THE REASON THOSE SONGS MEAN SO MUCH

I would have to say for the bulk of my adult life, I did not like looking backward. History was something to use to your advantage, to learn from and what was done was done.

It was for that reason that I avoided listening to “oldies.”  As I grew older, I saw many people in my generation hitting a stopping point in their music growth and, doing what everyone’s parents did, latch on to the songs from their past.

There were different degrees of hitting that lockdown switch. Some hit it on their way out of high school; others, made it as far as college before deciding this was as good as it got.

I have an inner-urging that requires me to know what’s going on, or at least, I did. Over the past decade, I’ve found the newer songs to be rather mundane, sound-alike and non-imaginative.  Then again, that could be what happens when you get older. I remember my parents not understanding what the deal was with groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

So during the bulk of my adult years, I followed modern music. Playing a lot of the softer, contemporary songs during my radio days, while secretly listening to other stations play the B-52s or Huey Lewis and the News when I wasn’t at KLSY playing Celine Dion. Music serves a purpose. It’s a comfort zone. The right blend is like a familiar room with exactly the colors and fabrics you would choose if it was up to you.

If you have bet me money years ago that, one day, I would end up at a radio station that played all the hit songs from my high school and college years, I would have laughed in your face. I was doing more than my fair share of trying to keep up with what was new, watching trends, knowing who was in and who was out. Writing for the show prep service, Radio Online helped, in that I couldn’t stay stuck in my generation. I needed to know what was going on now!

Well, here I am, working at a radio station that brags they’re playing “Everett’s Greatest Hits.” That is actually a collection of the best testing, best-researched songs of the late 60s, the entire 70s and a little bit of the 80s. Yep, exactly the kind of station I thought I would never listen to or even be involved with.

But, I’ve gotta tell you, there was something special about that music I had playing on my radio in high school. “25 or 6 to 4”, “Knights in White Satin”, all those songs from 1969-73 were the soundtrack of some really big years for me. I remember the Moody Blues “Isn’t life strange?” playing on the radio when I tried to break up with a girlfriend. We ended up staying together, much to my detriment. Years later, she broke my heart, breaking up with me over the phone from 1300 miles away. Yeah, that’s the old “Sign from God” story you’ll hear from me when I get tipsy enough. Two months later, she married the minister that convinced her to break up with me. But in completely honest hindsight, it was truly the best for both of us.

The songs KRKO plays take me somewhere happy, somewhere forgotten on a regular basis. Geeze, I mean Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” was a monster hit when I was at KQOT. So many stories there. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman” was one of the 45’s I have somewhere in my basement.

The oldies, as people call them, are the songs that bring comfort. That you put away for years and then, when things in our modern world come apart, we love to hear and have them stir up memories.

You don’t need to listen to me, but with all local sports gone, KRKO is now playing 99% great songs, one right after the other. Our consultant tells me that after 9-11, Oldies Stations soared in the ratings. We have the challenge of a fairly week FM signal in Everett and a muddy AM station. But man, do we shine online. I’m just being honest.  Here are three ways you can take KRKO for a test drive and enjoy Everett’s Greatest Hits:

  1. If you have an Alexa, just say, “Alexa, play KRKO, Everett’s Greatest Hits”
  2. On your computer or tablet? Just put www.krko.com in your browser and click on LISTEN LIVE
  3.  You can do that on your phone as well, or download the app which lets you hear the station with a click of a button. To do that, just visit the Apple Store or the Google Play store. It’s free

If you need an assist, please let me know. Of all the stations out there right now, we really do keep it upbeat, positive and do a heck of a lot to help people get through our current insanity.

It’ll do your brain good. And who knows what memories we’ll knock loose tomorrow.

Take care,

Tim Hunter

Social Distancing Myself

Yep, I’m doing it. For just the length of this blog, I’m going to separate myself from the seriousness of the whole coronavirus pandemic and pass along all the lines I’ve heard and seen over the past couple of weeks.

Oh, this covid-19 is serious stuff and I’m viewing this all as a student of these historic times. Our world has changed forever and all this, with us not knowing how this concludes or even if it concludes.

