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

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 13, 2013

Words to the Wise

Oh, sure, I could be just trying to rack up my blog count…but here’s the deal.

I tend to know people who know people who have connections to people that know other people.  Here’s the inside scoop:

1)  With the uncertainty about the effects of Obamacare on the insurance industry, if you were thinking about getting something major done, I wouldn’t wait until the New Year.

2) With postponing the reality of the country’s economic woes, I’m being told that with the government heading towards another showdown at the beginning of the year, the I.R.S. is warning some folks that next year’s tax refunds could be delayed.  Just in case that was money you were planning on.

That’s all I’ve got.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 13, 2013

If it’s Boeing, it could be going!

I’m going out on the skinny branches here.  Perhaps it’s because I’m on the outside, but I’m completely puzzled by the Boeing machinists who think voting down the contract offer is a good idea.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you do great work.  You’re professional.  You deserve the best.  But in case you haven’t looked around, the world has changed.  Just because your rank and file received something in the past doesn’t guarantee it for you and future machinists.  It just isn’t realistic. A pension?  I’ve never even imagined having one.

So, you have choice. Vote no on the contract offer because you think it’s unfair and see how that works out.  I do know that our governor called a special session to do everything the state could to keep these jobs in the area, not just for now, but for decades to come.  We gave them tax breaks, supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Remember, taxes are just money that the government collects.  It may be collecting fewer dollars from Boeing, but all the working employees not on unemployment will more than pay for that.  That’s just how it works.  I watched the news tonight and saw cities in Texas and other places around the country drooling, hoping you’ll turn it down.

Think about it.  You play hardball, you vote “no”, Boeing says “Fine, we’ll take this project somewhere else.”  And there you are, proud to have stood up to “the man”….without a job….in a state economy that takes a punch to the gut….with thousands of newly unemployed people collecting unemployment.  This reminds me of the Tea Party folks (hey, might as well piss off everyone while I’m here) who felt that closing the government down was more important that allowing Obamacare to begin.  Closing down our government is a better idea?  That did nothing but hurt citizens and put off the bigger decisions until early next year.  Nice job.

Now, back to the machinists.  If you’re a die-hard union person, what I’m saying is blasphemy.  Of course the union is going to say the deal isn’t fair.  That’s because there were no negotiations with them.  Boeing just said, “Here’s what will work for us.”  Gee, if you don’t need them to negotiate, imagine how much you’d save each month on union dues.

In our free-market economy, we’ve all had to cut back in recent years.  You talk about your pension being cut?  What’s a pension?   You guys are still leaps and bounds beyond most working people who have had their insurance skyrocket, their jobs double or triple in duties, all while America runs leaner and meaner.

I have a feeling most members will realize this and vote to keep their jobs, rather than take on a mob mentality.  But only time and the vote this week will tell.

Is Boeing bluffing?  It wasn’t that long ago that they moved their corporate headquarters to Chicago.  Kansas City, South Carolina, almost anywhere in the U.S. would love to get this program and the jobs that come with it.

I wish you well in your decision and hope these aren’t the final days of aerospace in Seattle.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | November 6, 2013

Well, Here Goes!

I did it.

I fought it for 8 years.  To give in would be to admit a certain truth that no one wants to face.  But in the wee hours of this morning, (you know, when you have to get up and wee because you drank too many liquids too close to bedtime) I went online, filled out the form and became a card-carrying member of the A.A.R.P..

If you haven’t made it to 50 yet, your turn is coming.  I’m pretty sure the mailman waits down at the end of the street to watch you come out to your mailbox and find that first invitation to join.  I received my first solicit when I was still 49 and was highly offended.  “A.A.R.P.?  I’m not there yet!”

Truth be told, you’re there once you cross the 50-year-line.

Oh, I’d seen the commercials and heard them referred to in the news regarding senior citizen issues, but that was THEIR organization, not mine.  I do believe the “R” in A.A.R.P. stands for retired and that sure isn’t me.

But lately, a couple of friends admitted they had joined because of all the discounts.  So, I thought I might as well take a peek at the benefits.  For $16 a year, you’d get your money back in no time.  Join for a 5-year stretch and it comes out to be just $12.80 a year.

I give my Scottish heritage full credit, but I am cheap. I see absolutely no sense in paying too much for anything.   I remember that time I went to play golf up at Camano Island and the girl at the register said, “That’ll be $22.”  From there, my mind went into hyper-drive.  “But I thought it was $27.”  I looked at the sign.  It WAS $27, but seniors 62 and older only had to pay $22.  I had to think quickly—should I be upset that she thought I looked 62 or be happy about saving the $5.  I looked her straight in the eye and said with a smile, “Thank you very much!”

