Behold: The Future

The guy who gave us “The Dating Game”, “The Newlywed Game” and who hosted the madness of “The Gong Show” passed away this week. Chuck Barris died at his home in New York at the age of 87.

Gee, Chuck Berry…then Chuck Barris….I think if I was Chuck Norris, I’d go into hiding. But I digress. And quite well, I might add.

I’m diving into this particular topic this week because the majority of the population roaming the earth these days heard the news that Chuck Barris had died and immediately said, “Who?” or “The Dating what?”

I like to use this little corner of the Internet for my observations and perspective. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about getting older, it happens quickly. Too quickly. One day, my baby sitter is telling people that Tim hides behind the couch when everyone on the Dating Game blows a kiss to the camera at the end of the show.  The next thing you know, the only people who even know what you’re talking about all have hints of grey in their hair.

Chuck Barris had a big impact on both the 1960s and my childhood.  He was ground-breaking. Those of us around back then watched him put “reality” on TV, although somewhat controlled. We heard what people thought in real-life situations. Both the dating world and the married world. Or, if you were doing both, you had to commit to watching TV two nights a week. “The Gong Show” was basically “America’s Got Talent”, with a gong instead of buzzers.  One day, I plan to forgive Chuck for The Unknown Comic. It’s still too soon.

But for all the popularity and all the top-of-mindness that Chuck and his shows enjoyed, let the wheels of time spin away and it’s not long until you’re mostly forgotten.  I don’t say this in a morbid, “we’re all going to get old and die someday” way.  Over the years, I’ve been quite the student of what had happened in my parents’ generation, my own and my kids. I know songs and trends and news events that came from decades before I was born.  I paid attention to what was going on in my kids’ world, as they grew up. As long as the Ginko keeps working, I enjoy being a living World Book encyclopedia of knowledge. Yes, some useless, but it’s OK to know things.

In a current, fast-paced, disposable-knowledge society, people observe, filter the information and then hang on to it until they dispose of that knowledge and move on to what’s next. That’s what allows so much recycling of ideas. The Bachelor and Bachelorette are really just dramatic retreads of the Dating Game.  Wait a generation and you can re-do a classic, like Beauty & The Beast.  Think about it–how many Spidermen or Batmen have there been, just in your lifetime?

I’ve gone down this road to remind you that, some day, you’re going to be talking to a friend of the same age, where the conversation begins with, “Remember the Kardashians and how they were everywhere and we just couldn’t get away from them?”

And someone standing nearby, 20 years younger, will utter that word that makes you realize you are officially old.

“Who?”

All to say, enjoy each day. Try to constantly remind yourself: the most important thing you have is right now.

Tim Hunter

Ode To George

Taking a break from mowing the lawn long enough to get a picture with George

 

There once was a dog named George.

My sisters or mom may remember better than me how we ended up giving George his name. Somehow in my single-digit years, mom and dad decided that three kids didn’t make a family chaotic enough and that it was time to have a family dog. So we adopted a mutt that was a lot of things, but mostly German Shepherd.  He was black with a light belly, white paws and some brown thrown in. He looked like a dog made by a committee.

I would guess I was 8 or 9 when George arrived.  I don’t remember a lot about him, but I recall he was full of energy. George developed a funny habit of running towards the back gate on the side of our house, which allowed him to jump high and peek over the fence. He would do two or three of those jumps in a row if he heard one of us out front.

His abundant energy was too much for our modest yard, so we would occasionally take him over to some nearby vacant fields to run him. Yeah, it was that long ago. There were vacant fields in Torrance.  It’s now a housing development. We would drive the car out on the dirt road towards the middle of the field and George would just go nuts. Toss a tennis ball and he couldn’t wait to go get it and bring it back.

As happens with pets and kids, the newness wears off and soon, it became my duty to bury the piles in the backyard. I remember him turning into more of a chore and the fun of having a dog started to fade away. Plus, I had the kids in the neighborhood to hang out with.

One day, while George roamed the backyard looking for something to do, he started sniffing around the bushes. He found a new smell and decided to see how it tasted. Sadly, it was snail poison. We had always put it out in the yard, the snails were something fierce. But apparently, this time, George decided to chow down. 

And George was gone.

I remember hearing the news and running back to that gate  he once jumped on so he could see the outside world. He rested on top of the garbage cans, wrapped in a blanket and would remain there until the Humane Society folks came by to take him away. I remember hugging him and bawling my eyes out, regretting every moment that I should have been playing with him, wishing to have back every second I resented him.

In those fifty-plus years since my time with George, two other dogs passed through my life.  Neither compared to the childhood friend that I enjoyed for only a couple of years, but who has stayed with me ever since. George was a tough act to follow. 

The least I could do is write down his story.

Tim Hunter

 

 

The Big One

You know, back when Richard Nixon ran for president, his slogan was “Nixon’s the one!” (and when his re-election rolled around, I remember people saying, “And he’ll be an even bigger one in ’72!”)

My God, there was even a song.

But let’s take a leisurely stroll back towards the topic I originally had in mind.

The Big One. As in earthquakes.

Growing up in southern California, you basically go through earthquake training. From the earliest age, they just showed up every now and then. By the time you realize an earthquake is happening, it’s over.  When you talk with relatives in the Midwest who aren’t afraid of tornadoes or friends back east who dust off hurricanes, both think you’re crazy for living in a place just poised for “The Big One.”

Earthquakes happen. 46 years ago, they had the so-called San Fernando Valley shaker, which killed 64 people near Los Angeles.  At that time, I was a sophomore in high school and when it happened at 6 in the morning, I thought it was my mom trying to wake me up for school. By the time I realized she wasn’t at the end of my bed shaking it, the quake was over.

Yes, there have been sizable earthquakes in the places I’ve resided over the years.  All along, we continually hear warnings that we need to be prepared for The Big One. I’m not saying it won’t happen in my lifetime, but I’ve been through a few cycles of the local TV news people deciding during sweeps to spotlight the threat, remind us to be prepared and how awful it will be after it hits.

In Seattle, they’re expecting communications to be down, impassable roads, panic, etc. But I’m reminded of the year when those of us in Earthquake Country really out-did ourselves.

The year was 1969. In June, I was going to graduate from the 8th grade. (stop looking so surprised) The Reverend Donald Abernathy told his Los Angeles area congregation that he had a vision. God had told him that a big earthquake was going to hit LA and so he convinced his entire church to move to Atlanta.  In the reverend’s vision, God was going to punish the City of Angels for all their sins by turning them into angels.

The result was Earthquake Fever. It was the buzz on everyone’s lips. Eventually, someone pin-pointed the actual time that the quake would hit and California would slide into the ocean. The most often-played song on the radio was all about the inevitable Big One. I offer this up to you with a warning. Listen to it a time or two and it will get stuck in your head.

Well, the big day that had be predicted for the earthquake to strike finally arrived. It was supposed to hit somewhere around 3pm.  I remember riding around on my Sears Schwinn-like bike that day while keeping an eye on my watch.  As a 14-year-old kid, your mind is less bridled. I’m wondering what it will be like? Will there be a big splash?  Will it be fast or gradual?

I checked my watch again. The 3pm deadline had passed. The world continued. Eventually, I graduated from 8th grade as a proud Sam Levy Elementary School Llama. (if there can be such a thing) 48 years later, as of this writing, California is still there.

This week, there was a story in the news that geologists have determined that two of the major southern California earthquake fault lines were actually connected and, in fact, one big fault. In other words, there’s a potentially huge earthquake out there, just waiting to happen. Again.

If you’re a budding song-writer, here’s your chance to catch this wave.

Now, Seattle is said to be overdue for an earthquake of some sort. So, for now, I’ll maintain our stash of stale granola bars under the house, those outdated bottles of water and continue to guard those 96 bottles of outstanding wine in our wine cellar.

Oh and a storm door to keep everyone else out.  At least until the wine is gone.

Tim Hunter

 

The Key To The Treasure Chest

treasure

I finally found it.

For years, I’ve been trying to use a failing reel-to-reel machine to digitize some of the 500+ audio tapes that have collected dust under the house.  It would work, then it wouldn’t. It would start fine, then slow down.  Every dubbing session turned into a major ordeal.

Why do I want to dig out these audio memories?  For several reasons. One, I’ve forgotten about a lot of them and second, I do a weekly podcast that I started up back in ’07. Here’s where you can find all the episodes but, eventually, I’m going to figure out a way to get all these up on iTunes. I’m close, but there are a few technical things that are stumping me.
But when I do, you’ll be among the first to know.

This week, I welcomed two new members of my audio gear family–a brand spankin’ new cassette deck and a beautifully restored reel-to-reel. These have already helped me uncover this nifty little gem from April 26th, 1991. Yes, almost 26 years ago.

It was a Friday morning and the other half of “Murdock & Hunter” as the show was known back then, Bruce Murdock, was sick. That left the patients in charge of the asylum. So, yours truly, Dave Sloan and Alice Porter put on a show.  I grabbed a good chunk of it and edited it down to an “aircheck.”  But, you’ll find so many lost memories in this one. We were celebrating “Secretary’s Week”, there’s a commercial for 1-800-THE-FACE, we were giving away a “typing machine”…the list goes on and on.  You’ll get to hear Dave Sloan as the Moviemeister and Alice Porter acting fairly straight, as was I.  We did get in a performance of “Roman Theater”, one of my proud accomplishments of that era of my career. Listen to the type of music we were playing and you could see that we were still a very sleepy Adult Contemporary station.

LISTEN TO THIS IF YOU DARE

I apologize for the “liner radio” sound, but we were big on that back then. Eventually, we got loose and didn’t adhere to such formality but that, ladies & gentlemen, is what you would have heard in Seattle on 92.5-KLSY in the early 90s.

I can remember being there and saying some of those things, but it feels like a million years ago.

Tim Hunter

THE STORIES BURIED DEEP

archaeologyI’m a fan of history, especially my own.

And while the human mind can remember a lot of things, anyone who’s been around for a while knows, after a while, the old hard-drive gets full.  You can only remember so many things and with today’s information-overload society, I’m afraid a lot of those stories from years gone by are slowly being squeezed out.

 Or, they never made it here in the first place.

During this week’s visit to mom and my sister Debbie down in the hometown of Torrance, California, I picked up quite a few lost stories that were either squeezed out or simply forgotten. Some were never even heard, so I’m choosing to write them down so that either you or me can pull these out when we’re sitting around in the old folks home, wondering why we’re there.

I knew I was born in Gardena, a neighboring city to Torrance, but the story I had always heard was because Torrance didn’t have a hospital of its own. It turns out they DID have a hospital, but the night the water broke and delivery became a matter of time, MY PARENTS COULDN’T FIND THE TORRANCE HOSPITAL!  So they went to the closest one, which was a hop, skip and a jump over in Gardena. I heard this story as we stopped by the site where the elusive hospital once stood.

Hospital Where I Wasn't Born

                The Hospital Where I Wasn’t Born

I ended up having a 30+-year radio career and of all the paths I could have chosen, radio called me. (and I was caller #9)  I found out during this trip down that my mom was also a fan of radio, as she pulled out her official membership certificate she received when she was 11-years-old.  A charter member, no less.

moms-radio-station-membership

During one of the many Happy Hours that break out when we get together, my sister Debbie blurted out some stories one night that I may have heard before, but had forgotten. For example, at her high school graduation from Torrance High School, right after they announced her name, I yelled out at the top of my lungs, “Thank God!”

Then there was  the time that my buddy Tank and I picked up Debbie at the airport in Seattle. (back when you could greet people at the gate)  The moment we saw her, Tank yelled out, “That’s her, officer!  The one with the backpack!” 

Call it frugal, call it cheap, but I was reminded of another tradition of growing up Hunter.  These days, every kid has their own cell phone. But “back in my day”, they had these things called ‘phone booths.’  Each of us busy kids were given a dime.  Say, for example, if my basketball practice ended at 4:30, when I was ready to be picked up, I used a dime to operate a pay phone. I would call the home number, let it ring once, then hang up!  My parents recognized the Hunter code to go pick up a kid, because hanging up without the phone being answered gave me the dime back and I would be ready for the next time.

Dig around your family history and you’ll probably uncover some “almost never was” stories. For example, I can’t imagine being raised in any other home than the one in the middle of the street where my mom has continued to live for 64 years. But apparently, the only house that was available in that development was the one down the street on the end of the block, next to a very busy Hawthorne Blvd.  However, the sale fell through on the eventual Hunter residence and the rest is history. 

Just a few shares about my family story, if nothing else, so that I can look at this blog in the future and remember some of those mini-details that successfully escaped my mind.

I’d like to encourage you to do some digging of your own, to see what nuggets you can uncover.

Tim Hunter 

PS–I also found out that even though Torrance is a fairly large city, with a population of 150,000 people, there are no cemeteries within the city limits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May I Kindly Recommend….

Good boyGood boy

The Internet is where people vent, decry, express anger, sadness, joy, you name it.

We pride ourselves on being a free society, ready to defend the virtues of unrestricted speech and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I did some noodling the other day (it’s what old people call pondering) about the state of the people I care about and I’d like to make a suggestion. Actually, a couple of them.

To begin: breathe. Relax. Take at least 60-seconds out of every day where you don’t think about what’s going on at work,  what the president tweeted or what you think may or may not happen in this country. OK, now, with that clear head, think back over the years you’ve been around and how our nation has constantly battled between right and left. It’s a pendulum.  Our country has a history of swinging back and forth.

Starting with Ike:

Eisenhower (R) 8 years

Kennedy/Johnson (D) 8 years

Nixon/Ford (R) 8 years

Carter (R) 4 years

Reagan/Bush (R) 12 years

Clinton (D) 8 years

Bush (R) 8 years

Obama (D) 8 years

Keeping this pattern in mind,

Keeping this pattern in mind, it really shouldn’t be surprising that Trump was elected. OK, so that’s how the election went, he’s doing what he said he would do and there will be battles a plenty. But that’s politics and, in reality, a very small fraction of our life. Unless we choose to make it our entire life.

And that’s what I see people doing. Day in, day out, they’re upset about the latest incident or quote or appointment or alternative fact. Then, you see people expressing their frustration on Facebook. Now, what used to be a collection of food pictures or cats playing pianos, is a collection of mean-spirited, caustic snipes and swipes at anything and everything that happens.

Breathe.

Take a look again at that list above and the way the country has gone for the past half-century–we’re going to swing right, then left, then right.  Let’s call that a given. Now let’s introduce the fact that one of the deadly killers we really don’t know a lot about is stress. Are you really going to maintain this current level of discontent for another four or eight years?  Let’s say you have 30 years left on this earth. By this formula, you’re going to spend 15 of those in misery. Really? You just want to toss those years away?

How many family gatherings will you find yourself afraid of saying the wrong thing?  How many rainbows not even notice because you’re pounding away on your keyboard in response to another Facebook post?

And this just in–science has now confirmed that not a single person’s opinion has ever been reversed because of a clever meme. Hey, if you going to generate fake news, you might as well make it entertaining.

We all have a gift called life. What we do with it is entirely up to us. So, there will be people who march, carry signs, write angry letters, make phone calls, put on bumper stickers, and spend the bulk of their time completely unhappy. It’s their choice.

Or, consider doing things that might actually cause change. Being angry and gathering with a bunch of like-minded angry people only results in feeling good about yourself momentarily. The next day, not a micro-organism  of change.

As a comedy writer, I’m always on the lookout for commonality. Those are the things that allow you to cut down on the set-up time of the joke.  You can lose your audience saying, “You know, over in Scotland, they had banned the use of round scissors and so what happened was…..” or, you go straight to, “That’s now five rings for Tom Brady and he should go to voicemail.”  You didn’t need to explain who Tom Brady was, what the rings referred to and best of all, it was non-political.  When you go political in comedy, you stand a good chance of alienating at least half your audience, or at least make them less appreciate your comedic talents. Right now, late-night TV hosts and Saturday Night Live are having a field day with Trump (and he and his staff are providing ample fodder), but I have a feeling that long-term, that’s going to backfire on them. We’ll see….

Again, I’m in the middle, watching all of this happen and absorbing what I can along the way so that the next time I get to vote, that will be reflected. It’s how this democracy works.  Please, be informed, stay on top of things, but don’t waste half of the years you have remaining being consumed and feeling that anger, fear and hurt score brownie points.

Someone else won the trophy. OK, fine. Let’s do things that can really help win it back next time. But you won’t be able to help right the ship if you stress yourself out into non-existence between now and then.

Peace.

Tim Hunter

 

Stan the Scan Man–Part 2

 

boreson-nomo-tallulah-04

It’s funny how closely connected we really are, especially if you’ve been in the Seattle area for a while.

I’m a newbie, having just been here since 1973 with only a few years off in Yakima for bad behavior. Again, once you’ve put in a few years and you start talking with the people you’ve met, you’ll find some link between you and just about anybody.

Last night, I was at the Opus 111 Group client appreciation event held at the Ruth’s Chris in downtown Seattle. Working the welcome desk was Donna Driver, who works part-time and fill-in for Opus. She’s also the sister of Opus’ annuity expert, Bill Driver.

Donna and I originally found out we had a connection a couple of years ago when she brought in her school photo book and showed me a picture of her back in 6th grade along with her teacher, Ernie Templin. Yes, my father-in-law. It turns out that she is also married to a Norwegian and we have often bumped into her at the various Nordic events around town.

But the topic last night was the passing of Stan Boreson. Donna is a Seattle lifer and grew up with TV heroes like Brakeman Bill, Captain Puget, JP & Gertrude and, of course, KING’S Klubhouse with Stan Boreson. But since she doesn’t have a blog or a Facebook account, she emailed a story that she wanted to share with me. It seemed the perfect follow-up to my previous blog about Stan.

Every kid who lived in Seattle in the ’50s has a Stan story.  Mine dates to 1958 when I was inspired by him to take accordion lessons.  It just so happens that we lived at 75th and Mary NW, and Stan and the Daquila family had an accordion studio at 75th and 15th NW.  The deal they had was that if you signed up for lessons, Stan would come to your house and bring your accordion and give you your first lesson.  Be still my heart!  I could hardly contain myself when he arrived – with the dogs!  I became an avid accordionist taking lessons from one of the teachers at the studio (her name was Donna, too).I got ready for a full size model for which my parents paid $250 (that’s 1958 dollars.)  Stan brought the new accordion to my house and gave me my first lesson on it – did I mention he brought the dogs?  Boy, did I love that accordion.  In fact I played it for a good six months after my parents shelled out the cash before I got tired of practicing.  That ended my career as a Lawrence Welk hopeful, but I did learn to read music and I like to think Stan launched my career.  I still have the accordion and drag it out every once in a while.  I should probably buy Book II and see if I can work my way through.

