As Good A Time As Any To Say “Thanks”

Immediately after the Oregon shootings last week, I wanted to sit down and write about it.

After all, as President Obama said, this has become way too routine in the U.S.A..  Crazy person gets a handful of guns, walks into a school, a movie theater, you name it and starts firing.  People head straight to their standard positions—all guns should be banned or we have plenty of gun laws on the books, they’re just not being enforced–we hear about it on the news for several days and then we all go back to normal until the next time.

I’ve blogged about this topic several times before.  Like this one, this one and even this effort.  I was trying to think, “What could I possibly say that I haven’t said before?”  We know how to fix it, but we don’t.  If you try to make it a little tougher to get guns, then you’re infringing on rights.  If you try to limit a person with mental issues from a getting weapons, then you’re violating the second amendment AND persecuting people with a handicap.  I had this idea and toyed with the idea of posting it to Facebook, but then the whole rhetoric wars would break out again and I’m tired of hearing them.

28th Amendment

Blogging, to me, is therapeutic. It allows me to concisely convey my thoughts, my ideas, my concepts and then, preserves it online for as long as the Internet stays open.  It’s my personal Tim Hunter time capsule.  Use only as directed.

I’ve given a little more thought to my blog this week as I was invited to speak to a class at North Seattle Community College on Thursday about blogging and writing in general.  Former KLSY “Lights Out” host Peter Lukevich has always been one to give back and so, these days, you’ll find him at the NSCC campus a couple of days a week, teaching a class.

Wow, speaking to a class of college students.  How did I get here?  Yet, as I thought about it, writing has been a very big (just not always obvious) part of my life.

The bulk of my early years were all about radio.  But that required writing–commercial scripts, comedy bit ideas, etc.  Late in that phase of my career I found myself writing more and more.  I went to the Northshore Citizen (now the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter) and pitched the editor on an “around town” type column, full of folksy fodder, real-life events and funny things that happened in town.  I did that for an entire year before finally getting paid: a whopping $20 a column.  I wasn’t doing it for the money, it was for the experience.  Seven years later, I finally gave it up, having moved out of Bothell and I just wasn’t as connected as I needed to be to sustain the column. However, after all those years, I still had enough material to compile a “best of” book from the first five years of “Nosin’ Around Northshore.”  And believe it or not, I still get recognized to this day from that column.  Just last week, someone said, “Where have I heard that name before?” and sure enough, she remembered me from the newspaper column.

After the column was done, I still had the writing itch to keep the stories coming, but from my life, not everyone else’s.  So, I decided to start a blog.  I kept trying to think of names that were clever but not dumb and with every new idea, I’d think, “Well, that’s stupid. That’s stupid.”  Without dragging out this story any longer than it has to be since you know the answer, I went to GoDaddy and bought

Fluky idea. Interesting concept.  So, who’s going to read this thing?  I then realized that I had reached the point that any successful writer finally finds his or her self: I just don’t care!  This is me, these are my thoughts and observations and this is just a blip in the universe of content that’s available online and somebody just might find it interesting.

So, I kept writing and writing and now, here I am, a dozen years into this thing with over 660 posts to my credit.  I pretty much write one blog a week, trying not to be too heavy, too preachy and definitely not boring.

I gotta say, I was amazed when I actually look at the stats of my blog for the first time.  Over the years, I’ve had 36,597 views from all corners of the world.  The single most read blog was titled, “A Day of Sadness”, which was all about that tragic day last year when the KOMO copter crashed, claiming two lives–one of them, former UW classmate and all-around great guy, Bill Strothman.

I’ve heard so many people say, “Oh, I can’t do that.”  Yes, you can.   Writing is just taking what’s going on in your head and putting it down in a more permanent form that you can share with others.  It doesn’t come out perfectly the first time.  You get it down and then polish it up.   Writing is a muscle. With daily workouts, it gets easier and easier and you’ll find yourself enjoying it more than you ever thought possible.

Besides this blog, I get up every morning and write for Radio-Online, a show prep service for disc jockeys.  I have multiple clients that I write for, as well as personal projects that require some keyboard tapping, like my weekly update for Tim Hunter Creative Services.

The point of all this–to say “thanks” to you.  As you might imagine, one of the biggest rewards for any writer is to have their work read.  And so, I’m using this week’s collection of thoughts to emphasize just how much I appreciate you taking the time each week–or, even just when you can–to visit my little corner of the Internet and see what’s going on.

Back next week, God-willing.

Tim Hunter



I had been wanting out.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The company had welcomed me as a writer with lots of radio experience back in 2004.  I began with them as a part-time copywriter.  Then, occasionally, a little of production work,  (making radio commercials) and eventually, a full-time offer at less than 25% of what I was earning in radio when that job went away.

But I was glad to be a part of this team.  Every day, I came to this collection of people who I grew to know and become very good friends with.  Over time, I went from copywriter, to lead copywriter, to Associate Creative Director to the full-blown title of CD.  In that almost 10-year span, I went from being married, to going through a painful divorce, buying a home of my own, meeting an incredible person who is now the cornerstone of my life and seeing a company that was, at one time, up to 40+ employees down to just a little more than a dozen.

I counted how many co-workers I had at this company–from the time I started there to the time I left, I actually worked with 100 different people in just less than a decade.

That really was the tricky part. I was this close to leaving at the beginning of summer 2014 when I was offered a raise to stay.  It still wasn’t what I had hoped to earn, but it was a sizeable bump from what I had been making.  I decided to make the most of it, summer was on hand, and I would just ride this out as long as I could.

But all around me, there were signs.  We had been losing clients left and right.  Rumored new clients turned out to be wishful thinking and because of the tough economic times, the owner became more and more insistent that his way was the only way to go.  What did that mean for me?  Ideas, concepts, any new direction I might come up with had to go through his filter and often didn’t survive.  The end of summer rolled around and I went on an extended Labor Day weekend.

Upon my return, I discovered commercials that I had written for a client had been gutted for the umpteenth time.  After being away, having time to think and ponder, I decided the time was upon me.  Sure, I was 3 months away from my 10th anniversary with the company, when I would have received a 6th week of paid vacation and a $1,000 thank you for sticking around, but I was done.

I walked into my supervisor’s office and informed him I was at the end.  I was giving notice that at the end of the month, almost 4 weeks away, I was gone.  They could find a replacement, I could help train them, etc.  I would make my departure as easy as possible.

When September 30th rolled around, my final day, no one had been hired.  A V.P. asked if I would consider helping with a couple of clients as a part-timer and since I had zero lined up, I agreed.  I worked for a few weeks on a couple of projects, but eventually decided it would be best to part ways.

October 1st, my first day of being out on my own,  did NOT involve sleeping in. In fact, without even announcing to the outside world what I was up to, Fred Herring from the Bothell Rotary Club called me up and asked if I would come and be a guest speaker at an upcoming breakfast.  I said, “Sure, when’s the date?” and he replied, “October 1st.”  “Funny, I have that date open!  Deal!”

To explain my thinking, here’s where I was headed.  Over the years, I’ve met a LOT of people.  I’ve worked with, in both radio and advertising, a ton of clients in the Puget Sound Area and beyond.  In my mind, it only made sense that I just put myself out there, let people know what I’m up to, do a few pro bono projects to demonstrate the kinds of things I enjoy doing and, Voila!  Things would just fall together.

And they did!

Every morning for the past year, I’ve gotten up to do what I want to do.  A 4am rise to accommodate my Radio Online writing, then off to a project for one of my clients. I can’t remember any time in my life when I’ve had this kind of flexibility.  A lot of the radio career was a blur–getting up at 2:17AM, going through the day, grabbing a nap, awake again until 10, back to bed, repeat.  I wouldn’t trade those days for anything, but just shy of 30 years of radio really does take a toll.

So, where does that leave me?  Right now, Tim Hunter Creative Services keeps me busy with lots of writing gigs, Radio Online Morning Show Prep, video projects, social media and marketing consultation…and then, the rest of the hours of my work week are spent with Create Impulse, where we’ve got a handful of clients we enjoy working with, and several bigger ones on the horizon.

I’ve also found time with my fairly loose schedule to be able to catch up with people via lunches or coffees (it’s that networking thing), I’ve re-launched my podcast that I began in 2007 but set aside when I fell in love.  When my father’s health went south quickly, I had the flexibility to just dash down to Southern California to be there for as long as was needed and then returned two weeks later to help tie up the loose ends.

I do get up every day and say a little prayer of thanks.  I really believe everyone should live that way, getting up to something they anticipate and that excites them, rather than that they dread.  We just don’t know how many of these gifts we’re going to get, so why not make the most of them?

I appreciate all the support of those who know me and who I’ve worked with and wish nothing but the best for you in the future.  Here I am at the one year mark of “the Great Experiment’ and you know, I think this crazy idea just might work.

Tim Hunter


 homer brain

Watching the debates and the presidential candidates in general shows me that we’ll, once again, end up having to choose between a couple of people who we think we know.
I have to say, the refreshing part about Sanders, Trump and Fiorina is that they aren’t career politicians or insiders just trying to put the final icing on their political cake. While I don’t agree with a good part of their politics, I believe more and more we all end up voting on what we hope will happen if that candidate gets in. You just put a check by a name on that ballot and keep your fingers crossed that they can grab the wheel and steer our country in the right direction.
Sanders wants to socialize America. I’ll be honest, I’m not as afraid of that word as I once was, but the practicality of it in the U.S. seems unlikely. I remember John Kennedy had this crazy idea of putting a man on the moon by the end of that decade, which was as much a dream as it was a challenge to America. And, we came through. Yet, to be honest—having a national government-run anything the size of our country is asking for problems. Point in case—the U.S. Postal service, which announced this week they’ve lost money again for the 7th year in a row. We’re spending trillions of dollars we don’t have, our postal service loses money and we want it to run medical care in the U.S.?
Hey, if we were a Scandinavian country with 7-million people or so, not only possible, but happening. But 320-million people and growing daily? Do you really think that’s a good idea? Or, you just want it to punish the current non-working system and hope it ends up to the good?
Now, on the other side, Trump and Fiorina say they want to run the country better, like a business. I agree with that in principle, because there are way too many back-scratching deals and tagged-on pet projects that have become of our broken system. I’ve long felt our country, our state and yes, even the city of Seattle, should have to undergo an audit. Here’s what we have in revenue, here’s everything we’re currently spending. OK, those don’t match. Let’s get rid of the extra’s and put them in a “when things get better” pile and when we have the money, they’ll go back in. But no spending what we don’t have except in the case of a declared war.
It’s also been clearly demonstrated to us that no matter how much “hope and change” is promised, that’s a slogan and a vague dream, not a deliverable. A successful marketing catch phrase, just like “Just do it” that compels people to think spending $250 on a pair of running shoes is cool. Our elected president does become the C.E.O. of the company, but it’s a company with two boards that need to be on your side—the House and the Senate. And then, a third board—the Supreme Court—that just might undo everything you had in mind to fit their standards.
Getting back to “hope and change”, while I was hoping for the economy to improve, I was hoping it would change a lot more. We’ve recovered from the economic crash, but we’re far from healed. This is where the two-party filter kicks in for most people.
If you’re a Democrat, you’ll view what Obama has done over the past 6+ years as wonderful, far from where we were, a better place. If you’re a Republican, you don’t like the social direction he’s taken the country and are quick to point out the size of that national debt.
And that’s a great example of why I’m in the middle and refuse to associate with either party. I think, socially, we’ve evolved a long way. Abortion, gay rights, and legalization of marijuana…we’ve advanced our thinking. Remember Republicans, you’re all about defending personal rights which is why Lincoln signed that Emancipation Proclamation. Let me take you back to the Garden of Eden, where God didn’t lay down a bunch of rules. Just one and that was ignored. Now, what makes you think that any of the afore-mentioned sensitive topics should come with rules because of your religious beliefs? No one is legislated to have an abortion, or to smoke pot or to be gay. It’s about rights, just like back in that garden.
And if you go all Bible-thumping Christian on me, the good book says you can’t save someone else’s soul. Only they can do that. So, if what they are doing is wrong, then God will take care of it in the end, right?
By the way, for the record, I’m a Christian. More the “it’s the spiritual part of my life” not the “because the church I belong to believes this, you’re all going to hell” variety.
We’re all being asked to evolve from our current comfort zone to what’s next. The world will keep changing, not always to our liking, but it’s smart to adjust to the times, while maintaining our personal standards. It helps you grow.
What it doesn’t do is help us find a presidential candidate who actually reflects the way we feel. Right now, there’s a whole herd of politico’s that I agree with here, but not there. That speak my language on one topic but alienate me on another.
So, I’ll just watch the process, then, once again, have to decide on the lesser of two evils, cast my ballot and hope it’s all for the better.
But then again, that’s the American Way.
Tim Hunter


Once upon a time, you could have a different opinion on a topic and not be instantly labeled a jerk or insensitive or worse.

You’re a Republican or Democrat?  Independent?  Cool.  It’s what you believe, we all have the best interest of this country at heart—we just have different ways of getting there. Got it!

I don’t know when the shift began or maybe it’s a generational thing, but we’ve become a society of “If it’s not my way, I’m not going to play!” (see Kentucky) Rather than allowing people to have opinions and then go with what the majority wants, there are now clear-cut lines that you are simply not allowed to cross over.

This week, I’m tackling one of those topics:  homelessness.  Prepare to call me a jerk.

