With Apologies To Facebook

I don’t know about you, but Facebook remains my go-to social media platform. Frankly, I forget about checking Twitter; Instagram is one of those things where I notice the logo on my phone and go, “Oh, yeah!” I visit Linkedin twice a week to post my weekly biz newsletter and my jokes.

But when I’m on the go and I see something cool or a funny sign, or I get one of my silly ideas, I shoot the picture or video with my phone, think of something dumb to attach to it, and then post it on Facebook.

You know, like this:

                                                                                                                                                Oh, yeah, like I was just going to walk by this…..

Now for the first time that I can remember, I’ve actually got some pictures piling up in my photo collection that never reached their usual destination. So, with apologies to Facebook and with the goal of getting all caught up in one fell swoop, here are just a few of the gems I meant to post there, but just never got around to it. (Or, I may have, but I don’t remember)

LET’S START WITH WHIDBEY ISLAND–A couple of weekends ago, we went there and stayed at a waterfront AirBnB and it was so out of the way, we HAD to relax. One of the evenings, Samantha, my daughter-in-law, was playing around with her time-lapse feature of her iPhone and I thought I’d do it, too. So, I captured this beautiful Northwest sunset.

This doesn’t even really do it justice.

However, lesson learned–Tim, would you stop being so impatient!!! If I had just let it go, it would have eventually ended up here.

Uh, yeah….

PLAYING TOURIST IN YOUR HOME TOWN–When you live in a cool spot, as we do, there are always a ton of fun things to do. But you’re living life, working a job, on the go, commitments, etc. and you just never get around to the fun stuff. For example, my wife and I have yet to experience “The Great Wheel” along the Seattle waterfront, even though it’s been down there 10 years.

But with a couple of Victoria’s cousins in town–Judy and her husband Bill from Santa Barbara and Francine from Oklahoma–we hit a couple of those hot spots.

First up were the Ballard Locks, where ships from the salt water Puget Sound come to be raised up 25 feet so they can enjoy the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. That’s importing or flushing 8-million gallons of water in just 8 minutes.

As part of the locks, you can go to the fish ladders and watch the salmon traveling to their place of origin to spawn and die. Each one traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles during their life’s journey. Just amazing.

And of course, right next to the locks is one of our favorite places, The Lockspot. Had to experience that place, famous for their fish & chips.

I’m the one on the left.

The next day, we headed to the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair, which Francine remembered attending as a little kid.

We opted not to go up the Space Needle, but did explore the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum and not just words, but pictures also don’t adequately convey the eye-candy you get to experience there.

Looking up the master, Dale Chihuly on Wikipedia, the guy’s actually 81-years-old now and still creating visual masterpieces out of molten glass.

By the way, I discovered a hack you may have already known about when it comes to taking pictures with your phone. I wanted to get a group shot that was close, but that would include the entire Space Needle. I laid down on the ground and this was the best I could do:

Then I thought, “What if I use the Pan feature, but instead of doing it horizontally, do it vertically.” It worked beautifully.

A MINI-REUNION–I enjoyed a great lunch the other day with a couple of other former Destination Marketing refugees. Some of us left willingly, others were ‘retired’. Funny, but whenever we get together, new stories about a place I haven’t worked at for 7 years continue to emerge. Ironically, both of these gentlemen became recent authors. Scott Janzen penned about his days in the ad industry, while Chris Settle did a more inward reflection that included some stories from that previously mentioned agency we all share in our resume past. He changed the names, but some of the un-named knew who he was referring to and weren’t happy. Ah, life.

So, this week when I sat down to write my weekly blog about what going on in my life, I realized that Facebook wasn’t a part of it. I was actually busy being present and enjoying all these events as they happened and not doing a play-by-play on Facebook, to keep people posted on everything I was doing every minute of every day.

And I kinda liked it.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Now you’re all caught up with me and Mark Zuckerberg will never know.

Our secret. Sorry about that Facebook.

Tim Hunter

Zero Degrees of Separation

You know how it goes. You meet someone you’ve never met before and while chatting, you realize you have a mutual friend or aquaintance.

Let me tell you a story….

So, on Tuesday, while I was Norwegianing (I swear it’s a real word, Spellcheck) my brains out at the annual Syttende Mai celebration down in Ballard, I noticed a guy chatting with my wife, and it seemed like he was referring to me. I was in the middle of a conversion with someone else, so I continued chatting until we wrapped up. Within seconds, this fellow came over and introduced himself.

