Thanks, Delilah

I’ve been blessed over the years to meet some great and pretty unique people. While I usually grab this space on the Internet to pass along my thoughts on a given topic, I was moved by a Facebook post of a friend this past that I’ve decided needs to be shared.
Re-sharing it on Facebook, it could come off as one of those things you know you’re going to get to the end, and they ask you to share it. It could be true, or fabricated, being some kind of social media prank someone pulled to see how long it would go.
What you’re about to read is a post from a radio sister who I worked with during my days at KLSY. Boy, she’s had an adventure since those times when I did afternoons as the warmup act for “Lights Out.”  It was our evening show, featuring love songs and dedications and Delilah ruled the airwaves after 7pm.
I remember when her oldest son would come with his mom and sleep in the studio, because she had no one to watch him. There was the time when she was a new mom that she had pumped some breast milk and put it in the company fridge. Some employee mistook it for cream for his coffee and…well, it became one of those stories that got told a lot.
It’s amazing to think of how many years ago that was, and how yet it still seems like just a couple of years ago.
Thanks, Delilah, for writing this and for allowing me to share it.
God’s perfect timing
Romans 8:28
As many people know I lost my son Zachariah in 2017. He was my last born biological child, my late in life surprise. He was 18 and had hit some really rough patches in life. Thinking we were helping him to navigate turbulent waters his father and I got him to a counselor and a doctor immediately. The doctor put him on an SSRI, an antidepressant that we discovered too late, is deadly for almost half of the teens it is prescribed for. Less than eight months later he was so delusional and messed up from the effects of the drug, he took his life. In that instant my life, all our lives, were forever changed. Zack was a wild child, a spark of passion and light. He was a boy with a broad smile filled with immense talent and dreams for his future. And in an instant all that was taken from us.
Tonight his older brother, my first born son Isaiah, was driving home from work. He had put in a 9 hour day of training in 90 degree + temps, wearing 20 plus lbs of SWAT GEAR. He’d been up most of the night before, keeping watch over his wife and kids who live just a mile or two from wild fires. I texted with him at midnight while they were packing and waiting to see if they needed to evacuate. Needless to say he was sweaty, fatigued and eager to get home.
He was beyond exhausted when he drove across a high bridge, and for a moment his mind didn’t register that there was someone standing along the edge. He passed the stranger then suddenly realized the man wasn’t standing on the bridge, but instead he was sitting on the ledge, preparing to jump.
Isaiah stopped his patrol car in the middle of the bridge and slowly walked back towards the young man. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?” My son asked. The man said yes but warned him not to get close…
Over the next several minutes my son engaged him in conversation. Real conversation. He shared about his baby brother and how his death has impacted our family.
They talked about life, and real struggles.
My son told me it was agonizing looking down and realizing the young man was barely sitting on the ledge, one false move and he would plunge hundreds of feet to his death. Step by cautious step Isaiah moved closer. Tear by salty tear, he listened to this young man pour out his heart.
My son trains weekly at a jujutsu dojo, and is constantly training for his role as an officer. He’s in excellent physical shape. The young man was also fit and was not a small man, but when the moment was right, Isaiah sprang into action and grabbed him from behind, pulling him to safety. They struggled a bit, but before he was taken away for help at a hospital, they had a tearful embrace and he thanked my son profusely.
Tonight there is a mother sleeping somewhere who doesn’t even know how her day, her week, her very life would have turned out differently if God had not placed my son on a bridge at the precise moment her son needed him. I praise God that the heartache Isaiah experienced losing his brother motivated him to stop in the middle of his commute home, to save someone else’s son.
Thanks so much for sharing, D.
Tim Hunter

We Just Keep Going

I basically visualize myself as a football player, running down the field, helmet on, straight-arm ready to push people way, completely intent on plowing forward.

I’m one of those inward people that, when something upsets me, I dig a whole somewhere inside me and bury it. Something else comes along, I’ll bury that just to the other side. This routine continues until one day when I hit a max amount of things being buried and I erupt. Not violently, but swiftly. By the time I hit that point, I’ve wrestled in my mind what I’m going to do about each of the issues and act. That’s me.

As you’re quite aware, we’ve got a whole lot to fix in our world and it seems to be continually piling up. Of course, individually, we can’t fix everything, but we need to try to do that and then, what doesn’t get fixed can be put on a list for tomorrow.

This past week, I think the culmination of the endless bickering about the virus, the politics, the racial stripe, the senseless killings of people–all topics that I’m processing–just hit me. I was watching the evening news on ABC with David Muir, when he did a story about a kid who raised money to buy diapers and baby food for moms who were down on their luck. It was his own project and he had made magic happen for some moms, one of whom raved about what a great thing he was doing.

He was selfless. Probably 12 or so. And black.