Seattle has a serious homeless problem that is getting worse by the year.  Yet, the politically correct way to talk about homelessness is to do everything in our power to make them more comfortable.  Not get them out of their situation, just enable it.

That doesn’t work for me.

Now, when you drive along I-5 in Seattle, you see little camping tents set up under freeway overpasses or on hillsides.  The residents will get up, spend the day panhandling or begging for funds to continue their barely-getting-by lifestyle only to wake up the next day and do it again. Some see it as a reminder of the homeless issue.  Others see them and feel guilty, as if WE have failed them.

For you 30s and under, it never used to be this way.  Oh, sure, in the 1920s after the Stock Market crash, little shanty towns sprung up where people lived until they could get back on their feet.  It was a tentative existence until the economy turned around. But the residents of those villages never ever planned to stay their the rest of their lives.  Today’s homeless seem to be content with their surroundings, and homelessness has become a lifestyle.

Seattle and the Misdirected Compassionates (I should register that term) have created conditions that cause these pup tent apartments and villages to be an acceptable option.  They are not.

Seattle’s current philosophy on the homeless:

Regardless of history, drugs or alcohol abuse, anyone who has chosen to live this lifestyle is a saint.  Their welfare comes before those of tax-paying citizens, as our politicians set up tent villages in areas far from their homes but close to ours.

Church members gather together to pack sandwiches, drop them off, then drive home while patting themselves on the back.  Of course, they don’t do that for every meal every day, but one day a week or a month and they’re able to feel a little less guilty.

I don’t remember “Thou shalt be coddled and waited on by people who work and have earned everything they’ve got.”  I do remember “Helping the poor.”  Helping.  An active form of the word, “help.”

Enabling, accommodating, coddling, and tolerating is not helping. Forcing a homeless camp into a neighborhood because the city claims it knows best is not helping.

People who are down on their luck need real help and real solutions.  Job training, counseling, a safe place to live temporarily while they make the effort to help themselves.

You say, “Well, Tim, that’s going to cost a lot of money.”  In 2014, Seattle spent $40-million on homeless services.  Add to that all the efforts of churches and private social agencies and you can see we have the weapons to fight this plague. Instead, we opt to show compassion, at any cost.  Well, $40-million last year, to be exact.

To get ahold of this issue, perhaps we need a Homeless Czar. Someone that leads the efforts of the city and county and enforces it.  You’re homeless?  Here’s how we’ll help you fix that.   Choose to ignore that, continue abusing drugs or alcohol and prepare to suffer the legal consequences.

Oh, that’s right.  There are laws.   I was driving through Bothell yesterday and noticed there were white letters painted on the freeway pillars, saying “No trespassing.”   That’s right, it’s actually illegal to just toss a tent up anywhere and call it home. The burbs enforce it.  The city of Seattle feels the compassionate response is to ignore it.

I’ll cover for you on the next response: “But Tim, you can’t just arrest those people.”  No, you give them warnings.  If they ignore them, then they do get arrested.  If you make the threat real, word will spread.  Seattle is NOT where to go when you’re homeless. Go to any suburb, try that and you will be arrested.

You see, what they’re doing is against the law.  We are currently ignoring all kinds of laws—vagrancy, trespassing, etc—because, currently, homelessness buys you lots of leeway.

“But we just need to ignore those laws.”  OK, so which laws do you want to ignore?  Do we all get to ignore them or just the homeless?  And which ones are you keeping?  We live in a society of laws.  Otherwise, you have anarchy.

Our Homeless Czar should compare notes with other major cities about how they’re handling this issue. I remember traveling to Japan a couple of decades ago and saw a homeless guy, begging. One guy.  I asked our guide if homelessness was a problem in Japan and she told me that being homeless was a great shame to the family, so they often would take care of it themselves.

The way I see it, there are three ways to deal with the homeless situation:  Keep feeding it and hope that it fixes itself, do everything in our power to just hide it away from our sight, or make a commitment to really deal with what’s happening out there.

Think about it—Seattle spent $40-million on the homeless issue and yet, it continues to get worse.  There are people who have found themselves living on the streets due to unfortunate circumstances.  We have too much at our disposal not to offer help to those in need.

But again, they need real help, not “feel good” enabling.

Tim Hunter


Once Again, That Date Rolls Around


Each generation seems to have that “never forget” date where we reflect on an incident that forever changed our lives.  The Alamo, The Maine, Pearl Harbor and, for us, 9-11.  September 11th, 2001, a day that a group of religious fanatics felt they were doing their God’s work by hijacking and crashing commercial jetliners and killing as many people as possible.  You’ve got to wonder what kind of religion would consider killing large numbers of people “God’s work”, but if you review history, Muslims didn’t exactly corner the market on that one.

I’ve written several times about that fateful day, so rather than repeat myself, let me pass along the links of those blogs if you are so inclined.

The 10-Year Anniversary

Two Years Ago

Last Year’s Blog

Time helps the healing.  With each year, it still hurts, but just a little bit less. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have lost a family member that day.  It is imperative that all of us never forget, to continue our vigilance, but also to try to live our lives the way we want. Catering to their threats and terrorist ways lets them win.

Observe the day, respect the day, but keep on living.  Remember 9-11.

Tim Hunter

The New Fall Season


I returned to post this week’s blog and realized that the entire month of August was all about my dad’s passing.  The past four collections of thoughts were all about that particular topic.  While I tried my best to make them informative for you and therapeutic for me, I have never been more relieved to see the calendar flip over to the next month.

Now, September is not without consequences.  Someone very close to me…well, actually, it’s me…will turn the big 6-0 on the 20th.  Why do they always say “The big 6-0?”   Like I could choose the smaller one?

I’ve told some people my theory before and for you younger readers who aren’t wearing readers, please notice this when you reach your mid 30s.  In my wrinkled mind, I still feel like I did when I was 35.  In my brain, I am 35.  Older, yes….wiser, maybe….but that particular point of my life just locked in.  Until I get in front of a mirror, I look out through my eyeballs away from my body and I’m a 35-year-old.

When I was in mid-30 territory, I had several good friends in their 50s and  remember thinking, “Man, that’s a great decade.” These people all had settled into a great jobs, they had the toys–a boat, a vacation place, they traveled–life was completely under control.

You 30s and unders, let me be your life guide:

30-something  The decade you’ll back on when things seem to start coming together.  The kids don’t need constant supervision.  Or, maybe they do, but you’re relaxing a little now.  You’ve bought a house, the income has come up, the job is clicking, you’ve got a great circle of friends and life is good.

40-something  The decade where things started to come apart. I remember going to a neighborhood party and within 10 minutes, the guys were all off by themselves, talking about what part of their body hurt the most.  Divorces start to show up in that circle of friends.

50-something  The decade that the things that fell apart start coming back together again.  The biggest thing I noticed about this decade is that you are as developed as a person as you’re going to be.  You know what you like, what you’ll put up with and what you won’t.  My way or the highway.  You start thinking about the fact that you’re clearly past the mid-way point of your life.  Parents and friends begin to die.  Time to create that bucket list.

60-something   I’m not there.  Stop pushing.

One thing that this past month taught me (and I’m always looking for something to learn) is that you haven’t heard all the stories yet.  Oh, sure, family members go back to the classics a lot and you think, “(sigh), here we go again.”  But while talking with my sister Debbie a week ago, she reflected back to her youth and the fact that she was not a very good seamstress.  Oh, she took Home Ec in school, but try as she might, she just didn’t pick up the knack of sewing.  How bad was she at sewing?  One year for her birthday, she got a seam ripper for a gift.  That cracked me up.  I had never heard that story before.

There’s a lot out there to absorb and here’s some shocking news: its not all on your phone.  Talk with the people you care about.  Chit chat.  The ones who mean the most to you are on different life clocks that you are.  It’s a delicate balance between being morbid and savoring every moment of this precious life.

I’m glad to be turning 60.  It means I’m still here, still doing what I love to do and looking forward to all the fun ahead. Bring on the new fall season!

And besides, the Mariners traded Fernando Rodney.  What more could I ask for?

Tim Hunter



Funeral program 01

Losing a family member is one of the most painful things you’ll experience in this lifetime. This past month, my dad went home to his eternal reward. If you’ve read the past couple of blogs, you saw how a difficult thing was made even tougher by situations and people obsessed with their own self-importance.

We all know life will have its rough spots and, as you’ve often heard, “what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.” That is SO true. If there’s anything to be learned from an experience, embrace it.  Down the road, it will help us either avoid situations or make the difficult ones easier to navigate.

Prime example—back when I owned a boat, I was on Lake Wenatchee with the kids when I decided to take a shortcut. My prop hit a rock in the shallow water, the shaft was bent and $2800 later, I had the boat all fixed up enough to sell it.  I won’t be taking shortcuts in unknown waters ever again. A lesson learned.

With my father’s passing, I observed and witnessed several things that I’ll offer to you, hoping to spare you the learning curve and perhaps, making it just a little easier to get through that challenging stretch of your life.

Here’s what I learned:

My parents were smart.  They bought a pair of cemetery plots back in the 1950s for $170.  They made $6 a month payments until they owned them.  Today, they would sell for $14,000 EACH!  A pretty good return on your investment.  If you’re planning cremation, much simpler.  But if you wanted to end up in the ground somewhere (and, you could always change your mind later and sell your plots at a much higher rate), now is the time to buy.

They also did the pre-paid funeral plan.  Back in 2001, mom and dad both picked out their coffins, the type of service they wanted, everything.  Yes, it’s morbid, people don’t like to think about that stuff, etc….but it saves the family so much agonizing over which $7,000 coffin to buy….what would mom or dad want, etc.  Upgrades and alternatives were offered, but we stuck with the pre-approved plan because, after all, that’s what dad had wanted.

I’ve never been a fan of open casket services.  The person just doesn’t look right. However, I believe that the amount of time I spent at the viewing and the open casket funeral service really pounded home that this was real, that it was dad’s shell and not him. He was in a much better place now, at peace and without pain.  I guess, in a way, it helped make his passing more real.

Airlines vary in how they handle flight changes based on bereavement. Alaska Airlines changed our return date with no questions asked and no fees.  While United Airlines charged $50 per change and wanted proof sent to them.  A consideration if you have long-distance travel as part of being there. Like they say, “check with your airline.”

There will be times when you feel you have to fight for everything—don’t give up.  That’s what they want, that’s what they hope for, but don’t let them have it.  We were told that our father’s body wasn’t going to be released to the mortuary and would spend the weekend on a slab in the morgue like a common criminal because he died on a Friday and a hospital employee “just couldn’t finish all the paperwork by 4pm.”  Unacceptable.  Not negotiable. UNACCEPTABLE!  We found out this fact at 2pm.  We argued on the phone with a hospital employee, then went to the hospital to further argue our case.  By going over her head and being there (even after a phone call that claimed it had all been handled and it wasn’t), our father was released at 4:45pm.  Most people probably would roll over, or are grieving so much they just don’t want to take something like that on.  Not the Hunters.

In buying flowers, you’ll get so much more (and pay less) if you go to a floral wholesaler. Google ‘em, you’ll find one nearby.  Yes, we had to drive a little and pay a delivery fee, but we were able to choose some stunning floral arrangements from mom, the kids and the grandkids and great grandkids.

Oh, and people will say things.  Wrong things. Uncomfortable things.  They are not intended to be mean or insensitive, but other people are having a tough time with the passing, too.  They care about you, so they feel they need to say something and the words that come out are far from helpful.  Just hold your outrage, nod your head and process it later.  A great example: While waiting at the funeral home, one of the employees came out and said to us, “Oh, you all look so sad.” Ya think?  Another well-meaning friend who had an elderly parent that needed lots of care sent me a private Facebook message.  In fact, here’s what she said: “At that age I’m sure he was happy to go and maybe ready too.”  Even if that was true, not the time to say it and I really don’t want to hear it.  Especially from a non-family member.  Or even from a family member.

Those are the headlines. Just a few of the lessons learned after my father’s passing. I hope something in there helps you better understand a few things when the time comes for you to go through the loss of a family member.

God’s peace.

Tim Hunter

The Great Hunter Hospital Nightmare


The following is a letter that I wrote and sent on behalf of our family to Harbor UCLA Hospital, where my father spent the final hours of his life.  It’s hard to believe in this day and age that someone could be so insensitive and it’s a shame that one person can taint the otherwise mostly positive experience.

I heard from the hospital administration yesterday.  They are sending a letter explaining their steps and reactions to my mother and have called to apologize to her.  It still doesn’t un-do the emotional abuse we endured that day, but we’re hoping that calling them out prevents any other family from going through this on a day they lose a loved one.

The lesson–stand your grand and don’t put up with power-tripping, insensitive people.  There are actually very few of them and many more of us.

Tim Hunter


To the Directors of Harbor UCLA Hospital

The John Hunter family of Torrance, California, had quite a few experiences with your facility over the past couple of years, but we feel we must share our most recent.

The reason for our visit, our dad, 91-year-old John Hunter, got out of bed Wednesday afternoon after lying down to take a nap, lost his balance and fell backwards, hitting his head on an end table in the bedroom.

The result was an injury that required an ambulance ride to Harbor UCLA.  It was there that, after a series of CAT scans, we realized his bleeding wasn’t going to stop, he was too weak for surgery, and this was probably the end of the road.

After the second CAT scan, his speech became garbled and by the third scan, the pooling blood had reduced him to just a breathing body.