“Hi, my name is Alex and you used to work with my mom!”

Well, if this was a movie, this could have gone all kinds of ways. But to answer the first question you had–and I had thought of it, too–no, he wasn’t my son.

It turns out that Alex’s mom was Heather Muphy, a woman I worked with years ago when I was at Destination Marketing, when we were making TV commercials. Heather was a production director or something like that, just great people and over the years, we stayed in touch the way most people do–watching each other’s Facebook posts.

But that’s just where my connection to Alex began.

Besides working with his mom, Alex said he had known my brother-in-law Kris for years. Then, I found out that he also knew Bruce Johnson, the Rowland Studio photographer, who was the official photo guy for Syttende Mai. Alex had gotten to know Bruce and my late radio buddy, Larry Nelson, back in their Chandler’s Crabhouse days.

It keeps going.

I was then introduced to his wife, Barbara. Not only had she worked at KING-5 for a while, but these days, she was at a company called Tri-Films. More connections. I had interned years ago at KING on the radio side, (although, I did chauffeur around the owner, Dorothy Bullitt for a week once while her regular driver was on vacation) but for a time, I was also a contributing writer to some of the projects Mark Dickison and the team did at Tri-Films.

They informed me that Mark had passed away years ago from pancreatic cancer. One of those cases where, here one day, diagnosed the next and gone within months. So sad. Mark once gave me the opportunity to write some jokes for the 75th birthday party that Bill Gates was putting on for Warren Buffett. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done, writing one-liners for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diane Sawyer and others, back in 2005. I always wanted to get a copy of that gig, but never did.

Oh, yeah, back to Alex. Apparently, he followed his mom’s footsteps into the entertainment industry and besides being a stuntman, he has a stuntman agency here in Seattle that he operates with Barbara, called Seattle Stunt Company. Check out his IMDB, and you’ll see he did stunts on a lot of the movies you’ve seen.

And may I add, all this, and a really nice guy.

So, how did Alex discover this connection between his mom and yours truly? Apparently, he’s a member of the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard–just like me–and while showing his mom photos of a recent lodge event, she saw a picture of me and said, “Hey, that’s Tim Hunter!”

Such a small friggin’ world!

Tim Hunter

Is That The Retirement Bug Coming On?

For the bulk of my life, I have been running a marathon with no finish line.
If we were to sit down together and try to figure out what makes me tick, what keeps me going, I would probably point out that I have already (I think) determined that during a session with myself.

For the majority of my life, I have felt like the clock is ticking. None of us know how much time we get, but I just want to make sure I get in everything I want to do before the timer goes off. The problem with that is that as I check things off the top of the list, I keep adding more items to the bottom. You see how this works.

The result is a constant need to keep going, to push, to drive myself. Having a hand-written list to the right of this keyboard so that when I get another thing done, I cross it off. When I get too many things crossed off, I start a new list, importing the tasks still left to do from the old list. It’s the only way I keep it all straight.

But what I’ve noticed happening is that some of the things that make up my work week are seriously losing their importance to me. Things I feel I have to do, or really should keep doing, I’m getting dangerously close to pulling the plug.

It must be part of that mental adjustment that occurs in your brain when days of playing with grandkids or going wine tasting or sneaking away for the weekend have a much greater importance in your life. You realize that those are the things that make you happy, that reduce the stress in your life and thus, help extend that precious life of yours.

I remember when my broadcast buddy Larry Nelson was forcibly retired from KOMO radio. It was basically a surprise going away party–“Surprise! You’re going away.” In the months and years that followed, as I continued to feel that radio addiction, I would talk about him coming back to another station, returning to Seattle morning radio and showing the bastards at KOMO and, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t that he was defeated, he was just content with those things that retirement offer–lunches with friends, golf, trips to Mexico, grandkids. I just couldn’t understand how he could let radio go.

Lar, I get it now. I really, really get it.

For the time being, I’m going to continue doing my little morning show on KRKO because it helps keep my toe in radio, but I can feel it coming on. This September, it will have been four years that I went back on the air. I’m hoping to make it that far. But I was reminded once again over the weekend with some Easter Egg hunts and just watching a new generation learn and realize all those things I went through years ago, that’s the real-life stuff we should be taking in and enjoying.