So, I’ve done it.  I’m joined the American Association of Retired Persons.  Watch out world, ‘cause I want my discount and I want it now. Once I have it, I’m going to yell at those kids on my front lawn.

 

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | October 31, 2013

Halloween Memories by Tim Haunter

I must have been going out as a Shriner.

I must have been going out as a Shriner.

 

If I were to write the history of Halloween based on my lifetime, it would be a small but entertaining window.  So, I think I will.

I grew up back at a time when our only costume options were slinky one-piece outfits and molded plastic masks that you really couldn’t see out of very easily.  They were also very inconvenient if you liked breathing.

As a child, I somehow developed a love of monsters and scary movies.  Of course, back then, movies were just scary and not blood-splattered slaughter-fests.  Friday nights, Channel 9 in Los Angeles had Sci Fi theater where all the b-movies hung out.  “Man from Planet X”, “Frankenstein’s Daughter” and the rest.  After searching for years, I finally found the music they played every Friday night during breaks in the movie.  You can hear it here.

Of course, I loved all the Universal Studios classics and watched  them every time they were shown on TV. (remember , this was back before VCR’s and DVD’s and when movies like the “Wizard of Oz” was shown once a year, it was an event) .  I not only watched “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, “The Wolfman” and “The Mummy”, but I also bought the models you could build and paint.  They decorated my room for years.

I remember the year that I became too old to trick or treat.  Oh, it seems like kids do it until they’re in their mid-20s these days, but back then, your parents would announce that this is your last year so you had 365 days to embrace the concept by next year.  By then, you had built it up in your mind that trick or treating was just for kids.

Because of radio station promotions and being a fan of the holiday, I’ve always loved Halloween.  Maybe it’s that feeling that, for just one night, you’re a kid again.  OK, a kid who drinks Scotch, but still, a kid. I’ve been a vampire, a zombie, “Hunter Man” (yep, found a Superhero outfit at Value Village with an H on the front) and I can’t tell you how many years I’ve answer the door with one of those plastic knives that appear like it’s going through my head.

The stores are already pushing it out of the way so they can get in more Christmas stuff.  We went to a fun Halloween party last Saturday at a completely decked-out home in North Bend, we’re having a costume party at work during lunch and then it’s head home to hand out the candy.  Of all the facets of Halloween, seeing those young faces marvel at how our home is decorated and their look of disbelief that people will actually just give you candy is priceless.

So, enjoy the day.  Don’t overthink it.  If nothing else, remember the life lesson that Linus taught us all—don’t waste an entire night in a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Picking out the most sincere one is impossible.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | October 23, 2013

Goodbye Coach

Larry Nelson and I at one of the Husky Tailgate parties

Larry Nelson and I at one of the Husky Tailgate parties

Those of you younger than me (and that includes the majority of the free world and especially those working in Nike shops), one of the truest signs of “getting up there” is when someone passes that was a major part of your life.  You then have to face the fact that someone you imagined would always be around, is gone.

This past Sunday, Don James, one of the most successful coaches in college football who timed his career to match my involvement with the University of Washington Huskies, bid this world goodbye.

I remember hearing that he was battling pancreatic cancer and knowing his passion for winning, I just assumed it would be a battle that would last for a long time.  But cancer has no home team, shows no favorites and Don’s lifetime was contained to a mere 80 years on earth.

But boy, did he make it count.

When I arrived at the University of Washington campus in the fall of 1973, I wanted to fit in to my new home.  As I settled into my dorm room at Terry Hall and registered over at Schmitz, I received literature about purchasing football tickets in the student section.  Back then, that was prime seating on the north side of the stadium.  There was no upper deck, just the lower level and a “stone” section which the students embraced.  You would buy a package and each week, you’d be assigned a different section.  The purple section was at the 50-yard line, so you could buy the package that put you at the 50 for whatever you determined was the ultimate game of the season.

I remember going to that first football game and being surprised to see protestors.  They weren’t rallying against war or injustice, but rather the current football coach, Jim Owens.  Jim had enjoyed great success in earlier years, but not recently, and there was a vocal faction that demanded a change.

That change came with the hiring of a soft-spoken coach from Kent State named Don James.  I had heard of Kent State from the student shootings, but not for football.  This would be interesting.

