Sometimes, You Can Go Back

It seems completely bizarre that the year 1969 was 50 years ago. Half a century has passed since I was 14-years-old, growing up in my hometown of Torrance, California.

It was the year I graduated from 8th grade and made the transition to high school. I took a summer school class–P.E. of all things–so that I could spend some time on campus before going full-time in the fall.  The Beatles were still together, although they had gone all hippie and there were rumors of them not getting along. And while it was the year we finally made it to the moon, it had been a long decade. The Viet Nam War kept escalating,  a president, his brother and a civil rights leader were assassinated and people were anxious to get to a fresh new decade and move on.

 

The Levy Elementary School Class of 1969

 

While the major spotlight of the 50th anniversary of 1969 fell on the moon landing with a little bit left for Woodstock, for the 14-year-old kid growing up on 226th Street, when I recall 1969, I go straight to the Manson murders.

Remember how back in 2001 when those passenger jets crashed into the Twin Towers and it took your brain a long time to accept someone could actually do that intentionally? When Charles Manson and his followers went on their killing sprees–two separate nights, with stabbings and mutilations–it was unthinkable. That anyone could go in and butcher people like that. Who were these monsters? it resulted in news coverage that rivaled what you saw during the O.J. trial.  Being in the Los Angeles area, I remember a lot of people wondering, “Oh, my God, could we be next?”  We had made the transition from hippies representing peace and love to whacked-out psychopaths with crazed eyes that carved swastikas on their foreheads and killed people. The hippies they arrested said they were inspired by the Beatles song, “Helter Skelter.” They even left that written in blood at one of the slaughters.

In the months and years that followed, Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Squeaky Fromme, Patricia Krenwinkle, Linda Kasabian and Susan Atkins became household words. The Spahn Ranch, a former site where they filmed a lot of westerns, had been engraved in our minds as the home base of Manson and his followers.

 

All this to say, I was very aware of what happened that fateful summer and was curious how Quentin Tarantino was going to work it into his new movie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I’m going to avoid spoilers as best I can because the strongest payoff for that movie is for you to be completely unaware of where it’s going.

For a teenager growing up in Southern California in 1969, this movie had a profound effect on me. I was two years away from a driver’s license, so if I went anywhere in a car in those days, I was a passenger. The same was true of Tarantino, so he intentionally included a lot of shots of vintage Southern California from the passengers’ point of view. To do that, he had to recreate streets, freeways, signs and traffic as it was 50 years ago. That’s where this movie became a time capsule for me. As the plot thickened, I was fixated on all the billboards, the now-defunct stores, and the bus stops with ads on them for things like TV Kids Show Host Hobo Kelly (who I had completely forgotten about) and L.A. news guy George Putnam. Everywhere I looked, I was back in the So Cal I grew up in, 50 years ago.

To be clear, this movie is not for everybody. Tarantino loves his f-bombs and extreme graphic violence so I can’t recommend it to mom. But if you allow yourself to get past that stuff, you will be treated to one amazing movie. It’s not a documentary, it’s a fairy tale. It’s not how the story ended in real life, but rather, how you wished it could have ended.

DiCaprio, Pitt, the entire cast acted their rear ends off. I’ve only seen a couple of Tarantino pictures because the cartoonish violence is often too much. But in this case, I had to restrain myself from breaking out into a standing ovation. It was that feeling you get when watching the coyote get crushed by something he intended for the roadrunner…times a hundred.

One probably shouldn’t make Oscar predictions in my current emotional state, but Leo and Brad are very deserving and I think a little gold statue is due to Mr. Tarantino, if nothing else for the fantastic time machine he created. He took me back to that unsettling summer of 1969 and made it all better.

Then again, isn’t that what fairy tales are supposed to do?

Tim Hunter

One Last Time Again

OK, I’m going to let you know this up front–this week’s blog is about gun control and mind control.

You should know going in I’m not a Trump fan. For the few things he’s done I’ve liked, the majority of his acts are unbecoming of a president and display his ignorance. Why there hasn’t at least been a coup to overthrow his Twitter account is beyond me.

