Preserving Some Seattle Radio History

This past week, radio folks who spent part of their careers with Seattle’s “The Mountain” had a reunion on Zoom and shared it with the world. It was pretty cool and makes me think we should be doing one of those with the KLSY staff while most of us are still around.

The program director that hired me at KLSY, Chris Mays, posted a nice history of The Mountain on Facebook and all that she accomplished there. That reminded me that its her story that  connected two amazing Seattle radio stations. So, I thought I would share her post and then chase it with a few more nuggets about my radio experience.

103.7 The Mountain celebrated our 30th birthday Saturday. It was a very special station, which I created. One of the questions listeners asked was about the history. This is a bit long, but it tells the tale!  A lot of people have asked me how I came to create The Mountain. The true story reads like a fairytale! I’ll try to save the details for my book; even so, it’s bit of a long journey. Once upon a time, there was a teenager growing up in the 60’s in Columbus, Ohio. It was the Vietnam and Richard Nixon era. Her parents were liberal and her brothers were draft age. She was very into music. From Carol King’s Tapestry to Grand Funk. FM radio was developing into a freeform rock. She read Rolling Stone and dreamed of moving to the West Coast to work in radio, preferably the legendary KSAN, San Francisco. She graduated from high school in 1970, the spring of Kent State, 2 hours away. Off I went to college to pursue a degree in communications. My stated career goal on graduation was to be a Program Director of a Progressive Rock Station in a major market, (preferably on the West Coast). After graduation I looked at a map of the West Coast and picked Eugene, Oregon. It was between Seattle and San Francisco, and had a college. I moved there, with everything I owned in the back of a pickup truck. I went to graduate school at the University of Oregon until I got a radio job. First was a cool little station, KFMY, then the bigger rock station KZEL. It was a freeform progressive rock station with 50,000 albums. Everyone played what they wanted. I was on the air at night as Chris Kovarik. It was rock and roll heaven! There was this guy who was a Yale graduate, spending his summer fighting forest fires in Bend. He would sit in the forests up in those lookouts, and listen to KZEL. One day he applied for a job. His name was Peyton Mays! He got hired. Ultimately, I became the Program Director and he was the Music Director. We fell in love. We both wanted to move to a larger market. I finally got my interview at KSAN, San Francisco and interviewed at KZAM in Seattle for a position as Promotion Director. I got the job and moved to Seattle. KZAM was in a struggle to retain the format and by the time I joined the staff, they had a consultant and the format was pretty tight. Within a month of my arrival, the guy who hired me (Paul Sullivan) was fired, then the General Manager. I applied for the Program Director job and got it! I worked with Marion Seymour, Kerry Lowen, Matt Reidy, and a ton of other talented people. Meanwhile, Peyton had moved to Seattle and was programming KEZX, a ‘beautiful music’ station. We had worked with his boss in Eugene. David Littrell went from KEZX to ultimately be the guy who booked the zoo, Marymoor Park and Chateau Ste. Michelle shows. This was 1981, a decade before the Mountain. So, in 1983, the owners of KZAM decided to change the format to KLSY, ‘classy’, a soft pop station targeted to women. They invited me to stay. On July 10, 1983, KZAM signed off with The Beatles ‘Golden Slumbers’. KLSY signed on with Eddie Rabbit’s Driving My Life Away. The audience was furious. I went home and cried. Next up, Peyton Mays changes the format at KEZX to a cool softer rock format with David Littrell. I hired Bruce Murdock, Tim Hunter and Delilah Rene, among others, and the station was very successful. It was the first time I had ever had a budget that included marketing, personalities and BIG promotions. I learned a lot about real radio basics from George Johns and Dana Horner. Prior to that, it had all been about the music for me. The final chapter. I left KLSY in February 1990 and was working for Broadcast Programming when KEZX changed their format back to ‘easy listening/beautiful music’. Now there were TWO of these formats. Entercom brought a man in from Chicago to do something with KBRD. G Michael Donovan interviewed me and asked what I would do with 103.7. They were thinking hip hop. I told him if that was their choice, I wasn’t their girl. Then I wrote a proposal and made a cassette tape of what MY station would sound like. Ultimately, they agreed! We had a dinner where we decided on the name “The Mountain” (The Needle didn’t have positive images). It started out more mellow than I wanted, but eventually I won the trust of Entercom and they let me morph it to what it became. There was an indisputable hole in the market for a high profile, liberal leaning rock station with incredible personalities. Or so I thought! And there you have it. From hippie teenager with a dream to ‘successful Program Director of a Major Market Progressive Rock Station’. And what a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been!

