I was thinking about what could be the topic of my blog this week. Gun control? Oh, I’ve done that, multiple times. Besides, the last couple of posts to this corner of the Internet have been a bit on the sad side, so I need to lighten things up. I thought of a couple of really good ideas, but then they left my brain because of my current obsession.
So I thought, “Hey, why not write about that?”
While others spend this month focused on spring, college basketball and other timely topics, as soon as March 1st arrives, I know the clock is ticking and I only have a month to assemble another one of my “National Gullible Day” broadcasts.
This will mark the sixth year I’ve asked friends to give it up and be silly with me on April Fools’ Day, doing a mock newscast as if National Gullible Day was a real holiday. (or is it?) And, as it seems every year, this year’s effort is looking like it will out-do all the earlier versions. You can watch them on the website.
This year will feature some of the regular cast members, along with a few new ones.
And a sneak peek at one of the funniest parts of the video that makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it, it’s a Memorialioleum(yes, I meant to spell it that way) of the National Gullible Fans we’ve lost since our last broadcast.
You know, of all the things I do throughout the year, this is the one tradition I need to continue doing. It’s such an incredible outlet.
I did have one idea that I self-censored. It’s a pretty hilarious concept, but in today’s uber-sensitive world, I just know it could hurt someone. While I’m usually fine with that, I just didn’t want a controversy to distract from the rest of the content.
If you want to know what it is, just ask the next time we chat.
So there’s your sneak preview. If you subscribe to my Wacky Week jokes, the link will be included there on April 1st. (If you’d like to be added to the list, just email me)
It’s funny how aging works. There are you, reaching your 30s that quickly become your 40s and then all of a sudden, your 50s show up. I’ve always described the 50s to friends on approach as the decade I’ve seen people really reach their stride. By that time, the kids have started migrating out of the house or are already gone, you’re putting the finishing touches on paying for their college (or contributing as much as you can) and now you’re on approach to retirement, but with a doable chunk of years to go. I know that it was in my 50s where I had to make a crucial life choice–continue living the way I had been living or make a break towards something better. Looking back, it was one of the wisest yet most difficult decisions I ever had to make, but I thank God I had the guts to do it.
That being said, I’ve reached the next tier. In fact, I’m in the mid-60s now and with lots of friends and relatives already participating in future decades, I’m seeing their memories begin to fade. A totally understandable phenomenon, as if you think about our brains being giant file cabinets, you really only have so much room.
I know that in my brain, I’m still retaining so much information I really don’t need (like the instrumental opening of “Breakdown” by Tom Petty is 27 seconds and the song is only 2:29) but there was a time when that was really useful info, especially when talking over an intro on the radio.
All this to say, there are some fun nuggets from my childhood I’d like to hang on to and rather than relying on my busy brain that will eventually fail, I’d like to tuck away a few of them right here:
I grew during a time BEFORE area codes. Our phone number had a name: it was FRONTIER 5-1777 (not the real number. C’mon, give me a little credit). That meant FR5-1777 and when you reached to the rotary dial to dial a number, you’d do the F (3) then the R (7) and the rest of the number. But before you dialed, you had to pick up the receiver and listened to hear if there were people talking or if there was a dial tone. We were on a “party line” that meant others used the same dial tone and if someone was already on, you had to wait to make your call.
TV and I grew up together around the same time. By the time I was in elementary school, the networks began pushing limits to try and get more viewers. When I was in 3rd grade or so, I remember a note being sent home from the parochial school I attended, urging parents not to let us young, impressionable minds watch the TV show, “Combat.” (not sure why they also didn’t warn us about “My Mother The Car”) I don’t remember my parents’ reaction, but I know it remained my favorite Tuesday night TV show. C’mon, it was about wars and guns and battles. A common birthday present during those years were cap guns or air rifles that didn’t shoot anything, but made a popping sound. These days, kids get all that from their video games.
