religious on you, but for me, Kim’s recollections of what’s to come gave me hope and peace. You know, like the “on earth” kind.

His daughter Elise bravely went up before the crowd of 600+ and delivered a collection of thoughts that conveyed what she wanted to say, but at the same time, honored her late father. It was one of the best, organized, heart-felt expressions of thoughts I’ve ever heard in a eulogy. Among the things she cited were the Paradoxical Commandments, which were news to me and boy, did they fit her late father’s life perfectly. So, I feel I must share them with you.

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Elise concluded the salute to her father with a pre-recorded video of her performing “What a wonderful world.”  She was able to share her performance with her father before he passed. The song will always have special meaning for her because it was one Kim performed for her when she was a kid, in his best Louis Armstrong voice. It was also the song they danced to at her wedding last year, during the Father-Daughter dance.

Whenever there was a Norwegian event, you’d see Kim there. I had the pleasure of grabbing beers with him a couple of times and we were blessed to be able and visit Kim a couple of times during his final months. Even as he fought his internal battle, his face would still default to a smile. Yeah, that smile. It’s the one everyone sees in their mind whenever they remember Kim Nesselquist and will continue to remember, for many years to come.

Thanks Kim for showing us how to do this life thing really, really well. Rest in peace.

Tim Hunter

Fine. Then I’ll Resort to Bribery

Back in September, I returned to the Northwest radio airwaves on KRKO in Everett. It’s got a decent AM signal at 1380, with an FM signal that is a low-power edition and pretty much available only around Everett.

That’s why I’ve been encouraging friends and relatives to try out the station via streaming. It’s not hard to do, but it does require some extra steps and perhaps some you’ve never bothered to try before.

Now, I’ve got friends and family across the country and even a couple out of the country that have been listening to the station, and occasionally catching me in the morning. To me, it’s almost like having a private station that let’s me goof around in the early hours and fills up the rest of the day with “Everett’s Greatest Hits”–a tasty blend of the bigger hits of the late 60s, a lot of 70s and a few 80s thrown in.  I seriously love the blend of music, which is what enticed me to go back to radio and why I’ve been inviting you to give it a try. It could change the way you listen to radio.

The evolution is already underway. People are getting their music streaming via Apple Music, Google, Spotify and such, and maybe the idea of listening to a radio station via streaming seems odd, but here’s the deal. We live in a very hilly area. Drive down to Edmonds and you’ll lose just about every station here. Listen via streaming and you’ll get a clean flowing stream of great-sounding music. I’m hearing instruments for the first time on songs I enjoyed back on the 1960s on AM radio.

  1. To listen to KRKO online with your computer or tablet, just put in krko.com, click on the LISTEN LIVE button and you’re in business.
  2. On your phone, same thing. Open your browser, put in KRKO.com, click LISTEN LIVE and then PLAY and here comes the music.
  3. Have your phone connected to the Bluetooth in your car? Do step #2 before you start driving, change your stereo’s input to audio and you’ll enjoy the music through your car speakers.
  4. Have a Smart Device, like an Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home?  Just say your magic phrase and then, “Play KRKO” and you’re on board.

Why am I going to all this effort to get you to listen to KRKO. It’s because of what’s happening next week.

Imagine being able to stick this into somebody’s stocking: a pair of tickets to see the Rolling Stones during their No Filter stop at Century Link Field next May 22nd! Thanks to the gallant efforts of our promotions goddess, Kayla, we have five pairs to give away next week. A pair a day. Just listen and when you hear the cue to call, be the 3rd caller at (425) 304-1380 and you win. It’s that simple.

What’s the cue to call sound like? It’ll be different each day. But I’m posting what it sounds like every morning at 6am on the KRKO Facebook page. If you like our page, it’ll show up in your stream every morning.

I’ve already talked with several out-of-staters who are going try because, look–at the price of those concert tickets, it would be cheaper to buy the airfare and watch ’em here with free tickets, so why not?

Make sure you’re listening every day next week between 6am & 9am for the cue to call because we’re giving away a pair of tickets every day, on Everett’s Greatest Hits, KRKO. Good luck!

And if this is what it took to get you to try the radio station, it just reinforces the fact that bribery works.

Tim Hunter

What It Was Like

December 4th, 2018    4:15pm

So, last Saturday night was the big finale. As sad as it could have been, I appreciated knowing that this was going to be my final night as the town crier at the Santa Claus Arrival at Bothell’s Country Village Shopping Center.

It wasn’t my choice for this holiday tradition to end, or that of Leann Tesoriari, who operates this quaint village of shops in north Bothell.  She was one of the family members who voted to continue this urban oasis, but was out-voted by family members who wanted to cash-in while the selling was good. 

