Another Collection of Mini-Rants

Each week before I sit down to write a blog, I look at what I’ve written lately and if I’ve gone too political, I try to head back to the lighter side for one or two weeks. This week, there were too many things I wanted to comment on. So, instead of a long-winded piece on a single topic, I’m going to conduct self-therapy and give you my thoughts on a trio of things I felt compelled to write about.

MINI-RANT #1

I’ve slowly abandoned KING-5 news after watching them push out of the names I knew and found myself migrating over to KOMO, channel 4.
Of course, back in my KOMO Radio days, I watched our sister TV station all the time, with the likes of Ruth Walsh, Bruce King and Ray Ramsey. Then Dan Lewis and Kathi Goertzen came along and made me stick around. But when they left, I went to the surviving long-time folks over at KING. As they disappeared, I headed back to the new, likeable kids over at Channel 4.

A commercial that has played a lot over the past couple of months is a spot recommending prayer to the down-trodden, hosted by Billy Graham’s son, Franklin. He kind of sounds like his dad and every time it came on, it reminded me of Billy and those days when he was the spiritual counselor for every president that came along, regardless of party.

So, that gave Franklin an edge with me. He had a positive message and I thought, “Well, that’s cool. He didn’t turn into a Jim Bakker or anything. He seems alright.”

I’ve had a change of thought.

As if the right-wing militia’s carrying and holding up Bibles as they stormed the Capitol Building a couple of weeks ago wasn’t bad enough, the Revered Franklin Graham just blew up his reputation by saying….

Oh, I can’t even repeat it. I think it’s best you read it for yourself, so you don’t think I’m making it up. It’s all right here.

Seriously? Seri-ous-ly? So, Rev, you’re equating Donald Trump to Jesus? 

You’ve lost 100% of your credibility and your mere voice makes me sick. I suppose that’s why God invented mute buttons for TV. 

By the way, just curious–How much did your soul go for?

MINI-RANT #2

I’ve been scammed.

So, I wanted to issue this warning about buying anything that looks too good to be true on Facebook. 

Facebook offers are like those candy bars by the cashier. They’re impulse items. Do you really need one? Nope. Would it fun to own one?  Sure. Does it really cost that much? Not really.

SOLD!

So, here’s what the ad looked like that appeared in my Facebook feed right after the New Year:

Look at those giant inflatables. That would be cool to own one and stick it out in the front yard next year. Heck, at that price, I’ll order two. It’s a mystery box, but I’d take any of those 6-foot tall decorations and be the envy of the neighborhood. So, I placed my order.

At first I thought, “Wow, $16.98 for shipping. That seems like a lot. But then again, if they’re these huge inflatables, they’re probably heavy.”

Imagine my surprise this week when these two things showed up in my mailbox:

I steamed for a while, then I went to Pay Pal to report the company. Here’s how that conversation went:

So, this company:

  • Claimed that they didn’t misrepresent the merchandise.
  • Told me that what I received was ‘randomly’ selected. (funny how I got two of them. What are the odds?)
  • They offered to make it right by giving me $5 back. (Then I would only be out $31 for $4 worth of stuff)

We’ll see what happens, but if that’s their final offer, if you think like me, it’s my total responsibility to give them at least $31 worth of bad publicity and warn people every time I see one of their ads, to post this blog right next to it. I figure if I warn away just two customers from this scam, it will cost them what I’ve been shorted. 

And hopefully, there will be more down the line.

MINI-RANT #3

We’re all heading through Inauguration Week, holding our breath, waiting to see what happens.

There is such an opportunity to regain control of our country, to return to being Americans with differences of political opinions and try to undo some of the serious damage that’s been inflicted on our nation and our society over the past four years.

A local FOX news commentator did an amazing thought piece this week. It’s only a couple of minutes long and I think people on both political sides could stand to watch this. So, here you go.

https://www.q13fox.com/the-divide-with-brandi-kruse/brandi-kruse-say-goodbye-to-political-baggage

Great stuff, Brandi. You said it best. Godspeed to everyone as we try to right this ship.

Tim Hunter

I just don’t get it

Last Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, was one of our darkest moments in American history.

Not only because of what happened in our nation’s Capitol Building, but because of the response of so many people I know. This week’s blog is for you, although I seriously doubt you’ll get very far into it.

