My New Voting Trick

My Voter’s Guide

Yeah, it’s been a year since we threw our federal government into complete chaos.  It finally caught up to our Seattle City government, which has been dysfunctional, inept, non-achieving and over-taxing for years.

I don’t know if I’m a conservative progressive or a liberal conservative. I have opinions and thoughts on everything, but it seems to be my own brand of politics that is sometimes Democrat, while other times Republican.

Most Seattle voters pride themselves on being progressive–formerly known as liberal, left wing or socialist. Take a look at most of the council races and you get to choose between uber-progressive and really-uber-progressive.  I’m waiting for the day that the city council changes all the streets to left-turns only.

I want to truly help homeless people and all those in need, but I don’t want to enable them. I don’t believe allowing camping on sidewalks and city parks, and dumbing-down heroin addiction to the point Seattle is trying to make it a lifestyle is demonstrating compassion. You’re addict?  Here, let us set up a safe injection site. That way you’ll be healthy enough to hit those neighborhoods and steal more to fuel your habit. And now we feel better about ourselves and didn’t have to make any hard decisions.

Yeah, that’s helping.

So, the other day, I found myself at a place where you could pick up the copy of The Stranger, which I did. (after all, it’s free)  I didn’t even realize at the time, in spite of the cover, that it was the Election Issue with their recommendations for our off-year election. Coincidentally, my ballot showed up in the mail around the same time. I had started to fill it out based on some of the main races, but then I hit a point where it was going to take some digging through the voter’s pamphlet to figure out the rest of the candidates.

As I skimmed through The Stranger and came across their endorsements, I realized that they were 6-for-6 in endorsing the opposite candidate I supported. That gave me an idea.

For the first time ever, I used The Stranger’s recommendations to choose who I was voting for.  They recommended A, I voted for B. They said Yes, I said No. Since they pride themselves on extremism to the radical left, I figure the candidate they didn’t support might at least be a little towards the middle.

That was it. I finished the rest of my ballot in less than a minute, put on the stamp and ran it out to the mailbox.

And a new way to vote was born.

Election Day, as of this writing, is still two weeks ago. So lots of time left to get your copy of The Stranger.

Tim Hunter

No More Secrets

What happened?

What finally happened that it was suddenly OK to out a powerful person like Harvey Weinstein and expose his abuse of power and the sexual depravity that so many women have to endure silence?

It doesn’t matter. This is a great thing.

Unbelievable behavior has been going on for decades. There have been payoffs. There were threats. Careers were ruined. Others, spared for favors.

But that’s Hollywood, right? The home of the casting couch. Where sexual harassment and assault are “just part of the process.”

No more.

It’s with heartbreak I read story after story of what actresses and models have endured for the sake of not having their careers crushed by powerful men. But now, they’re finally fighting back and I’m cheering them on.

The current “let’s put an end to sexual harassment and abuse” campaign has spread outside of Hollywood and has become a powerful wake-up call to me and hopefully millions of men.

Last Sunday, the #metoo campaign was given a boost by Alyssa Milano and it spread like wildfire. Sadly, for good reason. If a woman had been victims of sexual harassment or abuse in their lifetimes, they were encouraged to post #metoo. Practically every woman I have as a friend on Facebook joined in. Some hesitated, because they didn’t want people to know or didn’t want to relive it. Others have used it as a light to show us it’s far from OK. In fact, it hasn’t been for a long time. Hopefully, this is where we finally start to change things.

If you know me, you know I’m a goofball. I keep it light and have a hard time being serious. (apparently, except when I blog) I have this deep-rooted need to make people smile or laugh. Looking back over the years, I never, ever intentionally sexually harassed anyone. At least, in my mind.  I’m playful, flirty at times, but only with people I felt close to.

The #metoo campaign has me re-thinking and that’s when change begins. It has shed light on something that wasn’t said before to the masses–that being sexually harassed or assaulted has been more the rule, than the exception.

My hat is off to the women who have bravely stepped forward to tell their story with the hope that things will change and that, hopefully, others won’t have to go through it.

KING 5 News Anchor Amity Addrissi bravely told her story.

A Facebook post by a former co-worker was the real tipping point for me. I mean, for God’s sake, I never knew that had happened to her. I felt incredible sadness and anger as I read her story while realizing that she had been living with this all the time I’ve known her. She is one of the brightest, nicest, just deep-down people I know. Here’s her story:

#Metoo.

When I was in high school, I was held down and raped by two drunk/high boys from school. To complicate matters, one of them was actually my boyfriend. For YEARS afterwards, I was in denial that this was even rape — that’s how brainwashed our culture is. Since I didn’t scream at the top of my lungs, since I didn’t bite and punch and kick, since I didn’t physically fight back with ALL MY FORCE, this was clearly my fault, right?

I did try to shove them off, I repeatedly asked them to stop, I cried, I tried to squirm out of their grip as the pinned me down. But, again, I didn’t fight back with all my force, so it wasn’t REALLY rape, right? (SMH)

I kept dating that boy for a long time afterward, mainly due to feelings of low self-worth. This incident had a long-lasting impact on my life. An impact that is still very much felt. It kicked off a long-lasting bout of depression, decreased my belief in my value as anything more than an object, fostered an ambivalence toward life, and worst of all, gave me intimacy issues that continue to this day.

Now I wonder, how I ever could have thought this wasn’t even rape. I was A CHILD. I was raped. I never said anything. What is WRONG with this world?

I’m not glad to have had this experience, but I am happy to add to the growing #metoo lexicon.

And one last thing. Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve grown past it. But do join me in my outrage.

Story after story, #metoo after #metoo, from friends and relatives, knocked the wind out of me. That we’ve been silent as a society as long as we have been seems inconceivable. How could we have side-stepped this issue all the way until 2017?

The New York Post put a brighter spotlight on Hollywood’s past, which was notorious. Give this a read and you’ll see what I mean. Harassment and assault were not publicly accepted, but even worse: they were privately ignored. Power corrupts and Harvey Weinstein used his power in the most corrupt way. His attacks on women were widely known, but remained a poorly kept secret.

As for the impact on my ground zero, this forced me to come to the realization that there were most likely several times in my life when I inadvertently harassed someone. Something I viewed as playful might have been very disturbing to a victim of previous harassment or assault. They had been wronged in their life and I was reminding them of that incident or incidents. For that, I hope they will accept my apology.

I have many, many female friends and acquaintances and to you, I’d like to humbly ask that if I ever do anything that goes beyond your comfort zone, you tell me, “Tim, you’re crossing a line.” Your friendship means too much to me. And it’s long, long overdue to establish a no toleration policy.

My wife and I have talked about her #metoo story. I know it still hurts because we tried watching “Mad Men” and the sexual harassment that was part of that era and part of that show still made her uncomfortable. She had lived it.

I have my own #metoo stories. There was the bar manager in Yakima who groped me one night out of the blue. I’m talking full-out grabbing-my-crotch, claiming he accidentally tripped into me.  Yeah, right. Close friends have heard me tell the tale of the famous singer who invited me to his hotel room, gave me wine and then asked if I would take a bath with him.  Now, I am NOT bringing this up to say, “I understand.” I don’t.  I really don’t know what you went through  and I don’t know how people can use power to harass or assault people and then sleep at night. What kind of human beings are they?

It’s my hope that all those who suffered in silence now feel empowered enough to either raise their voices or at least call out something when it happens. There can be no more Harvey Weinsteins. The problem isn’t anything new. But it’s time for it to go away.

We’ve hit the breaking point. We’ve had enough. We’re going to do something about it. All of us need to make this a priority, no exceptions, no excuses. This hidden tradition of sexual harassment and assault ends now.

It’s time to step up for our wives, our sisters, our daughters and generations to come.

No more secrets.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 132

OK, still reeling from the UW Huskies loss last weekend in the desert to Arizona State University. I’m taking you back to the early 1980s, the last time we beat ASU down there, with Larry Nelson, Bob “the Voice of the Huskies” Rondeau and a cast of several. You’ll hear a KOMO Music promo and a couple of Halloween bits we did at 4th Avenue North.

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE 131

Not afraid to bare my college soul on this week’s episode. Digging out some classic moments from my days at KCMU at the University of Washington. For a couple of quarters, I did a daily comedy bit called, “Return to Normalcy.”   Don’t remember why I called it that. Cameo’s from friends of long ago, including Gale Ensign and Steve Fimmel.  Basically, I’m putting this out there in the archives so that years from now, someone can ask the question, “Why didn’t they stop this?”

Hug ‘Em While You’ve Got ‘Em

You may have gotten up this morning and had a slightly stiff neck you’re going to have to deal with all day. Maybe later, you’ll accidentally spill coffee in your car, some jerk will open up his door into your car or your boss is in an uber-bad mood.

Life is loaded with ups and downs. We think things like the above-mentioned challenges are ‘downs’. Actually, they’re just part of life.

For every dropped glass there’s a beautiful sunset. For each time you do battle with a cold there’s the giggle of a baby that makes you smile. The key is to focus on the goods and just let the bads pass. At least, that’s always been my philosophy. Live is balance.

I look back on my high school days as jam-packed with lot of goods. I managed to win over the girl of my dreams (at the time, they were young dreams), played basketball, had some great friends, did the popularity thing–it was just all in all a great experience for me.

Among the good ones I met along the way was Mike Duarte. Mike was just a solid guy and while we didn’t hang around often, whenever he saw me, he’d say hi. We’d exchange pleasantries. He was a super-athlete. Mike was a 3-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball with intensity. I still remember that husky voice and chiseled good looks. You could just tell this guy was going places and had a bright and beautiful future ahead.

So it didn’t surprise me when I heard later at a reunion that he had gone into law and was taking on the L.A. gangs. These days, he’s the Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. I understand that he and his wife Barbara have a couple of kids: Mikey, who picked up dad’s athletic jeans and is now in the Chicago White Sox farm system, and a beautiful daughter, Christiana, who goes by the name Chrissy. She was a recent graduate of the University of Arizona and had just landed a job in the marketing department of the L.A. Kings.

Both kids, just like their father, seemed to have a tremendous future ahead. But Chrissy’s life will remain forever frozen in time. She will always be 22. Her incredible smile, the playful pictures she took, the singing voice some friends were lucky enough to hear was silenced. Chrissy was one of the 58 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.

I haven’t spoken to Mike in decades but it’s just heart-breaking to see something so tragic happen to a family of really good people. It just eats me up that this tragedy will become the latest high-water mark for a deranged mind in the future who will feel the need to randomly shoot even more innocent people. The gun debate will be revived for a short time, it will fade away and nothing will be done to make our world safer. We’ll all just wait for the next event, which continue to get progressively worse, praying we won’t lose a family member in the process.

There will come a tipping point when people feel enough is enough. The gun debate is a war of extremes.  As more and more people lose their children, their family members and their futures to senseless gun violence, there will be a solution. I just wish we’d get there sooner than later. I would think that if you have loved ones, you’d have a pressing desire to make simple things like going to a country music concert non-life threatening.

I can’t imagine the horror of what the Duarte family is going through, but it’s amazingly easy to think of how many ways that tragedy could have been prevented.

Last Thursday, the LA Kings honored Chrissy by having all the players wear CD helmet stickers.