P.S. I should note that between us, Peyton Mays and I programmed progressive rock in Seattle for 25 years. David Littrell still programs some of the best shows in the market.

Chris Mays

Thanks, Chris. This is where I thank you for hiring me and giving me that break I needed to go where I went, where ever that was. 

How did I end up knocking on KLSY’s door back in the days when they were “Classy-FM”?

Due to downsizing at KOMO radio where I had been Larry Nelson’s producer for 4-1/2 years, they let me know on the same day my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our second child that I was losing my job. In fact, I remember not telling her until after the weekend that I was now unemployed, so as not to harsh the buzz about the pregnancy.

After a few months of collecting unemployment and wondering what the heck was going to happen next, I managed to get an interview with Chris Mays and eventually the G.M., “Mr. Classy”, Dana Horner. I impressed them enough take me for a test hire, helping out production guy Jeff Bach with copywriting and production during the work week, and pulling a weekend airshift.  At this point, I had been off the air since I had left Yakima in late 1979. 
Over time, Chris like what I brought to the party on weekends, enough that she wanted to stick me into afternoon drive. I remember going to a station holiday event, where I met the woman I was going to be paired up with to report on traffic and banter with, Alice Porter. She was being brought over from KEZX–yes, the radio station being run by Chris’ husband at the time, Peyton Mays. I had a lot of fun doing afternoons with Alice and it sounded like it. The station wanted that fun to move to the mornings with Bruce Murdock, aka “Murdock in the Morning” but initially I just didn’t want to partner up with him on the air. I liked where I was. So, they hired a co-host from Chicago named John Thomas and it was a morning show nightmare. The two didn’t get along, had completely different styles and it was such a caustic environment, I remember Bruce, Alice, Dave Sloan and me doing a mock exorcism of his presence after they fired him. By this time, station management really wanted to move me to mornings. So much that I was told everything from, “Well, you know, we won’t really be able to raise your salary much if you stay in afternoons” to “Eventually, you’ll lose Alice and we’ll move her to mornings.” What else could I do but agree to start waking up early again and the team of Murdock & Hunter was born. In time, that became Murdock, Hunter & Alice. That continued until December 17th, 2003, when G.M. Marc Kaye came backstage at the Village Theater in Issaquah to tell us our services were no longer needed. We had just finished doing a live Christmas show. Ho friggin’ ho. That left me just shy of a 20-year run in one place. In radio, that’s like 147 regular job years.


We can all look back on our lives and say, “If only THIS hadn’t happened” or “If THAT hadn’t happened” but the bottom line is that everything occurs as a part of your story. Sure, I wish some of those more unpleasant events didn’t happen, but that’s not our call. The radio bug still is very much alive in me, but rather than depending on it for a livelihood, its now more of a hobby. It’s a part of what I do and my little KRKO morning show is the perfect outlet to satisfy my radio Jones. Chris mentioned of writing a book some day about her radio experiences. Having written 1,031 of these blogs since 2008, my story has seeped out a little at a time, much like a leak at a nuclear power plant. Ms. Mays’ retelling of The Mountain Story was just the inspiration I needed for me to put a bit of my story down while I still remember it.

You know, I’ve seen a lot of radio hearts broken over the years.  I have to say that its thanks to people like Chris and Dana that I got to spend 35 years (and counting) of my life doing something I really love to do. 

And that’s pretty lucky.

Tim Hunter

OK, HERE’S AN IDEA

I would say it’s almost every day of my life these days that I hope to wake up and not hear of another black person being shot by a police officer.

I feel it’s a fairly reasonable request. It’s a century-old problem that you would think would no longer be present in our modern world, but sadly it continues. And each time we hear the latest version of the old story, my mouth hangs open and I am in complete disbelief.