Hangin’ with Leann

And that’s totally understandable. Yet, with the sale of the property and all those stores disappearing over the next six months to make way for one of those mixed-use “urban villages”, it was just another reminder of another thing going away. One more of those places that we’ll remember fondly and that will inspires stories as we tell future generations about what used to be on that property.

I was trying not to get overly macabre about the event. My plan was to go in, live in the now and experience every second of what I was about to do for the last time. And that’s exactly what I did.

For all but one of the previous 18 years of my life, the first Saturday of December meant that I would find myself checking into the Country Village offices around 5:45, put on my Dickens-era top hat, a shawl, a scarf, grab the scroll of announcements and, of course, my town crier bell. Then, from 6-6:50pm, I would walk all over the shopping center, ringing my bell and announcing things like, “Hear ye, hear ye!  Santa Claus is coming! Sports & weather next.” Or, “Hear ye, hear ye! Santa Claus is coming to town, just like the song said.”  I had fun with it.

Doing this as many years as I have, I knew the routine, what to do, where to be, what to bring. After the first decade or so, I decided to go on line and buy a real solid bell. A big brass job, that really clanged. In-between Christmas’s, it rested on the top of a shelf right next to my desk.

As we prepared to dash out the door, I went to that spot to grab the bell and it was gone. Not there. Maybe I put it on another shelf?  My wife theorized I had loaned it to someone. I didn’t remember doing that.

We had a bell crisis.

We reached out to the friends hosting the pre- and post-arrival party and Annette said that she had a bell I could borrow. That was great, but what happened to my bell?

We arrived at the Dwyer house, where Annette informed us that she couldn’t find her bell, but a store at the Country Village where she worked would loan us a bell. The Santa Arrival would be saved.

I went to the Shopping Center early to pick up the bell and the owner said I could have any bell I wanted. My eyes went straight to a rather ornate bell with a $90 price tag on it. If it slipped out of my hand during the evening and got bent, I would no doubt be buying this bell. I would be the most careful town crier in the history of crying.

With the $90 bell

Off to the offices I went, to pick up my outfit. I lifted the cape, pulled out the hat and underneath it all was my bell. I had accidentally left it with them for the past year and it wasn’t until tonight that I even knew it was here. I returned the ornate bell, and then begun clanging like I had never clanged before. I went into stores, always asking first if it was OK for me to cry in their store.  One woman replied, “Absolutely! I’ve been here every year you’ve done this for the past 18 years.”

The rain held off. The night was mild for a November evening. The dancing elves and The Grinch entertained the crowd as Santa and his lighted Gingerbread sleigh made his way to the crowd. He waved his magic candy cane and the Christmas Tree lights came on.

The Christmas season, for me, was now officially underway. For one last, jolly evening, we put on a magical show for hundreds of young, awe-struck eyes, followed by a gathering at Center Court area to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. The line was long, but no one seemed to care. Santa Claus had come to town and I had announced it, just as I always have.

As I look back at the previous Santa Arrivals at Country Village, they all had names. There was the year that “Someone parked illegally and we had to have the car towed so Santa could arrive.” There was the year of steady rain and a soggy Santa. The frigid cold year. The year that, back when Santa actually flew in on his sleigh dangled by a wire, that he came so early, we weren’t ready for him. There was the year he got stuck.

For our finale, this will be remember as the year the event was literally saved by the bell.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

The Final Ho

Once again, it’s the holiday season, and along with it, so many events that have become a tradition for me. 

Over the next couple of weekends, I’ll be attending my wife’s Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle holiday concert, the Norwegian Commercial Club’s Fishermen’s Night seafood feast, emceeing the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce’s Julebord, the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber’s annual Holiday Wine Walk and multiple holiday parties that have somehow been wedged on to the calendar.

I also have certain things I try to accomplish during the three week December stretch prior to Christmas. The writing of an annual family update letter to accompany our Christmas photo cards, writing and producing a Christmas song and video with a good friend who’s a singer and producing my 18th annual “Ho Ho Brother” Christmas CD. It’s a collection of unique holiday songs and comedy bits I create, that’s basically a one-hour escape into the Christmas season. Over the almost two decades I’ve been doing that project, I’ve tried my best never to use the same exact song twice.

However, the one event I’m looking forward to most is coming up this Saturday. It’s the annual Santa Claus Arrival at the Country Village in Bothell. I arrive at 6, put on my Dickens-style town crier outfit and then run around ringing a bell, announcing that Santa is on his way. Then at 7 o’clock, I dash over to his arrival spot and welcome him to Country Village. I was thinking I had only been doing that a decade or so, but in going back over my earlier blogs, I’ve been enjoying this tradition since the year 2000. This will be my 18th Santa Claus arrival at this folksy collection of shops.

And my last.

I’ve blogged about my adventures there before. There’s this one from 2009, and another from 2015.  There was the year we changed Santa’s and when I wrote about the artist who does holiday sculptures who actually looks like Santa.