Not sure if it’s still true today, but as a boy growing up, I had plenty of lapses in good judgement. There was the time when I was five that I bit the cheeks of a fellow kindergartener because they looked liked “peaches.” (seriously) Her big brother met up with me on the way home from school the next day to make sure it didn’t happen again.
And then was my classic case of Kid Karma. Once, while playing Hide ‘n Seek with classmates on the playground at Immanuel Lutheran Church, a girl named Laurel Scherer was about to touch the flag pole and yell, “1-2-3 on Tim!” For some reason (and this is where that brain of poor judgement kicked in again), as we both approached the flag pole, I gave her a shove. She fell face first into the pole and broke a front tooth. Of course, I felt horrible and despite my actions, we remained friends for the rest of our elementary school days together, but WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Oh and, for the record, I was ‘safe’.
Back to the Kid Karma. Years later, I was hanging out with my fellow Cub Scouts in front of my parents house (mom was a Den Mother) when one of them threw a rock that perfectly hit one of my front teeth and broke it in half. I’ve had a cap on that tooth ever since.
I guess it’s time to whip out the old philosophy I dig out often–what we are today is simply a culmination of everything and I mean EVERYTHING that has happened in our lives to this moment, good and bad. That includes those really bad decisions or events that occurred over the years. They all combine to make up what they call “a life.” We’ve all had a wealth of experiences and I’m a firm believer in that it’s not what happens to us, but how we handle it.
I’ve already written a few movie scripts and have others in mind. But maybe one of these days, I’ll write one that will include a collection of these long-lost stories in a film about my life. However, before I take the time to write a complete screenplay, I’ll have to check and see if Brad Pitt would be willing to be the lead.
Allow me my delusions. I’ve got quite a collection.
PS–Second row, boy on the far right. (in the photo, not politically)
So, I started the week at the eye doctor for my annual check-up. Truth be told, this exam was scheduled a couple of Fridays ago and I just flat-out spaced and missed the appointment.
I set 126 reminders on my phone, on Alexa, I wrote notes, I was not going to let this happen again. I arrived 15-minutes early and was among their first patients of the day. Since they hadn’t seen me for over a year, they handed me a printout and asked me to verify that all of the information on the paper was correct.
I started with the phone number. Nope, that’s wrong. I checked the address, wrong again. Up and down the page, none of this information made sense and that’s when I headed for the name.
Right there, as plain as the nose on my face: Tom Hutyler.
That’s just down right freaky.
You see, three decades ago, Tom and I worked together at KLSY. Tom had been the afternoon guy, but the station decided to take me off weekends, put me in afternoons and shift Tom and those dulcet tones to the mid-day slot.
But you couldn’t have Tom Hutyler on the radio, followed by Tim Hunter and the station’s first suggestion was for me to change my name. I had never used an alias (or “radio name”) on the air in my career, so I offered an alternative. What about adding my middle initial as a differentiator? They bought it.
So, for a while on 92.5 KLSY, it was Murdock in the Morning, followed by Tom Hutyler, and then me, Tim J. Hunter.
Most of the disc jockeys I’ve known over the years arrange the shifts in this hierarchy: if you can’t have the morning show, grab afternoons. If afternoons are available, put your foot into mid-days and then wait. Well, Tom wasn’t about to wait and the next thing you know, he was off to a successful run at KUBE and then, he wound up over at KOMO radio, where he still anchors the news today. That is, when he’s not being the voice of T-Mobile Park for the Seattle Mariners. Yep, when you hear that stadium voice, that’s Tom.
Back to this bizarre coincidence. I shot Tom a quick Facebook message and let him know about what had happened. He let me know that he had an appointment later that same day.
What are the odds? We go to the same eye clinic and had booked appointments on the same day.
I figure when he got there for his appointment, they probably had him review my contact information. You know, come to think of it, I haven’t seen Tom in person for a long time. Maybe I better book another eye appointment?
Yeah, it was the one of the most challenging 24 hours I’ve had for a long time.
