AND WE ALL MOVE ON…

The best thing about getting older is that, of course, it’s better than the alternative.

But as I continue to rack up the years, I see others who don’t get to enjoy that good fortune. We’re all blessed with a certain amount of time on this planet, we just don’t know how much. The only consistent thing is that it’s never enough.

AUNT DORIS

Last weekend, we lost my Aunt Doris. She was the fourth of the six Brandner kids raised on the family farm just outside of Roscoe, South Dakota and in her lifetime, she didn’t get very far away. After getting married, she and her husband worked another nearby farm until he died at a young age and their oldest son, my cousin Clay, took over. Doris moved “into town” which is where she called home up until she passed at the age of 88 last weekend.

The day before passing, my mom was able to have a nice chat over the phone with her. Doris was so excited about being driven over to Ipswich, a nearby town with an actual grocery store. When you’re confined to an apartment in a small town of 269 people, something like a trip to a real-live grocery store can be a big deal.

The next day, following all the excitement of Friday, Doris had a ticket for a performance of the Edmunds Central High School’s production of “Trouble in Tumbleweed,” featuring her granddaughter, Ember.

By the way, Edmunds Central serves 32 students, grades 9-12.

Aunt Doris enjoyed the play, but as it concluded, she went to applaud and couldn’t raise one of her arms. It was the beginning of a stroke and, of course, for an ambulance to get her to a hospital, it had to be summoned from another city. By the time it arrived and Doris made the 45-minute trek to the big city of Aberdeen where the hospital was, things did not look good. In the wee hours of the next morning, she went to her eternal reward.

The last time I got to see Aunt Doris was at a Brandner sisters reunion back in 2019, which seems like yesterday. Doris and her sister Virginia left the Dakotas to travel all the way to Portland, Oregon, where youngest sister Judy lived. My mom and sister Debbie headed north from L.A. and my wife Victoria and I headed south to the Rose City for a couple of days.

I’m sure I have video of that group, as pretty much, when one or more are gathered, it turns into a laugh-fest.

Even though I would only see Aunt Doris and the rest of the South Dakota clan every couple of 5 years or so, when we were together, we just picked up where we left off before. I had kept up on her life thanks to my mom’s updates on the phone, but one of the most endearing things about Aunt Doris: for most of my life, she would always take the time to send me a birthday card every September. And not just a “Happy birthday, Doris” signature, but a hand-written, detailed update on everything that had been going on in Roscoe and her life that sometimes would often spill over to the back side of the card.

I’m pretty sure I saved every one of those cards. I’m going to have to dig them out and read ’em again.

What a sweetheart. Enjoy your rest. You will be missed.

MR. SLATER

Say what you want about Facebook, and I know you will, but it does allow us to keep up with people from our long ago past. This morning, I saw a post announcing to the world that my high school drama teacher, Mr. Slater had passed away at the age of 90.

I call him Mr. Slater because that’s what you called teachers back in my high school days. His full name was Charles Slater, he was the head of the drama department at Torrance High, and while I wasn’t into the drama thing, there was a time when a friend had written a play and asked if I would try out for one of the parts in his production of, “Nuts!” (hold the wisecracks at least for a moment) I got the role, Mr. Slater oversaw the production and made me as good as I could have possibly been. Acting was not my forte, but being goofy was, and somehow, we pulled it off.

That was my only real connection with Mr. S, but of the drama students I knew, they loved the heck out of him. Picture a Gene Wilder type appearance, with the big eyes and the curly 70s perm, and you have Mr. Slater.

Man, the power teachers have to make a difference in their student’s lives. It’s been 50 years since I roamed the halls of Torrance High School and I still find myself relying on some of the lessons learned there.

To all the teachers at THS, thank you.