And it was.  Don James’ first season he went 6-5.  His second, 5-6.  After that, he never looked back and enjoyed winning season after winning season until he retired.

While Don James and I weren’t buddy-buddies, I did get to meet him and got to be familiar enough to him that he’d know my face.  I was that kid who was Larry Nelson’s producer at KOMO Radio, your Husky station.  Our paths crossed often and he was always very cordial.  I tried my best not to act like a star-struck fan, but it wasn’t easy.  I helped him get into headphones for some studio work.  Got to hang around while he was interviewed.  But sadly, even though I was around him for four football seasons,  I never had my picture taken with him.  That has got to be my biggest regret.

Besides working with Don, I also sat and operated the board many a time for his wife Carol and local celebrity Rainer Rey, as they did some banter radio commercials for QFC back in those days.

When I moved over to KLSY, for one season, we hosted the Don James Show in the afternoons with Larry Nelson and Bob Rondeau side-kick Gary Johnson.  Unfortunately, what I remember most about those shows is the difficulty we had getting the coach on the air on a regular basis.

In later years, when I was part of the Murdock & Hunter show, I remember one bowl game when we called up the hotel where he was staying and ordered breakfast to be delivered to his room.  He was kind enough to call and thank us on the air.  Our plan worked brilliantly.

He was the most successful football coach in the history of the University of Washington.  Many great names and future NFL stars passed through his program during the Don James era.

Coach James resigned after the UW was clobbered with recruiting violations that he felt were unfair to the university and his players.  His final three years at the UW, his record was 31-5 and he took the Dawgs to three consecutive Rose Bowls.  We haven’t seen that kind of greatness since his tenure, but we’re slowly but surely scratching and clawing our way back.

His achievements, his style, his modesty and his leadership were a joy to see up close. You look back at how your life takes you to places and you wonder why in the heck you ended up there.  But it’s our experiences that make our lifetime.  I consider myself blessed for Coach James’ time at the UW to have touched my life.

Enjoy your well-deserved rest, coach.  I know they’re working hard to get things back to the way you left them.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | October 16, 2013

THE FOOTNOTES OF MY LIFE

Each of us have them.  They are the ingredients that help make us the unique individuals we’ve become.  Those bizarre moments, claims to fame and other incidents that occurred in our lives—significant, but not enough to bring up every day, or any day.  For the most part, they lie buried deep in our memories with maybe a reminder of the occurrence buried deep in the attic or cellar.

You don’t bring them up because it would sound boastful.  Yet, the people who really care about you would find it interesting and wonder why they hadn’t heard about it before.  Those are the footnotes of your life and I’m going to attempt to list as many as I can recall about me.  You never know—someday I might be a category on Jeopardy and you’ll thank me then.

When I was 11, I rode my bicycle over to the Sears Parking lot at Del Amo Mall in Torrance to see a politician give a speech from the back of a flatbed truck.  He was running for governor. His name was Ronald Reagan.

In the 1990s, I was the voice of “Inspector Gadget” in the computer game of the same name.  Don Adams wanted $1-million to do it.  I did it for $25 an hour.

I was once the announcer voice for a “Salute to Michael Jackson” TV special. My friend Rick Portin slipped me in as the announcer for a gala thrown in Hollywood.

I wrote the original franchise presentation video for Red Robin restaurants, long, long ago.

I wrote jokes for Jay Leno’s monologues for 10 years through White Collar Comedy, a group of writers.  At first, I received $50 per joke, eventually going up to $75.

I secretly wrote jokes for celebrities to tell at Warren Buffett’s 75th birthday party thrown by Bill Gates.  I was writing for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diane Sawyer and others.  Don’t know which ones were chosen, but I gave them a bunch.

While interviewing Al Gore on the radio that fateful election year, we got him to say that Murdock, Hunter and Alice would receive an invitation to the Inaugural Ball if he won.

Other great phone successes in my radio days:  Ordering breakfast for Husky Football Coach Don James during one of his Rose Bowl trips to Pasadena. He called to thank us.   We also once called broadcast legend Paul Harvey on his birthday and he took our call.  Also, for Secretary’s Day (remember that) we called up the U.S. Secretary of Defense and while we didn’t me him, we did get to talk with Pete Williams, then the assistant Secretary of Defense, now with NBC news.

I was also part of two, non-stop 28 hour marathon broadcasts for the Make A Wish foundation.  I seriously don’t know how we did it.