That’s when my eyes started misting. It just made me incredibly sad that are perhaps millions of people out there, right now, unaware of what he was doing with his life, who would see him and immediately dislike him. Or distrust him. Or assume the worst. And judge him. And, if walking down the street and seeing him approaching, they would cross the street to avoid him, just to “play it safe.”

That is incredibly sad.

Hats off to those protestors who are out there, calling for racial injustice to end. The ones who are rioting and starting fires are not the same people. They are extremes on both sides of the political spectrum who have learned that chaos helps them and distracts from the important issues.

I don’t know what it will take to get to “the mountain top” that Dr. King talked about half a century ago. But I do know it will take change, both in our laws and in our values.

While protesting is a right protected by our constitution, I do think a nice addendum would be to require people to register to vote if they want to protest. Because that’s how real change occurs. When we put the right people in position to continue evolving our country. To strive to the words of freedom that were in the original design, but have somehow been assigned to only some of us.

We have a chance to do some voting in the near future. Make sure your precious right is used to help me this an even better country, now and in the future.

It would be a wonderful way to reward at least one young man for helping out so many new moms.

Tim Hunter

Another Voice Confined To My Head

I first met Debbie Deutsch on the radio.

I was a Seattle radio listener in the 1980s. I listened to several stations, but the voice that stood out to me was Debbie Deutsch. She was the voice of AAA Traffic, which the Auto Club provided to area radio stations, much like other companies did ski reports in the winter. At one point, KJR decided to make her their own fulltime employee, pairing her up with the likes of Seattle radio legends Charlie Brown and Gary Lockwood.

This was back in the day when radio traffic reporters worked split shifts. They just did. So since I was over at KOMO radio working with Larry Nelson in the mornings with Ted Garlatz up in the KOMO Air Patrol, if i was going to hear Debbie at all, it would most likely be during her afternoon reports.

Over time, I was downsized from KOMO and headed across the lake to KLSY. Eventually, Debbie Deutsch found her way there as well and a great friendship began.

They paired her up with KLSY’s “Murdock in the Morning” and for years, they were the morning twosome on Classy, 92.5fm. While I worked in production, copywriting and did weekend shifts when she joined the station, I was around enough to get to know her. THE Debbie Deutsch. As incredibly nice as advertised. That down-home, Wisconsin kind of friendly.

I occasionally tossed some produced bits their way, including a song called, “I wanna be your Murdock” which I remember producing on the radio stations amazing 8-track recorder. Wow. I did a quick search for that and couldn’t find it, but when I do, I’ll update this post and give you a chance to listen to it.

There was the time KLSY did “The Prom For People Who Didn’t Get To Go To Theirs”. Here’s a picture from that evening.

From left to right–Promotion Director Lisa Sarkies, a listener, Delilah Rene, Debbie Deutsch, yours truly, Julie Hiebert and Bob Brooks.

Eventually, Debbie and her husband Jim had a couple of kids and the idea of heading into Bellevue from north Bothell every morning lost its appeal, so she left KLSY to focus on her kids and then, become a professional storyteller. She would always tell me that she named their second son after me. To back up that claim, they call him “Tim.”

At one point, she became part of an effort to create audiobooks of a few of the Wizard of Oz books. We spent many a Sunday morning in a recording studio bringing those stories to life, Debbie as the narrator. Me, taking on most of the other character voices and a young girl named Alexandra as Dorothy. Available where ever cassettes are still sold. I’ve been trying to get the producer, Bill Wright, to get them into digital form. I’m not sure where that stands. Here’s more background on that adventure, from a previous blog.

 

Oh, my gosh, I just found a website where you can listen to audio clips from those books. This was last updated in 2001. Amazing what you can find on the Internet.

In the years that followed, I would occasionally touch base with her. Storytelling became her passion; she even joined the Seattle Storyteller’s Guild. After KLSY and I parting ways in 2003 and doing a year with the Wolf, I wandered off into marketing and advertising, but still had the radio bug. Anyone who has been in the biz knows, it never goes away.

I did a podcast (167 episodes of “The Wacky Week” podcast are out there) and had fun, but I continued to miss radio. As you know, these days I get it out of my system on KRKO, while maintaining all my other vast sources of employment. But around a decade ago, I got together with my radio brother Scott Burns and Debbie and we recorded a demo with the idea that someone might want to put this on the air around Seattle. We came up empty.  But it was sure fun doing the demo together. Here’s that demo.

I just found out last week that we had lost Debbie. She had lost her battle with cancer a month ago and word was now just getting out. I was so sorry to hear it. It would have been so nice to get one more time to chat with her. For those who didn’t know Debbie, I thought I’d give you a chance to get to meet her on her way out. You missed a class act.

