OK, This Time I Agree

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

Oh, you know what I’m talking about.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

A Remarkable Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn you, Alzheimer’s.

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

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

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

George visiting John near the final stretch

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

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

Tim Hunter

 

Attack of the Time Vampires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have been warned.

Tim Hunter

Celebrating A Week Of Accomplishments

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

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

THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM

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

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

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

WEAR GLOVES

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

Heavy duty gloves have been ordered on Amazon.

THE HONDA HEADLIGHT

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

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

THE BACKED-UP SEWER LINE

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

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

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

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

BARBECUED RIBS

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

 

It Just Doesn’t Have To Be That Way

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

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

SIGNS I WAS IN THE MIDWEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If only he could have gotten to the team.

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

Hello, Big Boy!

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

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

Tim Hunter

Oh, Hail! My Lost Weekend in Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

The traveling trio

Here’s how the game plan looked:

FRIDAY:

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

SATURDAY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUNDAY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give yourself more time.

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

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

Bring a Portable Phone Charger

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

Lesson: Bring TWO chargers.

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

The Conspiracy Continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn you, Talidawg!!!

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

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

Go Dawgs!

Tim Hunter

Bringing The War Back Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did he really just say that? Yes he did.

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

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

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

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

So, I’ll begin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The circus continues.

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

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

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

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

Coincidence or karma?  Your call.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Face it–we were happier back then.

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

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

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

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

Return to Nardoland

I came back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How you know you’re in the right place

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

 

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

It belonged to his friend’s mom

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

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