There was violence and death and everything that comes with a seditious act that was directed by the leader in power. Kim Jong Un couldn’t have been more proud. Vladimir Putin probably sent Trump a congratulations bouquet.

The unthinkable happened and it all happened from within. If this attack had been the results of international terrorists, the country would have gone ballistic! But because it was a biproduct of the populist banter that’s been going on for the past four years, for a sizeable portion of our population, it was just ‘unfortunate’. But, you know, those kinds of things happen when you rig an election.

First off, regarding this ‘rigging’ lie: that was put out there starting in the spring so Trump would have an excuse if he lost in the fall. (for the record, he’s technically lost two elections for president, if you’re talking popular vote) He doesn’t like to lose, we’re told. Research this all you want, but all 50 states verified their results, some after re-counting their ballots multiple times. In Republican states with Republican governors and secretaries of state. And seriously, if you think they somehow rigged it, why would so many Republicans in lower offices have been elected? Do you need to re-listen to Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State and the threats he made? Over 50 courts tossed out Rudy Giuliani’s claims of fraud, some of those Trump-appointed judges.

The problem was the top of the ticket. But let’s get back to last Wednesday.

We have oodles of footage of the low-intelligence, misinformed masses that invaded our halls of democracy. They overwhelmed the Capitol police, beating some of the police officers with poles–poles with American flags on them. They stole government property. They took selfies. They wore Camp Auschwitz sweatshirts. They chanted, “Hang Pence!” Hang Pence!” They put up a symbolic gallows. They brought along zip ties hoping for hostages. They mocked our nation.

Is that today’s Republican party?

One conservative friend I talked to went immediately to one of the defenses the right must have put out during their last meeting: “I heard that was actually a bunch of ANTIFA (left wing extremists) dressed up like Trump supporters.”

Even FOX News says that’s not true.

The saddest pictures to come out of the encounter were the nutbrains who brought Confederate flags with them to carry around once they got in the building. And it was all thanks to Trump supporters.

Your next line is something along the lines of, “Well, he’s not perfect, but at least he’s against abortion.”

Really? You voted for Trump because he’s against abortion, or at least that’s what you understand. You’ve been duped.

For the Christian Evangelicals using that as a reason to support this disturbed man, it’s part of a package deal. This is what you’re telling the rest of the world that Christianity is all about. This is “your side.”

Here’s what the late Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, had to say about it all.

What’s a good Christian to do on Inauguration Day? Huh. You and I both guess wrong.

And on a quick side note, Joe Biden is a practicing Roman Catholic. Abortion? For years that church was even against birth control. I guarantee he’ll never have one, but he doesn’t think he has the right to tell anyone else they can’t. OK, well, since Hindu’s believe cows are sacred, we’re shutting down all the McDonald’s in the world, right? What? Oh, your religion is the right one and has all the answers. Keep telling yourself that.

I know, I know, those are “Libtard” news sources. Or, “I’m sure that was written by ANTIFA.”

I declared my own war on Facebook the day after the attack, and so far have unfriended a dozen friends and relatives. If they want to spend their time on that social media platform parroting what the president claims or passing along his twisted lies as fact, I’m done. Seriously, done.

One of them posted this comment:  “To be clear, this isn’t about violence. This is about Big Tech trying to control what we think, what we share, how we communicate.”

Ask the officer’s family who was killed if this was about government restrictions. Ask the other officer who was so traumatized from the events of the day that he killed himself if this was about Big Brother. “Big Tech” stepped in to remove the ability of manipulative people to get others to think about overthrowing the government, sharing plans on how to do it, and communicating that they were going to attack the Capitol Building to disrupt our democratic process.

I was raised in a Republican family in California, a state where you have to declare a party affiliation, so it just made sense to be a Republican. In 5th grade, I remember riding my bike over to the Del Amo Shopping Center in Torrance, California, to watch Ronald Reagan give a speech on the back of a flatbed truck, as he ran for governor. In high school, I was a “Young Republican for Nixon” and campaigned for his re-election. Over the years, as that party de-evolved, I became more and more a centrist and started voting for the better candidate, regardless of party. I voted for Hillary in 2016 because I just didn’t trust The Donald. But when he won, I was going to give him a chance and see what he could do. I’ve always felt we needed more of a business style leader than a politician in that office.