And here’s the official obit that her family put together:

Debra Ann Deutsch Bulger
July 18, 1952 – July 28, 2020

Debbie succumbed to cancer July 28, 2020 at her home in Woodinville. She was the third child born to Edwin and Phyllis (Smith) Deutsch in Menomonie, Wisconsin.  She moved with her parents to Kent Washington in 1966 and graduated from Kent Meridian High School.  Following high school, she attended Weaver Airline School in Kansas City, Missouri.  Her first job was with AAA in Seattle where she gave traffic reports on KJR radio.  She later became the traffic reporter and radio personality on KJR for 9 years and then on KLSY radio.  She met the husband of her dreams at a TGIF event in Edmonds, and they married in 1985, moved to Woodinville, Washington and had 2 sons.  Debbie was involved with her boys’ sports, Scouts, and school, she told children’s stories at libraries, bookstores, the Seattle Center and the Aquarium, hosted Mom’s Camps and lastly worked as Office Manager at Feng Shui property managers in Mill Creek, Washington.

Surviving Debb is her husband of 35 years James S. (Jim) Bulger; sons, E6 USN Scott (Paige) of Dallas, Texas, and Timothy (Lauren) of Snohomish, Washington; sisters Linda Lambert of Everett and Diane Ross recently of Cassville, Missouri and several nieces, nephews, cousins and a multitude friends.

All donations will be used to plant trees in her memory throughout the Pacific Northwest via the non-profit organization https://onetreeplanted.org

Thank you for your support in Loving memory of this most beautiful woman. We’re so grateful and expectant to grow a forest!

Love,
Jim, Scott, and Tim Bulger

Shortly after popping for a few trees, I heard from her son, Scott:

Mr. Hunter it’s truly an honor to hear from you. Mom has the best stories about her time working with you! And we thought she was the coolest for being in those Wizard of Oz tapes.
Thank you for your sentiments and contribution to her tree fund. I think all of us were just as surprised last year at the initial diagnosis. She’s gone from here too early, but knowing she’s no longer hurting really does bring us solace.

Would love to take on any audio you might find, what a treasure that will be.

Please reach out anytime!

Very respectfully,
Scott

I cherish the time I got to spend with her, and I know her family is feeling a mighty loss. Thanks for sharing her, guys. She was indeed one of the good ones.

The world will no longer get to enjoy her voice, which means she now joins that ever-growing club of great voices that meets regularly in my head. It’s getting crowded in there.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Forget To Boat!

Yeah, I overshare in this blog and here I go again.

So, I want a boat. I used to own one, a Bayliner Open Bow that I bought one Father’s Day weekend, many, many years ago. I loved that boat. But over time, I became the only one in the family who shared that fondness. Then, after I bent the prop on some rocks, I decided to let it go.

However, that itch has been wanting to be scratched for a long time and I felt like now just might be the right time to make a move.

There are lots of ways to go. Return to the family-sized cruiser for fun. Keep it simple and go for a basic fishing boat. Or go big with something that has to be moored, but keeping in mind, if you have a head and a galley on board, it’s a “home” and you can write off the interest.

Thinking it through, really, what I’m wanting to do is get my father-in-law Ernie out on the water again to go fishing. It would mean a heck of a lot to him, and at the same time, I could get a boat.

So, I’ve been carefully watching boattrader.com and even skimming the Craigslist ads, just to get an idea on prices. With that in mind, the other day I saw this incredible offer–a 17-foot Lund fishing boat with motor and…well, when I wrote to see if the boat was still available, this was the response:

Hi!
Thanks for your interest in my 2003 Lund 1775 Pro-V. This boat is in perfect condition without any problems, always garaged, never used in salt water and has a clear title on my name. Boat comes complete with everything including: trailer, trolling motor, 2 x GPS Hummingbird Sonar/Fish Finder Touch Screens and High Performance 4-Blade Stainless Steel Propeller, Engine 140 HP Johnson in 4 strokes, 120 hours, Length 18.
I sell it at this low price $1400 including delivery to your address, because my husband passed away 3 months ago, this was my husband’s boat and i don’t need it.
I travel a lot with my job and I want to make this deal thru eBay Motors. If you are interested in purchasing my boat, just reply me your full name, full address and phone number, so I can notify eBay Motors(with no further obligation or fees). Then eBay Motors will contact you to explain the purchase process. I look forward to hear from you.

God Bless you and your family!

Well, that’s an incredible deal. Wow. Seems like a perfect fit. I had asked if I could come over and take a look at it. Well, yes, if I was up for a long drive. She said she was Sarah Carter from Kentucky and that she preferred to sell it through EBay Motors. Didn’t know there was an EBay Motors, but I went online and sure enough, there they were. But Sarah’s boat wasn’t listed, no matter how hard I searched.

Then, within minutes of each other, I got the “invoice” from EBay motors and a prod from Sarah, asking if I had received it yet.

