A Significant Date

Well, lookee there—it’s already October!

When this month arrives, everything under God’s green earth is available in a Pumpkin-Spiced flavor, we start seeing suggestions for Halloween costumes and brightly-colored leaves are tossed into every piece of advertising. As I’ve said before, this is my absolute favorite season, with the return of football and big games on both Saturday and Sunday, baseball and soccer playoffs and so much more, I welcome each day as a favorite relative making an annual visit.

So it seems only fitting that October 1st should mean so much to me. That’s the date, five years ago–October 1st, 2014–that I rolled my career dice to see what would happen.

I was in my late 50s, in a job that was slowly smothering my creativity. Whatever I came up with was dumbed down. I saw projects I was proud of be “corrected” into Pablum. I initially talked about quitting that summer or looking for work elsewhere, but my salary was boosted enough to make me stay, at least for a few more months.  But as the summer wore on, so did my patience. When I went away for an extended Labor Day Weekend, I came back to find out that radio commercials I had creatively written had been slashed down to the 4th grade reading level and targeted towards consumers in the 1980s at best. I walked into my supervisor’s office and gave my one-month’s notice.  That would give them 30 days to find someone else to take on this mental flogging.

As September 30th approached, there were going-away events, tying up loose ends, and cleaning out desks to keep me busy. After all, I had been there 10 years and a lot of crap tends to pile up. I made some life-long friends at this place and stay in touch with a dozen or so of them still today. I actually sat down to count up the number of people I had worked with in that building. It was an even 100, with a staff averaging 16-41 people at any given time. Yes, people came, people went. I was going, but not in any particular direction.

I decided this would be a great time to create my ideal work situation. Rather than going into another full-time job, I wanted to piece-meal and craft some kind of situation where I could do more of the things I love and then just keep doing those until I was ready to hang it up for good. (not that I ever think I will)

For some of those close to me, there was trepidation and concern. There are those who need that sure-thing, full-time job for security’s sake. Having been eliminated from radio positions twice in my career, I found both times that when a job goes away, everything will be OK. You gotta believe in yourself and your skills and know that someone out there is going to appreciate them.

I reconnected with a former co-worker, Corey Newton and joined Create Impulse, a local ad agency. I started Tim Hunter Creative Services and picked up a handful of clients right away, and then spent more time developing other ventures I had dabbled in–voice over work, creating videos, writing more comedy, etc.  And now, it’s been five years since this grand experiment began and I’m so glad I finally took the big plunge. I’m also very grateful that it all worked out.

I remember, somewhere in mid-September of that year, I got a phone call from Fred Herring, a Bothell real estate guy that reached out to me every couple of years to have me speak at the Bothell Kiwanis breakfast. He asked if I was available to come and chat at their next gathering and I asked, “When’s that, Fred?”  “October 1st,” he responded.

“As a matter of fact, Fred, I’m available that day.”

It would be Day One of my grand experiment, so I already had a topic: “Now this is living!”

I live a busy life and every now and then, like this week, commitments pile up and make for an on-the-go adventure. I live for it, yet some don’t understand it. “You’re too busy!”

I laugh and over-schedule in your face.

The day will come when I can’t do this anymore. But for now, I can and so I will.

And loving it. For five years now. Something I heard many years ago was that, in your final moments, you don’t regret what you did during your life–but rather, what you didn’t do.

I’m making that list shorter every day.

Tim Hunter

 

The Great Otto Correct Battle

I have always been an early adaptor when it comes to technology. I love new things and to be among the first to play with them.

I remember fairly soon after microwaves came out, I bought one, despite the fact the radioactivity coming from it was only slightly lower than Chernobyl.

When the VCR became available to the masses, I just had to have one. $1200 later,  this big silver box was perched by my TV flashing 12:00am like it meant it.