I’m pretty sure in my final moments on earth, I won’t be thinking about that one more morning show I could have done. It’ll be the voice of a young granddaughter looking at me and calling me ‘Grandpa Tim’ and remembering back when she was that young. That was just one of the great moments from this past weekend.

In the meantime, I start to slide into the landing pattern, with a goal of touching down into retirement in three short years. Time flies by as it is, so I know that will be there before you know it. And, again, my retirement is definitely going to be a hybrid of things, with some of the stuff I’m doing now, but also thinning out the herd of responsibilities to only include the fun stuff. The things that I would do whether I was getting paid or not.
I’m not there yet, but man, I feel it coming on!

Tim Hunter

I FOUGHT THE LAW AND IT CAME OUT A DRAW

Yeah, it won’t be a song title.

Besides being therapeutic and cathartic, one of the driving purposes for me sitting down each week for the past couple of decades and sharing something that passed through my brain is to share an experience that might benefit you in the future.

So recently, I was invited to attend a meeting of the new Ballard FC soccer club at Skäl Beer Hall, to talk about an upcoming “Nordic Night” at one of their home games.

I arrived on Ballard Avenue in front of the restaurant, grabbed a spot and went to pay for an hour with the city’s wonderful Pay by Phone app. I’ve used it often and it really does make it really easy to pay for parking. And their rates aren’t that bad. 75-cents here, 50-cents there.

But when I tried to pay, I got this note of rejection.

 

 

And, of course, fearing I might need proof of this, I took a picture of it.

I tried again. Again. And again. Same message.

Well, by this time, the meeting was about to begin, so since they weren’t willing to take my money, i went into Skäl.

When I emerged 45 minutes later, there it was. Tucked under my windshield wiper, a parking ticket.

 

 

Yes, you read right. $44 worth of parking ticket. Pretty much $1 a minute while I was in there.

On the back side of the ticket, was a place to let them know you wanted to contest it and where to mail it. Oh, absolutely. I put together an explanation letter, said I wanted to fight it in court and off in the mail it went.

Several days later, I received a note back from them that I could set up a court date or write up a one-page letter contesting the citation which would mean I’d accept whatever the magistrate decided.

I chose option B and popped that in the mail and awaited my fate.

Here’s what the magistrate sent back to me:

 

 

As you can see, I am “responsible for the above committed charge.”  Even though their app wasn’t working, I was supposed to “move the vehicle to another spot.”  It wasn’t the spot that was the problem, it was the app.

So, guilty…but no fine and it doesn’t appear on my driving record. Still, it was the cost of about an hour of my time and two stamps to get to the zero fine. However, to me, it was well worth it.

To summarize the life lessons here:

  • If you’re paying by app, and the app won’t accept your payment, move to another spot. Maybe it will work there.
  • Or, you can go my route and hope to get that first-time pass. If you’ve got the time and ambition.
  • Or, just stay at home. Stop being involved in so many things and open a beer.

I think from now on, I’m going with option C.

Tim Hunter

Here I Go Again

I’m on the prowl. I’m boat shopping again.

Growing up, I had occasional brushes with them. In home movies, you can see a 4-year-old version of me (hmm, I don’t recall a life jacket) on a rowboat during vacation up in Washington State.

The big story around that visit is that a cousin of mine put a brand-new engine on that boat, went out in the water and it fell off, sinking in the mud below and was never seen again. Apparently, he hadn’t attached it very well and it was the reason someone had to row.

A rare photo of the boat with an engine

A year or so later, I went up to Big Bear Lake and went out on a boat fishing with my uncle Chuck and cousin Charlie. I don’t remember catching fish, but I do remember them thinking it was hilarious when I decided to try eating some salmon eggs.

One time during a South Dakota family trek, my late uncle James, my dad and I went out on the Missouri River, with me latching on to a huge Northern Pike. It’s trips like that one that makes one a fisherman for life.

However, I never really owned a boat until I was married, a couple of kids in and had cracked 40. One Father’s Day I went to look at an ’88 Bayliner Capri and fell in love. I had something to play with during the Lake Chelan vacations and even came home from work one day, grabbed the kids, got us lunches from Boston Market and then went out on Lake Washington to have the Blue Angels fly over our heads. Now, that’s how you do it here in the northwest.