Hi ,
Tim, did you received the invoice from eBay Motors at your email address?
I’ve just got a notice from eBay Motors, saying that they had sent you the details on our transaction at your email address.
Just wanted to be sure, that you have received it and you understood how to make the payment.
Please get back to me asap and inform me when you will be able to make the payment so they can start the delivery process at your address!
I’m waiting for your payment confirmation, keep me posted!
Thanks a lot!

That seemed odd. Like she was in a hurry to make this happen. About that time, my wife stopped by, I told her what was going on and she said, “Sounds like a scam to me.”

I don’t have any experience with Ebay Motors, but it does exist. The way she explained the process: they would invoice me, I’d give them the $1400, they’d send the boat in two days, and then I could check it out for five days and if I didn’t like it, I could send it back and get a refund on my money.

It was about then that I thought I better look into things. I looked up Sarah Carter on Facebook, WhitePages.com and even checked the obituaries for a Carter that passed away in Kentucky over the past couple of months. Zero.

Next, I took a closer look at the invoice “Ebay” sent me. Here’s what it looked like.

Looking good. But my wife’s comment made me realize I should probably do a little investigation. So, I contacted Ebay to verify this was legit. Completely bogus.  Which I would have thought once I got to the bottom of the agreement and saw that they wanted the payment in EBay Gift cards.

I had even told this Sarah Carter how sorry I was for her loss.

So, they’re out there, scamsters in all shapes and forms. They took a swing at me with a Craigslist ad from Kentucky. Or, they said they were from Kentucky. The person from EBay said a lot of times the people claim they’re on a military base, so you can’t come by.

My little boat heart is broken. My father-in-law and I will be fishing from the shore again this weekend. But then again, I saved $1400.

Huh. Maybe I should go buy a boat!

Tim Hunter

MY WORLD JUST BECAME A LITTLE LESS FUNNY

Actually, we all share in this loss. This past week, my longtime radio brother from a different mother, Skip Tucker, passed away suddenly.

It was one of my usual busy Wednesdays, with Zoom calls a plenty and projects to tackle when I came up for air to quickly check Facebook. There at the top of my feed was a note from Skip’s sister, Melody, that he had passed away. What? When? How? I couldn’t process it. It didn’t make sense. This had to be the worst attempt at a practical joke in history.

Just a few weeks ago, I had received a text from his girlfriend for the last two and a half years who had asked me to make a video for his upcoming 70th birthday. Oh, I was going to roast him. I had some really fun pictures from the past that I was definitely going to share. Then suddenly, I learned that Skip wasn’t going to reach his landmark birthday.

We met at my first-ever professional radio job at KQOT, a daytime radio station in Yakima, back in 1977. Skip was a part-timer, a “weekender” that lived up in Ellensburg. At one point, I was made program director for the radio station, which meant I never really stopped listening. One Saturday, I had the station on while Skip was being Skip and I heard the Debbie Boone song, “You light up my life.” 10 minutes later, I heard it again…and again. After Skip played it like four times in an hour, I called the hotline and said, “Skip, why are you playing that song so many times?” His response: “I really like it.”

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

This was back in Skip’s very religious days, that connected him with the equally religious disc jockey Ichabod Caine. Not only did he introduce me to Ichabod, who graciously offered to critique one of my airchecks (a recording I still have to this date), but we also did a road trip over to Seattle to visit Ichabod in the 1970s hey day of KJR. What I remember most about that visit was that we were in a studio when Ichabod knocked over a glass of water and, without missing a beat, yelled out, “Quick! Somebody get some fire!”

Skip and I stayed in touch as we went our separate ways in the radio world and beyond. He eventually found himself in Los Angeles where he spent the rest of his days living his dreams. He was a KFI “Eye in the Sky”, he did some acting, he eventually found his way into being a presenter for the Karrass Company, that taught people how to be better negotiators. I actually attended part of one in Seattle and it was amazing to see the confidence of this new-and-improved Skip Tucker who commanded the attention of the room. He even wrote a book on how to become a better negotiator which I bought from Amazon this past week. If it’s not one of your strengths and would like to improve your skills even for just day-to-day life stuff, here’s where you buy it.

Skip was also an avid diver. Not like in soccer, but as in the water. As you can see, when he wrapped up the negotiating stuff, he focused on the diving world and by the Facebook posts that followed his passing, you can see he made a lot of friends.

While knowing Skip for over 40 years, I also became pals with his sister, Melody, after meeting her at KOMO radio. She used to capture game highlights for the Husky broadcasts on Saturdays. We worked on a syndicated radio program together with Ruth Walsh for a while. In time, Melody became a lawyer.

Country music listeners might remember the radio personality Penni Coyne. That was Skip’s other sister.