I’m going to consider this an open-ended document and as I recall more stories, they’ll come your way.  I may not remember them all in years to come, but I’ll be able to come back here, read this list and say, “Oh, yeah….forgot about that!”

Thanks for being out there for me.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | October 8, 2013

Sorry, But I’m Not Limiting Myself

republicrat

To all my friends who proudly proclaim they are Democrats, I’m sorry.  That’s not me.

To the many friends and family who embrace the Republican party’s philosophy, another apology.  I don’t fit.

Now, there was a time when I was a card-carrying Republican.  I was part of the Torrance High School students for the re-election of Richard Nixon.  We won big that year.

As with many political leanings, mine were born out of my environment.  I would say it’s safe to say that I come from a conservative family.  Republicans were conservative, so as far as I know, my parents voted that way. We never really talked politics, they didn’t put bumper stickers on their cars, they just were conservatives.

Now, a quick reminder that at one time, being a conservative was a tendency, not a religion.  The Far Right back in the 60s was a very small minority.  If you don’t believe me, check out the 1964 election when Barry Goldwater was trounced.

However, a few years later, the country had enough of the Vietnam War and made a turn to the right.  Over the past decades, we’ve swung back and forth.  Nixon to Carter, Carter to Reagan, Reagan to Bush, Bush to Clinton, Clinton to Bush, Bush to Obama.

Wow, that sounds like a really long double play.

Maybe it comes with being around long enough, but after a while, you tend to develop your own brand of politics.  Then, there you are, with a collection of thoughts and philosophies that don’t match either of the two political parties.

And then you have to pick the lesser of the two evils.

Right now, Republicans are doing everything in their power to become a laughing stock.  They’re afraid to stand up to the so called “Tea Party” branch of the right.  So, the extremists have the keys to the car and are leading the government shutdown, throwing people out of work as they try to derail Obamacare.

I don’t know if Obamacare will be a good thing or a bad thing.  I have my feelings, but here’s the deal. We had a chance to vote-in someone who was opposed to it, and last thing I remember, the country decided to stick with it.

Now, the Tea Party thinking is that it’ll ruin the country.  I really don’t think shutting down the government is much better.  In fact, it’s probably worse.  And this news flash just in—if Obamacare doesn’t work, we’ll get rid of it.  As of today, you haven’t even given it a chance.  Don’t be crybabies that take their ball and go home when they don’t get their way.

You know, the debate over Obamacare reminds me of a few decades ago when ending segregation was going to ruin this country.  I’m pretty sure they said that about slavery.  I’m also old enough to remember when John Kennedy was running for president that if we elect a Roman Catholic, he’ll probably have us all praying to Mary.

Ask me if I’m a Republican or a Democrat, you won’t get the answer you want, so don’t ask.  I vote for the person, not the D or the R next to their name.  I’m hoping, in my lifetime, that we get a viable third party option to shake things up. Question me on politics and I’ll be glad to tell you what I think, but know going in that my opinion definitely does not follow a party line.

And you know what?  That’s O.K.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | October 3, 2013

A Hallo, ween Treat

It started as an solicit.  Then an idea.

The next thing you know, it was a Halloween party.  Not just a Halloween party, but a reunion.

Kim Brooks, the wife of radio brother Bob Brooks, said, “We’d host it—can you find people?”

So, later this month, a group of people who were a big part of my life will gather–perhaps in costume–to do some serious catching up.  If you were among the fans of 92.5-KLSY, it should be a Who’s Who of that station.  Some from the early Classy years, others as it approached the Mix 92-5 era.

This is more to let you know what’s coming and I promise to bring back stories, photo’s and everything I can get my hands on.

But it’s happening.  More to come.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | September 26, 2013

It’s How They Get You Hooked

World series

Baseball’s second season, the playoffs, begins next week.  Sadly, my current home team, the Seattle Mariners are going only if they buy tickets. It’s now been a dozen seasons since we’ve had the thrill of post-season baseball in this town.  Seattle fans who were in town for either the 1995 run or that 116-win, first-round elimination 2001 season, know what it’s all about.  But for the fair-weather crowd, baseball in Seattle is usually over by June.

It’s for that reason that people look at me strangely when I care so much about the post-season.  By now, the majority of the people I know have moved on to football–college, pro or both–and don’t understand why I’m not letting go since Seattle doesn’t have a team involved.