But the problem did not lie with what we knew about Donald Trump, but what we didn’t know and what we saw for four years. The borderline insanity of his tweets. The revolving door of cabinet members. His silence when there was racial injustice, his “there are good people on both sides” quote during one of the early neo-Nazi confrontations. He was simply unable to distinguish the difference between being on a reality show, and being President of the United States.

The good news is that history will judge. We will learn even more about what happened during his tenure and his legacy will be forever cemented in the halls of dysfunction. I can only imagine the giant sigh of relief by the Nixon family, as Trump takes over the title of being the worst leader our country has ever had to survive.

With the Capitol Building incident, I find myself going from a centrist to a conservative Democrat. Rather than supporting the spineless party that saw itself taken over by a carnie and then continued to suck up to him every step of the way out of fear, I’m going to see what I can find on the left side of the aisle for a while. Even if the Republicans survive, it will be fragmented. There will be Trump Republicans and Sane Republicans, which splits the party and that means they’ll never win another election, at least in the near future.

Retired general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced last week he was done with the Republican party. Arnold Schwarzenegger was pissed enough to post his feelings on YouTube.

Both my life-long Republican mom, at age 92, and my youngest sister are actively applying to switch parties. They’ve been disgusted by what they’ve seen over the past week and I’m proud to see them do something about it.

One of the cynical questions I hear from right (not as in ‘correct’)-minded people is, “Yeah, but do you actually know of anyone who has died from it?”

I’ve heard of some distant family connections, but one closer to home occurred today.

Both my wife’s aunt and uncle were hospitalized due to COVID over in Idaho. Of course, that’s Trump country and it turns out their daughter and son-in-law were the ones that gave it to them because they didn’t believe in masks and such. In time, the aunt got good enough to come home, but not the uncle. He already had the classic ‘secondary health conditions’, but we hoped for the best. For a while, it seemed like he would pull out of it, but his lungs kept getting worse and worse. He came home to a hospice setting and passed today.

When my wife passed along the news to her Facebook friends, the daughter immediately posted a comment that he DIDN’T die of COVID. Oh, no, it was COPD and had nothing to do with the coronavirus. So, my wife took down her post, and that family can pay homage to their fearless leader by believing it’s all a hoax and amounts to nothing more than a bad cold. (the aunt actually said that)

Damn you, Donald Trump.

It saddens me that so many people have drank the Kool Aid and are willing to go to all lengths to maintain this psychotic delusion. He has proven he is in over his head. He set the stage for almost 400,000 Americans to die from a disease we could have at least contained if he had recognized it. He threw America under the bus for his own advantage, saying that COVID would “just disappear.”

I’m not saying stop being a Republican. If you hold those values, embrace them but distance yourself from Donald Trump. He is NOT a Republican. I can only imagine what President Reagan or John McCain would have to say about the events of the past week. By the way, Conan O’Brien has an excellent podcast with Ron Reagan, Jr., talking about “Insurrection Wednesday’. Definitely worth a listen.

Tim Hunter

The Party’s Over

Crap! You’re forcing me to bypass on an otherwise fun and whimsical blog for the sake of making a commentary on what’s going on in our crazy world. Again.

Seriously, there will come a time when politics is boring and where people will disagree, sort of, but the outcome ends up being a strong, ‘whatever’.

That’s how politics used to be. It was the minority side of you. What people knew about you was that you were a Beatles fans or that you watched “Dallas” and were there for that big night when you found out who shot J.R., or a gazillion and one other identifiers that summed up your major priority.

Today, it’s blue versus red. You’re either one or the other. If you’re with me, you’re right. If not, you’re wrong.

I have to confess that I am….or, was….a Republican. Why? Responsible with money, living within my means, helping people who needed help, but not just handing out money so you create a dependent class…that kind of Republican.

I was a “Young Republican for Nixon”, and voted ‘R’ for most of the elections through the 1980s. Then the party began to evolve. Suddenly, the party that was so for personal freedom and against government intervention into our personal lives made being against abortion their major issue. If you wanted to protect the sanctity of life, you had to vote Republican.