A funny thing happened at Opus yesterday.  I went into Bill’s office and said how sad I was the Stan had passed on.  I said, “Do you remember when he came to our house?”  And Bill piped in, “And he brought the dogs!”

A whole generation delighted in the King’s Clubhouse and the good clean fun we had.  We can ALL sing the song!  Thanks, Stan!

Thank you, Donna for sharing!

I know that right now, Stan is getting the answer to the age-old question: do they allow accordions in heaven? Since I’m pretty sure God enjoys a good laugh, I’ll be Stan has received a really nice one.

Tim Hunter

Stan The Scan Man

I found out the way most people hear news these days–on Facebook.

Stan Boreson had passed away.

I was a late addition to the Stan Boreson fan club. Kids who great up in Seattle during the 1950’s and 60’s were able to turn on KING 5 in the afternoon and watch a funny Scandinavian with an accordion and a basset hound named Nomo. It was back when televisions stations made the effort to provide live entertainment for kids after school.

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I was unaware of Stan’s existence.  However, when I took a job at KOMO Radio as Larry Nelson’s producer in the early 1980s, our paths crossed and I had the good fortune to really get to know Stan.  He made frequent visits to the KOMO studios and would banter with Lar about Ballard, Snoose Junction, the Swedes and Norwegians, Ole & Lena, Ole & Sven and those old KING’s Klubhouse Days.

Some of my Stan Boreson stories include:

Stan coming in one holiday season and performing songs and offering memories all morning long. Then, to cap it off, another friend–Leif Eie from Scandinavian Airlines–was flying up in the KOMO Air Patrol with Ted Potter.  Leif sang an original song about KOMO Christmas Time in Seattle, while Stan accompanied him on the accordion in the studio.

You can actually here the KOMO broadcast and one of the KLSY visits on this week’s edition of my Wacky Week podcast.

After hanging with him a few times as Larry’s producer, Stan could see I liked to joke around. So, he invited me over to his house several times after KOMO to sit and write more parody Christmas songs. I think we wrote around a dozen of them and I even still have the original hand-written sheets.  He used several of them on one of his last Christmas albums, for which I will be forever grateful.

I stayed in touch with Stan over the years, sneaking him on the air over at KLSY a couple of times and even dragging him into a “Murdock & Hunter Deck Your Halls” promotion. I have some video home movies of that adventure.

I bumped into Stan here and there.  I was hoping to get him to perform at my wedding, but he said his manager wouldn’t let him do it for free.  I understood. When people know what you do, they aren’t afraid to ask, “Oh, just this one time….” and 93 one times later, you’re overbooked because you’re a nice guy.

I saw Stan at Larry Nelson’s funeral (was that really 10 years ago?) and once at Ballard Seafoodfest a few years ago.  Sadly, my final conversation with Stan wasn’t the greatest, but when you think about it, it was actually a funny misunderstanding and Stan was a funny guy.  You can hear that story at the end of this week’s podcast.

I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed and that I was able to get an up-close look at that special light.

Tim Hunter

PS–One more special video. I didn’t even know he ever appeared on the Lawrence Welk show.

 

I’m Stepping Back This Week

I found a video.

Putting on my Department of Responsibility hat for a moment, I need to tell you a couple of things about this particular piece of production.  First, it could very well be propaganda. I’m sure some folks will discount it that way. But when I watched this a first time and then a second, outside of more F-bombs than a deluxe Rap Music CD collection, the guy says a lot of things I had thought or can agree with.

Where I wanted to go this week was last weekend’s Women’s March. A lot of women I know took part, or wish they had and, never being able to say “I know what you’re feeling”, I defer to you guys. I understand why you marched, but I have this deep fear that you were being used.

Now, before I continue, here are most of my major political stands:

  • Pro Choice
  • All for Gay Rights (and the matching sub categories)
  • Equal Pay Regardless of Gender
  • Planned Parenthood Funding, all for it

All that being said, I fear that the Women’s March was just the latest desperate act of the Democratic Party to someday get back in power.  Sadly, the last election didn’t go their way, there’s fighting within the party, no direction and so they’ve implemented the strategy of “Let’s help Donald Trump vilify himself even more!”

You’ve seen what’s been going on–the country, already divided, is getting worse.

OK, now I’m going into this further than what I planned. When you want to unite people, you identify or create an enemy. There were rumors that FDR allowed the attack at Pearl Harbor so that he could go to war. When the Monica Lewinsky story broke, President Clinton bombed Libya because Moamar Khadaffy was suddenly a major threat. There’s Bush and the 9-11 thing. And now, because the Democrats have lost both houses and the presidency, they need to get people completely bent out of shape and so miserable that they’ll only vote for people with D’s near their name next election.

The ideal is that women around America banded together and gathered organically to show their strength and unity. Well, there was that….but there was also the full support of the Democratic Party. Among the sponsors (whose name appeared on the banner in D.C.)–Planned Parenthood! I even got an email promoting attendance and a follow-up, thanking me for attending, from one of the hopeful candidates in 2020, Martin O’Malley.

omalley

When I was walking through the Phoenix airport this past week, it seemed so surreal. A few steps and I would hear one newscaster say, “Blah, blah, blah, President Trump.”  A few steps later, “Blah, blah, blah, President Trump.” It’s real and who would have thunk it.

Now, back to that video. I don’t know who the guy is, but I’m assuming a British broadcaster who just let it fly. OK, I Google’d it–He’s Jonathon Pie, a UK reporter. This was originally recorded shortly after the election. Again, F-bombs coming, but he’s so spot on, it hurts.

Let’s talk to each other. Let’s communicate, not exasperate.

I’d like to believe that we can work together and make America civil again.

Tim Hunter

The Year in Preview

busy-calendar

Not that busy. But close

The last of the Christmas decorations have been packed away and even the Seahawks pennants and memorabilia that decorate our family room have been put back into our Hawks Box. That’s my cue that it’s time to head into a New Year. Another 12-month cycle of events that make up my annual routine. All things I enjoy doing and that I plan on doing for as long as people will have me. I know all too soon there will come a time when it will be time to pass along the torch to someone younger so that these traditions can continue.

Oh, new events and adventures always present themselves, but every January as I stare into the face of a New Year, I can count on these events being a part of the months ahead:

JANUARY–A pretty calm month. It’s my mother-in-law’s birthday month, so there are events around that, but in a good year, the first month of the year is spent seeing how dry the Christmas tree can get before we take it down and how far the Seahawks will go.

FEBRUARY–My first auction of the year with the gang at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran in Ballard.

MARCH–More auctions. This month, my biggest one up at the Xfinity Center in Everett for the Everett Rowing Club. The following night, I’m auctioning things off at the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle’s annual Fishcake & Meatball dinner. Yes, Ma, I finally made it. Oh and March Madness.

APRIL–Outside of Easter on the 16th, a pretty calm month.

MAY–Could there possibly be anything more in this month? (apparently making up for April) Opening Day of Boating Season, Six family birthdays (including my wife), Mother’s Day, PLUS Syttende Mai (Norway’s Constitution Day) which means a day-long celebration in Ballard and yours truly back as the voice of the parade for my 5th year.

JUNE–As month’s go, another fairly calm one, although this year will also include the Nordic Heritage Museum auction (I’m sorry–Auktion) and then, the third weekend in June signals the beginning of summer and usually means a cabin weekend up at Lake McMurray to celebrate Midsummer with a giant bonfire.

JULY–The 4th of July means you’ll see me in downtown Bothell doing the play-by-play for their annual Freedom Festival Parades–a kiddie version, followed by the Grand Parade.  Then, there’s Seafoodfest in Ballard, which means I’ll take the stage and emcee another Lutefisk Eating contest. I believe I’ve done 9 of them, just in case anyone’s keeping track.

AUGUST–One of the events I love to attend is “Raise the Woof”, when you can hang with the Husky Football team the week before their first game.

SEPTEMBER–The beginning of college and pro football and the Fishermen’s Fall Festival down in Ballard, where I’ll be emceeing another Lutefisk Eating Contest.

OCTOBER–I’m honored to be invited as one of the judges for the annual Bothell Chilifest

NOVEMBER–Really, what more can I saw but Apple Cup. The college season is fun, but this is what it’s all about and this year, it’s in Seattle. Oh, and Thanksgiving. This is also the month I get going on the annual Christmas CD and put together a Christmas music video. I actually filmed and recorded this year’s version back in December of last year.  Oh, and I co-auctioneer with buddy Dale Amundsen at the annual Greater Bothell Chamber auction.

DECEMBER–This month begins with a whirlwind 3-event weekend:

  • The Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Julebord. A former Norwegian luncheon that I host every year at the Seattle Golf Club. I believe I’ve got five years under my belt now and it is one fun event.
  • The following day, I spend an hour roaming the grounds at the Country Village Shopping Center as their town crier and officially welcome Santa Claus to town. That’s been a tradition for 13+ years.
  • The Norwegian Ladies Chorus Holiday Concert is always that first Sunday in December and so that helps round out the weekend.

The second Thursday of December is “Fishermen’s Night”, a seafood-drenched night of drinking and comradery at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard. A sell-out every year.

The night before Christmas Eve is a Norwegian gathering called Lille Juloften. (Lilly-YOOL-often) Basically a night of partying to warm up for the Christmas marathon. They drink Gløgg. I don’t.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are naturally drowning in family events.

Then, several days later, on the 29th, it’s my wedding anniversary. This year is the big 1-0!

Of course, there are meetings for Norwegian Commercial Club, the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce, the Northshore School District General Advisory Committe and a couple of other groups I’m involved with. Toss in things like a son’s wedding and a couple of trips to California and that pretty much packs out the year.

If I owe you money, now you know where to find me. I hope our paths cross as much as possible in the coming year and for many years to come.

Make it a happy one!

Tim Hunter

The Most Valuable Thing You Have

If someone asked you, “What’s the valuable thing you have?”, what would your answer be?

It should be ‘time.’

It’s the secret to being able to do the things you want to do in this life and it all begins with realizing just how precious it is.

Time is a limited resource. When you’re younger, you’ve got all the time the world. As you add decades to your life, you hit that point where you realize the road is a lot shorter ahead than what’s behind you.

This topic came to mind when I was looking through some old photo albums and I started doing the math. It was the 1960s, which were my kindergarten through 8th grade years. Take a moment to wander back to that time for yourself and see what you remember. What were your parents talking about? What was going on in the world?

As any fan of history knows, the 1960s were tumultuous, filled with riots, wars, assassinations, racial strife, free love, and social evolution.  There’s a lot I remember about that time (and I have to do it while the thinker is still working properly) but what prints the most in my brain is my parents and their references to World War II.  Guys were sent off to war and did not see their families or sweethearts for decades. There was rationing and a genuine fear that the enemy could win and take over our country.

This is where the math part comes in. That was in the 1960s, when they were remembering the 1940s. That’s 20 years.  To put that into perspective, it would be like us talking about the 1990s, which to the younger generation seems like forever ago.  However, to us seasoned citizens, it seems like yesterday.

All this to say that the events that take place today are the ones we’ll be talking about in a fast couple of decades, which our children and grandchildren will treat like ancient history. It just goes by so quickly.

So, while not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, my biggest personal goal for 2017 is to continue what I’ve been doing the past couple of years and making every moment count. Not in June, when this is over with, or the fall, when I tackle something else and get it out of the way. Now. Today. This moment you’re spending reading the ramblings I’ve slapped down on this cyber page.

I have been blessed with many life lessons and reminders that we only have so long on this planet.  We’re here now and some day we’ll be gone. But why worry about the second part of that equation, when you can focus on the here and now.

The world is far from perfect. But I’m convinced that by taking each day as it happens, while taking steps to make the days ahead even better, we can each maximize our time here. Not for others, but for ourselves.

This week, reconnect with someone you’ve been meaning to sit down with and get caught up.  Grab coffee, send a long-winded email or a Facebook Private Message.  Reaching out to those who matter to us has never been easier and, because of that, we can tend to take it for granted.

Years ago, during my brief stint at 100.7-The Wolf in Seattle, I discovered a whole bunch of really great country music songs. I hadn’t paid much attention to them, but when you play them on the radio, you find yourself listening to the words. This Tim McGraw song really resonated with me and I hope you’ll set aside a couple of moments to enjoy it.

I love this concept. Live like you were dying.  If you found out you had a year left, you know you’d change the way you live.  So, how about doing that now, while you’ve hopefully got many years to go and make each of those years count?

Minute by minute.

Thanks for stopping by friends. Now, get out there and live!

Tim Hunter

The Anti-Resolution

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Look, New Year’s Resolutions are fun. You make a run at something, it usually doesn’t work. Our society has conditioned our brains that an annual tradition is to set ourselves up for failure. We’re supposed to create an unrealistic expectation that you know you could never maintain for a long time, commit to it for as long as you can and then, when you give up, it’s OK–that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for!

What I’d like you to choose as your anti-resolution for 2017 is an attitude, not a promise. I guess you could summarize it in two words: value time.

Seriously, look around. There are all kinds of ways to waste time. Video games, mindless TV shows, being stuck in traffic, waiting in line–all very insignificant things, unless you suddenly find that time has a limit.

This just handed me–it does.

The tricky thing about time is that you don’t know how big the serving is that you’ve been dished. Sure, if you’ve got until 90, you can play solitaire until your heart’s content. But imagine if you went in for a physical, the doctor said, “Oh-oh..” and you were given six months.

We’d all value every second we have and make it count. Well, adopt that philosophy now. Why wait until you’re told you don’t have much left?  I’d love to think I’ve got decades ahead of me and, genealogy-wise, that could be.  Or, some fluke could happen and it would all be gone tomorrow.

The reason I bring this up is that several people I know (most likely, because I live on one of the coasts) are all but dedicating the next four years of their lives to being upset about the recent election results.  Now, granted, there are concerns about the potential directions of the country, but step back and think: how much influence do you really have on what happens?

Yes, you should keep an eye on things and raise your hand on every wrong action. Next election, you can vote for change. But, remember–you had a life. A unique experience of friends and memories and excitement and passions. However, I see too many people deciding that being upset is their choice of a lifestyle for the next four years. How tragic.

Start living with ‘the worst case syndrome’ being over your head every minute of every day and that’s really not much of a life. You can look at the good, or dread the bad. Go see the tulips when those fields come alive in a couple of months in Mount Vernon or wake up every day and be obsessed with what’s wrong or could be wrong with America.

I believe our ever-so-connected, uber-updated world is taking a toll on a lot of caring people. If you decided to try a New Year’s resolution this year, may I recommend focusing on the gift you have right now: time?

There is so much to appreciate surrounding you, that could all be taken away in an instant. Savor it. Love it. Treasure it. Then, wake up tomorrow and repeat.

Have a great 2017. It’s out there, if you want it.

Tim Hunter

The Key To Happy Holidays

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Every year, it happens.  We think we’ve mastered this routine and something always gets away from you.

You get your gift buying done and the cards don’t make it out.

You get the cards out in time and realize several days before Christmas, you never got around to getting a tree.

We all have our various holiday checklists and I’d like to think I’ve got pretty much everything under control. To be honest, this year, I’m liking how the season is turning out and I will be pretty much able to enjoy the final few days before Christmas without panicking.

However, no matter how well you think you’ve got it under control, there’s always something standing by to stress you out.

It can be a comment from a relative that came out wrong. A misunderstanding at work. Buying an expensive gift for someone who gave you a Jelly of the Month Club Card. (It IS the gift that keeps on giving the whole year)

What I try to do is be on the lookout for those little reminders to stay calm, to realize there’s only so much you can do and that our own holiday happiness is an individual responsibility.

The other day, when trying to blast through the Christmas cards, I hit a bad batch of envelopes. I mean, c’mon–I managed to make the annual Christmas letter a reality, printed it out on Christmas paper, got the photos for the family card through the system, to Costco and printed. So, I was on top of it all and these lousy envelopes were failing me.  I’d lick them, close the flap and press hard…and they still wouldn’t stick. I figured, what the heck, I’ll just Scotch tape ’em closed. That’ll teach ’em!

I was about a dozen taped envelopes in when I realized there was a strip of paper on the envelope. I pulled it off and would you look at that–adhesive envelopes. Just pull off the strip and they seal up like Fort Knox.

It was time to take a breath. Ask Alexa to play some Christmas music and get back into the season.

Again, the holiday is what we allow it to be. You want sad, you can have sad. And if you need a boost, go down to the mall and watch the eyes of those kids waiting in line to meet with Santa.  We were all there once. We can all be there again.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

I’m Doing It

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I have been with Chase Bank for a long time.  Well, actually, it started as Washington Mutual and then they were gobbled up by Chase. Bottom line, it’s been a couple of decades of having the same account number and having payments automatically withdrawn or checks directly deposited.

But recently, I paid attention to that little statement you get every month and they were charging me $13 just to have the account there. Apparently, the balance had dropped below the freebie level and my checking account was bleeding at a rate of $156 a year!

That doesn’t work.

This year, the ad agency I work for, Create Impulse, added N.W. Plus Credit Union to our client roster. It’s a local credit union with a half-dozen branches and the biggest thing we promote for them is their Totally Free Checking. And when the latest $13 clip occurred on my checking account, it was time to act.

But I had accumulated 215 Reward Points with Chase. Before I closed that account, I didn’t want to let those getaway. I mean, heck, maybe it would be worth a new toaster, microwave oven or something. But every time I tried to redeem them online, I got the message, “We’re sorry, but this feature isn’t working right now.”  After three weeks of trying to get my earned rewards online, I called them up.

I received a sincere apology for the inconvenience, along with an offer to just convert those points into cash. No brainer, “Absolutely,” I said. A couple of clicks of the keyboard and then the voice at the other informed me that the money had been deposited into my account. All $2.15 cents of it.

Gee, should I quit my day job?

NW Plus doesn’t have any branches near where I live, but neither do online banks like Ally. If I need to deposit a check, I can do that with my phone. BECU’s are everywhere, but when was the last time you stopped by there and didn’t have to wait in a long line?