Of all the sports, baseball has been there all my life.  Go back to my childhood and I can recall (while I still can) having the TV off and most evenings, listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett call the Dodger games on the radio every night.  Seems unimaginable with today’s standards, but there was a time when NBC had a baseball game of the week and select out-of-town series were put on TV.  Otherwise, the way you followed the teams were to go to the games or the radio.

Several things fueled my interest in baseball.  It was the only sport, as a kid, you could play.  Little League was about it, if you wanted to play organized sports.  Back in those dark days while the earth cooled, a Helms bakery truck would drive up and down the street selling freshly baked treats and offering packs of baseball cards for a nickel.  You’d get 10 cards and chewing gum that tasted like pink cardboard for just 5-cents.

Baseball was a lot like fishing to me.  One of my first-ever fishing experiences was going out on the Missouri River back in South Dakota and fishing on a boat with my uncle James and my dad.  They gave me a kiddie reel, which I resented…but when the day was done, we had caught a bunch of Northern Pike and I landed the biggest!  Needless to say, that set the stage for a lifetime of being out there on opening day every year.

In baseball, I was lucky enough to be a Dodger fan at the peak of their franchise.  As I grew up, I got to cheer for guys like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills and so many others.  Even eventual Seattle Mariner manager Jim Lefebvre (le FEVER) played second base back then for “the bums.”  As I grew up, they swept those nasty Yankees 4-0 in the 1963 World Series and in the 1965 series, they lost the first two games to the Minnesota Twins, but came back to win the series in 7 games.  If that kind of magic doesn’t get you addicted, nothing will.

For as long and drawn out as the regular season can be, the playoffs have that magical intensity that every pitch matters.  Every out gets you one step closer.  Every home run could be all you need.  Mr. Octobers step up or an entire team of very talented players chokes.

So, yes, I’m excited about the post-season, especially with my childhood team—the Dodgers–making a run at the National League title, while my back-up team–the Boston Red Sox–are looking real in the American League.

Oh, I’ll still be there for every second of Husky and Seahawk football.  But now it’s time for the Boys of Summer to see if they can land a few Northern Pikes of their own.

Tim Hunter

former players

Posted by: Tim Hunter | September 18, 2013

Age Advice

aging

It’s another birthday week for me.  I’ll carve another notch in the age belt and have to put up with all the questions, like “Why do you wear that belt with all the notches?”

I’ve got one kid that cracked the 30 barrier already and this past week, a nephew hit the big 3-0.  In thinking about it, a bit of a realization dawned on me, so I thought I’d pass it along.

The stages of life are a journey.  I’m further down the road than you probably are, so much like someone who has driven the Al-Can highway, let me warn you about a few potholes and wildlife areas you will probably come across in your journey.

The 40s is the decade where you start going to parties and when you see neighbors or friends, the conversation quickly turns to how your body is starting to fall apart.

Your 50s is a status report on retirement.  You’re either feeling like, “Yep, I’ll be able to hang it up at 65!”  Or, it could be, “Well, looks like I’m working until 90!”  When I was in my 30s, I had quite a few friends in their 50s and in those better economic times, it seemed like that was the decade where people hit their strides, when investments paid off and so forth.  However, it’s just a different game today.  Thanks, WaMu.

With the 30s almost two decades in the rear view mirror, I’m realizing that is the prime decade.  That is the decade where you settle down into you and how you most feel like you.  In the future, as the reflection in the mirror evolves, in your mind you will remain that 30-something.  That’s the big realization I’ve had–that when I think of myself, I’m 35.  Mentally, my attitude, my ambition…so that as the years continue to roll by, I will continue to define myself in my 30s.

Why bring this up?  Because some day (and sooner than you think) you’ll look around and the world will be different, yet you’ll feel the same.  If you are in your 30s, do your best to occasionally slow down and just absorb your life.  Realize who you are and what you’ve become and like it, because that is the “you” that you’ll take with you the rest of your life.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | September 15, 2013

My World is Not Your World

It was like the universe reminded me and then, to make sure I got it, reminded me again.

One of the basic truths about comedy writing involves………timing.  You achieve timing by getting a rhythm.  It’s different when you’re live versus written and not being a stand-up, I’m a writing kind of guy.  When I write a joke, I rely on a shared knowledge so that 75% of the time spent telling it, is not in the setup.  If the setup takes too long, you can lose them.

This is why most of the lines you’ll see in my weekly “Wacky Week” email and on my website (www.wackyweek.com) are two or three sentences long.

But the other day I had not one, but two reminders that my world is not your world.  Because no matter how much you may think people know what you know, it ain’t necessarily so.