Over the weekend, we heard of two more cases coming to the surface. One in Virginia, where a member of the military was pepper-sprayed because he didn’t want to get out of his car as two police officers pointed guns at him. Completely understandable. He was pepper-sprayed, slammed to the ground, handcuffed and eventually released without charges.

Why? Simple question. Why?

He’s suing because of that incident and that pepper-spray-happy officer has been fired.

But in Minnesota, already a hotbed because of the George Floyd incident, another black man was killed by trigger-happy police officers. This one, like so many others, was completely unavoidable. For starters, the man was pulled over by police because he had air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror. Apparently, that crime is rampant in Minnesota, achieving epidemic levels. It was after pulling him over for something reminiscent of the old broken tail-light trick (funny–it wasn’t broken when he was pulled over) that they discovered the guy had a warrant out for him. Once again–bang, shoot, dead.

And as soon as I hit ‘post’, we hear that the police officer who fired the fatal shot that killed this man said it was an accident and that he intended to fire his taser at him. Yes, seriously.

I just don’t get it and I continue to not get it time after time after time.

The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin makes me angry every night when I turn on the news for the summary. I just can’t spend the entire day being pissed off, so I confine my involvement to the ABC evening news with David Muir.

The experts have paraded through, most with damning testimony about what happened that night. Meanwhile, the defense is arguing that Floyd’s death wasn’t due to having someone put their entire weight on a knee for almost 10 minutes, but rather his drug abuse. I’ve heard that too many times, which is why I offer this solution.

If Derek Chauvin’s defense team truly believes it was the drugs that killed him and not the neck-crushing incident, then let’s test that theory. Derek Chauvin just has to agree to be handcuffed and then have someone of the same weight put their knee on his neck for 9-minutes and 29-seconds. He will also be required to say “I can’t breathe” a minimum of 28 times during those almost 10 minutes, just like George Floyd. If, in fact, that doesn’t kill Chauvin, then we can consider that drug use may have played a part in his death. If Chauvin dies, well, end of trial.

Of course, that shouldn’t happen. But neither should what Chauvin did to George Floyd, a living, breathing human being.

Some stats to absorb:

  • Since 2015, police officers have fatally shot at least 135 unarmed Black people nationwide.
  • Over their lifetime, about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police.

I’m no expert, but I’d say there is a serious problem.

Next Up…

After a brief bask in the glow of my annual April Fool’s video for National Gullible Day, it’s time to move on to my next big project.

I really should look into smaller tasks.

What with the pandemic making events like luncheons and parades uncertain possibilities, next up on my ever-growing to-do list is taking on a virtual 17th of May celebration for Seattle’s own 17th of May Committee.

For those new to the party, the 17th of May is the day that the Norwegian community here in Ballard celebrates “Constitution Day.” A big deal in Norway, with lots of parades. In Seattle, we have been celebrating the occasion for over 100 years. In fact, that annual stroll down 24th and then a left turn on Market Street is the first Seafair-sanctioned parade of the Parade Season. You’ll also see it referred to as “Syttende Mai”, which due to my absorption into that community, I’ve become really good at spelling.

In a “normal” year (remember those?), there would be a luncheon at either the Leif Erikson Lodge, the Nordic museum or both, then after some live performances in Bergen Place Park all day long, the official parade would step off around 4pm. Or 6pm. It depends on whether the holiday falls on a weekend or not.

This year marks our second non-normal 17th of May in a row. So, the committee asked me to produce a virtual 17th of May luncheon at noon on the big day. The event is free if you’d like to tune in to the 17th of May Committee’s YouTube Channel. It’ll make its broadcast debut at noon that day. Afterwards, you’ll then be able to watch it whenever you want on that channel.

Tuesday of this week, I headed down to the Nordic Museum in Ballard to film some of the traditional festivities. I’ve got a couple of other folks grabbing footage and in no time at all, I’ll have a bunch of video to edit and assemble before May 17th. Right now, I’m feeling really good about it. Actually, having done the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce‘s virtual Julebord last year, I pretty much know what needs to be done.

Some special guests you may

recognize without their masks

The jury is still out on whether they’re going to try and organize a car parade down Market Street, although a group of us organized one last year to keep the streak alive.