DWIGHT PERRY

Now, wait a minute–Dwight’s still with us! In fact, they held a retirement party for him last Sunday as he hangs up whatever you hang up after you’ve been a sportswriter in the Seattle area for an eternity. Dwight not only turned the big 7-0 last weekend, but his kids organized a retirement gathering for him (on a Seahawks bye week, I must point out) so friends and colleagues could gather in Kent to celebrate his contributions to multiple print media outlets in the area, including the Seattle PI and the Seattle Times. His weekly column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times was responsible for countless people saying, “Hey, Tim, I saw you in the newspaper.”

Years ago, I decided to add Dwight to my weekly Wacky Week joke list and once a month or so, one of my lines would tickle his funny bone and he would stick it into his column. I will be forever grateful. In fact, there were times that some of my jokes that Dwight included in his Seattle column would show up in other newspapers around the country, so he was apparently being watched. To that end, when his daughter sent me an invite to attend his retirement bash, I had to at least make an appearance to say thanks. While the gathering was heavy on newspaper types, I had a great chance to meet and chat with Dwight’s son Matt, and meet one of his colleagues, Justice Hill. Mr. Hill still writes a weekly column for Cleveland.com but you’ll want to check his main website and follow his travels. Getting around the globe is what he’s doing these days and posting about his adventures right here.

I had forgotten that Dwight suffered a series of strokes last year that set him back for a while, but he got back up on his Sideline Chatter horse and returned to putting out those fun, positive stories for sports fans. I’m sure hoping that someone takes over that column, but if and when that happens, Dwight Perry is going to be a tough act to follow.

Enjoy your downtime, Dwight! You can just see how thrilled he was to finally meet me in person.

And we all move on….

Tim Hunter

Let’s get political, political…

Yes, I’m going to take a gingerly stroll down this topic on the eve of those infamous mid-term elections.

No preaching, no secret agenda. You see, I’m old enough to remember when people could actually DISCUSS politics, without one thinking the other was a monster for having an opposite view. Flashing back 60 years ago when I was a kid, I recall my parents having friends over and them discussing the upcoming presidential election. (Gee, that would have made me 5-years-old) The phrase that stuck in my brain was, “Someone said that if Kennedy’s elected, he’ll have us all praying to Mary!” (Kennedy was a Roman Catholic. You know, the ones who wore togas)

Zip back a mere 40 years, and I can still see news coverage of President Ronald Reagan having beers with House Speaker “Tip” O’Neal. Yes, a Republican and Democrat, with serious political differences, but remembering the important thing: we’re all still Americans.

What the hell happened and why did we let it get this way?

I have my political beliefs, you have yours. I respect that. I’m not going to try to change your mind and I guarantee you won’t change mine, but that’s OK. Politics is only a part of who we are, it determines our future as a group and the kind of country we live in and will leave for the next generation. But it’s sad how it has become less about philosophy and debate, and more about marketing and manipulation.

As further proof I’m not trying to sway your vote, I’m posting this now. My ballot was filled out and mailed in two weeks ago. I have a feeling more and more people are getting it done early just to get it out of the way.

I’ve got a couple of videos I’d like to put on your radar. The first, this brilliant parody of a horror movie trailer about where the Democrats are when it comes to a future presidential candidate.

So much truth.

And another dose of truth for you here. This one touches on the blinders that some voters strap on and this preacher (yes, you will hear some preaching here) absolutely nails it. Thanks to sister Debbie for passing along.

But as I tell people I know who are freaking out about how these mid-term elections could go, we get the government we deserve. I hope for the best, but if we’re not bright enough to elect the right people, well, we’ll have to live with it.

So much more I could say, but for now, that’s enough.

Know WHY you’re voting the way you’re voting. Is it because of things you believe, or the marketing fears that they’re capitalizing on? Is it conviction on the candidate’s platform, or the talking points sent to them to repeat over and over because of what they found out in focus groups?

But here’s hoping you do vote so you can at least share the credit or the blame.

Tim Hunter

Mr. Voice of Reason Returns

 

 

Alright, alright, everybody, just calm down.