My wife and I arrived in town Thursday afternoon and by the time we arrived at the hospital, the situation was obvious.  We all believed dad could hear everything said, so we talked with him and included him in the discussions.

It was at this point I knew that I would need to write a glowing letter about some of your caring staff.

First off, my sister Debbie and Mom raved about the incredible treatment when dad first arrived at the Emergency/Trauma center. The staff was phenomenal and Dr. Brando was exceptionally compassionate.

Then, in the 3rd floor ICU, there was Nurse Rodney Hittle.  When my wife & I first arrived, dad was in the ICU unit in his non-responsive mode.  Rodney came up, introduced himself, explained the situation, asked if we had any questions and made us feel that our dad was in great hands.  Even while moving him around as they prepared to relocate him to a private room on the 6th floor for Comfort Care, Rodney would talk to dad and say, “OK, John, we’re going to….etc”   It was heart-warming to see him treat a patient that way.  Add to that, Rodney also came up twice to check on us before he headed home.

Since I live in Seattle and realized that we were in the final few days of my father’s life, I volunteered to stay the night with him.  This gave me a lot of time to talk with him, relive old stories and say my goodbyes.  Concerned he’d try to slip away while I was sleeping there, I set my alarm every hour to check on him.  The overnight nurse, Christine, was amazing.  She introduced herself.  During her multiple stops in the room to check on him, she kept asking how I was doing.  It was the kind of caring for your family member that you’d think should be the rule.  However, in our experience with other area medical providers, we’ve discovered that it’s the exception.

We also had incredibly positive encounters with a Dr. Sloan and Dr. Nan and on Friday morning, our day shift nurse, Tracy Jones, who you’ll be hearing about later.

We had various discussions about the “What if’s”, wondering if dad would last for days, hours or whatever.  He surprised us all and slipped away at 10:41 Friday morning.

The family grieved, prayed and spent time with dad before Tracy informed us they were ready to move the body whenever we were done.  The family packed up and left around 1pm, heading home to have lunch and begin our grieving.

And this is when our Harbor UCLA nightmare began.

As we sat down to lunch at our mother’s home around 2pm, my sister Terri’s cell phone rang. She went down the hall to talk and soon returned, signaling me to come join her in the conversation.

It was Green Hills Mortuary, letting us know that there was a paperwork issue preventing them from picking up our father’s body.  Terri was given the phone number of someone to contact at Harbor UCLA: her name was Donna.

Terri called asking why our father’s body wasn’t being released.  She was told that was true and that it probably wasn’t going to happen today.  Then she informed my sister that pickups didn’t occur after 4pm Fridays or on the weekends so my dad would probably remain in their morgue until Monday.

Without hesitation, Terri conveyed the family response.  That was completely unacceptable.  That’s when Donna dug in and informed her that having dad’s body picked up “wasn’t going to happen.”

With her lack of co-operation, we decided to go around her.  We asked for her supervisor and we were informed that she was on vacation, but here’s her cell phone number. “Don’t leave a message, just keep calling.”

We called the phone number over and over without a response.  Now, we’re fighting mad.

So, I called Rodney.  He told us our best bet would be to check with our floor nurse.  I called up the 6th floor to reach Tracy Jones and was put on hold for 10 minutes.  I decided to hang up, redialed and this time, I reached Tracy. She was surprised and told us that all the paperwork had been turned in.  The doctor had signed off, there was no reason why it shouldn’t be released.  At 11:45am.

We called Donna back and explained what Tracy said and Donna informed us that there were complications, the coroner’s office had to be involved, and again, it was unlikely it was going to happen today.  Plus, there was something my mom needed to sign that she hadn’t signed.  (which turned out later to not be true)

OK, it was obvious by now that this was not going to be resolved over the phone, so my sister Terri, my mother and I headed back to the hospital.  A place we thought we had left for the last time.

As we approached the hospital, my cell phone rang. It was Tracy the nurse, who had given me her personal cell phone in case this wasn’t resolved.  Tracy told us it had all been handled, she had personally gone down to Donna’s office and talked with her and that Green Hills was 15 minutes away from the hospital.

We called my sister Debbie with the good news.  She suggested that since we were almost at the hospital that we stop by and verify the transfer, just in case.

Thankfully we did, because it was NOT resolved. We went to Donna’s office (Decendent Affairs), knocked on the door and were greeted by a friendly employee.  We explained why we were there and that’s when she turned and spoke to the other employee in the room and said, “Donna?”

Donna then abruptly told us she was working on the forms, that there was a lot to it, that bit about involving the coroner’s office again and said she was doing the best she could.  We said that Tracy told us it was all handled.  Donna used her hands to create an imaginary box and said, “Yes, but she does not work here in this office.”  At one point of our discussion, your employee even mention that some bodies stay in their morgue for a month or more.

My first reaction was to go outside so I could have cell phone service and call Tracy back.  When I reached her, Tracy said she had hand-delivered the paperwork to Donna, the doctor had signed off and that Donna had everything she needed.

At this point, it became apparent we needed to locate someone at the hospital who could show a little more compassion for a family that had just lost one of its members.  I found out the location of patient services on the 8th floor and went there to explain our situation.  After going through a detailed description, the two friendly employees told me they were aware of what was going on and led me down to Donna’s office.  My mom and sister Terri joined us along the way and waiting in front of the office were Nurse Tracy and Dr. Nam.  Both apologized and said they had no idea what the hang up was.   It was now 4pm.  Tracy had gotten off-shift at 3pm, but stayed late to make sure this was fixed.  She had done everything she could possibly do to help.

Tracy left and the rest of the hospital staff gathered behind the frosted windows of Donna’s office as my mom, sister and I stood outside. 45 minutes later, they emerged with Dr. Nam letting us know that dad’s body had been picked up and taken to Green Hills.

We were also informed later that, yes, there was something the coroner’s office needed to do, but they were able to perform that at Green Hills.

We never saw Donna, which was probably for the better. Her lack of compassion, her condescending attitude, was monumental.  We wondered how many other families have experienced this heartless treatment by a Harbor UCLA staff member.  It was not our intention to interfere with her on-time Friday afternoon departure.

It’s a shame for all of the positive attributes of Harbor UCLA during such a traumatic life experience that we had to spend a day of mourning for my father fighting for his dignity.

Regretfully yours,

The Hunter Family


So you know the complete story, on Sunday we were informed by the funeral home that dad’s body would have to be taken to downtown LA and signed off by the coroner before we could bury him.  We didn’t know until Monday afternoon that the Wednesday funeral plans would actually happen.  How to make a difficult time even more difficult.  I understand the intent, but every now and then, a little common sense needs to break out.

Again, stand your ground.  Fight for what you know is right and maybe you’ll help another family avoid such treatment.



My Last Night With Dad

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”     David Eagleman, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives  

Just a few years ago...

Just a few years ago…

It was a Wednesday afternoon when the first text came.  Dad was in the hospital again.  There had been another fall, but this time, it was bad.  He had hit the back of his head on an end table in the bedroom and the internal bleeding wouldn’t stop.  While there had been falls in each of the past several years, this looked like it could be it.

My wife, Victoria, and I caught a morning flight from Seattle and arrived at Harbor UCLA Hospital by Thursday afternoon.  In less than 24 hours after our arrival, he would be gone.

Dad was speaking when he first arrived at the hospital, but as the blood pooled inside his head, it began squeezing the brain, slowly shutting down his body. By the time we arrived, dad was just breathing.  He was unresponsive, looking like he had so many times before, as if sleeping.

The hospital moved him to a private room upstairs so that we could have more family members in the room with him. Around 11pm, everyone headed home to grab some sleep, while I volunteered to stay with dad.  The last stages of life had been described to us, so it was my job to keep an eye on him and, if his breathing changed, I was to notify everyone so they could come back and say goodbye one last time.

It just felt like ‘this was it.’  The doctor said it could last hours, days or weeks, but the chance of dad improving from his current state was pretty much nil.

I’d stare at him, cry a little, then stare some more. As his body worked on shutting down, I remembered someone saying that hearing was supposed to be one of the last things to go. So, I pulled up a chair and began recalling Dad stories, talking with him about every moment of my life where he was involved. During this time, I came to the realization that I had only ever called him two things—Dad and Pop. Then the rambling, tear-filled stories began. There’s no way I could remember everything I talked about that night, but here are a few of the memories I shared with him:

  • First, the days of Little League Baseball came to mind.  There were the Pee Wee Pirates and then the minor-league Giants (an amazing fact, considering his Dodger Blue loyalty).  I only had one home run in my Little League career and he missed it.  Dad was trying to get some of the rowdy boys in the dugout to calm down when he looked up and saw me circling the bases.  It was a story he liked to tell often.
  • We played catch in the backyard a lot. He’d use this mitt I’d swear was once worn by Ty Cobb that he had from his World War II days.  Dad made up a wood ‘home plate’ so that he could crouch down and I could work on my pitching technique.
  • When we weren’t playing catch in the backyard, we’d be out in the driveway playing basketball.  Even through my teens, he liked going out and shooting hoops.  While my high school coaches promoted the one-handed jump shot, he stuck with his famous West Virginia two-handed set shot.
  • I remembered when he worked the graveyard shift at United Airlines and would come home around 7am. Mom would make him breakfast and dad would enjoy his scrambled eggs with ketchup on them.
  • There’s the bird bath that still sits in my folks’ backyard.  Back when I was a senior at Torrance High School, as class president, I led the charge to repaint the Senior Pond.  We used some Sky Blue paint to give the bottom a nice look and then I took the rest of that paint home.  Dad used it to paint their bird bath and was still using that same can of paint 42 years later to touch it up.
  • There were times that, as a kid, you knew things were different, but you didn’t know enough back then to worry about it.  That’s what parents do.  When United Airlines mechanics went on strike in the 1960s, Dad went down and worked on the Long Beach docks, unloading bananas and doing anything to keep a paycheck coming in.
  • Oh, yeah. There were those United Airline company picnics and Christmas parties.  Those were the days.  The picnics were held at the Los Angeles Police Academy, with games, a swimming pool, endless hot dogs & sodas and a clown.  The Christmas parties were cool, ’cause every kid got a present and we got to sit with Santa and tell him what we wanted for Christmas.
  • There were countless trips to Dodger Stadium, to see our Boys in Blue play.  This was back in the day when very few games were on TV and most of our weeknights were spent listening to the radio with Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett calling the play-by-play.  The Hunters were definitely Dodger fans.
  • To be fair, we also followed the Los Angeles Lakers, back in the days of Jerry West (Zeke, from Cabin Creek….West Virginia), Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and more.  Working on the ground crew at United Airlines, dad was occasionally able to grab some autographs of the players when they flew commercial airliners (and boarded from those stairs on the ground).  I have one 3X5 card filled with autographs of players like Jerry West, Mel Counts and others.  One day I took it out of the book and flipped it over and there all by itself on the other side–the autograph of Lawrence Welk!
  • There was the time up at Crestline near Big Bear Lake that my sister Terri was running down the side of a hill, couldn’t stop and ran smack dab into the lake.  Not knowing how to swim, she panicked, dad went into the water to get her, clothes and all.
  • There were the times while growing up that we would go over to his mom’s house, where his sister and brother also lived, in Gardena.  They would have dances out in the garage, playing records.  I just assumed that’s what everyone did on their Saturday nights in California.
  • I remembered our South Dakota fishing trip with dad, my uncle Jim and myself, on the Missouri River.  We went out and caught a nice string of Northern Pike, with me and my kiddie fishing pole landing the biggest.  I believe that’s when my fishing addiction officially started.
  • It seems as though we have more home movies than most families.  My dad isn’t in a lot of them because he was the guy operating the camera.  Now I know where I get that.  For the 8mm camera to pick up things inside, Dad had to use a light bar, that I’m sure is used by some Third World Countries during interrogations.  My sister Debbie theorizes that it’s why all of us kids ended up needing glasses.
  • We went camping a lot while growing up.  It made for an affordable vacation and we even worked in a trip to Washington State once.  I know the Redwoods were among mom’s favorite spots, but dad pretty much liked ’em all.
  • This was the guy who bore the brunt of my bad decision to make my first car a 1962 Volkswagen Van. It broke down 3 weeks after I bought it. Dad, in his spare time, rebuilt the engine out in the garage and then we sold it. I might have remembered a mild “I told you so”, but it was a classic example of letting me make a mistake, then being there as my safety net.

Those are just some of the stories I shared with Pop.  I pretty much talked Dad’s ears off for two consecutive hours, half expecting him to sit up and say, “Would you shut up?  I’m trying to sleep here.”  I thought it best to at least grab a little sleep, so around 1am, I set the alarm to go off in an hour.  That way I could check and see how he was doing.  I did that every hour until the morning.  Each time, there was no change in his breathing.

Around 7am, I realized with modern technology, I had the means to put on some music for him.  While he enjoyed big bands, I remembered he was very fond of the Mills Brothers.  So, I used iHeartRadio and put on a Mills Brothers channel.

I continued talking with him until around 10am when more people showed up.  Around 10:40am that Friday morning, with the sounds of his family, friends and the Mills Brothers filling the room, dad slipped away.  No final gasps, no unusual movements, he just stopped breathing.  He was at peace.