I was a pall bearer for their parents, as each left this earth.

I’m not sure how long Skip’s website will remain up, but check it out before it comes down. It gives you a great idea of his comedic style. He called it his “House of Chaos.” Sometimes, I suppose, you could consider his life was a bit chaotic, but Skip wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Every week for I don’t know how many years, Skip would send out a weekly email on “Website Wednesday.” I even had a spot on my website for Skip’s Website of the Week.  Here was the last edition of Skip’s Website Wednesday that I received on August 5th:

Website Wednesday
a subsidiary of Skip’s House of Chaos
(The 234,453rd Most Interesting Man in the World)

“From the Large Intestine of the Internets,
through the Sphincter of Electronic Mail,
peeing like a baby on a changing table
into the brisk digital wind…”

My gym just went bankrupt.

Who’s the quitter now?

Top of the Heap:  The Perseid Meteor Shower and Other Skywatching Events This Month

The Most Beautiful Drives in America, According to Long-Haul Truckers

18 Times Barack Obama Was Unequivocally You  (Thanks, Spidermonkey) 

Who Are ‘America’s Frontline Doctors‘, the Pro-Trump, Pro-Hydroxychorioquine Weirdos Banned From Social Media?

The Most Fascinating Shark Discoveries Over the Last Decade (Thanks, Laura!)

12 Words With Very Different Meanings  in the U.S. and the UK

Exploring the Solar System (Thanks, Jackpack!)

Robot Umpires in Baseball

A Non-Comprehensive List of Birds That Piss Me Off

Finger Tricks to Pull on Little Kids (not counting “pull this”)

The Coffee Kings of the Old West

Next-Level Beach Volleyball

10 (Mostly) Bloodless Horror Movies, for When You Wanna Be Scared, Not Unconscious

If she hadn’t been wearing a bra, it would’ve been game over

Seven seconds that illustrate 2020 perfectly

So many bad decisions

Face mask fails

Every self-help book ever, boiled down to 11 simple rules

Skipnote: Website Wednesday is a by-request only mailing list.  If, for any reason, you don’t want to receive it, simply reply to this email and let me know. No hard feelings.  Now, on the other hand, if you know someone who you think might like getting WW every week, have them drop me a line.

 

Be safe out there! Try not to end up on YouTube.

  Skip    ಠ_ಠ

 Website Wednesday archives

Unabashed plug:
Order a copy of my book,
How to Negotiate When You Hate Negotiating
paperback http://bit.ly/skiptuckerpb

or e-book http://bit.ly/skiptuckerkn

You might want to check out those archives for some really fun websites and articles.

Part of what makes it so hard to accept the fact that Skip no longer walks this earth is that we remained a part of each other’s lives all the way to the end. He was one of my small group of really, really good friends who didn’t keep track of when we talked last. Whenever we saw each other, we just picked up where we left off.

When Skip posted on his Facebook page a few weeks ago that he had a 12-hour cancer surgery, I shot him a text. He may have been much worse than he was letting on, but he wasn’t going to let me know it.

Once again, the “You Light Up My Life” gag reared it’s ugly head.

And through the modern convenience of the phone version of Scrabble, “Words with Friends”, we had connected several times for some pretty one-sided battles. Man, he just cleaned my clock in that game, with final scores like 421-180. Finally, a few weeks ago, I beat him. I didn’t know how, but now I think I do. He had other things on his mind.

We were playing again when all of a sudden Skip quit taking his turn. I’m going to leave that one right where it is.

It won’t happen right away, but in time, I’ll learn to speak of Skip in the past tense. For 43 of my 65 years, he’s just always been there and now, suddenly, without a whole lot of warning, he’s gone.

If you didn’t know Skip Tucker, I just wanted to make sure you met him on his way out.

Oh, and one more Skip story. One of his funniest gags occurred when he joined a Hunter family brunch and did the old “flaming wallet” gag. Yep, he pulled out his wallet, opened it up and a giant flame shot out, without warning. It tended to leave an impression.

If you’d like to get to know him even more, listen to the podcast I did with him several years ago. Too early for me, but in time, I’ll be able to enjoy it again and remember back to that conversation like it was yesterday.

I will always remember his voice, those looks and the big man hugs we’d exchange every time we got near each other.

Dude, you did this life thing really, really right. Thanks for being a friend. Now, enjoy the time off, Skip.

Tim Hunter

Sure, That Sounds Like A Great Idea

Defund the police. Brilliant!

The Grand Overlords known as the Seattle City Council have decided that cutting back on the police force will correct all the evils of the Emerald City, and getting rid of those troublesome cops will make everything better. Now, not getting rid of ALL the police, but upwards of 800 could find themselves out of a job.