So, when cell phones began invading our world, I just had to get one.  I admit, at first, they were SO expensive that I quenched my technology thirst by using the radio station’s phone for personal appearances and such.  It was one of these:

 

Eventually, they became consumer ready and I charged into the technology with a Nokia phone. Yes, the Microsoft phone. I wanted to support the local company that provided the phone’s operating system, but that passion soon faded as friends with Androids or iPhones were able to download cool, fun programs, and I just had to watch. Eventually I made the break to Samsung and was an S3 through S8 user. But when the battery on my S8 started dying every couple of hours even after I had replaced it, I decided to finally take the Apple plunge. I bought an X last year and have been in love ever since.

Except for one thing that I think everyone struggles with no matter which brand: voice recognition.

When I began dating a special someone a dozen years ago with Norwegian heritage, the two of us developed the habit of ending our correspondences with “Jeg elsker deg”–Norwegian for “I love you.”  It wasn’t long before we abbreviated it to the initials, J.E.D.  A typical message would be, “See you tonight. JED”

Texting that with your thumbs, no problem. Saying it for the sake of a voice-recognition text is another thing. I would think that, over time, it would notice I say “JED” a lot and it would learn, but NOOOOOOO.

So, over the past year, my wife has received text messages from me that are signed with something that was supposed to be JED. Among the lack of voice recognitions created by Siri and her co-conspirators:

Chad (ironically, one of the names of her bosses)

Jen

Jihad

Chin

Shawn

John

and Judge

So, to all those people out there named Jed who have run into this modern-day challenge, I feel your pain. Something to consider: legally changing your name to “I love you.” It would help both of us out.

Tim Hunter

PS: I don’t know about you, but when it comes to Jeds, to me, this is still the most famous one.

 

Can Everybody Just Calm The BLEEP Down?

So, last Sunday was going to be epic. We didn’t have any plans to speak of, were going to spend the day putzing around the house and maybe run a few errands, all after the Seahawks finished their early game.

I got up, turned on the TV and the screen was blue. I was able to switch to Netflix or Prime, no problem and the cheap digital antenna I hooked up worked. So, there was something wrong with the cable.

I did a couple of resets of the system without any luck. I got a Xfinity/Comcast person on the phone, we tried a couple of his tricks and still, nothing. So, I booked the soonest service appointment they had available which was Monday afternoon. Go without cable for over 24 hours? Unthinkable. My plan was to run over to the Comcast store when it opened at 10am, swap boxes and if that ended up being the problem, I’d just cancel the repair appointment. This should work.

In the meantime, a bunch of panicky emails started circulating from my KRKO & KXA radio brethren up north.  Apparently, a staff member had posted a picture of some teens and several of our Facebook followers were pointing out that they were allegedly flashing “White Gang Signs.”  The immediate response by one of those in our group was to take it all down, which they did.

But what’s this White Gang sign thing? I apparently operate in different circles and I’m not doubting there is such a thing, but how did several of our listeners become such great experts in this field?  Well, let’s start with the controversial picture:

 

OK, I’ll give you that they’re white. There’s three of them, so technically, it could be a gang. A small gang, but a gang none the less.  But before we start making accusations about some teens in Snohomish County, why would you immediately go to the darkest place possible? Do you know these kids and what they are into?  My God, how many times did I mug the camera when I was in my teens, doing goofy things.

So, are they “White Gang” signs?  Well, you be the judge–here’s a website that identifies all of the possible White Gang signs.

Not really a lot of matches, unless you’re considering the classic “OK” sign to be a gang sign. Are you willing to go there and think the worst of these kids because of the OK sign they’re flashing?  Then I’d just like to quickly point several other White Gang members of whom you may not be familiar.

 

Yeah, I always knew they were up to something

 

You tell ’em, T-Pain

 

Such a young age to be a racist

 

No, Johnny, No!

 

Paul, how could you?

 

Hermione, say it isn’t so!!!

 

I should have known by the gang hoodie.

I think that’s a hoodie.

All this to say, just calm the BLEEP down. Like I said, if you know those kids are White Gang members, SAY SOMETHING TO THE POLICE. But if you’re just trying to troll from the confines of your parents’ basement, get a life. Or go after some of these other, more well-known targets above, Mr. or Mrs. Gang Sign Expert.

Now, back to my cable situation. Well, with the Seahawks playing at 10am, my game plan was to hop in the car and be at the Xfinity/Comcast store right when they open, swap out boxes and hopefully be back watching the game by the second quarter. It seemed crazy enough that it just might work.