However, I’m not buying the claim that he is a racist. That’s a pretty nasty claim and very reminiscent of the 1950s when, if you wanted to invoke emotion from voters, you’d call someone “a Commie!”  That worked quite well for the Republicans at the time. Maybe the Democrats feel its payback time.

That being said, there is absolutely no room for racism or any of the ism’s in our world. That is a learned behavior and like all the other prejudices, develops from our surroundings. We can stop it.  However, just throwing it out there to fuel a political base is wrong and diminishes its significance.

Now, if you choose to read on, keep in mind none of this is designed to change your mind. I’m just trying to explain my thinking.

Some will agree, others might agree partially. And I know some will read this and call me flat-out wrong. That’s the way you think and I’m all for you having your own thought process. This is how my brain works.

If you live your life one-sided, you’ll only know half this world. I don’t want to look at the limited menu, I want the full version so I get to make the final choice.  Too many people today are thinking with political party brains and are as closed-minded as the people they’re criticizing.  Because I’m a D, you know I feel this way. Or, since I’m an R, of course I’m against that.

Again, live your life that way, it’s your choice.  OK, here we go:

The Two Most Recent Mass Shootings were different, but the same. An unstable person having access to weapons of death that allowed them to kill a lot of people quickly. We should be using the resources of the most powerful nation in the world to make sure it never happens again.

First step–An immediate ban on all assault-style weapons. 100%, no question.  Let’s do it for a year and see what happens. Where is the harm?  Although, a better question might be, how many lives could we save?

Second step–Identify all the possible causes and realize they are real possibilities. We’re currently divided into two teams, the R’s and the D’s.  If you’re on one side, you’re blaming certain things.  D’s credit the president, his divisive comments and weak gun laws. R’s point out mental illness and video games are the causes. It just might be all of them.

Third step–Require news services to report objectively and not with an agenda. Again, I’m in the middle and not a Trump fan, but if you remove the rose-colored glasses, the news anchors are framing everything from the D playbook. If you missed the huddle, the current play calls for everyone to use the word ‘racist’ and ‘hate’ as often as possible when talking about the president.

PROOF?:  Yeah, a pretty bold claim and because the president has suggested that before, it can’t be true, can it?  Let me point out how quickly Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” and the various network news anchors jumped right on board to connect the president’s tweets and statements to the white nationalist agenda of the El Paso shooter. His mental instability was downplayed because it wasn’t a mental illness thing, right? We know he was deep into his dysfunction but don’t even know if he even paid attention to the president or followed his tweets. I’d argue that you’d have to be pretty crazy to walk into a Wal-Mart and start shooting innocent people you don’t even know. Now, let me ask you–did you hear one mention on any newscast about the Dayton shooter that he was an Elizabeth Warren supporter and politically, a progressive liberal?  It was true, but went un-reported. By the way, the Dayton shooter was a noted troubled soul since at least 2012 when he had a kill list of his classmates.

If your current news service isn’t informationally-based, you need to switch. However, if you want to be fed the Kool Aid of your politically liking, stay right where you are.

Oh, and by the way, in case you missed it, there was a third mass shooting over the weekend. It happened in Chicago over three days, with 12 dead and 66 other people shot. That’s more than Dayton. Why wasn’t that a part of the weekend news coverage? Because you couldn’t connect that to the president and make it part of the game plan. Chicago is a D-town and we wouldn’t want to have the public realize that a major city run by the Democrats has had 278 people shot and killed so far this year (as of this writing) and 1,365 shot and wounded. In the Windy City, a person is shot every 3 minutes. That wasn’t reported because there was no presidential connection and they already had plenty.

My cartoonist friend, Steve Kelley, summed up the situation nicely.

Blaming doesn’t change the situation. We’ve got a serious gun problem, a serious mental health problem and an over-coddling problem.

The Second Amendment no more guarantees you the right to bear automatic weapons than it does to own a cannon or bazooka. Those are weapons of war. Period. We managed to have an assault weapons ban for 10 years, from 1994-2004. Kudos to the 1994 congress for having the guts to pass that bill because attempts to extend it have been blocked ever since, thanks to legislators in the pockets of the N.R.A..