But wait. You’re saying an unfit parent who would beat their child to death in a drug-fueled rage…their right to beat that child Trumped the right of the mother who knew this was coming? Yeah, it gets messy.

Abortion. Yeah, that’s an entirely different and heavy issue. Look, I’m against abortion and I would never in my life choose to get one. But guess what? I’ll never have to do that. I’m amazed at the Biblical Monday Morning Quarterbacks who have decided that if you conceive by mistake, you are to be penalized for life. Why? Because the Moral Police say so.

Wow, did this go south and quickly.

All this to say that, as a kid that was raised in a Republican household and that voted Republican most of his life, I’m saddened and embarrassed by what the Donald Trump Republicans are doing in the final days of this presidency. Here’s where I reach for strength:

I believe in the system. Our amazing Founding Fathers (and I’m sorry that Founding Mothers weren’t more involved, but those were the times) created a system that could survive despite a lunatic like our current president. If you’re struggling with the description ‘lunatic’, please listen to his phone call to the Secretary of State in Georgia.

All this to say, the blind loyalty to Trump after he took over the party has come back to roost. Now, you’re either a Trumper or not. That means, there’s a fraction in the Republican party so that now, it’s almost like there are two Republican parties. For now, there’s only one Democrat party and while I’m far from 100% agreement on everything they want to promote, at least they’re including more and more Americans.

At this writing, I don’t know what happens in Georgia. I know what I would like, but that doesn’t matter. It’s what the people of Georgia decide and I’m good with that.

I watch what Trump has done in his final months–pardoning cronies, ignoring the worse pandemic the country has ever experienced, continued to whine about false claims, etc. It would make me sick, but I’ve learned to let it go. History is the greatest judge of all and I only hope those who followed him, and believed him live long enough to realize the amazing scam he pulled off.

But do remember. He’s the only person ever to lose the popular vote for president twice. Yeah. That’s impressive.

Tim Hunter

PS–this was written the day before the nightmare at the Capitol Building. I’m going to let this speak for me:

A Gift For Someone Else

We’re in the final days before Christmas. If we’re not working fiendishly to get as much work done as possible so we can relax over the holiday, we’re donning (a seasonal term) our HAZMAT suits to go to the grocery store and buy everything needed for our upcoming feasts. Then we double check our gift lists and realize we’re a couple of gifts short, or even worse, the neighbor comes over and gives you a nice fruit basket. So, you panic, run over to the tree, rip off a name tag and hand them a present. Hopefully, it wasn’t that Fitbit you bought for your wife.

Our modern problems. But even as negotiations continue with the various family members on how to get together in a socially distant and responsible manner, there’s a world outside of ours filled with need.

For as much as 2020 was a challenge and setback to most people reading this, there was a gut punch to millions of Americans who were really hurt through no fault of their own. Jobs disappeared, unemployment benefits were used up and waiting in a long food line to get whatever they can to feed their family has become way too common. Governments, charitable organizations and people with far more resources than I are trying to help, but we’ve still entered an entirely new territory of need.

I’m pretty sure you’re like me in that you don’t want to just toss money at it, then return to your fortunate life and feel better. You want to make sure that whatever you donate actually reaches those people battling these incredibly hard times.

Through my job as the morning guy at KRKO/Everett, I’ve gotten to know the folks at the Volunteers of America/Western Washington. When I first heard their name, my first questions were, “Who?” and “Can they get the entire name on a t-shirt?” The past couple of holiday seasons, we’ve stood outside of a Fred Meyer up in Everett and gathered items in a fun “Stuff a Bus” promotion benefitting the VOAWW. Well, due to COVID and other reasons, that collection drive didn’t happen this year. So, take the existing need, add the pandemic bonus need, and you’ve got an organization scrambling to serve as many down-on-their-luck people as possible. And it’s a lot.

I encourage you to think about supporting your local food this year, maybe a little more than in years past. As much as I detest those donation solicits on Facebook when someone’s birthday rolls around (I just want to wish you a happy birthday, I don’t want to donate to fight your disease of choice that will put me on an relentless email list and so, instead of wishing you a happy birthday, I pretend I didn’t see your post), I’m going to give you the opportunity to help out the folks at VOAWW. On the radio for the next couple of days, I’m challenging anyone who enjoys the music we play on KRKO to donate $13.80 to the Volunteers. Of course, that’s in reference to the frequency of KRKO, 1380am.