There is a GoFundMe campaign to help the Duartes with all the expenses involved in burying a daughter that was taken from them way too soon.

Another senseless act serving as a reminder: hug ’em while you’ve got ’em.

Tim Hunter

                                                                     

 

 

The Greatest Concert Ever

Everyone’s going to have an opinion on this one. What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever attended? Which concert set the standard as the one to beat for all future experiences?

Going into last Saturday night, I’d have to say the Paul McCartney show I caught at Safeco Field a couple of years ago was the high-water mark. It’s still up there. The 70+-year-old McCartney put his heart and soul into his performance, playing songs that covered most of my lifetime. It sounded like he was having fun, that he “still had it” and then, bringing out the two surviving members of Nirvana for an encore of Helter Skelter was the cherry on top.

Last weekend, my wife and I went to catch The Classic, as it was billed. An evening with the Doobie Brothers and The Eagles. I have to admit, during the weeks prior to the concert, my enthusiasm was fading. I had always wanted to see the Eagles, but now that Glenn Frey was gone, were they still The Eagles? Or, like so many touring bands out there, a few original members augmented by a bunch of studio musicians.

It didn’t help that I started seeing Groupon offers of tickets for $35 for this event, after I had ponied up $125 plus screw-you fees for each of our seats. The weather was starting to get fall-like, so that meant we could be outside, being cold, a million miles away from the stage and we could spend an evening regretting we had committed to this night.  Besides, we had caught the Doobies a couple of summers back and while they were pleasantly surprising, energetic and fun, we probably were going to see just the same old thing.

Add to that, we had caught a Don Henley concert and a Joe Walsh concert at the winery in recent years. I like to say we saw the Eagles, just in pieces. All to say, my expectations were pretty low.

And then, the show began.

It ended up being one of the greatest concerts ever. From any standpoint. Now, to explain why they may have knocked Sir Paul out of my number one spot:

The Doobie Brothers–They came to play, they did the hits, had some fun with some deep album cuts and rocked us all down Memory Lane. They showed up on the music scene during my high school years and I played their music on the radio in the earlier years of my broadcast career.  Tom Johnston, founding member and one of the two main voices of the group, delivered big-time. The Doobie Brothers were pretty much with me throughout the 70s and 80s, and they were back tonight in great form. Yes, no Michael McDonald, but he was later-Doobies. They had other members cover his hit songs and it was just fine. The sing-along version of “Listen to the Music” at the end was a great way to wrap it up.  GRADE: A

The Eagles–There are so many ways this could have been disappointing. Like I said, with Glenn Frey gone, would some of the songs just be cover versions of his hits? That was the big question and it was answered right away, when Joe Walsh introduced Deacon Frey, Glenn’s son, to sing of those songs. You could see Glenn in his face and could hear him in his voice.

But the Eagles doubled-down and brought along country legend Vince Gill to tackle some of those Frey vocals and he nailed it. So now, I’m watching the friggin’ Eagles, but it’s like the Eagles on steroids. They played around with some of the songs, slightly tweaking the melody, keeping it fresh, not just regurgitating. But I noticed, after introducing the young Frey, Joe Walsh kind of laid back. He offered harmonizing vocals, but mostly hung out on the right side of the stage, and just blended in. Being a solo act, I was impressed he could be a team player like that.

It was all part of the plan, because at one point, the band started playing “Life’s been good.” That’s Joe’s song, not the Eagles. But like he was helping round out the Eagles, they returned the favor. Then another Joe Walsh song. And another. It was a concert, within a concert, with psychedelic video and all kinds of fun thrown in. The crowd was loving it.

They went back to Eagles songs, wrapped it up, came out and did an encore, wrapped it up again and gave us one more encore. Wow. From the time the music started (and, on time, at 7pm–when was the last time you remember that happening) the groups took us all the way until 11pm. Most of four hours of great music, great memories and feeling like I had shared a very special experience with a bunch of other fans. GRADE: A++

Those are my reasons for putting this event in serious contention for the Greatest Concert Ever. I’ve got a few more years of reviews to get in, but this one has already secured a spot in my Final Three.

Tim Hunter

Hey, look at that!

So, I’ve managed to eek out a living somewhere along the line by noticing things, and then twisting them around so that they smack of comedy.

For example, I recently saw a news story that told of a new study that claimed “playing tackle football before the age of 12 could lead to brain issues.”

I don’t know about that. I played before I was 12 and cheese.

You see what I did there? I took the existing story. Looked for how you could twist it–what’s a universal truth?–and I went with, well, duh, you’d get brain damage–and so I thought, since I’m telling the story and I claimed I played before the age of 12–if I HAD brain damage (and the jury’s still out) so I would say something non-sensical, like “cheese”. I could have said walnuts, beans or prunes, but the word, “cheese” stuck in my head. Thanks, Ken Carson.

So, while observing is a key tool in crafting comedy, it’s also true of life. I’m always watching for details and then, when I notice something, I like to take note and pass it along to whoever might benefit from it. If I had traveled down a road with a giant pothole and I knew you were going down that same road, why wouldn’t I warn you? You would enjoy the benefit of my experience and observation and I would hope, some day, you might return the favor.

In the past week, I’ve had three experiences/life lessons that, with the above rule being strictly enforced, I’d like to pass along to you.

The 90-4 Rule Way To Eat–I went in and saw my personal physician, Dr. Brad Shoup, for my annual physical. We were talking about my adopting the Whole30.com approach to eating and he was fine with that, but….he said he was doing the “90-4” eating plan. “What’s that?” I asked and he explained. With an average of 30 meals a month, take four of the meals (like once a week) and eat whatever you want! The rest of the time you’re eating well, which is the majority of the time and, that’s all that matters, right?

Every Day’s Saturday, Except Sunday-A friend of ours who I thought enjoyed the luxury of being retired explained to me one of the realities of being at that stage. Mark these words: “Every day’s Saturday, except Sunday.”  Yes, on paper, that sounds great. Saturday’s P.R. machine has you believing it’s a day of rest, play, something fun, etc.  Well, Ed…..oh, crap, I wasn’t going to mention Kloth’s name…..OH CRAP…..well, the secret’s out…..anyway, Saturdays for the working class is the day after the work week when you have the most ambition to take on the house projects.  Oh, yeah, WE decide what would be nice to do around the house, but a very small amount of the WE population is there when it’s time to tackle those projects.  The moral of this story–when you retire, every day is Saturday….a day when you SHOULD do that home project you’d normally reserve for Saturday. (and that brings us back to, “Doh!”)

Last, But Not Least–This is more of an experience than a lesson. Let’s call it a reminder. So, last Saturday, I emcee’d a Lutefisk Eating Contest at the Fishermen’s Fall Festival down at the Ballard fishing dock.  Before the competition began, I was handed a stack of cards identifying the Lutefisk eaters who would compete. I invited a ‘Staci’ to come up to the stage and next thing you know, I see a woman being carefully lifted up on the stage so she can compete from her wheelchair. Then, the woman who helps here and another woman hop on the stage as fellow contestants.  It turned out it was the woman in the wheelchair, her sister and the woman in the wheelchair’s daughter. The wheelchair bound woman’s daughter was named Grace and when all the slimy dust settled, Grace came in 2nd place. She was out visiting from Ohio, accompanying her mom, Staci, who had visiting Seattle as part of her bucket list. Her sister quietly leaned in towards me during the competition and told me that Staci had been given maybe a year to live. So, coming out to Seattle was a dream and she was living it. It was yet another reminder to savor every day that we’re given on this rock. Tim McGraw has a haunting song, “Live like you were dying” and Staci was doing that through no choice of her own.

So there you have it: a trio of experiences that made me just a little bit smarter that I thought I would share with you. Be in the moment as best you can. Observe things. Did you pick up some life knowledge today? Pass it along. We all do much better playing as a team.

Tim Hunter

It’s like the backyard….

….where the dog has been going out for several weeks and you never got around to picking up after him. I’m going to step into it, but I’ll probably regret it.

This is not an attempt to try and sway you one way or the other about the whole “not standing for the National Anthem” issue. But if I can help you understand the other side better, regardless of which side you’re on, maybe it will edge us closer to a resolution, or even a polite agreement. After all, we’re all Americans, we have inalienable rights and assorted other ‘givens’.

Let’s start with the fact that people are raised differently. Some put ketchup on their eggs.  Others open their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas morning. There’s no right or wrong, it just is.

Boomers, for the most part, were raised at a time when we were taught certain things. We did the Pledge of Allegiance in school. We ducked and covered in the event of a nuclear attack (like that really would do a lot of good). We were taught things in Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts that the flag represented our country. If it touched the ground, you were supposed to burn it. You could fly it during the day, but it had to be taken down at sunset. And so on.

That brings us to the National Anthem.  Boomers had parents that fought for our freedom. They faced a World War, with a crazy German one way and suicidal Japanese warriors the other. To them, the threat of losing a war and singing someone else’s national anthem was unthinkable.  It made our clunky, barely rhyming Star Spangled Banner something very special. Almost sacred. So, a generation of kids were raised that, when the song was played, you removed your hats, placed your hand over your heart and stood at attention, facing the nearest flag.

OK, that’s how we were raised. So, to do anything to the contrary is wrong. Not legally, technically, morally, whatever. It’s just wrong.

So, when Colin Kaepernick or Michael Bennett or whoever decided to start sitting during the playing of our National Anthem, it bothered me.  I understand why they’re doing it. They want to use the occasion to point out social injustice. I got it. They have the right to do that. Speaking of rights, judges ruled a while back that burning a flag, while formerly an unthinkable thing to do, was a protected right.  Taking that and running with it, I suppose sitting down while the National Anthem plays is a lesser evil than burning an American flag before every Seahawks game.  But then again, if that’s a protect right, why not?  I mean, let’s keep pushing.  If you’re angry at how our country is doing right now (and there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be concerned), let’s see it. Sit down during the National Anthem. Burn a U.S. flag.  Or, how about this?—urinating on an American flag while the National Anthem is playing while you’re sitting down.  If you want to light it on fire first, then put it out while you’re peeing, that would be extra points. That way, it’s impossible to miss that you’re really upset about how things are going in America right now. Point made.

Now, how’s that going to change things? It won’t.  How could someone lucky enough to reach that level of skill, ability and matching paychecks do something to change the way things are?  Frankly, sitting down seems lazy. Pissing people off, counter-productive.  What about taking some of that money and donating it to groups or organizations actively working to change things for the better. The ALCU, Black Lives Matter, ANYONE!  That would probably have a bigger payoff, be less inflammatory and get us closer to moving on.

If sitting down during the National Anthem is such a great way to make your point, why don’t you see that happening in all the other sports?  The NFL has the blessing and the curse of being THE sport right now and so some are seizing the spotlight.  There was a time that baseball was America’s national pastime. Hey, for a while, professional wrestling actually made a ripple and packed stadiums.  Popularity comes and goes.  What one generation worships, the next ignores. It’s true of toys, it’s true of clothing styles, music, lifestyles, you name it.

And don’t look now, NFL, but your TV ratings are in a free-fall.