Living over a thousand miles away to the north, I wasn’t able to be there for a lot of his later years.  My mom and sister Debbie bore the brunt of all the hospital trips and doctor appointments, for which I’ll be forever grateful. We managed two or three visits a year, with most of those seeming to be at hospitals or rehabilitation centers. Saying goodbye to any family member is never easy, but when it’s your role model and the guy who taught you how to ride a bike and throw a curve ball, that’s tough. I take comfort in the fact that Dad made his life count. People continued to come up to me for the never several days, telling me what a great person he was. 91+ years on this earth, with a wonderful family to show for it—well done, John Hunter.

I appreciate so much being able to spend that last night with Dad. All of us made it pretty clear during those final days that he was loved and will be missed. My goal is to think of him as often as possible with joy, not sadness.

And by saying his name, we’ll put off that third stage of Mr. Eagleman’s theory just a little bit longer.

Love ya, Dad!

Tim Hunter

Yeah, I've always been a goof

Yeah, I’ve always been a goof

The Week I Said Goodbye

Me & Pop

It started with a phone call.  It was a Wednesday afternoon.  My sister Debbie was letting us know that dad had taken a nasty fall.  As in, backwards, hitting his head in the bedroom on the corner of an end table.

Now, in recent years, the annual call from Debbie had become a tradition.  Dad would fall and the result was a broken something which would usually require a 6-month stay at a rehabilitation facility.

But this time was different. My 91-year-old father, John Hunter, had really done it this time.  The ambulance came and took him to Harbor UCLA, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. There were stitches and staples and they put the skin on the back of his head together…but it was what was happening inside that didn’t bode well.

For all he had been through in recent years, dad was tired.  He had lost interest in the jigsaw puzzles that occupied hours of his time. His hearing was mostly gone, although as many times as he’d say “What?” he’d surprise you with a comment on a topic that had been discussed near him earlier.

The first CAT scan showed internal bleeding.  The doctors tried giving him platelets to stop the bleeding.  The next CAT scan showed more blood pooling in his head. The bleeding just wasn’t stopping.  After coming back to the room, dad’s speech was garbled, as if he had a stroke. By the third CAT scan that showed even more blood, he had been reduced to a breathing body.

I was still in Seattle, getting texts, dozing off, getting a phone call, talking half-awake and soon, it was morning. We finally had to admit that this was going to be it.  The day you dreaded, but knew it would happen someday.  We booked a flight Thursday morning, arriving at Harbor UCLA in the afternoon.

I walked into the ICU and reality hit. I don’t need to detail everything that happened, but the next step was for us to agree to “Comfort Care.”  It’s when the patient is moved to a private room where family can gather around until he or she passes.

The next thing you know, mom, my sister Debbie, my wife Victoria and I were up in a hospital room on the 6th floor.  My sister Terri and her husband Darrell were on the way from Arkansas, while my daughter Christina was flying in from Olympia.  Since they all arrived at the airport around the same time, they were able to car pool together, arriving at the hospital around 9 o’clock.

We talked about dad.  We prayed together. Our reunion was something special, but unfortunately for the wrong reason. My mom and sister were exhausted.  The rest of us weren’t doing well, either, but I volunteered to spend the night with dad in the room, watching for any signs of ‘the end.’  If something happened, I’d call everybody so they could rush over and say their goodbyes.

Everyone left and I pulled up a chair next to dad.  As the bleeding continued, it squeezed his brain causing portions of his body to shut down.  They say that hearing is one of the last things to go, so I was going to make the most of it.  For the next two hours, I relived every story imaginable that involved dad. I half expected him at some point to sit up and tell me to shut up so he could get some sleep. Around 1am, I figured I better get some sleep so I could be more useful the next day.  However, since I had sentry duty and might need to alert the troops, I set my alarm to go off every hour to check on dad and see if he was showing any of the final stage symptoms.

By 7am, I told dad I needed to do my daily writing job for Radio Online, so I fired up the laptop and took care of business, taking occasional breaks to tell him about what was going on in the world. Then I realized I had the technology to have some of his favorite music playing while he laid there.  He often told me how much he like the Mills Brothers, so I placed my phone over by him and used the iHeartMedia app to stream some Mills Brothers tunes.

A doctor stopped by and we chatted about dad’s situation. He had said these things could take hours….days…..or longer.  We even talked about hospice care if this continued and he said he’d ask the social work to drop by some possibilities.

I wrapped up my writing as family members began to arrive.  Life-long friends of my parents, Steve and Valera Braun, and their daughter Julie, had also stopped by.  We were chatting about dad, his days at United Airlines with Steve, and generally just hanging out when Mom strolled over to dad and noticed something.  “He’s not breathing.”

In my mind, I’m thinking about how the nurse said towards the end he might stop and then start again.  We waited, but nothing happened.  We called in a nurse, who found a doctor and he was pronounced dead.

Really!  That’s it?  You find yourself torn between not knowing that he was going right then and there…but then, to know comes with gasping or convulsing or ugly body sounds.  Dad just slipped away.  He was listening to favorite songs.  I was done talking his ear off about all of the things I remembered about him.  He heard family and friends laughing and chatting in the background.

My sister Debbie missed dad’s departure by minutes and felt bad. But I let her know, WE missed it, too!  We were right there in the room with him and that soft-spoken boy from Scotland who was so proud of his family just slipped away.  My beliefs say he’s finally at peace, with his savior.  It helps.

We stayed in the room for a couple of hours, hanging with our father one last time.  Kissing his forehead, telling him we loved him and then finally, leaving him to begin the process of mourning.

What happened after that you will not believe.  I’ll share that next week.

In the meantime, enjoy this video I put together with just a few of the moments in that incredible life.  With music, of course, from the Mills Brothers.

God’s peace, dad.

Tim Hunter

Hey, We Elected Them!

I love this city.  Since moving to Seattle in 1973, there are few days that don’t amaze me with its beauty.  Yeah, the traffic continues to worsen, but we’re working on that and everything should be fine in around 245 years.  Patience.

However, I lost some respect for our city leaders this week when I attended a public hearing about a proposed homeless camp at 28th & Market Street in Ballard.  While we don’t live in Ballard, our social life is centered on the many events that take place in that part of town and when and we have lots of friends there.  So, when Victoria suggested we attend this hearing, I was all for it.

As we walked up, there was a huge crowd outside the VFW hall, which, if this camp becomes reality, would border the homeless camp.

The parking lot next to the site was packed

The parking lot next to the site was packed

Now, before we go any further, let me just say that the homeless issue has become very much like politics.  You’re either on one side or the other.  Both sides feel that if you start talking and aren’t reflecting what I feel, then you’re a cold, heartless person or a bleeding-heart idiot.

My feeling is this–the homeless need help.  Not enabling, help to make their lives better.  Some ended up there through bad life choices or bad luck.  They are human beings.  They should get our help.

The rest (and what often seems to be the majority) of them have substance abuse or mental issues and will not get better with a couple of bucks or a tent.  But there’s a sincere if not misguided group of people who feel if we cater to those sleeping on the streets, if we wait on them hand and foot, if we don’t expect them to change but accommodate their lifestyle, then we are doing God’s work. And, of course, it comes back to the point where if you disagree with that, you’re ignorant, afraid, or just aren’t of a higher intelligence.

That’s exactly what happened at the hearing last Monday night.  But let me give you the background of how we got there.

The city of Seattle has decided that a temporary solution to homelessness is to give them a chunk of city land and tents.   Then it proves to the world that Seattle cares.  Just a few of the cracks in the logic of that theory?

There are up to 3,000 homeless in Seattle.  This camp would house 50, as soon as September and for up to two years in a row. Then relocate for a year, followed by up to another two-year engagement.

So, of Seattle’s 3,000 homeless residents, which 50 are going to be lucky enough to get a spot in this little village? Is it some of the existing homeless in Ballard, or a fresh crop to add to the numbers?

Oh, did I mention that the land parcel being considered–owned by Seattle City Light–needs toxic waste cleanup, to the tune of $145,000?  Oh and because City Light owns it, the city would pay to rent the land.

And there was a tree there that mysteriously was cut down, despite an existing city ordinance that supposedly protects healthy trees. The councilman was under the impression that it was an unhealthy tree. But he probably wasn’t counting on that city arborist stepping up to the microphone and saying he felt the tree was healthy and there was no reason to have cut it down.

Unless, maybe, you’re planning to railroad through this plan to turn the lot into a tent city?

Mayor Murray apparently assembled a 19-person panel to select the possible sites for more tent cities, starting with 140 or so and whittling them down to 3 finalists and 4 alternate sites.

You have to wonder how 28th and Market Street was chosen as a ‘preferred’ site? Must be because of the families in the units on the hill above, who would be lucky enough to look down on it every day. Or perhaps the V.F.W. Hall whose parking lot bumps up against the lot. They have major concerns that hall rental income would be greatly reduce when potential renters realize their wedding or reunion guests will have to park right next to a homeless camp.

And did we mention how this site has a liquor store, a convenience store full of high-octane beer and wine and a marijuana store all a block or two away?

While the mayor and the council were invited to this gathering to explain their thinking, only Council member Mike O’Brien was brave enough to show up. Kudos to him. However, it’s probably because he lost a series of coin tosses and was chosen as the council representative to spout the city thinking: People act like this when they’re full of fear (we weren’t) or don’t understand what’s best for the homeless. (Oh, tell us, oh wise and all-knowing ones. We are but ignorant common citizens who cannot think of such clever use of vacant lots).

Dori Monson took on this topic the other day and asked a good question. Since churches have hosted homeless tent villages for years because they’re on private property, why don’t the council members including O’Brien, open up their front and back yards and allow homeless to camp there? In fact, here’s a question—Mr. O’Brien, how close is the nearest homeless tent village to your home? In Ballard?

The point was also made that the homeless have almost become a protected species. Very few are ever arrested for trespassing or public intoxication. The homeless advocates live in a world where people on the street are our fault. Again, I’m very in favor of doing things that will help them get better, recover from their addictions, find their way back. However, the majority of current steps are simply to perpetuate their lifestyle, not remedy it. Add to that, it seems as though word is spreading—come to Seattle and we’ll take care of you!

Instead of thinking that being homeless is unacceptable, it has become a lifestyle.

Let’s take them off the streets for a moment and make them a member of your family. So, Cousin Jake has developed a heroin problem and hasn’t had a job in years. So, the solution is to give him that extra bedroom, bring him food and let him live in your house with your wife and kids? You wouldn’t do that for a family member. So, why would you expect a community to welcome homeless camps with drug deals and God knows what else is going on in there?

Advocates who portray these tent cities as a structured second chance are kidding themselves.

It’s as if these people grew up thinking these people are the lovable hobos like Red Skelton portrayed. Again, there are serious, real hard-luck cases out there that deserve our help. But if Seattle is already spending $20-million a year on homeless issues and things are getting worse, not better, you might think our elected officials might consider a different approach to the problem.

I’ve spoken with several police officers who worked in a community that housed such a tent city. The drug deals, some fights, sex under the local school bleachers….the problems are real, not exceptions.

They need counseling, intervention, therapy AND housing. We, as a society, need to help, not enable. We need to be driven by concern, not political grand-standing and guilt.

For those who are interested, the vice-Mayor of Seattle is going to be at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard next Wednesday night for one more hearing on the topic. It starts at 6:30pm. The hall holds 500 people and I’m expecting it to be packed, so if you’re going, get there early.!

I’m also expecting everything said to fall on deaf ears. Through the back doors, I’ve heard this is a done deal. The camp will go in, regardless of who says what, because they know better.

And remember, we elected them.

Tim Hunter







I look around at the world today and wonder, “When did people stop growing up?”

Maybe when times were tougher, when you had to struggle to just stay alive, people were forced into adulthood and adult behavior.  It wasn’t optional.

I know I can look back on my childhood and recall things that today, I can’t believe I did.  But eventually, you realize there are consequences for your actions.  That if you do this, THAT will probably happen.

As a 6-year-old, I went up to my cousin’s cabin at Big Bear Lake and, in one weekend, ate salmon eggs because I was hungry and started a forest fire.  Oh, the fire fighters showed up almost immediately and it was accidental.  It wasn’t like we were doing it for kicks.  Me and my 7-year-old cousin even built it in a wood box so it wouldn’t spread.

There was the time where we were playing hide ‘n seek at Immanuel Lutheran School in Redondo Beach.  Laurel Schearer was “It”, she saw me and we raced back to the flag pole that was home base.  As she came close to saying, “1-2-3 on Tim” I pushed her in the back.  She fell face-first into the pole and chipped her front tooth.  Why did I do that?  I seriously don’t know, but in the mind of third grader playing hide ‘n seek, it seemed like a reasonable action.

Oh, and while a freshman in high school, I threw a girls’ lunch out the bus window and lost my bus riding privileges for a week.

I’m sure there are lots of other indiscretions  but, over time, they minimize so that they’re reduced to buying a stock that plummets the next day or eating that leftover you knew was probably bad, but you hated to just throw it away.

Now, when I see a Minnesota dentist that, from the outside, seemed like a responsible citizen…but that goes out and kills exotic animals for “sport”…or a professional football quarterback who destroys a cell phone so that we won’t really know what really happened…I’m at a loss.  It’s common for people to think they’re above the law, that it applies to everyone else but them. We see that every day with bicyclists that ignore traffic signals, jaywalkers, people talking on the phones while driving and holding them in their hands, etc.  But when it comes to common decency, how do you evolve to the point where that gets thrown out the window? (like a sack lunch)

I’m not claiming I’m perfect, by any means.  I gave you just a few examples above of some of my failings, but I’m saving the bulk of them for my eventual Encyclopedia of Screw-Ups, Volumes 1-26.   It used to be that “they” were the exception.  Nowadays, they seem to be becoming the rule.  Where the guy who walks into a theater and starts shooting isn’t a punk kid from an out-of-control family, but instead, is a 59-year-0ld drifter that can appear normal enough to go to a local gun store and stock up.

