Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 29, 2014

A Rivers’ Run Through

I'm the one on the left

I’m the one on the left

Bob Rivers announced this week that he’s stepping down from behind the microphone after 42 years on the radio, the last 25 here in Seattle.  In fact, it will be exactly 25 years a week from Friday, when Bob utters his final words on the radio.

While a brother in radio, Bob and my career paths ran parallel to each other.  As I think back on the years, I remember the big deal about  his coming to town.  At the time, I was part of a radio show of my own–Murdock, Hunter & Alice–and he popped on my radar because of all the hoopla that came with his arrival.  However, being on the air at the same time, I rarely had the occasion to  hear him.  And, after all, he was on one of the rock stations in town.  With us being a female-targeted Adult Contemporary station, I didn’t really consider us to be competing.

I remember one time when our program director took for a limo ride one more to have us listen to what else was out there.  There was Ryan & Ryan on KBSG.  The Rich Brothers on Magic 108.  Kent & Alan.  What I remember about The Bob Rivers Show was that it was so slow-paced.  It was conversational before I realized the value of conversational.  We were a tight, never talk more than 4 minutes, get at least four songs in an hour, morning show.  It’s how I imagined a morning show was supposed to be.  What I realize now is that our conciseness made us more easily forgettable.  Again, radio is that free thing in your car that you listen to on your way to work or heading home.  If it’s not working,, you just press another button.

With the Bob Rivers format, you talked about relevant topics, as fresh as the day, and let everyone star.  I wish we had realized that at the time.

Over the years, Bob’s influence in the market was unavoidable.  I had a couple a couple of parody songs that I produced and entered into the Soundies (the local radio awards) in the song parody category.  I offered them up as lambs to the slaughter, because that became known as the “Bob Rivers Category.”  Bob would take what I tried to do in my spare time and jack it up to the perfection level.  I never thought I would win knowing he had an entry, but even having a couple of my songs being nominated was honor enough.

When the Murdock, Hunter & Alice adventure blew up after 17 years, I found myself not getting up at 2:17am. (yeah, that was the magic time)  When I married my wife, Victoria, she had been a Kent & Alan fan (yeah, that hurt).  But then she became restless.  I encouraged her to try Marty & Jodi over on The Mountain and she liked ‘em…until one day, they both turned on American Idol.  That didn’t work.  So, she was open to another show, so around the time Bob Rivers and the crew checked in to KJR, I said, “Let’s give them a try.”

We never looked back.

Bob & the gang have been a part of our wake-ups for as long as they’ve been at 95.7.  In another one of those close crosses, The Bob Rivers Show was among those rumored to be offered the KLSY morning show when we were in our final months.

I remember the time visiting a friend who was in the hospital and this quirky guy walked by the room, then backed up and came in to say ‘hi’. He had taken time out of his long day to visit a sick friend.  They had apparently met years ago when both were in the hospital for a procedure.

What’s also been exciting to see is how Pedro and Luciana have excelled and become a part of that show.  I remember both haunting the halls of KLSY, working on one of the other Sandusky stations, while students at Green River Community College.

I was also fortunate to “direct” Bob and Spike in an iHeartRadio video plug for Car Toys.  Again, consummate pros.

We’ve been to two Spike and the Impalers concerts and I have this feeling we’re going to be going to a lot more. I cannot express how much admiration I have for this team and for the consistently entertaining mornings they’ve provided to the Seattle radio audience. If you have not gotten on board, please, do give them a listen for the next two weeks while you can.  It all goes away Friday, August 8th.

I worked with Pedro and Luciana.  Never met Erik.  Got to meet Joe and Jodi on Facebook.  Worked with Spike several times.

Bob, I just want to say it was an honor to semi-know you and you have my ultimate respect.  Congrats on a job well-done and savor every second of your time away from the 5am microphone. If anyone deserved it, it’s you.

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 28, 2014

Can’t Figure This One Out

Manhattan Transfer BEFORE we left

Manhattan Transfer BEFORE we left

We went with some of my wife’s cousins and family to the Smooth Jazz festival last Saturday.  It was an amazing day, but a bit on the unusual side.

It all started well, with a decent place in line, perfect weather and a strong line-up ahead:  an up and coming jazz talent, Lee Ritenour with special guest Dave Grusin  (can you believe he’s 80!?) , Spyro Gyra and to cap it off, Manhattan Transfer!  Chateau Ste. Michelle wine is in a league of its own and we had plenty to choose from.  Started with Chardonnay, moved to Cabernet.   Life was good.

Temperatures eventually were in the 80s and everyone there was just basking in the sunshine.  We had brought snacks, but managed to sneak in some food from a couple of the booths, including chicken shish-kabob and blackened salmon Caesar salad.

Of the acts that performed, Lee and Dave stole the show.  They easily could have played the entire afternoon and they left to a standing ovation.  Check out Dave Grusin  on Wikipedia and you’ll be amazed how many songs he’s done that you’re familiar with.

The biggest disappointment: Manhattan Transfer.  In their defense, they had mixing problems.  The smooth blend we hear on the studio songs just wasn’t there.  Now, here’s where it gets weird—people started leaving.  I don’t mean a few, I mean in droves.  That would include us.  The bulk of our group was done with them and we decided to go with the crowd.  Had we stayed, it would have been to tough it out, but after being there 10 hours already, we decided it was just time to go.

The biggest learning curve for me was making sure we have clip-on umbrella’s for the chairs on the next hot day concert we attend.  They ask you to take them down during the music, but with this day a steady 80-degrees, it would have been great to have them.

A tremendous day overall, but so odd to see so many people–including ourselves–walk out on the headliner of a concert.  I’m reminded of the old saying, “It wasn’t just the heat—it was the humility.”

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 25, 2014

My Cousin-In-Law Donnie

That's Donnie back in his Badfinger days on the far right

That’s Donnie back in his Badfinger days on the far right

We’re wrapping up a week of a staycation, where you actually stay put in the beautiful place you live rather than spending a bunch of money to fly somewhere.  Joining us in our exploration of our hometown were my wife’s cousin and her husband, Donnie Dacus.
I already knew quite a bit about Donnie going into this–a former guitar player for Chicago and a principal character in the movie version of the musical, “Hair.”  Needless to say, the guy has a million stories in him and, if you ask, he’ll tell.  And I do.

If you read the Wikipedia link above, you’ll see some of his other musical achievements, such as being among the backup singers on Billy Joel’s “My Life.”  While we explored the San Juans, Pike Place Market and Snoqualmie Falls, he was totally open to questions like, “What about Joe Walsh?” or “What was the deal with Badfinger?” (a Beatles-eque group from the 1960s that seemed cursed–two of their lead singers committed suicide.  Donnie played with a latter version of the group)

Every question I asked sent him off into a different direction of music history.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to him, “Man, we should be recording this!”  He’s got enough for a book full of music industry stories and he’s told me that he’s working on one.  It would be a shame for these stories to simply disappear one day.

But that’s not my decision, not my call, so in the meantime I’ll just keep enjoying them as they’re told. All it takes is putting on some music from the 1970s and then asking, “So, did you play with them?”  And we’ll begin another stroll down Music History Lane.

And now you know a little bit more about my cousin-in-law, Donnie.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 16, 2014

Once Again, I’m a Jerk and Didn’t Realize It

OK, I’ll tackle it. The race thing.

The reason this comes up as the topic of this week’s blog is that a Seattle Times writer decided to take on the Gilbert & Sullivan musical, Mikado. Go ahead, read the review, I’ll wait. In fact, while I’ve got you distracted, here’s what radio guy Dave Ross–one of the performers in the local production–had to say about it.

Because the actors in the show were white (Anglo-Saxon) and wore makeup traditional to the role, the writer claimed that it was a case of “yellow-face.” Think “black-face.”

Yeah, looking back, the whole Al Jolson thing was a bad idea, I get it. Of course, it was before my time and long gone before I was even a thought. Yet, believe it or not, in the year 2012, someone I know actually thought it would be OK to do a video that included a white person wearing black-face make up. No, seriously.

But, I digress.

The writer in the Seattle Times was Chinese, but she was taking offense at a white person putting on the white makeup and pretending to be a Japanese person. I’m sorry, but that escapes me.

I just find it hard to imagine to plan waking up tomorrow and dedicating my purpose for being as figuring out something that offends me. Oh, look—there’s something over 120 years old! Let’s target that!

Look, I get being sensitive. I don’t think any less of you because you’re (insert your ethnicity here). I also don’t think any more of you. I was pretty color-blind growing up in Torrance, California. I had friends with the last names of Ishibashi and Ikemoto.   I also had pals with the last name of Rico, Duarte and Espinoza. That was just their last names. So what?

We were a bit shy on our African-American count (I’ll bet we had three in the whole high school), but when I eventually had co-workers and friends who happened to be black, I never gave it a second thought.

There are the rules with race. Not overly sure I get all those, either. If you want the n-word to go away, stop using it. But it becomes a territory and you can say it, but I can’t. Never even thought about using it, makes me uncomfortable hearing it or reading it, but whatever.

I understand that people get offended. Tell a Norwegian and Swede joke and depending on how you insert the ethnicities, one will get offended.

OK, this has gone on long enough. Here’s the deal—I don’t hate you. I don’t want to make fun of you any more than I want you to make fun of me. I understand that people of almost every non-white heritage have undergone discrimination (see the Jews).

Yeah, it’s a topic people don’t like to talk about, but I want you to know that there are a lot of us out in the world who don’t mean to offend, who aren’t out to get you, who spend most of our time thinking about our own future and the bills and everything else going on in our own lives that we don’t have time to make being bigots a pastime. Oh, racist a**holes exist, I’m just not one of them.

Seriously, I don’t mean for your life to be difficult. But here’s a suggestion: don’t focus on what’s wrong with the things around you. Zoom in on the good things because, until you do, you’re missing out on a hell of a lot.

Oh, and sorry about what really bothered you when you woke up this morning, but I honestly didn’t mean it.

By the way, I’m not a fan of opera so I won’t be going to Mikado, so I’ll never know what you are talking about or how “unfair” it is. Then again, you wrote your review before you even saw this production, so I guess we’re even.

Which is,  ironically, how I’ve felt about you all along.

 

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 9, 2014

CURSE OF THE PRIUS

This looks like it.  Uh, no.....

This looks like it. Uh, no…..

 

Let me start by saying that my Toyota Prius does exactly what it was hired to do—saves me a bunch of money on gas.  I like that.

Now, you don’t get a Prius to live the life of luxury.  The road noise is a bit much.  I don’t have a luxury version of the car.  Like so many things in my life, I tend to stay in the middle.  So, I’ve got some cool features like satellite radio, GPS, etc. but for the most part, it’s your standard, run of the mill Prius.

This is my second one.  My first Prius was silver, so fairly easy to keep clean. However, there was the Costco challenge: coming out of the store, pushing your cart full of goodies and making a beeline to the first silver Prius you saw, which usually wasn’t the only one in the lot.  I remember once pulling up, hitting my keys, the door not opening and then after a moment, realizing I was standing next to the wrong one.

To make matters worse, a guy pulled up in his car, rolled his window down and yelled, “I saw that! HA!  I did that the other day with HER car!”  As his wife embarrassingly slunk down into her passenger seat.

So, when the time came to get a new Prius (or “re-up” as they call it in the lease business) I decided to go with a more unique color. Behold, a dark, smoky gray…almost black.   It had more bells and whistles and, most important, it wasn’t silver.

Last week, I left Costco with just a couple of photos I had picked up, approached my car, hit the key chain, heard the beeps, opened up the back door and tossed in my pictures.  Just as I was closing the door, I noticed something odd: there were peanuts on the floor.  I didn’t have peanuts in my car.  I took a step back.  And sure enough, it was another black Prius.  In what must have been overwhelming odds, someone else walking to their car hit their open-door beeper at the same time I hit mine. I just assumed it was to my car.  This Prius owner had left his doors unlocked and I had almost hopped into the wrong vehicle.  Again.

So you know, if you own a Prius, you can never relax.  The second you don’t think about it, you could end up in the wrong car.

But all I have to do is keep remembering—I’m averaging 50 miles to the gallon.  My Prius makes it all worth it.

Oh, wait. No, not this one.  That one over there.  Oh, whatever….

 

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 3, 2014

The Tradition Continues

Lilly has a new younger brother to share the parade with this year!

Lilly has a new younger brother to share the parade with this year!

We all have our various traditions.

Some we share, like holidays, or going up to see the tulips when they bloom, the opening of fishing season and so on.  In fact, next weekend, an unlikely tradition for me continues:  I’ll be emceeing my 7th Lutefisk Eating Contest at Ballard Seafoodfest.

However, one of my favorite traditions is tomorrow, the 4th of July, when Bothell holds it’s annual Freedom Festival Parade and, for something like 10 years in a row, I’ll be the emcee for coverage of the parade on the Bothell City Cable Channel.  Yes, for the next couple of months, they’ll be replaying the parade over and over, with me doing the play-by-play.  Tim Smith and his crew will do their camera magic and everything in their power to make me look good.