This is an 967-word way of saying I don’t know what the solution is to the whole “sitting down during the national anthem” thing. All I know is that it bothers me, but I tolerate it because I defend their right to do it. At a time when I’m happy and positive and excited about what’s to come out on the football field, I get this bad taste in my mouth. It makes me care less about the player involved and naturally following, less about his cause, whatever it is.

Logically, does it make sense to do something that offends people to try and sway their point-of-view? Let’s say you’re disgusted by the word, “Poop.”  I want you to realize that we need more free parking spots, so I’m going to say “Poop” over and over again until you agree with me. See much of a chance of that working?

Just know this–for every single one of these attention-getting athletes thinking they’re making a social difference by sitting down, kneeling , raising their fists in the air or turning their backs while the National Anthem is being played, there are tens of thousands of people who would love to stand for it if they could. But they can’t, because they died defending the right for people to sit on their ass.

There. I said it.

Tim Hunter

P.S. I truly meant the above piece to help the die-hards among the “everyone should kneel” crowd to try and understand that being disrespectful to our flag, our national anthem and our country doesn’t help your cause. This guy takes it much further and I think it’s worth posting here.

Wacky Week Podcasts EPISODE 127

You’ll remember Will Johnson as part of the KLSY family that moved over to WARM 106.9 for a bunch of years.  Where’s he at now?  He moved to Florida to get away from the rain.  It’s catch up time!!

 

It was around this time Will & I worked together. We were probably making Will take the picture.

Yeah, but….

I am extremely happy.

No, seriously, lately life has been one big huge reminder of how great it is to be alive.   My son’s wedding in Montana not only took me to a monumental family event, but also to the natural monuments of Yellowstone and all the beauty that life has to offer.

I’ve never been able to accept compliments very well. And so, when life goes well, I feel surprised. When life goes extremely well, I actually have a tough time handling it. Whether it’s an underlying feeling that I don’t deserve it, or a suspicion that I know it won’t last long, that doesn’t matter. I’m awkward at best when it comes to good times. I was even telling my step-daughter (and I hate that term) Kjersti at my acupuncture appointment the other day, when she asked, “How’s it going?”, I told her, “I’m really, really happy right now.”

So, while Monday didn’t ‘harsh my buzz’, it did provide a moment of concern. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer about things happening for the reason they do, all things are meant to be, etc. but this past Monday, the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 attack on the U.S., I heard comments that bothered me.

That fateful morning, my radio co-hosts–Bruce Murdock and Alice Porter—and I were heading into just another day, with a pre-recorded interview to play in that 5:30-6am time slot. After all, most people weren’t up by then, so if we had an interview and played it during that early morning stretch, we could replay it later in the morning–say, in the 8am hour–and most of our audience wouldn’t have heard it. This particular interview was with the author of a book about 9-1-1- calls. Thus, the 9-11 theme.  We were within minutes of playing it when we noticed on the TV monitor in our studio that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York.  We assumed it was some small aircraft that had screwed up badly…but next thing you know, we were getting notices about a special ABC report.  That canned interview never aired. Life would never be the same.

Thousands of lives were lost. Our lives were changed forever. Remember going out to the airport and actually walking out to the gate to greet a passenger with a funny sign or flowers? Gone.

So, this past Monday, when I heard the things people were saying about 9-11, it bothered me. “C’mon, that was a long time ago!”, “Oh, just move on!” or “We don’t need another holiday!”, I just shook my head.

First off, those of use who remember that day will never be the same. It was our Pearl Harbor, our Alamo, our reminder that our perfect little land of America is just as susceptible as any place on the globe. This isn’t political rhetoric, this was people’s lives. People who weren’t planning to have it all end that day. In their honor, I cherish every day since then. What they wouldn’t give to be able to complain about politics or global warming or any of the other complaints we have about today.

I truthfully don’t know what to do about that date. Make a National Day of Remembrance….or, does that make it a target for terrorists to use for an attack?  Let it fade into history? (I’d have a hard time with that)

The bottom line is that it’s a decision that should be left to those who will be here 40 years from now. I doubt that includes me, but then again, I’m a stubborn bastard. I won’t go easily.

So, it is for that reason that I can’t get too caught up in the lack of enthusiasm about an event that seriously shaped my life 16 years ago. So, I’ll express concern and then go back to being extremely happy.

However: never forget!

Tim Hunter

 

Another One Bites The Buzz

So, I’m tapping away on my keyboard in the bowels of my house known as ‘my office’, writing away, when I hear the sound of a text or something coming in on my phone. I check–nothing.

It happens again. Not from the phone. I listen carefully and it seems to be coming somewhere down below me. I’m thinking, “Oh, great!  My computer is starting to go out and I’ll have to pony up a bunch of money and buy a new one.”  I go back to writing and some motion caught my eye. I looked down and crawling on the front of my shirt, a yellow jacket that I’m pretty sure was 30-feet long. I remained calm, reached over and grabbed my phone, lifted it off my shirt, shook it down to the ground (a Michael Jackson song is about to break out) and…..well, for you insect lovers, let’s just say “he stopped buzzing.”

How he got there, where he came from, God only knows.  All I know is the next time I hear that familiar buzzing sound again, my phone will be the second place I check.

Tim Hunter

The Time of My Life

I’m a writer. Well, technically speaking, anyone who can pick up a pen or keyboard and start tossing words down on a canvas is a writer. But even though I stumbled through a 30+ radio career, having the time to write and refine my thoughts is when I am most comfortable. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I love the idea of being able to carefully hone a line or a blog before casting it out into cyberspace for judgement.  When you’re on the radio, sometimes you stumble on a word or the music’s too loud or someone is talking at the same time. So yes, I’m a part-time control freak.

On paper, I should be able to convey how much this past week has meant to me. However, I’m struggling with the words. I could go with the standard collection of adjectives and adverbs, but they feel inadequate. Rather than being concerned about their deficiencies, I’ll simply tell you what happened and I’ll cheat a bit with photos.

There was a gathering this past week at a place near Bozeman, Montana, called Rainbow Ranch. That was the place chosen over a year ago to be the site of my son’s wedding to an absolutely incredible lady named Lacey. Technically, it was a destination wedding, but it didn’t feel like one. Those are usually small groups, on a beach somewhere. This was more like a family/college reunion, with a crowd of around 80 people setting up for an extended Labor Day weekend at one of nature’s greatest playgrounds.

It was everything I expected about Montana, but also so much more.  Outside of driving through the state on my way to South Dakota, this was my first time exploring it.  We arrived at the airport filled with bronze artwork of bears, bison and dinosaurs. We grabbed a van and hit the road and were instantly engulfed in mountains, fields and rolling plains. Over the next several days, we saw herds of elk and buffalo. We went to a rescue animal park for close-up looks of bear and wolves.  We hooked up with the bride and groom to be Thursday night at a barbecue place across the street from our Air BnB rental that had outstanding barbecue, micro-brews and people wearing cowboy hats & boots.

Friday was Yellowstone day. Heck, we were that close, so we drove for an hour, leaving Montana and sneaking into Wyoming. We decided to get an early jump because of the crowds and it was a good hunch. Our first stop was Old Faithful. These days, an app can tell you approximately when it’s going to erupt. That’s nature at it’s finest. From there, we went to Grand Prismatic Spring. I had never heard of it before, I will never forget it.

Saturday morning’s events included a hike up into the mountains followed by a river float.  The float was relaxing and fun, with a lot of the river being no more than a foot or two deep. We rounded up a crowd of around 40 and had a blast.

Saturday night was the ‘rehearsal dinner’ which was more like a happy hour with a bridal party. That was at another micro-brewery in town.  And then came Sunday, the big day. The weather, originally thought to be near 90, was more in the 70s. Smoke from the state fires was evident, but not obnoxious. The scene was a spot near the river and the day was just magical.

I’m sitting here, thinking about that day, and I have to pause and sigh.

To the 20 and 30-somethings starting out a family and beginning the kid thing, it seriously becomes a blur from the time you’re holding that little hand as you cross the street to the time you’re hugging your kid on their big day. Don’t be in a hurry. It was a fun, incredible stretch of my life, having that little person be so dependent on you, watching to learn how to act, what to do, the family way to handle problems. etc.   The child’s perspective eventually evolves from wanting information to knowledge of their own and then, they become experts on their parents.  They decide what they liked about the family way, and how they’ll do things differently when they get in charge. It’s a natural process, we all go through it.

What’s surprising is that, as the years go by, the ways mom and dad did things becomes comforting and eventually, the day rolls around when you find yourself doing something you never thought you would. Because they did it that way.

I cannot be any prouder or happier for Tyson and Lacey and I’m so excited for what lies ahead. They planned and executed one of the greatest gatherings of family & friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. To meet their circle of friends, to see some of Tyson’s buddies from the high school and college days, to get to know Lacey’s closest friends, to go on adventures with my wife and family, including my sister Debbie and mom Fran, I could not possibly ask for a greater experience.

So thanks to the newlyweds, the Lowber family and all that made this event possible. I find myself replaying so many moments in my mind and I have a feeling I’m going to be doing that the rest of my life. Here are just a few of the images making their way through my head right now.

God bless you all!

Tim Hunter

 

The Big Week

I’m excited.

This is the weekend that we’ve known was coming for over a year that, at one time, seemed so far off in the future.  Tomorrow, we hop on a jet and fly to Bozeman, Montana, for the wedding of my son and his awesome fiancé’ Lacey.  These two kids just seem to be doing it right and it’s so great to see.

Both figured out their careers, then decided to up their game by going for a masters degree.  As fate and timing would have it, the two both enrolled in the evening program at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Over time, they got to know each other, there were sparks and then you could just tell this was becoming a very special thing.

I remember once talking with Tyson about the whole marriage thing. Can’t tell you when that was, but what stuck in my mind was his vision of the kind of person he wanted to marry.  Attractive would be nice, but he really wanted someone he could intellectually talk with. Someone to discuss things with. Being an active person, I knew that was an unspoken consideration.  With Lacey, he hit the trifecta. Both are, at the core, really nice people and that will serve you well for a lifetime.

We’re heading over to Montana, their Destination Wedding site (with absolutely no affiliation to Destination Marketing) for what should be a spectacular weekend. There’s going to be a hike, a river float, a rehearsal dinner resembling a happy hour and an outdoor wedding in a beautiful setting, Last I heard, Sunday was supposed to be around 88-degrees.

I’m going to milk this weekend. I’m talking serious efforts to living in the present and enjoying every second of this adventure. We’re going to catch Friday’s first Husky game of the season at a bar somewhere. Yellowstone is said to be a 45-minute drive from where we’ll be staying.  And while I’ve driven through Montana on my way to South Dakota, I’ve never really spent any time there, so I’m looking very forward to that.

But most of all, I’m very excited for two great people who are taking another big step in their future together.  One of them just happens to be my son.

And I don’t want to come off as anxious, but I’ve already added Lacey to my Facebook status as my daughter-in-law.

Let the party of the year begin. And congrats you two!!

Love you guys,

Tim Hunter

 

One More Summer Thing To Do

Here we are again. We’re back to that time of year where “Back to School” is old news and people start saying “Where did summer go?”. Just a week remaining in August and football season is upon us.