Yes, we’ve got a bit of chaos going on in the Seattle sports world, but tell me when we didn’t. It just seems like it’s happening all at once and on several fronts, so I’m raising my hands to the crowd and asking it to take some deep breaths while I conduct a quick class of what the heck is going on.

THE SEAHAWKS

Come on, be honest, you had your doubts about this season. After a lackluster pre-season which you dismissed because, after all, it was pre-season, you got your hopes way up after the Hawks somehow beat their ex, Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. I think we’d all agree that was a pretty sweet way to start out a season. However, the following week, reality sank in, and frankly, the prognosis for the rest of the season isn’t so good.

Look, when you’re an NFL team, you need an NFL star quarterback, not the guy that sits backstage hoping that the Phantom has a sore throat. I think the world of Pete Carroll and Seahawks General Manager John Schneider (NOT the guy from Dukes of Hazzard), the folks who brought Seattle’s first-ever Super Bowl trophy to town. The way they assembled a championship team that year with a bunch of overlooked talent that was molded into the “Legion of Boom” and turned a quick, undersized quarterback out of Wisconsin into a scrambling MVP you could love, I will be forever grateful.

But the entire time Russell was with the Seahawks, for some unexplained, God-forsaken reason, Pete did not hire an offensive line. He had this thing about creating one. Taking guys who didn’t normally play that position, and who had to learn on the job. And while he watched from the sidelines, Russell spent way too much time out on the field having to run for his life. When he was younger, very doable. But as he slowed down, the defense sped up and the magic began to fade away. I can’t help but wonder how many championships that team might have won if Wilson had the protection that Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers enjoy every week.

Bottom line–you need a major talent in the quarterback slot, one of the elite, a guy married to a Super Model or that does State Farm commercials, not a career backup quarterback who hadn’t started a season in 8 years. It’s the opinion of this armchair quarterback that we’re biting the bullet so we get a high draft pick next season and nab one of the young arms coming out of college. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

In the meantime, think of how much you’ll actually get done around the house this fall on Sunday afternoons.

THE SOUNDERS

They’ve spoiled us over the years. Start strong, have a slump, then, just as the playoffs approach, rally and grab one of those spots. I just don’t feel like that’s going to happen this time around, which is amazing considering the Sounders became the first American soccer club to win the ConcaCaf Championship earlier this year, earning a spot to play on a global stage in the months ahead.

But compare this season to the last 10 and it’s just not the same. it just feels different. We’ve got some great players, but the chemistry just isn’t there. Oh, there are moments, but with only two regular season matches left as of this writing, I’m just not feeling it. But, to keep us busy this fall……

THE MARINERS

I’ll admit I’ve been among their harshest critics in recent years, due to two decades of promising us a competitive team, only to get the same disappointing result year after year. But this 2022 collection of players seems like they just might have the mojo to make something happen. Maybe not a championship, but at least going to the dance and maybe go up a rung or two and take a big step in the right direction.
I’ve been a baseball fan longer than any other sport, and one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that every championship team will have a slump or two during the season. If you remember that 2001 season when the Mariners won 116 games, they came in blazing hot and then crashed in the first round. The key is to get that slump out of the way late in the season, late August or early September, and then hit the playoffs running. By then, some of the better teams are getting tired, the veteran players falling by the wayside with injuries and so on. Over the last week, the M’s have had some pretty poor performances, none worse than blowing a 9-run lead on Sunday and losing 13-12 to the Kansas City Doormats.

With us being set to welcome back some injured players and a team due to get hot, I’m thinking, “You know, this just might be the year.” Stranger things have happened.

MY HUSKIES

This is my team. Of all the sports, of all the teams, if I could only have one, this is it. I don’t have a single tattoo on my body but if I ever were to make that commitment, it would be a Husky logo on my left arm, up by the shoulder.