So yeah, here comes the next big project. I’m producing a virtual 17th of May celebration, in-between my many other duties. That’s my self-chosen life. I just like things being busy. I wonder where that came from?

For funsies, here’s my brother-in-law, Kris Templin, warming up for his performance of “God Bless America” with me playing my mouth trumpet.

OK, break’s over. Back to work.

Sure. It’s work.

Tim Hunter

WHO AM I KIDDING?

This week has so much going on!

We start a new month. It’s Holy Week, which means Maunday Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Passover is also underway. Baseball season begins on Thursday, which is also April Fool’s Day. March Madness drifts into the Final Four Championships

Or, as I prefer to call it, “National Gullible Day.”

After spending the last year collecting footage and the past month or so hounding friends to record a silly bit for me, I spent the bulk of Sunday afternoon shooting my scenes and then starting to put together this crazy annual tradition.

For those who just joined us, “National Gullible Day” is a parody newscast where we (I) act like a newscaster covering all the events of this festive day.

And, once again, I set up the green screen in my studio, steamed it as wrinkle free as I could get it, put on a shirt, tie and jacket and went into newscaster mode.

I don’t want to tell you too much about the broadcast, but since you’ve taken the time to read this, here’s a special sneak peak at the Memorialienum where we honor the National Gullible Day fans we’ve lost over the past year.

This will give you an idea of what the full video is going to be like.

Remember, it’ll be on nationalgullibleday.org, my Facebook page, and on my YouTube channel as of midnight, April 1st, Thursday morning.

I can’t wait.

Thanks for checking in.

Tim Hunter

Just One Week Away

The tradition will continue.

I was thinking about what could be the topic of my blog this week. Gun control? Oh, I’ve done that, multiple times. Besides, the last couple of posts to this corner of the Internet have been a bit on the sad side, so I need to lighten things up. I thought of a couple of really good ideas, but then they left my brain because of my current obsession.

So I thought, “Hey, why not write about that?”

While others spend this month focused on spring, college basketball and other timely topics, as soon as March 1st arrives, I know the clock is ticking and I only have a month to assemble another one of my “National Gullible Day” broadcasts.

This will mark the sixth year I’ve asked friends to give it up and be silly with me on April Fools’ Day, doing a mock newscast as if National Gullible Day was a real holiday. (or is it?) And, as it seems every year, this year’s effort is looking like it will out-do all the earlier versions. You can watch them on the website.

This year will feature some of the regular cast members, along with a few new ones.

         

             

And a sneak peek at one of the funniest parts of the video that makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it, it’s a Memorialioleum (yes, I meant to spell it that way) of the National Gullible Fans we’ve lost since our last broadcast.

You know, of all the things I do throughout the year, this is the one tradition I need to continue doing. It’s such an incredible outlet. 
I did have one idea that I self-censored. It’s a pretty hilarious concept, but in today’s uber-sensitive world, I just know it could hurt someone. While I’m usually fine with that, I just didn’t want a controversy to distract from the rest of the content.
If you want to know what it is, just ask the next time we chat.
So there’s your sneak preview. If you subscribe to my Wacky Week jokes, the link will be included there on April 1st. (If you’d like to be added to the list, just email me)
If you “like” the KRKO Facebook page, it’ll be posted there. Same is true of my Tim Hunter Creative Services page.
Anyway, you’ve been warned. I love this tradition. We can never laugh enough.
Thanks for the read.
 
Tim Hunter

And Now We Begin The “First Time” Phase

The last close family member we lost was my dad, now almost six years ago.
That was a stunner. He had been in failing health, but you just never think that one day, he’ll actually be gone.
Having a front-row seat to that level of grief, both for you and surrounding family members, leaves an impact. I know that a lot of the things we do are a part of the grieving process. It’s how we move on. Not that we forget about them, but as time goes on, the pain lessons. For me, I’ve focused on all of the things dad gave me, that we experienced together and that he demonstrated during his days here.

With the recent passing of my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, I’m being reminded of that phase you have to pass through once things have started calming down again: The “First Time” phase.

You’ve mechanically handled as much as you can–the arrangements, letting people know, writing and publishing an obituary and such. For now, you put off things like clearing out the closet because there’s plenty of time for that later. In fact, for the time being, those clothes are a comfort and a reminder of what was. They may even inspire memories of a moment or two.