All that being said, for a couple of minutes, relax and laugh as much as you can with this compilation of nuggets. Some are mine, lots are borrowed from the pages of Facebook:

  • It’s now official. Due to the coronavirus, the beginning of spring is being delayed until September.
  • I mean, you look at the timing of this coronavirus outbreak. I think it’s pretty obvious to me—God likes football
  • My job is to help you avoid the harsh realities of the world and provide a little escape from it all. We’re like Calgon for the ears.
  • People are panicking and already trading sex for food. It’s crazy. Anyway, I got two tacos.
  • Have we tried unplugging 2020, waiting 10 seconds and then plugging it back in.
  • If you bought 30 rolls of toilet paper, you owe three to the church. Tithing is still in effect.
  • I need 25 friends to dress up like zombies and join me in walking around the neighborhood. Can’t let this quarantine go to waste.
  • Are tortillas flushable? Asking for a friend.
  • I honestly hadn’t planned on giving up this much for Lent
  • “Family Feud” has shut down production because of coronavirus. However, there still is no cure for Steve Harvey
  • The NFL has approved a 17-game season. If the season delays go on long enough, so might Major League Baseball.
  • So, the governor closed all the bars. Someone’s having a hard time giving up alcohol for Lent.
  • Thinking about it, the safest time in our recent history was when we moved the clocks ahead an hour. For 60 minutes, nothing happened.
  • A Seattle Starbucks worker was diagnosed with coronavirus. The store became suspicious of him when he spelled a customer’s name right.
  • I feel like I’m in season 5 of my life and the writers are just coming up with ridiculous stuff to keep it interesting.
  • I have a 24-pack of toilet paper I’d like to trade for a 3-bedroom house.
  • President Trump says he hasn’t been tested yet for the coronavirus and, if you think about it, if you were the virus, would you?
  • There’s now talk of extending the April 15th income tax deadline because of the coronavirus. In a related story, at H-and-R Block, H has been asked to stand six feet away from R.
  • In New York City, a conference on the coronavirus has been canceled because of the coronavirus. The announcement was made by the Department of Redundancy Department.
  • Wow, the NHL, the MLS and the NBA have all suspended their seasons. At this rate, pretty soon the only things left are going to Betty White, Keith Richards and the Hallmark Channel.
  • By the way, this hour’s rundown of the coronavirus cancellations is being canceled, due to the coronavirus.
  • ESPN is going to reverse the spelling of their name to NPSE (No Public Sporting Events)
  • The WHO has declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. But all those dogs that were quarantined can now be released, since it’s been proven they can’t carry the disease. Yes, WHO let the dogs out.
  • The hottest drink these days? The Quarantini-its just like a Martini, but you drink it at home all by yourself.
  • Back in my day, if you TP’d a house, you were getting back at someone. Today, you’re doing them a favor.
  • Day four of no sports. Found a woman sitting on my couch. Apparently, she’s my wife. She seems nice.
  • Day five of no sports. Just found out my wife’s favorite color is yellow. Who likes yellow?
  • Coronavirus tip-wear a Dallas Cowboys jersey. You won’t catch anything.
  • Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.
  • If everything gets canceled and you’re forced to stay at home and nothing happens-that was the idea!
  • What if they close the grocery stores and we have to hunt for food. I don’t even know where Doritos live.
  • Dr. Oz says that couples should have sex while quarantined. I can hear husbands everywhere saying, “Sorry, honey, but doctor’s orders!”
  • My thought: Soccer, baseball, the NBA, the Kentucky Derby, the Boston Marathon, all canceled or postponed until at least September when football begins. To me, that says that God loves football.
  • The federal government is talking about giving us all $1,000 in stimulus money to spark the economy. Well, it’s not like we’re going to go out and spend it all on toilet paper.
  • Casinos are asking for bailouts from the federal government. Shouldn’t they at least be required to roll 7’s?
  • Bethany Frankel says she is creating coronavirus kits. Oh, goodie. We’re saved!
  • Sorry to say that there is already a long list of scammers at work over this coronavirus. For the full list, please send $100 in unmarked bills to…
  • OK, so you went out and cleaned out the stores of toilet paper, bottled water and enough food to last several months. Now, the good news–I can finally quit bugging you about putting together an earthquake kit.