For example, on the night following my most recent collection of Wacky jokes, which contained quite a few Miley Cyrus lines, one of my friends wrote back, “I guess I’m going to have to find out what who this Miley Cyrus person is.”

Really?

Then, the next morning, I found myself at Safeway. I was wearing my Seahawks jersey and the checker asked, “Oh, are they playing tonight?”  On a Friday?  Days just before the biggest game in their franchise history?

It wasn’t part of world.  Much like Miley Cyrus wasn’t part of that friend’s world. (sounds like a wonderful place, doesn’t it?)

No, I’m not going to start writing all-inclusive jokes.  “So, Miley Cyrus…you know, Billy Ray Cyrus–the guy who sang “Achy Breaky Heart” years ago and had a daughter who played Hannah Montana on the Disney channel during her tween years and now is trying to undo that image….walked into a bar…..”

I’ll write what I write.  I hope you get the jokes.  But if you don’t, it’s OK.  My world is not necessarily your world.

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | September 11, 2013

The Day That Still Seems Like Yesterday

Murder

Another September 11th and as I get up and begin my early morning writing routine, I can’t help but think of that day back in 2001.

It started like any other day.  I got up at 2:20am, showered, ate something and dashed out the door and into another Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show on KLSY.  We tried to plot out breaks and at 5:50am, we were going to play a pre-recorded interview I had put together with an author who wrote a book on some of the more bizarre phone calls that had come into 9-1-1 over the years.  Thus, he chose this date for his big media push.  You know, 9-11, 9-1-1….

But in that slowly waking up half hour of the show, we caught on the TV monitor in the studio that a plane had crashed into a building in New York City.  That was too bad.  Probably some small prop plane with a hot-shot pilot and a couple of tourists who dared to get too close to a building.  As we began playing the second song of that 2-song sweep before the 5:50am break, we heard reports it was a commercial jetliner.  Over the next couple of minutes, we anguished over whether we should scrap what we had planned or take on this as a morning topic.  We wisely opted for the latter and that author’s interview never aired.  In the days following the attack and all the insanity that took place, it just seemed wrong to make light in any way of that day and the date.

By the end of the year, I had stumbled across an interesting angle on 9-11 and to this day, I don’t many people know about Angel Juarbe Jr. and how that day marked the end of his life.  I’m going to insert the piece I included in my column for the Bothell/Kenmore Reporter as we wrapped up 2001 and pass the story along to you that way.

2001 was a year of reality.  Reality shows filled our television sets and it seemed like we couldn’t wait for the next episode of “Temptation Island”, “Boot Camp” or “Survivor”.   That is, until we all had a major jolt of reality on September 11th.  At that point, a group of terrorists brought an incredibly ugly real into our lives and our world changed forever.

One of those reality shows I enjoyed was a FOX murder-mystery series called “Murder in Small Town X”.  A group of people basically played a whodunit in an Atlantic seaboard town, each week ruling out suspects and eliminating players.

When all was said and done, a guy named Angel Juarbe won and walked away with the $250,000 first prize.  He was a likeable, honest guy.  Family and friends cheered as they watched him emerge the victor, including his co-workers at a fire department in New York City.

Seven days later, reality television clashed with the terrible reality of September 11th.   Angel and the 12th ladder company of the NY Fire Department were among the firefighters that responded to the September 11th terrorist attacks and quickly found themselves inside the Marriott Hotel next to the World Trade Center’s north tower.  He was helping people evacuate when it collapsed.

One week, he lived an American dream, the following week he died an American hero.   Though I met him through a cheesy TV show, Angel Juarbe gave me a face to help remind me to make every day of life really count. 

That remains true of this day and every day. But it’s on September 11th of each year that we can’t help but reflect back on that unthinkable series of events we all lived through together.

And here we are again.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | September 8, 2013

A Tale of Two Bands

The Washington-grown Doobie

The Washington-grown Doobie

Saturday night, September 7th, I time-traveled to the 1970s.

That was the decade of my last two years of high school, my tenure in college and the early years of my adventures in radio.  Think of what defines those years for you and most likely you’ll be drawn to the songs that were playing on the radio at the time.

That night, I went back to first-dates, breakups, dorm parties and my first radio station with the help of America and The Doobie Brothers.

The venue was the Tulalip Resort Amphitheater, where there was some confusion about what time the concert actually started.  We heard both 7 and 8 o’clock, so we arrived before 6.  With an actual kickoff of 8pm, we had plenty of time to enjoy the sun-drenched setting for the last outdoor concert of this year.