Jessica Moore is the Director of Development at Volunteers and if you’ve got a couple of minutes, listen to my interview with her on Tuesday morning to hear about all the good they do in Snohomish County.

This year, more than ever, our extra help is really needed. Like I said, if you’ve got a local food bank or a favorite charity, take a moment to visit their website and give them even just a small dose of love. If you’d like to donate to the VOAWW, I promise you they’ll put your $13.80 to work and help the most people possible. Click here to donate.

Thanks for reading this and if you’re uncomfortable about me using this platform to ask you to donate to this incredible organization, remember my trick: just pretend you didn’t see this.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

It’s Christmastime again

Well, here we are once more.

The calendars are running out of days, we’re about to shift from fall to winter, and the various forms of Christmas surround us.

Some might say there is only one Christmas, but look around at what we go through every year. It’s an annual blend of “Awesome! Isn’t this great!” and “Oh, my God. How am I ever going to get all this done?” Add in, “No, we’re going to do it THIS way” or, “No, we were with your family last year” and there are unlimited combinations of ways for it to go wrong.

Christmas has become a blend of joyous events, parties, Santa pictures, holiday treats and gatherings, paired with deadlines, stress, expectations and hardline requirements on what makes a perfect Christmas.

Oh, I have a perfect Christmas in mind. It would be me and my kids and their kids all gathered at the house, with grandma getting a chance to see her descendants in person instead of just on Facebook. But grandma lives in California and these days, traveling is just not an option. Both my kids and their families are playing it safe and minimizing their holiday celebrations, out of concern for the safety of themselves and the family. I get it. Perfection will have to wait for another year.

Over the years, very, very few Christmas celebrations have ever been perfect. But if you look for the good, think of all those great moments you did get to experience. I start with those days as a child, when I was the one so anxious to see what Santa had brought me. Then suddenly, you find yourself a parent and get a front-row view as a dad. I remember driving one night in the Bothell area on our way home from somewhere when I saw the flashing red light on a tower at the Country Village Shopping Center. The kids were in the back seat and I pointed out the light, saying, “Look! It’s Rudolph’s nose! That means Santa is on his way. We better get home and get you to bed!”

What a great, great moment.

This year, even more than in previous years, there are ample ways for things to go south. Some families want to still get together regardless of the threat of COVID, while others are hunkering down, hopeful that playing it safe will keep them safe.

I think what a lot of people are missing is that every year, a great Christmas and a complete disaster are both there for our choosing. We can expect holiday perfection and be disappointed, or focus on just the good things that occur during this time of year.

I’m all about the latter. I’m doing everything in my power to cherish the festive lights, the great wine, the movies we watch again, the music that churns up the memories. Folks, it’s Christmas and if you need a little mental attitude adjustment, may I recommend listening to my holiday blend of music and fun this year, called Ho Ho Brother 20. It’s the 20th year I’ve put together one of these collections, and I feel it’s my best one yet. But then again, I say that every year.

Here’s to a healthy & happy holiday season. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my imagination to work so I can spend a few minutes at that perfect Christmas I told you about earlier.

Yeah, that’s nice.

Tim Hunter

My 2020 Christmas Season Adventure

I did it.

That first weekend of December for me is always a busy one, but this year’s edition was a mega challenge.
However, as you can see by this blog, I’m still here.
The cause of my early-December holiday stress overload was stepping up to help the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce pull off a Julebord. Normally, we’d all gather at the Seattle Golf Club for a festive holiday meal, I’d get up and do my goofball stuff, sing a silly song, and exorcise my extrovert demons.

However, as you know, it’s 2020 when we have no concept of what ‘normal’ is like. So, when the organization decided to try and put on a virtual Julebord. I said, “Sure, no problem. I can do that!” and I found myself into one of the biggest media projects I’ve ever taken on.

I love challenges. My daily routine is pretty much a reflection of that. I seriously pack way too much into every day, and when Monday rolls around, I wonder how the heck I’m going to get it all done. Yet, by Thursday, the bulk of those projects are done and Friday becomes a loosey-goosey play day. Or, could be. I usually use it to wedge in even more projects or to get a jump on next week’s over-commitments.