Now, I have Totally Free Checking. My debit card works everywhere. And, the way I look at it, I’m already $156 to the good in 2017 and the New Year hasn’t even started yet.

Changing banks can be clunky. All those auto-payments you have set up, re-entering all the bill-paying information. But it feels good to take the action I’ve been meaning to do for several decades and to support a local, not-for-profit credit union.

They also have a rewards program. Maybe, in no time at all, I could rack up another $2.15!

Just wanted to share.  Have a merry one.

Tim Hunter

He Better Behave Himself This Year

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Any subject goes when you go in for a haircut, but it’s the time of year when the holiday stories come out.

This past week, I went to see my personal hair designer/stylist whatever you call them, Sherri Bell, and we started talking about kids and keeping their belief in Santa Claus. I think we all do things to sell it–plate of cookies by the fireplace, a glass of milk, maybe a carrot for Rudolph–all looking like they had been tampered with by our jolly visitor when you wake up on Christmas Day.

Sherri admits she probably over-sold the concept to her kids. She did all of the above, but one year, when their faith started to fade, she added muddy boot prints on the hearth and knocked over one of her living room lamps.

As the kids came in, she said in a stern voice, “OK, that’s it. If Santa comes in one more time and wrecks my house, we’re canceling Christmas!” to which the kids replied, “No!!!!!!!”

That’s why you should always believe in Santa. Otherwise, if Sherri finds out, God knows what she’ll do to your house to get you back with the rest of us.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

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“I didn’t do it! I was framed!”

A Visit From #1

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For as long as I can remember, watching “A Christmas Carol” has become a mandatory experience every December.

Last night, we watched the George C. Scott version. Christmas cannot arrive without experience my favorite version with Alistair Sim. The Jim Carrey animated one was better than I thought it would be.  There’s also the original 1938 rendition with Reginald Owen. Patrick Stewart, there’s a Mickey Mouse version, even “Scrooged” with Bill Murray dances around the plotline: a jaded person is changed by being visited by three spirits. (four, if you don’t include the messenger, Jacob Marley)

Spirit #2 was sent to make Scrooge more aware of the world around him in the present day. Spirit #3 had the job of showing him what would happen if he didn’t change his ways. The best job of the trio–Spirit #1. In the days before home movies, he showed Mr. Grumpy Pants those special moments of his life that he had pushed away.

I like to imagine the stories that Spirit #1 would show me, if he ever pays me a visit:

The year of the train set.  When my parents decided I was old enough, they went to Sears and bought a scale model train set. I don’t remember if it came on the board, but my dad took a sheet of plywood, mounted the tracks and painted grass and a lake in the middle so that I could watch it go ’round and ’round.

The year of the bike. I was old enough to ride, so the Sears replica of a Schwinn Sting Ray (can you tell, we were a Sears family) showed up one year, compliments of Santa. It’s a stretch, but I can remember using the planter out in the front of our house to gain my balance and launch off down the street.

The year of the no hockey set. I remember clearly asking Santa in my letter for a hockey set. You know, those table-top things that you played by sliding rods and twisting them. It looked so fun on TV. The kids were smiling and laughing. But Christmas morning, no hockey set. Thinking about it, that could have been one of my uber-naughty years. Never mind.

Going to church. Yeah, we spent a lot of time there. Every Sunday. Every Advent service. Christmas Eve. Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day. I have to say, there’s nothing more torturous than waking up to see what Santa brought you, seeing a pile of presents under a tree and then having to wait until after church to open them. It did make the gift-giving last longer, I suppose.

The Snow Man Family. We lived in southern California. I’d bet that we spent most of our Christmas Days in 70-degree weather. But one year, my dad bought some designs (kind of like McCall’s for men) that you glued on to plywood and then mounted in your front yard.  He made a snowman, snow woman, two snow kids and a snow dog. And to make it even cooler, he bought fiberglass snow.  You’d roll it out on your lawn and it would look like snow. Well, it did the first year. You couldn’t walk on it, or it would get the snow dirty. And even then, after a couple of seasons, it looked more like old snow and we eventually tossed it out and just planted the family in our grass.

I’m excited because a couple of decades ago, I bought the same pattern, but never got around to making my own Mr. & Mrs. Snowman. In between all the madness this year, I’m attempting to bring them to life by this weekend. I’ll let you know if I succeed next week with pictures.

The Holiday Food. OK, we ate well as kids, especially in the Christmas cookie department. My mom made some incredible treats, and I’ll try to remember as many as I can:

  • Chow Mein Noodles. Sounds weird, but imagine chocolate or butterscotch-covered chow mein noodles with Spanish peanuts thrown in. Pretty tasty.
  • Coconut Balls. Chocolate-covered shredded coconut and I seem to remember an edible wax being put in the chocolate to help it firm up. No wonder I can put a wick in my mouth and it’ll burn for a week.
  • Peanut Butter Rolls. Taking a break for a moment from covering everything in chocolate, these were made with powdered sugar and mashed potatoes. Then, once you have that rolled out, you spread peanut butter on it, roll it and then slice it. The peanuts gave it protein, so it was a healthy snack.
  • Pfeffernusse. I think that’s the name. Kind of a ginger-bread cookie, apparently German-style, covered in powdered sugar. They weren’t my favorite, but I believe it was my grandmother’s recipe, so I had to honor the tradition. I should be thankful I wasn’t Norwegian. It could have been chocolate-covered lutefisk.

As for the main course in Christmas dinners, it was either a turkey or some kind of special Yugoslavian ham that dad was able to get through his work connections at United Airlines.

After growing up and having a family of my own, I did experiment one year when I was going through a serious Dickens phase, and actually prepared a Christmas goose along with oyster stuffing. It became known as the year nobody ate except me.

The Doll House.  Now, I’m one of the parents. The Great Idea Department thought it would be a wonderful surprise for our daughter, Christina, to wake up to a spectacular new doll house. I mean, on the box, it was beautiful. But to aid in the surprise, we waited until the kids went to bed before opening the box to assemble it.  That’s when we realized it was more of a model, than a toy. I’m talking individual shingles that each needed to be glued to the roof. I believe we went to bed that year around 3am.

OK, the ghosts of Christmas Present and Future got tired of waiting and left. But actually, who needs ’em?  If you live in the present, that puts Ghost #2 out of work and really, Ghost #3 is just trying to scare you from a worst-case syndrome. If you’re living in the present, as you should, you’re in control of your life and the future will happen as it should.

Thanks for letting me drag you along through these holiday home movies and may I encourage you to set up a meeting with Ghost #1. I’ve already nabbed him for another appointment next week. Grab him before he gets too busy.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Hunter

 

 

My Favorite Holiday Tradition

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Truth be told, I have so many great holiday traditions that it could become a reality show. Each week, we could have the audience vote on which one they like best and determine the ultimate Tim Hunter Holiday Tradition.

Or not. I’m flexible.

Six decades of celebrating Christmas has resulted in quite a few favorite things, if I can say that without being sued by Oprah.

JULEBORD–One of the Norwegian touches to my holiday season. It’s a big formal Christmas dinner, mid-day, held the first Friday in December at the Seattle Golf Club. For the past five years, the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce has invited me to be the emcee and do a little schtick to kick off the event. I featured the 2016 party in this week’s edition of my Wacky Week Podcast, if you’d like to experience it for yourself. Food, beer, wine and aquavit not included.

SANTA CLAUS’ ARRIVAL AT COUNTRY VILLAGE–I believe this was my 13th year as their Official Town Crier. My duties are fairly simple, but I like to think that I add some fun to an exciting night for the kids. On the first Saturday of December, I show up at the office and put on the Dickens’ style hat, cape and scarf, grab the official scroll (a rolling pin with shipping paper turned into a document) and my own personal bell.  Then, I wander this quaint little shopping village up in Bothell, hyping up the arrival of the great one himself. The crowds get bigger every year and this year, Santa arrived in a fancy, schmancy sleigh put together by the folks who do Snowflake Lane in Bellevue. The weather was perfect, the kids were pumped and a great time was had by all.  Some good friends have even turned it into a yearly event with a pre- and post-function.

FISHERMEN’S NIGHT–On the second Thursday of December, the Norwegian Commercial Club holds a fund-raiser at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard. It’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink bash, with some of the best seafood you’ll ever eat.  Upwards of 500 people pack the hall, dining on salmon, scallops, crab and more, they salute someone in the fishing industry and then everyone scatters to the area bars of Ballard.

PRODUCING A CHRISTMAS VIDEO–This started with an idea and a Flip camera years ago. I had decent success putting together a music video for the song I produced in my KLSY days, Bimbo #5.  That was filmed with a Flip. Then I got a better camera and bigger ideas. I met a young singer named Alana Baxter and wrote some songs with her in mind.  Her wandering spirit has taken her to school in Arizona and now work in Hawaii, so that made it a bit challenging to crank out a song this year.  However, we’re not through. I’ve just gotta figure out a way to get to this tradition earlier in the year and then release the song around Christmas.

In case you missed any along the way, here’s the complete collection:

2011  It’s Silent Night         2012  He Rides a Sleigh

2013  I won’t hate you very much tonight (It’s Christmas)

2015  Where are you Christmas?

Those are all great traditions and there are more. But there is one that I guess I have to put at the top of the list, if nothing else because of the great response I’ve received over the years and how great it feels to put that much Christmas cheer into someone’s hand:

HO HO BROTHER–That’s the name I gave to a Christmas CD I put together every holiday season. I was inspired by a guy named Rick Taylor, the IT guy at KLSY in my waning radio days. He created his own CD and gave it to me for a couple of years and I thought, “Why don’t I do something like that?”  He helped me with the technology and next thing you know, I was creating a collection of songs, radio bits, new comedy bits and blending them all together into a festive chunk of plastic. Back in the day, the idea of doing CD’s was cutting edge. Now they’re on their way out!  I still pass out CD’s to family and close friends but should you be interested in hearing this year’s HO HO BROTHER 16, just left click on this link and listen to it, or right click on the link and download it to your computer. Either way, enjoy!

Here’s this year’s playlist:

      1)  “The New Santa”   Fred Bugg as DT

      2)  “It’s Christmastime/Sleep Well, Little Children”  Spike Jones

      3)  “The Christmas Song” Catherine Feeny

      4)  “Last Christmas”  Jimmy Eat World

      5)  “Call to Liam”

      6)  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”  Gaby Moreno

      7)  “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”  The Temptations

      8)  “White Christmas”  Manhattan Transfer

      9)   “Fruity Pebbles Christmas Commercial”

    10)   “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide”  The Brian Setzer Orchestra

    11)   “I Saw Three Ships”  Barenaked Ladies

    12)  “It’s Christmastime Again” Peggy Lee

    13)   “A Keith Jackson Christmas” Matt Riedy

    14)   “Christmas Blues”  Ramsey Lewis Trio

    15)   “Christmas Memories” Frank Sinatra

    16)   “Here Comes Santa Claus/Up on the Housetop Celebration”       Mariah Carey

    17)  “Barkley & Shaq Stop By”

    18)   “I’m Gonna Tell Santa Claus on You”  Faron Young

    19)   “Marshmallow World”  Brenda Lee

    20)   “Twinkle (Little Christmas Lights)” J.D. McPherson

    21)   “Burger King Christmas Commercial”

    22)   “Angels We Have Heard on High”  David Lanz

    23)  “Christmas Day”  The Beach Boys

    24)   “Merry Christmas, Baby”  Rod Stewart, CeeLo, Trombone Shorty

    25)   “Santa Claus Is Back In Town”  Straight No Chaser

    26)   “93 KQOT Happy Holidays Jingle”

     27)  “Gotta Be Good” Chris Isaak

     28)  “O Holy Night” The Carpenters

     29)  “Obama Holiday Greeting”

     30) “Deck the Halls” Elizabeth Chan

     31)  “Hallelujah” Pentatonix

It’s no secret that I’m pretty much a Christmas nut.  Sure, there are lots of imperfections in this world, but they’ll always be there. This is a time of year dedicated to the idea of hope and peace, and man, could we all use a healthy dose of that this year.

And I’ve got my collection of holiday traditions to help remind me of that.

Merry Christmas!

Tim Hunter

A Stupid Idea

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At times, I listen to the local news on the radio and have to wonder which rabbit hole I fell down.

Seattle has a major heroin epidemic that has gotten continually worse after our beloved mayor officially declared that we have an epidemic. I’m expecting an official proclamation that it’s rainy in the days ahead.

I heard a local radio host talking about a pilot program up in Vancouver, B.C. that they claim is working well in the battle against heroin addiction. What you do is a create a safe environment, so that people who are addicted to heroin can come in and shoot up in a safe, sterile setting.  Basically, government-run shoot-up houses.They claim it’s helping the situation.

Now, because of it’s “success”, there’s talk of trying that program out down here in Seattle.

OK, but I’ve got questions:

  • Isn’t heroin illegal? Let me help–yes.
  • Isn’t possessing it illegal?  That would make sense.

So, it’s being suggested that providing a junkie a safe environment (paid with tax dollars) is the best solution we can offer.

More questions:

  • Where are they getting this illegal drug from?
  • Is the government supposed to buy it for them, to guarantee its safe, too?
  • Where does said junkie get the money to buy that drug? We’ve got an increasing crime problem in Seattle and fueling drug habits is at least partially responsible.

My head wants to explode.  You want to coddle criminal behavioral with the idea that, if we do, it’ll solve the problem?

Well, then why stop there?

BANK ROBBERS: If you have decided to rob banks for a living, the city can establish a safe bank that allows people to bring in their money to give to someone dressed like a teller. Then, they can walk in, point a gun and get their money from the teller. That solves the problem, right?  Except the robber would probably have to rob a real bank in order to get the money for the pretend bank.

CHECK FORGERS: Hey, these people are going through a tougher time than radio DJs. I mean, no one–OK, a few people–are still writing checks. If we give the bank robbers Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then the Check Forgers can have Tuesdays and Thursdays to bring in check with fake signatures for them to cash.

I could have gone with more horrific crimes, but you get the idea.  Taking an illegal activity and condoning it DOES NOT HELP.  Are those nut jobs at city hall thinking that becoming a drug addict is a career path?  I can hear the high school guidance counselor now. “Oh, sure, there are drawbacks, but you’ll be OK. The city will take care of you. Think of it like continuing education.”

Life is a balance. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Drug addicts need help, not enabling.  They need intervention.  If their mind is so far gone, then the government needs to take over for the protection of the non-injecting population.  Is that really so hard to understand?

I owe you a light topic in the near future.

But in the meantime, I’d just like to say it again–that’s a stupid idea.

Tim Hunter

 

 

As Thankful As Can Be

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Seriously, this is an amazing time in which we live.

For even just a couple of minutes, push aside the bile & poison that was our most recent presidential election, and look around you.

I do that and I see a week that includes a Sounders playoff game, a night where we’re going to catch “Fantastic Beasts…”, the annual Apple Cup game that means more than any in recent memory and of course, my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Then, we’re into full-blown Holiday Season mode.

I write this with complete sincerity, but there is always a part of me that wonders if listing all the reasons you have to be grateful isn’t boastful. That is not my intent.  It’s my hope that you’ll look around and cherish all that surrounds you. No, life isn’t perfect. You don’t have to look far to find something to be upset about.

But life is about balance. If you allow too much of the dark in, it will consume you.  If you focus only on the good, then you could miss a wrong that needs to be fixed.

To the wonderful blend of friends and family that I have compiled over the years, I am blessed to have met you and known you. I give thanks to the Department of Life upstairs for all that I have and the acquaintances I have made, including you.

I hope your Thanksgiving Day is filled with bounty and love and that you appreciate the many gifts around you.

Tim Hunter

WASTED DAYS AND WASTED NIGHTS

tvI have officially written-off watching local TV news. Done. Over.

Apparently, kids walking out of a high school to protest the presidential election is enough to get the “Breaking News” banner. Let’s show that stock footage again of the violence during the Portland protests. People are upset about the election results, I get it.  In most elections, there are winners and losers, we learn, we move on.

[On a quick side-note–Of the 112 arrested on night in Portland, almost 70% weren’t registered to vote or failed to vote)

Sadly, political campaigning these days is all about instilling fear. Lots of fear. Enough that the Apocalypse would seem like a vacation. The drawback on that plan—if you don’t win, all you leave behind is massive fear and the losing side did a tremendous job this time around.

OK, just one “back in the old days”, I would watch what’s happening, make up my own mind if it was a good thing or a bad thing and then have an opinion.  Now, there’s a correct way to view actions, with different rules for different situations.  For example, kids walking out of school because they’re against the election results gets you into consideration for sainthood. I came from a time of protest—I mean serious protest—when there were laws on the books against people and a war where tens of thousands of fresh-faced kids barely out of high school were dying in a not-a-war police action. I get that.

I saw Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem and felt that it was shameful and very disrespectful.  I was told I wasn’t thinking the right way, that he was calling attention to a social crisis that required change.  Yes, Colin was a hero. A political activist.

It seems to me that if you’re going to try to cause change in politics, you need to vote. He said he didn’t feel he had to.  Another part of his protest. Yep, a real hero.

To all those who feel wronged or hurt or distraught, take a look around you.  We live in an amazing country, with opportunity that others would die for. Why do you think all those immigrants want to come here?  You live here. You get to enjoy all the benefits. You are blessed with a political system that works and isn’t toppled every couple of years.

Donald Trump was not “my guy”, but he is my president.  If you want to undermine the system, then you want to undermine America. Fix things, donate to causes, get involved.  Every time I see a group of marchers, I’d love to do a quick poll among them and ask, “So how many of you actually voted in the last election? Or any election, for that matter?”

I was sad to see my wife upset the other morning as she headed out the door to work, because someone had spit on a professor at a Starbucks on Seattle’s Capitol Hill and called them racist names. She was under the impression that, “Here we go. Donald Trump’s people are acting out.”

I decided to get online and look up the incident. It happened in May, before Trump was even the nominee.  But, in the spirit of spreading fear, someone posted it on Facebook and all hell broke loose.

Stop.

As the rains pour down, please, continue marching outside and protesting.  I’m going to focus on all the positive things that surround us and enjoy the bounty that comes with this season: football (and some winning teams), Thanksgiving, all the Christmas and holiday events, the office parties, the family gatherings. As a people, as a country, we are so blessed.

We definitely need to keep an eye on what’s happening in Washington, D.C., but more importantly, we need to stay focused on ourselves and living and enjoying what precious time you’ve been given. To spend the bulk of your existence being upset about something completely out of your control is a formula for a long, depressing life.