And a couple of my Top Five Lists:

TOP FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY SHOULD NOT DO BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS

  1. Go to a Face-Touching party
  2. Practice your deep-breathing exercises in a crowd
  3. Keep putting off getting tested because you haven’t studied
  4. While eating out, shake the hand of a different stranger between bites
  5. Accept a challenge to a Cough-Off

TOP FIVE SIGNS YOU’RE GOING A LITTLE STIR-CRAZY AT HOME

  1. Yes, it’s wrong, but you’ve used relatives’ names to create March Illness Brackets
  2. You can’t wait for the next robocall
  3. Named the dust bunny under the fridge, “Herman”
  4. Organized the macaroni by size
  5. You’ve developed a home version of curling, with a robo-vacuum and a Swiffer broom

All this to say, whatever happens, don’t lose your sense of humor. It’s the only thing that will keep us going. Stay home, stay vigilant and let’s all look forward to the day in the near future when we can reduce our social distancing by at least half.

And if you know of someone having a tough time right now that could use a little pickup, please pass this along.

Tim Hunter

Coronavirus: No big deal, right?

The short answer: wrong. Dead wrong.

We’ve had pandemic-type breakouts quite a few times over the last century. Things like Ebola and SARS became household names and while we knew they were bad and killing people, it was “mostly over there somewhere.”

Amazingly, I’ve had some social media friends asking to have someone explain to them why everyone is freaking out about the coronavirus. I’ve had relatives express that it’s all media hype. It’s for you people that I’m writing this.

Thanks to professionals who spend a lot of time to research such things, I’ll turn it over to them. In fact, here’s a breakdown on how it’s NOT just like the flu.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a time when the federal government didn’t want to know that it had come to the U.S.. There were actual cases here, but local medical people weren’t allowed to test. But they did it anyway. Here’s that story.

I understand the tendency to dismiss it all as media hype when it doesn’t immediately affect your world.  When tornadoes hit Nashville last week, it was horrible. But, it didn’t reach me, so I just moved on with my life. It didn’t make it any less terrible for the folks who live there. I also didn’t think the media was making it look worse than it really was.

Consider this coronavirus thing a world-wide tornado. It’s not maybe coming your way, it will.

People are doing all they can to trick themselves into believing, “It’s just like the flu.”  Well, yes, except there is no vaccine. What can a flu do when there is no vaccine? 102 years ago, the Spanish Flu sickened 500-million worldwide, killing upwards of 50-million. Sure, it was only 675,000 Americans, so it really wasn’t that bad.

That was flu humor.

Look, I’m no medical expert, but here’s what I know:

  • A guy that I work with, his home-bound wife tested positive for the virus. The only places she had been in the past week was the emergency room of a hospital. Now she’s in the hospital and he’s self-quarantined for 14 days.
  • A woman that works on the same floor as my wife actually showed up on the news last night, talking about her experience with catching the disease. She told the TV camera that she went to a party and then went home and had a high fever that same night. If so, she would be the only case where that happened. It usually takes 5 days or more to develop symptoms. But all that time you’re wandering around, continuing with your usual routine before showing any symptoms, you’re contagious.
  • I have a friend whose mom was in the Life Care Center in Kirkland. They lost her to the coronavirus last week.
  • They estimate that the virus was in our area for up to six weeks before it was detected. That gave it plenty of time to spread.

The choice is yours. Treat this all as media hype and you’ll soon experience all the adventures we’re having right now. Respect this virus, do all the basics we should have been doing all along, and we’ll get through this.

And a quick reminder of those basics:

  1. Wash your hands. Not ‘run water over them’, but soap and warm water for 20 seconds, then dry them on a clean towel.
  2. Don’t touch your face. This has been the hardest for me. That’s how anything you’ve touched reaches your face.
  3. Keep a distance of 6-feet or more from people.
  4. Use wipes to clean your cell phone once a day. Remember, those hands you pick your cell phone up with have touched everything. And then, you’re putting the phone right up next to your face.
  5. No hugs, handshakes or even fist-bumps for the time being. You’ll live.
  6. Cover your cough. Not with your hand so you can wipe the germs elsewhere. Into your elbow. It can be done.
  7. If you’re stick, stay home. I know that’s a ‘duh’, but ever since employers made sick time equal vacation time, no one wants to waste a day of vacation being sick at home, so they bring it to work. It’s always been wrong, but needs to not be tolerated. Bosses, send ’em home.

Keep up on the latest, read all you can but for the sake of being informed, not to worry. Common sense can really help you out a lot right now. Listen to that inner voice.

Stay safe.

Tim Hunter

Sorry, I Didn’t Catch Your…Bug

We are entering new territory.

The coronavirus, aka Covid-19, is pretty much a part of our conversations at least a couple of times a day.

We knew something was coming. Here in Washington State we were ‘lucky’ enough to have the first detected case in the U.S., the first confirmed fatality and we continue to lead the nation in souls lost to this brand-new virus.