But as you know, summer trickles away. You start to notice the cooler mornings and the dampness that sneaks into the evenings that wasn’t there just a couple of weeks ago.  We still score 80-degree temps during the day, but the nights start flirting with the 40s. A few weeks ago, I started making up a summer bucket list—a collection of things I’d like to do before we slide into fall.

One of those things was visiting the grave of martial arts legend Bruce Lee and his son, in an old cemetery in Seattle. Did it.

Earlier this summer, we actually did the Tillicum Village thing again. For outsiders, it’s where you hope on a ship, that takes you and 100+ tourists out to Blake Island where you enjoy a taste of the Native America lifestyle. Some dancing, smoked salmon and such. I had not done that in at least three decades. Another checkmark.

Something I have done that I’d highly recommend is to head up to either Bothell or Kenmore and go for a kayak ride. A guy I met through the Bothell Chamber started What’s Up Board rentals and he launched a booming business. What a wonderfully calming getaway.  $15 + tax gets you a one-hour rental to go up and down the slough or explore the shore of Lake Washington and really, that’s all you need. I know there are die-hards that make a career out of kayaking, but it’s one of those things I enjoy, but it will have to settle for when I have time.

When I did finally make the effort to head north, I pulled up into the Bothell Landing, walked over to the stand and explained I had no idea what I’m doing. The kids working there were great and apparently, not knowing what you’re doing is a pretty big club. So, it’s OK. You don’t have to be a pro, they set you up, help you get in to your kayak and off you go.

 

One employee told me that if I was to fall in, it would probably be when I was getting out. Eventually, I saw what she meant, but the darn things are actually fairly stable. I had brought along my swimsuit, so I ran over to the restroom, changed, then put my phone and car keys in a reseal-able plastic bag and I was off.

I had a relaxing blast.  The quiet. The birds like ducks, geese and blue heron.  I saw one kayaker pull up her craft next to the blackberries hanging over the water. But for that entire 60-minute stretch, there were  no emails, no disturbing Facebook posts–it was flat out relaxing.  My goal now is to work in one more adventure before the summer is through and drag along my wife, Victoria.

As I got back on shore, my wheels immediately began spinning, imagining that I had discovered my new sport.  Something I could do a lot and on a regular basis. Hmmmmm, I wonder what a kayak costs?

Well, I did the research.

You can go inflatable (cheap) or make it a plastic one, then add on a roof rack to help you get it there and I’m rounding it out to around a $1,000 investment.  If I were to just stick with renting one for under $20, that would give me 50 rentals. Get out twice a year and I’d be able to just rent a kayak for the next 25 years.  I look at the golf clubs sitting in the corner to remind me that best intentions don’t always turn into actions. Tell that to the smart-alec who wrote “1883” in the dust of the elliptical machine behind me.

If you just can’t make it out this summer, put it on your Summer 2018 Bucket List.  But if you do manage to work it in and give it a try, you’ll thank me for the recommendation. Maybe when we’re out on the water together.

Tim Hunter

I Don’t Understand–But, Then Again, I Do

What the hell is going on right now?

I feel like I’m watching a replay of a PBS series on civil rights. When did I go asleep and wake up in 1957?

I’m probably a couple of days of outrage behind you. This weekend, we did a day-trip on Saturday and had a pre-func wedding beach party on Sunday. I’ve gotten to the stage where I may glance at my phone, but if I don’t, I know the world will keep spinning and I can check on things when I settle down.

While driving, my very plugged-in wife Victoria was reading her Facebook posts and commented that something was happening back in Charlottesville.  Then, she followed that by saying there was a protest march in downtown Seattle.

I’ve already hit my limit on protest marches. I mean, seriously, people taking to the streets to emphasize how much they’re against what everyone is already against. Yes, it’s a right. March your brains out. But what happens is that something goes wrong–an injury, an arrest, thugs infiltrate and cause problems, store windows break, or police are pushed and a riot breaks out.

Protest marches are just a live version of your Facebook page.  The people marching are the ones who spend their social media time trying to convince you to think the way they do, even though there’s never any actual convincing done. If you agree with what’s said, you pass it along or give it a ‘Like’.  If you disagree, but want to preserve the friendship, you hide it, and long for the days of cat videos.

HBO did a phenomenal job of capturing the hate of Charlottesville  in this video, which I’ll warn you, is hard to watch. But it gives you a real picture of what’s going on in the disturbed minds of the White Nationalists.

This is where I’m torn. I don’t want to give them a minute of news time or any coverage, whatsoever.  All it becomes is a platform by which they can flush out all of the other hate-mongers that lurk in this country.  When I finally got the details about all that went on during the weekend, I was outraged like you. But at least I was able to enjoy a couple of nice days.

We need to deal with bigotry and hate. We can’t ignore the threat of Nazi-ism.  That we even have to be talking about this 80 years after it’s blight on humanity is dumbfounding.  The moron who drove through people and killed one of the protestors was a 20-year-old brain-washed hick. Sadly, there are still people teaching hate and raising their kids with that kind of fear. This photo struck me particularly hard when I came across it yesterday.

My first reaction was, “Well, there you go.  Kids are being raised to hate.”  Then I read about the picture. It wasn’t from this past weekend–it was from an event 20 years ago. For all we know, that little girl could have been among this weekend’s Nazi-marchers.

We absolutely need to take this threat seriously, but those White Nationalists are but a small, tiny portion of the U.S. population. There’s a lot more of us than the haters. And as much as we’re disgusted by what they say and believe, they’re guaranteed the right of free speech, just like us. However,  they’ll only be talking to themselves if we ignore them.  Like so many things, from O.J. to the Kardashians, this is being turned into a media event and a hot topic, so that every newscast every 15 minutes feels the need to be talking about it.

I think every one of those pro-Nazi demonstrators should have their eyeballs taped open and be forced to watch, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas“, which we happened to watch over the weekend. After that, “American History X“. Although, I’m sure in both cases, they would dismiss them as purely propaganda films.

I had higher hopes for this president, in trying to make the most out of a dismal situation.  I basically considered it survival mode.  I wanted to just ride out these four years and hope that someone credible would step forward in the meantime. Then we’d all say, “Well, that’s a no-brainer.” I’m still waiting for a leader to make themselves known.

With President Trump, we have no idea what’s going to happen in six months, let alone the next six minutes.  However, I am convinced that, years from now, there will come a time we’ll all be able to look back and say to each other, “Can you believe that actually happened?”

Keep believing. Good will prevail.

Tim Hunter

 

A Hot Summer Tip

Gee, that could mean a tip that is hot during the summer. Or a hot tip that you’re being given during the summer. Or, a tip about summer while it’s hot.

Actually, all three could apply.

I like this little corner of the Internet to be amusing, to leave you with something to think about or to make your world somehow better. This week, as the smoke-filled skies of a sizzling Seattle summer begin making us yearn for the rain-filled months of fall right around the corner, I’d like to talk with you about your furnace or gas fireplace.

Congrats to those who opted to keep reading because you’ll thank me at the end of this.

Our house has a gas furnace and, in my little downstairs man-cave, a gas fireplace insert.  The other day, my always-cold wife Victoria flipped on the fireplace to take off the morning chill (I’ll bet it was down to 74 in the house) when it made a sputtering noise. That prompted a discussion that ended in the realization we have lived in this home for 10 years now and have never bothered to have the gas fireplace serviced.

Now, when it comes to something like that, there are two trains of thought: 1) Yep, I’m going to hire a professional to do it or 2) I’m not going to pay $100 for a guy to come out, vacuum the fireplace and tell me everything’s fine.  When it comes to anything natural gas, I always choose #1. Because possible mistakes could easily top the $100 you think you’re saving.

Why have your furnace or gas fireplace professionally cleaned and checked? Lots of reasons.

THE FURNACE

I called up one of the members of the Bothell Chamber, Sundance Energy, and they sent out a guy named Brian last year who cleaned our furnace, gave me some thoughts about the filters, made sure the pilot light and everything involved was running smooth and efficiently and then he was gone. We were left with an efficient furnace and the peace of mind that comes with knowing it was checked out.  $100 well spent.

THE FIREPLACE

OK, this is the one that inspired writing this piece for you.

  • First off, the glass was dirty. Brian (yes, he was back), properly cleaned it so it looks brand new. Why does it get dirty?  Because of the substance they add to natural gas to give it a smell, for safety’s sake. And when your fireplace isn’t burning efficiently, it leaves a residue on the glass.  He told me I could do it, but NOT to use Windex or any ammonia-based product. They have special non-scratch ceramic cleaners that take off the residue and leave your glass clear again. Good to know.
  • Another thing Brian noticed was that one of the artificial logs was upside down.  How would we have known? But because it was, it caused the flame to be higher, which also resulted in residue build up.  He vacuumed the heck out of it, correctly stacked the logs and then showed me the pilot light. When it was dirty, it had a white tip. Remove all that crap and a subtle blue flame appeared.  Plus, he turned down the flame which, of course, will save gas in the long run.
  • With tax, it came to $109 even. He said I was smart to book him in the summer, because come the fall and winter, the price goes up to $160 and it sometimes takes a couple of months for him to come by.
  • As a crowning touch, he even strategically added some fibrous material that, when the flame burns, gives the appearance of embers glowing.

So, there are lots of reasons to reach out to Sundance or your regular furnace company right now. It seems an out-of-season subject, but doing it now will definitely pay off for you in the months ahead.

By the way, my friends at Sundance are having a Grand Re-Opening next Thursday, August 17th, at their Bothell store, which was severely damaged in the great Bothell fire that almost wiped out downtown last year. The party starts at 5 and should be a lot of fun. If you go, I’ll see you there. And remember the rule–you need to have a swig of wine every time J.D. says the phrase, “ductless heat pump.”

Hopefully, they have air conditioning.

Tim Hunter

Our Shiny Clean Fireplace

Bob Cram

If you lived in Seattle back in the 1960s, your routine after work probably included coming home and turning on your black-and-white television to catch the evening news. After a few local headlines, the KING-5 news anchor would toss it to the weather guy, Bob Cram. Bob was a plain-looking sort of fellow with glasses who had a niche in the weather business–he included his cartooning skills in the forecast.

By the time I arrived in the Pacific Northwest, Bob was in his post-weatherman days, but remained a local personality. During the early 1980s, I returned from my 3-year Yakima exile to Seattle and became Larry Nelson’s producer at KOMO Radio. Part of those duties included being back-up production guy, which meant I would often find myself in a recording booth, engineering for the people who had come in to record their commercials. It was thanks to that Fisher Broadcasting side-job that I got to meet Bob, along with his daughter Sara, Husky Football Coach Don James and his wife Carol, Rainer Rey, and even the voice the Mariners, Dave Niehaus.  Dave would sit down to record the latest Brooks-McKnight Chevrolet commercial and let out a “My, oh, my” but not without taking the time to talk with me about baseball, last night’s game or what he had been up to in the off-season.

When I first got back to Seattle, Bob Cram was the voice of QFC. In time, Bob and his daughter Sara, did a tag-team version of the spots. Then, they were replaced by Carol James and Rainer Rey and that was the last I saw of Bob.