The moment I was reminded of the “First Time” phase was when my wife and I were driving through Ballard. It was the neighborhood where she grew up and where her parents had lived for more decades than she’ll admit. As we came close to her folks’ home, she remembered how common it was for people to see him walking their Samoyed. As recently as a decade ago, Ernie would walk Misha, sometimes twice a day, miles at a time. He loved those walks and the dog was a friend magnet. Both got to meet a lot of their Ballard neighbors that way.
It was the first time we were driving through this area since her dad had passed and she began to get misty-eyed. I knew exactly what she was thinking and it is just the beginning of moments like this. Yesterday was the first time we had my mother-in-law over since her husband’s passing. The chair where Ernie always sat (and usually fell asleep) was empty for the first time during one of her visits.

Some of the First Times just happen. Others happen because you plan them and welcome the reminder. For example, on April 24th for the Opening Day of fishing season, I’ll be at Lake McMurry, where Ernie and I fished almost every year for the last 13 years.

As the First Times become less frequent, then you start asking yourself questions: Do I start saying “Mom’s House” after a lifetime of saying “Mom and Dad’s?” The caller I.D. says, “Mom and Dad”–should I change that?

Yes, their physical presence among us has ended. But there is no more suffering, no more pain, and I take comfort in that. And really, these special people that played such a big part in our lives aren’t going anywhere. They’re in our hearts, our thoughts, our souls and each gave us the most important gift of all–being able to know them. I could sit down with you and tell you a million stories about my dad. Just thinking of doing that made me misty-eyed, so I’d probably tell them to you with the voice of a blubbering idiot. And then, after a brief break, I could blubber a few stories your way about Ernie.

For that, I know I’m lucky. I’m blessed to have had two positive figures like them in my life.

David Eagleman gets the credit for pointing out that we all experience three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.

Gentlemen, you’re going to have to settle for just the first two for now, because for as long as I can breathe, I’m going to be talking about you.

After all, there’s a lot to tell.

Tim Hunter

Weekend Without Ernie

Last Thursday night, Ernie Templin left the planet.

Who’s Ernie Templin?

Those who were fortunate to know Ernie knew him as one of the kindest, nicest people ever to roam the earth. For those who grew up in Seattle, he might have been the school teacher you remember so fondly. Or, maybe he was the guy that sold you men’s suits at J.C. Penney back in the 1970s, as he worked multiple jobs to support his family. In later years, he was seen around town at almost every Norwegian event or taking his white, fluffy dog, Misha, for a walk around the Ballard area.

  

I think it’s safe to say that one way or the other, people around here knew Ernie Templin. When I began doing the marketing for my wealth management client, Opus 111 Group in Seattle, I met Donna and Bill Driver–a brother and sister team that were thrilled to find out who my father-in-law was. Why? Because back in the day, they were both his students.

Donna was kind enough to write down some of her memories of Ernie:

Mr. Templin was my sixth grade teacher. All the kids hoped to get into his class. I was slated to be in another class, but my next door neighbor was the PTA president and got me switched to his.

It was a great year. I remember making a weather station that had a ping pong ball anemometer. He had us keep detailed charts and analyze our data.  I still love a good spreadsheet.

We divided into groups for math. He took the high group and told us he was preparing us for advance math in junior high school.  We were challenged – both boys and girls.

He taught us to follow directions.  Once he gave us test that he announced would be timed.  It included “poke three holes in the paper”  and “yell hurrah when you get to question 7.”  What many of us missed was question 1. “read all the questions before you begin.”  Because when we got to question 20 it read: “Now that you have read all the questions, just write your name at the top of the sheet and stop.”  There were a lot of red-faced hot shot sixth graders.

You learn a lot of interesting words.  He taught us the shape of a story:  Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Denouement, and Resolution.  I have been trying to work denouement into conversations ever since.  It is such a great word.

We had handwriting practice daily.  His penmanship was beautiful and he let us know that we were to take our time and do it well. 

Friday was art afternoon.  We loved coming in from recess to find out what he had set up while we were outside.  Once in awhile he would have some of us stay in and set up – a plum job!  I was most fond of water colors.  My favorite project was making a color wheel by mixing primary colors.  He must have been tired of us one day, because he had us cut thousands of teeny tiny pieces of paper and do mosaics.  It took a looooong time.