The benefits are many. While some people have been locking up lawn chairs along the parade route for over a week to secure their spots, I’ll be able to wander up at 10:30am to a secure where my wife, along with my daughter & her family join us to watch the kiddies parade at 11, followed by the Grand Parade at noon.

Kids as far as the eye can see

Kids as far as the eye can see

It’s nothing fancy. Mostly the people who live and work and play in Bothell and the Northshore area coming out for a sun-drenched celebration of our country’s birthday.  The mayor, city council and other politicians will be there, along with any opponents if it’s an election year.  I’ll get to say hi to Tom Bainter and the football coaches from Bothell High, some former neighbors and friends.  There will be churches, dentist offices, even the Waste Management trucks will be there and, with any luck, the Seafair Pirates will wrap things up.

If you’re in the neighborhood, come by and say hi.  We’re usually set up across from Alexa’s Café, right there on Main Street, and I always look forward to it.

Happy birthday, America!

Tim Hunter

Hey, they gotta do something in the off-season!

Hey, they gotta do something in the off-season!

Posted by: Tim Hunter | June 26, 2014

Louie’s! Louie’s! They Gotta Go!

20140625_181109

Word is spreading slowly in the Ballard community, but Louie’s of China closes forever this Sunday.  Here’s a very nice note from the owner.

I can’t say this was a long-time favorite spot because I’ve driven by it for years, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually went to Louie’s for the first time.  And, it was awesome.  It became one of those places that everybody knew about, but would forget to go.

Oh, there are the regulars and the folks who make it to the happy hours and the occasional dinners.  But had Louie’s been as busy as it has been this last week of operations, they might have considered staying open a little long. Maybe.

Then again, $2.49-million to retire is a pretty tempting offer.

Yep, the place has been sold and is most likely destined to be a future condo complex in Ballard.  There are rumblings about the owners or at least involved parties re-opening somewhere else in town.

Louie’s has been around for three generations.  No doubt, the building needed some serious work.  As 15th became busier and busier, it has become more difficult to get there from the north end of town.

After making my initial visit a couple of months ago, the moment I heard about it was closing, I felt compelled to work in one more dinner.  It was only my second time at the place and it did not disappoint.  The place was hopping, with a crowd of people waiting to be seated when we arrived, but fortunately they take reservations. (you can even do it on Open Table)

The Ballard version of The Last Supper

The Ballard version of The Last Supper

However, I wouldn’t wait.  If you’re after one more Louie’s of China experience, make it quick.  After Sunday, it joins the long list of all those other places that used to be in Ballard.

Sorry to see it go, but glad we met.

20140625_185906

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | June 18, 2014

THE BIG BREAKOUT

Read the label and you'll find my name there!

Read the label and you’ll find my name there!

The other day, I was thinking about those “almost big deals.”  Projects that I got involved with and thought, if nothing else, for a little while—this is going to be the big one.

When you flitter about professionally, as I do, you have the chance to get involved in a diverse collection of projects or events. I’ve emceed 7 lutefisk eating contests, been the host for a Mr. Bothell Pageant, wrote one liners for Bill Gate’s Salute to Warren Buffett on his 75th birthday and so on.  Unique experiences that were pretty much one-offs.  Fun and done.

But then there were those special projects that you thought might pave the way to a life of leisure and a lasting reputation as being “that guy!”

I was fortunate enough to spend many an afternoon with Stan Boreson one summer, helping him write silly Christmas songs for an album that was released in the 1980s.  I thought it would be the beginning of a long string of albums, but it was at the time when he was beginning to wind down his career and the recording industry was doing a complete makeover.

I somehow got hooked up with a company that was making an Inspector Gadget computer game.  Again, in the 1980s, in the infancy of that industry.  When the actual voice of Inspector Gadget asked for a million dollars to do it, they settled for my mediocre impersonation to provide the soundtrack for their game.  It was the most fun $10 an hour gig I ever had.  The game was produced, but didn’t work that well on computers.  The company went bankrupt and I have a copy of the game.

Another entrepreneur hired me to be the voice of his “Travel Around Edmonds” tapes.  Yep, we’re talking cassettes.  You’d get a map, drive to that location, then press play on your car’s cassette machine and then a friendly voice would tell you about the touristy aspects of this part of town. I’ve got some of those cassettes at home, too.

One of the more interesting ventures I partnered in was creating audiobooks of the Wizard of Oz series.  I believe we recorded three of the books with narrator Debbie Deutsch and a young girl named Alexandria.  Man, we spent a lot of time in the studio doing those.  I was every other voice in the book—the Wizard, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the Lion, the Winkies, etc.  A guy named Bill Wright was a major Oz fan and wanted to create a franchise.  Again, on cassettes and technology soon made them obsolete.

Probably the most disappointing attempt at greatness was pursuing a career as a screenwriter.  Oh, scripts have been written and I’m pretty proud of them.  Several were carried around by an agent for three years, hoping to find that crack in Hollywood’s door.  Alas, we came up empty.

But I tell you what—a couple of those movies WILL be made.  As my skill-set increases, I’ve been learning more and more about what goes into filming and my plans are, to some day just do the darn movies myself.

Especially if the market for cassettes of Inspector Gadget giving you a guided tour through the land of Oz takes off.

 

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | June 10, 2014

Watch Me Scatter the Crowd

Jeff Koterba cartoon for January 10, 2013 "Guns"

It’s easy. All I have to do is say, “So, how do you feel about guns?”

Immediately, everyone will scurry over to their corner of the argument. The anti-gun crowd will say we need more restrictions or to outright ban them.

The pro gun crowd will remind you that Nazi Germany did their best to take guns away from private citizens.

The anti-gun folks will say that our current gun laws don’t work.

The pro gun folks respond by saying that the laws on the books just aren’t being enforced.

The anti-gun people say that there’s a mental illness factor and that people with such conditions shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns.

The pro gun people say if you prevent them from getting weapons, you’re infringing on their God-given right to have a firearm. And that just possibly might cut into their rights.

There’s talk of doing something. Chests are thumped. Fingers are pointed. Accusations are made. Holier than thou’s are anointed.

And then, it goes quiet. We mourn. We try to move on. We’re thankful that it wasn’t one of our loved ones wasn’t killed or injured. For a good day or two.

Then, a few days later, it happens again.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Albert Einstein gets the credit for that one, even though there’s no proof he ever said it. But, no matter.

I have friends that are on both sides of the argument. Here’s my stand.

I was raised a Ronald Reagan Republican, campaigned for Richard Nixon and remember going back to visit cousins in South Dakota where kids could earn some money in the summer by shooting gophers. You’d see them poke their heads up, fire and miss, and they’d continue looking until you got a second shot. For every tail, you’d get a nickel.

Kids on the farm grew up with guns. For generations, guns were a part of the world that you really didn’t give much thought to. When we were kids, we played “war.” I remember a note going home from the schools, suggesting to parents that kids probably shouldn’t be watching that “Combat” show on TV. All that violence.

Then, the next day, we’d be out with our pop rifles that you cocked and made a shooting sound as you played war. It was the next step after the GI Joe doll thing, which I never really got into.

Even in my younger years, I remember having one of those Roy Rogers trick hats, that you took off, squeeze the brim and a Derringer pistol would spring up and fire a cap.

Guns were there, a part of life, but I never, ever imagined gunning people down in real life. Wasn’t even on the radar.

Over the years, I’ve seen guns do their damage. JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, and so many others. A lot of neighborhood kids that played War got a chance to live it during Viet Nam. Fortunately, the one year I was eligible for the draft, my number was up in the 200’s and things were winding down.

Yes, it’s a different world and I don’t know how many of these blogs before I’ve used to tell the story of when my position on guns changed. But it happened when a classmate of my son came home from school one day. The 7th grader got off the same bus Ty was on, he walked home, took a rifle out of his parents’ unlocked gun cabinet and did the unthinkable.

That was when I cleared things out. I owned two rifles and I took them both down to the Bothell police station for meltdown or whatever they wanted to do with them. Just didn’t want them around.

For those who feel they need to have their guns, prove you deserve the opportunity and lock them up, or be completely responsible for anything done with them. We’ve just experienced our second school shooting in a week by people who wanted to punish innocent people and enjoy a little bit of instant fame. The nut job that did last week’s shooting in Seattle had visited Columbine, like it was a shrine of how to do that kind of thing.

It’s time to risk infringing on the gun-owning rights of the mentally disturbed people who stand behind the second amendment to say they have the right to shoot a bunch of innocent people and then kill themselves.

I’m pretty tired of it.

There, I’ve said my piece. Others will chime in. Chests will be thumped, fingers will be pointed, and accusations will be made.

Then it will go quiet again. Until the next time.

At the current rate, sometime before the weekend.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 30, 2014

SCHRAM THE LUCK

Ken Schram

I don’t even know where to begin in talking about Ken Schram.

Of course, everyone’s supposed to pile on when someone passes and say wonderful things about them. I’ve got a few of those things, but I also want to share the view I had of Ken and our short time together in the KOMO building. I was lucky enough to be around when he first started at KOMO when I was Larry Nelson’s producer on the radio side. That brief connection was enough to last for years. Whenever our paths would cross, the first thing he would do is yell out, “Timmy!” For all the commentaries and Town Meetings I watched him do over the years, Ken saying that word is how I can hear his voice.

Of course, with it came a big Schram smile and a great example of his complexity. There was Ken Schram, the serious commentator. Ken Schram the Town Hall host. Ken, the radio personality. He loved to make a point and do whatever he could to persuade you to his side of the issue.

Then there was Ken, the 7th grade boy. He was a prankster. He was known for things like turning off the lights while you were reading a newscast or disrupting a live report. He behaved as a professional on the air, but people who worked with him and knew him were not surprised when “son of a bitch” or “bastard” would just pop out of his mouth.

When I first heard last week that Ken was in hospice, I reached out to a few KOMO friends who got me in the loop and kept me updated. At first, I hoped he was just suffering a setback because, knowing Ken, he would out-stubborn it. But it was not to be.

I sent a Facebook note to his wife Sandi, who I may have met at a KOMO picnic 40 years ago at Vasa Park. I told her the “Timmy” story and she wrote back this awesome note:

The stories mean everything right now. As Ken lies here beside me, I talk to him throughout the night and feel certain he hears. He will smile inside about the 7th grade boy. Much love and gratitude to you.

I haven’t dug through my photo album yet for any pictures with Ken, but the second I heard he was ill, I immediately recalled a recording of him being that 7th grade boy that I thought I would share with you. It’s a little raunchy, but when you’re among friends, that kind of stuff happens.

The scene is a taping for an upcoming KOMO Radio Tailgate Party with Bob Rondeau, the voice of the Huskies, and Captain Radio, Larry Nelson. The two would pre-record this featured called “Special Times” and just banter back and forth about the day’s big game, often getting pretty silly. This particular day, it wasn’t happening without a lot of effort. They’d start….derail…..start again…..and then, just as a good take was starting to take off, the inner 7th grader came by and said something you wouldn’t want heard on the radio.  (Just as a warning, he says something a bit on the raunchy side, so use your own judgement)

Listen here

He could look you in the eye and convince you that his opinion should probably be yours. He spent over three decades in the Seattle market, most of those at KOMO. As a broadcaster, he did great things on both radio and TV. As person, he did even greater things as a husband, a dad and a friend.

My theory is that a few days ago, St. Peter got his first-ever Schrammie.

Rest well, Ken, and thanks for being you.

Tim Hunter

St. Peter, this one's for you!

St. Peter, this one’s for you!

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 27, 2014

That’s Not Funny! It’s Sickle!

By the time you’ve reached my age, the list of things you’d be doing for the very first time is extremely short.  There are those things you did once, but you know you probably shouldn’t do again.  There are those you took for a spin and then found it hard to stop.  There are things you tried and now do all the time.

The other day, I did something for the very first time.  I may never do it again, but in a way, was glad to have had the experience.

I used a sickle to cut down weeds.

While staying at the family cabin Memorial Day weekend, I offered to help my father-in-law with any outdoor projects he was taking on.  It seems the weeds were getting a little too close to the deck and so he decided it was time to cut them back.  In my mind, that meant firing up a weed-wacker, mowing ‘em down and calling it a day.

Instead, he handed me a sickle and a file.

Really?  I’ve seen these in museums and on Soviet flags but I was supposed to cut down the weeds with an actual sickle?

I did my best to look like I knew what I was doing and replied with a simple, “OK!”  But this was first-time territory for me.  I used the file to sharpen it, then began slashing grass like I knew what I was doing.  To be honest, I was a natural.

I was amazed at how easy it just cut down the grass.  All the while, I had two thoughts running through my head.  The first: I could hear my grandfather Emil’s voice saying, “Yeah, that’s it.  Keep swinging.  You know, I used to do this for hours at a time!”  Grandpa was a farmer in the Dakotas back in the days when a sickle was standard farm equipment.