Again, I’m not trying to persuade you in any direction. As you’ve read, I’ve used some Trump talking points as well as views from the Democrats. I’m in the friggin’ middle. The part of America wondering when our leaders are going to finally do something to fix what’s seriously broken.

Ideally, before the next one. You should not have to go to the store wearing a flak jacket.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, The Hack With It

Every now and then, you discover a “hack”–a better way to do something you’ve been doing differently all your life and in an instant, life just became easier.

This happened years ago when I was a producer at KOMO radio for the Larry Nelson show and interviewed an author named Jerry Baker, who promoted himself as “The Impatient Gardener.” Jerry was a certified hoot and had put together a collections of things you could do in your garden using common household items. Dish soap to fight aphids, beer in your lawn to breakdown thatch and the home run, “Grandma Putt’s Tonic.”  This was a major blend of things that you sprayed on your lawn and that made it grow like a weed. The major ingredient–ammonia. It’s like heroin for your lawn, making it grow and green better than any expensive lawn food you could buy.

OK, that covers the outside. Now, let’s head indoors.

To my shower.  We have a tile shower in our master bathroom. A couple of years ago, I hired a guy to come in and steam it clean, at a cost of over $500.  He made it look like we had the thing re-tiled. So that’s what those tiles looked like.

But over the past couple of years, the black was slowly returning. I was planning to give it a couple of years before I had the professional cleaner back, when then I read a post from a friend on Facebook. Kristina Strombo, you get full credit:

I’ve tried all the Pinterest concoctions for cleaning grout, and they don’t work. Except one: Squirt toilet bowl cleaner along the grout, and 15 minutes later scrub with a brush and mop up.  This was even less elbow grease than my steam cleaner. I don’t often use chemical cleaners, but this situation is dire.

Not that I doubted you, but that just seemed too easy.

None the less, I went to the Dollar Tree, bought a couple of different toilet bowl cleaners, then returned home and emptied the contents of one of the bottles all over the tile. I gave it a little more than 15 minutes, got down with my grout-scrubbing brush and the scum and evil crud came off like butter.

Maybe it’s because you get older and things like this give you a thrill. To me, it meant not having to spend another $500 and being able to start every day getting into a clean shower.  If you’ve got a tile shower that looks like its from an old YMCA, here’s your hack!

At long last, I’ve finally out-smarted a shower. Thanks, Kristina!

Tim Hunter

Hey, Swedish Hospital–Let My Visa Go!!!

Going back to the old testament, Moses led the Children of Israel (many of whom were full-grown adults) through the desert for 40 years before finally delivering them to the Promised Land. It was the ultimate example of how a man always refuses to stop and ask for directions.

Look at that desert on the map and you would think that, at some point, someone might have said out loud, “Uh,  Moses, that last sand dune looks really familiar.”  But he persevered until he got them to the promised land, although he wasn’t able to actually go with them. I believe his actual words found in Exodus 34, verse 27 were, “What a ticker!”

So, even after four decades of effort and trying to do the right thing, it still didn’t work out.

I know that feeling, on a minor scale. You see, 9 days ago, after another successful Lutefisk Eating Contest at Ballard Seafoodfest, my wife and I headed back to our car which was parked in the Ballard Swedish Hospital parking garage. Yes, it cost money, but we felt it was a safe place to leave our car and it was.

As we went to leave said garage, I came to the gate. There was no one there, but I had done this kind of thing before. I put in the parking ticket, with the strip showing like it demonstrated and then the machine asked for payment. I stuffed my VISA card into the same slot (like they do at SeaTac airport) and suddenly, I knew something was wrong. The machine grinded and grinded away. I couldn’t get my card back out. It turns out there was a slot below for the credit card and I had mistakenly stuffed it into the parking ticket slot. OK, my bad. I was an idiot.

I pushed the “Call for help” button and confessed my moronic sin to the voice that answered. She informed me that they didn’t have anyone on duty, took my name and phone number and said someone would call on Monday so that I could get my credit card back.  All would be fine.