But the thing I’ve used most in my life is fractions.  Every time I double or half a recipe I thank Mr. Templin for teaching me those skills.

Those are just the academic lessons.  By example, he taught us to be good people. He didn’t put up with unkind words and encouraged us to see the good in all our classmates. He loved a good joke and enjoyed laughing with us.

When Jon and I joined the Sons of Norway, I was delighted to reconnect with him. I walked in the Syttende Mai parade with him until he was unable to make the trek, and was then honored to serve as his chauffeur in subsequent years.

On my list of important people, he ranks near the top!

Another one of his students, David Horsey, went on to be quite the political cartoonist.

And I’m sure there were others.

To me, Ernie was what happens when you win the Father-in-Law lotto. When I married his daughter, I found myself with a fishing buddy once again. Some of my fondest memories as a kid included going fishing with my dad, but it had been years since I got to go hit a lake on Opening Day. That became our tradition, every last Saturday in April. Most of the past 13 years, we would head up to the family cabin up near Lake McMurray on a Friday night and then wake up in the pre-dawn hours to be among the first hauling in the trout. To be honest, I don’t know if Ernie was as excited about the fishing as he was about the Fishermen’s Breakfast, which volunteers served next to a roaring fire in the lakefront pavilion. 

The routine was to charge the trolling motor the night before, wake up early, launch the boat we borrowed from a neighbor and fish from 6-8am, then come in for the breakfast, and then enjoy more fishing afterwards. We never set any records, but we had a great time. 

Over the past couple of years, we lost access to the boat and so we were forced to celebrate the tradition from the fishing dock. Not as fun or successful, but we just had to be there on Opening Day, especially for the Fisherman’s Breakfast.

I was trying to figure out a way to get a boat in the off-season, just so I could take him out for one more round of trolling the lake. But after falls on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and once while in recovery, I put the brakes on that idea. 

Like I said, Ernie meant a lot of things to a lot of people and it was all good. If you’d like to get to know this amazing man a little better, I’m including a video I produced for his 90th birthday, almost two years ago.

The world can’t afford to lose any nice guys, so we took a serious hit last week. 

But he left behind a legacy. He left everyone that knew him with lots of positive memories and and an endless assortment of things to remember about him.

Thanks, Ernie, for everything you gave me. I was never one of your students, but you sure taught me a lot.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Tom Hanks This, Seahawks!

Come on, who hasn’t seen “Castaway” with Tom Hanks? If you haven’t, you may be excused from this week’s blog. Well, OK, if you insist on sticking around, it was about a guy who survived a plane crash and lived on a desert island and befriended a volleyball named Wilson.

While attempting to escape his isolation, Hanks built a raft and he and Wilson took to the water. But after pushing himself so hard, he dozed off…and Wilson just floated away.

I feel like the Seattle Seahawks are about to lose their Wilson.

Yeah, it’s that dead time of year for football fans, months before the draft and even longer before the guys return to training camp. So, sportswriters try to keep your attention by putting things out there. For example, start with one team being interested in Seattle’s main guy, Russell Wilson. They’d never really let him go, right? Then, have Russell’s agent say that, if a trade is going to happen, it can only be to certain teams. Then have the mayor of one of those acceptable cities put together a video saying they would love to be his new home.

First off, Russell Wilson is a great quarterback. He’s already won a Super Bowl for this city and he could have won a second if we had just handed the damn ball to Marshawn. But what has been amazing to watch over the years is this team willing to risk their major investment just to save money with a piece-meal offensive line. I’m sure Russell, like me, watches Brady, Brees and other quarterbacks around the league actually having protection and not having to run for their lives on every play.

At least, that’s how it has felt over the years, so I checked. Russell Wilson has been sacked 394 times, an average of 43.8 sacks per season—more than any other QB since the 1970 merger.

The man has done so much for this city. He’s visited the Seattle Children’s hospital and the sick kids there every week since he arrived. He’s been a positive force, when negativity is so much easier. He’s been a role model, started youth programs, takes responsibility when the team doesn’t win and on and on and on.