The other thought—OK, where’s Ernie?  I’m slashing this thing around like a madman and I don’t want anyone walking up behind me and having this turn into a “Friday the 13th” movie.

It was a first for me.  Wouldn’t mind if it was my last time, but not opposed to giving it another spin in the future.  I found it remarkably efficient.

But it was actually something I did for the first time after 58 years on this earth.  I wonder what the next “first” will be?

Tim Hunter

Oh yeah, that's normal-looking!

Oh yeah, that’s normal-looking!

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 22, 2014

Curse of the Seattle Supersonics

How do you really feel?

How do you really feel?

That’s a working title, but if we stick with it, I’m good.

Let us go back to the early 1900s, when the Boston Red Sox traded away one of their most promising players to the New York Yankees. A pitcher named Babe Ruth.  Babe was eventually taken off the mound and moved to right field because of his bat and the rest was history.  What was left behind in Boston was the legendary “Curse of the Bambino.”  After trading the Babe, Boston would not win a World Series for 86 years!

In 2008, new owner Clay Bennett packed up the Seattle Supersonics and moved them to Oklahoma City.  Clay, if you’re keeping track, only 80 years to go!

Hmmmm, let’s see.  The previous owner of the Sonics was Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.  Some still place the blame on him for selling the team to Bennett. Maybe it should be “Curse of the Frappuccino?”

By the way:  last night, the former Sonics lost to the San Antonio Spurs 112-77 and trail in that best of seven series 2-0?

Oh, sure, letting it go and moving on with our lives would be the mature thing to do.  What’s your point?

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 21, 2014

Betrayed By A Yellow Shirt

I loved that yellow shirt.

It was bright, comfortable, spring-ee….

It was everything one could hope for when digging through their closet in those half-awaken hours, trying to figure out what you were going to wear.

Everyone’s got their own system.  There are The Planners, who figure it all out the night before and have it separated from the herd.  Then there’s the What’s Clean crowd, which bases their decision solely on what isn’t in the hamper.  I tend to be a Routine Dressers.  I have my stable of favorite shirts that I pair with jeans most days.  “Have I worn that this week?  No?  Good!”  Earning a spot in the starting lineup was a yellow shirt.

Not a soft yellow, mind you, but a vibrant one.  A shirt that produced smiles, that showed I wasn’t neutral.  A shirt that I was very proud to have found on sale at JC Penney for an amazing price.

Until last week.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my wife, Victoria, said those fateful words: “There’s something wrong with your shirt!”

How could that be?  Not THIS shirt?  What….what was wrong?

“It looks like it’s on inside out.”

I made a beeline to the nearest bathroom, turned on the light and approached the mirror.  I looked at the side she had pointed out.  Then at the other side.  They didn’t match.

One had a flap around the seam of the arm, the other didn’t.

It became apparent that the manufacturer had sewn together two halves of a shirt—one the right way and the other inside out. And I had been wearing this for months.  Inspector #71, I hate you!

So, goodbye favorite yellow shirt.  I had trusted you.  For just a moment, I thought about donating you to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, to allow you to take one more person on this adventure.  But instead, you’ll be spending the rest of your days in a landfill.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be reincarnated as a perfectly sewn-together Tommy Bahama.

I’ll look for you at the discount rack.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 15, 2014

Syttende Mai to you, too!

MJ & Me

MJ & Me

It’s Syttende Mai Eve.  Do you open your aquavit on Syttende Mai Eve or Syttende Mai morning?

For the non-Nordic types reading this, the world in which I find myself these days is heavy on the Norwegian side and every 17th of May is a big deal. It’s Syttende Mai, or for those of us without Google translator handy, Norwegian Constitution Day.

And so?

Well, in Seattle, in the Nordic suburb of Ballard, Norwegians near and far gather to celebrate day.  This year, being on a Saturday, promises to be quite the celebration.

What makes the 2014 edition even more special is that it’s the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution and the 125th year of the parade in Seattle!  In fact, our Syttende Mai parade is the largest in the U.S. and second only to one held in Norway.  The size of the parade actually rivals the annual Seafair Torchlight Parade.

However, while there are marching bands and drill teams, V.I.P.’s and such the bulk of the parade is filled with Norwegians and their various groups from all over the area.  Sons of Norway lodges, Daughters of Norway, the chorus groups, the clubs…they’ll be there marching through Ballard, rain or shine, starting at 6pm.  For the third year in a row, I have the honor of being one of the parade announcers, along with Ballard resident and Q13 weather goddess, M.J. McDermott.

The day begins with Mayor Ed Murray making an appearance at Bergen Place Park at 10am to kick off the day.  There’s a sold-out lunch with VIP’s at the Leif Erikson Lodge and then various happy hours throughout Ballard to get the marchers ready for the big event.

So, if see people running around on Saturday dressed up in their Norwegian outfits, now you’ll know why.  If you want to blend in, say something like, “Nice bunad!” (BOO-nod) or, “Hurrah for Syttende Mai!” (sitten-de-MY) and you’ll probably be asked to join one of their organizations!

Remember, all the Norwegians are IN the parade, so if you’d like to help make up the crowd, it steps off at 6pm.

Tim Hunter

 

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 7, 2014

When Will It End?

Computer Crash

Dear Microsoft,

It happened again.  This morning. From 4am-5am, while you slept.

Let me backtrack a bit.

You see, I have a regular job with normal hours.  But every day, my alarm clock goes off at 4am so that can still keep a toe in the world of radio, but getting up at an ungodly hour (I know that for a fact–he doesn’t get up before 5) and go through my morning ritual of scouring the Internet for interesting tidbits and joke fodder that I, in turn, post for subscribers of Radio Online’s “Daily Show Prep.”  I’m not getting rich, it’s more of a passion project.

But make no mistake–I’m tired.  Oh, sure, 4am is much later than the 2:19am I had my alarm clock set for back in the days of morning show radio.  But you just suck the life out of me when I get up, try to use my computer and it’s doing one of those legendary updates.

Sometimes they happen and I’m back up and running in no time.  However, this morning was another one of the “Slap in the Face” (SITF) varieties.  I stared at a screen that had updated, then rebooted…only to see the arrow from the mouse and nothing else.  A black screen, with a function arrow point that I could wave around the screen, but that was it.  So, I rebooted the system, hoping that it might help.  It didn’t.  Three restarts later and I was still waiting.  So, after an hour of this exercise in futility, I went upstairs to get my laptop, the backup plan.

By the time I came back down, there was screen.  And I went to work.

But, as I said, that was an hour later than normal.  An hour of precious time I lost simply because you chose to update something.  Maybe a short note, explaining what the update is and how long I should expect this to take.  That would give me the option to do my work, then perform the update when I’m gone for the day and don’t need my machine.

Just an out-of-the-box thought.

Oh and by the way, this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Oh, no.

Thanks for your consideration.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 1, 2014

A Great ID

If nothing else, after roaming through the blogs on this site, if you have good nugget to take along with you, I’ve reached my goal.

I picked this one up from the owner of Destination Marketing, Dan Voetmann, so he gets full credit. You know that spot on the back of your credit or debit card where you are supposed to sign?  Instead of your signature, print the words, “Please Ask For ID.”

That does a couple of things.  For starters, should you ever lose your card and someone tries to use it, they may not have planned on it saying that.  The other thing that will amaze you is the number of times people don’t ask for your ID and just ring things up.

Over the weekend, while up in the San Juan Islands, I purchased something and the clerk asked for my ID, right on cue. You’d think people would want to be asked, but she told the story of one shopper who presented a card, was asked for her ID and then angrily replied, “Really?  You don’t remember me from last summer?”

It takes all kinds.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | April 24, 2014

Marquis Mark

City Cinema 500th sign

There are probably a lot of things that you had no idea that I do.

For example, flew down to Phoenix Monday afternoon, and spent all day Tuesday directing a commercial shoot for a mattress store client. Telling extras where to stand or walk, helping the talent deliver their lines, etc.  Wrapped up, flew home to Seattle and my head hit the pillow at home shortly before 1am.

If we’ve ever chatted about my daily routine, you know that every weekday morning, I get up at 4am to write “show prep” for RadioOnline, a subscription service for disc jockeys so they can skim what I and several other writes put together each day, and sound brilliant.  Sometimes, even funny.

One of my contributions each week is a silly little produced video piece I call simply “City Cinema.”  It’s a mock of what you would hear if you called a small town movie theater and listened to their recorded message of what’s playing.  Except, of course, packed with puns and quick comedic jabs.

This was an occasional bit back in the Murdock, Hunter and Alice days, that we would hit on Friday mornings–the day new movies come out and when most people would give serious thought to going to a movie.  I easily did a hundred or so of those during my reign at KLSY.  But when that blew up, I continued the tradition as part of every Thursday’s feed to RadioOnline.   While available to over 1,000 stations around the world, I don’t know exactly how many play this bit.  But they haven’t told me to stop doing it.  And within the next couple of weeks, I will have created 500 of these for ROL.

Here’s the one airing this week.

As you can hear, it’s pretty much good for one day.  I’ve done a few generic ones over the years, but for the most part, they burn the week they’re played and that’s it.

How I know at least one radio station in the middle of Nowhere, Oregon, is playing them is that a friend reported one night, they were driving along and all of a sudden, there I was on their radio.  Nice to know it’s not just me laughing.

Or, maybe it is?  I’ll have the voices in my head vote on it when I’m done here.

Enjoy the show and have yourself a snack!

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | April 17, 2014

The Benaroya Time Machine

Miller 1

Benaroya Hall opened up in Seattle in 1998, at a cost of $120-million. I can’t believe I had never been to a concert there.

And then, I went to two in 8 days.

The first was an amazing performance of music that included a knock0ut version of “El Fortuna.”   Now, I know classical music like the back of Morgan Freeman’s hand.  We had bought the tickets at an auction when no one else was bidding and I knew that Victoria and I would be treated to a live performance of the music that has found it’s way into more movie trailers than any other music.  Here’s what the music sounds like.  Recognize it?  Now imagine that performed live with an amazing symphony and live choruses.

Then I saw on Goldstar.com a chance to buy tickets to see the Glenn Miller orchestra play there for half price.  I grabbed four tickets, invited the in-laws and off we went to another night on the town.

One of the cool tricks to know about is that if you get there early enough, there’s a Wolfgang Puck restaurant right in the lobby of the performance hall, where you can get parked and then enjoy a very nice dinner for a reasonable price.  If the show starts at 7:30, I’d get there around 6.  That’ll usually get you into the connected parking garage as well.

Now, back to the Glenn Miller orchestra.  First off, while I was born over 20 years after Glenn died, his music defined a generation and was no stranger to the house where I grew up.  The orchestra, in their matching blazers, performed each of his hits for the next two hours (with a short break) and reminded me of just how many Glenn Miller songs I know.  If you never saw “The Glenn Miller Story” with Jimmy Stewart, it’s well worth the 90 minutes and will give you a better idea of why his music was so unique and forward for its time. Glenn innovated and took chances, leaving behind a sound.  Music is one thing, anyone can do that.  But to create a sound that six decades later defines the time, that’s pretty impressive.

A female soloist would occasionally come out, the animated band leader reminded me a bit of what I would have expected Glenn Miller to act like, and several members of the orchestra and the female singer teamed up to create a “Modernaires” sound for several of the songs. (Look it up on Wikipedia)

Before the show, the band leader asked all of the veterans in the audience to stand and there were a lot.  Again, this was their music, from their time.  I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to be listening to these songs, while the world was at war and your future so uncertain.  As you’d hear about some guys who you went to high school not coming home.  The bobby sox, the saddle shoes, the hairstyles, the times…

The Glenn Miller Orchestra brought in all ages

The Glenn Miller Orchestra brought in all ages

The Benaroya time machine had taken me back to earlier times twice in a week.  Two tremendous experiences.  And the most encouraging thing, especially at the Glenn Miller show?  The large number of teens and twenty-somethings that came to hear “Moonlight Serenade” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”  It gave me a feeling of just a little more hope.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | April 7, 2014

YET ANOTHER REMINDER

jason

Our computers at work pretty much behave themselves.

Now, that wasn’t always the case. Over my tenure at Destination Marketing, we’ve have everything from home-grown I.T. people, to the condescending experts that seem annoyed that you’re asking, “Why is my keyboard on fire?”

So, for the past couple of years, we’ve been living large. We had an I.T. named Jason. Never really paid attention to his last name. We just knew, if there was trouble with a work PC or a Mac, Jason would swing by and make things right.

Sometimes you’d have to just get up and turn it over to him for a while. Other times, he’d handle things remotely. The long sit-down repairs didn’t happen often, but when they did, it gave you a chance to talk with him.