A quick side-story about that. Five days after purchasing the boat, a brand-new Hooters Restaurant opened up in Lynnwood, north of Seattle, and the Murdock, Hunter & Alice show paid a visit to settle the dispute about it being “a family restaurant.” As we walked in the door of this brand-new restaurant with all the Hooters Girls greeting us, one yelled out, “Tim!” It was the girlfriend of the guy who I had bought the boat from. Small world.

I had that boat for around five years, but while my love continued, the rest of the family became a bit bored with it, resulting in me going out by myself more often. That just made it too much work. Add in the time I took the kids to Lake Wenatchee and bent the shaft by going over some rocks and it was a sign that it was time to sell.

In recent years, for a time, we had a boat to borrow up at Lake McMurray, where Victoria’s family cabin is, but that went away. So now, I feel I’ve got this life thing under control, I could afford a small boat payment every month and I know I would use it. I just want to make sure I don’t buy something that lives in the repair shop.

That being said, I came close to pulling the trigger on a ’91 Bayliner yesterday. I really wanted that boat. It was $4500, which is the same price I paid for my Bayliner back in the day, and it looked pretty good. Just on the dirty side, as I was told that it had been in storage for a year.

Where it broke down:

  1. I was told it had been sitting around for a year. The last time it had been licensed was 2012. Hmmmm…
  2. The seller said that he had all kinds of work done to it. I called the shipyard where it was being stored and was told that they didn’t do the work. I wonder who did?
  3. I asked the yard if they could do a mechanical check, and they said they could–at $175 an hour.
  4. I checked with BECU about doing a boat loan with them. They don’t loan money on boats older than 25 years.

For those reasons, it just got too complicated. I had a check with me, ready to fill out, but the inner voice said this wasn’t the one. So, my quest continues.

I know, I know: “The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”

And now, the shipyard where I visited yesterday said they had a similar boat to the one I was looking at, and they had done all the maintenance on it. I’m going to see that at noon today. We’ll see what my inner voice has to say about this one. Wish me luck.

Here I go again.

Tim Hunter

Apparently, It Ends At 65

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with fireworks. But after 65 years, I’ve decided to call the whole thing off.

Growing up in Southern California, I was there when “Safe & Sane” fireworks were all the rage. Every year when those firework stands opened up with names like Red Devil and TNT (I mean, how family-friendly sounding can you get?) we would all pile into the car, park in front of that firework stand and dream of getting the biggest pack of fireworks they would sell us. Well, that was the kids’ view. As far as mom and dad were concerned, they’d usually pop for a $15-$20 assortment pack that we’d fight over as to who could hold on to it in the car on the way home.

But all three of us–my two sisters and moi–knew the second we hit the car, dad just had to blurt out his traditional phrase, “I don’t know why we just don’t light a $20 bill on fire!”

I think dad secretly enjoyed lighting off those sparkling fountains and log cabins that smoked. There were the Piccolo Pete’s that would explode if you clamped down on the ‘t’, but of course, we didn’t find that out until we were older. Oh, and Smoky Joe.

You’d put something that resembled a cigar into his mouth and it would actually smoke. Very anti-climatic, especially since during those days, most parents were doing that all the time.

But still in the eyes of kids, it was awesome. We’d enjoy a whole half hour of black or rainbow snakes, a couple of fountains, some sparklers with at least one of us burning our hands and then it was time to pile into the ’59 Ford Fairlane or the ’66 Chevy Impala to go find a parking spot down by Redondo Beach, to watch the bigtime fireworks they would launch off the barge.

There was one summer when we made a family pilgrimage to my mom’s home state of South Dakota during the 4th of July. The reason I remember it is because they actually sold firecrackers. I had never seen any close up. A cousin quickly fixed that by lighting one and throwing it up by my ear. Gee. Great.

The years passed. I became more interested in girls, I went to college, took a radio job in Yakima, got married and then moved back to Seattle to play radio here. There was a stretch where, due to my chosen career, I found myself at those big public displays. There was the Cellular One Fireworks Show at Gasworks Park one year, where we laid back on the lawn and looked up to an incredible show. Same for the 4th of Julivar’s a couple of times along Seattle’s waterfront. However, the drawback of those shows is that by the time they’re over and you walk back to the car and fight traffic, you’re getting home at midnight or even later. I had a couple of those in me, but then we made the switch to the neighborhood displays.