I wonder if this is just a generational thing.  That people in the early 1900s felt the world was falling apart when World War I broke out, or how my parents felt when World War II was underway.  Now, we don’t do official World Wars,  we fight mini-wars here and there and at home.

This wasn’t meant to turn into a rant on any one subject. But I have to say, for all the good there is in the world, it just seems like the bad is on the increase.  Or, maybe that’s just the way it’s always been and always will be.

Or, perhaps, even at my advanced years, I need to grow up just a little bit more.

Tim Hunter


The Butler did it!

The Butler did it!

If you’re a Seahawks fan, you know what I mean when I refer to, “that play.”

It wasn’t the last play of the most recent Super Bowl, but it was the play that prevented my beloved Seattle Seahawks from re-Pete-ing as NFL Champions.  It also cemented Tom Brady’s reputation as being one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, even though he had nothing to do with that play.

The Seahawks were less than 3-feet from greatness and being the first back-to-back NFL champions in decades. Just this past week, as the itch for football started reaching a feverish pitch, the results of a new survey came out. “That play” was voted the worst call in professional football ever. EVER! If you want to watch it over and over, torture yourself here.

Here’s what I saw & believe:

  1. It would have been a great call had the element of surprise been there. It wasn’t.
  2. Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw to a spot, leading the receiver towards the goal line. The receiver, Ricardo Lockette, just wasn’t hungry enough to want it.
  3. Not everyone expected Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch to run the ball in for a touchdown. Obviously, New England didn’t.
  4. Malcolm Butler ran from 8 yards behind the line to the exact spot where the ball was thrown. Really? How?
  5. Russell Wilson should have thrown low. If Lockette digs it out and it’s caught, it’s a touchdown. If it’s dropped, the clock stops.
  6. Ricardo Lockette should have gone for the ball, if not to catch it, to make sure it wasn’t intercepted. Watch the tape. He made no such effort.
  7. Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said, had it been up to him, he would have either had Marshawn run it in or fake him running and have Russell walk the ball in.  Which was pretty much what everyone watching thought would happen.  And, if New England stopped that, they’d cleanly deserve to win.

Where I’m going with this: The “Worst Play of All Time” was either a blunder, a amazing display of psychic anticipation or the result of insider information.

It’s in my belief system that the whole “Deflate-gate” controversy was just the surface. From this side of the country, it appears the New England philosophy is, if you get away with it, it’s legal. I will go out on the skinny branches here and say that New England knew Seattle was going to run that play. They were tipped off, perhaps intercepting a radio communication so they knew exactly what was going to happen.  Or, maybe they aimed a ‘shotgun’ microphone at our sidelines and heard the call.

It’s likely the truth will never be revealed.  But there’s still a part of me that hopes, one day, a UFO will land and a Bigfoot will walk out holding video evidence that New England knew exactly which play we were going to run.

No matter.  The one truth that both sides will agree on–football season is almost here.  It’s been a long off-season and I’m ready.  No more whining.  No more excuses.  Just get back out on the field and give the damn ball to Marshawn!

Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

12 logo


There Is No Cod


Cod is dead.

The time-honored tradition of the Lutefisk Eating Competition at Seafoodfest in Ballard is over.

When I hadn’t received the call to emcee the championship eating event for this upcoming weekend, I went to the website.  Nothing. So I emailed the Ballard Chamber and they confirmed it: the annual Lutefisk Eating Contest had been scrapped.

It may come back next year, it may not.

Yeah, it gave me something to do and kept me off the streets, but I know there exists a die-hard collection of lutefisk eaters who are going to show up on Saturday and be greatly disappointed.

If you’d like to make a comment to the Ballard Chamber about dropping the competition, I’d suggest you go to their Facebook page by clicking here

Since you will be deprived of witnessing a 2015 edition of this northwest tradition, I offer a collection of “Great Moments” that will live on YouTube forever.

 Here are the finals of the 2009 contest

Who could forget the father and son finale` of 2010?

2011 was a fun year

There was the 2012 return of a past champion

 I’m just not sure I want to be part of a codless society.


“Oh, somewhere down in Ballard, yes, the sun is shining bright;

A band is playing somewhere, while some folks drink Bud Light

And one less cod will soak in lye, no need for fans to shout,

There is no joy in Ballard. The mighty lutefisk is out.”

Lutefisk eater

Tim Hunter


The Gift

Over a year of planning later, the big weekend had arrived and it was time for my step-son Nick and his fiancé Samantha (“Sam”) to get married.  The rehearsal dinner was awesome. On wedding day, the weather was a tad hot, but nothing could ruin this beautiful celebration held at the DeLille Winery in Woodinville.

The following day, Nick & Sam tore into their wedding presents in front of a small gathering of close family. All went as expected until this one gift.  We’ll continue telling the story after this video.

Recently, while clearing out our downstairs to make way for some plumbing work, I came across a “Photo Carousel.” A wedding gift we had received when we were married almost 8 years ago.  It was a cool piece, but there wasn’t really a place for it in the house.  So, we thought we’d just hang on to it.

When I saw it, I immediately thought how funny it would be to give it to Nick & Sam, but to mess with them a little and say it was from someone named “Carl & Bonnie.”  So, I wrapped it up, bought a card and signed it using a couple of names I was sure wasn’t on their wedding list.

Being a very organized bride, the night before the honeymoon, we got a phone call from the couple trying to figure out who Carl & Bonnie were.  So they wouldn’t waste any of their honeymoon time dwelling on it, I called and did the reveal.

Yeah, I’m a prankster. This is news?

So, once again, congratulations Nick & Sam, on taking the big step.

From all of us.  Including Carl & Bonnie.

Carl & Bonnie, excited they didn't  have to buy a wedding present

Carl & Bonnie, excited they didn’t
have to buy a wedding present

Tim Hunter

Happy Independence Day!

As holidays can become routine, I believe the 2015 version of America’s Independence Day celebration will be remembered for a long time.

If I take a quick stroll down my 4th of July Memory Lane, I’d have to start in Torrance, California, where the most anticipated part of the holiday was going down to the local fireworks stand and buying as many “Safe & Sane” fireworks as possible. Smokey Joes, Piccolo Petes (which, if you clamped them around the P of Pete, they’d whistle, then explode), Snakes, Fountains, Pinwheels and Sparklers.  Our budget always topped out at under $20, enabling dad to repeat that traditional phrase, “I don’t know why we don’t just light a $20 bill on fire.”

I remember one 4th of July being back in South Dakota and visiting relatives and how jealous I was that they could buy firecrackers.  Like 100 of them for $2! How cool was that?

When my teen years arrived, fireworks bans began to show up and I drifted towards the big displays.  In my radio days, a lot of my 4ths were spent at either Gasworks Park or Myrtle Edwards Park along the Seattle waterfront, as the radio station I worked for would be the sponsor and that would mean a day down there, followed by a traffic nightmare getting home.

In time, I would bag out and skip the big display to be able to enjoy the holiday in my cul-de-sac. A spending binge rivaling the Cold War would break out, as neighbors would head up to “Boom City” on the Reservation and bring back weapons that North Korea is not allowed to have.  After a while, the routine was wait until a hint of darkness, start lighting off mortars, Roman Candles and everything that boomed, let them cool down overnight and then get up the next morning and sweep the street. How we managed not to burn down the neighborhood, I’ll never know.

Now that Washington State is one big tinderbox, I’m really good with not lighting anything on fire that could cause an even bigger one.  We might catch a big display, we might not.  The past decade or so, my big thrill is the annual Freedom Festival Parade in little old Bothell.  Nothing fancy, I get to see lots of old friends, the sidewalks are packed and I do the play-by-play on the City Cable Channel for those who want to go back and watch themselves later, or who couldn’t make it.

This is a tradition that has been going on in the city since 1906 and the lawn chairs have been out since Monday to reserve spaces.

Hottest seat in town and not just because of the temperatures.

Hottest seat in town and not just because of the temperatures.

And while this could be routine, this year just feels special.  Temperatures will be around 90-degrees, the Grand Marshalls are the Bothell High School Football Team, which celebrated a state championship last year for the very first time.  The stores had a decorating contest this year and the place just looks festive.  Add to that the holiday this year lands on a Saturday, which means everyone got a Friday off and people are just ready to celebrate.

Our after-parade event has become heading over to Annette & Mike Dwyer, Victoria’s former boss, where we just hang, relax and enjoy the day.  We might head out and catch a display, or maybe just go home and watch the big Seattle show on TV.

If you’re in the area, would love to have you swing by and say hi.  Victoria & I and a few assorted family members will be mid-way on Main Street.  Just look for the TV crew and the scaffolding.

Almost showtime!

Almost showtime!

I hope you and yours enjoy a great, safe Independence Day weekend and that it’s your most memorable one yet.  Oh, and if you have a flag, fly it proudly.

Tim Hunter

Another Family Milestone

It’s the big weekend.

My step-son Nick and his finance` Samantha (“Sam”) make it official this weekend at the DeLille Winery in Woodinville, Washington.

This will be the culmination of over a year of planning, spear-headed by Sam, with exact precision and very calculated planning, using her Microsoft Project Manager experience to the tee.  She set up a website, has speadsheets in the cloud on who’s coming and who couldn’t make it, where they’re coming from, where they’re staying, you name it.  She had the benefit of her twin sister getting married last year, which gave her great perspective on how she wanted their wedding to go.  Usually you plan this and have to settle for that, but Sam has led the charge and made this the wedding of their dreams.

I got to know Nick when he was still living at home after I married his mom 8 years ago.  Wow, 8 years.  He was still in high school, so I got to watch him go through the University of Washington, join a fraternity and become his own person, dealing with challenges, adversity and everything else that comes with college life.  Nick also got to discover the good things, including meeting a remarkable young woman named Samantha.

Nick and Sam have already forged a good life together, with plans for big trips, to eventually buy a home and being awesome owners (more like parents) to their dog, Teddy.

I get to make a toast at the rehearsal dinner Friday night.  I’ll keep it short and sweet with a few laughs, because not much really needs to be said.  They are a couple of wonderful souls, who found each other and have a lifetime of adventure ahead.  What’s not to celebrate?

Congrats, you two!


Tim Hunter

Happy Whatever Works For You

My dad is 91 years old and has out-lived all of his siblings. He was born in Scotland, came over when he was just 3-years-old, grew up in West Virginia, joined the Navy when World War II broke out, returned home, migrated to California, went to work for United Airlines, worked there 37 years and then retired.  He and mom still live in the same home they bought in Torrance, CA back in 1952.Dad

That’s a capsulized version of his life.  There was so much more, especially when it came to his family. He gave it his all, working his way up at United until he had the day shift. By then, I was old enough to realize what was going on. He played catch with me endlessly in the backyard, even crouching down for hour after hour like a catcher so that I could hone my pitching skills. His often-told story is when I was 10 and hit my first and only Little League home run, he was dealing with the unruly kids in the dugout as our manager and missed the whole thing.

I could write pages about my father and it would all be praise and accolades.  But by the time we’re this old, not all of our friends’ parents are still around.  Some would rather not make a big deal about it, since their dad is no longer with us.

Or, they had a lousy father.  That happens and I know a few people that either never really knew their dad, or wished they hadn’t.  For them, also, the whole Father’s Day deal rubs a little salt in their wounds.

So, I shift my attention to my kids and their peers.  My son-in-law Ryan is a very dedicated dad and his faith and family are number one in his life.  As a father, you just can’t ask for much more.  But then, there are other people my kids’ age who haven’t had kids yet, or have found out that they can’t.  So, they won’t be celebrating this Sunday, either.

I have to admit that being a father, raising two kids and watching them settle into their own lives is one of the most rewarding things I ever did.  If I were to go back and critique how I fulfilled my role, I would get an A for effort.  I was there for a lot of their childhood–every concert, sports practice, game, club meeting, you name it. Getting up at 2:20am and being done most days by noon helped make that happen.

But you just don’t realize how quickly it goes by. How one minute you’re holding your little girl’s hand in a store and the next minute she’s raising a family of her own with two kids.  How you’re shooting hoops with a little guy in the driveway who can barely get the ball in the air and the next thing you know, you’re having beers with a 30-year-old version of him in a tavern.


I’m grateful for so much when it comes to Father’s Day–for the dad that showed me how, for the experience I so thoroughly enjoyed and to be able to watch the next generation try their hand at it.  But I’ve always been uncomfortable about a day that’s aimed at “honoring” me.  I’m glad and proud to be a dad, but frankly, I should be thanking everyone else.

I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day, either as an appreciator or as a recipient.  For me, it really is a day that should be more about giving thanks, but that name was already taken.

Tim Hunter

Here It Comes Again


I’m writing on this topic as a way to light a fire under me to make a particular something happen.

Very soon, I’m going to begin a weekly podcast.

Oh, I’ve done it before. It was in 2006. I was in my post-radio reinvention, working at an advertising agency, honing some new skills, but missing those days of broadcasting. It’s really hard to explain how an industry that can toss you away without a care can be so addictive. Maybe it’s like the bronco rider, who just wants to see how long he can stay on. I managed to ride 30 years and only get bucked off twice, ending up in a better position each time.