A long-time friend of mine posted just the other day that her mom was the latest victim at that convalescent home in Kirkland, the epicenter of our Northwest outbreak.

Every day, a new count, a new detail. But the drum keeps beating on how doing the basics, the things we should have been doing all along, can help us avoid the virus.

  1. Wash your hands. I mean, REALLY wash your hands, with soap, for at least 20-seconds, front and back. (the best analogy I’ve heard is to pretend you’ve just chopped up Jalapeños and you’re going to put in your contacts next)
  2. Cover your cough. Into the back of your elbow, please.
  3. If you are sick, stay home.
  4. If you insist on going out into the public, wear a mask.
  5. Don’t touch your face without washing your hands or using hand-sanitizer first.

I’m sure there are other things you can do, but those basics are what a civilization that survives needs to be doing. If the coronavirus gets us all into those habits, it could make for easier cold and flu seasons in the future.

But for now, the focus is on the virus named for the beer. (It isn’t, but a recent CNN survey found that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beer “under any circumstances” because of the coronavirus) 

I’ve been oversaturating myself on information and true facts regarding the outbreak and here’s what I know:

  • The elderly (people over 60…crap) are more prone to having a rough go at it with the virus.
  • Those with secondary health issues (the majority of the fatalities in the U.S.) are the most susceptible.
  • For some reason, kids seem more resilient. There have been no pediatric deaths in the U.S.. However, they say because kids seem to be less affected by it, they could be carrying the bug before symptoms show.
  • The majority–80% of the cases of coronavirus–are mild.
  • There’s a lot we don’t know about it. I heard on the news just this morning they think there are two different strains. There is no cure or vaccine.

At this point, America has eagerly morphed into panic mode. John Kay of Steppenwolf was supposed to perform in Everett this Saturday. He canceled because of what he was hearing about the Seattle-area on the news.  I saw one headline the other day that labeled Seattle as a Ghost Town. I wanted to contest that, but just in the last few days, I know of several companies and local governments who have gone into “stay at home” mode. They’re encouraging people to stay at home to help stop the spread. The University of Washington, King County and where my wife works, Nanostring, among them. This morning, traffic was holiday-light, as if people were all out of town on vacation. Instead, they were at home, hoping to avoid catching the bug.

The Northshore School District up north where my kids went decided to just close schools for up to 14 days, this after they had already closed for a couple of other days. Emerald City Comic Con is next week. Vendors are dropping out left and right. The famous South By Southwest gathering in Austin next week is endangered, as some attendees are already announcing they’ll pass. Japan had said earlier that there was absolutely no way they would be moving the Olympics this summer. Now they’re saying they’d be open to delaying it.  The latest James Bond movie was supposed to hit theaters by April. That’s been bumped to November so that this coronavirus outbreak has a chance to settle down.

I can’t believe I spent all those years preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse when I should have been watching the Dustin Hoffman movie, “Outbreak.”  By the way, the folks at Netflix brought it back this month, for those who need to catch up.

 

It’s been bad, but we’re on track for things to get much worse. We saw a couple of panic shopping outbreaks last week, with people stocking up on toilet paper, for God’s sake. Gatherings are being canceled, people are scrapping trips they had planned and looked forward to, because we just don’t know where this is going to go. A treatment or vaccine could be up to a year away. They hope the warmer summer months might help it partially go away but, again, there’s just so much we don’t know.

So, Keith Richards and Betty White, if the time comes where you two are really the last ones left on earth and you are reading this, here’s how it all started a way back in the year 2020. Just in case you don’t remember. If my Wacky Week website is still up, check it out. There are a few coronavirus jokes there that you guys might find funny.

Tim Hunter

 

Roger Murtaugh Really Said It All

As fans of the “Lethal Weapon” movies, my wife and I occasionally find ourselves re-watching those fun films. We’re also excited to hear that the boys have at least one more movie coming our way.

And when we sit down to watch the next “Weapon”, we know that at some point in the film, Danny Glover’s character, Roger Murtaugh, is going to utter his famous catch phrase, “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.”

Truer words were never spoken and as I continue staying heavily involved in the world around me, including social media, I know there’s a time coming where I’m going to just flat be too old.

And it’s getting closer.