Monday rolled around. No phone call. I called the phone number for the garage and no answer, just a recording and a beep so I could leave a message. I gave them my name and phone number, recapped the situation and asked them to call me for an update.

On Wednesday, Deja vu. No one had called back, so I left another message, asking for someone to get in touch with me. I would come to you, just let me know where to go.

On Friday, I was pretty ticked. So, around the time when their office was supposed to open, I called. It was the machine again, asking me to leave a message. Oh, and I did.  It was a good one. The summary–I’ve called multiple times, you haven’t called me back and I want my VISA card.

That afternoon, I did get a call. I’m theorizing she got the short end of the office stick and had to deal with the cranky customer. She explained that they had no credit card with that name on it and that the person in charge suggested I just get a new one. I explained to our loser of the office pool that if I do that, it’ll come with a new number and I would have to change the card on file for around 15 different accounts. That would be an incredible  pain. Can you please check one more time to see if my card is sitting in a box somewhere?

She asked for my phone number and said she would check. That was the last time I heard from here.

Today, Monday, 9 days after their machine ate my credit card, I was informed by the latest voice to call me that they don’t have my card and that I should just get a new one.  I’ve been watching my account, to see if it was improperly used and I’ll be doing that for a while, but in the meantime, I’ve ordered a replacement.  With the same number, because I don’t feel I should be punished for an inept parking lot system. I believe my card is somewhere in someone’s desk and it’s just too much trouble to track it down.

So, here you go, Swedish Hospital. Let’s make you famous.

Let my VISA go!

Tim Hunter

PS: And Swedish, this is what the VISA logo looks like, if it helps.

It’s not anywhere I want it to be.

 

 

 

 

You Can Have My Spot

Some weeks I can’t wait to see what comes out of this keyboard and others, I fight the urge to pile on to the latest political unrest. It seems like there’s a new one every week and while I have thoughts on each fresh, disturbing topic, I attempt to keep most of those opinions to myself, or discuss them verbally with open-thinking people.

Oh, the occasional politically-themed blog sneaks out, but I prefer that this little corner of the Internet be more positive and uplifting. Even when I break down and dive into a politically sensitive topic, my hope is to contribute  some balance to the topic.

Not a whole lot of possible balance this week, so I’m heading to space.

Actually, I’m not.

You see, there’s been a lot of talk about going back to the moon with the 50th anniversary of the first time we were there rolling around this week.

That was an amazing time in our country. Even with a war raging on in Viet Nam, a decade-long pursuit of safely landing Americans on the lunar surface happened when I was 14-years-old. I had graduated 8th grade and was bracing myself for entering the world of high school. During the summer, I took a cross country running class to get in better shape to try out for the basketball team in the fall. I remember buying a bottle of salt tablets because that’s what the coach said would help me retain water. God knows what my blood pressure went up to.

I do remember all the hoopla surrounding the moon landing. I’m pretty sure I have the front pages of several newspapers tucked away in boxes under the house. The Law and Order candidate, Richard Nixon, was president and so much was going in the world to compete for my attention from other things like, oh, girls.

Seriously, when you’re talking 1969, you’re talking about the Manson murders, Woodstock, the first Pontiac Trans Am came out, the “Miracle Mets” and gas was 35-cents a gallon. It was a completely different world.

Receiving my 8th grad diploma from Sam Levy Elementary.

Yes, I was a proud Levy Llama.

Years later, I’ve naturally aged like a Facebook app and hear today’s explorers saying that they’re looking forward to going to the moon. If we somehow manage to make commercial travel to the moon possible in my lifetime, I think I’ll pass.

I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing, first-hand, what it’s like up there.  But there are already so many things down here that I haven’t seen or experienced yet. I only made it to Yellowstone National Park for the first time a couple of years ago thanks to my son’s wedding. They booked a venue in Montana and I was able to cross that off my bucket list.

Next month, I’ll be heading to Scotland for the very first time and among our stops, visiting the town of Wishaw where my dad was born.