But I’ve seen so many broadcasting brothers and sisters kicked around by the biz. I’ve told some of them I feel lucky that I was able to be a part of my generation’s “Golden Age” of radio in Seattle. There was inventiveness, competition, fresh ideas, big stunts—all things missing from today’s watered-down version of that medium. Or, is it a large? But, I digress…

I was part of the Larry Nelson break-out era at KOMO, when we went from a sleepy Middle-of-the-Road format to a little-more-awake Full Service format. Then, I went over to KLSY and spent the next 19 years of my broadcasting career in their 3 buildings. We started in the Main Place in downtown Bellevue…wandered over to the building next to the Bellevue School District, just about The Butcher…and ended up in the current facilities in Factoria.

The “competition” was Ichabod, Bob Rivers, Charlie & Ty, The I-Guys, Ryan & Ryan, Kent & Alan and lots more that escape my immediate memory.  There was some great radio in town.

When the Murdock, Hunter and Alice thing blew up in 2003, I snuck into The Wolf, doing weekends and fill-in for just under a year, which gave me the country music experience and to meet Fitz, Possom, Woj and Wingnut. Sure, I was able to take part in some fun events, occasionally hearing from a former listener…but talking over intro’s just wasn’t the same as being part of a morning show. So, I let go.

After a couple of years of writing and working my way into an advertising agency, I decided to launch a podcast. Hey, why not? So, in late 2006, I started putting together these various-length montages of bits from my KQOT, KMWX, KOMO and KLSY years, plus some new things I put together.

Then I met a girl. And my priorities shifted.

Almost 9 years after the initial episodes, I’ve decided it’s time to get back into it. I still have that radio itch, but the instability of the business has caused it to lose its appeal. I used to think, “Oh, podcasts are for raging ego’s who just need to hear themselves talk” and that may be true.  But I believe the formula I’ve put together acts like a time capsule, allowing me to share & preserve some of the fun from my radio past.

So, if you’d like to explore the first 11 podcasts, you’ll find them here on my SoundCloud page. I’ll do my best to keep them entertaining and surprise you with an occasional guest or two. It’s been a busy life lately, but I hope to get this back into a fun routine.  Soon.

Wish me luck and thanks for the read.

Tim Hunter

Creating Another Memory Time Capsule

This week in the news, some southern California beaches had been closed–the very ones I use to play on when I was a kid–because of “tar balls” that had washed ashore.

That triggered a stroll down memory lane and a few cul-de-sacs along the way.

You see, growing up in Torrance in the 1960s, our family found its way to the beach quite often.  Most times it was mom, my sisters and me, laying on the sand, jumping into the ocean to cool down, putting a little more zinc oxide on the nose, then back to the water to ride an air mattress or paddle board.  Eventually, as I got older, skim boards came into play.  I even made my own in wood shop. Some of my friends took up surfing, but I just didn’t have a spare $50 or enough of an interest to pursue the sport.

Growing up on the sand, you learn not to run near other people’s towels, don’t mess around too much during lunch or you’ll get sand in your food, be sure to wash the sand off your feet up at the showers on the way to the car and, once home, hold your feet up for mom to inspect.  If there were blobs of tar (and it happened more times than not), mom or dad would get a rag, pour on a little paint thinner and then wipe it off.

That was the norm.  Tar balls on the beach?  Aren’t all beaches like that?

It got me to thinking back to that time and just how much the world has changed since then.  When I played outside with my friends, some days we’d have to take breaks because our lungs burned. Yeah, the smog was pretty bad back then.  Again, I just assumed it was that way everywhere.

Nope, this was the Los Angeles area in the early 1960s.  We had only one neighbor with a color TV and they were nice enough to invite us over one New Year’s Day to watch the Rose Parade–in color!

Hey, it's Uncle Walt!

Hey, it’s Uncle Walt!

It wasn’t until I was older that I found out “The Wizard of Oz” wasn’t entirely done in black and white.  We had stores like Thrifty, where you could go in and get an ice cream cone for a nickel.  Want a triple scoop?  Oh, that’ll cost you 15-cents. There were stores like Zody’s, Woolworth and White Front, now long gone.

The more I thought about that time, the more memories of the way things used to be came to mind. I guess that happens when you’ve carved out almost 60 years on this planet.  There were “party lines”, where several families shared the same telephone exchange. You could pick up the phone to make a call, hear voices talking and then hang up until they were done.

I remember McDonald’s hamburgers going for 19-cents.  Go to Der Wienerschnitzel and you could get 5 hot dogs, your choice of regular, mustard or chili, for a buck.

I was doubly-blessed when it came to baseball because I had baseball-fan parents, who never missed a game.  Back then, only a few games were on TV, so most evenings were spent listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on the radio.  During that decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers went to the World Series three times, winning twice.  I grew up assuming that your team usually went to the World Series.

I asked for a recorder one Christmas and got a little reel-to-reel machine.  I recall my mom going back and getting her high school degree when I was a kid (I still remember going to her graduation), because when growing up, her parents felt they needed her on the farm more than she needed to go to high school.

No, there weren’t wagon trains passing through town and Lindbergh had already made his trans-Atlantic flight.  But the world was a much different place when I was growing up.  As fast as technology and the pace of the world is moving, my kids are pretty much able to say similar things about when they grew up and that was just a couple of decades ago.

I’ve never been much of an oldies music fan.  That being said, I loved the music I grew up with and those great memory-filled songs of my college years.  However, that’s why I like to only listen to them occasionally.  That way, when I hear them, it’s special and it stirs up a flood of memories which, like an old friend, is great to see again.  I know way too many people in my age group who latched on to a time in their life and basically, their life froze.  There are too many new things to do, to learn about, to discover.

The past is a fun place to visit, I just don’t want to live there.

This quick trip back brought to you by the makers of tar balls and the smell of paint thinner.

We now return you to the present.

Tim Hunter




A Little Late to the Farewell Party

David Letterman’s last “Late Night” show was over a week ago.  I taped it, watched it, enjoyed it.  It was a nice chunk of television history and a glance back at some of the fun he brought to television over a 38 year span.  Pretty darn impressive.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that last week was more about the King of Norway than about the King of Late Night.  Well, the last reigning King of Late Night.  Jay Leno had stepped down the year before.  Johnny Carson had handed off “The Tonight Show” to Jay instead of Dave, which sparked years of controversy over who was better; who was funnier; who was the better late night host.

The simple truth of the matter is that it’s the classic apples versus oranges–which one do you like better?  One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but opinions run strong.  Letterman people seemed to despise Leno, while Leno people just didn’t seem to get Dave.

Years ago, before he took over the Tonight Show, Jay Leno was a stand-up comedian.  Another stand-up, Frank King, found himself bumping into Jay on the comedy circuit and they got to know each other.  When Jay ascended to the NBC throne, Frank asked Jay if he could shoot some jokes his way.  Jay said, “Sure!  Here’s my fax number!”

And so White Collar Comedy was born.  Each day, Frank would write some jokes, submit them and, if Jay used one, it meant a check was in the mail for $50.  In time, Frank added a former writer for the Pat Sajak Show, Pat Gorse.

This is where I came in.

While at KLSY, the Smooth Jazz morning show guy was Matt Riedy, another former stand-up, who had worked with Frank.  One day, he suggested I reach out to Mr. King about submitting the jokes I had been writing for the Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show.  Thus began a 10-year run as a Tonight Show “fax comedian.”   Pat, Frank and I would compile our jokes in one fax, Jay would give them a read and if he liked ’em, he used ’em.  No credit, but eventually the bounty went up to $75 per joke.  Plus, I got to hear Jay tell one of my jokes, often word for word as submitted.

Then, one week, our little trio sold around 7 jokes in one day.  Our theory is that Jay’s union writers complained about using so many jokes from the fax machine over their jokes and we were dismissed.  Just like that.

I know during his final couple of years, Jay bought jokes from another local funny guy, Pedro Bartes from the Bob Rivers Show.   A big believer in things happening for a reason, I decided I had a taste of writing for people exposed to a national audience, so I continue to contribute gags to ventriloquist Mark Merchant, the comic strip “Dustin” and political cartoonist Steve Kelley.  I would be remiss in not mentioning Ima Norwegian or Radio Online Daily Show Prep.

Back to David Letterman.  Dave, I respected the heck out of you and that show of yours, but if I had to make a choice on who the better late night host was, I’d have to go with Jay.  For two main reasons:

  1. Jay bought quite a few jokes from me.
  2. I once submitted an application to write for you—jokes, a top ten list, filled out the whole application completely–and all I got was a “Thanks for your submission” form rejection letter, which I still have packed away in a box in the basement somewhere.

Yeah, I’m pretty transparent.

But nice job anyway, Dave!

Tim Hunter




I’ve never met a world leader.

Probably, the closest I ever came was to be within 25-feet of someone who eventually became a world leader.

It was 1966. I was 11-years-old, had my Sears version of a Sting Ray bicycle and was fearless. It was a time when kids could run around Southern California without fear of ending up as a storyline on C.S.I. or Cold Case. We’d do what kids do until Kelly Toman’s dad put his fingers together and let out that dinner whistle around 6 o’clock. That was our cue that another day of playtime was nearing the end and we’d all scatter home.

One Saturday that year, my friends all seemed to be busy doing other things and so I found myself on my own, riding my bike. I had heard that a guy who was once a Hollywood actor was running for governor and he was going to be over in the Sears parking lot, around 4 blocks from where we lived. On a bike, that was just two minutes away.

So, I rode over and there, standing on the back of a flatbed truck, decorated with lots of red, white and blue, was none other than Ronald Reagan. OK, I saw him. I listened for a while. I even got pretty close to get a good look. Then, I grabbed a couple of buttons and bumper stickers and rode towards home.

Yeah, one of those!

Yeah, one of those!

Flash forward to this week. I now live in Seattle, Washington, and thanks to my wife and her many Norwegian activities, I’ve been invited to three different affairs this Friday, where I will be in the same vicinity as the King of Norway, Harald the 5th.

It begins at a barbecue, followed by a gathering in a nearby Norwegian-themed park and then, it’s off to the formal dinner at the Seattle Sheraton. One of my Norwegian buddies suggested I get a press pass, so I could take lots of pictures, which I would have been doing anyway. But that should give me great access to capture some pictures of this momentous occasion. I’m particularly anxious to grab lots of shots of my wife Victoria who, thanks to her involvement in restoring the mural at Bergen Place Park, actually gets to introduce and shake the hand of said king.

It’s going to be a very special day for all of us and I really don’t want to do anything that might ruin it for everyone, especially my wife. I promise I won’t point out he spells his name wrong.  I won’t ask what the V stands for in Harald V.  And I’m definitely NOT showing up on my Sting Ray bike. Although, I admit, the idea did cross my mind.

If it was up to me....

If it was up to me….

Wish me luck! Pictures to follow on Facebook and maybe a few special ones posted here next week.

Hip, hip, hoorah!

Tim Hunter

Our Ever-Shrinking World

Yeah, just try to not that song in your head now....

Yeah, just try to not get that song stuck in your head now….

Once each month, Victoria, my wife, leads volunteers in cleaning Bergen Place Park in Ballard, a Seattle suburb with Scandinavian roots.  Of course, I tag along to help.

During our most recent cleaning party, I heard her calling my name.  I looked up and she was standing next to some guy I’d never seen before.  There was an introduction, the mention of his connection to her, but apparently back in the day, they went to Ballard High School together.  “Interesting,” I replied.

“But he’s actually here to meet you.”


It seems that Ed Henry (Ed, if I don’t remember your last name correctly, I apologize—I had a rake and a dustpan in my hands as we talked and didn’t write it down) was a long-time reader of this blog.  Oh sure, it’s one thing to say it.  But Ed started citing certain stories I’ve done over the years, like the one I did on the passing of Joe South. Yeah, you’d have to dig deep in the archives, but it’s there.

Now, let’s take this up a notch.  He was up visiting his mom in Everett, but he actually lived in Paraguay.  Once each week, 6,444 miles away, he reads my latest blog entry.  He commended me on how much of life was contained in these writings and it was from them that he knew about the monthly work parties at Bergen Place Park.  He had simply stopped by to say hi and let me know he was out there, apologizing if he seemed like some kind of stalker.

I said, “Of course not!”   At least, I think that’s what I said.  He’s outside on the front lawn.  Is that right, Ed?   He said, “Yes.”

Truly, I was flattered beyond words.  So I’d just like to promise Ed and any of my other faithful readers returning each week that I will never settle for anything less than mildly amusing in all my future writings.

Thanks for being out there.

 Tim Hunter



OK, Playtime Is Over

Seattle has earned the reputation of being too nice, too accommodating when it comes to anarchists.

So, unlike most major cities in the U.S., when May 1st rolls around, we allow our downtown area to be held hostage by a large collection of thugs wearing masks, throwing rocks, bottles and anything they can get their hands on at p0lice, buildings and other public and private property.  All in the name of “punishing corporations.”

It’s time to stop tolerating this coward’s party.  Yes, you’re mighty brave behind that black mask, hanging around a bunch of like-minded morons.  Obviously mommy and daddy told you to be you, to be “the best anarchist you can be” and after a night of destruction, there’s probably a nice plate of milk and cookies waiting for you at home in your basement room.