There were three major segments to the NACC Seattle virtual Julebord broadcast.

First, there was the pre-event countdown. A collection of songs and greetings along with a countdown clock so that people could find the NACC YouTube channel and know they were in the right place. The result was something you could actually put on in the background to enjoy the various performances. It includes songs by the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle, a duet named Kari & Daniel, local musician Lyle Ronglien and my brother-in-law, Kris Templin. (who is a regular performer at the in-person celebration) Plus, there’s a bunch of beautiful Norwegian scenery to enjoy. Here’s that first segment for your spare time viewing.

The next item was the really complicated one–the main program. There were multiple parts that needed to be recorded and collected, intros to the various segments to be produced and, of course, my contribution–writing a monologue and a traditional silly song to inject into the celebration.

I received video greetings from each of the NACC board members, as well as Norway’s Ambassador to the U.S. and the local Honorary Consul. The NACC president needed to do multiple segments. Kris needed to record his “O Holy Night” and then lip-sync for the video. We had to go to the home of the NACC Person of the Year and surprise him with an award, Publisher’s Clearinghouse style, and THEN, I needed to put all those pieces together.

There is no way I put in less than 40 hours on this effort, but it was all done with a passion to make it shine. I look at how perfectly it turned out in spite of all the things that could have gone wrong, and I couldn’t help but realize that my lifetime of experiences (including the failures) all came into play into making this happen.

With that said, here’s how the main program came out.

And, of course, I could have stopped there. But not me.

I added one more section to the project on my own–a Julebord “After Party.” Knowing that alcohol would be consumed during the event, when it wrapped, I was betting that people would be up for some of my comedy and things that I find funny. Maybe toss in some memories from Christmas’s long ago. And dig out some holiday home movies of that time we had Stan Boreson join the KLSY Morning Show for “the World’s Shortest Christmas Parade” in Bothell.

Something just for the fun of it. Set aside 20 minutes for this collection.

Yep, I did it.

I remember an earlier virtual event this year that we watched that turned into a major disaster. People couldn’t get in or on camera. As I worked on Julebord 2020, I was determined this sucker was going to be perfect.

Because we were drawing the door prizes the night before, that meant I couldn’t finalize the broadcast until a dozen hours before it was supposed to be broadcast to the world. I don’t know how much you know about video editing, but a video has to “render” which takes a long, long, long time. I had three lengthy pieces to render, and then I had to render all three of those together. By the time I rendered the entire program it was Friday morning at 2am. Then, I had to upload it to the NACC Seattle YouTube channel and set it to broadcast at 3:30pm.

Oh yeah, and to work in a little sleep.

Yet, it just all worked. I couldn’t wait for launch time to get here, because once it did and the broadcast had begun, I could relax. Frankly, it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle for me. We had 160+ viewers on Youtube, with a couple of dozen mores watching it through our Zoom feed of the event. Even so, that’s 160 logins plus a couple of people at each site, from Seattle to Norway, enjoy a virtual Julebord. A safe guess would be that 300 people have enjoyed the broadcast, double the normal audience at the live event.

I’m going to apologize now to my grandkids and great grandkids for the multiple times I’ll probably retell this story in my fledgling years. But here’s a tip: Just don’t get me started by saying, “Tell us again about the great Julebord adventure of 2020.”

Now you know how my December started. From here, the holiday season this year is going to be really easy.

Eggnog time.

Tim Hunter

Here Come The Holidays

I’m writing this on the final day of November. December arrives tomorrow and, as is tradition, the first week is the one to survive.

I want to say that in years past, I was even busier. However, these days, I took the remaining items on that first weekend list and intensified them.

You see, in “the old days”, the first weekend of December included emceeing Julebord–a Norwegian Christmas dinner at the Seattle Golf Club. Saturday would involve being the town crier at the Country Village Shopping Center, where I would run around, ring a bell, and announce the arrival of Santa. Then, on the Sunday of that first weekend of December, the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle would have their annual Christmas concert. A pretty darn packed three days of the weekend.

Well, Country Village is gone and soon to be townhouses. The Ladies Chorus has moved their concert to a virtual one on December 18th. (and all I used to do was videotape the concert. Not happening this year) On paper, this has all the makings of me being days away from an easy weekend, right? Pffft!