It’s the team I watched with my buddies in college. For the four years of working at KOMO Radio, it’s where I got to hang out with the likes of Bob Rondeau, Gary Johnson, Keith Shipman, Don James, Jim Lambright, and so many others. Going to a game at Husky Stadium still feels special. I was actually a season ticket holder for a few years (thanks to a friend who let me buy her tickets) but after that 0-12 year, I said, “Enough abuse.” Yes, we’ve experienced some dark times in recent years, with mysteries thrown in. Why did Peterson suddenly leave? Why did he leave the team in the hands of someone who should have continued the upward trend, only to crash and burn in record time? And how did we get so lucky to land Coach DeBoer and his program, providing us a creative offense and defensive toughness that is Husky football.

For God’s sake, he’s only four games in, but there is a lot of good stuff going on. The temptation is to leap to, “Oh, we’re going to be National Champs” or “It’s going to be the greatest Husky football team ever!” Look, I remember that ’91 Championship team and even though they had to share the Championship due to the continuing west coast bias, that was one great team. 12-0, baby.

We didn’t set out to be National Champs that year, but it just happened. For now, I’m just going to enjoy having a front row seat to the building of an incredible new program and when we win a game, that’s great. But then, focus on who’s next and who’s next only. One game at a time. One win at a time.

And maybe, just maybe…..

THE KRAKEN

The NHL’s latest expansion team is heading into its second season and I am having a blast. Expectations are in check, as we build a team and a new tradition in the Seattle area, but the more I watch NHL hockey, the more I realize it’s the only sport I observe on TV where I’m constantly yelling things, as if they can hear me. Dang, it’s fast.

I was growing up in Southern California when Los Angeles got the Kings and eventually, the Mighty Ducks, but my hockey viewing was pretty limited to occasionally getting caught up in a Stanley Cup playoff game. I’ve been to some Thunderbirds and Silver Tips games, I even got to take part in a Microsoft challenge one time, getting my own Thunderbirds jersey with my name on it and watching Kiefer Sutherland up close play on a celebrity team. 

I don’t know all the Kraken players names, but I’m trying to learn the rules, loving the fans, the enthusiasm, and the 100% carbon neutral Climate Pledge arena where they play. I’ve yet to take in a game in person, that’s on my bucket list for this season, but it’s just so awesome to have the big game in town. And ownership seems to be doing things right. It just takes time. Go Kraken!

And with that, Sports Fans, Mr. Voice of Reason has spoken. Class dismissed.

Tim Hunter

 

The Places I Go, The Things I See

We went to a 50th birthday party last Friday.

And that’s where the typical comes to an end.

Special decade birthdays have evolved over the years. I can faintly remember attending some 30th birthday parties where people complained about feeling “so old.” Little did they realize, that feeling was just getting started.

Then there were the 40th birthday parties, which usually amounted to people gathering and complaining about the latest issue with their bodies. “My knee hurts…”, “My back went out last night….”, etc.

The all-time record holder for the best 40th birthday party has to go to Mark Shoener, an attorney who lived in the neighborhood. He and his family lived a culdesac over and our neighborhood was “one of THOSE neighborhoods” that went all out at Christmas. I’d say, 75% of the houses all decked out in Christmas lights by the day after Thanksgiving. Well, Mark’s birthday was in early December and his wife thought it would be funny if, for the party, she hired a stripper for the birthday boy.

Oh, sure, inside, laughs were roaring as the dancer tried to embarrass the birthday boy. But outside, I could only imagine the family slowly cruising through the neighborhood with the kids looking at all the Christmas lights, when they came upon one house, where a stripper was performing in front of the huge picture window. I could hear the father saying, “Honey, we gotta move to this neighborhood!”

Back to the birthdays. It was a treat being invited to a 50th party. We’ve hit that time in our lives when some people don’t want other people to know how old they are. There’s kind of a blackout period for the 60th and 70th and then, if you’re lucky enough to make it, it seems like it’s suddenly O.K. to celebrate an 80th. We’ve been to a few of those. In recent years, we’ve celebrated several 90ths, including ones for my parents, as well as Victoria’s.