But while he was the grocery chain’s spokesman, I remember him coming in, being revered as “THE Bob Cram.”  A story he told that stuck in my mind was the time in 1965, when Bob was with Frosty Fowler and his morning radio show at the top of the Space Needle. How Seattle can you get?  Well, that particular morning, Seattle had an earthquake that registered 6.7 on the Richter, killing seven people and causing $12.5-million in damages. Bob and Frosty found themselves being waved back and forth atop the Needle, with seconds feeling like hours until things finally calmed down.

Bob Cram was soft-spoken, talented and had a great run. He continued drawing all the way up to his final days and it wouldn’t surprise me if a bulk of his work doesn’t end up at the Museum of History & Industry. I feel very fortunate to have briefly met and worked with one of the good ones in the biz. Here’s a nice look back from KING 5.

Bob passed away last week at the age of 91. Comfort and peace to his family as we all say goodbye to another face from old Seattle.

Tim Hunter

If You Want To Make God Laugh

Tell him what you have planned for your life. My late radio brother Larry Nelson used to say that to me.

It’s true.  Take a look at where you are in life right now. Very few of us can say we predicted it with Nostradamus accuracy.

For 30 years, I was able to enjoy a career in radio that I could have never imagined having.  My goal, once I arrived at the University of Washington back in 1973, was to take 18-credits a quarter, so I could graduate two quarters early from the full four years and then head back to southern California, marry the girl across the street and grab just any kind of job, like a ticket rep at United Airlines and live happily ever after.  That was the plan.

What wasn’t in the plan was to have said girl across the street have a ‘sign from God’ to break up with me one Thursday morning near the end of my sophomore year and then marry the minister that helped her with the translation of that sign a couple of months later.

Never saw it coming. But it happened. I can look back and realize the consequences more with all the power that hindsight offers, but it really was for the best. That’s OK. Because of the change in my future plans, I looked around, saw that Radio & TV was an option for a career path and never looked back.

You do something for 30 years and it will stick in some people’s minds.  It does my heart good when I hear people say, “You’re the Hunter? Oh, I remember you. ” For 17 years, I spent mornings at 92.5-KLSY, the invisible carpool member giving people something fun or interesting to listen to. Just the other day, one of our faithful listeners that won one of our contests posted this on Facebook.

These days, I am blessed in so many ways–being able to do what I want to do, work on fun side projects, help clients get noticed, and all with the flexibility that you would think only comes when you retire. This October, it’ll be three years since I broke away from a secure 9-5 routine and never looked back. If all goes according to plans, I’ll ride this out until I’m 70 and then I’ll most-likely continue what I’m doing, but thin out some of the stuff I’d rather not. At that point, I’ll be going pure fun only.

Then again, I said the p-word: plans. It could happen. It might not. That little rumble you just heard could have been God busting a gut.

What I do know is that I’m going to keep enjoying this dream as long as it lasts. If changes need to occur, so be it. With age comes the wisdom that each day matters, each moment should be enjoyed and cherished. Slow down, stop rushing to get to the next thing so you can rush to the next thing. And for God’s sake, don’t talk on your phone while driving.

Tim Hunter

Victoria With Victoria

At the risk of this turning into a travel blog, I’m going to take you on a second adventure in a row. This time, to north of the border and the picturesque city of Victoria, B.C..

Yes, it was a tad redundant going there with my wife, Victoria, but the trip delivered on the promise of being one of the best day-trip adventures available to those of us here in the northwest.

We went last Thursday after a busy week of playing tourists in town with some out-of-town guests.  Probably not the best planning, but outside of the time commitment, it’s a pretty easy undertaking.

GETTING THERE

OK, you could drive, heading towards Vancouver and veering off to the left to catch the Tsawwwassen ferry, which drops your car off on Vancouver Island. (yes, Victoria is on Vancouver Island, but Vancouver is on the mainland. Those wacky Canadians!)  That will take you 3 hours to get to the ferry terminal (if the border is kind), then there’s the boat ride and 40-minutes to Victoria.

OR you head downtown, catch the Victoria Clipper and less than 3 hours later, you’re getting off in the harbor, across from the Empress Hotel. We chose plan B.

WHAT TO DO

That’s pretty wide open. Shopping is a good idea, since the exchange rate has returned to the 1970s and you basically save 31% on everything you buy. In town, there’s high tea at the Empress (which is now missing its ivy covering after a $30-million makeover). Butchart Gardens is one of their most famous attractions and while they keept it attractive during the fall and winter, spring and summer is when you want to catch it.

CVS Tours offers a nice package that we took advantage of that included the bus ride to and from Butchart, along with a stop at the Butterfly Gardens.

That’s a perfect place for an added stop because right next door to the butterflies is a winery we absolutely love called Church & State. They’ve got the grounds, the growing grapes and a place to grab lunch. Oh, and of course, wine tasting.  We even tasted a Merlot that had received 98 points. It was $40 a bottle, but the exchange rate lowered it to under $28. You’re supposed to only bring back one bottle per person, we pushed it to two and all arrived home. All are under heavy guard.

TIPS

  • Pay everything with plastic (the Clipper doesn’t even accept cash on board) and let the credit companies do the exchange rate.
  • There is no Uber or Lyft in Victoria, so you’d be cabbing, bussing or renting a car.
  • Bring that baggie of Canadian change along that you’ve been saving. There are lots of street musicians performing and that’ll make you look generous.
  • Buy your Clipper tickets early and check in early. Seating is first-come, first-served and you’ll want those middle lower seats, in case it gets rough.
  • Double-check your passport. Did it expire when you weren’t thinking about it?
  • There can be Groupon deals, if you check before you go. More likely in the off-season.
  • As a Clipper passenger, you can park at the Bell Street garage all day for $10. Score!

I’ll bet it’s been five years since my last time in Victoria. Back when the Clipper first started making runs up north, I would host KLSY Listener trips to Victoria and I developed a fondness for that place. What a wonderfully clean, quaint city. And with this year’s stellar summer weather, it just doesn’t get much better.  I’m going to have to make a point of not forgetting about this excellent one-day escape.

When was your last time in Victoria, B.C.?

Tim Hunter

 

It Takes A Tillicum

We dropped off our houseguests at the airport this afternoon, after five days of playing tourists in our home town. It was a blast.

We hit some of the restaurants we knew would deliver a unique Seattle experience–Elliott’s, Wild Ginger, Bitter Root Barbecue. We even dragged them along to Ballard Seafoodfest, where I emceed my 14th Lutefisk Eating Championship. If you want to hear what that sounded like, click here.

But it was the trite, often overlooked, “Oh, brother” suggestion that was the hit of the extended weekend.  You know, that feeling you get when out-of-towners say, “We want to go to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Underground Tour, etc.”  For me, growing up in southern California, when family came to town, it was off to Disneyland. But our Florida guests wanted to do something that I haven’t experienced for 25+ years.  They had read in USA TODAY about this place called, “Tillicum Village.”  Oh yeah, one of those tourist experiences you COULD do, but then you start listing the excuses–it’s expensive, it eats up a good part of a day and you don’t have that much time here, it’s “only for tourists”, etc.

For all the times I thought those things or said them out-loud, I’d like to apologize and withdraw my statements.

First off, true: it’s not cheap. However, the value you get for your money rivals any of the other touristy things you could do in town. It’s a four-hour experience that includes a boat ride, an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Native American longhouse and show and, on a sunny day, one of the best views of Seattle you can get anywhere.  Basically, that’s $20 an hour. On that front, I’d like to pass along just a few of the photos I grabbed along our adventure.

Of course, you can’t expect Seattle to be in day 24 of a dry spell, for Mount Rainier to make itself known on the ride home, to see wildlife like raccoons, deer, seals and bald eagles put on a show for you as they did, so maybe we were just lucky. But Blake Island and Tilicum Village are not just for tourists. It was a nice reminder to see families in awe of the place we live, to hear people say they were from Federal Way to Israel and all points in-between. This day impressed me—and I live here.

I’ve seen that, in the off-season, you can get a pretty nice discount on Groupon, if price is a concern. But if you need a one-day vacation and want to stay close at home, I’d highly recommend grabbing a lunch cruise over to Tillicum Village.  AAA gets you 20% off your tickets.

And I can promise you, it won’t be another 25 years until my next visit.

Tim Hunter

Returning to My Twenties

If you could go back to any decade in your life, which one would you choose? Last Saturday night, the choice was made for me when we attended the Queen with Adam Lambert concert at KeyArena in Seattle.

On the surface, it would be easy to say, “Oh, yeah, another rock band from the 70s with a couple of the surviving members and some other lead singer.” While that’s a fair description of  a lot of vintage bands out there, this is not just an exception, but an example for all the others.

Let’s start with Queen. If you’re old enough to remember them when they first came on the music scene, the next words you should be saying to yourself is Freddie Mercury. His four-octave range and flamboyant lifestyle took us all to places we had never been before. At a time when the world was dancing to a disco beat, he lead his group through a pop music revolution.  Oh, it was rock, but a produced, sometimes classical or operatic sound. When a new Queen album came out, you never knew what you were going to encounter.

Queen started becoming incredibly relevant as my twenties arrived–that decade of metamorphosis where you begin post-college adulthood, take that first job in the field you plan to spend your entire working career and find out if that’s true.  Back in those days, it was when marriage broke out and people started having kids.  I turned 20 in 1975. Two months and a day later, Queen released their epic album, “A Night at the Opera.”  The title appealed to me because it matched the name of a Marx Brothers movie. The music world embraced it because of songs like “You’re my Best Friend” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The decade of my twenties went from 1975-85.  So much happened in my life during that stretch of time from getting married and moving from Yakima to Seattle, to having two kids and starting to climb the ladder of my radio career. As fans gathered at KeyArena last Saturday night, Queen took the stage and played the soundtrack of that decade for me, as well as offering flashbacks to my college rock concert days.

Queen with Adam Lambert to the casual music ear might seem like a stretch. A classic rock band and with the runner-up of American Idol’s 8th season? It couldn’t be a better match.

Queen guitarist Brian May hasn’t missed a beat. Plug in that guitar and you’ll soon be enjoying that classic Queen sound.

Roger Taylor drummed his way through the evening like he was still in his twenties, even offering up the classic rock concert drum solo.

Then there’s Adam Lambert. Sorry if you haven’t been following his career, but the dude is real. Songwriter, singer, performer and this just in–he’s been touring with Queen for five years now, as well as developing his solo career. My wife Victoria and I caught him a couple of years ago at the Puyallup fair and became even bigger fans. And for the Queen purists, he makes very clear up front that he’s not in any way trying to replace Freddie. In fact, Mr. Mercury even makes a couple of appearances on the big screen in two of their songs. It was good to see him again.

Lambert performs proudly and is honored to be in that position, all the while knowing that he’s filling a void, but this is still Freddy’s world. Adam even performed his new single, “Two Fux” the day after it’s release with the Queen band members.

Add in the showmanship and special effects that would make Freddie proud and this traveling entourage should definitely be on your must-see concert list. Not sure when they’ll pass through town again, but I have an idea I just might be there. And for a solid two hours plus a 15-minute encore, make another return visit to my twenties.

Tim Hunter

Everyone’s Got a Ghost Town

My mom had a surgical procedure a few weeks ago and is recovering nicely. Each of the kids took some time off to help around the house and try to slow her down. Yeah, that’s pretty much where I got it.