As you might pick up, I’m done.  I’m embarrassed.  For as much as I like to brag about my adopted home town, when the 1st of May rolls around and Seattle tolerates this kind of destruction–when businesses have to close early out of fear what might happen to them or their employees–that’s nothing short than legitimized terrorism.

You have the absolute right to peacefully protest.  This country was built on that right.  Spraying buildings with graffiti, breaking out the windows of a news car, carrying a rifle into a crowd (yes, there was a guy that was interviewed on TV), ALL are not protected under the U.S. Constitution.

So, I have solutions.  I have thoughts.  I have ideas on how best to deal with this problem to greatly reduce the number of participants every year.  See what you think.

1) Every police officer on duty that night wears camera vests.  That way, when you’re arrested and taken to trial, we’ll have video proof of which crime you so boldly committed while wearing your mask.

2)  Police snipers are set up where ever the crowd gets out of control.  They take their position, armed only with paint guns and when they see someone break a window, the sharpshooter nails the perpetrator with a paint gun ball.  He’s marked, police arrest anyone marked with paint gun stains, and we make the largest arrest of unruly protesters in May Day history.

3)  Besides the sharp-shooters—more video cameras, to capture the broad scene for further prosecution.

You wouldn’t have to do this every year.  One out of three.  Or as needed.  Once this happens in Seattle, like rats when their safe hangout is disrupted, these thugs will find another city to target.  Although, I believe this model could prove effective for almost any city.

I’m all about peaceful protests.  There were several of those in Seattle yesterday as part of May Dy. But being destructive for misguided reasons is NOT an excuse.  We’re standing up to bullying in our schools.  It’s time to take that cause to the streets.

Besides, threatening police lives should be a crime.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it is.

May Day Seattle

My final suggestion. The parents of anyone arrested for causing damage to property will be invoiced for compensation.  You turned out this gem of a human being, so you get to pay for them. Either that, or we bring out that mom from Baltimore and turn her loose for a couple of ass whoopin’s.

Mr. Mayor or Seattle Police, if you need any more suggestions, please reach me at my usual number.

Tim Hunter

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

"A good deed, eh?"

“A good deed, eh?”

For years, my broadcast partner Bruce Murdock would say that phrase at the appropriate time.  It happened enough that, eventually,  I found myself saying, “Well, no good deed goes unpunished!”

11 years after our last broadcast together, those words resurfaced last week.

I had gone to a small coffee shop in Edmonds for a new business meeting.  Being the first to arrive, I went ahead and ordered my usual–a tall non-fat latte.  I waited….and waited….and then, finally asked the barista, “Uh, my drink?”  Somehow, in the rush between me and the other customer, the order had gotten lost.  Apparently, to make up for the error, they served up my drink quickly and extra hot.  Now, I had to wait for it to cool down.  While I waited, my co-worker showed up, noticing that the coffee shop closed in 20 minutes.  That wouldn’t work for our meeting.

So, before the client arrived, we regrouped at a restaurant across the street.  That meant taking my coffee out to the car.  I certainly wasn’t going to go into the restaurant with coffee from somewhere else, so I took a sip and hoped it would still be hot by the time our meeting was over.

It wasn’t. Lukewarm, at best.  Oh well, I probably should cut back on the caffeine anyway.  On the way home, I decided to run a couple of errands and for every store that I visited, I contemplated getting rid of the coffee.  But then, it would have just headed to the landfill.  If I just waited and took it home, I could put the coffee and paper cup into the food compost container, and the plastic lid in the recycle container.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call, a ‘good deed.’

When I arrived home, I lifted up the unwanted beverage and sure enough, the very hot coffee combined with sitting in a paper container for several hours meant that, at the very second it was directly over my lap, the bottom gave out and I was soaked.

I cleaned it up as best I could, but the stale coffee smell is still there, serving as an aromatic reminder of those words, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

For those who have been on Pirates at the Caribbean at Disneyland, remember the talking skull and crossbones, right before you go down the waterfalls?  You know, the one saying, “Dead men tell no tales?”  In my head—its the same voice.

“No good deed goes unpunished….”

Tim Hunter

Later Than The Late

mime funeral

Earlier this month, we received an announcement in the mail.  The man who had paid for my step-daughter’s education at Seattle University and her first year at Bastyr University, had died.

He was a well-to-do eastside businessman, who decided to reinvest some of his money into helping people make more of their lives.  Somehow, he became aware of Kjersti’s promise and so, he covered her SU tuition.  It was a very generous and noble thing to do.

So, when the announcement came from his widow and we learned of a memorial service at the Bear Creek Country Club on April 18th, my wife felt a strong calling to attend that service.  I would go along for support.  We read in the program sent to us that Tim Eyman was going to be the main speaker.  By the sounds of it, it was going to be quite the gathering of the who’s who of area conservatives.

The morning came, Kjersti was unable to attend because of teaching a class, but Victoria and I headed out to Woodinville.  We were running behind, so I picked up the pace as best I could.  We still arrived there a few minutes after noon, hopped out of the car and dashed up towards the clubhouse.

Nothing.  No signs of where the memorial was being held.  In the main dining hall, staff was setting up for a wedding reception.  The head of catering was busy and said that he would get to us in a few minutes, which went even longer.  It was then I said, “I’ll run out to the car and re-read the program.”

I got to the car, read the date and location carefully again.  Yep, April 18th.  Bear Creek Country Club, check.  Oh, wait.  The important detail we had failed to notice on the program—April 18th, 2014.

Yes, on the one-year anniversary of his passing, his widow had sent the funeral notice to us.  Probably taking care of loose ends, thinking Victoria and Kjersti would want to see it and most likely wondering why they hadn’t been there a year ago.

For the record, we were there–exactly one year after the service.

As for being late to events, I now have a new personal best and a feeling that record might just stand for a while.

Tim Hunter

Announcing the 2016 Presidential Campaign Sweepstakes


Greetings Facebook friends!

I’m standing on my blog soapbox today to announce an exciting new contest–the first-ever, Tim Hunter Presidential Campaign Sweepstakes.

Here’s how it works: you post something on Facebook extremely negative, nothing more than partisan poison being passed around by the side that knows better and I ‘unfriend’ you.

That’s it!  Pretty darn simple, huh?

I already know what’s coming.  The negative ads that take vague swipes at candidates using half-truths, quarter-truths and close-enough-truths invading my favorite TV and radio shows.  You know the ones I’m talking about—filled with an arrogant attitude that if you believe my way, you’re smart and if you’re opposed to it, you’re an idiot.

Just today, a very vicious attack on Hillary Clinton made it into my feed, which was just two news stories away from a childish name-calling meme about Ted Cruz.

This just in–it’s not funny, it’s not entertaining, it’s not what I want to be subjected to over the next year and a half.  Funny is one thing (and I actually know a thing or two about funny), but when all you’re doing is saying to your fellow D’s and R’s out there, “Hey, look!  I called him a Poopy Pants! Ha!” and you find that entertaining?  Let’s just say I’ve evolved.

In fact, I’m proud of the fact that I don’t vote party.  At this particular point in time, there is no one aside from Morgan Freeman that I feel is real presidential material out there.

So, back to the rules of the game.  Get it all out of your system between now and midnight.  Because as of April 15th, 2015, make a snide political comment or post a caustic partisan piece on this guy’s Facebook feed and we will be disconnected.  I’ll consider reconnecting after November of next year, but not until then.

It’s a free country, for both of us.  You have the right to be a raging partisan, but the constitution also allows me to confine my Facebook feed to beer bellied bicycle crashes and cats playing pianos.

Have a great election!  Oh, and congratulations to all of our winners.

Tim Hunter

If Pipes Could Talk

Lousy artist's conception of what The Talking Pipe looked like.

Lousy artist’s conception of what The Talking Pipe looked like.

Last week, I bared my soul about a sensitive topic.  It’s an issue on which people have very strong stands and it’s entirely possible, I may have offended at least a couple of folks along the way.

If you didn’t have the chance to read it and be offended, you’ll find it immediately below this one.

These blogs are a bit of a time capsule.  The world is an ever-evolving place, and I consider these ramblings to be a scrapbook of thoughts that I hope live on the Internet long enough for future generations to learn from them.

As I approach my 60th birthday, I feel very fortunate to have already experienced so many things that anyone under 40 find hard to comprehend.  There was a time when TV was only black & white, telephones were tied to walls and had rotary dials and party lines.  The number of TV stations was in single digits. Stores were closed on Sundays.  Yeah, it was that kind of world.

Coming off such a serious topic last week, I really wanted to keep it as light as possible this week.  So, I sat back, let the mind wander a bit and then, I managed to extract this little gem from the depths of my memory bank—the Talking Pipe.

The what?

I grew up in Torrance, California, now famous for being the home of Louis Zamperini.  During my high school years (at the same school Louis attended, just a couple of years later) Friday nights after the football game meant driving up to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, looking out over the city lights and enjoying some romantic moments with your favorite girl.

One of the secret little hideouts for teenagers was a dead-end street, which became famous among necking circles for being the home of The Talking Pipe.  It was a large steel pipe (thus, part of the name) that protruded out of the ground, about four feet tall.  If you walked up to it and put your ear near the opening, you would hear voices.  Nothing you could make out, but they were definitely muffled voices.  Every time we performed this ritual, the pipe “talked”, just as the legend claimed.

Of course, since then, with only the slightest of mental effort, we figured out that this pipe sticking out of the ground high on a hill acted as an antenna.  Because of its location to a nearby news station’s broadcasting tower, the broadcast signal was picked up and sounded as though it came from deep inside the pipe.

Mystery solved. However, The Talking Pipe is one of those high school experiences I remember fondly. 

Almost as fondly as what happened in the car afterwards.

Tim Hunter




We’ll Have a Gay Old Time

There was a time where that was a line from the theme song from “The Flintstones.” Or when we sang “Now we don our gay apparel” and didn’t give a second thought.

This week, when Indiana made it legally OK for someone to not conduct business with a person because they were against homosexuality, it’s forcing this person to speak his mind.

I have very conservative friends. Good friends, even relatives who are opposed to gay people being able to live their lives because of religious beliefs.

I just want to scream. But instead, I’ll write.

First off, it’s God’s job to judge, not ours.

Secondly, let’s say it’s legal to not conduct business with people because you disapprove of a lifestyle or religious belief. We might as well make it easy for you to discriminate. After all, there are a lot of gay people who don’t “look gay.” What about those sneaks who could be gay but appear heterosexual? Or, if a gay guy is with his sister and so you mistake them for a heterosexual couple? Let’s see….a scarlet letter goes back way too far. I seem to remember one country that forced people to get serial numbers tattooed on their arms for easy identification. I guess we’ll let the Indiana legislature figure that one out.

To my relatives and friends who feel there is no wiggle room on this issue because of what’s said in the Bible, let’s get into that. You quote verses you that you claim support the notion that homosexuality is “clearly a sin.” So, it’s sinners that you have a problem, or simply that particular sin? According to the most recent U.S. census, the number of sin-free people living in our country was….zero. But if you’re avoiding contact with sinners, then you probably better have on your list: liars, cheaters, the people having affairs, those living together “in sin” without the institution of marriage, the people full of hate (“love thy neighbor”) and the list goes on and on.

Also, if you’re using selected Bible verses to condemn gays, here are a few others that you’ll want to get to know:

  • “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head…” 1 Corinthians 11:5 (been in a church without a hat?)

  • “But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.” Leviticus 12:5   (Have a daughter who gives birth to a girl, she’ll be unclean for 66 days)

  • “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” Leviticus 20:9 (If your kid swears at you, game over)

  • “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.” Mark 9:43 (There was a guy at the UW in the dorms I lived that dropped acid one night and took that one literally. Yep, sawed it off)


Or wait—are you saying only certain parts of the Bible apply and you get to choose which ones?

Finally, there are gay people in the world. They’re that way. I have many gay friends, know gay couples and this just in from the newsroom—we’ve had gay relatives on both sides of the family! Sadly, most of them lived a closeted life from the rest of the family because of the possible lack of understanding.

There are so many things wrong in this wacko world—pilots crashing jets full of people into mountains, religious fanatics cutting off heads and putting it on the Internet in the name of their god. If you’re personally opposed to the concept of being gay, no one is asking you to sign up or join a club. I’m far from a spokesman, but from what I’ve seen, the vast majority of gay people just want to live their lives and be happy.

If you’re still a fan of legalizing discrimination, our country’s political system gives you that opportunity. But when it’s your time to face God, be sure to allow a little extra time for the explaining you’ll have to do.

One last thought–Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.  Good luck on those two ever being able to order a pizza in Indiana.

Tim Hunter


The Silence Grows

Just a week ago, I attended the memorial service for longtime Seattle news guy, Jim Kampmann.  He was honored well, with a huge turnout at Holy Family Church in Auburn.  Jim spent 17 years in rock radio as the edgy voice of authority, while I got to know him during the next 17 years of his life that he spent as a Green River Community College Radio teacher and nice guy news presence on KIXI & KLSY.  “Kampy” as he was known, became more thoughtful, caring and reflective as the years rolled by.  Sadly, it’s been probably a decade since I last saw him.  A lot of people commented they hadn’t seen him in a while, but it says volumes when you leave that kind of imprint on people’s lives.  There are some wonderful photos of him on his Facebook Memorial Page and, because it doesn’t hurt to give it a plug, they’ve established a GoFundMe page for the Kampmann kids to cover college.  Any little bit helps.