That’s how one time we got into a long-discussion about the TV show, “Lost.” Jason had fixed my computer problems and was now just hanging in the doorway of my office as we went back and forth on the various theories surrounding the show. Was it a dream? Were they all really dead? Did you think this character was evil? What about that character?

That was probably my longest sit-down chat with Jason that I was fortunate enough to enjoy. He was a 36-year-old bearded computer whiz, with a receding hairline and an intense look like his mind was going 100 miles an hour. Until you talked with him about things like “Lost.” Then, you’d be treated to his smile.

Sunday, he was riding his motorcycle when I understand a car turned in front of him. He was just 36-years-old and leaves behind a wife and three daughters, the youngest just 6-months-old.

I haven’t stopped thinking about the last tragic passing of a good friend, Bill Strothman, when now, I find myself witnessing another person’s life cut so ridiculously short. Here one moment, gone the next.

I have to take from it the oblivious lesson—that there are no guarantees, that each and every day we get on this rock is a bonus and that, if you’re planning to do something tomorrow, you just might seriously think about doing it today.

Tim Hunter

PS  Just found out donations can be made to his family here

Posted by: Tim Hunter | April 5, 2014

“Noah”: Quite the Sinker

noah

We just came from seeing the movie, “Noah.”  It’s the first movie in a long time that I actively disliked.

I remember at one point being anxious for the movie to end so I could start disliking it.

Starting with the positives–Russell Crowe is great, but they made the Noah character quite unlikeable.  Emma Watson also did a great job.  Nice special effects.

OK, that’s over with.  Now, to the “What the hell is that all about?” part.

I heard that some folks on the Christian right were upset about this movie.  Of course, they were upset before it even came out.  I imagine the leaders got together one day and said, “You know, we haven’t been upset about anything in a week.” “Hey, isn’t that new Noah movie coming out soon?”  “Great idea!  I’m upset!”  “Me, too!”

However, it’s one thing to take liberties with the story.  Sure, go ahead.  Make Noah’s wife a blonde instead of a brunette. Have the ark made out of balsa wood instead of gopher wood.  Have it rain 41 days and nights, just to toss in an extra day and make sure all those evil people in the world aren’t out there still treading water.

When I started talking about the movie with my wife on the way home, the “doesn’t like to hate anything” Victoria was urging me make sure I re-read the story before venting.  I did.  I told her that, growing up, these stories were drummed into me in great detail, but sure, it wouldn’t hurt to go look at it again.  However, all it’s going to do is make this blog even longer.

In the Bible, Noah is told by God to build an ark, round up all the animals, take his wife, their sons and their wives on board and go for a cruise.  Are you with me?  After re-reading the story, I had forgotten that Noah did all this when he was 600+ years old.  Sure, make me feel like an underachiever.

Again, it’s one thing to take minor liberties with the story.  Like, say, Ham always kicked Shem’s butt in shuffleboard. But here are just a few of the liberties that bothered me:  God had turned fallen angels into rock creatures that helped Noah build the ark.  Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, gave him a magic seed that turned the desert into a lush forest so they’d have the trees to build the ark.  Only Shem had a wife on board.  The other two sons were facing life as bachelors.  The main bad guy had snuck onto the ark and was a stowaway, which set up a battle between him and Noah.  He also painted a nude picture of Shem’s wife and at one time announced, “I’m king of the world.”

No, wait.  I think I’m getting confused.

Now, you may be saying, “Tim, you’re just being too sensitive because of your religious views.”  Not at all.

What they did was take a story that most of us know and threw in things (I guess) to make it more interesting.

The best analogy I can come up with would be a new version of the Wizard of Oz.  You know the story, right?  Well, in this one, Dorothy travels in a time machine and meets up with some interesting characters.  Unfortunately, while on their way to meet the wizard, the Cowardly lion is attacked and devoured by zombies.  Dorothy eventually makes it back home, telling her Auntie Em that she would like to become a man.

I can say I saw it.  But there’s something seriously wrong about a movie surrounding the story of Noah when you’re hoping the boat sinks.

Tim Hunter

 

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | April 2, 2014

How I Saw How You Were Thinking

This week, the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” aired.

The episode that was 9 years in the making wrapped up the series by identifying the mom was in the aforementioned title.  Now, I’ll be honest.  While I’ve seen some scenes from the show before, until Monday night, I had never watched a full episode before.  Ever.

To me, it was a fun way to wrap up a series.  I got a chance to meet the characters, see where their lives had gone and where they were heading.  It actually reminded me of parts of my life. When the final scene rolled around, I thought, “That was pretty good.”

Then I went to the Internet and saw that fans were up in arms!  They were mad about this, upset about that. The more I read their complaints, the more I realized that it was most likely the show’s younger viewers (and when you’re almost 60, pretty much everyone else is always younger) who just haven’t had very much life experience.  They had in their mind how they wanted the show should end, how it should be clean and conclusive.

This just handed me from the news desk–life just doesn’t work out the way you had in mind.

The show had actually filmed that last scene with the kids back in 2005, so that we’d get to see them in their younger days.  The way the show wrapped up was where the writers and creators had been taking it all along.

One millennial I talked with was saying, “I’m never going to watch the reruns because I didn’t like how it ended!”  Really?  You sound like a Denver Broncos fan that recorded this year’s Super Bowl.

I’m convinced that all the outrage, all the gnashing of teeth is due to lack of life experience.  Twenty, thirty or so years from now, a light bulb will go on and you will have a whole new appreciation for that episode.  A former radio buddy whose life was cut short by lung cancer (that wasn’t how we imagined it was going to end, either) once gave me an outlook that I think of often: “If you ever want to make God laugh, tell him the plans you have for your life.”

Remember, “How I Met Your Mother” was just a show.  Those were characters, not real people.  But the writers made you care, you got to know them, they were a part of your life and now they’re gone.  That’s how it happens.  Blog or tweet your outrage, then move on and get back to what’s really happening.

Your life.

Time is a wonderful teacher.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | April 1, 2014

Radio’s High Holy Day

Ladies & Gentlemen--the Marching Ito's!

Ladies & Gentlemen–the Marching Ito’s!

Another one came and went.

This past Tuesday was April 1st, one of my favorite days of the year when I was back in radio.

It’s one thing to kiddingly tell someone that Bruce Jenner’s sex change is complete or innocently ask, “Is that soup on your shirt?”  But when you can play a prank at hundreds of thousands of people at one time?  Now THAT’S the power of April Fool’s Day in the world of radio.

I’ve always done something on the air that day or it was done to me.  AT KQOT, my first professional radio gig, I did a switch one year with a guy where I took his shift and called myself by his name and visa versa.  A mild prank, but with lasting consequences.  That morning, I got a call from a woman who was thanking me for the night before.  It seems my fellow DJ had his way with her and she was following up the next morning.  It took me a while to realize what was going on  (I thought I was being pranked) she was embarrassed about the incident and then decided to stalk me for the next several years.  I mean, like on Superbowl Sunday when I had to work on the air, she brought me a steak dinner and a half-rack of beer.  Then, when I took part in a 5K fun run, she followed me the entire race IN HER CAR.  She began sending me gifts, calling on the request line all the time. After some intervention by another DJ’s wife, she agreed to leave me alone. Shortly afterwards, she married a guy and then mailed me the wedding ring he gave her, saying it should have been from me.  Word has it that one night, he was waiting outside my home with a gun so that he could get that ring back. Fortunately, it was one of those occasional nights I didn’t come home.  The DJ’s wife made sure the guy got his ring back, the marriage broke up and he left me alone.

All because of an April Fool’s joke.

Then there was the year I orchestrated a gag on KOMO radio.  I had put together a series of reports from the scene of the Seattle April Fool’s Day Parade, describing the ridiculous participants, complete with me being on the phone, the crowd cheering in the background, etc.  Larry Nelson and I had broken new ground for that conservatively run radio station.

And management didn’t find it the least bit funny.  When the CEO jumps down the throat of the station manager, who lets the Program Director bear the brunt, there was hell to pay.  What I remember most were the concerned words of John Behnke, the KOMO big guy, who asked the question, “Do you realize that people in Lynnwood might have heard this and drove all the way down to Seattle for a parade that doesn’t exist?”

Sorry about that, Lynnwood.

I had heard one Seattle DJ back in the 1960s spent the whole morning doing live coverage of Vashon Island breaking off and floating away. When you do something like that and when listeners realize it’s a gag and then call in and play along, (“Yeah, I saw it!  It was moving pretty fast!”) that my friends is radio gold.

Then there was the time that Bob Brooks pulled a classic on me when I worked the afternoon shift at 92.5 Classy FM.  I had started one of those Soft Rock favorites, turned down the monitor and then started answering phones.  While talking to someone, I saw people gathering outside the studio looking in.  I told the caller I had to go, turned up the music and for God know how long, a part of the Bill Withers song, “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone” had been made to loop.  So when it got to the part where he sang, “And I know, I know, I know, I know, etc”……Bob had made the endless “I knows” go on for like three minutes.  To help me realize the gag, he was now looking at me through the broadcast booth window.  I had been fooled.

During the KLSY Murdock, Hunter & Alice days, the gag I remember most is the morning of the cell phones.  We did a regular show, but I had previously recorded and looped a bunch of different cell phone rings.  Anytime we opened our microphones, you’d hear a cell phone randomly ring. Of course, back then, there were fewer ring tones and so most people listening to the radio checked their phone at least once to see if it was theirs.  We had compliments on the bit, but also a few angry calls from people who didn’t find it funny. They kept checking their phones over and over until they realized they’d been punk’d they were mad.  “You could have caused an accident!”

Of course, there was the year that KLSY had an entry for the Woodinville All Fool’s Day Parade.  It was during the O.J. Simpson trial and we talked some Bothell High drill team members to put on judges robes and fake beards, then recruited on the air for a Marcia Clark look-alike.  Our entry, “Marcia Clark and the Dancing Ito’s” (for Judge Ito who presided over the case) won best entry.  Ironically, the Marcia Clark look-alike took the trophy home and we never saw it again.

There were lots of other gems, but the main point is to have some fun with the day.  If you’re known to be a serious person, this is the perfect opportunity to toss something out there with a straight face and let them know you actually have a sense of humor.

Talk about your new dog that’s part Shih Tzu and part poodle.  They call it a Shits Poo. (remember the straight face is key)

The Internet is full of gags to pull.  This is your day to shine!  A new study claims that pulling April Fools’ Day pranks actually reduces stress and causes positive endorphins to be released and could contribute to a longer life.

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Millard Fillmore (guest writing for Tim Hunter)

 

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | March 29, 2014

If I Could, This Is What I Would Say

Nora & Bill

Nora & Bill

It’s scheduled for 3pm Saturday afternoon.  Bothell First Lutheran will be packed with friends, family, church-members and more as we celebrate the life of Bill Strothman.

Since his life ended several weeks ago, I’ve thought about him often.

Bill and I were close in age. I think he had a one year lead.  To me, his passing is yet another reminder that we should take nothing for granted.  Each day, every day, is a gift.  It could all be gone tomorrow.  But you don’t think of it that way, not that it could be over.  That’s the negative side of the equation. It’s that you are blessed to have what you have now, to be where you are, with all of your life experiences intact.

I’ve thought about, “What happens when we’re at Bill’s service and they say, ‘Would anyone like to say something?'”  I know what I would say, I’m just not sure I’d get it out.

I’ve known Bill & Nora Strothman a lot of years.  We go back to the University of Washington days, when we all Communications majors cutting our teeth on mass media at the same time.  We worked together on a student TV show called, “Speakout.” When Fridays rolled around and we finished taping another show, we’d go celebrate on “The Ave” at a place called The Pitcher House, which had a Happy Hour that featured $1 pitchers.

Bill, Nora and I attended the same church for quite a few years, Bothell First Lutheran, where his service will be held tomorrow.  We chatted often, but I would give anything to be able to hear those conversations again.  I just remember thinking how cool it was that, one day we were college buddies, and here we are, years later, raising kids together in the same church.

When I left the Bothell area, I didn’t see the Strothmans very often.  I made to include them at an open house at my Bothell home in 2007.  Occasionally, we’d bump into each other at the Bothell Freedom Festival parade on the 4th of July, where I’ve been the parade announcer for decades.  Come to think of it, I have copies of those parades and I just might have to dig them out and look for Bill.

We stayed in touch, but didn’t see each other often in recent years.  When I think of Bill Strothman in the years to come, and I will, it will be the Bill from the UW days….and the Bill I imagine the way he would be today.  His legacy was how he told a story.   So, as the events of the Oso mudslide tragedy are reported, I just can’t help but wonder: how would Bill have told this story?

Those who knew him also know the magnitude of the person we lost.   But we were also fortunate enough to know the caliber of the person he was.

While we mourn his passing, there was also an incredible life that requires that we celebrate and remember. No worries, Bill.  We’ll remember.

And if I could say all that at his service, I would. But I’m pretty sure I will not even come close.