Now, after almost two decades of welcoming Santa to the Country Village, we’ve arrived at the final time. Yes, the Village has been sold to a developer and beginning mid-2019, they’ll begin tearing down those vintage buildings, clearing out the land, and building a mixed-use setting of condos, apartments and stores. It’s the way of the world and by this time next year, everything will be just a memory.

Over the years, we developed a nice little holiday routine around this event. We arrive at the home of friends who live nearby, have a pre-function, then I head down to the village to cry. The rest put the party on pause, come down to watch me do my thing and then we all head back to holiday party, part 2.

I have to give a shout out to Leann Tesorieri, who runs Country Village. She was the one that asked me to do this event years ago and has been inviting back ever since. I’ve already interviewed her for a documentary I plan to do about Country Village so that future Bothell residents can realize what was once there.

Saturday is going to be a special day. One last time, I’ll put on the town crier garb, run around the Village saying, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” and telling the crowd once again that my face may not look familiar, but my hand rings a bell.

It’s tradition. Join me if you can. I’d recommend getting there and wandering around by 5:30 for the sake of parking.

So, Ho-Ho.  I’m saving the last one for Saturday.

Tim Hunter

When Comedy Was King

I have long been a fan of comedy.

I was raised with it. When we went to Showtime Pizza back when I was a kid, we’d sit on picnic benches in this family pizza joint and I would not even remember the pizza, but I did recall the silent comedies on the big screen overhead. A honky-tonk piano provided the soundtrack to epic movies from the likes of Chaplin, the Keystone Cops, Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy.

There’s always a root to my weekly columns and this week, it was the result of mentioning Laurel & Hardy to a young woman. She looked at me as though I had mentioned the Smoot-Harley Tariff. That made me sad.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were a comedy team that inspired me at an early age into wanting to make people laugh. I personally enjoyed the euphoria that came with busting a gut and much like physicians are inspired to save lives, I’ve since been drawn to making people laugh. I want to share that great feeling.

That’s why I’m thrilled that a spotlight is about to be cast on them again in a movie that tells their story. You’ve got to remember, these were people creating a lasting product in a brand-new industry, one that started out without sound and who made the transition to creating film classics with sound. These two were the goofball nerds that made the viewers seem superior so everyone felt better about themselves.

If you have Amazon Prime, take the time to watch “Stan”.  It’s a fictionalized account about the last time Stan Laurel visited a dying Oliver Hardy. Incredibly well done.

And coming soon to a big screen near you, “Stan & Ollie.” I’ll be honest, I can’t wait for this one. I know very well that there is a behind-the-scenes part of every show, as I suspected with Laurel & Hardy, and I look forward to seeing their untold shocking story.

There have been many comedians and comedy teams over the years and most are beloved by us without knowing the many challenges that went into their careers and why they were driven to make us laugh. We’re all allowed so long on this rock to make our mark, to achieve what we want, to give people a reason as to why we were here in the first place.

Laurel & Hardy were destined to make us laugh. If I could go back in time and talk with just about anyone, it would be sitting down with those two and asking where the inspiration came from. Head to YouTube and experience a little for yourself. 

Laughter changes people, it makes them feel better. Laurel & Hardy were healers and gave us a medicine that has lasted for generations.

I hope that someday, other comedians will emerge with comedy that goes beyond their generation. Only time will tell.

For now, we have Laurel & Hardy. Back in the day, when comedy was king.

Tim Hunter

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past

I’ve rambled a lot over the years regarding my gratitude for everything I have, as well as everything I’ve experienced over the years, good and bad. Each incident we pass through affects us for the rest of our lives. They help to shape us and we add those moments to our memory banks, to cherish and to reflect upon.

Thanksgiving is a truly wonderful holiday. Kudos to Mr. Lincoln for recognizing that we have an incredible bounty for which our souls need to appreciate. I’m not talking material possessions. I mean sunrises like the one this morning, the fresh smell of the rain, the giggling of the neighbor girls in the street. 

With the way people embrace Christmas, I fear that the power of Thanksgiving is gradually being diminished and it’s becoming the holiday that just gets in the way of the Big C.  That was evident when stores started opening up on Thanksgiving Day to fuel the frenzy even more. When I was a kid, that would have been unthinkable. For that matter, when I was growing up, stores (including the mall) were closed on Sundays. Can you imagine? If I allow myself to be visited by the Ghost of Thanksgivings Past, I would be treated to a return visit of some pretty good times in my life.As a kid, I’d see me sneaking the green olives with the pimentos from the nicely decorated table. I’d smell that green bean casserole with the Funyons on top. During the years we went over to my aunt & uncle’s house, where my paternal grandmother also lived, there were garage dances after dinner, with a record player spinning polkas or whatever music they enjoyed dancing to in those days.