The warm-up DJ held steady with the theme: Boston, Steve Miller,  Elton John….all the acts this boomer crowd grew up with.

By the time the concert began, the crowd was pumped, fairly inebriated and ready for some serious flashbacks to our younger years.  The two guys that make up America—Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell—took the stage and reminded us of all the hit songs they had cranked out over the years.

While the two were likeable and personable, telling the story of how they met as Air Force brats while living in London, and continuously expressing their gratitude for everyone in attendance, their performances were strained.  The vocals didn’t come as easy as they once did and their harmonies didn’t always work.  Yet, it was still exciting to see the guys who made those songs I remembered, as well as introducing me to some of the ones I missed deeper on the album.  After an hour, there was a quick encore and they reminded us that the Doobie Brothers were coming up shortly.

During the intermission, my wife asked if we were glad we came to the concert.  Without hesitation, I said, “Absolutely.  It was great to see those guys!  We can add them to the bucket list.  Besides, I’m sure the Doobies will be better.”

I was SO right.

When they took the stage at 9:30, they launched into a tight, upbeat “Jesus is Just Alright” that quickly demonstrated they still had it.  For the next two hours, they wowed the crowd with their hits, plus each of the members was allowed to show off their amazing talents.  Each is extremely gifted in their musical expertise.

No, it wasn’t the original Doobie Brothers, but it was the core—Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons—who defined their sound and were still able to make it sound fresh.  They took their hits and added in long guitar, sax or keyboard solos.  The die-hard Doobie fans would have probably recognized everything they played.  I was around 95%, but there were a couple of deep album cuts thrown in and now I want to find them.  The harmonies were tight, they looked like they were having a blast and they forced an older audience to get up off their weary feet and do some moving.  Patrick Simmons reminded the crowd he was born in Aberdeen.  Tom Johnston and his voice never sounded better and he spent the entire night playing with the crown, doing what a coach would do to fire you up.

America made me realize just how long ago those days were.  The Doobie Brothers illustrated just how good the music was.  Two different experiences, backed into my flashback night to the 1970s.

It was a nice visit.  I’ll share just a little bit with you right here.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | September 5, 2013

Way? Norway!

It’s going to take a while to completely digest my recently completed two-week vacation in Norway.

First off, it was my first-ever two-week vacation of my adult working life.  Oh, sure, as a kid, we’d get two-weekers when the family headed back to South Dakota.  But heck, at that time, I was enjoying the entire summer off from school, so vacations were just an interruption of the bigger vacation.

As you know, six years ago, I met the Norwegian girl of my life and we’ve been talking about this trip for a long time.  2013 was the year we made it happen.  Yes, cameras were a blazin’ and I snapped over 4,800 pictures while I’m going to have to sort through PLUS video on a Flip camera.  I’ve got enough material to keep me busy for a while.  In fact, I should probably work in one of those pictures now.

This was a very common sign found in Norway, which signified a Gene Kelly crossing.

This was a very common sign found in Norway, which signified a Gene Kelly crossing.

Only 4,810 to go.

In the months ahead, I’ll let you know more about some of the areas and sites we enjoyed in the country the size of the west coast of the U.S.   On this trip, we focused on towns from about the Redwoods down to San Diego in two weeks.  Wow.  The beauty was breath-taking.   The people, wonderful and giving.

Some of the things I marveled at:  the Viking Museum in Oslo, where several Viking ships were on display, along with all the artifacts found there. In the south end, a Viking grave was pointed out–a pile of rocks no one dares disturb and, because of it, no one will buy the land…because if you do, YOU are liable to pay for the excavation to explore what relics lie there.  So, there it sits.

Tarps are tossed over the stacks of beer in the grocery store at 8pm, because you can’t buy any after that time.  Stores close at 5, some even at 4, and all but a few grocery stores are closed on Sundays.  Their TV is government controlled, but with an election coming up, you won’t see a flood of TV ads.  But if you walk along the street, you’ll see a row of tents from each of their political parties, as volunteers hand out flyers and try to convince you to vote with them.  They protect their wilderness, yet are harvesting oil off shore and whales for food.

In short, to describe Norway: “It’s complicated.”

Whoops, time for another picture.

Tart, but nice with a yogurt/milk sauce poured over it.

Tart, but nice with a yogurt/milk sauce poured over it.