By the way, I had a refreshing chat with a Canadian friend of mine to get her take on what Canada thinks of our situation. You can hear that conversation on my weekly podcast.

Tim Hunter

 

View From The Middle–The Trump Election

kelllllPick an analogy, any analogy.

I believe it was baseball’s Casey Stengel that once said, “You’re going to lose 50 games no matter what you do. You’re going to win 50 games no matter what you do. It’s the other 62 you try not to screw up.”

Donald Trump did what it took to win the other 62 games despite all the cool-kids pulling for Hillary.  Both sides did everything they could to sell their candidate and smear the opponent more than any other American presidential election.

Die-hard Democrats are in shock. As close as the popular vote was, what was the biggest factor in all this? I believe the number one reason was that the Hillary Bone’s Connected to the Bill Bone. I heard more than one person say, “I don’t want him back in the White House.”

This is where some might jump in with “He’s not running!” or “It’s because she’s a woman, isn’t it?”

No.

Remember, just because people think differently than you, they’re not wrong.  We’re a country of different religions, different book clubs, organizations, MeetUp groups, ethnic communities, Mac versus PC—we are all over the friggin’ board.

The west coast—or, as some call it, the Left Coast—tends to be on the liberal side. Go east away from the bigger cities and folks tend to be more conservative.

I’m a Los Angeles kid that moved to Washington state, spending three of those years in the eastern Washington town of Yakima, then back to Seattle for the past 36 years.

Wow, I sound old. But I digress. Old people do that.

What impressed me most about Donald Trump’s election is that he did it despite being the non-hip, “in-crowd” choice.

What we saw constantly in the media and late-night talk shows was making fun of him and portraying Trump as a buffoon each week on Saturday Night Live.  Popular culture mocked his hair, his business dealings, his character. Pop performers like Katy Perry and Beyoncé threw their celebrity behind Hillary.  Madonna went as far as saying she’d give oral favors to anyone voting for Hillary. I’m not kidding.

It was trendy to be “With Her.” That’s who the cool kids wanted for president. To even think and say anything out loud against her or for Trump always resulted in bad feelings. I saw it first-hand. So, anyone who refused to vote for Hillary had to just suffer in silence. Until election day.

Notice I didn’t say “for Trump.” Just not for Hillary.

She was chosen by the party to be their centrist candidate. Whether it was her, her people or the party leaders in control, they undermined Bernie Sanders and made sure Hillary became the anointed one. To help sell her, we were constantly reminded that Hillary Clinton was “the most qualified person ever to run for President.”

Take that Eisenhower!  Eat it, Washington!

If she truly was the most qualified person for the job, why did people have to keep saying that over and over?  That’s like going to an attorney and having the conversation goes like this:

“Hi, I’ve got a legal problem.”

“Great. I’m really honest.”

“Uh, yeah. Well, about my problem….”

“You know, other attorneys say they’re honest, but I’m REALLY honest.”

“Why do you keep saying how honest you are?”

“Honestly?”

Experience should speak for itself.  Just because you say something over and over doesn’t make it true. Agreed, she had more political experience than Trump, but so do I. I was at least Senior Class President and A.S.B. Vice-President back in high school. Go Tartars!

My theory is that the Democrats became too cocky. They believed there was no way to lose to Trump so they focused everything on the 50 games they were going to win, rather than the 62 additional games they needed to add.

I’m making these observations as being one of the proud “62.”  You don’t get my vote just because you have a D or an R next to your name. I’m going candidate by candidate, and may the best person win.

These days, when you’re in one camp or the other, people feel the need to brag about being on that side.  You post things on Facebook, as if your friends can’t wait to be converted to your way of thinking. You act disgusted at everything the opposing side says and does while praising everything about your candidate.  When someone says something negative about your candidate—even if it may be true—you go straight to saying something about the opponent to point out they’re much worse, ignoring any flaws of who you support.

You basically have built your own personal wall.

This wasn’t a true “throw the bums out” election, but it was a statement to our federal government that it’s time to shake things up. It’s happened in France, Britain, Australia, the Philippines and now right here.

The message “Let’s make America great again” resonated with people, as they looked around and saw things really weren’t so great.  Sure, we’re better off than the depths of the recession, but with a tremendous national debt. It’s the problem that just gets pushed off for future generations to deal with.

This election became the ultimate example of how it’s not the messenger, it’s the message.

Remember “Hope and change?”  Comparing how you felt in 2008 to now, are you still full of hope?  Did you see all the change you wanted to see?  “Hope and change” is not much different than Trump’s slogan. Change means doing things differently. How many times have you looked at what’s been going on in our country the past 8 years and said, “What the hell is going on?”  My guess is, you’ve been saying it longer than that.

Then there’s “Stronger together.” OK, Hillary-ites, to honor your candidate, don’t move to another country—stick around and help take this one in a more positive direction.  Get involved, donate to a cause, and most importantly, listen—don’t shout!

On Election Day, when all the pollsters seemed to be declaring Hillary the inevitable winner, I saw several feel-good posts on Facebook that declared, “No matter how the election turns out (nudge, nudge….wink, wink) we should all just come together and be happy and la-la-la-la…”  Part of that cocky attitude, “Yeah, we’re going to win so when your guy loses, don’t be bitter.”

Then, today, I woke up to this article talking about riots, fires and death threats from Hillary supporters.

Please keep that in mind whenever you read in the media that all Trump supporters were toothless red-necked hillbillies filling out their ballots while cleaning their guns. 

Ever watch Mad Men or read how advertisers manipulate you with their messages?  I know, that’s part of what I do for a living. You’ve just had a two-year-long brain washing with a pressure-washer.

What saddens me is how people allow themselves to be filled with poison and hate about the opposing candidate.  The Democrats did a masterful job of smearing Trump at every corner, using his own words at times, to paint him as a depraved, letch of a man. And he may be one. That kind of conduct is wrong, inexcusable and should not be tolerated. But why is it so wrong if he’s a Republican but OK if he’s a Democrat?  Bill Clinton is known for being a philanderer.  JFK put his back to the test frequently with women other than Jackie. It was practically a sport. But that’s when we hear, “Oh, well, that’s his personal life. That’s none of our business.”  And, you want crass?  Let’s talk about Lyndon Johnson and his flashing habit in the White House.

If anything Donald Trump did was wrong and punishable by law, then it should be a short presidency.

America has reached a saturation point on several fronts. I posted on Facebook the other day that last week’s Monday Night Football game had the lowest ratings for a MNF game in 9 years. A friend over in Spokane commented that they gave up the NFL when their players started disrespecting the national anthem and taking a knee. Once again, the cool kids were telling the rest of us that it was OK, don’t worry, they’re just expressing their 1st Amendment right over the contemporary issue of….STOP!  The short headline—They’re Disrespecting the National Anthem. That’s all some people needed to know. They voted with their TV and stopped watching.

Yes, you have the right to piss on the country where you make millions of dollars.  But Americans also have the right to stop feeding the cash cow that provides your paychecks.

Notice that trend hasn’t spread to other sports and now, has begun to fade in the NFL.  Life-learning observation: Doing something offensive on TV to rally your cause doesn’t really help.

The biggest point I’d like to make in this Election-Special edition ramble is that we are a country that covers a lot of territory with all kinds of different thoughts and opinions. That’ll happen when you have a free nation. We have some 360-million people that call the U.S. of A. home. Some very good, church-going, family-first people bit the bullet and voted for Trump because they just couldn’t vote for Hillary.

I voted for Hillary for the same reason.  I had to ignore the obvious corruption, cronyism and pay for play politics and vote for who I thought would support the issues I felt were most important.

Over the years, political parties like to put out scare tactics to get votes. One of the classics: The Daisy ad depicting Barry Goldwater as a guy who would drop the bomb back in 1964. That helped LBJ win by a landslide. During this year’s campaign, the cool kids kept repeating a collection of words about Trump: Hitler (always a classic—used for Reagan and a little bit for Romney).  There was also Misogynist, Narcissist, Egomaniac, Reckless, etc.

I remember as a kid hearing one of my parents’ friends say that if John F. Kennedy was elected, “he’ll have us all praying to Mary.” (he was a Roman Catholic)

On CNN, one over-reacting analyst had the nerve to say, “It’s hard to be a parent tonight.”  Really?  Presidential Election results is how you teach your child about the world?  Can I sit in on your Electoral College discussion?  Please?  Or, you could do what I did, using the Black Friday ads in the newspaper as a teachable moment.

Of course, Wall Street is wigging out. Why? Because Trump is more of an unknown than Hillary would have been. Plus, after paying for all those behind-closed-door speeches, they get nada.

And for those who want to believe that Trump bought this election:

campaignNo one candidate is as great as their side says or as big a monster as the opponent’s side claims. That, unfortunately, has become today’s style of politics.

Since originally writing this, I also heard some of the radio folks talking about how their Obamacare insurance was going to go up 30%+. So, the election came down between someone who planned to trash that insurance plan and come up with a better one, or someone who wanted to keep the current coverage.

I also offer up this piece of fine writing that may also help you understand what the heck just happened.

The Donald Trump presidency will either be a disaster, a non-event or a better-than-expected surprise. The entire school has voted and picked him to lead, so here we go. Our job now is to keep our eyes on him and the rest of our government.  Then, four years from now, we’ll review the situation and go from there. By then, maybe we’ll all be a little bit wiser.

Tim Hunter

Is there any doubt?

Fall, I love you.

You are by far the best season of the year. When you think about it, the Fall of each day is when we enjoy our biggest meals, our adult beverages, favorite TV shows and social events. The best part of each day is in the Fall of those 24 hours. Then, like Mother Earth, we sleep through winter towards the spring of another new day.

Yes, we had record rain in October in the great Northwest, but the Fall colors have been spectacular. I started developing shutter finger and couldn’t resist just swinging by Greenlake one day to capture some of that amazing show going on.

img_1254

Every now and then (and contrary to popular belief) I make an attempt to slow down for even just five minutes and appreciate where I am and what’s going on around me. It was during that brief reflection this week that I realized just how much I am in love with Fall. I guess I always have been.

As a kid, of course, you learn to love Fall. It’s when the new TV shows arrive or, back in the day, when the Sears Christmas catalog showed up in the mail so you could start planning your list for you-know-who! You can’t have Halloween without Fall and what kid doesn’t love wandering around the neighborhood, shaking down neighbors for free candy? I was a kid when the Charlie Brown Halloween special was brand-new and became a much-anticipated annual event. We didn’t have videos and DVRs back then, we lived at the complete mercy of the three networks. As far as sports, I was raised a Dodger fan. We went to three World Series during the 1960s and since the games were often played during the day back then, teachers would wheel in a TV during class so we could all pause the education and watch!

Of course, as an adult, I discovered even more to savor about my favorite season. High school, college and NFL football make every Friday night, Saturday and Sunday special. There’s tailgating and fantasy football.  While we’re talking sports, we’ve got a winning soccer team making its moves through the playoffs and the best of the best in baseball fighting it out in the World Series. There’s also our traditional Fall windstorm, sometimes in October, other years in November. Visually, how do you not love the show put on each year by the leaves turning? Hop in the car and zip over to Leavenworth for a scenic drive through the mountains and you’ll also bump into Oktoberfest. Yes!

Thanksgiving, of course, gets its own paragraph. C’mon, a holiday based around eating? No gifts to buy, getting together with people you like and remembering how lucky we all are–one of the best ideas ever to come out of Washington, D.C.!  Give Honest Abe credit for starting it up, as a positive diversion to a country in the middle of a Civil War.

I also have to give a special shout out to the annual return of Standard Time. Yes, it means enduring endless grumbling about how early it gets dark. But its a small price to pay for an extra hour’s worth of sleep and on the weekend, no less.

Now don’t go letting this get to your head Fall, but you are simply the best. I suppose the only thing that could possibly make you any better is if we moved the elections to August. Please give that idea serious consideration.

Tim Hunter

THE FARM

It’s the time of year when a lot of city kids get their annual taste of the country life as they pack up and head to a pumpkin farm. They see tractors, people in overalls, crawl around on hay, go for a wagon ride.

Farms have always had a special meaning to me. For starters, my mom was raised on one. Actually, a couple. In my early years, our trips back to South Dakota to visit her side of the family always included a swing by Grandma & Grandpa Brandner’s farm, as well as a visit to a cousin’s farm.  I got to sit on a tractor and ride around with Grandpa (and we have the home movies to prove it), ride in the back of a truck for the nightly round-up of cattle, feed the chickens, collect eggs and so on.  When you grow up with that, you just assume everyone has relatives with farms and they get to go visit them.

Both relatives with farms didn’t just live on large chunks of land, but they were working it. Growing crops, raising hogs, cattle or chickens.  My cousin Clay took over his family’s farm and still grows crops on it, but has to maintain a second job because farming is just not what it used to be. Not that it was ever easy.

I remember going back to South Dakota the year after my grandparents sold their farm and moved into town. During several visits, we’d take the sentimental drive out to their old place and remember.  This past summer, we managed to pull off a swing back to South Dakota and we went to the site of the farm. But the home was long gone. There was a new structure, new barn and it was just not the same.

I was reminded of that farm this past week because my mom & sister visited from California, their first time up here in 9 years and mom brought along this flyer. It was something that was printed up before the auction, when everything on the farm was sold. You think about all those years of working sun up to sundown and then, one day, it’s all put up to the highest bidder. I thought you’d get a kick out of how they worded some of the items. For example, the location: “at the place two miles south of Roscoe.”  To help encourage attendance, “Lunch will be served.”

farm-auction

There was a time. There was a farm. Then one day, there was an auction and the farm began its fade into history. Fortunately, someone in a plane managed to grab an aerial shot of it one time, so we’ll be able to look back and remember.

I also know that, if they ever figure out that time-travel thing, I’ve already got my first destination planned out.

the-farm

Emma & Emil Brandner’s Farm   1942-1966

Tim Hunter

Gerard Mauvis

It sounds French. A wine?  Or maybe a town in France. Wait, Gerard, that’s a first name. Was he a famous painter?

Over the course of my life and my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have met a lot of people. Earlier this summer, I had the chance to meet Gerard Mauvis at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess where he was the Director of Operations. I had flown down to Arizona for a couple of days of videotaping and photography for one of our Create Impulse clients, MistAmerica.

It’s our biggest client by far and one that is enjoying tremendous success.  They make misting equipment for hot climates. Not just any misting equipment, but the top of the line misters that far out-perform anything else in the category.  That’s why Gerard and the crew at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess decided to have them installed in several locations of their resort. The results have been beyond their wildest dreams. The misters kept their outdoor areas usable, even in triple-digit heat. That meant people stayed outdoors, remained active and continued to order food and beverages.

So, on my whirlwind tour of the desert that day, I was bouncing from place to place, asking satisfied MistAmerica customers to talk about their product experience.  Now, I have to admit, that with the posh Scottsdale Princess being one of the most lavish resorts in the area, I figured I might run into a couple of stuffy shirts. You know, “I work at the Fairmont”, that kind of thing.  From the moment I met Gerard, he was kind, pleasant, down to earth, a real people person. From start to finish, I might have spent an hour with him, which flew by.  He said such wonderful things about the product, was genuinely and sincerely excited about it and just happy to have the opportunity to tell others.

I returned to Seattle, edited together a couple of pieces from the video and was quite proud of how they turned out. Here’s one of the videos, so you can see what I’m talking about.

That gives you a good idea of the kind of person I was lucky enough to get to know that hot summer day just a few months ago.  I’ll bet if I had gone down there again and reintroduced myself, he would have remembered our little chat that we captured on video.

But that will never happen.

I recently found out that on the final Friday of September, he was walking across a street to catch a high school football game when he was struck by a car and killed. Just like that. Gone.

This world really can’t afford to lose any of the good ones, but my sadness deepened even further when I read about his life on the GoFundMe page set up for his family. Gerard Mauvis was a class act and I can only imagine the incredible grief and sense of loss his family is feeling.

He only enjoyed 46 years on this earth but it’s obvious he made them all count. I will be forever grateful to have been lucky enough to meet Gerard Mauvis. That hour I spent with him is a precious souvenir of time I will not forget.

Tim Hunter

 

Locker Room Talk

locker-room

Much has been made of the Donald Trump/Billy Bush video that was released a week ago.  The content was offensive, insensitive, disgusting and a warehouse full of wrong that the Trump campaign downplayed as “locker room talk.”

Let me be clear that the conversion does show the kind of person Donald Trump is when he thinks the microphone isn’t on.  He’s not the first guy ever to think he’s God’s gift to women, that because of his “celebrity” that he’s entitled to grope females where ever and whenever he wants. And for some reason, these are the kinds of guys who are drawn to politics. Great.

Today, of course, we live in an enlightened age where we all know it’s abhorrent and unacceptable behavior and you wouldn’t dare say anything like that within earshot of an electronic device that could record it. But remember, this was from back in 2005, when there were still quite a few remnants of the Good Old Boys’ club running around. Donald Trump is 70. He spent most of his life being a character from “Mad Men.”  Again, none of this makes it acceptable, but in Donald’s world, he has justified it as one of the benefits of celebrity.

So, to recap–what Trump said and his attitude displayed in the Access Hollywood tape, not surprising. What IS surprising is the rush to the front of the morality line, saying that “guys don’t talk like that in locker rooms.”  NFL players have stepped forward to boast, “We don’t talk like that!”  Radio talk show hosts go on and on how the locker rooms they’ve been in are closer to churches.

That may be true in most of today’s PC locker rooms, but my early life experience taught me differently. Not all locker rooms conversations exhibit the lowest form of humanity, but there’s always “that guy.” The insecure, I- insist-on-telling-you-how-I’m-a-sex-machine pervert that has to talk in a sexist, demeaning way about women.  Let’s say it happens in .0001% of the conversations that occur in the locker room, but they do happen. Sometimes, not even in locker rooms.

Back when I was around 12, my mom used to occasionally give me money to run down the street to the meat store. Yes, back then, there was a 7-11 size store not far from our house where they sold nothing but meat. I would go there with my hand-written list, purchase our carnivorous delights and being a kid, they’d give me a free hot dog to munch on (yes, uncooked) on my walk home.