And you’re thinking about letting him just float away?

That’s the tough part of being a professional sports fan these days. It is, after all, a business and decisions are not made on loyalty or quality or character. I completely believe that Russell has at least one more Super Bowl in him and I would love to have him bring home another trophy here. I’m not sure what I would do if they traded him away, or how it would impact my fandom.

To Pete and John–you’ve got a guy that has given his all to the team and this city, on the field and off. Make this work. Get him an offensive line. The defense is humming, you’ve got some amazing running backs and receivers. Get him an offensive line.

Oh and in case I haven’t brought this up yet: get Russell Wilson an offensive line.

Great player. Great person. Keep him here.

Thanks.

Tim Hunter

Thanks To The Gurus In My Life

One thing about the personal PC, it fueled my endless thirst for how those things work and has always inspired me to find out how to fix computers myself.

I know my dad had hoped I would have embraced his knowledge of car engines and how they worked. However, at that point in my life, girls and basketball had a higher precedence.

But there came a time in my mid-20s when the personal computer arrived on the scene. I knew I needed one and so I spent upwards of $1800 to get this monstrosity with a mono-chrome screen, a keyboard, a wired mouse and a mighty 20MB of storage. That seems almost unthinkable. I remember buying it at computer store in Bellevue, bringing it home and starting to mess with it. This is long before Windows–we’re talking the land of DOS, with 5-1/4 inch floppy drives and commands that you memorized so you can type them in and make magic happen.

On the very first day I owned my new friend, I played around with commands and in no time at all, I discovered that “format” was a nifty way to erase everything on the computer. Crap. So, I walked around the corner and reached out to a neighbor that knew all about these things. He reinstalled the operating system and got me back up (with a stern warning about the ‘format’ command). There would be many more neighborly visits in the future.

But that first valuable lesson has lasted a lifetime when it comes to dealing with computers: for the most part, it’s hard to seriously mess them up. There’s usually an undo or some kind of action that will save your bacon and data at the same time. Now, it’s not like I haven’t had the famous Blue Screen of Death or forgotten to save a document, only to lose everything I had been working on. Oh, and there are those hard-drives that I thought would be a permanent storage unit solution for valuable family photos, only to have them crash. But, for the most part, I often encourage someone who is afraid of what they might do to a computer to just take a chance.

Years later, when I moved to a new neighborhood, I met a new guru. Neil probably had the biggest impact on advancing my understanding skills when it came to computers. He was quite a busy Microsofter at the time, but he would always be glad to help me undo something I had screwed up, or install a new piece of hardware. Over the last 20 years, I have probably had to reach out to him three times when I felt I needed his expertise, but thanks to him, a lot of times I have been able to figure things out myself. Not sure when the last time was that I called him for a rescue, but I know it was pre-pandemic.

So these days, I’m sitting pretty and feeling in control of my computer world. Well, except…

I had hung on to some old hard drives that had crashed and much like Disney’s head, I was holding on to them with the hope that someday, the technology would exist to rescue the data on those damaged disks. Plus, I went through a stage where I stored things on something called an iOmega Zip Drive, with funny little disks that could retain pictures, documents and such. I had two of the readers and around two dozen disks sitting around in drawers. Apparently, Windows 10 decided not to let you connect to them, so once I depleted my knowledge base, I needed a guru. I looked online and found that there was a local shop called PC Fix just down the road in Ballard.

I went there and found a one-man shop. The guy that runs the place was laid back, had a pony tail and was great to chat with. On that first visit, he gave me advice and told me what I needed to know, no charge.

Finding a good geek that you can trust and that charges a fair price is a real find. We talked about my dead hard drives and Zip drives and he said, “Bring ’em on down and we’ll figure it out.” I’m excited to see how much he can retrieve.

Bottom line is that I’ve found my latest guru. Just thought I would pass it along your way, in case you’re in need of your next computer expert. Parking is tricky after 3pm, so best to stop by there during the day.

I guess one of these days, I should find out his name. But good guy.

You’re welcome.

Tim Hunter

PS–I got his name and he retrieved lots of data I thought was lost.  Thanks, George! If you need a new guru, keep him in mind. 