A couple of things made our Friday night outing especially fun. First, the whole 50th thing. We found ourselves surrounded by people both above and below 50, so some fresh blood! Although, truth be told, we hung mostly with a couple (she was with Trophy Cupcakes) who were in “our age bracket.” (think late 40s and don’t ask questions)

But the coolest thing of all was the venue. Actually, it’s a future venue, going through a transition. Because the Georgetown Steam Plant is a historical structure, it’s not going anywhere. And thank God!

First off, it is the last remaining steam plant of it’s type in the world! Here’s a website that will tell you more and let you can take a virtual tour. We were able to wander around, go upstairs, to the boiler room, and yes, there will need to be some major work done. Funny, but the birthday invitation urged people bringing their kids to the party not to “lick the pipes or walls.”

I talked with the president of the Georgetown Something or Other and he’s heading up the drive to turn it into a museum and entertainment venue. Rather than boring you with more details, I think the pictures will give you an idea of what a massively impressive venue this is, and will be in the future.

I’m glad we don’t just tear down everything. Oh, the places I go, the things I see….

Tim Hunter

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

 

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 151

Welcome to the perfect 25th anniversary.

It was a celebration that was supposed to take place in the future, but I felt the odds were against it. It was the Murdock, Hunter & Alice 25th Anniversary Show!  Here we were, 13 years into this radio experiment, around 18 months away from imploding and going our separate ways. Maybe I sensed something, but I thought it would be funny for us to put on our 25th Anniversary show now, rather than wait. I mean, why take chances.

This week’s Wacky Week Podcast is probably my best and most entertaining one I’ve cranked out yet. Truthfully, I was looking for something easy to keep me on schedule. Earlier this week, my computer blew up. It took precious days–days that I normally would be putting together a podcast–and I’ve spent the last day re-installing all my programs.

I stumbled across this CD and man, this is quintessential Murdock, Hunter & Alice. You’ll hear voices no longer with us like Alice and news guy Jim Kampmann. Paul Tosch and his brief stint with us before heading over to KOMO as their “Eye in the Sky.”  There’s Alice, the beer-drinkin’, chain smoking psychic, Mike Evans, Susan the Astrologer, and my good friend Ken Carson, who was the emcee for the morning.

This is a beefy one, so listen to it as you have time. Great stuff and a wonderful collection of just how much could be had on the radio.

Thanks for listening, then and now.

Tim Hunter

Be A Tourist

When you feel like time is blurring by…when you find yourself saying, “Wow, it’s already February!”…when you have to stop and think, “Uh, what day is this again?”: be a tourist.

It dawned on me the other day at Universal Studios Hollywood. While my wife and I have a strong affection for Disneyland, Universal is the place we just don’t go to that often. But when we do, we have a blast and I turn into a kid again.

Norman Bates loading something in his trunk. He must be spring cleaning.

During that four-hour visit, despite the world-famous Los Angeles traffic to and from our destination, I had a non-stop smile on my face. We went on fantasy rides in the Harry Potter area, enjoyed that Simpsons adventure (which is just hilarious) and even made it through the “Walking Dead” zombie house. I was grinning from ear-to-ear the entire time and when I took so many pictures and video that my phone died, I became detached from the outside world.  No emails, no text messages, no news updates. I didn’t know what the stock market was doing or what the president had said or anything happening outside the park. I was present, enjoying the California sun and just having fun.

The experience reminded me that, being a tourist is probably something we should incorporate more into our day-to-day lives. That care-free, forget-about-the-problems-of-the-world outlook that I’m sure does my mental health a world of good.

I was being a tourist in southern California, but thousands of people do the same thing in Seattle where I now live. You can be a tourist anywhere. It’s more of a mental than physical thing and I have a feeling there are some rewards there that we all should be tapping into.

So, some friendly advice, as you navigate your way through another busy, crazy hectic work week: when you can, set aside a couple of hours for yourself, go some place fun and treat yourself to an escape.

Be a tourist.

Tim Hunter