One busy Saturday, I had to take a number and wait in line. While I was standing there, the guy in front of me turned around to inform that he had gotten two women pregnant at the same time. Can you imagine that? Ha-ha-ha, two women!! I most likely gave him a Billy Bush nervous chuckle and continued waiting in line, all the time wondering, “Why would he do that? That wasn’t very nice.”

Looking back, I wonder why anyone would feel the need to share that with a 12-year-old boy? Mind boggling. And for those of you wondering, this was in California, so it couldn’t have been Donald.

The other locker room talk incident that came to mind was back in my high school basketball-playing days.  All my teammates were in the locker room with assorted conversations taking place, as they always did. But this time, one of the players decided to let me know he had “done it” with my girlfriend’s younger sister, describing her breasts and ranking her sexual performance. (Cue the Billy Bush nervous laugh)

Ladies and gentlemen, that is locker room talk.  Both of those incidents occurred 40+ years ago, but that would put them smack dab in Donald Trump’s life experience time frame.  The difference in our stories is that I was the one listening, he was the one doing the talking.

To those who say that locker room talk that is demeaning to women doesn’t exist is along the lines of saying, “Well, that’s the last of racism in the south!” I’d like to believe we are evolving as humans and learning just a little bit more each day about treating each other with respect. But there are still some of “those guys” running around.

In the case of the Trump incident, Donald was trying to show off to Billy Bush and being a sexist braggart. Billy, having a chance to interview the millionaire, played along, laughing at each disgusting remark, feeding Donald’s ego. He just wanted the interview.

Now, the trendy thing is for people to say, “Oh, yeah, guys don’t really talk like that in locker rooms. Or, at least, not in MY locker rooms.” (insert Billy Bush laugh here) If you believe that, do let me know what color the unicorns are in your world.

Go ahead and use the Access Hollywood video to decide who you vote for president or not. I’ve known for a while who I can’t vote for. It’s been like sitting in the dentist chair, waiting for the Novocain to kick in so the drilling can start. Maybe the solution is as simple as building a huge wall around the locker room.

Can we just get this thing over with?

Tim Hunter

Yay! I’m Another Seattle Statistic!

You hear the talk show hosts saying our city is out of control.  Dave Ross, most mornings on KIRO, lists the car break-ins, thefts and burglaries that took place over the last 24 hours. You’d think Mad Max was running the place.

This past Sunday morning, my wife and I headed out to do some shopping. But when we got to the car, my door wasn’t completely closed. The contents of the glove box was everywhere and some things were missing–a flashlight, a phone charging cord, etc.  Fortunately, all the car’s paperwork was still there–registration, dealer papers and such.

We cleaned things up, started backing up and then I thought, “I wonder if they took anything off the carport?” Sure enough, the pressure washer I had used recently to clean off the front of the house, was gone.

In the grand scheme of things, as robberies go, I got off pretty lucky. Yes, I was pissed as hell. The idea that some druggie was out scrounging in our carport feet from our bedroom at 4am in the morning makes me want to set up bear traps.

But things happen for a reason. So I’ll just assess what happened, what I learned and use the occasion to grow.

My Ring Doorbell–Seriously, best security investment ever. It cost a couple of hundred dollars, but it’s the eye on the front porch that they don’t suspect.  That’s how I knew the scoundrel was doing his dirty deeds from 4:23am-4:38am. The motion-detection feature grabs video of anyone coming into view of the front door.  Yes, it was too dark to make out the suspect, but it did give me time parameters and allowed me to listen to my pressure washer being wheeled down the driveway.

The Police Report–Sure, I did this, despite the fact I’ve heard multiple times it just doesn’t do any good. I actually called in two times, eventually getting a very nice person who gave me the option of having an officer come out, someone calling me or doing the form online. I went with what was behind door number three and filled out the form.  You know, it makes you wonder how many crimes are NOT reported, since the police even state on that form words to the effect of , “Yeah, nothing is going to probably happen.”  And the typo’s on the form made me wonder, “Do they even really look at these?”  Unless dis and undertsand are up & coming words.

two-questions

Let The Neighbors Know–Our little neighborhood is pretty quiet and we know almost everyone on the block. Therefore, let them know you were ripped off. You may find out that they also had something stolen and helps make people keep an eye out for those who you don’t recognize around the hood.

It would be easy to dismiss this incident as just the price of living in the city. But it’s just another of many examples of how Seattle needs some serious fixing. I will take care of my property and take steps to prevent anything like that from happening again (or at least catch a good picture of them next time). It’s just a shame anyone should have to go through something like this in the first place.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

Keep It On The Chain

The longer you spend on this earth, the more the things we say have different meaning.

For example, dope. In my youngest years, it was a word you weren’t supposed to call your sister.  Then it became a word bound for Cheech ‘n Chong albums. Today, it means that it’s something cool.  And, of course, cool started out as being temperature-based, then it became a response when someone was talking and you weren’t really listening.  Plus, you get tired of just saying, “O.K..”

Phrases and slang words come and go. Some are owned by a generation, so that when someone outside the common-use demographic speaks the word or phrase, it just feels wrong. Giving grandma some fresh-cut flowers out of your garden and having her respond, “Wow, that’s dope!” just doesn’t work.

Also, don’t try to create your own catch phrase or slogan. You may think it’s a great idea that whenever you like what someone said, instead of acknowledging it with a, “That’s right!” you shorten your response to “Jerk”!  No one knows that you’re actually complimenting the person and you could get your clock cleaned just trying to establish a new hip word.

I’m sure I have my catch phrases. You might hear a “Hey now” out of me every now and then. I don’t say something is “Boss” or “Groovy” anymore, although there was a time.  However, there is one phrase that seems to pop up a lot out there that bothers me.

“That’s off the chain!”

I know how it’s used. When Mel B was impressed with one of the singers in America’s Got Talent this summer, that was her go-to phrase. Randy Jackson had “Dog!” on American Idol, Mel B wore out this phrase. And apparently, you have to deliver it with almost a windup. You know like, “That was…off the…CHAIN!”

I know what she meant.  She really enjoyed the act.  Here’s my issue–every time I hear that phrase, I don’t think about it being a compliment. Maybe it’s because I’ve got several decades behind me of being a homeowner. I do my best to keep the water bill down, but when I hear a toilet running that didn’t shut off, I know exactly what the problem is–the little bar inside, that lifts the plunger when you push down on the handle: it has become disconnected.

Oh, sure, at first you try and jiggle the handle.  But the water in the toilet keeps running. So, you remove the Kleenex box and whatever else is on the lid, lift that up, put it down on the seat and then look inside the tank. Sure enough, there’s the problem–that plastic bar that’s supposed to be connected? “That was off the chain!!!”

And so, I’m left  with a high sensitivity to one pop culture phrase that is probably close to dying away and becoming part of a Trivial Pursuit/Millennial Edition.  But until its gone, I live in constant fear of those five words triggering a flashback of the last time I had to go into the guts of my toilet and put it all back together.

But I’ll be fine. Really. For the record, writing this was my alternative to watching the Vice-Presidential debate. I think my time was better spent on this self-therapy.

Oh-oh…I think I hear water running.

Tim Hunter

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Thanks, Vin!

Flashing back to my childhood, I remember that the times were so turbulent. Racial tensions were high, there were riots in the streets, and…oh, wait. We’re still doing that.

But back when I was single digits in age, it was the 1960s, the time I started becoming aware of my worldly surroundings. I attended a private school at a Lutheran church and I mean SMALL school. As in there were two classrooms–1st through 4th grades and 5th through 8th grade. My memories of that era are scattered. Church picnics, vacations to South Dakota, playing with the neighbor kids.

This is back when there were only three television networks and–outside of the Saturday morning cartoons–what we watched on TV was pretty much determined by my parents. I remember our school once sending home a note to mom & dad, saying that the school felt the TV show “Combat” was too violent and that kids shouldn’t be allowed to watch it.  It was one of my favorites and we continued to watch it.  Well, dad & I did.

There was “Get Smart”, “The Red Skelton Show”, “Bewitched” and other gems.  Saturdays were reserved for Lawrence Welk, followed by “The Hollywood Palace.” And on Tuesday nights, after my sisters were put to bed, I remember mom sneaking into my room where the TV resided so that she could catch up on “Peyton Place.”

But what we watched on TV was all determined by one thing: what the Los Angeles Dodgers were doing.

During the early part of that decade, I remember more nights than not being spent listening to radio broadcasts of the Los Angeles Dodger games. There was the team of Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett, but it was Scully that made those games magic. He was a story-teller, a guy who knew how to transform everything that happened on the field into pictures in your mind.  This is back when only a few games actually made it to television. When they did, they were a treat. Especially after the family budget allowed us to have a color TV.

Vin Scully began broadcasting games for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1953 when he was just 25-years-old. He’s been providing the soundtrack for Dodger games longer than I’ve been alive.  At the age of 88, he’s seen the greatest moments in that team’s history and made sure we didn’t miss the excitement of a single play.

I got to hear them beat the Yankees 4-0 in the 1963 World Series. Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. The come from behind win in the ’65 World Series against the Twins. The time San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal took a bat to Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro, I can still hear Vin saying something like, “You Little Leaguers at home, don’t do that!”

Mr. Scully is going to call it a career at the end of this season. In fact, while he hasn’t traveled for the past couple of years and only broadcast the team’s home games, this Sunday he’s making an exception. The Dodgers wrap up the season against their arch rivals, the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco.  Vin wanted to go full circle and make his last broadcast a Dodgers/Giants game, since that’s where his career began: calling a game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Vin decided to go out while he still had game. He’s a perfectionist and felt that his calls were slipping a little bit. That was reason enough for him to retire, although Dodger fans would have preferred to listen to him until his last breath. He will be sorely missed and will always be the high-water mark for any broadcaster doing the play-by-play of any sport, anywhere. I’m giving him full credit for my love of baseball, for continuing to be a long-distance Los Angeles fan and for being the voice in my head whenever I think of that team I grew up with.

Thanks, Vin.

Tim Hunter

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61 And No Asterisk

 

Me & the bike-riding Norwegian

            Me & the bike-riding Norwegian

This week, the late summer holiday I call SepTIMber rolled around again. Yes, it’s another notch on the birthday belt.

Last year was the leap to a new decade. I remember in earlier years, turn 30, 40 or even 50 was seen as a big landmark in your life. I don’t remember my 30th being a big deal. 40, I believe there was a big party. For my 50th, I was reinventing myself as a writer in a post-radio apocalypse that was my career. That was also a year of life changes and the launch of some pretty emotionally draining parts of my life.

Then, things started to turn.

Right now, I can’t be grateful enough for all that I’ve got, being able to do what I like to do for a living, working with some great people and projects, and it just keeps going.

I remember when 61-years-old was ancient. It was the year before you retired.

Now, with the retirement carrot extended further with an even longer stick, most people turning that decade don’t see anything close to retirement in the near future. I like to say that I’ve been planning on retirement and that I should have all the money I’ll need by the time I’m 122.

But I’m 61, just half-way there. You know the thing I love the most about being this age: I’ve reached it in fairly good health. The body has been cooperating, I’m still able to be active (perhaps, TOO active) but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Each week begins with a checklist of things I’m pushing myself to do. There’s my Wacky Week Podcast, featuring a new episode each week. This week, I not only have a bit we did back in the radio days with former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, but also, an interview I did a few days ago with a Norwegian journalist who rode his bike from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, talking with people along the way. His goal–to try and explain to his fellow Norwegians back home what the heck Americans are thinking in this election.  I told him if he figured it out, to be sure and share with us.

I also write a blog, reminiscent of my days as a columnist for the Bothell Reporter. You know, I turned some of those articles into an actual book you can buy on Amazon. (wow, look at the price on that! Don’t let them know I’ve got a box of ’em. It’s like commodities investing) You can actually download the Kindle version for free.

There’s my weekly Tim Hunter Creative Services newsletter that flies into inboxes each and every Wednesday. It’s a way to remind people about what I do, in the chance that perhaps, one day we can work together.

I’m up at 4am each morning to write for Radio-Online, a show prep service.  I write gags for ventriloquist Mark Merchant and cartoonist Steve Kelley. I do the occasional auction or emcee an event, like the Lutefisk Eating Contest this Saturday at the Fishermen’s Fall Festival.

I’m involved with several clubs & organizations, do way too much volunteer work for my own good but the bottom line is–I can. I’m lucky enough to be doing all the things I want to do.  I’m even hoping a screenplay I wrote years ago might have a chance again thanks to a new door that opened recently.

Yeah, I’m 61, but I’m far from done. You know, years ago, an astrologer did a complete breakdown on me and what the stars said was going to happen in my life. She pointed to some huge success when I was a senior. Looking at it now, she might have just been talking about the ripe old age of 61.  Makes you wonder what a huge success I’ll be when I finally hit that retirement age of 122.

Remember, you’re here. You’ve got a life. Live it.  You’ll be hitting 61 and denying it before you know it.

And laugh a little, would ya?

Tim Hunter

 

Our Summer Glamping Trip

It only seems right, in this final full week of summer in the Northwest (and, probably where you are, too) that I look back at our summer glamping trip.

No, that’s not a typo.  Glamping is when you camp, but in a glamorous way. You know–cushy RV, elaborate 5th wheeler, a mountain lodge….

Wait? A mountain lodge is an option?

Here’s the story.

Growing up, some of our favorite family summer vacations or extended weekends were spent on camping trips.  We did the trailer thing and not only hit the California spots like Lake San Antonio, Crestline, and a host of others whose names I’m starting to forget. But we also packed it up one year and DROVE up to Washington State.  That was an adventure, especially on those windy mountain roads that looked so straight on the map.

In college, after relocating up here, I even managed to sneak in a few tent camping getaways, including one to the Spokane World’s Fair back in 1974.  While my kids were growing up, we got in a couple of tent trips, some RV vacations and cabin getaways. But the past couple of decades, I think we’ve put up the tent maybe three times.

One of those occasions was during a drive to California a few years back, when I remembered everything…..except the tent poles! Seeing how that can mess up your communing with nature, when we actually reserved a camping spot this year, I was determined to remember EVERYTHING.

We took a Friday off and enjoyed a leisurely drive to the mountains and pulled up to a beautiful, secluded, quiet, forested camp site. However, what was supposed to be two days in paradise was cut short by a must-attend social obligation that popped up on Saturday night.  So, it was get there Friday, enjoy a fun night of camping and then pack up and head home.  At least we were getting in one night of camping.

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All was going fairly smooth–the tent went together as it should, all parts included; what we thought was going to be a campfire-free weekend because of a burning ban actually included a campfire, as this campground was on federal land. Apparently, their forests don’t burn like the state ones.

OK, there was one glitch.  I had remembered the air mattress and grabbed the pump. But, in rounding up the 99 things needed, I failed to notice the one thing missing: the tube that connected the pump to the mattress.  I gave my lungs a workout, held the pump next to the mattress and got it 2/3’s of the way full. I figured I’d do the rest after dinner.  Of course, Victoria decided to document this adventure, take pictures and post them on Facebook. I suspect they’ll also be used against me in the eventual sanity trial.

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But look at that site!  Dinner was heating up on the fire, the campsite-rules-violating bottle of Dusted Valley Cabernet had filled our plastic cups and we were camping. NOT glamping, but full-blown camping.

It was around then that a huge SUV pulled up next to our site and the guy driving yelled out, “Hey, where do you want us to park?” 10-seconds probably passed when he took pity on our extremely confused faces and revealed, “Hey! It’s Wally & Susan!”  It was my wife’s cousin and her recently retired police officer husband that we usually saw only once each year at a family gathering.  But what the heck where they doing here?

It turned out that they had recently bought “a cabin” in the area, about 5-miles away. They had been relaxing, probably not far from bed when Susan saw Victoria’s post about the mattress debacle. She told Wally, he replied to her, “Let’s get in the car and go find them!” and they cruised the campground until they recognized the tent in the picture.  Once a police investigator, always a police investigator.

We all sat around and chatted while we ate our camping dinner and then they invited us back to their cabin to relax and fill up our air mattress with their pump. (they had a hose)  At this point, we had achieved our goal of setting up the camp. Sure, we could head up that way for a while, then come back and enjoy our planned rustic overnight stay.

The wine flowed, the cigars came out, we enjoyed a fire from the propane fire pit on the deck of their 3200 square foot “cabin” that sleeps 21.  Yeah, we weren’t suffering. But it was getting late, so we figured it was time to go back to the campsite. However, when we checked the air mattress, it was flat. At this point, we had to choose between sleeping on the hard ground, or spending the night in their downstairs guest room.

The next morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast, I drove over and packed up the campsite and then we headed out on Wally & Susan’s boat for a tour. We had an absolutely amazing time. It was fun to actually hang with Wally & Susan, just the four of us and I fired up the camera and grabbed all kinds of pictures.  OK, while it was more glamping than camping, we still got that healthy dose of the great outdoors I had been craving.

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Bottom line is–we made a 2016 camping trip happen. That is a 30-hour stretch of my life I will not soon forget. I’m already looking forward to January 1st, when you can begin making camping reservations for the New Year.  I want to make sure that we grab that same spot and then, make doubly sure to throw away that hose for the pump.

Thanks Wally & Susan for the great time!

Your cousin-in-law,

Tim Hunter

It’s Pool Time!!

This week, KOMO television here in Seattle is celebrating their longtime weather personality, Steve Pool.

Remember, for a time, I lurked the halls of Fisher Broadcasting as Larry Nelson’s producer on the radio side of the KOMO Empire. Occasionally I’d bump into Steve at a cross-promotional event.  Then, when I headed across the lake to work at 92.5-KLSY, it became a tradition to have Steve and the late Kathi Goertzen do battle in our “Battle of the Sexes.” Steve represented the Dawgs, Kathi was the proud Cougar back when it had only one meaning.  Whichever side won theoretically would predict the outcome of the annual Apple Cup.  Not with any accuracy, but it was still a fun gimmick.

While working afternoons at KLSY, my former KOMO connections managed to work me into a “celebrity” edition of TV’s Family Feud game show. While Steve was a part of that adventure, it’s what happened with the rest of the crew that is pressed in my memory.

We actually got to fly down to Los Angeles, check into a fancy hotel and, that evening, have dinner with the host, Ray Combs. The radio and TV folks came in two different flights. I was on the second one and probably, for the better. It seems that on the early flight, one of our radio sisters drank a TV all-star under the table, such that he was unable to be at dinner that night. After dining together in a big group, Ray explained what all would happen the next day—a Sunday, by the way—, so we scattered. I’ll never forget seeing Kathi Goertzen, who I had only spoken to briefly (after all, she was Kathi friggin’ Goertzen) getting all cowgirl’d up to go hit the local country bars with her sister. I can still see her in those cowboy boots.