The other morning, while multi-tasking my brains out as I often do, I came across an article in the New York Post about Jasmin Bleeth. It was basically a “here she is now” and I found it fascinating. It showed her in the 1980s during her Baywatch hey day, side-by-side with a phot of her walking her dog recently. Not thinking anything beyond, “Wow, that’s interesting!” I thought others might want to see this, too, so I posted it on Facebook. The only word I added to the picture was, “Huh.”

In fact, here’s the photo.

Boy, remember when Baywatch was THE show on TV?  Those slow-motion jogging scenes, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff and yes, Jasmine Bleeth. To me, the photo was a reminder of just how ago that was–it first debuted in 1989. Using a calculator and doing some quick math, that’s 31 friggin’ years ago. Wow.

I expected to see some entertaining comments, so I kept working while occasionally checking back on the post. I worked on my contribution to Daily Show Prep (that I write every morning), chatted with my wife during our morning hangout, listened to my tracks play on KRKO, even chatted with my son about one of their dogs and how it ate a bunch of rocks.

Eventually, I returned to the post and realized that I’m just not woke enough.

The responses ranged from “apparently its wrong for women to age” to “WTAF”.  I PM’d some of the respondents that appeared offended by this photo. One had a sister with a weight gain problem, and so it reminded it of her. My intent was never to be mean or offend or irritate anyone, I just thought it was interesting. The phrase “fat shaming” came up. OK, I’m done and so I deleted the post.

I know people who have gladly given up Facebook and this experience definitely pushed me a step closer. I suppose as long as I have a public persona to keep out there, I need to use it, but there will come a day when I will definitely disappear. Or, at least cut back to a very small club.

They way I understand Facebook is that it’s supposed to bring us all together. When I post something to my FB friends, it’s supposed to be like they were sitting next to me and I was just showing them something. It is and has never been my intent to offend, tick off or mislead anyone. Maybe its my fault for accepting too many borderline Facebook connections who are more acquaintances than friends.

I’m a big fan of hiding posts and ‘friends’ who put up stupid stuff, especially in the political arena.  I swear, every six months, this one shows up.

When this first showed up in my feed a couple of years ago because my cousin posted it, I took the time to inform him that Trump never said that. It was a hoax, fake news, whatever you want to call. And his response was, “Well, it’s like something he would say.”

So, rather than letting people know it was fake, it was passed on to other Facebookers, who most likely reposted it, assuming it was true.  If you’d like to read the story of that post, here you go.

And for the record, I’m not a President Trump fan. I’m following our political process and anxious to see if a viable candidate can emerge from the other side.

But look at those two examples. The Jasmin Bleeth was factual, the Trump story a hoax, and yet the Trump story is Facebook re-post gold.

It’s becoming obvious to me that the first step in making a gradual withdrawal from Facebook is to cut down my ‘friends’ list to only include people I know and can actually remember talking with in the past decade. I’ve been accepting anyone who would ask (except for a Nigerian prince. He still owes me that money) and now have 1,482 FB friends.  With almost 1500 people seeing my posts, I guess the odds are pretty good that something I post could offend someone.

And that’s a game you never win. Post a picture of a dog and someone could write, “Oh, I see, you hate cats.”  Show a sunset and someone else could post, “Oh, sure, flaunt your good weather. Back here, we’ve got three feet of snow.”

Look, if you truly know me, I’m all about positive and fun and being happy. It’s finally starting to sink in that maybe Facebook and I have different goals and expectations. I just know if I don’t have the time or energy to get caught up in a debate about something I post being mean-spirited or ill-intended. I just don’t do that.

My frustration is probably rooted in the fact that I’m just getting too old for this shit.

Tim Hunter

 

 

The Happiest Moment of Your Life Is Right Now

As I creep up there into the red zone of my existence here on earth, the lessons are all around me, including this one.

This moment, right now, could be the happiest moment of my life and I could end up not realizing it.

This revelation occurred to me the other night when I told Alexa to play “Heroes”, by David Bowie. As I drifted off into the familiar lyrics, I remember that it was popular on the radio station where I was working at the time, KQOT. We’re talking a little Day-Timer (yes, we turned off the station at night) that I haunted from May of 1977, through early 1979. At the time, I might have been earning $500 a month, was playing the hits and running a radio station, doing dances to earn extra money over the weekend and generally having fun. At the time, had you asked me if I was having fun, I would have probably said, “Eh. OK.”

But in looking back at that time which is now 43 years ago, I didn’t realize how much freedom I had, how much opportunity I was surrounded with and how much I was truly in the driver’s seat of my career.