To further make the point, the organization that is supposed to protect citizens in Seattle will have its numbers reduced, so that social designers can cure the ills of everything wrong in this city. We just have to remember to put up a flyer or something so that the increasing criminal elements know that they’ll need to curtail their activities from now. Or, better yet, take a number. (“Now serving number 63, number 63? It’s your night to break into a car.”)

Idiots.

Not that our police force or any force around the country is perfect. And there have been some pretty bad eggs in departments around the U.S. that have done deplorable things while wearing their uniforms, but they are the overwhelming exception. The majority of the men and women in blue are trying to keep order, to make you feel safe. To prevent you from feeling like you need to carry your own weapon to protect yourself. And we’re losing that battle quickly.

The city of Seattle has become a land of selected law enforcement. Homeless, mentally-challenged and the drug dependent have taken over the streets as a protected species.  Career criminals rob and steal things, get arrested and then are returned to the street. This has happened so much, that it has simply worn down any efforts to enforce the laws.

You would think that trespassing, vagrancy, public indecency and other no-brainer misdemeanors had been legalized, but they haven’t. At least, not the last time I checked. But they have been decriminalized because then, if we allow people to camp on the sidewalks and crap in the alleys and burglarize homes or break into cars to steal things for their habits or extravagances, then that makes us more saintly.

It doesn’t.

It makes us out to be morons. To be weak. To be bullied by those who choose a criminal life because it’s convenient. Rather than utilize the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to ‘fix’ the homelessness problem in Seattle and King County, like get help with their addiction, get medical or psychological treatment, etc., there are people who cruise neighborhoods looking for a target. An unlocked car is just a matter of time around here, as a neighbor kid found out this past week. And after they were done with his car, they walked over to another neighbor’s house and stole a bike rack and a kid’s swing set.  How low can you get?

Sadly, we’ve already reached the point of, “Oh, I’ll report it, but nothing will probably happen” and that’s usually the case. I’m reminded of such an incident several years ago when a scum-bag walked on to my carport and rolled away my pressure washer at 4am on a Sunday morning.

And now, the Seattle police–who already have to deal with plenty of existing crime–now have to do more, with less.

The Seattle City Council envisions a Utopia-like setting, where police are gone and social workers and comfort talkers solve the problems of city life. Even the worst psychic in the world could predict the outcome of what will happen. We may not get to the level of a Gotham City, but we’re not doing anything to correct our current problems and have just set the table to making matters even worse.

The reason this is a punitive step towards Seattle Police is because this council has never had a problem throwing in new taxes or coming up with ways to generate more money for their pet projects. The soda tax comes to mind. So where did all that money go?

This would be a great time for an idea I had a long time ago–an official audit.  Go through the Seattle police budget and let’s trim the fat, just enough that they can still function properly. Then, head to city hall and do some serious trimming. You would be amazed at how much city government and spending have grown over the past decade. Is the city better off than it was 10 years ago? Hardly.

The only tool I have as a citizen with no spare time to march every day down at city hall is my vote. I can tell you now, not a single person currently on the Seattle City Council will be re-elected if I can help it. It’s sad and embarrassing to see what the council is allowing to happen in this once great city. So sad.

Tim Hunter

ARE YOU FOR IT? OR AGAINST IT?

What has happened to us?

It was within my lifetime that we were, at least temporarily, a unified country. When New York’s Twin Towers were attacked, while we reeled with accepting with the reality that someone could actual pull the trigger on such a heinous act, we all put our differences aside and we were all Americans.

These days, the only thing all Americans have in common is our differences.

Having two sides to simple issues like wearing a face mask is borderline insanity, yet we’re really just warming up. In a poll released this week, only 42% said they would want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, once we have a vaccine. So, after we test and come up with a solution to this virus, we’ll move on from “Mask versus No Mask” to “Vaccine or No Vaccine.”

And on it will go.

I hope to stick around a couple of decades so I can hear the questions I expect when people look back on this time, including, “What the hell were you guys thinking?”  Well, I can answer that now–we weren’t thinking. The American society has de-evolved into a non-thinking nation of sheep, who pick a side and then, instead of processing information, they know how to feel and embrace what “their side” believes on the topic.

I love how the millionaires in Washington, D.C. are saying that our kids HAVE to go back to school this fall. Why? To get things “back to normal” and so their parents can go back to work to return the economy to glory. A quick reminder that the people leading the charge on sending the kids to school either a) Are too old to have school aged kids or b) Make enough on their government salaries (that you’re paying) that they send their kids to private schools.

“Returning to normal” has real consequences. See California, Texas and Florida for details. World-wide, 700,000 people have already died from coronavirus. But as you would expect, we have two sides to that. One says that those statistics are true. And if you don’t believe that, you’ve got a handy collection of catchy phrases to throw out there. “Oh, not all those were COVID” or, “Well, yeah, but a lot more recovered than died!” Absolutely true, but also meaningless to those who lost a parent, a family member or a friend to coronavirus.