Going back this time was a little different. I decided to try grabbing a Lyft from the airport, instead of renting a car and having it sit around for a few days.  That was smart and easily saved me over $100. I think I’ve got a new routine.

I arrived at the old neighborhood and, this time not driving, I noticed more things as we cruised down the street. We went past Irene Laskow’s house, a girl we cruelly gave the nickname, “Bozo” because of her big toes. We went past “The Bachelor’s” home, a name the neighbors bestowed to a guy named Irv who, when the neighborhood was new, was a single guy. He was married by the time I reach a coherent age.

I briefly saw Sharon, mom’s next-door neighbor, whom I’ve known for decades. But her home was previously the residence of one Raylene Crocker, the girl who gave me my first kiss. I was 5, she was 6 and it was a quick smooch under a folded-over wading pool.

Of course, across the street was the girl that got away, who eventually will get an entire blog or two in her honor.  Just too many stories and directions to go for now.

This little street in Torrance, California, was where we played hide ‘n seek and touch football. We spent hour after hour competing in tennis ball baseball and I’m talking about you Kenny Vaughn, Mike Cobb, Mike McClaren, Glen Rico, Kelly Toman, Karen and Dennis Belcher. When we weren’t playing, we were wheeling and dealing baseball cards that we had bought for 5-cents a pack (including a rock hard piece of gum) from the Helms Bakery truck that routinely visited our neighborhood.

One of my regular hangouts around home was the driveway, where dad had put up a basketball hoop for me to practice on. We played endless games of H-O-R-S-E, as well as driveway-sized games with dad pumping up his famous West Virginia set shot. In time, I started playing a little bit more in order to be outside when that girl across the street might come outside.

The neighborhood is now the place where ________ used to live. Look at a home, and if I say, “Oh, that’s where Fred & Carol used to live”, my mom and sisters know right where I mean.  It has now evolved from a mostly Caucasian blue-collar hood to a nicely diverse collection of ethnicities. It’s strange–sure, they’re the same homes. But while the years and coats of paint try to disguise the memories, but they’re all still there.

There was Mr. Lawrence, the poster adult for the phrase, “you kids get off my lawn.” Or the Hein family down the street and yes, her name really was Bea. I think the Vaughn family had six kids–Kenny was my age and he was surrounded by cute sisters. Sandy and Lori were the main attractions. There was that time Mike Cobb shot himself in the stomach. He lived.  Oh, and Mr. and Mrs. Kidd, right across the street who invited our family to their house on New Year’s morning so that we could all see the Rose Parade on their brand-new COLOR TV!!!!!

I was very fortunate and remain so thankful for growing up where I did, when I did and with that old Wonder Years bunch of mine. Most of my time these days is spent going 100 mph, multi-tasking and trying to win the Overachiever of the Day Award (I haven’t won one yet) which tend to push aside those memories of 226th Street. But give me a couple of days back in the old neighborhood and those memories come running like kids to a popsicle truck.

And there’s another one. It was fun visiting my ghost town.

Tim Hunter

The Second One

I’m sure there will come a time when I don’t know how many Father’s Days its been since my dad left this earth. But with this being only the second one where I wasn’t conspiring with my sisters on what he would like or picking out a goofy card to send to him, (which usually arrived late) I’m still counting them.

Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up to his smiling face by my keyboard as I begin my daily writing duties. And I’ve made it a habit to be a positive reflection, rather than a mournful feeling of loss. I got lucky. Not only because of the man and everything he taught me by example, but also for how long he stuck around. He was the last of his siblings to go when he died just three weeks shy of his 92nd birthday.

I remember at his wake how a childhood friend reminded me just how lucky I was. His dad had already been gone for 20+ years.

I can easily hop into the memory jalopy and flash back to those camping trips, the Little League games, going to church in our Sunday best, playing basketball with him in the driveway, hearing about the guys “at the field”, which was mechanic-talk for the gang he worked with at United Airlines. It seemed like he would always be there, but eventually, the years took a toll on his body.

I’m one of those people who have fully embraced the Amazon Echo (named Alexa) and it’s partially due to my dad. Towards the end of his life, his hearing was failing and if he didn’t understand you, instead of saying, “What?” he would just say, “OK.”  That became his default go-to expression.

Now, when I ask our Alexa to turn the living room light on, the lamp clicks on and she says, “OK.”  Time to turn it off, and after the instruction she replies, “OK.”

That’s fine, but just remember Alexa, that was Dad’s word first.

If your dad is still around, I’ll echo the words of Kelly Toman who reminded me just how lucky you are. You know what to do from here.

Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

Tim Hunter

Facebook 101

I’ve become quite an expert when it comes to Facebook. For quite a few years. How many? I can’t figure out how to tell.

OK, almost an expert.

Experience has taught me a lot of things about this social media platform, so I thought I’d just put them all down into a handy collection for people to review occasionally and check to see if they’re doing it right.  There are some definite do’s and don’ts:

  • The Games  Seriously, I think it’s wonderful that you have enough spare time to play the slot machines or another version of Candy Crush on Facebook but I’m begging you, PLEASE don’t invite me to play. At first, I figured we must not know each other very well. But the invites just kept coming. I have since developed a “three strikes and you’re out” rule, just in case you’re wondering how you thought we were connected and now, are no longer.
  • Political Posts  You wouldn’t think this is necessary, but a request–give thought to what you’re going to put up on Facebook.  I don’t know about you, but I go there to keep up with friends, share a laugh, update the family, etc.  It amazes me that people think if they put up something that supports their political agenda that people opposed to it are going to want to see it? You don’t care?  I’ve gotten that impression. So, another three strikes rule went into effect. First, I click that little triangle in the upper right corner of your post and it gives me the option of “Hiding all posts from _________.”  You posted something from AngryWhackJobs.com?  I click on that triangle and it allows me to hide all future posts from that website. See?  Isn’t that easy? So, if you thought I was checking my Facebook to find the latest instructions from you on how to think, you’re actually just posting that for yourself.  Tell you what, if you take all that time you’re wasting on posting things people don’t actually read and put that towards your cause, you just might create some change.
  • Personal Information The phrase TMI was created for a reason. Look, I care about you and your well-being and if you have a health issue, concern or want to request a prayer, bring it on. Send me a PERSONAL note. One-on-one. Do you really think that everyone wants to see pictures of your toe fungus or that new scar?  Think of Facebook like being on a train with a friend. There’s an easel where you can post pictures. That friend may care about it or at least, pretend to…but all the others? Take a guess.
  • Blindly Reposting Things Somewhere along the line, people adopted the belief that, “Well, if it’s on Facebook, it must be true!”  Rather than trying to set the world speed record for reposting something from the first second you read it, do a little vetting. Yes, the war continues on “fake news”, but I see it daily. And depending on the day, if I see a friend fall into that trap, I’ll carve out five minutes to find the site that disproves it and then forward that information along to the person who posted it. It happens at least once a week. I’m not right or left, I’m in the middle and proudly like to think for myself. That’s why facts are so important to me, and political slant ticks me off. Sadly, politics today is basically cranking out negative stuff about the other side to the faithful, so that they know you’re going to buy into it and keep perpetuating it. And that’s too bad.

The key thought here: think before you post. There is a wealth of negative things out there right now. Why bring them to Facebook? Positive feeds on positive. I think you can figure out what negative feeds on.

For all of this country’s faults, for all the problems going on in the world, for everything not going your way if you were the global ruler, we’re all doing pretty well. Appreciate it.

And if you don’t, why drag it out into the social media arena for all to see?  Well, that is, until you become my next un-follow.

Tim Hunter

Comedy Is Tough

Being funny has never been easy.

I’m not talking about me, but in general. We all love to laugh, but what cracks us up is as different as our individual lives. That’s why, over the years, I’ve paid attention and taken mental notes about what’s funny and what makes people laugh. Heck, I even put together a pamphlet (hardly a book) about how to write funny jokes that’s available for your Kindle on Amazon.

To save you the free download (and seriously, I can’t even remember when I wrote that) it’s based on the two golden rules of comedy–know your audience and go for the common experiences. I’ve spent my career going for the quick kill. Do a brief setup and while people are nodding their heads in agreement, you zing ’em with the punchline.

If you’re standing up there on the stage and setting up a joke by saying, “You know how you go the leper colony because they’ve got a great cigar bar in the back,” you’ve already lost the people who have never been to a leper colony, or don’t care that they have a cigar bar. If you go for the quicker, “President Trump met with the Pope today,” with those seven words, you’ve created a picture in the audiences’ mind of Trump, the Pontiff and the stereotypes that come with each of them. Where I went with it was “Their conversation began with one saying, “So what’s with that big thing on your head?” and the other replying, “Back at ya!”

Donald’s hair, the Pope’s hat, ha-ha, let’s all go home.

This week, Kathy Griffin (who I’ve always felt was a needy comic) thought it would be hilarious to do a photo shoot that included her holding onto a bloody Donald Trump head.  For the science of comedy, I would have loved to have been in that meeting where that concept turned into “a funny idea.”

You thought the leper colony set up didn’t work?  If your audience was the U.S., then you’re already heading down the path where 50% of the people who see the photo not only won’t think it’s funny, it would be viewed as offensive. Now, do you really want to instantly piss off half of your audience, some of whom might even have liked you as a comic until now? Next, let’s whittle down the prospective hysterical laughter even further by reducing it to just the part of the audience that thinks ISIS beheadings are funnier than Benny Hill. In a world where innocent kids are blown up at a pop concert, where reporters have their heads cut off live on the Internet, regardless of how you feel about the president (who, is still the president, by the way), holding a bloody Trump head is shocking, disturbing, and a lot of things, but not funny.

Remember that pursuit of shared experiences? OK, so if you think a bloody Trump head is funny, then we should probably do it with a Hillary head, too, right?  I mean, that’s a funny gag!  And while we’re at it, let’s grab the heads of two more former presidents, bloody them up and have an upside-down Mount Rushmore!

Can you imagine the outrage if someone had done this with an Obama head?  We’d be hearing how wrong it was and that it could only have come from the mind of someone who is a right-wing, white supremacist racist scumbag.

So, to summarize:

Kathy has now entered the Gilbert Gottfried zone, where one day, she might get to open for Michael Richards in a comedy club that offers a Groupon for two drinks and some laughs for $17.

I know that comedians who constantly reach for that edge have to keep stretching for the outer limits, but someone with Kathy’s experience should have seen at least a small warning light going off.  The same is true for Gilbert and Richards. Jokes about Tsunami victims days after the tragedy or thinking the N-word is funny when spoken by a white guy defies logic. I don’t get it, nor do I want to.

Oh, I’ve had my dark humor moments. I’ve thought of some pretty sick stuff over the years. It’s part of the spectrum. But then you go back to the “know your audience” part of the comedy formula and  make sure those jokes never see the light of day.

Even if you share Ms. Griffin’s contempt for the president, do you really want to live in a society where something like the above photo is considered mainstream funny?

Freedom of speech? Absolutely. Knock yourself out. Want to be a comedian?  Try being funny.