As much as I am now.

All it took to realize that clarity was to realize just how much I had at the time, that I really didn’t appreciate. The same could be said about today, except that I have learned a little bit along the way.  You can be in the “now”, thinking about all the things that don’t make this the ideal point of your life—OR, embrace what’s working and build on that. It’s what you unconsciously do anyway, but you don’t realize it until after the moment has passed.

Seriously, you’ve got some good going on in your life. Focus on that, realize just how much positive there is in your life, so you can enjoy it NOW instead of realizing it years from now.

At which point, you could also be happy, if you just take the take to realize just how much good there is around you.

It’s entirely possible that the happiest moment of your life is right now.

Tim Hunter

A Real Test

Over the past five years, I’ve manage to create a nice little routine that has evolved into a weekly schedule that pushes and challenges me. However, somehow, every week I come out a winner.

This may finally be the week that gets me.

I have my daily obligations–writing for a radio show prep service, turning out another morning show for KRKO and all the duties that come with being the Chief Creative Guy at Create Impulse, as well as operating Tim Hunter Creative Services. Yeah, my plate is pretty full.

With careful planning, I can move things around and accommodate a variation to my schedule. For example, last week I flew down to southern California to hang with my mom and sister. It just took working ahead and then going like a madman when I got back.

However, this could be the work week that breaks the camel’s back. I’ve been summoned to jury duty.

So, on top of everything else I’m doing in my weekly dash of madness, on Wednesday—I’m heading to jury duty.

This will be only the second time in my life I’ve been called. Once, when I was doing the KLSY radio thing, I left in the 8 o’clock hour to make it to Lynnwood by 9, only to be dismissed on day one.  I’m hoping for a repeat performance.

Oh, wait, back in elementary school, I was in a class play of “12 Angry Men” where I learned that I wasn’t much of an actor. I remember Mr. Ray trying his best to make me really sell my line, “But there IS something personal.”  I never got it.

I’m going all kinds of out-of-bounds for this adventure. I’m going to try taking the bus to downtown to minimize the financial damage this will have on me. Since Wednesday is normally my KRKO weekly staff meeting, I have to miss everyone this week.  And it’s downright scary to think I could get involved with something that goes on for a week or two.

I know it’s our system and my duty to serve and if I don’t do it, who will?

Follow my Facebook feed to find out what happens. As I try to work ahead on a couple of things, I already know this is going to be a real test.

Wish me luck!

Tim Hunter

The Time I Was a Buffoon

I can’t believe I did that.

Seriously, how many times have you gone to an airport and heard the overhead announcement about “unattended bags?”

You DON’T just leave a bag off to the side, or in this case, under a chair, by itself, at an airport. Period.  With all the times I’ve flown and as much time as I have spent in airports over the years, especially over the last couple of decades, I personally must have heard that announcement over a hundred times.

Plus, it’s common sense. You just don’t do that.

Unless you’re me.

So, I’m flying out of the brand-new Paine Field airport in Everett last week and I was so excited to see it. Seriously, it’s a showcase on how to do an airport–relaxed, simple, lots of help, tasty food for sale, etc. It’s been open almost a year and I had been able to sneak into a press preview event, but I didn’t really have a chance to walk around and see all there was to see until last week.

They had some really cool sling chairs that looked comfortable, right in front of a big window so that you could watch jets come and go. I saw an open seat and set up camp, putting down my glasses on the table next to my special seat, I put my coat over the back of the chair, and my briefcase in front of the chair.

But I wanted to get over and check out the Beecher’s snack bar (with that delicious Mac ‘n Cheese) and didn’t want to give up my great seat. There was no one really around, so I thought I could wander over to the snack bar, really quick. Since I was traveling by myself, I slid the laptop under the chair because as nice as the airport was, I didn’t want to tempt any would-be thieves.

I’ll bet I wasn’t gone more than 4-minutes and 27-seconds, but when I returned, I had guests. Standing there was a state trooper, an airport security guard and someone in a suit, obviously from the airport. Oh, the looks I was getting. “Uh, you know you left your bag unattended, right?” and I realized right then and there, I had completely violated all those warnings and all the common sense in the world since 9-11 changed everything. I usually travel with my wife and so, it didn’t even dawn on me that I shouldn’t wander away, leaving my bag behind. Thinking back, I should have told someone nearby that I was leaving just for a moment. But at the time, no one was sitting next to me.