Because we can’t gather this year for Julebord, it has become a virtual event. And I have gone from saying a few jokes and singing a silly song to producing a YouTube event, complete with 30-minute countdown, the main show and an “after party.”

Oh and did I mention (and I know I didn’t) that vacant Saturday night has been filled with the Bothell Kenmore Chamber Annual Auction, during which I’ll be auctioneering from my home. There’s something else planned for Sunday, I’m just choosing to not remember what it is at the moment.

So, for me, I’ll begin to relax this weekend when I put the finishing touches on the video that will air on Friday for Julebord. I’ll be doing that Thursday night. By the way, this year because it’s virtual, the event will be open to anyone and will be broadcast on YouTube this Friday afternoon, starting at 3:30pm PST. This will really give you an idea of what goes on at the annual event, one that sells out every year and with a pretty pricey admission ($120 for non-members). But like I said, this year is free so if you can join us, just shoot me an email (tim@wackyweek.com) and I’ll make sure you get the YouTube address.

Then, after this week, I’ll get back to relaxing by putting together my annual Christmas CD and get those Christmas cards out.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, yes, there will be another song with the talented Alana Baxter. As a matter of fact, I’m dragging her into the whole Julebord thing, to combine efforts. For those unfamiliar with our annual holiday collaborations, here are the videos we’ve done over the years.

Basically, I like to do as much as I can while I can. I know the day is coming where someone will ask me, “Don’t you miss all that stuff you used to do during the holiday season?” and of course, my response will be, “I’m sorry. What was the question?”

Tim Hunter

Tim Versus Amazon

Look, I didn’t want this war. To be beyond honest, I love Amazon. For that one-time fee, I get all kinds of movies to choose from AND free shipping. For the most part, the prices on Amazon are about as good as I can get anywhere.

Now, I will admit that I probably paid a little more than I should have on one Christmas present in particular. But this one was in-stock, God knows what’s going to happen in the weeks ahead, and I was trying to knock down at least some of the people on my list.

This is where I need to give you some background. We live on a private lane. In fact, our mailing address is actually the back of the house, but if Amazon or anyone for that matter were to leave something out there, it would probably be stolen. Or, suffer the wrath of the elements.

That’s exactly what happened the other day. I got a notice from Alexa that a shipment had arrived. I was in the middle of work, so a half hour later or so, I checked the front porch. Nothing. I looked in the back and sure enough, some half-brained, moronic, idiot, son of a delivery person left the package I had ordered out in the rain. By the time I got to it, the box was soaked.

We haven’t had this happen for a while, but it’s happened twice now in the past couple of days. Why it’s irritating is that I’ve posted a sign in the back to NOT deliver packages there. I asked them PLEASE to bring them to the front of our house, which is half a block east of where they’re about to drop off this package, outside of a locked gate.

In fact, when I went out to the back, the box was soaked. The inside contents might have been fine, but I’m not spending $86 on a present with a soaked box. So, I immediately went over to the local Amazon drop off point, and returned this version of the gift. Then, I came home and promptly ordered the same darn thing. It arrived today and this driver knew where the front of our house was. But I was prepared to have this happen over and over until they got it right.

It was a short battle, but I consider myself winning. Now we’ll just see how the rest of the packages I order this season will fare.

I went to let Amazon know on their website that the delivery person messed up. There was no option for that. This could be a long battle. And the great Christmas war continues.

Happy holidays!

Tim Hunter

Alex and Me

To begin, I never met Alex Trebek.

Back in my KLSY days, I was lucky enough to head down to the Washington State Convention Center one day and meet up with Vanna White and Pat Sajak, when “Wheel of Fortune” did a stop in Seattle. We did interviews, took photos and both couldn’t have been nicer.

I imagined Alex Trebek to be just like that, and everyone has said nothing but that for the past week since he left us. But I would expect that–he’s Canadian. Some of the absolute most sincerely nice people I have met in my life were Canadian. I don’t know what’s in the water (or the beer) up there, but we should pipe some of it down here.

So I would have to say that one of the regrets I have from my 43 years of being in broadcasting is not having my paths cross the host of “Jeopardy.” However, it’s not like we’re complete strangers.