At least now you know what I was thinking.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | March 26, 2014

For Those Not Completely Familiar With My Daily Routine

The alarm clock goes off every weekday morning at 4am.  It has for 10 years.

Oh, sure, I don’t put on my creative director hat until 8:30 or so at Destination Marketing.  Why so early?

Well, shortly after my “retirement” from radio, Ron Chase, who operates RadioOnline, asked if I wanted to be a regular contributor to their Daily Show Prep feature.  This is a service that rounds up news, facts and fun for morning DJ’s, so it saves them from at least three strikes of their snooze bar.  I get up, browse through my usual websites and write up stories, jokes and games for DJ’s all over the world.  Nice gig.

And, considering I used to get up at 2:19am every morning when I was on the air, this is sleeping in!!!

Among the contributions I offer–a daily Top Five List, which I try to make as topical as I can.  Sometimes, they write themselves. Other times, I have to just sit back, let the mind go and strive for the ridiculous.

I realized this morning it had been a while since I wrote something that actually made me laugh out loud.  It could be the exhaustion or that this is just far enough out there to be funny.  You decide.

So, here you go:

TOP FIVE WORST IDEAS EVER FOR TV SHOWS

  1. “How I met your Proctologist”
  2. “C.S.I. LEGOLAND”
  3. “The Jay Walking Dead”
  4. “Breaking Wind”
  5. “Starsky & Biden”

Yeah, it was #1.

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | March 21, 2014

The Honesty of a Child

It was going to be Evan’s big 3rd birthday.

So his mom asked what he would like to do on his day.  What would make it special?  Of all the things we do together, how would you like to celebrate your 3rd birthday?

He thought for a moment and then told his mom, “Albertsons!”

If you’re looking for a birthday gift idea for Evan, you might consider coupons.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | March 18, 2014

A Day of Sadness

I climbed in the car and began my short commute to work. It was a Tuesday, a day I usually swing by Starbucks and pick up something, but this morning I was running late.
As the car started, the reporter from KIRO was talking about Fisher Plaza. That was odd. It turned out that the channel 4 helicopter had crashed on Broad Street. Several cars passing by caught fire from the jet fuel that spilled, but the two occupants of the helicopter were dead.
Then I remembered that Dan Strothman worked there as a cameraman. Could he have been one of the two people on board?
Dan is the son of a college buddy, Bill Strothman, who wandered around the University of Washington in the mid-1970s along with me and the other Communications Majors.
Some of us concentrated on journalism, others on Radio & TV. Bill’s path and mine collided in the television side of things, back in the days when Channel 9 was on campus and once a week, students would produce a magazine-style show called, “Speakout!”
I probably should remember more details about the TV experience, but what I do recall are those Happy Hours after a shoot at the Pitcher House over on the Ave, with $1 pitchers. The perfect way to wrap up a Friday and head off into the weekend. The Speakout crew was made up of some very talented and determined folks who still run around Seattle today, including Bill and his girlfriend, eventually wife, Nora.
While our paths scattered and after graduation, I headed over to Yakima to play radio, Bill and his camera did quite well and became the go-to guy at KOMO TV. After a few decades of excellence, he decided to venture off and do his own thing as a freelance photographer. I had just exchanged a couple of emails with him a few months ago, hoping that some day we could work on a project together again.
To demonstrate that photographic skills can run in the family, Bill & Nora’s kid, Dan, grew up and followed his dad’s footsteps. There was even a time when Bill was still at KOMO, that Dan found himself working at a TV station in Montana, driving around the old KOMO 4 news truck that had been sold to that station.
Eventually, Dan found himself at his dad’s old stomping grounds, continuing the Strothman legacy. That’s why my heart sank when I first heard about the accident. I skipped the Starbucks run so I could get to work, check on Facebook and see if Dan had posted anything lately.
His Facebook page was a steady stream of “I’m so sorry” and “Our best to the KOMO family” and so I was relieved.  He was alive.  Dan was OK.
A short time later, I found out it was Bill on board.  Apparently, doing a little freelance work as he had hundreds of times before.  The regular KOMO chopper was in the shop, so they had a loaner from Boston.
Just like that. Here. Gone. No chance for a goodbye, other than the usual “See you tonight” as you head out the door.
Even though those days at the UW were 40 years ago, that special group of friends has remained in touch over the years. For a while, I attended Bothell First Lutheran Church with the Strothmans and other college friends, the Ensigns.
The last time I saw Bill? The last time I really had a chance to sit and chat would have been a summer barbecue at my new Bothell House in 2007. It was a perfect day and there were my college friends, just hanging out. The hair was a little grayer, there were more “character lines”, but it was that old gang of mine.
We should have had more of those get-togethers we always meant to organize. The longer you’re around, the reminders become more and more frequent.
Bill Strothman was a pro, a compassionate, caring father and husband and one of the greatest guys you’d ever have the chance to meet. You’ll hear that a lot over the next couple of days.  Anyone who knew Bill had only the best to say about him.
He was also a man of faith and I know that right now he’s experiencing his reward for a life well-lived. I look forward to the day I’ll see him again. Then maybe we’ll finally get around to working on that project together.
God’s peace to his wife Nora, and his kids, Dan and Heidi.

Tim Hunter

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted by: Tim Hunter | March 14, 2014

Wearing a Shirt is a Commitment

Lately, I’ve been reminded that those billboards we occasionally wear around still get noticed.
When I say billboards, of course, I meant t-shirts. So many plug a product or express a feeling, but wear something from a sport and it really resonates.
It happened when I was roaming around Disneyland one year, wearing my David Ortiz Boston Red Sox jersey. Red Sox Nation is out there and to find them, all you have to do is put on a cap with a “B” or a shirt such as mine. All day long, passersby would yell out, “Go Sox!” or “Boston!”
I’ve gotten a lot of reaction from my “You Mad Crab” t-shirt every time I’ve worn. Most recently, last Sunday when three people in the grocery store said, “Nice shirt!” and one kid came up and asked, “Where did you get that?” It’s actually a good story. I saw it online shortly after the San Francisco game that inspired the shirt, being sold on Facebook by Richard Sherman himself. I saw, I wanted, I ordered. That day they were $29. The following day, they jumped to $39 and soon thereafter, were sold out. No matter how worn out that thing gets, it will never leave this house (unless I’m wearing it).
But you do have to be careful what you wear and be ready to talk the talk. While visiting Vancouver this week, we went into a Vancouver Canucks team store. While I wouldn’t mind getting a jersey, they clocked in at $220. So, I opted for the more affordable t-shirt, a retro look designed after the original Vancouver hockey team, The Millionaires. Yep, that was their name. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Millionaires, and so for a couple of games, the Canucks are wearing retro uniforms. Apparently the t-shirts weren’t selling that well and so I picked one up for 30% off.
On the way home, stopping into the outlet mall, a couple came up to me and struck up a conversation about the Canucks—how it’s been a tough season, how they played last night, etc. It’s amazing how wearing a t-shirt makes you appear like an expert. A couple of “oh yeah’s”, a “that’s for sure” and “Well, there’s always next year” and we enjoyed a special bond.
So, today, which shirt will it be? Maybe I’ll confuse them all and wear a blank one.
Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | March 6, 2014

Radio Buzz

Taking a knee at the start line

Taking a knee at the start line

It’s now been over a decade since my last full-time gig on the air. I had some good times, even did some weekend and fill-in shifts at the Wolf shortly after it launched for about 9 months, but playing songs and being a music DJ just didn’t cut it for me. It’s being able to play in the morning show arena that works. That’s the full radio experience and I was able to enjoy that for most of two decades.
I’ve stayed in touch with the industry through my daily writings that I submit to Radio-Online, a show prep service for disc jockeys. Every day, somewhere in the world, there’s a sleep-deprived DJ saying one of my jokes, passing along one of my news items, or playing a quiz I wrote up. I get up at 4am (which is sleeping in for real morning show folks) and do all the prep for a shift, then have someone else perform it.
When my former producer and radio pal Bryon Mengle recently accepted a job on a station in Iowa, I have to say it’s been fun brain-storming with him about bits, being a planted call and offering up any of the sure-fire promotional hits we had over the years. The one he’s picking my brain on now is a silly thing we did for three years in Bothell called the Keeney to Keeney Fun Run. Back at that time, there was an office products store called Keeney’s located across the street from Pop Keeney Field, where the local high school football teams played. One day, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we held a Keeney to Keeney Fun Run, where everyone would have to run…oh….92.5 feet?” I went over there, measured out a course, put the idea out in my newspaper column in the reporter and took it to the listeners of 92.5-KLSY (see where I got the number from?)
It was a huge hit. Who didn’t come wished they had. My morning show partners and I “ran” the course with the listeners and readers who showed up. One guy from the newspaper came with his bride on their wedding day. Another guy brought an office chair and did the course, since it was all downhill. And there was a water station at the midway point, just in case anyone got hydrated.

Now THAT’S why I miss radio. Connecting with listeners, being silly, taking them where they never would have imagined themselves to go. Oh and we had commemorative t-shirts, too. Somewhere, out there, there have to be a couple still being used as oil rags.
Lately, it seems like there’s just been more buzz around me regarding radio. A friend who I worked with at KLSY, who had two previous tours of duty at Star 101.5, has gone back to Kent & Alan’s home for a third stint. Best of luck, Tarah. Add to that, I was contacted recently by a station to be their fill-in morning guy for a month, while their regular guy took a sabbatical. A tempting offer and I was flattered, but just couldn’t fit it into all the previous engagements. After doing something for thirty years, I was ready to do something new, to pick up new skills and I’ve done that. But there’s always that little tug, that little flashback to a pretty fun time in my life, that makes me wonder—will I find myself back in that world again some day.

Maybe.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | February 23, 2014

They’re Ba-a-a-a-ck!!

It’s happening again.

Like a ghost reappearing two years after you thought the house was no longer haunted, a shadowy figure appeared in the mail this past week.

To refresh everyone’s memory, here’s the more detailed look at what happen two years ago

Read the story here

Then, a friend at church, who had read my blog, took this on as a project and put Google to work, which resulted in this email:

Dear Tim AND Victoria –
I’m not sure if you want your mystery solved or not. Do you? Your very smart and Google literate friend found me, Erika Page. My family, Steve, Garrett and Landon live in Wisconsin. The kids grow every year, what a fun way to show it off than in a Christmas card to dear friends.   I indeed have a wonderful friend, Michelle Hunter married to Tim Hunter who lives in Seattle. Ironically, I’ve never met Michelle’s husband or you. Now I know that there are two of you out there. I hope you’re happy to have a Christmas mystery solved. Perhaps I’ll keep you on the ol’ Christmas list though, no one gets nearly enough snail mail these days.

Merry Christmas from the Pages in Wisconsin.

So, mystery solved.  But that was two years ago.

This past week, we received another Christmas greeting from the Pages.

Image

Adding to the weirdness of all this:

Some long-time friends have a daughter who went to school in Wisconsin.  I thought she had possibly settled down there. She did not. Her name is Erika. She has a brother named Garrett.   The Erika who sends us cards has a son named Garrett.

In the annual family update, she just got a job at Redeemers Lutheran Church in Wisconsin.

Victoria and I were married at Our Redeemers Church in Seattle.

Just too weird.

No matter. Here it is, the final week in February and let us remember the most important thing: Merry Christmas from the Pages in Wisconsin.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | February 20, 2014

BRACING myself for a BIT of my world going away

Just like I remember it

Just like I remember it

I just wanted to drill a hole.  To hang a picture.

I had lent my rechargeable drill to my daughter-in-law, so that she could settle into her new home.  But there was a picture I wanted to hang.

So, while at Lowe’s, I went back to the tool section and looked around for a brace and bit.

For every boomer who grew up and took wood shop in junior high, a brace and bit was standard equipment.  You’d put in the drill bit and so that you didn’t drill a hole in your hand or head, you’d hand turn it to drill.  Pretty simple.  It’s a tool that had been around forever.  I thought I could just buy one and have it on hand in case I ever needed to drill a hole during a power outage.

So, I walked up to the Lowe’s guy in the red vest and asked: “Excuse me, where would I find a brace & bit?”

He gave me that smile that let me know I was in trouble.  “Oh, we haven’t carried those here in….probably 7 years.”

“Really?”, I replied. “They don’t even make them any more?”

“Nope!”

Huh.  So, my picture remains unhung and another part of my existence has been determined to be unnecessary.

No more brace and bit.   Which means I’ll be combing through every garage sale and second-hand store until I find one.

Sure it’s the hard way.  But it’s the “for-sure” way that some of us knew.

It was one of those things that you just expected would always be there.  And now it’s not.

But if I find one, I’ll help preserve a bit of my past.

And, finally hang that picture.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | February 11, 2014

I Saw Me Standing There

"Hey, Ed, do you validate parking?"

“Hey, Ed, do you validate parking?”

The after-Boomer crowd probably spent the past weekend going, “50 years since the Beatles arrived? Big deal!”

You have no idea how big it was.