Now that I have done the unthinkable, I feel all the shame they intended. The security guard tried to emphasize the seriousness of my transgression: “You know, sometimes they’ll pick up deserted bags and make people go through security all over again.”  Considering that amounted to just one person on my way in, that wasn’t really that much of a threat. But I know what he meant. I was a bonehead, a moron, a nincompoop.

I just wanted to pass along my experience, to help you avoid similar embarrassment and bringing a great shame upon your family name.

Hopefully, I’ve been “scared straight” and that will never happen again. I didn’t need to confess my crime against humanity, but I just couldn’t resist trying to help you avoid that feeling I’ve got right now.

My old English teacher, Mr. Ray, would have called me, “A dolt!” I’m going to embrace ‘buffoon. ‘

Sigh.

Tim Hunter

Brothers in Comedy

I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait to think of the next one-liner and spends the majority of his life watching things go by, hoping for a good setup to a punchline.

Gosh, it goes back to my high school days when I started a notebook to collect jokes, those I had written, others I heard from friends or from comedians I admired on TV. Of course, I tried to write enough funnies to fill an air shift when I got into radio. As my involvement deepened, I’d write more jokes. Soon, I was putting out one-liners that went to Radio Online show prep for other disc jockeys to use and to be considered each night for Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” monologues. I sold quite a few over a 10-year run.

I know that Pedro Bartes over at the Jet was also a contributor to Jay. We both would “fax” in our jokes, along with some other comedy-writing pals of mine, and then keep our fingers crossed when watching the monologues to see if any of our material was used.

These days, of course, you’ll hear my jokes on my morning radio show on KRKO, and all are posted each week on my joke website, wackyweek.com.  I send out a weekly collection to a lot of people in a mass email (and, if you’d like to be added to that list, just shoot me an email), including Seattle Times‘ sportswriter, Dwight Perry.  Every now and then, Dwight will sneak one of my lines into his column and for a comedy writer, it’s just great to get some kind of verification that someone else found your joke humorous.

Another comedy writer Dwight frequently quotes is Jim Barach of JokesByJim.blogspot.com.  Dwight’s column is where Jim caught my attention and so I visited his website and found out a few things about him. He’s a TV weather guy in Charleston, West Virginia, that loves to write jokes. He also lost his wife several years ago to cystic fibrosis. I loved that he described himself in his profile as “widower, dad.”

There was a part of me who saw all this and basically felt like this was me in a parallel universe, where life dealt him some blows, but the drive to keep funny kept him going. He likes to describe himself as “the most prolific joke writer on the planet.” I know, by quantity, he’s got me beat.

So, over time, I’ve occasionally dropped him a note about one of his jokes, or noticing a typo that he might want to fix and each time, he was gracious and appreciative. Then, on one of my recent visits to his site, I saw that he’s running for political office in the state of West Virginia.

Suddenly, the degrees of separation got smaller. You see, my dad was born in Scotland, but was raised in West Virginia. I wrote to Jim to report that connection and here’s what he wrote back:

I have read the Appalachian accent is basically Scottish in nature as a lot of Scots came over here early on to work the coal mines and then ended up settling here long term. Many thanks again!

Jim

Yes, my dad, his dad and brothers found their way to steel mills and other jobs, whatever they could get. At least, before they were drafted or enlisted.  By the way, what he was thanking me for was my donation to his political aspirations. I barely know the guy, but I know he’s a family man, that loved his wife and lives to write jokes. I think we need more of those kind of people in office these days.

Should you want to do something crazy and contribute to his political campaign, even just $5, I know that’ll freak people out as they wonder, “Why is all that Seattle money heading his way?” Donate here.

I give you laughs on a weekly basis. If you find yourself being unable to wait, always check out Jim’s blogspot.

My brother in comedy.

Tim Hunter

 

I was this close

I try to keep track of these outpourings of my thoughts and while I enjoy exploring what’s rolling around in my brain, I originally planned to try and keep these on the lighter side. But sometimes real life wins out.

Thinking ahead to this week, I was this close to talking about the solemn anniversary of the Space Shuttle disaster. It was one of those moments where you knew exactly what you were doing when you heard the news.

That particular day–in fact, 34 days ago today as I write this–I had slipped out of KLSY to join our news anchor, Karyl Levinson, in speaking to broadcasting students at Bellevue Community College. I remember we got started, telling stories about how we got into radio and the like when all of a sudden, a student came in and let us know the Space Shuttle had exploded during takeoff. We apologized to the students and then headed back to the radio station, with Karyl being the on-duty representative of our news department.