For the past couple of years, part of my waking up routine is to make the coffee, head downstairs and ask Alexa to play a newscast. Then, the second it’s over, I say those familiar words, “Alexa, let’s play Jeopardy.”

The theme song plays, the announcer says, “Here’s Alex” and Mr. Trebek introduces the game. Alexa asks the questions, but then Alex comes back to say thanks for playing and, “See you tomorrow.”

It’s a great way to get the blood flowing in the brain. While I’m competitive, I’m OK with whatever score I end up with for the day. Sometimes I’m amazed at the answers I come up with. Other times, I realize I probably should have read more than two books in my life. (“My Father’s Dragon” and “The Martian Chronicles.” More if you include Dr. Seuss)

I tend to average 5-6 right out of 12 questions most mornings. I have one perfect game to my credit, but far more where I got 3 or less and Alexa wraps up our session by saying, “Today’s questions must have been hard.”

But it’s all about keeping the mind alert. When I hear the answer I missed, I just press that into my memory bank for the next time. Or, for when I get that call to come to the big leagues.

Yep, tomorrow morning, the alarm will once again go off at 4:45am. I’ll make the coffee, come downstairs and tell Alexa to play KIRO Newsradio, so I can catch the end of “America’s First News” and the CBS Morning Roundup.

Then it’ll be Alex and me getting back together. His answers, my questions. It’s nice to know he’ll still be there.

Tim Hunter

Let’s Get Back To One Country

OK, I’m going to start this week’s blog letting you know this will be the last one this year to touch on politics. More fun and frivolity on the way.

Two weeks ago, I shared my feelings about the presidential race and some articles that shaped my thinking. As a quick reminder, I think of myself as an Independent voter who will cast my vote for the better person, regardless of party.

That didn’t set well with some people. I tend to overshare my views here on this nice, hidden corner of the Internet. But I also have this set up so that when I publish a blog, it goes to several other sources, including Facebook. That’s when I touched a few nerves. Follow that with a popular vote that showed half of the country voted to retain Donald Trump and we obviously have become two America’s.

However, we’ve just taken a major step into returning back to one.

I based my opinion on how I was going to vote this presidential election on what I’ve seen the current president do over his almost-four years, as well as what I hoped President-Elect Biden will achieve over his term. The day we found out the final results, November 7th, 2020, I felt more hope than I have in a long time.

If you voted for the President, that’s entirely your right and I completely support it. On the positive side, Mr. Trump drove more Republicans to the polls than anyone has in years for that party. The sad part was that he used scare tactics and threats and alleged many horrible things will happen if Biden/Harris take over. He convinced Cuban and Puerto Rican voters that they were planning to turn this country into North Cuba. The same voters who feared what would happen if Hillary got in were told what to fear if this year’s Democrats took over the office.

What will they achieve, what direction will they take this country? They have goals, but they also have a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. What gives me hope is that we’ll be done with a leadership that embraces calling names, all-capped Tweets of random opinions, and generates insane theories that some of the intelligence-challenged electorate believe without question. We’re on the ragged edge of returning to the days of two opposing political views, debating the merits of those ideas and then letting those in power vote.

President Trump was an experiment. We finally put someone in there from the outside, who would shake things up, “drain the swamp” and do things for our country. He did some good things, as well as some very damaging things. As I’ve said with every president we’ve ever had: history will judge. Were they a great president? Let’s look at the big picture 20 years from now and you’ll have the answer.

If all you know about Joe Biden is what you heard about from the president during the campaign, you don’t know him. It’s my hope that you give it a couple of years and allow our country to return to the days when people could talk politics and not feel obligated to hate each other if they disagreed.

I vaguely remember that time when I was a kid and hearing my parents and their good friends talking politics one night. My folks were considered Republicans, their friends, Pat & Lenny, were Democrats, who planned to vote for Kennedy. I don’t know the context or if it was said kiddingly, but the phrase, “Yeah, well, if Kennedy gets in, he’ll have us all praying to Mary,” in a reference to him being the country’s first Roman Catholic presidential candidate.

I just recall it being a conversation, not an argument. A discussion of what each couple thought. And then they went back to playing Pinochle. It was a time when politics could be part of the conversation and regardless of your preference, the bottom line was, we are all still Americans. We were one country.

Or, maybe that was just a dream.

Tim Hunter