You see, as far as places I’d like to visit in my lifetime, the moon probably is #2,589 on the list.

Think the flight to Australia is long? And then, to fly all the way up there just so I could look out at a bunch of rocks and craters and tell the old joke about, ‘That’s why they don’t have a restaurant up here–it lacks atmosphere.” And what happens when you’re in that space suit and you fart?  I definitely need an answer before I put one on.

Moon, I can see you just fine from here. A few of us might come your way for a visit, but I’ll pass.

To the explorer who can’t to fly there, you can have my seat.

Tim Hunter

Just How Insane Does Seattle Have To Get?

To paraphrase a politician’s once-famous statement, “I know Seattle. I’ve lived in Seattle and played in Seattle and right now, you’re no Seattle.”

The place that branded itself “The Emerald City” years ago is a far cry from that right now. Unless there’s an Oz book out there where the Cowardly Lion is passed out from smoking some of the Scarercrow’s stash while Dorothy is free-basing something with the Tin Woodsman’s left arm.

That sounds insane, but apparently that’s the new normal in Seattle.

You know how people would come up to you and say, “My, how your kids have grown!” and you know they have, but you hadn’t really noticed because you see them every day. I realized yesterday just how crazy Seattle has gotten when a guy with obvious mental issues and 22 arrests to his credit decided to start stabbing people out in front of the downtown Nordstrom.

Hey, Nordstrom, you can’t buy publicity like that!

But not to worry. Our mayor says that Seattle is safe. She insists on it. Well, she didn’t say it after this incident, but she did last year after another unbalanced person decided to just start shooting at passing vehicles, people, whatever, killing two.

Yesterday was the equivalent of someone saying “My, how your kids have grown!”  But instead of those words, I found myself getting text messages from people and talking on the phone with my mom in California, who were all shocked at what had happened at Nordstrom. My immediate response was, “What happened?”

You see, I had a busy day, with lots of work followed by meeting a friend for happy hour, then dashing home to catch baseball’s All-Star game. I had missed the evening news on television, really hadn’t checked Facebook, so all was well in the World of Tim. Meanwhile, the rest of the country had its eyes on the terrible tragedy that had occurred in Seattle.

Living here, it’s just not surprising. Nor are car break-ins, needles on the ground, and camping tents put up on any vacant spot in the city. The other day, I parked my car in downtown Seattle and while walking my usual route, passed two new tents that had been set up next to the sidewalk. The irony was that the spot they had set up was marked as a “No Parking” zone, so that if you had parked a car there, you would have gotten a ticket or have been towed away. But put up a tent, urinate or defecate on the street, or shoot up drugs–in Seattle, that’s fine! Oh, none of that is legal, but doing whatever you want as a homeless person is perfectly fine here in Crazy Town.

I should point out, that allowing your city to be taken over like this isn’t cheap. The Seattle area somehow spends over a billion dollars EVERY YEAR on homelessness with highly publicized, minimal results.

At the afore-mentioned happy hour, my friend told me about another guy who cashed out here in the Northwest and headed back to his native Vermont, where he bought a 4,000 square foot home on 20 acres with a barn and territorial view for around $700,000. The guy and his wife are enjoying life, have honeybees, and make their own maple syrup and sell it to neighbors. Hearing him describe the place where the guy now lives and the lifestyle he enjoys made me take a deep breath and realize that the possibility of living that way still exists.

That’s going to be a few more years down the road for me. In the meantime, we have some elections coming up next year where the city should be able to clean house and replace the crazies in office who have allowed this gem of a city to deteriorate to a free-range mental institution and drug den. Ideally, I’d like to get Seattle back to some normalcy, helping those who accept help and locking the rest up. I know at least three people from yesterday’s incident that would probably agree with me.

I pretty much consider next year’s elections a referendum on the future of Seattle. I fell in love with this place over 40 years ago and it still has so much going for it, but frankly, Seattle is having its own mental breakdown. My hope is that we’ve hit bottom and eventually will begin climbing back up. Or maybe we’re not there yet.