I have one friend whose wife spent 37 days in the hospital, including several weeks on a ventilator, and she recovered. I have a cousin in Yakima whose nursing home had a breakout, she caught it, but has since recovered. So there are two of the people who didn’t lose their life and that some will hold up and say, “See, it’s not that bad.”

It all depends on which side you’re on.

I like being on the side that wants to avoid catching the disease entirely. Sure, that means I could be over-cautious, but I’m willing to take that risk. It seems like a small price to pay. Years from now, you might want to point at pictures of me wearing a mask and say, “Boy, you were so stupid.”  In fact, I hope that happens, because the alternative–the B to that side A—is that I’m saying, “Gee, I still don’t get why didn’t roll with common sense. I miss them.”

If you can just remove the politics from your life for even just a moment, you might find that there’s a much better way to live out there. We only get so much time on this rock. Yes, you do have the God-given right to not wear a mask. To that end, no one is forcing you to get an annual physical, brush your teeth or eat healthier. Now, those are all things that will help keep you healthier and promote sticking around for a longer time, but they’re certainly not required. Our U.S. constitution protects your right to be ignorant.

Listen to your brain. It’s trying to talk to you.

Tim Hunter

Goodbye Bjarne

This is such a surreal time. Event after event canceled, weddings reduced to a small, socially-distanced collection of core relatives or just postponed with the hope of pulling it off next year. Funerals, where families gather for closure in their grief, not allowed.

Such is the case with the passing of Bjarne Varnes. We won’t be able to give him the big sendoff he deserves.

Bjarne (pronounced Byarna, although I’ve heard it like Barney with a y) was an impressive force in the local Norwegian community, and he welcomed me as a brother when I first started finding myself surrounded by all things Norwegian. When I met my wife back in 2007, she had immersed herself into the various Norwegian organizations and so, if I wanted to spend time with her, I’d need to attend meetings of the Sons of Norway, the Norwegian Commercial Club, the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, a Norwegian Ladies Chorus Concert or a Nordic Heritage Museum event. And if I was there, so was Bjarne Varnes.

He was that guy with the friendly smile who walked like he might be in pain, but he would never let you know it. Bjarne would always greet you by name and if you could spend enough time with him, he’s easily work in a story about one of his recent trips to Norway. He had construction skills, and if he had the time to help you with something, he’d be all over it.  He always had something going on.

He emceed events in a way that made everyone feel welcome. Folksy would be a good word. But like I said, Bjarne was everywhere.

He was the University of Washington employee interviewed in this NBC story years ago.

Just a few years ago, he was among the contestants at the annual Lutefisk Eating Contest at Ballard Seafoodfest.

But Bjarne didn’t just show me a lot about life, he also taught me about the inevitable. Those close to him knew he had some health issues, which is code for battling cancer, for the last 7 years. I don’t recall the exact last time I saw him, but I remember sitting down to chat with him and asking him the typical, “How’s it going?” and he replied, “Not good, not good.” But he didn’t go into detail and he didn’t stay there. He was just informing me as a friend of the reality of his situation. He then returned to that smile of his and off we went into some other subject that had to do with living and doing and being.

You know, with this pandemic, there have been a lot friends I haven’t seen for a long, long time. I heard about Bjarne’s health failing and that this was going to be it, but before I could figure out a time to stop by and see him or if that was even possible, he passed. It’s a bit hard for me to realize he’s actually gone, because he was always so alive.

I don’t know about you, but at one time in my life, I felt if I made it 75 years, that would be plenty. Soon I will attempt a soft landing on my 65th birthday, which will put me at 10 years remaining until 75; I can already tell you that is hardly enough. I know that it was far less than what Bjarne had in mind, but the thing about Mr. Varnes was–he made every single one of those years count.

Rest well, my friend. Thanks for showing me how one of the good ones do it.

Tim Hunter

 

It’s Just a Guitar

Not really.

Those outside the music world probably can’t appreciate the significance and importance of a instrument. I mean, c’mon, it’s wood, some fiberglass, strings and you strum on it, right?

My wife’s cousin’s husband, Donnie Dacus, has put his ‘Angel’ up for sale. He posted this vivid description of its importance and how much it is a part of his story in this Facebook post this week:

My Angel – The “Alive Again“ Guitar

“Angel”, my Stratocaster,  was acquired in Hollywood Calif. from Arturo Valdez, “Guitar Maker to the Stars”. He had suggested that this guitar, which he had restored, was a perfect match for my guitar skills. He had worked on all of my guitars and Valdez comes with a Who’s Who of credentials. I have included his info here.

“Angels” first coming out party was the mid 70’s.