Except, when I arrived, I found out that they don’t actually open until 11am. Well, rather than running back and forth from my house to the mall, I called my wife and said I was going to go hang out at The Ram, have a beer and watch the game until the cable store opened.  I pulled up to the Ram–and it was closed. They didn’t open until 11. So I headed over to Stanford’s and they also didn’t open until 11.  OK, that’s it, I surrender. I’ll burn up a little more fossil fuel and go home for 20 minutes and then head back.

My second trip proved more fruitful. Within 3 minutes, I had handed over the old box, grabbed the new one, and zipped home.  VICTORY! It was a defective cable box all along!  My big beautiful 70-inch television was once again filled with Seahawks football and my precious Sunday morning was back to normal. I was elated.

So much, I flashed myself the “OK” sign.

And all this left me with just one question: Can everybody just calm the BLEEP down?

Tim Hunter

PS  So now the move is on to make all of those people pictured above racists. Here’s the story

 

The Most Expensive Concert Ever

 

For years, I knew Chris Isaak existed.

People who use to listen to “The Mountain” here in Seattle or even going back to the KZAM era, there were people who knew Chris Isaak was around.  I actually knew several die-hard fans who went to see him every time he came to the northwest, which was pretty much every year.

So, when a friend of ours asked if we wanted to go see Chris at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery on September 7th, we immediately said, “Yes!”

Chris had a big hit with “Wicked Game” and I personally love that song. Whatever else he played, people seemed to like. I heard that in concert he was very personable and like to talk with the crowd and tell stories. Sounds like a good time to me.

So, we committed to the concert. Tickets were $50 each to sit on the lawn and listen, which is my favorite way to enjoy concerts at this venue. So, keeping track, we’re in $100 so far.

The day of the concert, we arrived later than I would have liked, but hey, for a $50 concert and to hear someone I’d always wanted to catch, that’s a deal. Oh, parking was $20.

Now, we’re inside the gates and had to buy some wine. You’re no longer allowed to bring in wine to the concert, even if it’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. You have to buy it on premises. I purchased two bottles at the outside booth, while my wife bought one bottle inside the winery–grand wine total spent, $110. For those of you keeping score at home, we’re now up to $230 for the event.

I’m not even going to include the cost of the food we bought for the picnic. But for a while, all was great.  The opening act was tolerable, the crowd was growing excited, and then, the big moment: Chris Isaak took the stage.

It was everything I had hoped for–energy, excitement about being there, he told some stories about life, etc. OK, there were those on-going flashes of lightning in the background throughout. Then, the moment came–a disembodied voice let us know that we needed to evacuate. Yes, due to the lightning storm danger, we were asked to leave everything where it was and head either to our cars, or inside to the winery.

Oh, sure, “to our cars.”  Can’t think of a better place to be than a car during a lightning storm.

So, there we sat, inside the winery, awaiting word on the concert. At one point, an employee without a sound system to assist her announced that the winery had gotten permission to go later than normal 10pm curfew, should the concert be able to resume. Yay, us!

90-minutes after coming in to avoid the lightning storm, we were told we had 20-minutes to go outside, retrieve our soaking-wet blankets and chairs and get out of Dodge. Yes, the concert was officially canceled.

It doesn’t matter how you break it down. I went to the Rolling Stones concert in August and got two hours with free tickets. I go back to my U-Dub days, when I fell asleep during a Led Zeppelin concert, only to hear the first couple of songs and then the last song. At least four songs, for something like $40.

For Chris Isaak, $230 was spent for four songs. That figures out to $57.50 per song. That right there is a pretty expensive way to do a concert.

Chateau Ste. Michelle hasn’t said a word. Apparently, we’re supposed to eat it. We’ll stand by, awaiting further results, but it’s going to make me think twice about going there–as much as I love that venue–to know that you can go $230 deep for four songs.

Yep, absolutely the most expensive concert I’ve ever been to…..

WAIT!!!!!

And now this late-breaking update!!

