Don’t worry–I was punished!

First off, to be clear, I’m one of those who hears that snow is in the forecast and I get all excited. I love snow. Well, I used to.

You see, a typical Seattle snowstorm shuts down the city for a couple of days and then we get back to normal. It’s a nice break, forces you to slow down and for a day or two, our little corner of the U.S. is turned into a temporary winter wonderland.

With my wife having to head to Florida to run a global sales meeting for work, I got to join her at the end of her duties.  We then hopped over to visit her cousin and her husband for a few days in the Tampa/St. Pete area. It was pretty much the most vacation I’ve had for a long time. We watched the snow reports from Seattle while we sat on the beach, enjoyed 70-degree weather, and I even snuck in a round of golf. (my first time in three years)

A quick home movie of one of the things we saw: the Don Cesar Hotel. It was a whole lot of pink (lighter than the T-Mobile kind) that had a bunch of history behind it.  Here are just a couple of photos from that historic hotel:

There were grouper sandwiches, beautiful sunsets, warmth, fun, great company and a whole lot of relaxing. So, when it was time to head back to Seattle, we were ready. We wedged in a lot of fun in those 5 days and knew when we landed that it was going to be one snowy mess in the Emerald City.

And it was, but it took time to get there.

You see, flying back on Monday, we were within half an hour of landing in Seattle when the pilot announced that we weren’t landing in Seattle. We were heading to Portland, Oregon. Oh, boy.

Initially, after landing, we exited the plane and were told to stand by for an announcement in half an hour. Then another half hour. Then ANOTHER half hour. Finally the announcement came as we saw the flight crew walking away that our flight was canceled. Seattle wasn’t accepting any more flights and we were out of luck.

So, now what?

The airline (whose name rhymes with Schmalaska) let us know that our bags were on the way to baggage claim and that we should contact their reservations agents to decide what we wanted to do. Well, we wanted to get back to Seattle that night. It wasn’t going to happen.

All the flights on Tuesday were full except for a few remaining seats on the 11pm flight, more than 24 hours away. So, we decided to grab a hotel, rent a car and drive home. I dashed to Hertz, they told me all their one-way rentals were gone, so I headed over to Dollar and scored a Honda CR-V. By 11:15pm, we were in a hotel room. 5am came early, but I woke up, did my morning show prep writing and we were on the road to Seattle around 7:45am.

The drive wasn’t bad. A few occasional stops, but what’s new? We arrived at the airport parking lot where I had parked my car and I had to wade through a foot of water to clean off the snow and make it drivable. We dropped off the rental car, and arrived home around noon. But there was one more challenge–to be able to pull into the driveway, I had to shovel out a spot.

All this to say, while I was out of town for the big record-setting Snowmageddon of 2019, I still got to share in the ‘fun’ when we got home.

As awesome as it was in Florida, those getaways never ever feel like home. They’re a brief escape, very temporary and I know that over time they’ll offer ample dream fodder. Really, if you’ve lived in the northwest for any amount of time, you know you need at least one sunny getaway during our dark and dreary winters. This was mine. I enjoyed and savored every moment of it. But for those who were stuck here for this record-setting snowzapalooza, rest assured, in the end I was punished.

But I would do it all over again.

It’s good to be home.

Tim Hunter

Urban Camping

I live in the city because I enjoy all the extra’s that come with not living out in the middle of nowhere. I mean, you get to certain parts of the United States and it’s tough to get an Internet signal. If you want TV, you probably have to get a satellite dish, hope for the best and settle for whatever channels they offer.

Our comfy abode is in North Seattle, a fairly developed part of the Western World. Which is why it surprised me last week when I returned home on Thursday afternoon to find everything dead, I mean EVERYTHING–Internet, TV and even our land-line phone that my wife insists we keep. I found myself “urban camping.”

I reacted the way every other red-blooded American would: I called up the provider, Comcast (or, Xfinity, if you prefer) and asked them to fix it.  First, I had to go through a series of things I had already done. Rebooting the modem, rebooting the cable box and then let them know if it had fixed the problem. It hadn’t.

At that part of the conversation, the person from X-Cast let me know that they couldn’t have a service person out to the house UNTIL SATURDAY.  It ended up being 47 hours until he arrived and found a solution to the disconnection of services.

No biggie for the average person with normal usage. But I not only rely on high-speed cable for my work, I also do a morning radio show on KRKO that requires me to upload big audio files daily. I had to resort to uploading them via my mobile phone hot spot which, in one day, exhausted my monthly data allotment before tossing me on to pretty much dial-up speed. For other file transfers, I drove over to the Starbucks parking lot and used their WIFI. I grumbled on Facebook about this little adventure and Comcast-haters piled on. With more and more people cutting the cord these days, you’d think they’d be concerned about that level of hate out there.

Now, get this: when the Comcast repair guy came out and took a look, he saw that my cable had been CUT. Up until that point, my theory had been that, since the cable ran through the trees, that squirrels had chewed through it. Nope. The repair guy showed me the clean slice. HIs theory? That a Seattle City Light truck’s extended arm had clipped it, perhaps when they were trimming a branch on the other side of the tree.