If you ever have the chance, go.  If you need more reasons, check back occasionally and I’ll see what I can do about inspiring you as much as the visit inspired me.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | August 15, 2013

Poor K

Felix's Fans

Felix’s Fans

Last weekend, my wife and I along with some friends, attended the Seattle Mariners game as they hosted the Milwaukee Brewers.

I’ll still never understand why Major League Baseball felt it was necessary to send the Milwaukee Brewers over to the National League, only to send the Houston Astros to the American League years later.  First getting picked last in kickball and now this.

But I digress.

While sitting there in Safeco Field, we were able to watch one of the game’s best pitchers, Felix Hernandez, throw some of his best stuff.  A while ago, the Mariners decided it would be great to create a “King’s Corner”, to honor “King” Felix.  So, whenever he pitches, you can pay extra to get a yellow shirt and sit out with other crazy fans in the left field corner.  Each fan is given a sign with a “K” on it, to hold up.  (The letter K, for whatever reason, is the scorekeeping code for a strikeout)

The way it works is, when Felix gets two strikes on a batter, his fans stand up and chant “K! K! K! K! K!” while holding up their yellow K’s.

It didn’t dawn on me until I was actually at a game what was going on.  Felix is from South America.  Spanish is his native language.  The letter K in English has the same name as the Spanish word, “Que”, which means “what.”

How distracting must that be for Felix to be trying to throw a strike, while a bunch of crazies in the corner of the stadium are chanting, “What? What? What? What? What?”

Just thought I would point that out. You’re welcome.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | August 6, 2013

What is “Friday Tired?”

“Friday Tired” is a clinically isolated condition that affects everyone after five working days in a row.

It’s that numb feeling where, you’re almost to the weekend, but still have to push through an 8-hour day before you start enjoying it.  Because you can’t physically sleep in, you do it mentally, which can result in the situation I came across last Friday morning on the way to work.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a habit of swinging by a store on the way into work every Friday and picking up a half-dozen donuts.  It’s a small treat, but something that everyone at work really enjoys. A few grab a whole one, but mostly, they slice off a chunk, scurry away to their desk with their prize and then, after a while, come back for another slice.

On the most recent pick-up day, I stopped by the Safeway on the way to work, boxed up a half-dozen donuts and headed for the cash register.  The cashier who normally rings up things for me was gone and another familiar face was filling in.  However, I’m pretty sure I had seen her in one of my afternoon stops, not in the waking up hours.

When it was my turn to pay for the donuts, she opened up our conversation by walking through the sentence, “And how’s your day going so far?”, which was quickly followed by “That’s $3.”  I ran my Safeway card through the reader, then a debit card so I could get a little extra cash.  The cashier reached into the cash drawer which had just pulled open, ripped the receipt off of the register and proceeded to hand the cash and receipt to me.  Of course, as is tradition, Safeway likes their checkers to read the name that appears on the receipt to personalize the transaction and say, “You saved $2 Mr. Smith!” or words to that effect.

However, this cashier was definitely “Friday Tired.”  As her eyes scanned the receipt and she turned to face me, her mouth auto-started before she could find the name.  This combination resulted in the words that came out of her mouth: “OK, you save $1.20 Mr…………………….Customer.”   I took what she was handing me, replied “Close enough!” and continued my trek to work.

“Friday Tired”, of course.  Just not THAT “Friday Tired.”

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 30, 2013

THE BLIND KID

It was early.  We found ourselves stumbling on to a shuttle bus near Sea Tac airport around 4am.  Several friends had warned us that you needed to get out there pretty early to avoid the long lines and catch a 6:05am departure.

As we hopped on the bus, I didn’t really pay attention to the other passengers.  Once we were seated, I saw that it appeared to be a father and son.  Without staring, I noticed the boy was holding a stick. It appeared to be a cane.  Oh, that’s sad. A boy around 10-years-old, robbed of his sight, perhaps since birth.  Images that he would never be able to enjoy began parading through my mind: a beautiful girl, a rose, a forest full of trees.  He was acting like he could see, so I tried not to stare at him too much. Maybe he was just legally blind and was able to make out shapes and images.

With his head turned, I read the words on his shirt.  Something about lacrosse.

You guessed it.  He wasn’t blind.  The kid held the stick as if he was blind, but it was really just a lacrosse stick.

When we arrived at the terminal, I let them get off first and gave them lots of time to go ahead of us.  I didn’t want to hear his father, “Dad, that weird guy on the bus was staring at me.”

Tim Hunter

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