The Beatles were the Perfect Storm of pop culture.  They were the leaders of a “British Invasion” that also included the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, the Troggs and so many others.  Now, it has been half a century since John, Paul, George and Ringo, along with their bowl-style haircuts launched nothing short of a phenomenon.

The Beatles couldn’t put out music fast enough.  Today, a singer might have a song or two in the top 100.  They would have 5-10 songs at a time.  If you were lucky enough to see the Beatles live, you had a moral obligation to scream your lungs out during the entire concert.

While the World War II generation didn’t understand the band or their music, people under 40 were excited about this new style.  I remember one of my neighbor kid buddies, Kenny Vaughn, who had a mom that loved the Beatles.  “Wow, your mom is cool!”  Then there was the time my mom returned home from a grocery shopping trip, where she had bought the Beatles new “Revolver” album for $1.99.   Yep, back then, you’d occasionally find albums in grocery stores.

Of course, teenage girls were the biggest fans, but even in grade school, I remember kids in elementary school wearing “I love Paul” buttons or, if you were in the other camp, an “I love John” button.  Americans like Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley broke ground with this new “rock and roll” stuff.  The Beatles were the icebreaker that tore open a wide hole in pop music and culture.

For younger Seattle Seahawks fans, think of how you couldn’t get away from stories about Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and other team news.  Now, imagine that level of coverage on the Beatles going on for years without stopping.  There were Beatles lunch boxes and dolls and books and commemorative pins.  After that initial appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” (basically, the “America’s Got Talent” of its time, but without a contest element, held in the place where David Letterman hosts his “Late Night” show), we couldn’t wait for the next one.  When it was announced, schedules were locked in and you knew you’d have to wait through several other acts—a guy balancing plates, a mouse puppet, a magician—to get to a performance by the Fab Four.  Remember, this is way before DVR’s, so you HAD to be watching.  If you missed it, you’d have to wait almost 20 years for the VHS to be invented.

I think I have a few souvenirs of that time, packed away in boxes. The fact that it’s been 50 years blows my mind (which is something we used to say a lot back then) because that reminds me I was just 9 years old when this all happened.  When I sat in front of a black and white TV and saw a sea of screaming girls going nuts over four guys wearing ties, with mops for hair, singing, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…..”

The group left me with an amazing collection of memories, including this joke.  “A guy walks into a barber and says ‘Make me look like Ringo Starr.’ So the bartender took his brush and broke the guy’s nose.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah….

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | February 7, 2014

Goodnight, Jay!

Leno

We knew it was coming and the day finally arrived.  After two decades of hosting “The Tonight Show”—with only a brief intermission—Jay Leno gave up his desk and the show will head off to New York, where Jimmy Fallon takes over.

Lots can be said about Jay, the history of the show, the Conan debacle, Letterman versus Leno, etc.  However, I find it sad that there are so many bitter people out there, who feel they need to take just one more jab at him before he heads off into the late night sunset.

I guess I don’t understand the hate.  So when exactly was it that you worked with him? Oh, your feelings are based on something you read or that was passed along on the Internet, where Abe Lincoln once warned us in a tweet never to believe everything you read.

Winners draw detractors.  A quick reminder about all the smack being said about the Seattle Seahawks before Sunday’s big game.  There was a large part of the country that believed the posts they read or the commentators who used Richard Sherman’s post-game rant as free license to paint villain all over the team.

Jay Leno may not be your cup of tea, your style of comedian, but he’s a funny guy. He’s paid some good writers over the years, present company included, to come up with timely, topical gags to use in his monologue.  For 10 years, I was lucky enough to be able to contribute to that opening segment of the show.  Each week, I would send out the week’s jokes which I also posted on my website.  One of the biggest personal rewards I’ve had over the years was having my sister in the Midwest letting me know that Jay had just done one of my jokes that she had read in my email earlier in the day.

That told me that if things had been a little different, I might have played in the big leagues as a writer.  When I started writing gags for Jay, it paid $50 a joke.  By the time it wrapped up ten years later, it was $75.  Do some digging on my website and every joke that you see posted in the color green, that was one of the ones Jay bought.  The last joke I sold him was around three years ago, when union writers apparently got miffed about how many jokes Jay was buying from a non-union person like me.

Jay gave me a chance to play the bigs.  I tried a couple of times to get into the Letterman room, but it’s a different beast.

The other night, when Russell Wilson appeared on “Late Night”, I watched a bit of the monologue and was reminded again of why Dave doesn’t work for me.  There were some clever lines sprinkled amongst mannerisms and general comments. I don’t know how it evolved, but the audience breaks out on applause whenever they recognize Dave just told a joke.  In my mind, I’m thinking, “Really?  It’s that much of a crowning achievement?”  With Leno, and most of the other late-night folks, there might be an occasional applause outburst, but it’s usually just laughs and the show keeps moving.

Sure, Jay’s old.  OK, older. He needs to be replaced, because….well, sure he’s been #1 in his time slot for a lot of years….and, uh….oh yeah, Jimmy Fallon will attract a younger audience.  There’s some truth there, but also a couple of factors to consider:

1)     The majority of your present-in-the-moment late-night audience is just plain older.  Younger viewers don’t stay up to watch a TV talk show, older viewers have older habits.

2)     The average age of Jimmy Fallon’s current audience is only a few years younger than Jay’s. Read about it here.

3)     Don’t get me wrong, Fallon is fresh and funny.  But there’s going to be a portion of Jay’s audience who will resent his departure and leave the show.  Where will they land?  Kimmel?  Letterman?  Conan?  And, as the viewership fragments, who will ascend to #1?

Jay-haters, you can now go back to leading a fulfilled life and find some other #1 person or show to criticize.  Jay has left NBC—again—and, most likely, for good this time.  Oh, how I would love to have him stroll into FOX when his non-compete clause is up and re-launch over there, to further fragment the late-night audience.  Then again, he might just stick to doing personal appearances, tinker with his car collection and enjoy life for as many years as he has left.  I hope it’s a lot Jay, because you deserve it.

Thanks for letting me play along.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | February 6, 2014

With Apologies to Denver Bronco Fans

"Here comes...uh, someone!"

“Here comes…uh, someone!”

Seattle celebrated this week.

Not because of what we did to your Broncos in front of the largest national TV audience of all.  It’s because our talent-packed Seattle Seahawks played their best game of the season in the one that really counts.  It’s been a lot of years since we’ve seen some professional sports madness take over the town, but this has been a steady build all season.

Now, to be clear, the majority of Seattle fans are confident, not cocky. If you were sitting in my living room during every Seahawks game, you might have heard a relative display a very traditional Seattle sports trait.  We’d fail to score in the red zone and out would come, “Oh, here we go!” or “Well, this is where the bubble bursts.”  It was if they were expecting us to fall short.

But this Seattle Seahawks team has taught us to believe.  We’ve spent a season witnessing what they can do. When they were down three scores to Houston and it looked like we were heading for our first loss of the season, we made an incredible comeback and won the game.  It was that game that convinced me, this team is very real.

Week after week they would demonstrate it.  Every Sunday game became must-sees. But, being tucked away here in Seattle, it’s hard to get the rest of the country to follow the magic that was going on here.  Back in the day, Seattle and Denver were AFC rivals and would always put on a good show.  I’m sure you remember those Elway days.  You won more often than we did.

This time around, we met in a neutral corner and you had American football royalty at your helm, coming off a record-setting season for scoring points.  The media had all but crowned Denver the winner.  Rumors had it that boxer Floyd Mayweather had bet $10-million on the Broncos winning.  You had a great team going into the Super Bowl game and were chosen the favorite in a squeaker.

In this blog a week ago, I went out and said, “Yep, they’re going to win.  Count on it!”  But I’m mad at myself for not going further and predicting a blowout.  This hard-hitting, charismatic collection of young athletes is a crowning achievement unlike Seattle has ever seen.  We knew that, but were hesitant to brag about it.  While there are always a few drunken exceptions, the bulk of us just aren’t that way.

This week, we celebrated the way any championship city salutes their victorious team after winning a national championship.  A parade, TWO stadiums packed with fans, all savoring the moment. Peyton Manning is still a great quarterback, you have a good team and no doubt, your turn will come again.  But the 2014 Super Bowl was our year.  It was in our sights the entire time and we wanted it.  Had it been a close game, you might have been tempted to think our win was a fluke, that you could have won if the refs hadn’t missed a key call, etc.   We’ve been there.

Unfortunately, the media didn’t pass along to you just how good this team was.

So, forgive us as over 700,000 of us take to the streets and go a little nuts.

We are the Champions!  Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | February 2, 2014

Wait! This Could Work!

12

It was a special moment.

I had been thinking lately about getting a new Seahawks jersey.  Oh, I have one that is their older-style uniforms,  with the number 51 on it, from the days when Lofa Tatupu was playing for the Seahawks.

That was back in their last Super Bowl run, which was a very special year in my life.  There was a lot of change going on and that included a Seahawk team that was a serious contender.  Every Sunday, I’d get together with friends and we’d yell and scream at every play.  Man, that was fun.

But now, this is a whole new Seahawks.  These guys have World Champs written all over them and maybe, just maybe it’s time for a newer look jersey.

I was staring in the bathroom mirror, thinking about my dilemma, when it dawned on me.  My #51 jersey looked almost like a #12 in the mirror.

I considered it a sign.  For now, it’s what I’ll be wearing come Sunday, as I have for the past few weeks.  It’s only superstitious if it doesn’t work.

And in the mirror, it’s a #12 as in “the Twelth Man.”

Then again, it would also indicate I’m a fan of the Skwahaes.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 26, 2014

My Prediction

seahawks champs

The stage has been set.  The Seattle Seahawks will take on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl game next Sunday.

And the Seahawks will win.

I usually go into these things HOPING for a win.  I believe this with everything I’ve got.

In 2006, Seattle fans got their hopes up high and went into a Super Bowl game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Looking back, we had a team that over-achieved, a network loving the storyline of Jerome Bettis and his final game and some referees that, in a few years, would admit they blew some important calls.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

This time, the Seahawks are solid. While their offense has been all over the board, the defense is as solid as you get.  We’re deep–if an injury takes out a key player, there’s a spare one on the bench waiting to show their talent.

Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, the offensive and defensive lines, Richard Sherman, Golden Tate…the list goes on and on.  Our talent is the cream the crop and assembling them all together to create this team is a once in a lifetime combination.  It feels like this is the team we’ll be talking about for years to come.

Oh, sure, you’ve got the extremely talented Peyton Manning leading the Broncos, but outside of a practice game, he has not seen this kind of pass rush and defense.  He’s going to have to hurry his throws, thread his passes and most likely scramble more than he’s had to all season.  Remember, just a couple of weeks ago, we held the very talented Drew Brees scoreless for three quarters.

This time around, I’m not hoping–I’m believing.  The Seahawks team has the talent, the will and the thirst for this city’s first championship in any sport for decades.

To paraphrase Russell Wilson’s father, “Why not us?”

Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 23, 2014

THIS SHERMAN DOESN’T NEED A PEABODY

Sherman? Sure, man!

Sherman? Sure, man!

Everyone here in Seattle has had a front-row seat to an amazing phenomenon this past week.

It started with our Seahawks making the big plays and scraping out a victory against those dastardly 49ers to earn a spot in the Super Bowl.  Richard Sherman made the game-saving play and within seconds of doing that and having competed for a couple of hours, he was jacked up, pumped up, whatever you want to call.

That’s the moment Erin Andrews walked up to him on the field and he let out a 12 second rant that millions of Americans just didn’t get.

Now I’ll be honest, everyone here in the Emerald City heard the same thing you did and, it caught us a bit off guard, but that was just 100% pure Richard in his competitive, excited stage.  I have been blown away by how people have taken that and run with it, characterizing the entire Seattle team as “dirty players” or “a bunch of thugs.”  The media has stoked the flames and so now, everyone outside the borders of Washington feel that the Seahawks are the “bad boys” team, the Oakland Raiders of the new millennium.

Wow.  You know so little.

First off, do you realize what’s happening?  Richard Sherman has dominated all Super Bowl coverage for the past four days.  Have you heard a word about Peyton Manning?  He’s pretty much over-shadowed the entire Seahawks team, so while everyone is focusing on him and piling on the negative comments, Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and the other 98% of the team are all busy working on the game plan.

And when Richard Sherman isn’t doing an interview, so is he.

I’ve learned so much about him the past few days and not from just Seattle sources.  Forbes Magazine wrote a brilliant article on him.  They get it.  Hank Aaron tweeted him a note to show support.  Erin Andrews and him hugged after those comments, but of course, you didn’t see that.  She appreciated the honest, not typical blah-blah-blah response.  She got it.

Why was he so jacked up during those explosive 12 seconds?  I’ll list things out for you:

A)      His hard work was paying off with a trip to the Super Bowl

B)      He shut down the big deal receiver for the 49ers

C)      He made the game-winning play.