There I was, married, in my 20s and living in a neighborhood full of 20 and 30-somethings, and boy, they knew fireworks. The annual tradition became gathering in the cul-de-sac and watching each other launch all the not-safe-and-sane fireworks we had purchased at Boom City, up in Marysville. Looking back, it’s a miracle none of us were ever seriously injured. Including that now famous moment when my son lit a mortar that tipped over and shot exploding bombs at the crowd as they dove behind lawn chairs. You may have read that an NHL goalie was killed by one of those this past weekend when he took a direct hit in his chest. He was only 10 feet away and never stood a chance. He was just 24.

There’s something about the 30-to-40-year-old American male that attaches celebrating our freedom by blowing things up.  As kids got older, lifestyles changed and we successfully dodged house fires by bottle rockets landing on our cedar shake roof, you just hit a point where, “OK, that’s enough.”

As a sneak peek at the future for my younger readers, there comes a time when the 10 o’clock TV fireworks satisfy your fireworks Jones. You watch, you turn off the TV and by 10:30, you’re asleep. Well, until the 30 and 40 somethings in the neighborhood get out their illegal reservation fireworks and try to out-do each other.

Our current 4th of July routine is to watch the Macy’s or Seattle fireworks, call it a night and then try to sleep through what the surrounding neighbors have planned. One of the jokes I wrote about this weekend is that 1:30am on July 5th is my favorite part of the 4th of July weekend, because that’s usually when my neighbors run out of things to blow up.

Every year, my wife swears it’s worst than last year. To me, they’re all the same. Geeze, one of them this year actually set off a car alarm in the neighborhood. It was that big of an explosion.

And then, if you have a pet who just doesn’t understand, I’m sure you have learned to hate the holiday even more.

It could be maturity. It might be burnout. Whatever it is and the reasons behind it, the whole fireworks thing ended for me when I hit the age of 65. Nothing sad at all about it, I had my fun, but those days are now behind me. I’d continue to ramble on about the topic, but I’ve got to go chase some kids off my lawn.

Tim Hunter

Welcome to Seattle: Part 1

OK, I’m going to embrace it. More and more people just keep moving to Seattle, making real estate prices skyrocket, the roads even more crowded and giving us all growing pains in every direction possible.

I can’t change that, but the least I can do is make it easier for our newer residents to know how things work around here. So, this is the first in a series I call, “Welcome to Seattle”, to give our new neighbors an idea on how we think and do things.

In this inaugural segment, I’m going to talk about the seasons. Seattle has four of them, so as you spend time settling in your new home, you’ll find yourself developing these beliefs and eventually, say them out loud yourself. Feel free to print this out and put it up on your refrigerator for easy reference.

Let’s start with our current season:

SUMMER

This is when you’ll hear multiple complaints about various topics. The most notable, when we shift from complaining about how cold it is to complaining about how hot it is. The season always begins with the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year. If it naturally occurred to you that you should be complaining that the days are now getting shorter, you have potential.

Among the phrases you might hear:

  • “God I hate mowing my lawn.”
  • “It’s too hot! Man, I can’t wait until fall. Football, the leaves turn colors….it’s beautiful in the fall around here.”
  • “Well, I guess this won’t be the year for the Mariners…”
  • “Oh-oh, here comes fire season again.”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the heat in!”

FALL

Absolutely my favorite season because of football and cooler weather. Throw in fun holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and the countdown to Christmas (most of which takes place in fall) and you can see there’s a lot to like about fall.

But this time of year comes with it’s own seasonal collection of complaints:

  • “Oh, my God, it’s getting darker earlier and earlier!
  • “Time change weekend? Again? I hate that! I thought we approved getting rid of it. It takes me days to recover.”
  • “Crap. look at all those leaves in the yard. And most are from the neighbor’s tree!”
  • “Well, at least there are some former Mariners on some of the playoff teams.”
  • Well, winter’s almost here. I hope it snows this year.”
  • “Don’t open that window! The rain will blow in!”

WINTER

This is peak complaining season in the Northwest. I’m pretty sure its when S.C.D. (seasonal complaining disorder) was invented. I mean, what’s not to complain about? The briefest amount of sunlight daily, when the clouds actually allow the sun to sneak though. “50 Shades of Gray?” Oh, that title had to have been invented up here. By the time the Winter Solstice arrives, it’s iffy if the Seahawks will make the playoffs, the Huskies and Cougars have their fingers crossed to make it to a modestly respectable bowl game and we start hearing about how good the Seattle Mariners are going to be next season. I leave out the Sounders, because they’ve actually given us less to complain about.