Seriously, I was just about to hit “publish” when I thought I’d check the Chateau Ste. Michelle website to see if there was any update from there. There was.

Provided we get to go, Chris Isaak is no longer the most expensive concert I’ve ever attended.  I’ll have to figure that one out later. In the meantime, I wonder if  we already have something planned on the 22nd?  Hmmmm, I’ll have to check.

Tim Hunter

Visiting Scotland and Ireland 101

 

One of the Scottish castles, most likely once attacked by Vikings. Notice the picnic tables the Vikings used in the foreground.

OK, I can’t resist–here are some stories from my recently completed adventure which took my wife Victoria and me through Scotland and Ireland. This will sound crazy, but it’s the first vacation where it was just the two of us–not traveling with relatives or visiting relatives–since our honeymoon almost 12 years ago. That’s long enough to make a Scotch!

And that part is coming up….but first:

So this doesn’t become a long-winded travelogue full of things that mean more to us than you, I thought I’d pass along some of the things I learned along the way so you might benefit from my gained knowledge.

First off, this was my first vacation where I really turned over a lot of it to a travel agent. The story behind the one we picked (Jo at Tangerine Travel)–I was leaving a Bothell Kenmore Chamber meeting a couple of months ago when a woman approached me and asked, “Are you the Tim Hunter who used to be on the radio?” I said, “Maybe…..”  That’s when she let me know that her name is Jo but long ago, she was my newspaper girl Jody and that she babysat my kids a couple of times. These days, she was a travel agent.

So, with this reacquainted friendship and the fact I once trusted her with my kids, I thought I should see what happens when you let an agent handle everything. I’m totally convinced it’s worth the $40 per person fee for planning everything and being there on the other end, if anything goes wrong. Oh, and things can.

THE FLIGHTS

Probably the first nugget I’ll pass along has to do with the Irish airline, Aer Lingus.  For those of you who don’t know, Aer Lingus is Gaelic for “lost luggage.” Two weeks before we left, my step-son Nick and his wife Samantha left Seattle bound for a Scotland/Italy vacation. The day before coming home, Nick got his bag. Sam hasn’t seen hers yet, three weeks later.

When we flew from Edinburgh to Dublin, Victoria’s bag made it. Mine was nowhere to be seen, as dozens of others were also missing from our flight. We were told by an Aer Lingus rep that if the flight was full, that some of the heavier bags may have been bumped to a later flight. Mine finally arrived a day later, so I only had to make due for roughly 30 hours.

The main flight from Seattle to Dublin takes around 9 hours. You can watch a lot of movies and avoid a lot of sleep during that time. They called it “coach”, but I feel we flew in Leprechaun Class. Those seats were obviously designed for people much smaller than me. Then again, when the woman in front of my wife leaned her seat back, the video screen for Victoria was about 10-inches from her face.

The jets they flew were Airbus and new, so that was a plus. However, the flight crew on the way over must have had family members taken hostage because they were more tolerant than friendly. However, on the way back, we had a happy crew including a singing flight attendant.

THE CAR RENTAL

Yeah, I took the big swing and rented a car for our exploration of Scotland. Wheel on the wrong side, driving on the wrong side, the works. A close call of almost pulling out into oncoming traffic as I left the rental place inspired me to driver overly-parnoid the entire time. It paid off. No incidents except for a couple of curb encounters of the gentle kind the first day. It takes getting used to, but it can be done. For what we did, it was perfect. City driving is far from fun, with all the one-ways and reverse turns and boy, are they big on round-abouts, which are tricky enough when you’re driving the proper direction. Our first night in Edinburgh, we arrived to the city in our rental car around 6pm….and at 8pm, we broke down and asked a taxi driver to lead us to our hotel.  Oh, we had a Garmin, but it tried to direct us to roads that are usually open–but that were closed due to the annual International Fringe Festival. (the nickname is ED Fest, so that’s not what you were thinking) To see the country and get outside of the cities, its best to rent a car. But I’m figuring next time, by the time you figure in rental, gas and parking, it’s probably break-even to just taking the bus or train to get around. And less stressful.