To be honest, by the time Monday rolled around, I was happy to have made it to the work week. Things just seem a lot calmer during my jam-packed work days.
Last Saturday, thanks to my daughter, my wife & I were able to get our first Moderna COVID-19 shots down in Olympia at St. Peters hospital. We were thrilled to have the opportunity and so we made the 90-minute one-way trip to the state capitol. After getting our arms poked, my wife and I then had a chance to hang with my favorite nurse and get caught up on her family and such. Then, once we cleared the 15-minute wait period, we headed north back home.
Initially, it wasn’t so bad.
But when Sunday morning arrived, my left arm was SORE! I equated it to feeling as though someone had swung a baseball bat as hard as possible and hit your arm. However, that’s only where my fun weekend began.
That very morning, I went to flush the toilet. A common, normal thing to do in a home, but upon pushing down the handle, the water didn’t disappear. Ruh-oh. I gave it another flush and it wasn’t going anywhere. Then I heard water backing up in the laundry room next door and I knew we had a blocked drain again.
Yes, it’s happened before. We have an older home and that’s one of the things that comes with the ‘charm’ part. Occasionally, water that tries to flood our basement and a main sewage line that occasionally clogs. A couple of times I’ve had to call out a plumber to do his magic, but before surrendering to a $300+ fee, I went outside and retrieved my 50-foot auger.
It was completely in the pipe with no luck but I gave it one last little twirl and a push and WHOOSH! The drain opened up. Working with sewage is really not one of my favorite things, but you do what you have to do and I chalked that up as a win.
But before the champagne could be chilled, it was snack time! That was when I reached for a handful of pistachios (after showering and washing my hands multiple times). A couple of chomps and OUCH! I hit something hard, which I assumed was a shell that slipped past the factory. I pulled out the object and would you look at that–half a tooth! Yep, it was half of a former tooth of mine from the lower right corner of my mouth. It had apparently decided it was time to split.
And, oh yeah, my arm really, really hurts!
As luck would have it, I was very fortunate to be able to get into my dentist who made magic happen. He told me I was lucky because there were all kinds of ways for that tooth to have cracked that would have caused a lot of problems. Of all the possibilities, I had won the broken tooth lottery. It’s a nice way to win something, without all that messy money. And not anything that, after insurance coverage, $499.18 couldn’t fix.
So I guess in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t that bad of a weekend. I’m still breathing, I’m halfway to being inoculated against the coronavirus, and in a couple of weeks I’ll have a new cap in place and no one will be the wiser.
It’s all about how you view things. And it wasn’t rainy or a Monday. So, let’s get down!
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.
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.
I give the history of “Bimbo #5” in the video below, so I don’t want to take too much away from it. It was a parody song I did back in my KLSY days, in fact, 20 years this Halloween season. I would bring it out every year and play it on a speaker to go along with my decorated front porch for the trick or treaters. Then, as YouTube videos became all the range, I decided to try making a music video.
I’ve done dozens of those over the years, but this was my first. My creation. I outlined what I thought I needed, talked family and friends into gathering at my Seattle home and at a Bothell cemetery, and bought one of those Flip video cameras.
Oh, sure, the quality has come a long way and I was just starting to learn how to edit video. But somehow, it all worked out.
Recently, I connected with most of the cast members to talk about that day. Of course, it’s a Zoom world, so we had a virtual reunion. But once again, that worked out well, too.
Thanks to them and to you for helping make this silly little song a Halloween tradition. Here’s the 13-minute documentary I made for “The 10th Anniversary of Bimbo #5.” Enjoy!
As you know, I’m a busy guy. So when I have the opportunity to take on one more project, well, you know my answer is going to be, “Yes!”
The latest addition to my crazy weekly schedule has been as a writer for a new animated series, “The Great AdVenture.” It’s a series based on the main characters of a couple of phone games, “Adventure Capitalist” and “Adventure Communist.”