So it was not of my doing. I’m sure the cable company will refund me for those two days I didn’t have service. They’re already getting away with giving me a month of service in February, which is only 28 days long.

I wasn’t completely stranded without electronics, but this was a firm reminder of just how susceptible we all are if the cable company and the city power company ever decide to conspire against us. They would make quite a team.

I now know what that is like, and it’s not pretty. Urban camping, by the way, sucks.

Tim Hunter

OK, I’m Going to Run Into It

The wall.

So like the worst game of dodgeball ever, the Democrats picked the side of being against it because, as you know, President Trump is for it. What I can’t believe is any possible merits of a wall are being immediately dismissed by the progressive crowd because it was President Trump’s cornerstone promise when he ran for president.

There are a lot of ideas gushing through my head right now, so I’ll try to march them out in somewhat of an organized manner.

Do we need border security? Absolutely. Would a wall help?  Again, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, go back a decade to the Secure Fence Act of 2006  and, under President George W. Bush, our country authorized about 700 miles of fencing along certain stretches of land between the border of the United States and Mexico.

The act also authorized the use of more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to curb illegal immigration, and the use of advanced technology such as satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles.

At the time the act was being considered, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer were all members of the Senate.  Obama, Clinton, Schumer and 23 other Democratic senators voted in favor of the act when it passed in the Senate by a vote of 80 to 19.

So, there was a time when they were for it. Even if it came from the other side of the aisle. Now, anyone with a D next to their name has to be against it.

My feeling is this: let Trump have his wall and, if it doesn’t work, you have a major tool against him in an upcoming election. If it does work or even just slows down illegal immigration, I fail to see the harm.

Of course, now here comes the idea that it’s an ‘immoral’ idea. Therefore, if you support, you’re a monster. And, if that’s not enough for you, then the idea is a big waste of your tax dollars. Since when has congress ever concerned themselves with spending too much?

$374,087 Spent Watching Grandma’s Dating Behavior

In 2015, the federal government spent $374,087 in taxpayer dollars observing senior adults’ dating habits.

The National Science Foundation study’s stated objective of obtaining a “more comprehensive understanding of relationship maintenance efforts” was murky at best.

$67.9 Million Spent on Wild Horse Management

In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Land Management spent $67.9 million to manage the growing population of thousands of wild horses that span across 26.9 million acres in the American West.

$43 Million Spent on a Gas Station…in Afghanistan

From 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, tasked with building up Afghanistan’s economy, spent nearly $43 million to build a Compressed Natural Gas filling station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan.

Sadly, someone didn’t do their research, or they would have discovered that there was no natural gas distribution ability in Afghanistan and the cost to convert a vehicle to CNG exceeded the average annual income in the country.

After a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars – spending a total of $766 million during the organization’s lifetime, the DOD closed the site in March 2015.

Millions Spent Marketing U.S. Raisins in Foreign Countries

The Department of Agriculture spends HOW much marketing raisins?

The Foreign Service Market Access Program spends nearly $200 million of your money annually to pay companies and trade groups for advertising, market research and travel costs to promote American products overseas.

Since 1998, the Raisin Administrative Committee – a group of 46 California raisin growers and packers – has received more than $38 million in taxpayer funds from the Market Access Program to promote their raisins abroad.

The catch? The Raisin Administrative Committee already produces 99.5 percent of all American raisins and 45 percent of the world’s raisins.

$2.6 Million to Help Truckers Diet

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle is great – but it should not be done on the taxpayers’ dime. From 2011 to 2015, American taxpayers have spent a total of $2.6 million to fund a trucker weight-loss intervention program, sponsored by the National Institute of Health.

The federal government would do well to trim its annual budget in the future by cutting wasteful programs like this one.

Look, I’m not either for a wall or against it. It’s like hearing an argument break out over which are better, paper or plastic grocery bags. Right now, it feels like the two sides are just showboating and politicking away, wasting time when we could trying to fix real problems in this country. I don’t need to list them to you. And this whole wall extravaganza has become a huge distraction to bigger problems lurking out there–a possible U.S. military venture into Venezuela, Iraq threatening war with Israel again, and Russia….well, just Russia.

As you’ve heard me state before in these free-form expressions, the truth is always somewhere in the middle. Compromise gets things done. Let’s take this topic to the extreme, starting with no wall at all. Just let the borders run wild, let everyone just pour in and then we’ll deal with things as they occur. In fact, let’s make all walls illegal. From now on, all fences, walls and such need to be torn down. They’re immoral, remember? In fact, let’s take it all the way and ban all copies of Pink Floyd’s album, “The Wall.”

Or, we allow Mr. Trump to build his wall and see what happens. I fail to see the harm it might cause, but it could be what the Democrats actually need to regain the White House. It’s as if they fear that the President’s plan, if it works, would help his re-election.

From the outside, those who would do us harm that see us as a pretty divided country right now, which is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. And that makes me sad.