THE ACCOMODATIONS

Jo came up with a nice blend of hotels to stay at, most including breakfast as part of the price.

The Parliament House–The hard-to-find when you’re new in town, but totally worth it destination. The cleanliness of the rooms blew my wife away and their in-hotel Bistro offered up delicious, not-over-priced food, with food allergy accommodations. It felt very homey.

 

Highlight of this place–I’d have to say the breakfast

 

Loch Ness Clansmen Hotel–It is right across from the lake where Nessie calls home and a nice headquarters for a day. We did two nights there, which really weren’t necessary, but it allowed us to explore on a more leisurely pace. From Edinburgh, it was a 5-hour drive through the Highlands to get here, which allowed us to visit the Culloden Battlefields to the north and Urquhart Castle to the south. Oh, and we went looking for the Queen’s summer castle which was under heavy guard so when we found the royal distillery, we called it good.

The famous Highland Games were actually held when we were there, but not having cash, we couldn’t get in. The nearby bank machine had been cleaned out. We felt it just wasn’t mean to be.

Highlight of the Clansmen–Dave’s perfect Cosmo.

Jury’s Inn GlasgowThis was a centrally-located hotel, which made for easy discovery around the city. We were given an executive corner room. My wife thought it was one of the best rooms we stayed in. However, the main point of coming here was to flush out some family history, as my dad was born in the town of Wishaw, not far away. We believe found some new branches of the tree which I’m going to flush out on a recommended website, Scotlands People.

Highlight of this destination–we hopped a cab and had dinner at a place called the Hillhead Book Club

Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge –Then it was back to Edinburgh for a couple of days. We had only really spent 12 hours there our first visit and I’m so glad we took the time to see more of the sites of this city. Now, the plus side of this hotel was its location. We were surrounded by the city and walked our little tails off. The drawback of the Ibis: it’s for the hipster generation. Very minimalistic. Want more than 4 power outlets in the room? Out of luck, pal. Want a nice, cushy bed? How about a box frame and thick mattress pad thrown on top. We considered it glamping. Oh, and if you want to reach the front desk, the room doesn’t have a phone. You’re supposed to reach them on the app, WhatsApp.  Again, for me, the food was fantastic and I made the most of that included breakfast.

Highlight of this destination–it’s central location allowed us to walk and see so much!

The Clarence–So, off to Dublin we went for a two night stay before heading home. The headline on The Clarence is that Bono from U2 owns it. No, we didn’t bump into him. Adequate accommodations with double windows to help keep the late night sound of Dublin’s partiers from waking you up. But BINGO as far as location goes. We were in the center of this fabulous city and just down the lane from the Temple Bar and a 25-minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse.

Highlight of the Clarence–location, location, location (and a really friendly staff)

COUPLE OF QUICK THINGS ON FOOD

These are Langoutstines, in-between a lobster and a crayfish. Delicious.

I managed to have haggis every day of our 9 day visit. It’s served with a grain and tastes more like a spicy bread burger. In Ireland, they must not like the name, so they served it as “white and black porridge.”

Between all the distilleries in Scotland and the Guinness Store House in Dublin, you’ll be happy. I promise you.

ODDITIES

They say things differently. For example, instead of the sign saying “Exit”, they have:

 

Or, instead of saying “For Rent”, they have:

 

Over there, they have another word for speed bumps:

And they have a sense of humor:

     

In summary, this trip has to rank up there with among the greatest vacations I’ve ever taken. While we drove a lot, I feel there was so much we could have seen. Next time, I could easily envision a train/bus adventure, with lots of walking thrown in.

Half my heritage is Scottish. I can see why they loved the country so much and called it home. I also realized how difficult it must have been for them to leave it all behind for a new country. But I’m so glad they did.

Tim Hunter

The Long And Winding Stones

Last Wednesday, August 14th, the long-awaited, much anticipated Rolling Stones “No Filter” concert took place at Century Link Field and the longest concert journey of my life finally came to an end.
This goes back a couple of years, to 2017, when a Norwegian friend of ours asked me the question, “Do you like the Rolling Stones? If they came to town, would you like to go?”
It’s kind of like someone asking you, “Would you mind winning the lottery? I know the money is messy and causes problems, but…”

“YES!” I replied, “Tell me when and where to be and we are so in!” It turns out this person was the cousin of Keith Richards’ wife. They hadn’t seen each other since the World’s Fair in Seattle in 1962, when she and her family came to visit.  Over the years, this cousin grew up, met Keith at a party and 36 years later, they were still living the rock ‘n roll dream.