We were told to be ready to catch the bus to the TV studio by 7am Sunday morning. OK, so I set the alarm for 6.  Shortly after it went off, I heard a slam from my next door neighbor, Robin Erickson.  Living up to her rock jock image, she was just getting home from a night out on the town.

We got to the TV studio and some of us were blurrier than others. A few were a bit stage-struck or full of nervous energy.  I remember it being like a dream.  You know the part where your team poses as your introduced and before you come on stage?  I was amazed to see that the backside of it was covered in graffiti. It’s something they don’t show you on TV.

We did two episodes, back to back, so they could sprinkle them out during the important ratings periods.  My buddy, Larry Nelson, had a serious brain freeze on one of the questions.  We never quit teasing him about it.

Seeing this video makes me realize just how long ago this was. I was honored to be included in the Feud, and to hang around for a while with some of my cross-town radio rivals, as well as the gang from KOMO TV.  The last one of that KOMO TV bunch still on the air is weather guru Steve Pool, the guy who triggered this little stroll down memory lane.  Congratulations, Steve, on your 40-year achievement. Here’s to as many more as you want and as long as you’re having fun, that’s really all that matters.

 Tim Hunter

It’s Getting Really Old

Growing up in the 1960s, I was very much aware of the racial struggle going on in America. Those were the days of Civil Rights Marches, the Watts Riots, George Wallace and areas of the country that still embraced segregation.

Decades later, I find myself in a country where we elected a black president to two terms. Where racial barriers seemed to be finally starting to fade.  At least in my immediate world and my family and friends, racial bigotry is unacceptable and not a part of our lives.

However, things are broken. Young black men are being gunned down or killed while in the custody of police. There are no excuses. That is unacceptable and we need to take steps to prevent future such events from happening today.

Last weekend, a washed-up NFL quarterback decided he’s going to help solve the racial problems in this country by sitting down during our country’s national anthem.  To me, that act is similar to pouring gas on a fire hoping it will go out.

A friend on Facebook just posted that what Kaepernick did was “brave.”  Oh, brother. How we modify the words to make us feel better about things. I remember when brave was going into a burning building to rescue someone or bring back a wounded soldier from the battlefield.  There’s no way you can convince me that sitting on your rear end in a disrespectful gesture and then attaching it to a cause is brave.

Then you’ve got one of my all-time favorite basketball players, Kareem Abdul-Jabar defending Kaepernick and saying that if we have a problem with what Colin said, then WE are the ones who don’t know what it’s like to be an American.

I have three words: “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”

Stop it right there. I’ve hit my maximum tolerance level of people telling me how to feel or interpret anger or disrespect because I don’t understand. I get it completely.

Colin Kaepernick is the farthest thing from a great American and we won’t even get into his ability to be a good football player.

It’s been brought up that the great Jackie Robinson took a similar stand in his autobiography and, after checking into it, that’s absolutely true.  However, that’s where the similarities end. Jackie actually lived that struggle and had amazing success in spite of overwhelming obstacles. He had to battle hate from racist Americans, teammates that didn’t even want to play with him, death threats and in spite of it all, he played Hall of Fame style baseball.

Jackie had every right to be bitter towards a racist country that made his life a struggle.

But we, as a nation, are trying to evolve.

I look around at the shootings going on around the country and it’s like we’re back in the 1960s again. America is not perfect, absolutely not. But we collectively strive to make this a better place for everyone. With 325-million people all having a different idea of what exactly that would be, you know there’s going to be compromise.

Colin Kaepernick is a classic case of the ugly American. Ungrateful, pompous, conceited, entitled and so many other adjectives. He was a mixed race kid raised by two white people who excelled in a sport and rode it to the top. But last year, he struggled. He far under-performed his gigantic salary and now rides the bench, hoping to come back. Maybe there wasn’t enough struggle in his life, so he could better identify with those who didn’t have it as good as he did.

The bottom line: there are a billion ways to help make this country better and causes to get behind other than being disrespectful to his nation and then, call attention to it to make sure we all noticed. By the way, Kaepernick had sat down during the first couple of pre-season games for the anthem, but no one noticed.

Colin, let me help. You could:

  1. Donate some of those millions of dollars you earn each year to Black Lives Matter, or the families of the many shooting victims
  2. Join a protest march (that would require standing up and walking). Your celebrity would cast a positive light on the cause.
  3. Meet with the leaders of Black Lives Matters and work together to get your message out there even more.
  4. Team up with other players in the league as a symbol of unity for the message you’d like to get out there.

Right now, you’re going to all the trouble of just sitting down for two minutes and calling that your noble cause.  Maybe it’s the money and comfy lifestyle that has warped your thinking.

There will always be rude, ignorant people on this planet. Colin just reminded us that they come in all colors, shapes and sizes and it’s up to us to dismiss them.  He’s gotten a lot of attention this past week. This blog will be the last he gets from me.

I could go on and on, but the sportscaster below, Tomi Lahren, has done a remarkable job of saying what I feel.  I have no idea who she is, but I’m completely impressed by her words and message.

Somewhere along the line, being patriotic and proud of one’s country became “not cool.” At least, to some people. Not me. Take a look around the world and what you’d have to give up in order to live there. Why do you think, in spite of all of our problems, millions of people keep coming here, year after year?

Thanks for speaking for so many, Tomi. Colin, for you, one word: karma.

God bless America.

Tim Hunter

 

PS–Oh and one more thing.

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The Swarm

A couple of Sundays ago, my son, Tyson and his fiancé Lacey invited us to join her parents on the rooftop of her condo for a Sunday lunch. What a great way to hang, get caught up on the latest wedding plans and spend a little time with soon-to-be-relatives.

The lunch was almost perfect. Delicious steaks and swordfish, salads that fit our finicky eating habits these days, it was just awesome. Add to that, it was Seafair Sunday and this Fremont-area rooftop had a distant view of the Blue Angels who were swarming the skies that day.

There they go!

There they go!

But they weren’t alone.

As we began to enjoy our feast, those all-too-familiar northwest late-summer guests arrived–the yellow jackets! At first, it was a curious couple. But steadily, the numbers increased and their boldness accelerated that we had to round up the food and cut short the dining portion of our afternoon.

For most people, they would have that experience, and move on. I had an idea pop into my head. And THIS is the result.

I feel much better. It’s like therapy. But remember–beware The Swarm!

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Tim Hunter

The Evolution

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We’ve gone our entire lives, taking music along with us every step of the way. From the time we’re born and exposed to a singing nursery rhyme, to the comfort music we turn to when we want to feel good today.

Come along as I take you on a historical tour of my taste in music.

Of course, I was born back in the days before everything had a music bed. Now, you brace yourself to hear a song when you open a birthday card or someone’s ringtone goes off.

I spent my single digit years listening to an assortment of polkas, big bands and church music. But around the time I was 8 or so, the British Invasion began and mop-haired bands with names like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and such became all the rage.

I lived in a big Beatles neighborhood. I remember kids wearing “I like Paul” and “I like John” buttons. Funny, I don’t remember any Ringo buttons. The music I heard from my TV shows included “Let the sunshine in” by Pebbles & Bam Bam and later that decade, “The Monkees” had us tuning in every Monday to hear the latest songs.  All the while, rock was evolving, going from the pop to the psychedelic and soul music. I liked them all.

I basically am a music sponge and there are very few forms I don’t enjoy. Now, I do have an endurance limit on opera and reggae is fine as long as you let me know when the last song ended and the new one has started.

In high school, KHJ, the AM powerhouse in Los Angeles, kept the hits coming. Most were 3-minute songs, with the occasional breakthrough like “American Pie” that had to be played in it’s entirety. As high school became college, the songs got longer and rockier. One of the badges of honor in Terry Hall at the University of Washington was to have the most expensive speakers possible so that you could crank Pink Floyd’s “Dark side of the moon” or Aerosmith’s “Train kept a rollin'” at maximum level.

While I enjoy going to channel 25 on my satellite every now and then, I get restless. If I had to pick a category of music preference, I’d have to say “rocker.”  It reminds me of those college days. Robin Trower, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Foghat, you name it.

I managed to surround myself with rock, even after I graduated and went to work at a small radio station in Yakima, Washington. This was my first professional radio job. When I arrived, it was a daytime radio station (yep, we signed off at sunset) with a 1-point something rating.  By pushing the limits on the air, Brady Layman’s musical diversity and people like Skip Tucker messing with the minds of the listeners, we had us a radio station. Oh, we played the Bay City Rollers, but we also worked in album cuts of Foghat, or Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”  The younger listeners showed up and in some day-parts, we increased the ratings 9-fold!

But soon, I wandered across town and, shortly after that, over to Seattle, where I found myself at Middle of the Road KOMO-AM 1000. I remember sitting in a room with Larry Nelson as he interviewed Johnny Mathis and at the Paramount talking to Wayne Newton.  My rockin’ times were behind me.

After four years, I was cut loose and found myself at KLSY, which at the time was “Classy-FM.” We’re talking Carpenters, Anne Murray, Christopher Cross and others on the soft side.  Oh, I heard some of the big hits on the other station in town—KUBE. “Love Shack”, the Coolio hits, you know, fun stuff like that. But all I could do was sneak in a listen every now and then. For some reason, I felt a loyalty to the music we played, as I felt it would help me better connect to the audience.  So, I lost track of what was happening in rock.

Over my 19 years at KLSY, it progressed slowly and even for a brief while, gave Star 101.5 a run for their money. Program Director and friend Barry McKay pushed the envelope on music and was helping us gain ground. It was through the personal sabotage of another employee that Barry had the reigns taken away, the station returned to that no-man’s land of in-between what WARM played and what STAR played and the station slowly withered away.

When we were thrown a surprise going away party, I went away, thinking I was done with radio. But anyone who’s ever been there knows, it’s a disease.  Something keeps calling you back. So, I applied and was added to weekends and fill-duty at the brand new Wolf country station in Seattle. I had never, I mean EVER liked country music…but the stuff I found myself playing–Keith Urban, Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney–won me over. After a year, I decided giving up sleep on a Sunday morning for $10 really wasn’t in my long-term interest and I let radio go.

Right now, I truly am all over the board. Give me Macklemore, Taylor Swift, Usher, Blake Shelton, Guns ‘n Roses and I’m a happy guy. This summer’s list of concerts included Boston, Don Henley, A blues festival at the winery, GNR last Friday night and next month, one more winery visit with Joe Walsh.

Bottom line–I love music, I appreciate music, and you have to admit–as you reflect back on your life, there’s a song connected to almost every important moment. The “Sweetheart’s Ball” theme of ‘Precious & Few’ my junior year of high school.  “They’re coming to take me away”, while listening to Dr. Demento in College.

These days, when I’m not listening to talk radio, it’s off to either my phone or the satellite and a nice little musical escape. I can choose a decade, rock my brains out, or even slip in a little Big Band song or two.

Music is such a powerful part of our lives. It resurfaces feelings and stimulates memories. Right now, I’m going to go back to last Friday night’s concert with the words, “Alexa, play Paradise City by Guns ‘n Roses.”

I love technology.

Tim Hunter

Launch Your Drone

I’ll be honest–I bought an actual drone. It probably arrived around 5 months ago and since then, I got it out of the box, fired it up once and then, just haven’t had the time to sit down and learn how to use it.

Oh, I have plans. It does cool things and has a built-in camera. That means, for clients or whatever reason, I can get aerial shots of a business or even my own home.  Before the end of the summer, I plan to teach myself how the darn thing works.

In the meantime, as I glance over again at that device collecting dust on the office coffee table, I thought, “You know, we all have the opportunity to fly a mental drone over our memories. Shut off the news, turn off all your devices and go up for a spin. Take that 3,000-foot-level look at your life’s events and see which ones pop up in your mind. We’ve each had thousands, perhaps millions of incidents and experiences, good and bad. Every single one of those played a part, no matter how small, in how you became the person you are right now.

I just fired up my mental drone and looked down.  I see the time our radio show traveled to Japan and got to broadcast live from there for a week. What an experience. It’s cool to see Alice again. There was the time I got to interview one of my idols, the late Steve Allen and ask him questions about how he did what he did.  Because his mind was always going 100 mph, he carried around a mini-cassette recorder so he could capture a passing idea or revelation. While I’m in the KOMO building, there’s Lar–Larry Nelson–and the weather guy, Ray Ramsey!

I push down the forward handle on the remote control and find myself over a campground in California around the year 1970. I was going through the teenage thing and old enough to wander away from the family trailer and explore. More than once, I heard some campsite playing music, cranked up enough that we could all enjoy that year’s song of the summer, The Carpenter’s “Close to You.”

For fun, I go back a little further and see the old neighborhood gang, with whom I spent hours playing tennis ball baseball. It was a time when the currency was baseball cards. A nickel a pack and you’d get 10 cards plus a stale piece of bubble gum that lost its flavor after three chews. If the modern day me could just go back and talk to that 14-year-old kid one more time, I’d say, “Look–enjoy this! You have no worries at all right now. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up!”

I heard an interesting concept the other day on the radio and I’m doing my best to implement it into my life. John Curley on KIRO was talking about this speaker who encouraged you to think often about the moments in your life that made you really happy. The idea is, when you go back to that moment of real happiness, it triggers a chemical change in your body. So, while you’re mentally enjoying happy thoughts, your body is enjoying the physical benefits of what happens when you’re positive and in a good place.  Conversely, if you think negative, it does not do your body any good.

In other words, do everything in your power to keep it positive.  Think positive. Be positive. At first, like water skiing, it could take a while to get up there, but I can tell you–once you’re there, it’s pretty easy to stay there. However, you do have to make an active effort to keep it going.

Man, you look around and there are SO many negative influences surrounding us–on the news, the media, the Internet, our world…and they’re all waiting to take you down with them. The bad is definitely there, but also, so is the good. And if you think it might take a mental drone to help you find it, I’ll lend you mine.

Tim Hunter

It’s Bound To Be A Better August

August

When you think about it, August has always been a pretty good month over the years.

I mean, as a kid, it was prime summertime. With wading pools, slip ‘n slides, trips to the beach or a lake. Oh, sure, it’s when those pesky “Back to School” ads start showing up everywhere, but who pays attention to those? August is the last full month of summer, with 31 days jam-packed with “who the heck cares?”

Even as an adult, I’ve always been fond of the month. Being a Seattle Mariners fan, it was when I became free to start thinking about football. There are lots of fun celebrations around town including Seafair, The Evergreen State Fair, A Taste of Edmonds, maybe a camping trip or a weekend up at Lake McMurray.  The Perseid Meteor shower is always fun to catch. This year, we’re going to a Guns ‘n Roses concert, an Everett AquaSox game and the weekends are just loaded with events.

And the 2016 edition of August is definitely better than last year.

It was a year ago this week that my almost-92-year-old Dad fell for the last time. He had been declining in health for years and “the annual fall” had unfortunately become a tradition. This one took too much of a toll, and we were forced to say goodbye. There is never a good time to watch your father slip away–it’s one of those things you know is going to happen some day. You’re just never really ready for that day.

So, when August rolls around, I’m probably always going to think about dad. I prefer to look at the positives, so rather than focusing on when he died, I’d like to remember his birthday…and mom & dad’s anniversary…and….that brings us back to August.  They were married on August 19th, which happened to be my mom’s birthday (we always said, it was so that he would only have to remember one date every year) and he was born on August 31st. His mother’s birthday was August 30th.  There’s no way around it–when I think about August, I think about Dad.

In a way, I remember that August of 2015 like it was yesterday.  Every detail, the challenges, the disbelief, it’s surreal. It’s a life-altering experience that makes you take a look at how you’re living your own life. But then again, at the same time, that particular August went by like one giant blur.

Its hard to believe it’s been a year. But while I don’t hear his voice over the phone any more, I do have a lifetime of memories to wander through in my spare time. Every now and then, something will trigger a thought about dad. He smiles at me every morning at 4am when I drag my weary bones to the office computer and begin another day of tapping away on the keyboard.

Parents want a lot of things for their kids, but most will settle for just one–their kids living a happy life. I’m very fortunate to be doing exactly what I want to be doing, with people I like, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t say a little prayer of gratitude.

And look over at that guy on the wall, smiling at me.

Tim Hunter

Dad 2

BEING INSIDE MY MIND

I’m not sure when I first realized that I might be wired differently than most folks. I am grateful for the way it turned out, as my somewhat skewed view of events around me has allowed this kid from Torrance, California, to create jokes that, if nothing else, crack me up.

Example, I’m sitting on a jet heading for Florida a week ago. I could be thinking about a lot of things—the political conventions, the Olympics, Ken Griffey, Jr. going into baseball’s Hall of Fame. But NO!!! I look up and see this sign:

20160722_083700

Think of what might pop up in your brain. Got it?  My gray matter immediately asked the questions, “Why, in an emergency, would they make the English-speaking people exit on the left side of the jet, and force the Spanish-speaking people to use the right side? And what if I speak French? Just stay seated as everybody leaves?”

See what I mean.

Another thought popped into my brain, but I’ve learned that not everything is fit for public consumption. So, this one will require some background. I must make it very clear, this ISN’T a joke, but an observation. Ironic, but true.

So, we have this presidential race, featuring two very polarizing candidates. While there are die-hard party people on both sides (and I’m talking R’s and D’s, not beers and wines), the vast majority of us are counting down the days until November when we will have to pick the candidate who will do the least amount of damage, rather than who will be the better leader. I know more folks that are voting against someone, rather than for someone and that’s sad.  But here’s the delicate matter I hinted about earlier.

With those two candidates, locked in and representing their party, a judge has decided that now is the perfect time to release John Hinkley, Jr.–the guy who tried to impress Jodi Foster by shooting President Ronald Reagan back in 1981!

Seriously. We don’t have already enough wack-jobs out there on the streets with easy access to weapons?  So now, you’re going to release someone who shot an American president on TV? Oh, he’s got to stay on his meds and adhere to 130+ conditions in order to stay free. His mom is 90 and she’s supposed to take care of him. Yeah, I’m feeling good about this.

And of course, my brain wonders how he’s going to feel when he learns Jodi Foster is really not interested. I mean, really.