 

Thank God For History

Like everybody else, I knew that former President Donald Trump would be acquitted in his most recent impeachment trial, and he was.

Not because he wasn’t guilty in the largest example of sedition and insurrection ever displayed by an American president, but because of his organized-crime like hold on the Republican party that he took over four years ago. The evidence of Trump’s guilt was damning.

I still remember when he rose to power, winning primaries when no one took him seriously. His timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as we had reached a ‘fed-up with Washington, D.C.’ stage in our country, where just enough voters were willing to take a risk on this wheeler-dealer and see where it would take us.

As an independent voter and open to either side (it’s all about the quality of the candidate), I spent the period of November 2016 through Inauguration Day selling myself on his promised fresh approach. He spoke of “draining the swamp” and running government as an outsider and I kept my fingers crossed. 

Let us quickly fast-forward through four years of building a wall, harmful tweets that encouraged White Supremacists and racists to feel empowered and step forward, ignoring climate change, hiring and firing White House cabinet members and staff like he was running a Halloween Superstore, more maniacal tweets that made me question his sanity and starting early last year, months before the election, planting the seeds that if he somehow lost the election, it had to be rigged.

When you look at the mob that tried to disrupt the Electoral College vote confirmation on January 6th of this year, it wasn’t a lot of people. Let’s call it  around 2000 people. That is .000609 of the U.S. Population. What do we know about them? Here’s a start. But their actions were enough to put a real scare into all of us that our country’s democracy may be a lot more fragile than we had ever imagined.

Think of how unified our country would be right now if the attackers had been from a foreign country? We would all be calling for the death penalty and would look forward to locking those people up forever.

But these were Trump followers, blinded by his rhetoric. MAGA Confederate flag-waving racists, anti-sematic, hate-mongers that were fueled by the words of a sitting American president. He sent them, said he’d be with them as they marched to the Capitol building, and the carnage was launched.

Our Senators and the Vice-President had a front-row seat. It’s only luck that it didn’t get even uglier. Mitt Romney was this close to running into the mob, who were also chanting, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

But even though seven brave members of the Republican party voted ‘guilty’, there were not enough votes to convict former President Trump of the obvious. How?

Some claimed it was unconstitutional, as impeachment was meant for someone currently holding office. So, like when they originally wanted to vote, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said we’ll wait until the next Senate convenes? So, Mitch, you said you voted against Trump being guilty because of the vote that resulted from your inaction? And then, you came out after the vote and said he wasn’t going to get away with it?

The ‘trial’ was a mockery. If you paid attention, you could see Republican Senators checking their phones, not looking at the screen when videos were being shown, or being absent. If you want more details, read this.

Here are a couple of powerful memes.

This one’s from last Friday, February 12th:

And this one helps anyone struggling with the concept of partisanship.

It saddens me that this many United States Senators sold their souls to the Orange Devil. Why? They knew if they crossed him, he’d seek revenge. You watch and see what happens to the 7 Republican Senators who were bold enough to do their duty and choose the U.S. Constitution over party.

So, you Senators in complete denial: Are you saying that a president can get away with anything during the final week or two of his term, because it takes too long to impeach him or her? Or, that only applies to Republicans?

Former Reagan speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan had seen enough.

We are all entitled to our opinions–that’s what makes this such a great country. But this display of ignoring the facts for saving one’s political bacon are about as absurd and disappointing as it gets.

Gazing into my crystal ball, I can tell you what’s going to happen, at least to Independent-minded voters like myself. The Republican party just died. If it’s the Trump Party (which last weekend’s voted demonstrated), your candidates are no longer even a serious consideration. 

There’s talk of 100 or more Republicans spinning off and starting their own party, which would be more true to the original ideas before it was Trumpified. Of course, that would fracture conservative voters and make it very hard for a Trump Republican or a New Republican from ever winning another election. 

Maybe this is what Trump meant by “Making America Great Again”: destroying the Republican party. Because that’s exactly what he has done.

Yes, Donald, you got acquitted for a second time. That may be great for your political donations and fanning the flames of that loyal fan base of yours. But I take a lot of comfort in knowing that, over time, we’re going to learn everything about what went on in your White House and during the final days of your reign of terror.

Because truth and history eventually wins out. 

Tim Hunter