As television went non-stop in their coverage of the disaster and President Reagan gave his “slipped the surly bonds of earth” speech, the country remained in shock and disbelief. As I look back at that day, I realize that my lifetime has collected quite a collection of those moments. As you know, just when you think you can’t be shocked, something like 9-11 happens and raises the bar of shock all over again.

My lifespan has included the assassination of a president, a presidential candidate, and several civil rights leaders. Celebrities have been taken way too early and when it’s not drug-related, it’s due to a car, plane or helicopter crash. You start listing them and its mind-numbing to think about how many of the famous and legendary had their time cut so short.

Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, Jim Croce, John Lennon, Heath Ledger, Marvin Gaye, Corey Monteith, Paul Walker, Roberto Clemente, Amy Winehouse…and Judy Garland. I was 14 years old when she passed away at the age of 47. And at my age now, 47 seems so young.

Now the week where I would reflect on the Shuttle disaster has been taken over by the Kobe Bryant tragedy.

It became the latest incident where I will always remember where I was when I heard the news. We had just sat down to a brunch at my son and daughter-in-law’s home, along with her parents, when my son’s iWatch vibrated. He said, “Oh, no. I hope this isn’t true. It’s saying Kobe Bryant had died.”

Those with their phones began searching for the story and it wasn’t hard to find. By that time, an hour after the crash, there was plenty on-line to read about what happened and the additionally sad news that his second-oldest daughter was on board.

Kobe was no more important than the above-mentioned celebrities or the passengers who were also aboard that ill-fated helicopter. As they investigate the crash site, experts are reviewing everything they can and doing whatever it takes to find out what happened and what caused the crash.

But it won’t bring any of them back.

Now, I wasn’t a Kobe Bryant fan. That’s not to say I don’t completely respect his talents, his five N.B.A. championships, two Olympic gold medals and his amazing scoring ability. All this from a kid out of Philadelphia who went straight from high school to the N.B.A..  You see, I’ve been living in the Pacific Northwest since 1973, so when you say “The Lakers” that’s where I think of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Mel Counts and Wilt Chamberlain, those guys.  Kobe was part of the new Lakers who were west coast rivals of my adopted team, the Seattle Supersonics.

But he was a hard guy to not know about. As a comedy writer, he was a punchline for anything that had to do with not passing or hogging the ball. Then, there was the time he allegedly cheated on his wife and he bought her a HUGE diamond ring to apologize. That was followed by a rape charge, which was eventually dropped. One young Washington Post writer found out that you’ve got to treat a popular legend with a little more respect, rather than speaking ill about him hours after his demise.

Like I said, I didn’t follow Kobe, I only saw what I saw. In recent years, I was hearing that he was really big about spending time with his family and encouraging his daughter’s basketball dreams. He was a fan of WNBA basketball, because he believed, in time, she would be playing at that level. Just a few weeks ago, Kobe spent a weekend in the Pacific Northwest, visiting a girls’ tournament in the central Washington town of Cashmere.

I know that he used that helicopter as a way to enable him to do more. To spend less time on the freeway in traffic and be able to get to meetings or basketball games. Kobe was an over-achiever and I can understand that more than you’ll ever know. If you have that disease, you just can’t resist accomplishing even more than what you’ve already done if it’s possible.

This past Sunday morning, Kobe and his daughter went to a Catholic mass at 7 a.m. and had communion. They then returned home and boarded the helicopter to head to a game that they never reached.

I don’t know where Kobe’s head was at. Was this the new and improved “Family Man” Kobe, who had finally shaken the Playboy mentality that evolves when you’re young and suddenly rich?  Maybe. I want to believe that he had grown up, found peace and that he was thoroughly enjoying his time spending time with his kids and coaching them as I did. For me, it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and if opportunity allows, I’d love to do it again.

So now, January 26th has an incredibly sad time stamp on it every year that it passes around. It’ll be a reminder that there are no guarantees, that everything doesn’t have to make sense. We have what is right in front of us right now, so make it all count. Hug the ones you love and don’t waste a single opportunity to do good whenever you can and always do what’s right.

To me, this isn’t about an NBA superstar and his untimely death. This is about a dad and his daughter on their way to her basketball game that had a sudden, tragic ending.

God’s peace to the families of everyone lost that day.

Tim Hunter