Posted by: Tim Hunter | July 3, 2014

The Tradition Continues

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

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

We all have our various traditions.

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

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

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

Kids as far as the eye can see

Kids as far as the eye can see

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

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

Happy birthday, America!

Tim Hunter

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

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

Posted by: Tim Hunter | June 26, 2014

Louie’s! Louie’s! They Gotta Go!

20140625_181109

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ballard version of The Last Supper

The Ballard version of The Last Supper

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

Sorry to see it go, but glad we met.

20140625_185906

Tim Hunter

 

Posted by: Tim Hunter | June 18, 2014

THE BIG BREAKOUT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | June 10, 2014

Watch Me Scatter the Crowd

Jeff Koterba cartoon for January 10, 2013 "Guns"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, a few days later, it happens again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m pretty tired of it.

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

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

At the current rate, sometime before the weekend.

Tim Hunter

Posted by: Tim Hunter | May 30, 2014

SCHRAM THE LUCK

Ken Schram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen here

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

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

Rest well, Ken, and thanks for being you.

Tim Hunter

St. Peter, this one's for you!

St. Peter, this one’s for you!

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