And something he’s NOT mention to the public.  He dislikes Crabtree, that’s obvious.  Where that is rooted goes back to a charity golf tournament he took part in last fall for his buddy, Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald. It was at that charity, off-season, doing it to help a good cause event that Crabtree refused to shake hands with Sherman.  In Richard’s mind, highly disrespectful and worth making him a rival.

Funny how quickly the media was holding up the “thug” label.  There was a time the style of hard-hitting defensive players was described as “smash mouth”.  This year, they’re “villains” or better yet, “thugs.”

A quickly thrown together poll shows the bulk of the country is behind Peyton Manning and his Broncos.  If you go back to the beginning of the season, it was the darling Super Bowl matchup people were talking about.  It happened.  It’s going to be a great game.

And the Seahawks, after being cheated out of a Super Bowl championships in 2007 (the referee eventually came to town and apologized for blowing a key call), will finally win the big one.  It’s going to happen.

And I can’t wait to hear what Mr. Sherman has to say about that!

Please, view them as thugs.  It adds to the drama of the game.  But here in Seattle, we know better.

Tim Hunter

PS  If you’re open to learning more about Richard Sherman, check out these videos:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/isaac-saul/what-richard-sherman-taught-us_b_4631980.html

http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/01/michael-crabtree-richard-sherman-nfc-championship/

Oh and if you want to see a dirty play from last Sunday’s game, here you go.  The NFL is investigating.

https://vine.co/v/hlFeVnn6XWq

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 17, 2014

Once a Radio Guy, Always a Radio Guy

radio studio

I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time looking back.  After all, they say if you’re doing that too much, you’re not watching where you’re going.

Here’s how it works–as you get older, you get more reflective.  Of course, that’s because you have more of life to look back on.  But I totally adhered to the philosophy, ‘the best is yet to come.’  So, while high school reunions are a blast in reconnected for an evening with old friends, I don’t recall those days as being the best days of my life.  They were what they were and I just kept building on those years.

When the topic of my radio career comes up, I am totally split down the middle.  I’ve gone a different direction since my last days in front of a live microphone and am 9 years into being a writer, producer, director and marketing kind of guy.  As openings pop up, I’ll be honest–I toy with the idea of going back.  I even tossed my hat in during the WARM 106.9 shakeup a year ago, but in hearing what they expect from the early-rise winner, Mark Christopher, he’s doing exactly what they wanted….and that’s definitely not me.

Why stumble down this hallway on a January Friday morning?  Because of a weird coincidence yesterday.

I received not one, but TWO random emails on the topic of my radio past, from people I don’t know, but with whom I share a kinship to that 30-year radio career.

The first was about my first professional radio job at KQOT in Yakima.  One of my blogs must have to do with those days, where getting up and “feeding the horse” actually appeared on the station log.  I was one of five or six full-time employees, including the owner, Bob Moore, a complete burn-out who brought all the advances of the 1940s with him to work every day.  Imagine my surprise when this showed up in my email:

Hey Tim,

I too fed Lace the Wonder Horse.  I put up with Bob Moore for 2 months, then took my second ever job in radio at KACI The Dalles.  Then, on to KISN in Portland…KBDF in Eugene…KOPA Phoenix…WRKO Boston and ABC Radio Network News NYC.  Now doing am-drive News and Sales in Palm Springs.

Later…Jeff Michaels

Seriously, only a few emails letter, I received this incredibly awesome note from a former KLSY listener:

Hello! In April 2000, my husband and I were invited to the Murdock, Hunter, and Alice show on 92.5 where we played Battle of the Sexes and he proposed to me on air!!! I don’t know if you remember that day, but it is a moment that my husband and I share with anyone who asks the question, ‘so how did he propose?’ That was almost 14 years ago – WOW – and we are coming up on our 13th wedding anniversary with two beautiful children in tow. We recently learned that Alice passed away some time ago and we were very sad to hear this. She was a lovely woman, full of positive energy and light. We remember you all so fondly, and I just wanted to say thank you for welcoming us into your studio that early April morning, and that all of you will always be an important part of the story of our life.

All the Best,

Tim and Kristi Logg

Two flashbacks in one day!  They were both reminders of how much impact you can have by goofing around on a microphone and creating a bright spot in a person’s life, if even just for a few minutes every day.  Would I ever go back to radio?  It’s a far cry from what it used to be and with the fragmentation of listenership from streaming options, satellite, podcasts and just listening to the music on your phone, I just don’t know if I could ever revive the personal connection it takes to generate emails like that years later.

Then again, it would probably be fun trying.  I’ll keep you posted.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 15, 2014

SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE

I attended my first-ever Bothell Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday as one of its newest members.  A sold-out lunch, all the movers and shakers of this Northshore city were there—the mayor, the police chief, the principal of Bothell High School and lots of Bothell business owners that I’ve met over the years.

A funny thing happened while getting something to drink. I went over to the beverage counter.  Didn’t feel like coffee.  The lemonade probably had lots of sugar and would be a no-no for this guy fighting off type 2 diabetes.  Then, I noticed a pitcher with just ice in it.  I loaded up a cup with ice, then noticed a pump pot with the sign, “Water.”  While filling up my cup, I noticed it was HOT water (not on the sign).

I had started with a cup of ice, added the hot water and returned to the table with a cup of room-temperature water.  Just like the truth—smack dab in the middle.

Not a life-changing experience, but one I thought I would share.

Remember, it’s the little things that make the big things seem larger.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 10, 2014

HOW TO BE A SPORTS FAN

wedat

It amazes me that when one of Seattle’s sports teams shows signs of greatness that so many people here don’t know what to do!

Someone I know is completely stressed out and worried about what’s going to happen Saturday. Several other people I know will go into the game and, while watching it, look for ways that we’re going to blow it.  It’s as if they’re expecting us to fail.

Being raised in southern California, I fortunately grew up in a sports fan boot camp.  By the time I reach 8 and was interested in baseball and little league, those Los Angeles Dodgers were sweeping the Yankees in the World Series 4-0!  Two years later, they played the Minnesota Twins and lost the first two games at home…only to rally and win the World Series in seven games.

During those same years, the Los Angeles Lakers were my basketball team and it almost became a tradition for them to win the division title, only to lose to Boston or New York in the finals.  Then, they started winning titles.

The only national champions we’ve seen in Seattle were those 1979 Sonics and the 1991 title-sharing Husky Football Team.  That’s it.  We had a couple of great runs by the Mariners that fell short in 1995 and 2001, but that’s all. It’s been a long dry spell.

But I’d like to remind the doubters and the late-comers of one very important thing:  we have not seen a Seahawk team like this before.  These guys have been the talk of the league.  They don’t quit.  The evolution of this squad has reached a pinnacle that we may never reach again in our lifetimes.

The 2013-14 Seahawks squad is complete.  There are so many variables when it comes to the results every week.  The offense could be on, but the defense stumbles.  We just can’t seem to score, but the defense keeps us in the game.  Every game, a different player shines, reminding us of the depth of this squad.  When someone gets injured, the backup player seizes that moment and shines.

As we countdown the minutes until kickoff against the New Orleans Saints tomorrow, drop the doubting, forget the fretting and just enjoy this incredible ride.  If you’re at the game, soak it all in and absorb all those stories you’ll be talking about for years.  If you’re like me and enjoying the game in the comfort and warmth of your home, promise me to do just one simple thing: believe.

Russell Wilson believes.  Pete Carroll believes.  Richard Sherman, Percy Harvin….don’t think they’re going out on that field and wondering how the game is going to turn out.  We have been blessed with a collection of very talented football players, who are ready to bring a championship to this town.

Prove that we deserve it.  Know that we’re going to win.  Yell, laugh, cheer…but most importantly, believe.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 5, 2014

Another Confession From A Serial Confessor

I try to be open-minded. So when the invitation came to attend a “Gender-reveal party”, I had to ask myself, “OK, Mr. Progressive, so how do you feel about THAT?”  I could probably talk myself into doing a little cross-dressing, but I wasn’t sure my wife would be comfortable at such an event.

Fortunately, I didn’t react right away and, in time, I found out it was a party for a nephew and niece of mine, who were going to find out the gender of their baby and announce it at the event. Uh, yeah, I knew that.  Sure.

Then again, to show up in drag and discover at the event that there was a slight misunderstanding could have been a lot worse.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | January 4, 2014

Confession of a Silver Prius Owner

I had just pulled up to my car, opened up the hatchback on my silver Prius and was going to unload my latest treasures from Costco, when a silver car pulled up next to me with the window rolled down.  The driver leaned over towards his wife and said, “I saw you!

Before I could wonder what he was talking about, he finished his thought.

“I saw you try to open up the wrong Prius.  My wife does that all time!”  His wife sat in the passenger seat, embarrassed by the attention.

But he was right.  Moments before, I had pulled up, got out my car keys, hit the automatic opener and….nothing.  Hit it again and nothing.  I tried the hatch again and then realized just how dirty this car was.  “My car wasn’t that dirty when I went into Costco!”

And therein lied the answer to my dilemma.  This was not my silver Prius.

I tried to nonchalantly move on, searching frantically for my car, hitting the remote until the beeping guided me in the right direction.  And just when I thought I had gotten away with it, I was busted.  We all shared a laugh, I opened the right car, put away my purchases and headed back to work.

Such is the life of a baby boomer in the parking lot of a Costco.

Until the next time…..

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | December 23, 2013

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Yeah, that's the stuff!

Yeah, that’s the stuff!

Around this time of year, our cable company has an “all Christmas” music channel, up there in the 900’s and for the most part, when we’re not watching a holiday movie, it’s playing away.  To go with the songs, it keeps a steady flow of holiday trivia going, so that if you’re actually looking at the TV, you could learn something new or be reminded of something from years gone by.

Today, I saw the tidbit that in 1977, Mattel’s Slime was the #1 toy that year.  One of many “perfect Christmas gifts” that have appeared over the years.  Who could forget the Furby, the Pet Rock, Troll Dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids and so on?

The memory that Slime triggered was that, growing up, we had a neighbor who worked at Mattel.  He was in development and every now and then, he’d bring over a prototype of a new toy and give it to us to play with, then find out how it did.  One year, we actually got one of the early versions of “Slime.”  It felt creepy and was kind of the dark side of Play-Doh.  Remember, that was back in the time when Weirdo toys and odd things were all the rage.  So the idea of giving a kid Slime as a gift…well, that should give you an idea of where we were at in 1977.

I don’t remember much, except we learned the hard way that it was meant to be played with on a kitchen table and NOT in the family room.  I recall it getting into the rug and not being easy to get out, if it ever did.

Not sure how it did for Mattel, if our research next door prompted them to make it easier to get out of rugs, or if management just said, “Sell it quick before they find out!”  But for one, brief, slimy moment, it was the perfect Christmas gift.  That is, until you started to play with it.

We’ve come a long way.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Slime-free holiday season!

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | December 19, 2013

The Immaculate Misconception

Shelley baby

It’s nothing new.  Go back to the Charlie Brown Christmas special of the 1960s and you’ll hear Linus complain about the over-commercialization of Christmas.

What’s true now, was true then and has probably been the reality since Christmas began, YOU determine just how commercialized it gets.  When it rains outside, its raining, that’s it.  It could be pouring in Tacoma and drizzling in Everett, but there you sit in-between, in your house, dry as a bone.  It doesn’t mean it isn’t raining, it’s just not a part of your experience at the time.

Use that analogy with Christmas.  Are more people using the holiday to boost their business?  Absolutely.  Does it affect me?  Only if I allow it.

When you say “commercialize Christmas”, are you thinking that anything that encourages spending more during this time of year is wrong?  I can hear Joseph saying to the Three Wise Men as they pulled up, “I’m sorry, but I’d rather not commercialize my son’s birthday.  By the way, he’s not really my…..oh, never mind.”  Or, the more recent, “Don’t bring that tree in this house!  You’re commercializing Christmas!”

Who gets to draw the line when it comes to excessive celebration of the holiday?  Is it wrong to look forward to that Christmas episode of “Modern Family?”  Should I boycott the “Holiday Zoo Lights” at the Woodland Park Zoo because animals having Christmas lights is over-doing it?  My view— bring on the 5-yard penalty for excessive celebration.

I’m a firm believer that there are two Christmases.  One, a celebration involving a jolly height-weight proportionally challenged nice guy who is the center of the celebration.  The other, a reminder about an event thousands of years ago that changed the world.  I also am a big believer you can easily embrace both.  Again, it entirely depends on you.  Go with the extremes, find the middle and that’s usually where you’ll find me.

Do you see just the exploitation or the celebration?  The generosity or the opportunism?

Christmas happens inside you. The feelings, the strength, the excitement of the day and the season around it can be so uplifting if you allow it.  Those stores open on Thanksgiving, trying to fan the flames of commercialism, don’t affect you if you aren’t there.  Choose to embrace those moments that sooth your heart: stopping at the mall to watch kids visit Santa, dropping just a few coins in the kettle of a volunteer bell-ringer, opening the day for someone with their arms full of packages.  December 25th can be just another day or a focal point where you reboot your outlook on everything.