Then again, maybe America has hit their own wall and is so sick of both parties that Howard Schultz will become our next president as an Independent. I can just see it, after a couple of months in office, he ends up selling the White House and they move it to Oklahoma City.

Wall or no wall, let’s make a decision and then get back to being kind to one another. It would be so nice for each of us to refocus on our own version of the American Dream, whatever that might be and return to the days when the only real problems in the world were in Dear Abby and or on TV with Jerry Springer. Now, those were problems.

Tim Hunter

 

Electing a President

When you’ve been around as long as I’ve been, every now and then you feel this tremendous urge to count things. For example, the number of presidents that have been in office during my lifetime. Younger readers can do that off the top of their heard, but I have to go to Wikipedia and see the list. The answer? 12.

Yes, a dozen presidents have been in the Oval Office during my tenure on earth. Seven Republicans, Five Democrats. We’ve had a General, a Peanut Farmer, a former Michigan football player, a host of a western TV series in the1950s and another, the host of a Reality TV series during the early part of this century.

As an 11-year-old boy in Southern California, I once rode my bike over to the local Sears, where future president Ronald Reagan was making a speech on the back of a flatbed truck, as he ran for governor of California. That’s about as close as I’ve ever come to a real live President of the United States.

I’ve been to the Reagan, Nixon and Clinton libraries. If you ever have a chance to visit a presidential library, do it, regardless of how much you liked them or their party. It’s a great reminder of their importance in the history of this country and a strong reminder that we’re all Americans.

I voted for my first president in 1972. Raised in a Republican household, my senior year of high school, I was actually a Young Republican For Nixon and campaigned door-to-door. I even got my Democrat neighbor, Gary, to vote for him. He never let me hear the end of it.

Over the years, I’ve voted for presidential candidates from both parties.  Believe it or not, in one election, I was disgusted with both of the main parties and voted for the whack-job Ross Perot. Over time, we learned what a mistake that might have been and realized that we could have learned the lessons we’re learning now decades ago.

What have I learned? I know that when it comes to our current situation, both parties get full credit for it.  You gave us those two candidates in the last election and it was a no-win situation. Friends that I’ve discussed politics with (and it can be done without calling each other idiots) know what I think. Here are the possible scenarios I see for the next election:

  • Scenario 1–A strong, sensible moderate Democrat steps forward and offers new, real ideas and takes us in a positive direction
  • Scenario 2–The far left side of the Democratic Party takes over, much like the Tea Party did in the Republican party a few years back, and while the Democratic die-hards love it, the middle part of America would rather ride it out with Trump.
  • Scenario 3–An Independent candidate runs, fragmenting the main party, which hands a victory over to the other party. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney offers a non-crazy Republican alternative. For the Democrats, Howard “Starbucks” Schultz, entices voters with sensible solutions with progressive thinking outside the party.

I know there are countless other combinations of “what if’s” but those are my top three most likely. Feel free to come back and remind me of those when Oprah and Michelle Obama win in 2020.

Politically, I try to stay in the middle. Doing that allows me to look at both sides, see who I agree with most and go from there. Today, we are so divided as a nation because somewhere along the line, people moved politics to the top of the list of what’s most important in their lives. It wasn’t always that way. People lived and laughed and played and worked and you didn’t necessarily know how they felt on politics. Much like religion. I don’t need to know what you believe. You have yours, I have mine.

Politics has become the new religion. It’s a “winner takes all, if you don’t believe like me, then you’re wrong” mentality. Put a D or an R near the name and I’ll tell you what I think about it, whether I know anything about it or not.

The evolution of my politics has been an interesting personal journey. When I began voting, I looked at each of the presidential candidates with questions like these in mind:

  1. What is their stance on the economy?
  2. Where do they stand on the war?
  3. What are their positions on the important social issues?
  4. Are we better off than we were four years ago?

However, as 2020 approaches, I’ve had to modify my qualifying statements:

  1. Are they mentally unstable?
  2. No, seriously, are they insane?
  3. Do you know what the hell you’re doing?
  4. Can you make us all feel that way?

Whether it’s a contesting Republican or a grounded, well-spoken Democrat, I hope and pray that 2020 will give us a choice the majority of us can live with and that maybe, just maybe, this country gets just a little less crazy.

Tim Hunter

We’re Being Played

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Any suggestions?”

“Gun control?”

“No! Too hot to tackle.”

“What about legalizing pot?”

“No. The stoners would cut themselves silly.”

“How about the #metoo movement?”

“Continue….”

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

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

(Group laughter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re all being played.

Tim Hunter

PS Another great example of manipulation of reality happened last weekend. Here’s a nice recap worth a read.

PSPS  Have to share this Steve Kelley cartoon on the topic

 

One of the Last of the Locals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this your invitation.

Tim Hunter

 

A Season of Traditions

Christmas is a wonderful time of year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Merry Christmas!

Tim Hunter

 

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Fine. Then I’ll Resort to Bribery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

What It Was Like

December 4th, 2018    4:15pm

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

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

Hangin’ with Leann

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

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

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

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

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

We had a bell crisis.

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

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

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

With the $90 bell

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tim Hunter