So its a very gray period featuring rain, occasionally snow, a make-good windstorm should it fail to show up in November, and the fact that everything you do has to be inside because of the weather that rules the outdoors.

The classic winter complaints you can practice ahead of time:

  • “God, this weather is SO depressing.”
  • “We really need to plan a mid-winter vacation to someplace sunny next year.”
  • “I can’t wait for spring! The flowers, the buds on the trees, the lawns turning green again!”
  • “I’m ready for some baseball. I hope the Mariners do well this year!”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the cold air in!”

SPRING

And now, we complete the cycle and prepare to start all over again with summer complaining right around the corner. As Mother Earth wakes up again, we enjoy flowers and blossoms, along with pollen, hay fever, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

This season’s typical complaints:

  • “It’s too cool!”
  • My God, will it ever stop raining? I can’t wait for summer to get here.”
  • “The Mariners are going great in spring training. Maybe this is the year!”
  • “Time change weekend? Again? I hate that! I thought we approved getting rid of it. It takes me days to recover.”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the pollen in!”

That’s all you need to get started. Practice daily and in no time at all, people will think you’re a native.

Welcome to Seattle.

Tim Hunter

Here Come The Holidays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Yes, You Can Be A Psychic, Too!

I always knew I could be a psychic.

See, there I go again.

In fact, the future is really easy to predict if you simply observe reality.

To be honest, it didn’t really take a psychic to predict that cases of coronavirus would skyrocket if we just went outside and continued doing what we did before the pandemic, since it was “all a hoax”. Or, “It’s not that bad.” Or, “It’s the disease that kills old people.”

Do you have the right to not wear a mask in public?  Absolutely. I believe our Founding Fathers included that in the fine print of the Bill of Rights.

You have the right to not wear a seatbelt and odds are, you’ll be fine. Well, unless you get into an accident. Then you’ll hear the words, ‘Told you so’ as you fly through the windshield past the person who buckled up.

Does your freedom include being able to walk out into a hurricane or tornado?  You bet. A sound-minded person probably wouldn’t do that, but you’re all about personal freedoms, aren’t you, pal?  You need to be able to prove that you’re in control of your life and that people who have dedicated their entire lives studying diseases and epidemics–well, they’re just plain wrong and don’t know what they’re talking about. And, better yet, you’ve got the president on your side.

Several weeks ago, I predicted the cases of coronavirus would skyrocket and I was right. I take no pleasure in that and actually, wish I had been wrong. I also seriously hope the University of Washington scientists are wrong when they say 200,000 Americans will have died from coronavirus by November. However, with the current explosion of cases, it’s entirely possibly we will go beyond that.

But let’s get off “Virus Talk” and make some bold, psychic predictions. Right now, you have a fairly empty downtown Seattle, as thousands of workers have been instructed to work from home. Companies are now realizing that can be done, without hurting their efficiency, and it’s becoming obvious that you no longer need to occupy a bunch of expensive real estate downtown. Now, the easy prediction would be that there will be a crash in the commercial real estate market. And what makes that prediction a sure bet is that our incredibly wise Seattle city council decided to pass what they call a “Jumpstart Tax”, which they insist only affects the really wealthy businesses downtown. (hint–it rhymes with Schmazon) The council claims this will generate $200-million, which they say they need to fix the city’s problems, mostly homelessness.

Now, I know the council members are all busy people and maybe they just forgot about how much is already being spent on homelessness in the area. As in $54 million by the city, $195 million in King County and some estimates say as much as $1 billion in the region. We’re talking EVERY YEAR! And with every passing year and all that spending, it continues to get worse.  Dare to go downtown and you’ll find a non-stop collection of people living on the sidewalks, the freeway off-ramps or any other place they choose, not because of need, but because of choice. Resources are available, but most turn them down to continue living their lives battling drug addiction or mental health issues.

So, back to the Jumpstart Tax. My prediction is that the tax will live up to its name and Jumpstart businesses to seriously think about relocating. If I owned a company and had to choose between staying in Seattle with empty offices and a $7-million tax hit or relocating to another one of the many wonderful and welcoming cities in the area, I get out of Dodge using that $7-million I would have spent in taxes to pay for moving expenses. Most likely, I’d be able to negotiate a better lease (probably with free parking) in another city, and I can put that $7-million annual hit to my bottom line. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist.