Her first gig with me at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood, CA. I was playing guitar with Boz Scaggs on the ‘Silk Degrees’ Tour. She sang true and in the backup band were members of Toto, David Paige and myself, along with, and of course, Boz Scaggs.

After a long US tour playing the largest venues in the country, we found ourselves on the next tour with Kiki Dee and singing beside Elton John at the Roxy in Los Angeles. After a tour through the U.S. we wound up in New York playing with Kiki Dee in a large festival in Central Park to thousands of fans.

After the tour, “Angel” lived with me while I was starring in the the Motion Picture, “ Hair “, directed by Milos Foreman. She was my direct source to an instrument and comfort during that time.

After 10 months of filming we left unexpectedly, flying back to Los Angeles after hearing of Terry Kath’s untimely death by Russian Roulette. I had been introduced as a guitarist to audition for his replacement after the band Chicago had auditioned more than 40 guitarists for the position. We took quite a chance, as we were not allowed contractually to leave New York due to filming rights.

Angel sang again clearly as we began the rehearsal playing the song “Feelin Stronger Everyday“. To my surprise, we–Angel and I–were chosen as band members to begin recording immediately after my filming was completed. She is the guitar you hear on most all of the tracks on the albums, Hotstreets and Chicago 13, VI Chicago Decades Live on “ Little One “ and prominently on the intro to “Alive Again”, which was played at the Super Bowl in 1978.

She played in front of more than 120,000 plus concert goers and appeared on the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune front page with our picture together. We were featured in People Magazine October 13th, 1978.

Angel has played in front of millions of concert goers and her last prominent gig was on Saturday Night Live on “I’m a Man” during the end of 1979.

I have decided its time for her to fly again and share her story whether on stage or in person. She is bruised, scratched, and has changed in attitude but she has won many victories and fought many a musical battle. She won countless times.

She has traveled the world on more than 3 continents and been played by Leo Fender himself in his personal lab near Anaheim, CA. Leo Fender made several guitars for me as well. Wow!

Angel comes with Multi-Platinum and Multi-Gold Record status.

Please message me regarding sale of this collectable item. Cash Only. Please, only serious collectors

I know it pains Donnie to let this guitar go. If you have an interest or know someone who might, please pass along their information and we’ll connect them.
Tim Hunter

Ban the Mask!

Frankly, we’ve got so many bigger things to tackle, debating on whether or not you HAVE to wear a mask seems–what’s the word–oh, yeah: stupid.

Those insisting that preventing the spread of the coronavirus is an affront to their personal freedoms most likely started out their lives folding their arms and saying, “I don’t wanna!” A certain percentage of poorly-skilled and insecure parents then probably said, “OK, Buffy, if you don’t want to, that’s just fine with me.”

I think we have finally reached the point where we need to turn this around. Work with me on this, but I believe that wearing masks should be banned and made punishable by 6 months in a germy prison.

This works two-fold. To start with, all of us who insist on wearing them would become the outlaws. Allow us to feel that for a while. We could be the despised, the ridiculed, the ones doing the wrong thing. Maybe that would inspire some of those currently refusing to wear masks to wear one. You know, reverse psychology, which a skilled parent uses when their child say, “I don’t wanna.”

And, perhaps, by making masks illegal, those with the infringed rights might have a little dab of logic permeate their brains. Because, when I say, “No masks” I mean nada. Nowhere, now way, no how.

So, pity the catcher in baseball and that first foul tip that comes his way at 100 mph. Or the hockey goalie having to defend a flying piece of hard plastic with whatever teeth remain in his mouth. Welders, sorry, but you’re going to have to scorch a cornea or two for a while. I mean, we don’t want those rights infringed.

Oh, and you’ll be able to spot the beekeepers a mile away with those lumpy faces.

That’s right, we all need to realize that requiring masks are part of a government conspiracy. I believe it was the 8th amendment to the Bill of Rights that said, “Thou shalt not weareth a mask.” Or, maybe I’m confusing that with the 10 Commandments. Whatever.

This past week, I interviewed the head of the Snohomish Farmers Market up north. She had asked for the interview with the hope of conveying to listeners that wearing masks is a STATE requirement. It’s not political, and they don’t want to have to be the Mask Police. They just want to sell you berries or something and not risk getting a fine themselves.

But I’m fully braced for my mask ban to be rejected. We’ll probably just continue in our fractured way, with politics being the factor on whether we wear a mask or not. Estimates are that if we continue on our current course, upwards of 200,000 Americans will be dead from the coronavirus by November 3rd, Election Day.

It upsets me that so many people ignore the science, ignore the statistics and believe COVID-19 will just go away, as the president has suggested. I can only go by what I believe to be true and I believe that if I wear a mask, and use a lot of caution for the next four months, I’ll be among those around to vote in the next election.

Tim Hunter