It’s pretty amazing how everything in my life contributed to me being able to play in this arena.
I’ve always wanted to be a screenwriter. When KLSY dropped me off on the front porch of unemployment, I thought, “Well, there’s never been a better time to get writing.” So, each day, I got up at 7 and spent the entire day writing, like it was my job. During that time, I managed to get a couple of screenplays done. Then, later, I teamed up with a partner and we wrote both a screenplay and a couple of scripts for a possible TV series. None went anywhere, but please, make an offer.
So, as I honed that skill, I stayed in touch with a woman that had interned at KLSY and went on to do a lot of show biz things, including attending Jim Henson’s school, she interned on “Saturday Night Live” and then headed to Hollywood to became quite the accomplished writer for movies and TV, especially for her passion, animation. Meet Libby Ward.
At the same time I found myself out of work and started writing movie scripts, I eventually found a job with a local advertising agency. While there, I met a driven person named Kevin Urie. He was an account manager, but had bigger things in mind. He was the president of Seattle’s Social Media Club, when that was all starting out. At that time, it was the largest chapter in the U.S.! Through that, he made lots of biz connections and went through a series of job that included a gig at Microsoft and eventually, landing a position with the above-mentioned Canadian game company, Hyperhippo. Knowing I was a comedy-writing guy, he put me in touch with the folks in the company who were trying to launch this new animated series.
Initially I wrote some commercials for the games. But finally, the big moment arrived when they started assembling the team that would make their dream of an animated series happen.
That’s when I dragged in Libby to the project. She had lots of actor contacts and grabbed some key folks to bring the characters to life, vocally. I brought in Scott Burns, a Seattle-based voice actor who is also a radio brother. For years, we had worked across the dial from each other but never together. When Scott became the audio production director at the ad agency where I worked, we became fast friends.
This truly is a modern-day effort. With producers up in Canada, actors in Hollywood and Seattle, a Hollywood/Seattle writing team and animators in Nebraska, we’re all cyber-connected and acting as if we were in the same studio.
The idea of the series is to make them very reflective of the times. So, even though an episode was written several weeks before, once the animation is done, we’ll insert a couple of lines that refer to things that happened this week. In our first episode, we had a few. But over time, we’ll get this down to a science.
On October 3rd, 2020, we put out our first episode, which is done in a three-part style so they can use each of the parts as free-standing contributions to their social media efforts. And so, the great experiment has begun.
Will it continue? We were signed for an initial agreement of ten scripts. The plan is to produce those and then weigh in if they’re considered successful. If so, this could be a year-round effort, with multiple ten-week seasons. We shall see.
In the meantime, my great adventure with being a writer for an animated series is off. Each trio of episodes are under five minutes long, so it won’t be a major time commitment. Here’s episode one, see what you think.
Thanks for watching and now you know one more thing that I’m up to these days. Yeah, I’m a busy guy.
For all the things I’ve been able to do in this lifetime, one of the greatest collections of stories comes from my radio days.
The next time we actually get together, even if it’s socially distant, ask me about some of the classics: “Psycho Listener That Stalked Me”, “Feed the Horse”, “Lonely Military Wife”, and of course, the immortal, “Stop That Song! Now!”
This cartoon reminded me of a running gag that lived in the production room of KLSY.
So in the early stretch of my 19 years at Sandusky Broadcasting (the owners of KLSY, KIXI and assorted other radio stations), they had a salesperson named “Doc.” I don’t remember much about him, but this was back in the days when sales people were expected to write their own copy for commercials.
I still remember Production Director (the guy who makes commercials) John Nixon showing me a spot he wrote. I don’t even remember who the commercial was for, but I’d never be able to forget one of the lines–“Man in blue sweater walks by.” Uh, you know this is for radio? You know, that media without pictures? How does a blue sweater sound? It’s like a white sweater, but darker?
Seriously, for years, whenever we’d be working on stuff together in the production room, it was not unusual for the “blue sweater” line to come up.