Tim Hunter

 

 

I’m Asking For A Buck

I’ve been involved in a fund-raiser or two over the years, but I’ve tried my best not to bug people that I know. I mean, seriously, how many friends do you have that would like you to pledge some money towards a very good cause so they can walk, climb, bike, yoga, whatever? I’ve done the “Beat the Bridge”, the Bleeding Disorder Foundation of Washington walk, countless auctions and of course, those “Make a Wish Marathons” when I stayed on the radio for 28 straight hours. I think we did three of them.

But, fair warning, if you keep reading this, I’m going to ask you for a buck. One dollar.  It’s to help a situation that is no doubt going on all over the U.S. right now, but the folks at the Northshore Schools Foundation are actually doing something about it.

With a week to go in May, I thought I’d call special attention to the N.S.F.’s annual “Milk Money Campaign.”  I remember when I first heard about this, I thought, “Well, yeah, kids need milk. Calcium for their bones, etc.”  But M.I.L.K. is actually an acronym for Making an Impact on Learning & Kids.  To play on the theme, milk bottles (generously donated by a northwest dairy) have been labeled and placed all over the Northshore School District–meaning Bothell, Kenmore and Woodinville. In businesses, in churches, where ever someone might toss in their pocket change to help the cause.

What exactly is the cause?  Homeless students.  We’re talking kids that, through no fault of their own, cringe when some of the fun things about being a kid come up, because they just don’t have the money.  They could be living in a shelter, a relative or friend’s home, because these important years have been far from smooth.

The folks at the Northshore Schools Foundation reached out to me this year and asked if I would produce a video that helps tell their story. So, if you’re up for it and have three minutes, I’d like to invite you to watch it.

If you skipped down to here because you’re too busy, I get it. I’m right there with you.  Let me introduce you to this fact–there are 200 homeless kids attending school right now in the Northshore School District. That’s where my kids went and where I’m still quite connected.  It’s not a poor community by any means, so it’s hard for me to imagine that homelessness even exists up there.

I figure I know enough people that if I put out the plea and you could spare a dollar, we could really make a big difference in this campaign that wraps up at the end of the month.  All the money raised is distributed to principals in the district that have asked teachers to let them know when they discover a kid in need.  Maybe its money for a field trip or a book from the book fair, or fees to take a college entrance exam or even some kind of a nice dress so they could attend the prom.

This is a soft ask.  I won’t know who kicks in and who doesn’t. If you’re thinking, “Well, those kids are up there. I’d rather help someone in our area.” Do it! Make it happen.  We are all so incredibly blessed and lucky for all that we have that this seems like a pretty small way to make a big difference in some young lives.

If you’d like to donate $1 to the M.I.L.K. campaign, just click here.

Yeah, just one dollar.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Tim Hunter

P.S. Oh, for Pete’s sake!  So, apparently the online donation software can only accept a minimum of $10 donations. So, if you see a jar this week, drop a buck in.  Just wanted to pass along some kudos and congratulate all the worker bees behind this cool program.

A Wine Wonderland

This past Sunday, we ended up having an incredibly good time as my two step-kids decided to treat their mom to a Mother’s Day adventure. Of course, I tagged along. We first went to the new Revolve restaurant in Bothell, made a quick trip to Country Village and then headed off to Woodinville Wine Country.

As has happened every time I go wine tasting there, I ask myself–why don’t we do this more often???

For readers outside the area, Woodinville is a suburb around a 25-minute drive northeast of Seattle. There’s a city surrounded by neighborhoods, but there’s also acreage where the Washington State Wine industry thankfully decided to invade and set up shop.  As of this writing (and it seems like the number changes a lot) there are over 130 wineries with tasting rooms in and around Woodinville.

The way it works—you pay $10 to sample some of their wines, spend $XX on wine and you can use that $10 towards your purchase. Or, should you decide to join their wine club, there’s usually no fee, but you are expected to buy several bottles twice a year or quarterly. Another benefit, as a wine club member, you get to go in and enjoy free tastings whenever you like and you get invited to special member-only events. Plus, when you buy wine as a member, you get a membership discount.

A couple of examples of that membership bennie thing–

I went to one winery on a Tuesday to pick up our club wine. Of course, while there, I did a tasting. One particularly tickled my palate, so I bought a bottle.  I got the special Tuesday discount they were offering PLUS my membership discount, so I saved 25%. Score!

During that Mother’s Day tour, we visited one of the more upscale wineries and our tasting including the big finale` of a Cabernet that clocked in at $180 a bottle. With one of us belonging to their wine club, the tasting was free. And, after we had tasted our allotment, the wine server asked if we wanted any repeat tastes. We all went for that expensive Cab again.

I tell ya, it ruins you. But it a wonderful way.

We’ve joined a total of four wine clubs in the area: Efeste, Dusted Valley, Refuge & Prospect and Martedi. Each has it’s own unique style and all are doing amazing things when it comes to wine. Plus, there are some great stories to be heard while tasting. The family operation handed down, the fun names they’ve come up for their varieties, the winemaker who went through a divorce and took every penny left to go for his dream.  But there are literally over 100 others that are also produce amazing wines, with stories to match. Washington is now the number 2 wine producing state in our country and we can all be very proud of the quality being produced.

There are wine tours where you climb on a bus, or you could Uber or Lyft your way around. If you’re driving, force yourself to taste and maybe not finish every pour to the bottom of the glass and limit yourself to three wineries at most.

I joked online when I posted a picture of our group on Mother’s Day with the comment, “So glad no one else thought of going wine-tasting with mom.” The truth was, it was packed.  We are very lucky to have such a great attraction so close to home. If you even remotely enjoy wine tasting, Woodinville is calling.

Tim Hunter

A Handy Little Test

First off, those of you who know me understand I like the middle. I don’t have a D or an R by my name and proudly choose the better of the two candidates when there is one.

You also have most likely noticed that our country has taken a drastic turn towards polarization. Us versus Them. If you don’t think like me, then you’re a bigot or a racist or just a downright evil person. And that’s sad.  We’re the same people we were before the most recent presidential election, yet we’ve allowed the major parties to shape how we think. Right now, the only game being played is how to villainize the other guy.

For a brief while, I noticed a push to try and talk out our differences. To be civil and to discuss politics. It gave me hope, because it’s through discussion and comparing points of view that we can move towards a compromise and work together as Americans.

If you insist on being caustic, bitter and angry and view that as a solution to our country’s problems, you have the absolute right to do so. However, if you’d like to begin the journey out of this cesspool and start the slow climb back to being civil to one another, may I suggest this little test?

Every time there’s a slam on Donald Trump, would you have laughed as hard if we were to substitute in the name of Hillary Clinton?  My guess is, probably not.  It’s a simple little filter I put to most of the stories that come out about our current president.  For example, if Bill Maher had made an incest joke about Bill Clinton and his daughter, or if Martha Stewart was photographed flipping off a portrait of Hillary, would that have been equally as funny?  I can beat the 5-second timer on that response. It comes down to basic decency and respect.

Don’t respect the office or this president?  Good for you. Take a craft class at the senior center, create a gold medal out of construction paper and put it on your coat and wear it proudly.

On the reality side of the world, this is the time to come up with better candidates, better ideas, ways to fix things, to make things better.  The problem with whining and complaining is that, eventually, people just quit listening.

And now more than ever, we need to listen to each other.

Tim Hunter

 

One Special Person

It’s weird how life works out.

In the 1970s, I was roaming the University of Washington at the same time as a girl from Ballard. But we were on different paths. We each headed off into the world to experience all kinds of adventures, in completely different directions.

Upon graduation, I went east of the mountains for that first radio job, ended up getting married, moving back to this side of the state and raising a family.

Victoria graduated from the U and stuck around town, having a family as well. It wasn’t long until she found herself a single mom and life was far from easy.

No need to go into details on either side, but it took an incredible timing pattern for us to be in the spaces we were in when we were introduced ten years ago.  Yes, it was on a second attempt for a blind date that this woman came flying into the Mill Creek Boston’s pizza after a hectic drive from Ballard. I can replay that scene in my brain any time I want. I felt a click, but proceeded with caution.

There are so many ways we could have never met.  I had an uncle who told me to look him up after I graduated from college and he’d do what he could to get me a radio job back east.  Victoria went to school in Norway for a year, fell in love with it, and didn’t really want to come back. It was at her family’s insistence.

I really don’t know how I was lucky enough to find someone as kind, pretty and caring as Victoria Arlene Templin Sangrey Hunter.  Any more names and we’d need two t-shirts, but I digress. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at her and feel grateful for how this whole crazy ride of life worked out.

It’s her birthday this week. Victoria-fest, as I call it. The years are passing by too quickly, which is why I continue to be on a mission to make every moment of every day count. It’s so easy to push through life and suddenly look back on a big old blur. We’re here now. I’m here with her and am truly grateful to have found her.

That’s enough gushing for now. Happy birthday, Victoria. I love you as much as humanly possible! Stay exactly the way you are.

Tim Hunter

Hollywood Writers Strike

Well, good news. The threatened writers strike has been avoided. In the wee hours of this past Tuesday, both sides came to a tentative agreement on a three year deal, which means all the late night shows and the series starting to shoot episodes for this fall can keep going.

However, not all of the writers approve of this deal that still has yet to be voted on.  Since this is my little space on the internet, I’d like to share some space and post his thoughts about still going out on strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, I’m not surprised he didn’t sign it, either. Pretty controversial stuff.

Thanks for reading!

Tim Hunter

Bow Down To Bob

This next season of University of Washington Football is going to be a special one.

Coming off last year where they were part of the top 4 teams in the nation, that’s a tall order. But what’s going to make this year incredibly special, regardless of the Dawg’s record, is that it will be the final season for the “Voice of the Huskies”, Bob Rondeau.

I am and will always be so grateful for the path life has taken me. One of the more scenic detours was getting a phone call from a low voice over in Seattle, wanting to know if I had an interest in being his producer. KOMO radio news guy Bob Gillespie was over in Yakima visiting his in-laws one day, heard enough of me one day to suggest to KOMO morning guy Larry Nelson that we should talk, and the rest was history.

As Larry used to always tell me, if you want to make God laugh, just tell him the plans you have for your life.

Two weeks away from being married, I accepted a job that started the Monday after the honeymoon.  That meant getting hitched in 10-below weather, going over to Seattle to find a place to live in a 3-hour search, going on the honeymoon, coming back and then moving over through the snow-covered passes in a truck with bald tires.

But it was so worth it.

Among the personalities and friends I got to know during my  4-1/2 year stint at AM-1000 was the KOMO Sports Director, Bob Rondeau.  Bob was the morning sports guy, while a fellow named Gary Johnson was the afternoon sports anchor.  Years before, in the Midwest, their roles had been reversed. Gary was the main guy, and Bob was his second.

To this day, if I bump into Bob Rondeau, it’s mere seconds before a pair of dueling Nixon impressions breaks out.  For a while (until management forced us to stop–they felt it was disrespectful. Yeah, to a guy who resigned in disgrace), I would call up Larry in the morning and chat with him as “Mr. Former”, as if Richard Nixon was a fan of the show.  Man, did we have fun. Our GM fought mildly for us, then brought out the white flag and the cease-and-desist went into effect.