Christmas is out there. It’s up to you what and how much you bring in.  My suggestion–see the good and grab as much as you possibly can.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | December 12, 2013

10 YEARS THAT SEEMED LIKE A DECADE

One last group shot

Every year since 2000, I’ve put together a collection of Christmas cheer that I call “Ho-Ho Brother.”  I was inspired by the tech-savvy Rick Taylor who handed me his collections for a couple of years running and I finally said, “I should do this!”

So, each year, putting together another collection became a labor of love.  Over the 13 years, I’ve tried not to repeat songs—in title, yes, but not the same artist.

I put in a dash of traditional songs, some new, some quirky, a few original contributions—either comedy bits or a tune—and some new discoveries that I hope you’ll enjoy.

The 2013 edition has been titled, “10 Years That Seemed Like a Decade” because it was ten years ago that the Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show on 92.5-KLSY received a surprise going away party.

December 19th, 2003, was a Friday morning.  Our producer, Bryon Mengle, had poured his heart into this show, as we all had a sneaky feeling this was going to be it. I’ve included several cuts from that show on this album, including Alice’s line that “careers were on the line.”  We were, in fact, just hours away from unemployment.

But if you get to choose how you go out, that would have been the way to do it.

I’ve always been a major fan of Christmas, both from the message and from the experience. That day’s show included KING 5’s Dennis Bounds reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, live performances by Tim Noah, artists featured on the “Christmas in the Northwest” albums and even Brenda White, live on stage, singing the title song.

On Ho-Ho Brother 13, you’ll hear Bryon the Producer singing “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” with a group of school kids from an Issaquah elementary school.  The kid helping me out with “Toy Shop” is Jackson Gerdes, son of former KLSY music director Darla Thomas.  Fred Bugg, a guy who frequented the MH&A show over the years, provides an Al Bundy and Robin Leach for the cause.  You’ll even discover Ola Gjeilo, a Norwegian composer coming on the scene and his song, “Tundra.”  It’s haunting, while at the same time paints an audio picture of a snow-covered home in Norway.

You’ll also hear this year’s Christmas song that I’m turning into a video, which features the amazing Alana Baxter.  For the third year in a row, she’s trusting me to turn a couple of hours goofing around in a recording studio and with a camera into a fun song.  Click here to see the video of  “I won’t hate you very much tonight (it’s Christmas).”

While Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for the things we have, Christmas is more about being thankful for the people still with us.  It’s when we wedge in writing an annual letter or licking 100 envelopes to maintain the tradition of Christmas cards.  With Facebook and the Internet keeping us closer than ever, we almost don’t need an annual recap of what we’ve done over the past year.  But, for tradition’s sake, we carry on.

And that’s why I keep churning out one more “Ho Ho Brother” each year.  I have friends that still have that very first edition.  I remember my mom saying she was missing a couple of years and so I burned her copies, in order for her to have the complete collection.

This year’s CD is dedicated to the memory of a show and a person I never had imagined I would spend so much time with—Alice Porter.

The spirit of Christmas is there for anyone who would like to catch it.  It truly is a marvelous time of year.

Merry Christmas!

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | December 5, 2013

Goodnight, Arlene

Arlene

There are friends, there are acquaintances, and then there was Arlene Oberg.

Arlene, her loving husband Russ and my wife, Victoria, were friends long before I came along.  They were part of the Ballard Norwegian mafia, that embraced their heritage, making frequent trips to Norway, singing together in the local Norwegian choruses, hosting Norwegian events, etc.

When I arrived on the scene, Arlene was quite protective of Victoria.  I believe she just wanted to make sure I was good enough for her.  The fact that I was always holding her hand or giving her a kiss seemed to bother her and she let me know.

In time, I think I grew on her.  She was the one who arrived at the house with a bottle of Scotch in hand, asking if I’d consider becoming vice-president at the Sons of Norway lodge.  Apparently, Arlene could read me like a book.

She’d ask me occasionally for help with her computer.  Arlene so wanted to adapt to today’s technology.  I remember one time when we were invited over to her house, she had music in the background playing on her iPod.  No one else noticed, but she had the same song playing over and over the entire night.

Every year that Victoria and I knew each other, we spent the Opening Day of Boating Season with the Obergs.  At first, going out on their boat tied up to the logboom.  Then, as taking it out became more and more challenging, we just had a breakfast on board their yacht, the “Nordic Lady”, then walked over to watch the parade of boats.

This year, Arlene wasn’t able to walk over to the parade and her health was beginning to slide.  She told Victoria that this would probably be the last year she hosted an Opening Day event.  Little did she know how right she would be.

I’ll remember the time we went out with you and Russ to see the Christmas ships up close.  I’ve only used the Heimlich maneuver on one person in my life and that was when Arlene choked on something at a memorial service. You always hear the cliché when someone passes away how “their spirit lives on”, but that is going to be so true about Arlene Oberg. With every Norwegian Ladies Chorus performance, event at the Leif Erikson Lodge or the Queen City Yacht Club, she will be there.  Singing, laughing, rolling her eyes at me and being that character I came to know.

Thanks Russ and Arlene for all you’ve meant to us over the years.

Arlene, you will be missed, but remembered always.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 27, 2013

THANKSGIVING 2013

A rare photo of ill-fated superhero, Captain Turkey

A rare photo of ill-fated superhero, Captain Turkey

 

Here we go.  Another Turkey Day is upon us when our nation sets aside an entire day to watch football, draft out the Black Friday shopping plan, eat way too much and, oh yes, be thankful for everything we’ve got.

Of course, these days the stores are throwing fuel on the fire of greed and hoping to replace a showing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” or “Miracle on 34th Street” with a trip to the mall.  It’s sad.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was such a special day.  The three TV networks would usually show a special movie that night, like “Sound of Music” or “The Wizard of Oz.”  It was a time when you had to wait every year for someone to show them so you could see them.  Today, you can watch them on your phone.

Yes, back in those days, we would find ourselves relegated to the ‘kiddie’ table.  We probably had to dress up more than we wanted to and, in our family, anything close to a holiday meant a bonus church service.  If I remember correctly, it was get up, mom would put the turkey in the oven, and then out the door we would go for a 10am service.

I don’t know if we went every year, because I remember seeing the dueling parades on TV.  One network would carry the Macy’s Parade, while the other settled for the Mummer’s Parade in Philadelphia.  I never liked those parades because every friggin’ float broke out into a Broadway musical.  I hear the orchestra, but I don’t see them.  And why are her lips moving the wrong way?

Thanksgiving was yams or sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows, green olives stuffed with pimento, turkey, gravy, potatoes, more gravy, cranberries and the good dishes.

I know we did a few craft things as kids.  You know, where you trace your hand and make a turkey out of it. But for all the things I sort of kind of remember, the smell of that turkey in the oven means home.  That’s what the holiday is all about.  Family, home, friends, relatives.

As you get older, you become not very fond of change.  Change is different than the way you remember it being and different usually turns out to be not as good.  I’ve always embraced change, because I feel it helps you grow.  It makes you uncomfortable, so that you learn something new.  I get that.

But having stores open on Thanksgiving Day just seems wrong. Think about it: if those stores were closed for the day then open on Friday, you’d buy just as much stuff.  I feel for the employees who have found themselves having to go into work at 10pm at the end of a festive day.  It isn’t right, it doesn’t feel right and they know it’s not right.

I promise you, if you fight the urge to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day, you’ll be sending a message to the stores to stay closed.  Online shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are enough, not to mention all those days following this weekend between now and Christmas.

Stay at home.  Enjoy the people around you and savor the smell of that bird.  It’ll be a memory you’ll take with you for many years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 27, 2013

THANKSGIVING AND THE Q

My former co-worker Brady Layman came across a logo for the first radio station I ever worked at where I got paid.

KQOT logo

Oh, I had spent some time at KCMU at the University of Washington (now KEXP, the Experience Music Project’s station) and KING-AM where I interned.  But up my graduation from 4 years of college, I was able to go over the mountains and earn an amazing $350 a month as KQOT’s newest disk jockey.

How does this all tie-in to Thanksgiving.  Because when you’re a small daytime radio station in Yakima, Washington, you can do promotions that you probably wouldn’t do in a major market.  For example, on Valentine’s Day, we invited listeners to come see a free movie if they wore a paper heart on their shirt with the words, “I have a heart on for KQOT.”

Yes, we had no shame.

For Thanksgiving, it was “KQOT gives you the bird.”

Yep, that’s how did it at the Q.  Q93!  KQOT!

Doing the math….let’s see….wow, 36 years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 22, 2013

That Day

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years.

Do the math and you’ll realize that I was just 8 years old when the president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was cut down by an assassin’s bullet.

I remember very little of that time.  I do remember one of my parents’ friends commenting several years earlier, “If Kennedy is elected, we’ll all have to pray to Mary.”  By the way, it didn’t happen. I remember the president being killed, my 3rd grade teacher trying to explain what happened, my parents having JFK’s funeral on the TV, the flag-draped casket making its way through the nation’s capitol, the cute shot of Jonh-John saluting the casket as it went by….

I also remember that they canceled the monthly Cub Scout pack meeting because of the assassination, reinforcing to me the importance of this event I couldn’t quite grasp. Flags were flown at half-staff for 30 days of national mourning.  Everyone seemed so much more somber.  It was an uncertain time, when your president was killed….his assassin killed several days later on TV….and you were left wondering, “When’s it all going to end?”

In the 1960s, it didn’t.  You had the Viet Nam war raging on, people discovering the right to protest, more assassinations–Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr.  Looking back on that decade, I remember those things happening, but as a kid, the things that stuck with me were more on the pop culture side–the Beatles, the Monkees, the Charles Manson nightmare.  A lot of who we become takes shape during those year and I have to say, that decade when I went from 5-15 had a lot going on in it.

So much has been done about JFK, about his short time in office, how tragedy seems to have followed that family.  On that day, 50 years ago today, the unthinkable happened.  Here’s hoping that we’re done with one of those “learning decades” for a while. At least, in my lifetime.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 22, 2013

I Finally Figured It Out

I’m sitting here watching “World War Z”, while flipping through the latest updates on Facebook and it came to me.  As I watch people post their “Throwback Thursday” photos, I realize THAT’S why I’m such a camera nut.

Radio buddy Ron Wilde posts a picture of him in the KLSY studio.  Geez, I spent a lot of time there.  A quick estimate would clock it in at 7600+ hours talking between records, doing interviews, connecting with our audience.  Now, looking back, I hardly took any pictures in that control room.  My KLSY career represents a third of my time on this rock, yet I have very few pictures to show for it. Pictures that would take me back, that would remind me of  special times with my morning show partners, Bruce Murdock and Alice Porter.

Oh, I took pictures.  Some here, some there.  But I believe it’s because of the sparse collection of photos I have of those days that I tend to over compensate today. Yes, on a recent trip to Norway, I took over 4800 pictures.  I need to find the middle ground.

Pictures serve as reminders, as “snapshots” of a point in our lives.

And so I take them.  As if I’ve got a timer going. And that this special moment in my life could be the last.  I know deep down inside it won’t be, but if I am lucky enough to have lots of special lives in my life.  With age, they become harder to remember.

And I really want to remember these.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 20, 2013

We’ve All Been Scarred

It happens.

Sometimes our frail bodies can sustain enough of an injury to break open our skin. If the tear or cut is big enough, it means stitches and, of course, stitches turn into scars.

These days, a doctor will go out of their way to avoid any kind of unsightly scar.  Even then, with all the advancements of plastic surgery, just about any kind of scarring can be minimized.

But if you are of an age, back when you were cut bad enough, they’d stitch you up in a minute just like you were on a World War I battlefield.  Maybe an injection to numb you, or at least that spray stuff.

I was around the age of 5 and playing hide and seek with the neighborhood kids.  I remember that I was asked by someone, I believe it was my parents, NOT to hide behind the Crockers car next door.  It was a green, 1950 something with a chrome bumper in the back.  A shiny, sharp bumper.

As you would expect, ask a kid not to do something and that’s exactly what they’ll do. So, I crouched down in the ready to quickly get up and run to ‘free’ as soon as the searcher turned their back and as I stood up—yep, the bumper was just the right height to slice my knee open.  I believe it was 5 stitches.  I’m sure it hurt, but it was so long ago.  All I know is that 53 years later, I still have the faintest scar on my right knee to serve as a permanent reminder never to crouch down behind a green car from the 1950s.

The reminder must have worked, because I never did it again.

Well, I just paused long enough to look at my knee again.  Honestly, you can’t even see the scar anymore.  Now I’m developing this strange urge to play ‘hide ‘n seek.’  I know a great place to hide.

Oh, wait.  It was my left knee and it’s still there.

I think I better just sit here and check Facebook again.

Tim Hunter

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