Just how insane does Seattle have to get?

Tim Hunter

Happy Birthday, America!

You’re looking good, at 243! Actually, they say that 243 is the new 220.

Oh, you’re not perfect. Then again, who is? I, for one, am going to use July 4th as a reminder of what a great country I live in. One that was founded on freedom and that allows and encourages us to complain about you the other 364 days of the year.

These days, the 4th of July means going back up to my adopted hometown of Bothell, where I get to do the play-by-play of the city’s Freedom Festival Parade for the city cable TV channel. Then, we head over to Mike & Annette’s house for the traditional after-party. Before dark, we’ll be home to protect the home from errant bottle rockets and attempt to calm the pets.

That’s how I celebrate these days. I’d like to take you back with me to my earlier celebrations.

I remember those days of growing up on 226th street and the anticipation of going to the fireworks stand with my family to pick out this year’s assortment. Would we go to one of the much advertised Red Devil fireworks stands, or that new brand, Black Panther?

The kids, bouncing around like we’d eaten a box of sugar cubes, would point at the giant assortment, knowing that dad would pay that much. Most years we did the $14.99 family fun pack, but it seems to me there were at least a couple of years where we went big and got the $19.99 value pack.

Each assortment came in a box wrapped in cellophane that had to be ripped off so you could see and handle all the contents. There were those fountains that you’d light and then watch as a shower of sparks would burst out for 10-seconds or so. Those had to be saved for the night of the 4th for the full effect.

There was the Log Cabin, a cardboard box made out to look like a log cabin that you’d light and smoke would come out the chimney for a few seconds. Wow.

Of course, each box came with at least one Piccolo Pete. A firework that basically whistled loudly for 12.57-seconds and….that was it. Over the years, as we got older, we learned that if you clamped down on the second P, it would whistle for a while and then explode. We were such rebels.

Pinwheels eventually made their way into the packs. There were smokeballs that you’d light and watch them smoke for a few seconds. Oh, and those snakes. You’d light a match, hold it on that little black tablet and ash snakes would pour out of them along with the delightful smell of sulfur.

And of course, there were sparklers. Another treat reserved just for the night time celebration, out on our driveway, where dad made sure that a bucket of water was standing by for us to toss our burned ones into. We were very neat celebrants.

In California, sunsets are pretty consistent throughout the year. So, we’d do the family fireworks in the driveway around 7 or whenever we’d convince our parents it was dark enough. Then, we’d all pile in the car and drive over to some hill in Redondo Beach to watch their big fireworks celebration over the ocean.

I’ve opened up this little time capsule as a reminder that on the 4th of July, you can immerse yourself in all the good of the holiday and go a little red, white and blue.  There are some who would argue that there’s no way they could celebrate because of everything going on—-the threats of nuclear war, racial inequality, people being locked up for the color of their skin, GMO’s, Global Warming, whales washing up on the beaches, etc.  That’s true, if you want to surround yourself with all that’s wrong in the world.

Thankfully, my parents chose not to do that back in the 1960s. Our home wasn’t filled with the daily news diet of everything that’s wrong and believe me, we had plenty surrounding us. Assassinations, war protests, race riots, a war raging on in Southeast Asia and so on.

It’s good to be aware of your surroundings and taking steps to make this a better place, but to make your day-to-day existence all about the problems of the world–that’s going to make for a long and miserable life.

And you only get one.

My advice–go to one of those remaining “Safe and Sane” fireworks stands and buy a box of snakes. Sit down on the curb and light a few of them. Watch as they amazingly come to life and then, blow away with the wind. For a brief moment, you’ll be a kid again and happy to be alive on another 4th of July.

Oh and one more thing. One of our family traditions growing up was going to the fireworks stand, getting that assortment pack, climbing back into the car and hearing dad say that phrase he’d say every year. Decades later, I would call him up on the phone and ask him to repeat those words on my radio show.

To hear my dad’s famous phrase, click here.

Happy birthday, America.

Tim Hunter

Dude–You’re ‘The Dude!’