Yeah, for all I do, as I continue to learn and explore new skills, to this day, radio and all those great stories are in my blood. That’s probably why I’ll be hiding out on KRKO, “Everett’s Greatest Hits” for as long as I can wedge it into my routine. You’ll have to give it a listen sometime.
And who knows? Maybe if you listen real carefully, you just might hear a blue sweater pass by.
I’ve been blessed over the years to meet some great and pretty unique people. While I usually grab this space on the Internet to pass along my thoughts on a given topic, I was moved by a Facebook post of a friend this past that I’ve decided needs to be shared.
Re-sharing it on Facebook, it could come off as one of those things you know you’re going to get to the end, and they ask you to share it. It could be true, or fabricated, being some kind of social media prank someone pulled to see how long it would go.
What you’re about to read is a post from a radio sister who I worked with during my days at KLSY. Boy, she’s had an adventure since those times when I did afternoons as the warmup act for “Lights Out.” It was our evening show, featuring love songs and dedications and Delilah ruled the airwaves after 7pm.
I remember when her oldest son would come with his mom and sleep in the studio, because she had no one to watch him. There was the time when she was a new mom that she had pumped some breast milk and put it in the company fridge. Some employee mistook it for cream for his coffee and…well, it became one of those stories that got told a lot.
It’s amazing to think of how many years ago that was, and how yet it still seems like just a couple of years ago.
Thanks, Delilah, for writing this and for allowing me to share it.
God’s perfect timing
As many people know I lost my son Zachariah in 2017. He was my last born biological child, my late in life surprise. He was 18 and had hit some really rough patches in life. Thinking we were helping him to navigate turbulent ￼waters his father and I got him to a counselor and a doctor immediately. The doctor put him on an SSRI, an antidepressant that we discovered too late, is deadly for almost half of the teens it is prescribed for. Less than eight months later he was so delusional and messed up from the effects of the drug, he took his life. In that instant my life, all our lives, were forever changed. Zack was a wild child, a spark of passion and light. He was a boy with a broad smile filled with immense talent and dreams for his future. And in an instant all that was taken from us.
Tonight his older brother, my first born son Isaiah, was driving home from work. He had put in a 9 hour day of training in 90 degree + temps, wearing 20 plus lbs of SWAT GEAR. He’d been up most of the night before, keeping watch over his wife and kids who live just a mile or two from wild fires. I texted with him at midnight while they were packing and waiting to see if they needed to evacuate. Needless to say he was sweaty, fatigued and eager to get home.
He was beyond exhausted when he drove across a high bridge, and for a moment his mind didn’t register that there was someone standing along the edge. He passed the stranger then suddenly realized the man wasn’t standing on the bridge, but instead he was sitting on the ledge, preparing to jump.
Isaiah stopped his patrol car in the middle of the bridge and slowly walked back towards the young man. “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?” My son asked. The man said yes but warned him not to get close…
Over the next several minutes my son engaged him in conversation. Real conversation. He shared about his baby brother and how his death has impacted our family.
They talked about life, and real struggles.
My son told me it was agonizing looking down and realizing the young man was barely sitting on the ledge, one false move and he would plunge hundreds of feet to his death. Step by cautious step Isaiah moved closer. Tear by salty tear, he listened to this young man pour out his heart.
My son trains weekly at a jujutsu dojo, and is constantly training for his role as an officer. He’s in excellent physical shape. The young man was also fit and was not a small man, but when the moment was right, Isaiah sprang into action and grabbed him from behind, pulling him to safety. They struggled a bit, but before he was taken away for help at a hospital, they had a tearful embrace and he thanked my son profusely.
Tonight there is a mother sleeping somewhere who doesn’t even know how her day, her week, her very life would have turned out differently if God had not placed my son on a bridge at the precise moment her son needed him. I praise God that the heartache Isaiah experienced losing his brother motivated him to stop in the middle of his commute home, to save someone else’s son.