In my early 20s, I was playing radio in Yakima and we did a promotion called, “KQOT Gives You The Bird.” We gave away turkeys by going to a phone booth and making a call to the station. The first person to arrive there won the turkey. There was our WKRP moment when two people arrived at the same time and it made for great radio. There was also the time that one of the sales guys called in, there was accident involving two people trying to be the first and the person phoning in quickly departed the scene, for liability’s sake.

In my late 20s, the Ghost would show me the year of the big Thanksgiving Day windstorm where we lost power and I was forced to barbecue our turkey for Thanksgiving dinner that year. I’ve been preparing my turkeys that way ever since.

Several years later, during the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days on KLSY, we interviewed Chef Paul Prudhomme several days before Turkey Day and asked how he was preparing his turkey. He told us he was brining it for 24 hours before baking or barbecuing it. A gallon of water, a cup of sugar, a cup of salt and flavorings–you pick: onions, garlic and the magic ingredient, Liquid Smoke. That has become my standard procedure.

One year, yours truly had to spend the day before Thanksgiving dressed up like a giant turkey, along with my broadcast partner, Bruce Murdock. We first had our legs shaved on the air, and then took our turkey costumes downtown and walked around as penance for the guys losing KLSY’s “Battle of the Sexes.”

In these later years (now officially qualifying for geezerhood) I find myself turning into a sentimental pile of mush, deeply realizing how precious time can be. You can really look at things two ways: Looking around and noticing all the things you don’t have, or realizing the endless things you already possess. I prefer the latter. Frankly, it’s a much better way to live.

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past has nothing but good things to show me and, once again, for that I am grateful.  The really good news about him is that he could work 365 days a year if you’d let him, but most people choose just the one day to focus on all the things for which they could be grateful. As always, I appreciate you, the reader, for stopping by and spending a couple of moments with me. 

And what else could I say, but thank you. It only seems right.

Well, that, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tim Hunter

The Psychic Curse

Yeah, I wrestled with what I would title this piece. I remembered the old, “Small medium at large” headline from years ago, but fought it off. Valiantly. What I want to say is that I have a curse–I have psychic powers that some of you may not enjoy.

You see, once again, the Washington State Cougars are in first place of the Pac-12 North Division and, should they win next weekend, will be one win away from a 9-1 start to their season and pretty much a cinch to win the division.

But (full disclosure), I’m a Husky.

What does that mean? I attended the University of Washington (from 1973-77) and am a proud Dawg who hates the Cougars on one weekend every year. See, I have too many friends that are alums of the school that resides in the Palouse and I understand their pride. They feel the same way about WSU as I do the UW. And I do cheer them on when we’re not playing each other, because I think what’s good for the state is good for the Pac-12 which is good for college football.

Further disclosure is that I am a Mike Leach fan. When he became coach of WSU, I knew they would succeed because he’s a real head-knockin’, won’t put up with BS kind of football coach that they really needed. This year’s record speaks for itself.

OK, this is where I put on the turban. Now, you can question my psychic abilities and I’ll give you that, because my theories are based purely on experience and following these two teams over the past five decades.

When it comes to the Apple Cup game (this year, held the day after Thanksgiving), it’s going to be a winner takes all game. The Huskies are in second place and have a bye this weekend. The following weekend, they play the Oregon State Beavers, who have had a rougher season than Rick Grimes on ‘The Walking Dead.’  So, the two should meet up in Pullman with the winner going to the Pac-12 Championship Game and the loser going to some nice, but less-desirable Bowl Game.

As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see a Husky win in Pullman that will make Cougar fans even more bitter. It’s one thing to lose and not make the Championship game, but for the Huskies to be the ones to knock them out? Unthinkable.

In the Apple Cup, the lease likely thing happens. Do I have to bring up the “Snow Bowl” and the phased, “Rose petals freeze in 30-degrees.” The team that shouldn’t win usually does.  And this year, with WSU going in with only one loss, ranked #7 or higher and the game being played in Pullman–c’mon, that’s a no-brainer: of course the Huskies will win.

I think this is what draws me to college football so much more than the professionals. In fact, we attended the most recent Seahawks debacle against the Chargers (I’m steering clear of the whole San Diego/LA thing) and it sure seemed like the referees were told to keep it close and favor the Chargers. College football is still made up for dream-inspired athletes hoping to make it to Sundays and I just love that.

So, Cougar fans, just trying to give you a heads up. If you pay attention to history and think that this is script from what’s happened in the past, the Huskies show up in Pullman and crush your dreams. However, if they don’t and you guys really do win the Pac-12 North, I will be among the first to congratulate you and promise to post a picture of me in my WSU Cougar shirt. I own one. Yeah, I’m one of those Huskies that pulls for you every game of the season except for one.

But I’m afraid my psychic curse tells me that won’t be necessary.

Go Dawgs!

Tim Hunter