Things happen in our lives and I’m pretty convinced, all for some kind of reason. It doesn’t have to be a great one, but like a jigsaw puzzle with a billion pieces, that little snippet of time plays some part in the story we are creating on this earth.

I’m trying to dig deep and flush out those stories that really had no significance in my life, but that I would like to preserve for posterity or if nothing else, for just a fun flashback when I confined to a rocking chair at a retirement home staffed by former Playboy Bunnies.

Here’s one such story.

Back in the early 1980’s, I had been hired by KOMO AM-1000 to be the morning show producer for Larry Nelson. Larry was the on-air superstar, I was the guy in the background doing things to make him sound better.

I was all of 25-years-young, with my post-college experience limited to three years of playing radio in Yakima, Washington. One of my assigned duties was to conduct interviews, take out some of the clips and then write up a script so it would sound as if Larry Nelson had talked with our special guest.

That meant that over the years, I got to meet authors, movie and TV stars, and formerly famous people trying to eek out a few more minutes in the spotlight. I could drop names, but I’ll save that for a future blog.

This time, I’d like to tell you about the dude named Jeff Dowd.

The Seattle International Film Festival was around 4-years-old and their promoter was a guy named Jeff Dowd. I remember when he showed up to record an interview, he was quite a bit overweight, and frankly, dressed like a slob. I mean, this was KOMO radio, and I had to wear slacks and a tuck-in shirt, so what gave him the right to just show up as if he was helping someone move?

No matter. For a couple of years, when it came time for the festival, Jeff would reach out, come in and we’d record tidbits about the hot movie that year or some of the special guests that were scheduled the show up.

Then, in 1984, as it happens in radio, KOMO threw me a surprise going away. The face I was going away was a complete surprise. Jeff became one of those folks I had got to know through the job, but I never saw him again.

In talking with him, I knew he had aspirations of going to Hollywood, where they made the movies, and getting involved with the industry. Apparently, he did, although I didn’t put the pieces together until many years later.

Jeff got to know the Coen Brothers while they were promoting their first film, Blood Simple. The next thing, he became the basis for one of their most popular characters, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski from The Big Lebowski.

Yes, Jeff Dowd was the real-life “Dude.”

I don’t know what was going on in my life when “The Big Lebowski” came out, but I’ll be completely honest with you–I’ve never actually seen the whole movie. I need to do that one of these days. I’ve heard so much about it from friends that were fans, I almost feel like I’ve seen it.

But none the less, it’s based on the life of a guy that was one of the puzzle pieces of this yet unfinished story. And that makes one less piece to find among those that fell off the table.

I just thought I would share.

Oh, and here’s the link to the story that flushed out this memory. Best of luck, man. After all, you are, the Dude.

Tim Hunter

 

Saying Goodbye Again

Things come, things go.

While I’ve seen the likes of Newberry’s, Woolworth, Pay ‘n Pak, Frederick & Nelson and so many other businesses fade off into history, I understand that we live in changing times. But every time it happens, there’s still a bit of sadness to it.

Even things that stuck around but have evolved over the years, like going from The Bon Marche` to Macy’s, require an adjustment.

And as we hit mid-June and watch the grads head off into their unknown future and we excitedly leap from Spring to Summer, I’m being required to accept yet one more change in my life.

This is the final week of Steve’s Café in Bothell.

They will serve their last meal this coming Sunday, enjoy a Monday off (as that has been the only day Steve takes off for many years) and then on Tuesday, they’ll host an Open House and farewell gathering to anyone who wants to stop by and say goodbye, from 1-6pm.

For 22 years, Steve has gotten up at 4am most days to head in and serve his specialty–good old-fashioned, American diner food. He’s worked hard, along with his wife Marlene, who waited on tables. In later years, a server named Lori joined the team. What I loved so much when I stopped in for lunch was climbing in a booth and looking at those old black & white photos from Bothell’s days gone by.

Look towards the back of the restaurant and you’ll catch a glimpse of Steve, preparing whatever order Marlene or Lori brought back his way.

The word on the street is that his location will soon become a trendy whiskey bar.