So, there you have it. Ladies & gentlemen, that concludes this little tour of the dark corner of Tim Hunter’s brain. Please head towards the exit and do visit our gift shop on the way out.

English-speaking people to the left, Spanish-speaking to the right.

French-speaking, just sit there for now and I’ll figure out what to do with you later.

Tim Hunter

Sometimes A Great Speech Deserves To Be Done Twice

First day into the Republican National Convention and there was already a big controversy.

Really?  Do you call Melania’s convention speech that borrowed a chunk from Michelle Obama’s speech several years ago “plagiarism?”  No, really, I’ll give you second chance to answer that.  Still stick by your feeling that using a speech word for word that’s been done before is plagiarism?  OK, if nothing else, misdemeanor plagiarism?

Then, what’s the next step?  Arrest them?  Not likely.  Think less of the person who repurposed the talking points?  You could.

Or you could take a step back from the partisanship that some folks embrace every election year and realize that this is the same game, just different players, doing the same thing they’ve always done.

How do you feel about someone who repurposes a speech a couple of years after its been made?

Watch this clip and let me know if you still hold the same opinion.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7a4_1203347783

This isn’t to defend one candidate or diss another. Both of our “choices” are just doing what American politicians have always done. They go back to the playback of a presidential candidate who came out on top and implement that strategy.  They reach back and borrow some words that were said before, with the hope of recreating that spark in today’s crowd.

I’m observing. We’ve got a long way between here and November, I’ve got two main candidates I don’t care for and I secretly hope that a third comes along that I can vote for and feel good about it. The concept of actually voting FOR someone rather than out of fear of the other is strongly appealing to me.

And, being the land of the free, that should still be possible, right?

Tim Hunter

The Wednesday Night Picnics

I know a lot of people.

As Walter Brennan said in his short-lived 1960’s TV series, The Guns of Will Sonnett, “No brag. Just fact.”

I’ve self-analyzed what caused me to be that way. My favorite theory is rooted in the small Lutheran grade school in southern California I attended that suddenly closed. I found my compact world grew quickly as I was tossed into public schools and became “the new kid.”  I wanted people to like me and I found that making them laugh accomplished that.  Then, it became an addiction, which evolved into a radio career. Of course, the more people you get to know, the more that can potentially like you. There’s also the bottom line that I just enjoy people. Everyone’s different, everyone has their own story.

Moving to Seattle and marrying into the Norwegian world, I’ve gotten to know even more people over the past 9 years. This past week, I got to know even more.

We received an invitation from friends to attend a “Wednesday Night Picnic” at a private estate up on Capitol Hill, an area east of downtown Seattle full of old, brick mansions. That’s about as much as I knew going in. Basically, we would be picnicking along with other people having their own picnics in the yard of a huge estate.

I felt very privileged to have been included in this long-time Seattle tradition. How long have these Wednesday nights in July picnics been going on? Would you believe 58 years?  As you can read in this article from the Seattle Times, the estate’s owner, Kay Bullitt, has done a lot of things for this city, very quietly. Not for show, but for the love of Seattle. And people.

She has used her estate to host all kinds of events including these neighborhood picnics. Her daughter Dorothy told me that back in the 60’s, her mom held a integrated camp for kids. There was also a “Peace Camp” for Jewish and Arab kids. And when Kay’s days on this earth are done, she has designed that the entire property will go to the city and be turned into a public park. Initially, there was talk of tearing down the mid-century home on the premises, but it now looks as though they’ll keep it around for a possible meeting facility.

First-timers to this Wednesday Night Picnic were asked to NOT take pictures of the neighbors and other people attending, but I was able to snap a few shots of the grounds and our little party.

Peace & Tranquility

Peace & Tranquility

A small playground

A small playground

Oh and from this vantage point.....

Oh and walk to the edge of the property over here…

And you can see the house across the street, towards Seattle, currently being remodeled before it’s new owner moves in.

Maybe Macklemore will invite us over sometime...

Maybe Macklemore will invite us over sometime

It was a very relaxed gathering of Seattleites, all just enjoying a perfect summer evening and the beautiful grounds thanks to our generous host. And now, I know even more people.

As one neighbor and his wife prepared to walk home, he came over, introduced himself and then invited us to come back next month for an afternoon of opera on the lawn.  Just bring a picnic, some chairs and enjoy. It should make for a splendid day of relaxing music. As long as that new neighbor doesn’t crank up the tunes.

The Wednesday Night Summer Picnics weren’t on my bucket list. But now I’m going to write it on the list just so I can cross it off.

Thank you, Kay, for everything you’ve done.

Tim Hunter

Saying Goodbye To The King

There was another shift in the Seattle landscape this past week. The wrecking ball began to erase what had been the home of KING Broadcasting–Channel 5, KING AM and KING FM.

We knew the day was coming.  We heard about the sale, witnessed The Home Team move into their new studios down by the stadiums, heard about several “Goodbye to the building” parties (I missed both of them) and even enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes tour from the recently retired Jean Enerson, who shared some of the building’s secrets.

And then, the demolition began.

KING 5

There are many, many people who have a lot more extensive stories from their days in that building. My time there covered just a school year. It was my senior year at the University of Washington and I was trying to get some real-life working experience in before heading out into the world of broadcasting. My first internship was under the direction of a woman named Diane Clark. She was short, had a curly mop of hair and the nickname, “Roadrunner.”  Under her direction, I helped with the Public Affairs programing at KING radio.  Then, the following quarter, I got a dream internship under one of the finest audio production guys you’ll ever meet, Steve Lawson. This was at the time when Steve was the station voice of KING 5, as well as the production director at KING Radio. (Strangely, that’s where I first met my future radio co-host Bruce Murdock, pretty much a decade before we were teamed up over at KLSY) 

I’d have to say that my experience under Steve really cemented my interest in audio production. KING had one of those cutting-edge 4-track recorders. While most of my time with Steve was spent observing, after he was done for the day, I was allowed to use the 4-track recorder to produce a comedy series “Return to Normalcy” for KCMU, the U.W.’s student-run station. (now, KEXP, after Paul Allen bought it and moved it to the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center)

Besides the hands-on Public Affairs and Production experience, the internships also gave me exposure to other areas of interest in that building:

When it came time to graduate, I had hoped KING would offer me a job. Hey, they liked me, they let me keep coming back after the internships were over. They even hired me for several odd jobs:

  • Doing Music Research–that’s calling up numbers out of the phone book, asking people if they’d be willing to take part in a music survey and then play 50 or so 7-second clips of music and have them rate the songs.  I’m pretty sure “Afternoon Delight” was among ’em.
  • Driving Miss Dorothy–I tell you, they trusted me.  So much that when Frank, Dorothy Bullit’s regular driver went on vacation, I was asked to fill in for a couple of weeks.  I would come to KING, pick up the keys to her Volvo, then drive to her home and take her where ever she would like to go.
  • Answer Phones on the Request Line–Yep, people would call, and request the songs, I would forward the list along to the DJ.

Also, being in the building, I got to know a lot of radio people, some of whom I worked with later in my career.  Folks like Dana Horner, Alan Mason, Rob Conrad, Dan Foley, Andy Barber, Rick Scott, Joe Cooper and, of course, Mr. Murdock.

However, that job offer from KING never came. And, when I was passed over for a copywriter position and lost that job to a woman with two years’ experience at Planned Parenthood, I knew I had to get in somewhere and start doing. And that’s when I went east of the mountains and began my radio career in Yakima.

But that’s a story for another time.

One other connection to that facility. For those who were around in the 1990s, you may recall that a former KING sales person flipped out and decided to drive his car through the front window of the building. He ended up on top of the older brother of a high school friend, Mike Oling, who had been a channel 5 reporter.  Mike eventually got out of the broadcast biz and now sells insurance in downtown Seattle. KING, as well as KOMO took immediate steps and put in cement barriers to prevent any future such attacks.

So now, the KING building becomes a part of Seattle’s broadcasting past. I was there at a time where Seattle’s top music stations were battling it out on the AM dial. Can you even imagine? It was a different era and now, just one more radio memory that eventually will fade away.

But until then, I’ll remember every moment of my time there fondly.

Tim Hunter

KING LOGO

Fred Hering

Fred Hering

If you lived in the Seattle suburb of Bothell any time in the past 30 years, you knew Fred Hering.  If not the man himself, the real estate guy who had his office right there on 522.  Coming into Bothell, you’d see that sign, “Bothell–For a day or a lifetime” and then you’d pass the reader board out in front of Fred’s company, Hering & Associates.

I found out this morning that Fred passed away this week. The announcement was made yesterday at the Northshore Kiwanis breakfast, which he rarely missed.

Fred had his hands in many pies–he was President of the Northshore Schools Foundation and a member for 14 years, the Northshore Kiwanis (40 years), Northshore Schools Foundation (14 years), PTA, Boy Scouts, Northshore Senior Center, America Cancer Society, GOP District 1, and the Greater Bothell Downtown Association.  The retired Navy veteran was also father to three boys: Kevin, Tim & Dave.

Somewhere back in the days when I was Mr. Bothell, playing on the radio and writing a newspaper column for the Bothell Reporter (then known as The Citizen), Fred and I hooked up.  We didn’t see each other very often, but every seven years or so, he would graciously invite me to join the Northshore Kiwanis for breakfast and to be their guest speaker.

The last invitation and the final time I saw Fred was almost two years ago. I had decided to leave my job at a Seattle area advertising agency and set a departure date–October 1st, 2014. If you need me for anything, catch me by September 30th, because that would be the last time you’d see me working there.

During that farewell month, Fred gave me a call and invited me to come and speak to the Kiwanis gang again. “So, what date you looking at, Fred?”  He replied, “October 1st.” I quickly responded, “Funny, I have absolutely no plans for that day or the days after it! You’re my first commitment!”

While searching my email inbox for old previous exchanges with Fred, I realized he’s one of the people on my Wacky Week email list. Most likely, Fred was probably one of the original subscribers. I have to say, the guy was a fan and liked my style of comedy. I doubt he listened to me much on the radio, but he read my newspaper column religiously. Looking through my book, “Nosin’ Around Northshore: The First Five Years”, I found a great example of how Fred & I shared the same humor gene:

Last week, I told you about some of the more unusual signs spotted around town.

The gang at Hering & Associates Real Estate along Bothell Way decided to get into the spirit of obscure signage. Maybe you noticed it over the weekend. I know I did. On both sides of their reader board, just two words:  “Tim Hunter”.

I thought it was catchy and I sincerely appreciated the honor. But in no way am I going to allow their special attention to affect the high standards I have set for this column. Nice try, Hering & Associates, the home of thoroughly-trained real estate professionals who would love to help you find your next home.

It’s sad when you say goodbye to those characters that make up the fabric of your life. Four years or so from now, the phone won’t ring.  Fred won’t be at the other end, picking up where we last left off.  However, I prefer to look at things from the other side. I realize that I was so fortunate to have met Fred and honored he’d even remember my name. Fred Hering did a lot to make the community he called home a better place and his efforts and smile will be missed. We definitely need more Fred’s in this world.

Tim Hunter

The Apology Collection

635956876941753017523522344_sorryOnce each week, I like to sit down and just let the keyboard take off and see where it leads me. For most of my blogs, I like to pounce on a topic of the day. But having to choose between the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team getting spanked by Argentina, the on-going gun debate or the farce that we call the presidential campaign, I’m opting to create a new category.  Actually, this may become an occasional feature of this blog.

I call it, The Apology CollectionEpisode 1.

Think about it. We ALL have things that we regret or feel bad about that took place in our life. What we need to do is learn from those incidents and move on. Gradually, becoming a better person, life lesson after life lesson.  So, let’s begin with my inaugural collection.


  • THE SUBJECT: Susan X–I don’t remember her last name.  Heck, we were in kindergarten together so we’re talking back shortly after the earth cooled. What I DO remember is that she had cheeks that were rosy red, that looked to my 5-year-old brain, like peaches.  So, one day while walking home from school, I decided to bite one of them.
  • WHAT I LEARNED–Always find out, before biting someone’s cheek, if they have an older brother that will beat you up the following day. Susan, I’m very sorry I did that. Although, not as sorry as I was when your brother showed up.

  • THE SUBJECT: Laurel Scheerer–I have no idea where she ended up, but we attended Immanuel Lutheran School together for quite a few years, from grades 1 through 6. (apparently, my parents decided to go for a parochial education to help me cut down on my cheek biting) I recall several things about Laurel. In the 3rd grade, she became famous as the girl who went down the slide in her dress.  The dress caught at the top and by the time she reached the bottom, she was down to just a slip.  She landed and hit the ground running, making a beeline towards the girls’ restroom. But why Laurel continues to haunt me is because of the time we were playing hide ‘n seek in the 3rd grade. Laurel found me and was heading back to the flag pole, the base, to announce “1-2-3 on Tim!”  We were pretty close and for some reason (and this is why I probably should donate my brain to science some day) I decided it would be a good idea to push Laurel, right before we got back to the flagpole. She went face-first into the flagpole and cracked off a tooth.  Seriously, what goes through the mind of a 8-year-old boy to think that it was ever a good idea to do something like that?
  • WHAT I LEARNED–In a word, karma. Not too much later, some of the kids in our Cub Scout troop were farting around out in front of my parents’ house when a kid named Mark Kerstein threw a rock, making a direct hit on my front left tooth. Half of it was just gone.  So Laurel, a bit overdue, but I’m really sorry I pushed you into that pole.  But, truth be told, I was safe.

OK, just one more for this round.


  • THE SUBJECT: Giovanni Kordowski–OK, I was a goofball growing up.  Seriously, I can’t explain half the things I did.  At least now, I’m up to 52%.  So, it’s 9th grade, I’m now in the public school systems and we had a new neighbor with a funny name. She was riding on the bus with me and something in my noggin’ thought it would be hilarious to grab her sack lunch and play a game of keep away on the bus.  It went to the back, she pleaded, “Give it back!” It came back up to the front and I caught it and gave it a throw. Someone in another row had their window open that morning and it sailed out on to the street as we continued to ride to school. She was in tears, I felt bad (good timing, Tim) and eventually, she turned me in. Then I got to explain to my mom and dad why I had my bus-riding privileges revoked for a week.
  • WHAT I LEARNED–Never take someone’s personal property and disrespect them by throwing it around. Plus, if you do, always be sure all the windows are closed.  I’m sorry, Giovanni. My bad.

OK, that feels good. The rest of you waiting for your apology–well, you’ll have to keep checking back, or join the rest of the others waiting for their turn. They’re currently waiting down at Century Link Stadium, at least until the Seahawks are back.

Sorry about that.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

THE FIRST ONE

Dad and Me 02

Sunday is Father’s Day. This will be the first one since my father passed away last August.

It would be easy to spiral down from there, but to what end? Yes, I’m sad that he’s gone. That the traditional Sunday phone call to wish him a happy Father’s Day won’t be happening this year.

But I’m not the first to lose a parent and it makes more sense to me to view Father’s Day as a day of gratitude. Looking back, I hit the Dad Jackpot. I’m so thankful that he was given almost 92 years on this earth. I have a lot of friends who lost their dad decades ago.  I can’t say enough about all the things he did for me while growing up:  the endless hours of crouching down behind a home plate he had crafted out of plywood so that I could practice pitching. Game after game of driveway basketball. The time he took me pheasant hunting, the fishing trips or all the adventures the family enjoyed on our summer camping trips.

There were the United Airline company picnics at the Los Angeles Police Academy. (yes, the same one as in the films) Watching home movies, I’m reminded of the dad who smoked a pipe for a while. Then, when he gave up cigarettes and tobacco, he became addicted to having a toothpick in his mouth.  He was on the board at the church school I attended and I recall one graduating classmate telling me he was afraid to shake dad’s hand—a part of the graduation ritual—because he might get splinters.

John Hunter was easy going.  He didn’t like conflict.  While born in Scotland, he was raised in West Virginia and had that relaxed pace about him in life.  He wasn’t fast, but deliberate. That’s probably what made him such a great mechanic, as several of his former United Airlines co-workers remarked to me at his funeral.  He was the last of his siblings to go.  We were blessed to have him for over nine decades.

This Sunday is that day set aside to honor our fathers.  If you had a dad worth honoring, consider yourself lucky.  That’s not always a guarantee and sadly, there are a lot of people who don’t even want to be reminded about their father.  As a dad, that’s impossible for me to imagine.

Being a father has truly been one of the greatest experiences of my life.  Having to actually be responsible for a couple of human lives and the way they turn out, that’s a big concept.  But having arrived at the point where my little ones are now 31 and almost 34, I’m so proud of what they’ve done with their opportunities and look forward to many great years ahead, watching them live their lives.

And when the time comes that I experience a factory recall, I sure as heck don’t my kids moping around or being sad about me being gone. OK, well, maybe a little.  But life is something to celebrate and, as we were reminded three times this past week in Orlando, to appreciate—every precious moment.

A quick tip for those whose parents are still with us–sit down with a video camera or even your cell phone and a table tripod and ask them to tell you their life story.  I did that several years with both mom and dad and while, for me, it’s too soon to go back there and watch, their presence, their voice, their mannerisms are then captured for generations to come.  Maybe even do that this Sunday.

Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

Tim Hunter

Dad and Me 01

HERE I GO AGAIN

guns

Another mass shooting and once again I head to my blog and try to explain to the “guns at any cost” crowd that the cost is getting way too high.

And actually, I’ve done this at least four times before:

As good a time as any to say thanks  

OK, I’ll take a swing  

I’m Really Tired of This

Giving second thought to the Second Amendment  

The point is, the latest carnage—and our casualty record-holder at this writing—was carried out with a semi-automatic weapon. You do not need one of those to protect your family or to do whatever it is you do to feel better about yourself. Being a personal weapon of mass destruction, it’s no different than a bazooka or a tank. We’re not allowed to own those, but because it’s called a rifle, every N.R.A. card carrying member immediately goes to “they’re trying to take all of our weapons.” No. Just the ones that are designed to kill mass numbers of people in a short time.

Remember, these days, we’re no longer allowed to identify people as crazy or, technically speaking, having a few screws loose. So, until they prove themselves completely off their rockers, they can walk into a gun store and buy a rapid-fire rifle.