While Bob enjoyed the big-time job of calling all the Husky football and eventually, basketball games, KOMO wanted to expand their reputation as “Your Husky Station.” So, to pad our part, we developed the whole “Tailgate Party” show concept, with Lar having fun, playing the Husky Fight song or Tequila over and over, while I produced bits to play in-between all that.  One of the recurring features we did was something called, “Special Times”, where Larry and Bob would talk about the game, what it all meant, all the while walking as close as they could to the silliness line.

Bob Rondeau was Bob ‘frickin’ Rondeau. He still is. But Bob always treated me as an equal, a friend and just another member of the KOMO family.

I attended the University of Washington from 1973-77 and have absolutely no clue who did the broadcasts back then. The only “Voice of the Huskies” I’ve ever known has been Bob Rondeau. It’s going to very strange to not have him up in that broadcast booth a year from now.  I have a feeling I’m going to be listening to radio broadcasts of the game a little bit more next season.

Go Dawgs!  Oh, and Bob, Mr. Former says ‘hi’.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

Mastering The Art Of Living

                            There was a time I was king

This is my current goal. After 60+ years on this planet, I’ve lived a lot of different ways. The excited, dream-filled teenage years, the crazy days of college, those decades trying to get your career to take off, then maintaining that success while trying to constantly increase my experience and knowledge base. The common theme: very little sleep.

So I enter this decade of my life hoping to spend as many days as possible doing what I love to do. It seems like the smart way to live. However, this mindset was inspired by watching the passing of people I have known and loved over the years.

I’ve had this feeling for a while–making every day count. It’s just SO easy to get caught up in a busy, go-go-go lifestyle. Sure, its lots of fun, good times, etc. but the end result is that it makes time fly by. And when you’ve reached this stage, you really want to milk it for as long as you can.

Probably Alice Porter’s early departure was my wake-up call. Her husband, Shawn, followed her just a few years after that. If you’ve visited these blogs for a while, I’ve introduced you to several of those people who left this planet way too soon.

Recently, another one of my Torrance High School classmates passed away. Yes, it’s going to happen when you come from a class of 600 students. But  when you read that name or hear it from another classmate, its easy to flashback to those days where you really did live day-by-day. Everything, every day was such a big deal.

Facebook, for all of its issues, has made it easier to stay in touch with those people from long ago. Some alum took it upon themselves to keep tabs of those we’ve lost. I just discovered this list online the other day and came across a few names that took me back to some pretty exciting times in my life. I don’t know how they died or any of the details, I just saw that they are no longer with us. But the memories remain.

Wayne Ferm–Wayne was a short, stocky guy with squinty eyes and a big smile as we walked around campus. His nickname was ‘Winky’.

Dexter Wolfgang–Dexter was years ahead of his time and my first acquaintance with a gay anyone. Everyone knew who he was and I understand he went on to be quite the hairstylist.

Mike Justice–I had him in a couple of my classes. Nice guy. Probably saw him at a reunion or two, I don’t remember for sure. I do know that he went on to become quite the photographer and died during a helicopter shoot over the Los Angeles Harbor earlier this year.

Merry Laskaris–Was one of those high school cuties you just didn’t forget. All that beauty and she could twirl a baton with the best of them.

Danny Gans–I played Little League with him and our paths didn’t cross much in high school, but he became quite the Las Vegas headliner.

Jon Lemler–Jon became quite the naturopath and healthy-living advocate. He met my wife Victoria at one of my reunions and we are both convinced it was with Jon’s help that Victoria conquered her kidney disease. Ironically, Jon was attending a conference in Las Vegas when he dropped dead from a massive heart attack.

The pictures in my head of each of these former classmates are as they appear in my old dusty yearbook. It’s how I remember them.

I really did have some great high school years.  Some people look back and think those were the happiest days of their lives. For me, I’d include them, but I’ve always believed that if high school was the best time of your life, the rest of your life is nothing but a letdown. For me, it was just the start.

These days, my work schedule means launching into a new collection of conquests every Monday.  Some routine, some new. But I’m amazed how anxious I still get every seven days, even though I know I’ll accomplish everything (and I do) but there’s this nagging feeling like I shouldn’t be able to do this. That there’s a rule I’m not observing. I should be in a 9-5 job, going to work and wishing I was somewhere else.

Well, I’m lucky enough to be at that “somewhere else” and feel blessed for having this opportunity. It’s becoming more and more obvious that I need to go back to my high school thinking, where every day was so incredibly important and special.

Because they are.

Tim Hunter

 

 

The Old United Airlines

We base our opinions on what we see and experience. I’d have to say that, after this past week, United Airlines is a done deal. The Titanic of Airlines was struggling to stay afloat despite their descending quality of service and withering reputation.  That’s the United Airlines we all know today.

But there was a time….

I grew up as a United Airlines kid. My dad proudly worked at the airline in it’s Hey Day, which for you younger whipper-snappers, meant when it was “the sh*t!”  There was a time when airlines were like banks. There were zillions of them. And while there were big ones that covered the world like Pan Am and Trans-World Airlines, United was the top dog in the U.S., the #1 domestic airline during the 1960s.  My dad was a mechanic who kept the service trucks on the ground working so they could service the aircraft.  He had come out to California after World War II from West Virginia and landed a job as a fueler for, I believe, was a whopping $1.47 at the time.  Over the years, he climbed the ladder and was quite the mechanic for “the friendly skies” back when they were still friendly.

It’s sad that United has ended up in this situation. The United Airlines I grew up was first class.  In the 1960s, whenever our family would use employee passes to fly on United, we had to dress up. If we rode in first class, the guys had to wear ties.  As kids, we were given plastic wings that signified we were honorary pilots.  I can remember United Airlines employee summer picnics at the Los Angeles Police Academy (yep, same place as in the movies, just not as funny), and Christmas parties where Santa Claus actually showed up and handed out a present to each of the kids in attendance.

When United Airlines took possession of the first 747, they invited employees to come out to LAX and go on board before the general public got to see it for themselves.  I remember waiting in line on the tarmac with other families, climbing those stairs and going into a brand-new, shiny Boeing 747, complete with a spiral staircase up to the first class lounge.

In college, I commuted home every other weekend on United. Back then, round-trip airfare for me (stand-by, yes, but flights weren’t that crowded back then) was a whopping $6. If I wanted to fly first class, it would have been $12. It cost less for me to fly to Los Angeles than it did for some of my dorm friends to drive home to Portland or Spokane.  The planes were clean, the employees friendly.  I even worked a couple of summers in the United Airlines flight kitchen in Los Angeles. The next time we get together, ask me about it. I’ve got stories.

That now seems like it was a century ago, even though it was only 40-some years.

United stock has plummeted and this dragging-a-customer-off-the-plane incident is far from over. Since the passenger was of Chinese descent, in China, they were watching that video at a rate of 20-million views an hour. If I was a betting man, I don’t think I would put any money on the airline surviving. But we shall see.  It’s not like up until now I hadn’t heard many a complaint about United–delayed flights, lost baggage, etc.  There was just a part of me that hoped it could right the ship instead of orchestrating a mutiny with its passengers.

Tim Hunter

 

 

In One Sears & Out The Other

My old gang from Division 9

For someone of my advanced years, it’s truly unthinkable.

Just a week ago, the parent company of Sears said it was doubtful they would survive. The vultures are circling, a younger generation says, “So what?”

Admittedly, Sears is not anything close to what it used to be. Then again, none of the stores are these days.  Macy’s, Penney’s and yes, Sears are all closing stores nationwide. To help the younger folks understand, think of where you’ll be 30 years from now and how you’d feel when you hear Amazon is going away.

There was a time (and it was in my lifetime) that Sears was all that and more. OK, it was Sears & Roebuck, the American retailer that every Christmas put out a catalog of all the things that Santa might bring to the good little girls & boys.   I remember ripping out pages and cutting out pictures to include in my letter to Santa, so he could get it right.  When other kids got gifts from Santa from Schwinn or Lionel, my Sting Ray bike and model train set had the Sears name on it.

Sears was the anchor store at the Del Amo Mall in Torrance, California, just three blocks away from my home.  It was in 1966 that I rode my bike over to the Sears parking lot to see a couple of guys running for office. They gave their speeches from the back of a flatbed truck. One was a guy named Valentine running for congress. The other, a former actor running for governor named Ronald Reagan.

Sears is where I got my first job in high school. Those who know me will find this hard to believe, but I was on the Sears Teen Fashion Board, which meant I modeled clothes in a couple of fashion shows at the mall, and I was able to work part-time at the store.  As a ‘floater’, I could find myself in the Garden Center or Men’s and Boy’s departments. But my favorite hangout was Division 9: Hardware. I got pretty good at selling circular saws and Craftsmen tools, because after all, they had a lifetime guarantee.  I remember a guy bringing in a ratchet he had bought in the 1940s. It was broken, and of course we replaced it because it was a Craftsmen.

I also remember that I was there when they first introduced “computerized” cash registers. I got so good at inputting numbers that I would often be done and would wait two minutes for the register to catch up and print out the receipt.

I have no recent stories about Sears because, heck, who goes there anymore?  On the rare occasion I find myself in one of their stores, I see bored employees standing around, talking with each other. It just looks like a dying store.

I mean, think about it: what does Sears have that you couldn’t get for less at Amazon?

And so, we continue to evolve as a society and, sometimes, at a cost of losing some things we’ve had around for a long time.

Remember how records became cassettes and 8-tracks that evolved into CD’s which became digital music files that we downloaded?  This past year, for the first time ever, the #1 way that people bought music was through streaming services. 51% of the music sold was purchased through those streaming services you’ve come to enjoy.

All this to say, the next time you’re near a Sears store, wander around and take a good last look. They’re soon to join the ranks of Montgomery Wards, The Bon Marche, White Front, Pay ‘n Pak, Pay ‘n Save and so many others.

The future does not bode well, but I fondly remember that time when Sears was “where America shops.”

Tim Hunter

 

 

Happy March 32nd

I just saw a post on Twitter where someone was dreading tomorrow, Saturday, April 1st….or, as it’s otherwise known, April Fool’s Day.

I’m a yuckster, so I’ve always enjoyed the day. From the harmless childhood pranks, to the more elaborate twists as you get older.  Nothing harmful. Being a morning person puts you in great shape to be the first one to catch people off guard and break it to them first.

I’ve blogged on this great holiday in 2010, 2014 and again just last year.

Might as well keep the streak going.

This year, 2017, won’t be as fun because it’s not a work day. I quit going to an office on a daily basis three years ago, but for the rest of the 9-to-5 world it will mean pranksters deprived for two years in a row as April Fool’s Day falls on the weekend.

I have gone a new direction anyway. Last year, I began a tradition of creating a video piece on National Gullible Day. The origins of this invented holiday will change every year, as will the cast and stars of this brief video therapy session.

This year, special thanks to all those who took part: Mike West, Scott Burns, Mike Rue, Margo Rogers, Kristi Gilbert, Brian MacMillan, Alana Baxter, Rune Kjenstad, Caroline Sleipnes Kjenstad, Mark Merchant, Chris Settle and my very special guest, Pat Cashman.

Of course, you can watch both this year’s video and the 2016 edition at NationalGullibleDay.org

And just so you know, that’s also the world’s first Scratch ‘n Sniff website.

You can’t blame a guy for trying.

Happy NGD to all!

Tim Hunter

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

 

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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

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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