Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 28, 2014

Can’t Figure This One Out

Manhattan Transfer BEFORE we left

Manhattan Transfer BEFORE we left

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 25, 2014

My Cousin-In-Law Donnie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 16, 2014

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

OK, I’ll tackle it. The race thing.

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

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

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

But, I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 9, 2014


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

This looks like it. Uh, no…..


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tim Hunter


Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 3, 2014

The Tradition Continues

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

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

We all have our various traditions.

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

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

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

Kids as far as the eye can see

Kids as far as the eye can see

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

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

Happy birthday, America!

Tim Hunter

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

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

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