Then, late last year, the Stones announced they were touring and would hit Seattle in May. We contacted her to see if her offer was still good and she said absolutely.

On the work side of my life, my radio addiction job at KRKO up in Everett rounded out my Rolling Stones experience. An out-going promotions director managed to talk the Stones promotional folks into setting our station up with ten pairs of tickets, half on the 100 level and the other half closer to the moon, than to the stage. But they were still Rolling Stones tickets.

We gave away a pair a day right before Christmas and the phones melted down.  Five very happy KRKO listeners had Stones tickets in their hands for the holidays to do whatever they wanted to do with them.

The New Year begin with great anticipation of a legendary show come May. But then we got the word that Mick Jagger needed a procedure to keep him going and the Seattle concert was post-poned until August 14th.  We checked with our ticket source and she told us we were still on for tickets!

That was scary because we had scheduled a trip to Scotland and Ireland in August and I just knew they’d reschedule when we were gone. But the rescheduling gods smiled upon us.

On the radio side, we had more fun giving away more tickets. We asked people to “Show us your KRKO” and they did. That’s how you entered the contest.

After we gave those away, we had a couple of pair left and so we steered people towards EverettPost.com, a sister company of the radio station. I encouraged people on my Facebook to enter and one friend who entered to “support the radio station” ended up being the winner. I didn’t do the drawing, so it just all worked out.

The day of the concert, our friend was up from Eugene, Oregon, and we picked her up and drove to Century Link Field. Her V.I.P. tickets came with a special parking pass that had us by the tour buses underneath the parking garage. They had a police car blocking the entrance until the sniffer-dog made sure you were OK.  We parked and headed towards our rendezvous with other cousins at a local watering hole.

They let us pass

After a libation or two, we got in line and waited about 20 minutes before they opened the gate. Our passes got us into the stadium and to a special V.I.P. reception, although basically it was beer, wine, potato chips and chocolate chip cookies. Still, a nice setting that allowed us to overlook the filling stadium and enjoy a free drink or two.

View from the V.I.P. lounge

A guy who was there and getting a lot of attention, posing for pictures with people and such turned out to be the Stones’ long-time keyboard player who has been with them since 1982. I guess the die-hard fans knew that. It was news to me.

So, off to our seats we headed and according to the tickets, we were in row 6. With help from the ushers, we found our seats, sat down and couldn’t see the stage. It was probably 100 feet away and you had to stand to see it because of that stuff in the way. My wife, Victoria, even checked with an usher to see if we were in the right seats. We were.

It turned out that “equipment” in the way was actually part of a stage that ran out into the crowd. When the band came out and performed out there, they couldn’t have been more than 40 feet away. It was amazing.

Yeah. THAT close.

Needless to say, it ended up being a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The opening act, Lukas Nelson (one of Willie’s sons) knocked it out of the park and I’ve already bought a couple of the songs he played that night. But the Stones and their entourage completely delivered.

From the 5-story screens, to energetic performances that didn’t betray any of their ages, they were as good as ever. Maybe better than ever, because as you know, the older you get, the more you appreciate things like still being here and doing what you love. And it was all capped off with fireworks overhead.

There had been talk about getting backstage passes, but that went away when Keith’s wife stayed home with their daughter to work on the daughter’s upcoming wedding. Oh, well.  Would have been nice, but maybe more than my little brain might have been able to comprehend that night.

I’m sure there are lots of other stories I’m forgetting, but the bottom line is, at this point, that was the greatest concert experience I’ve ever had. And at last, my great Rolling Stones adventure was complete. An oddysey that began two years ago, culminating in something I’ll remember as long as I’m breathing.

You can’t always get what you want, but in this case, I really, really did.

Tim Hunter

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.