If your logic is that “Oh, Amazon can afford that”, they already donate to charity without involving our extremely inefficient government. They estimate that Amazon contributed $2-billion from 2009-2017 and just this year, Mr. Bezos has pledged $2-billion a year towards the fight on homelessness in multiple cities. They even opened a homeless shelter in one of their newer buildings downtown. Amazon is actually doing something about the problem and so to reward them, you hit them with a tax? Sound thinking.

So when the last major business leaves Seattle and it becomes the biggest ghost town in the U.S., maybe, just maybe, Seattle voters will finally get fed up enough to make a change at city hall, and get the Emerald City back on track.

In all honesty, that’s more of a hope than a prediction. Frankly, I’ve had some serious doubts lately about the future of my once-favorite big city.

But you knew that. See how easy it is to be a psychic?

Tim Hunter

You Know What I Can’t Wait For?

Whatever it is, this isn’t it.

Oh, I’ll be fine. I’ve got my attitude locked into survival mode. I’m viewing this bump in my life as just a tiny chunk of the bigger picture. With so much negative energy filling our world, you can see how its wearing on people. Just remember, it will pass.

It’ll be interesting to see how we look back on the year 2020, say, 10 years from now. Go with that example and think about what you remember regarding 2010. We were recovering from the worst economic downturn we had experienced in our lives. (not knowing there was a doozy in the near future)  It was the year of the iPhone 4 and the brand-new iPad arrived. Justin Bieber ruled the music world just two years after being discovered on YouTube. 2010 was prime time for the Tea Party. Doesn’t that seem like forever ago? And it was only 10 years.

That’s what I’m excited to see. How we look back at this completely insane year and just pick out a handful of things we’ll add any significance to.

It’s my hope that the George Floyd incident propels our way of life into a less-divided society. When the anger turns into action that actually improves our world–that’s what I’m talking about. Right now, peaceful protests are being used as a hall pass for violence. With all this destruction, nothing will change and opposite sides will just dig in.

As a comedy writer, this has been an extremely challenging time.  Oh, whoa is me. We’ve had ’em before. The Space Shuttle disaster, 9-11 and those other major stories that just took over the news and became all you heard about. We’ve gone from how many people have died from a virus to the number of fatalities and loss from nights of vandalism. Yet, every morning the alarm clock goes off at 5am (yeah, I’m sleeping in these days) and I once again scour the Internet for things that inspire jokes. Lately, it just ain’t easy.

Oh, I’ve managed to sneak in a couple of them, like:

  •  I’m talking to you, looters. It may be a small victory, but I hope whatever you took during your looting turns out to be the wrong size.
  • You know, if Jack Bauer were to walk in the door and this all turned out to be a season of “24”, then this would all make sense.

  • Congrats to the astronauts who left Earth last weekend. Good timing!

  • This is the most rioting in our country that’s ever occurred at one time without involving an NBA Championship.

  • I’m now realizing why the beginning of the pandemic was so hard on me. For weeks, I thought they were saying, “Wash your face and don’t touch your hands.”

I keep taking swings because it’s worth the risk of ticking off someone who probably doesn’t have a sense of humor, as I hope to reach people who like to laugh. My country cousin over on Classic Country, KXA, Stitch Mitchell, did a listener poll on his station’s Facebook page the other day. He asked the simple question, “When we get to Phase 2, will you be comfortable going back to restaurants?” and after a few comments, politics broke out and he had to take the poll down. That’s sad.

I was chatting with my almost 92-year-old mother the other night about all the rioting and such going on, and she was in disbelief on how people could be that way. “How do you raise kids like that?” I wish I had an answer, Ma.

But a man being killed on video by police didn’t start this. Nor did a man jogging down the street and being shot by an angry father and son. Or a teenager wearing a hoody being killed by a vigilante. One after another, a living human being lost their life for only one reason–they were black. The sad truth is that these stories are not new, not rare and not going away.

Add in the fact that African Americans are dying of the coronavirus at three times the rate of white people, and you have a race that is under assault. In the year 2020.

All you can do for now is to do right in your own world. Love the people around you. Enjoy each day for the gift it is. Pray or, if you don’t pray, focus all the positive energy you can generate towards justice, peace and better days ahead.

And most importantly, vote.

Then in the year 2030, when we look back a decade, we’ll just shake our heads in disbelief that our lives could ever have been this way.

I can’t wait.

Tim Hunter