For now, the smiles are still there, but it’s as if time is telling Steve to maybe take life a little easier. Last year for a while, the restaurant had a sign on the door letting customers know they had to close early on Wednesdays so Steve could get some medical treatments. He’s made a full recovery but maybe that adventure inspired him to fine-tune his life a little. He admitted when I was in last week that the 4am wakeups have gotten old. But while the café may disappear, Steve says he’d go stir crazy at home and wouldn’t mind getting a part-time job somewhere, doing something. Perhaps with the school district?

The countdown is on and Steve’s Café right there on Main Street in Bothell has less than a week to go. Stop by and wish Steve well, if you can. They serve breakfast all day, but may I recommend my usual–the Ruben Sandwich with his homemade potato chips.

Once again, it’s time to say goodbye. This time, it’s Steve’s turn.

Tim Hunter

Don’t Go Messin’ With My Papi!

The Boston Red Sox have always, somehow, worked their way into my life.

Now remember, I was born and raised a Dodgers fan. I mean, I came from a serious Dodgers family. On most nights at our home, the TV wasn’t on, and we would listen to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett tell us how Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, Tommy and Willie Davis and the rest of those L.A. Bums were doing. To this day, Sandy Koufax remains my all-time, most-revered baseball hero.

But, as I do, I digress.

While living most of my years in Dodger Blue and trying for four decades to embrace Mariners Teal, the boys from Boston insisted on being a part of my life.

I remember being at a party at the Columbia Athletic Club in Mill Creek and watching that famous “Buckner ball” incident (he, a former Dodger) and having Boston snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, which resulted in losing another World Series.

Years later, a recruiter for Boston University passed through the Northwest and captured the interest of my son, Tyson, who packed up and headed to Beantown. Because of that connection, I began following the Red Sox more closely. It was during his sophomore year that they finally broke the ‘Curse of Ruth’ and won a World Series. It was that team that I got to know really well, including Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez and a guy nicknamed ‘Big Papi’, David Ortiz.

Snuck into Fenway a couple of times

On a business trip to Toronto in 2007, not long after I landed, I was whisked away to a Blue Jays home game, with great seats down behind home plate. No sooner had I sat down than Manny and Mr. Ortiz came out of the dugout and practically walked in front of me. I will never forget that moment.

As Pedro retired and headed to the broadcast booth and Manny’s faded off into the sunset, David Ortiz became the grand old man of the game and pretty much the soul of the Boston Red Sox. From the Dominican Republic, he took his adopted home town of Boston very seriously, and when the Boston Marathon bombing took place, it was Big Papi who address the crowd when it was decided we must continue what we’re doing or the terrorists win. Yes, he dropped an F-bomb during his passionate speech, but no one seemed to care. Well, except the TV censors.

Then the shocking news this week out of his home country that someone had tried to basically assassinate David Ortiz. Six people have been arrested, we’re hearing that they were paid $7,800 to take him out. Why? Who’s behind it? More to come, but a sad twist to his post-baseball life.

My David Ortiz Red Sox t-shirt now has even more special meaning. It sounds like he’ll recover and may I just suggest to him to spend a little more time up north where you are and will always be loved by fans.

Oh, and one other connection baseball fans in the Pacific Northwest share with David Ortiz–he started out his professional baseball career as a Seattle Mariner.

Back in 1996, the Seattle Mariners  had a loaded roster: Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson and 20-year-old Alex Rodriguez. They were trying to win a close wild-card race and believed they felt they could do better than third baseman Russ Davis. So, on August 29th, they sent a minor leaguer to the Minnesota Twins after the season in exchange for veteran Dave Hollins.

Which made Seattle the only team to ever trade David Ortiz. What did Minnesota do with him? Released him after the 2002 season. Then it was off to Boston and the rest is Red Sox history.

The nighly news is crammed full of disturbing stories, but this one really hit. Maybe this explains why I’ve just had this unsettled feeling all week. Bottom line–Don’t go messin’ with my Big Papi!

Get well, Mr. Ortiz.

Tim Hunter