I’m officially refusing to accept that this is just going to happen. When given the spotlight Sunday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said, “It was Orlando’s turn.” That’s just viewing this as a game or right of passage or inevitable. Mass murder by deranged, angry person with an assault weapon can and must be prevented. I’m not willing to have my family or friends gunned down so that you can enjoy your misconstrued constitutional right to have an arsenal of every weapon imaginable at your home. If you believe the United States government is going to come to your home and take away all your guns, then you’ve got some serious issues to deal with.

Jim Jefferies does a masterful job of explaining exactly how I feel about guns in this video.  Yes, there are some F-bombs, but they were never more appropriate than in this piece. It is part 1 of 2, but the second part is easy to find on YouTube once you watch this one.

The late night TV hosts all said some thoughtful things in the aftermath, but TBS host Samantha Bee was the most on target.

How many more times does a mass killing of innocent lives have to happen until our country does something about it?

Tim Hunter

Putting the Ota in South Dakota

The Brandner Bunch

                       The Brandner Bunch

I was not raised in South Dakota.  I’m a California kid that grew up in a South Bay area city called Torrance (which, by the way, hosts the largest Armed Forces Day Parade in the nation every May).  However, I come from two imports to the Golden Bear state—my dad, born in Scotland and raised in West Virginia; and my mom, who was born in North Dakota and raised on a farm in South Dakota.

I kind of wish we had made it back to West Virginia to visit those relatives at least once while I was growing up. Never did. But we more than made up for it with our trips to South Dakota.  While we visited other destinations while growing up, I have to say the South Dakota ones were among the most memorable.  I’d guess we ventured back there was a family at least a half-dozen times during my stay at the Hunter estate.

It was a combination of driving and flying trips.  I’m told that my first trip back occurred when I was a baby.  Dad was exhausted, but the trio headed out anyway in our green ’57 Chevy Bel Air.  Since this was shortly after the Jurassic Period and in the days before air conditioning, the conventional wisdom was to do the bulk of your driving during the overnight hours, to take advantage of those cooler temperatures.  Of course, what else do people do at night?  Sure enough, on my first trip back, I’m told my dad fell asleep behind the wheel and we ran off the road.  This was also back in the days before such luxuries as seat belts. As the car eventually came to a stop, the passenger door popped open, as my mom held on to me tightly.  It would be decades later before I would hear this story for the first time. Most likely, it had to do with the statute of limitations thing.

Now, flying back then was also an adventure. Because my dad worked for the “friendly skies” of United Airlines, we flew dirt cheap, but on stand-by.  I remember flying United into Omaha and then catching a North Central prop plane that puddle jumped it’s way north to Aberdeen, the airport nearest our relatives.  One year, we tried the Minneapolis route, but it was so popular, there was no stand-by room for a family of five. So, after sleeping in the airport overnight and being bumped off another flight, we rented a car and drove the rest of the way to South Dakota.

Who was there?  Pretty much all of my mom’s side of the family, including the cousins I would see every couple of years.  There were my grandparents, Emma and Emil Brandner, along with my Aunt Irene, Aunt Virginia, Aunt Doris and Aunt Judy, Aunt Yvonne and the assorted uncles. The routine was to get in, use the grandparents’ house as a headquarters, then visit the various family members for a night or two.  In the early years, my grandparents lived on a working farm—as in milking cows, feeding chickens, raising hogs, etc.  For a city kid from California, it was a pretty big eye-opening experience.

We have home movies that document all those trips back and this summer during a rather impromptu reunion, we delivered DVD copies for all to see and relive some of those visits.  While we managed to work in some touristy things, visit a few family member grave sites and shop a little, the stories that were told of a South Dakota long ago were the real treasures we brought back.

One of my mom’s friends from her early years came by and that triggered a memory of Aunt Virginia, who was hired to babysit that same woman when Virginia was just 9.  Apparently, her family came to my grandparents home and “checked out” Virginia for a two week babysitting stint.

Virginia also flashed back on the time when she and my mom needed to go out and round up the cattle. With such things as shoes a luxury, my grandfather improvised and made some ‘shoes’ for them to wear into the field—using cut up inner tubes and some rivets.

My cousin Clay also provided some great stories, including the fact that he drove a car for the very first time when he was just five.  It wasn’t for a long distance, but his dad needed to drive the tractor, so Clay got behind the wheel when most kids were just starting kindergarten.

Our visit this time around was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was so great to get back to the place I hadn’t visited since 2007, and seeing some relatives I hadn’t seen in decades. While some of the young adults were just kids the last time we met, my cousins and I clicked like it had just been a couple of months since we last talked.  Of course, Facebook helps us stay connected better than any letter-writing did back in the day, but it was so cool—seeing Ronda, Clay, Curt, Pamela, Corinne, their spouses and families, we just picked right off where we had left off.

I couldn’t resist and so I put some excerpts of the trip together in my weekly podcast, which you can listen to right here.

Another South Dakota trip in the books. Another reminder that, when it comes to family, I’m a pretty lucky guy. 

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

It happened

Engagement on the Roof

Engagement on the Roof

When you arrive at this stage of your life, you look back on things that feel like they happened yesterday, but were actually decades ago.

Case in point.

It was August of 1984.  We were thinking about buying a new car, so I was asking KOMO Radio’s Larry Nelson for his thoughts on which ones I should seriously consider. We had become pretty good friends, even though my role was being the producer of his Seattle radio show.  That meant getting up at 2:17am every morning, driving in, finding lots of things for him to talk about during his show, lining up interviews, and such.

To be honest, I felt as though I should probably look around for what was next.  I was almost 29, had given up being on the radio in Yakima to become a producer in Seattle, but I felt like my growth potential at KOMO was limited.

Anyway, when I asked Larry for car recommendations, he shrugged it off.  “Oh, I wouldn’t get a new car right now.”  I came back, “Oh, yeah, it’s time.  We really need a new one. We’ve had the one in the shop quite a bit and we’re thinking about a minivan.”  He insisted it just wasn’t a good time.

So, I went back to the office to keep working on things for the show, but kept thinking about his words. “I wouldn’t…” “You shouldn’t…”  After a few minutes, I walked back to the studio and asked him what was up.  He informed me that management had decided to eliminate me and two others because of budget moves.  Yep, I was about to be laid off.

As Fridays go, this was probably the darkest one I had ever experienced. I began thinking about what to do next when the phone rang.  It was the neutralizer for the day–my wife letting me know that we were pregnant with our second child.  I thought it best not to bring up the job thing until Monday so that we could bask in the good news for at least a couple of days.

That child, eventually born on March 27th, 1985, was Tyson James Hunter.  Tyson, because we saw a story in the paper about Pete Rose naming his kid after Ty Cobb. Pete went with Tyrus, we liked the sound of Tyson–and James in honor of my mother’s late brother.  The quick story on James was that as a kid, I remember going through a photo album and seeing all kinds of pictures of me doing things I didn’t remember doing.  It turns out that they were actually pictures of a young James growing up.  We shared an uncanny resemblance.

I’ve been a bit on the over-sentimental side lately after seeing some home movies I had digitized.  It was the first time in years that I watched video of my two kids in their single-digit years and it made me realize how quickly time had flown by.  Add to that, last Saturday morning, parental units gathered at the Eastlake Bar & Grill, where we met up with Tyson and his new fiancé, Lacey, to celebrate their updated Facebook status.

I can easily walk through my mind and see so many of those Tyson moments again–Cub Scouts, coaching him in sports, holding hands as we walked along a street, seeing him laugh and goof around, hanging with his friends, buying that jacked-up truck in his teen years, going off to Boston University, graduating and becoming quite the businessman.  He’s now wrapping up his second year at the UW’s Foster School of Business, which leaves him a year away from graduation and then, becoming a loving husband to a really great person.  It’s about all a parent can hope for.

That time period I just flashed through covered 31 years.  It all began on a day when I found out I was going to lose my job, but it was a launching point for many good things to come.  I went on to my own successful radio & writing career AND I got to help raise a son.  The latter, among one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.

Congrats Ty & Lacey!

Tim Hunter

 

The Curse of The Home Movies

Yep, that's one of ours!

                           Yep, that’s one of ours!

Frankly, I love home movies. But over the years, as the technology has evolved, they have become even more powerful.

As humans, we experience things–we remember things. As time rolls along, our brain filters out the lesser events and we remember those incidents with a different point of view: good times are now great and the bad things that happened were just a blip on the radar.

Growing up mid-last century (wow, that sounds old) the technology in my day was something called an 8-millimeter camera. It was approximately the size of the box your last cell phone came in, you had to wind it up, listen to it click like a purring cat and hope that, whoever was behind the camera, remembered to keep his thumb out of the way. Oh, and when shooting movies inside, the camera needed the help of a “light bar”, which amounted to four 100-watt bulbs strung across a bar that rested above the camera. The brightness helped with the filming process, but for the performers it was like staring into the sun. My sister Debbie is convinced that the light bar was the reason all three of us kids needed glasses.

Oh, yes, and then when you had finished using the roll of film, you had to take it to a processing place and wait a week or two for it to come back.  Then, you’d set up the screen, strap the film into a projector, turn off the lights and enjoy your home movies.

In the 1980s, the era of the VHS camera arrived, just in time for me to capture my kids growing up.  Fortunately, the radio station where I worked invested in the gear and I would borrow the camera to videotape everything and anything. I was thrilled by the technology and quickly became that guy who inspired people to say, “Oh, here he comes with that camera again.”

I’m so glad I did.  Sort of.

Here’s the deal–watching those silent movies of my family back when I was a kid is fun. It helps stir memories and remind me of people and times I could have forgotten about.  The quality is OK and there was no sound.

However, after recently digitizing some old VHS home movies and watching them–the combination of the much better quality plus the addition of sound turned me into a blubbering idiot.  Yes, I was happy to see them, but there they were again–that 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son I remember spending so much time with.

I’m not going to bore you with the hours of video I shot.  I’ll definitely go through all of it and set aside some highlights.  Here’s a clip I grabbed during one simple afternoon in the backyard with my daughter, Christina, and my son, Tyson.

It’s those ordinary moments that are right in front of you every day that, years from now, you’ll cherish.  Seeing this clip reminded me of one of the greatest times in my life.  It brought back the memory, but at the same time–hearing those voices, seeing those wide-eyed smiles and the backyard they spent so much time in–it forced me to admit those days are now gone forever.

However, they will always live on in my mind & in those home movies and, for that, I’m eternally grateful. And, in my mind, I’m able to hug them again.

Tim Hunter

 

In the Crazy, Crazy Month of May

Yeah, for me, May is an insane month.

Now, it’s a GOOD crazy.  But we’re talking everything from Opening Day of Boating Season, being the auctioneer at our church auction, Mother’s Day, birthdays including my wife, my granddaughter, my aunt, my sister-in-law, my father-in-law and several other family members. Yes, later in the month, Memorial Day officially kicks off summer.  But smack dab in the middle of May is Syttende Mai–Norwegian for “the 17th of May.”

Lots of people see a bunch of Norwegians (and by the way, reminding you that I married into all this) celebrating a holiday and think, “Oh, it must be Norwegian Independence Day.”  Actually, the holiday is in celebration of Norway’s constitution, which occurred before it became an independent country in 1905.

Seattle has been celebrating Syttende Mai longer than Norway has been a country.

Our personal celebration has evolved into a two-day party based out of a Ballard hotel. We move in the night before, use the place as our headquarters, play a little home-town tourist and just have a great time with friends.

To that end, I thought it might be fun to take you along on this year’s adventure, so here’s an audio highlight reel of some of the sounds and people from the Syttende Mai celebration in beautiful Ballard, Washington.

Hope you enjoy it and maybe we’ll see you in Snoose Junction next year!

Tim Hunter

IMG_4003

THAT OLD GANG OF MINE

While rummaging through photo albums for a Mother’s Day photo to post on Facebook, I stumbled across this picture from a long, long time ago.

The Old Gang edited

This was my gang. Not all the members, but the ones that were lucky enough to attend this particular birthday party gathering, whichever year it was.

We all had that collection of kids that we played with in our younger years. You’d get home from school, find out who was around and then organize a tennis ball baseball game or touch football or hide ‘n seek.

My guess is that we went bowling for this birthday.  That was a popular thing to do back then and we had a bowling alley just down the street from where I was raised in Torrance, California.  In fact, to this very day, that alley is still operating and occasionally the scene of a PBA event.

It’s hard to imagine the actual number of years since this photo was taken and how much has gone on in my life and the world since then.  This is most likely in the middle 1960s.  It was back when our  TV was still black & white, when only select baseball games were actually broadcast on television, stores were closed on Sunday, you probably had a party line at your house—meaning, when you picked up your phone to use it, someone in your area who shared the line could be talking and you’d have to wait for them to be done until you could make your call.

This was before contact lenses and VCR’s.  We had lost John Kennedy, but Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were still around. We had yet to land a man on the moon and we drank gallons of a Kool-Aid type drink called Funny Face (Goofy Grape, Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry, Lefty Lemon) that was sweetened with Cyclamates, which they later banned because it caused cancer in rats.  Why rats were drinking a soft drink, I do not know.  We didn’t wear bike helmets, seat belts were a new thing and despite it all, somehow we survived.

A quick rundown of the players, starting in the back row (apparently the boys’ row) from left to right:

  • Glen Rico—Glen was a year older than me, with parents from Mexico. As you can see, he didn’t get the plaid shirt memo that day. It was thanks to his older brother Oscar that I saw my very first Playboy magazine!  Well, Oscar didn’t show me. Glen just knew where the stash was hidden.  Glen also introduced me to the game of chess and years later, would not only attend the University of Washington, but also become an ophthalmologist over in Kitsap County. After suffering a detached retina several years ago, I was left with a blurry left eye. It was Glen who pointed out to me that it was a cataract and referred me to a doctor over here in Seattle. Once again, I have clear vision in both eyes which will come in handy should I ever stumble across some of Oscar’s old magazines.
  • Kelly Toman—Kelly was a year younger than me, but of all the friends, we were probably the closest. His dad and mine coached our Little League team together. We were both junior lifeguards own at Hermosa Beach.  Not only were we Cub Scouts, but we both had moms named Fran and they became our Den Mothers.  Kelly went on to become a firefighter and I would get occasional life updates on him through the years, but we didn’t really stay in touch. He was kind enough to come to my dad’s funeral last year and it was incredibly awesome to see him again.  We haven’t communicated since, but I’m sure when we do see each other again, we’ll just pick up where we left off.
  • Kenny Vaughn—Kenny lived down the street and came from a family of 8, if I remember correctly. There are several things I remembered about Kenny.  He had the neighborhood hip mom. While the rest were living the 1960s housewife dream, Kenny’s mom was seriously into pop culture.  I remember hearing that she took her kids to “Yellow Submarine” on opening weekend because she was such a huge Beatles fan and I remember thinking, “That’s a COOL mom!”  Kenny’s oldest sister was Penny…slightly younger Lori was the stunner of the group….and Sandy was the freckled-faced younger sister who I think we all had crushes on at one point or the other.  I always wondered what happened to them. Not a clue.
  • Kerry Freeman—Another “I wonder what ever happened to him” flashback. Kerry attended the same parochial school as me, Emmanuel Lutheran.  It was probably the following year that the church voted to close the school and all the kids that were a day-to-day part of my life suddenly scattered. Kerry also had a cute sister, Tina. Then again, when you’re that age, maybe everyone’s sister is cute.
  • Me—Yeah, I know too much about me. Let’s move to the lower row, where the girls apparently needed to be.
  • Karen Belcher—Karen and I were the same age and she loved playing sports with the guys.  That probably earned her the label, “a tomboy”, but she was kind, happy and her parents talked funny.  They had that southern drawl thing going. It turned out they were from West Virginia, where my Scottish father was raised.  Karen eventually worked for a local police department, but I believe she is retired now.  We saw each other at high school and such, but by then we were just on different paths.  Although I should mention that she did help play a role in telling another girl that I liked another girl, who eventually became a girlfriend, so I should thank her for that.
  • Terri Hunter—Yes, my sister, the middle child. Oh, the things I did to my sisters. One was a procedure called “Von.” Terri would have her hair exactly the way she liked it, I would reach up and my hands would act like egg-beaters on her hair as I said, “Vonnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!”  I have no idea where that came from.  I also liked to make her and my other sister Debbie, laugh, especially when it wasn’t appropriate, like at the dinner table. I’d get them to crack up, milk would come out of someone’s nose and mom would yell at them.  But being flustered she didn’t know where to aim her attention and would confuse the names: “Dairy! Tebbie! Awwww!!!!”  And that made it all worth it.
  • Debbie Hunter—Yes, apparently she and Terri were twins that day.  You gotta remember, this is back when moms stayed at home and some moms even sewed clothes for their kids.  Their look was probably a McCall’s pattern that mom mastered on her machine.
  • Shelly Toman—Kelly’s younger sister, the same age as Debbie and apparently bowl haircuts were the ‘in’ thing that year. (probably a Sound of Music aftermath) Shelly and Debbie were besties for quite a few years growing up, at least, that’s how I remember it.   Plus, more kids at your birthday party means more presents, right?

Those years seem like forever ago, but start heading down that path and a flood of memories get knocked loose.  I remember them as good years, learning years and everything The Wonder Years would talk about decades later.

As you’re growing up, you can’t wait to get older. To move on to the next phase of life.  Then, after you’ve done that a bunch of years, you start realizing the importance of the now and how, maybe, you should have appreciated those years a little bit more.

It’s never too late, so let me just say thanks for all the great memories to that old gang of mine. You were an important part of my own long, strange trip.

Tim Hunter

Lost Memory Recovered

payphone

When you think about it, we all experienced thousands–perhaps, millions–of events while we were growing up.  Going from first recollection to fleeing the nest, so much happened.  The older you get, the more the little details slip away and you simply hold on to those big events.

So I was pleasantly surprised by a memory of a little thing brought back this week by my sister Terri. She was the middle one, closest in age to me, so our high school years over-lapped. Terri was chatting with my mom on the phone the other day and she flashed back to the system by which we were picked up from high school, in the days before we could drive.

Apparently, each of us were given a dime. Back then, that was the price of a phone call from a phone booth. Whenever we had an after-school activity like band, a sport, drill team, whatever, we would let mom know approximately what time we might call.  Then, we’d place the dime in the pay phone, rotary dial the number, let it ring three times and then hang up.  That way, mom knew it was time to pick us up and we got our dime back.

A way to beat the system and save a dime.  I would have never remembered that by myself. Just thought I’d share this memory of a little thing from long ago and a much different time.

Tim Hunter                                                                  dime