I was blessed to have met Jim, to have gotten to know him and follow his life adventures and misadventures.  To those who didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him, I offer a couple of clips.  Here’s a commentary he did during his tenure at Sandusky radio. And there’s this wonderful collection that John Maynard and friends put together.

However, brace yourself before watching this.  It’s a behind the scenes look at Jim and really gives you a glimpse at the tremendous human being we lost.  That was Kampy.

Just this morning, I found out about the loss of another Seattle radio voice.  Former Smooth Jazz-kateer Cedric James lost his fast and ferocious battle against lung cancer.  Cedric & I worked in the same building over there in Factoria, but most of our encounters were a quick “Hey!” while passing in the halls of Sandusky. He was a Smooth Jazz guy, I was a goofball over at KLSY.  After we both ‘retired’, we connected on Facebook and stayed in touch over the years.

On March 6th, he shared the news that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  All too reminiscent of my late broadcast buddy, Larry Nelson.  He announced the diagnosis on Facebook and kept his friends and followers updated on his condition.  Just this past Tuesday, he made his last post:

“I have reached the end of the crossroads and it’s time to make the decision. I am headed for hospice. It is time to die peacefully. My oxygen intake is facing slowly and the doctors are chasing the answer. As a result, I am pulling the plug and preparing for the end. Some time in the next week. I bid you all peace and love. May the Devine white light of mother and father God shine on your heart as it has shined on me. Amen.”

A few hours ago, his son, Cedric Jr., posted this message:

“I am sorry to inform you all of this not so great news. My father did not make the night. He passed away and he went in his sleep.”

I look back on my 30+ years in radio and have lots of fond and not-so-fond memories.  But I have to say, some of the people I met along the way were nothing less than amazing. Unique. Characters.

And now, there are two less characters in my story.  Gentlemen, I look forward to seeing you both again some day. God’s peace to both of you.

Tim Hunter

Not As Crazy As I Seem

A police artist's sketch of the suspects

A police artist’s sketch of the suspects

There have been times I’ve wondered, “When you go crazy, do you know it?  Are there warning signs or do you just wake up one morning and proclaim yourself King of the Butterflies?”

I ask this, because of an incident that innocently began back in January.

I saw this Groupon for personalized M&Ms.  With not only the anniversary of the day we met coming up, plus Valentine’s Day, I figured that would be a nice gift for one of those days, depending on whether they arrived in the mail.

So, I bought the Groupon, went to the M&Ms website, uploaded a picture of us and placed the order.  I gotta say, by the time everything was done, even with the Groupon these bags of chocolates decorated with our picture cost about as much as a dozen roses flown in fresh from Brazil by a guy named Juan on a Lear jet….on Valentine’s Day!

But I thought it would be fun.  Different.  So, I sat back and waited for them to arrive.

I remembered buying the M&Ms the week prior to the anniversary of the day we met.  They had not yet arrived. Valentine’s Day approached, so I made dinner reservations and bought a card.  I was sure they’d show up by then.  They didn’t.

So I wrote to M&Ms and asked, “What happened?”   I didn’t hear back.  Then I remembered the confirmation email saying I could track my order.  They said those special M&Ms with our picture on it had been delivered.

Now, I’m second-guessing myself.  Did they arrive and I hid them until one of the big days?  I emptied out t-shirt drawers, sock drawers, checked inside shoes….all the places I would stash something for later, to maintain the surprise.  Nothing.

Then I wondered if they had been stolen. You always hear about someone’s package arriving, and right behind the FedEx or UPS guy, a robber walks up to the porch and steals your goods.  They must have been after me M&Ms!!!! (yes, I meant to say ‘me’. I was having a Lucky Charms moment)

It’s now been over a month since I had hoped to surprise Victoria with these custom candies.  Not a day goes by that I don’t second-check a cabinet or a desk drawer.

This morning, the phone rang at 7am.  It was a toll-free number.  Gee, the telemarketers are starting early today.  However, for some reason, I decided to go ahead and answer it.  It was the M&M people.  First, they confirmed all my information.  Then they informed me that my order had slipped through the cracks and was never filled.  They apologized profusely (just shy of any kind of refund) and promised they would put a rush on this order and have it out to me tomorrow.  Yep, one day service.

I have to admit, I was talking myself into taking the blame for this one.  Their website said the candies were delivered.  I imagined that I had probably opened the order and quickly hidden them away.  I even pictured what the package probably looked like and that, in time, I would stumble across a moldy pile of rock-hard chocolates in one of the best present hiding spots ever.

So many times, things like this happen and you never learn the story.  I can’t be mad. In fact, I’m somewhere between relieved and happy.  I’m taking great comfort, knowing that I’m not losing my mind and going crazy. At least not yet.

I’d love to continue, but apparently my subjects are awaiting a speech from me out in the Butterfly Garden.

Tim Hunter


I made it. I crossed the finish line. The long personal nightmare is over.

I sold my home in Bothell.

It was a great home, a rambler, backed up against a greenbelt in the highly-desired Northshore School District. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with all that’s going on in Bothell, but that city is being transformed. I found out at a Bothell Chamber board meeting this week that the new McMenamin’s complex opens up October 15th of this year. With all that’s going on, property values in Bothell are sure to go up.

When I bought my home there, the year was 2006. House prices were escalating and I figured if I didn’t buy now, it wouldn’t be long until I couldn’t afford to live there. So, I locked in the house at $367,000 and settled in.

Without going into details (because you know them all too well), the housing market crashed. When my new wife and I decided we needed a larger house, I tried to sell the Bothell home. However, prices were falling faster than Howie Mandel’s hair.

So, I turned it into a rental. But from the time I started renting it until the last tenant moved out, I was anywhere from $300-$500 under what the mortgage payments were. Each year I hung on, it cost me up to $6,000 to keep it. I rented it for 8 years. Don’t do the math, it’s depressing.

That isn’t to say I didn’t seriously considering doing a short sale—letting the banks take the hit, not me. Sure, my credit would be dismal for a few years, but that would certainly be better than losing all that money.

However, it just wasn’t the right thing to do. I’m no saint, but if there’s a right way to do things, I usually try my best to make it happen. So, I continued to take the beatings, year after year, hoping that someday the market would turn around.

When my last renter gave notice they were leaving at the end of the year, that was the kick in the butt to make a run at selling it. I poured another $6,000 into new carpeting, painting, repairs, etc. Paid to have it landscaped, paid to have it staged…

My efforts paid off!   The hot market combined with all the nice touches inspired 30 couples to pass through during that first open house and by the end of the day, I had three offers, two over the asking price. The top bid–$380,000!

This usually is where the theme music builds, the credits start rolling and we all savor a happy ending.

But enter the appraiser from hell, Allan Mankis with Everbank.

If you get an appraisal of the asking price, it’s smooth sailing through the financing seas. If not, there’s trouble.   Allan’s appraisal of the house came in at $3,000 less than asking.

The way it works these days (post-housing crash) is that you don’t have any say in who gets selected for the appraisal. Apparently, there were a lot of generous appraisers boosting values of homes that helped fuel the housing price increases.

OK, I get it. We all learned.

But now, there are a few cowboys who feel it’s their job to wrangle prices in. We’ve returned to a seller’s market, where bidding wars occur and values are heading up again.

It would be easy to dismiss my views as being personal and “my opinion.” But here are just some of the facts that Mr. Mankis conveniently ignored:

  • Home values and prices were escalating everywhere, not just in my neighborhood.
  • Watch the evening news every once and a while and you’ll hear there’s a low inventory out there.
  • ‘Comps’ are supposed to be comparisons of similar homes AND recent sales prices.
  • The $330K home that was used as a comp was sold LAST AUGUST. Hmmm….do you think house prices have gone up since then?
  • A  smaller 1248 square foot rambler that sold in the neighborhood last October for $372,000 was mysteriously left out of the appraisal as a comparable. Isn’t that convenient?
  • Included in the comparison: a tri-level. So now, tri-levels and ramblers are pretty much equal when making appraisals? Good to know.
  • He made comments in the report about the updated windows not adding any value compared with homes who still have their original aluminum windows from the 80’s. Really? New triple-pane windows add no value over the aluminum windows of three decades ago? I must notify the utilities and window manufacturers immediately.
  • He also ignored that I had forced-air gas heat, which apparently had no added value over electric baseboard heat. His removal from reality rivals “The Matrix.”
  • He included pictures of “Toilet in the hall” and “Bathroom to be repaired”. Ya think? When the inspector noticed some minor water damage (caused by water that splashed out of the shower and NOT a leaky toilet) I went the extra distance and had it over-repaired by a licensed and bonded handyman. Ripped out the old linoleum, installed new, reseated the toilet and $1100 later, the bathroom was like new. It was a two day project and when does the appraiser come? A half hour before the handyman came to make the final repairs on day 2.
  • He pointed out a broken board in the deck. It must have happened during one of the open houses. Funny, but the inspector didn’t even mention it when he looked at the house. It was a broken board that someone had punched through. I replaced it, (and had done several hundred dollars’ worth of repairs on that deck as well prior to his visit) but Mr. “I’m going to make this house look as bad as possible” showcased it.
  • Comments I heard from several real estate people when I was telling them of this nightmare: “They like to play God.” “He had clear stats that could have easily brought the value to the agreed-on sales price.”

In spite of his negative comments and off-base personal opinions expressed in the appraisal, the buyers and their agent were fine. They knew better. Everyone knew better, which is what drove the price up so high. It is a seller’s market.

Apparently, this appraiser goes to the gas station each week to fill up his vehicle and refuses to accept that the prices have gone up.

His appraisal came in $3,000 less than the $369,000 asking price, which affected the financing and otherwise smooth transaction. This forced me into choosing between lowering the price or putting it back on the market. Mr. Mankis, your under-valued appraisal of that house cost me $3,000.

I am confused why, on your Linkedin profile, you’re listed as a Commercial Review Appraiser. Heaven help any commercial real estate owner who is lucky enough to have you assess their value.

The past 9 years have taken quite an economic toll on me, but I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. Congratulations, Mr. Mankis, you were able to sneak in one last sucker punch before I left the ring.

But remember this—karma always wins.

Tim Hunter



I love secrets.  I know quite a few. We all have a couple tucked away in our memory bank.

Maybe it’s about a family member, a co-worker, a friend who turned to you and trusted you enough to share.  Then, we have to decide–are we keepers or ones who like to share?

Some things start out as secrets, but in time, we all find out.  Putting years between us and the uglier truths seem to make it OK to share.

I recently was privy to the story behind the Christa compound.  Now a religious broadcast facility, senior housing and the home of King’s Schools in Shoreline, Washington,  it once was a tuberculosis hospital.  What’s even better is that there are a series of tunnels underneath which were used to remove the bodies of people who died from the disease.  It sounds like a great urban myth, but actually true.

However, I was not prepared for a story I heard recently and because of its nature and the fact that the person involved is still living, I have to be a bit vague.

The woman who shared this powerful truth swears it’s true.  Now, I should point out that she is a life-long Democrat. Say the “R” word and she’ll get a stern look. Her daughter will be among the first to tell you that her 90+ year mom loves to pass along her stories.  But this one is a real shocker.

As I sat at the table next to her, she began by asking, “You know how President Roosevelt died, don’t you?”   Wanting to show off my knowledge of her generation, I matched her matter-of-fact manner and said, “Sure.  He was sitting at his desk, uttered the words, ‘I have a terrific headache’, had a stroke and died.”

“That’s not what really happened,” she replied.


According to her, she was working that day at the “Georgia White House.”  It was where FDR got away and relaxed, along with his girlfriend.  Our storyteller said she had been brought in as a staff member and that she was no more than 3-feet away from the president when he ended his life.

The president’s health was not good and he was confined to bed.  That day, a secret service agent removed his gun, and put it down by a bedside table.  Why?  Unknown. But she said she watched as the president quickly reached over for it and before anyone could stop him, shot himself in the side of the head.

Everyone was in shock.  The head of staff told those present to pack up their bags and prepare to leave and ordered that no one was to tell anyone what had taken place.

Now, I’ll be honest–I had never heard this theory before.  But she told it to me like it was God’s truth.  Remember, this is a dyed-in-the-wood Democrat, so why would she want to tarnish the memory of one of the great D-presidents of all time?  Now, hop on Google and you’ll see lots of other similar stories that are circulating about this rumored suicide.  Noting the times and the fact that FDR was not allowed to be photographed in his wheelchair, it wouldn’t surprise me that a presidential suicide would be swept under the rug.

So, that’s the secret.  I’m hoping to interview her soon, so that some day I can share with you the passion and detail with which she told her story.  Otherwise, you’ll probably have to wait another generation or two before finding out what actually happened that day.

Until then, now you know the secret.

Are you a keeper or one who likes to share?

Tim Hunter

One of Life’s Little Lessons


So, as I begin to detach myself from the Bothell home I’m in the process of selling, I noticed that the garage door opener had a pretty loose button.  It worked, but it was obvious that it wasn’t long for this world.

On page 284 of the “Nice Guy” manual, it says that I should probably get a replacement for it.  I went to (the charity arm of their website–they offer the same stuff, but if you order there, a portion of your purchase goes to the charity of your choice!  See, you’ll actually learn two things in this blog) and saw that a couple of replacements would set me back $20.  Done deal.

When they arrived, I popped them open to set the code to the same one as the worn-out remote.  That’s when I made the discovery–during the entire 9 years I owned the home, the garage door opener code was the same as the default code from the factory.  The two new ones were already set to “up-down-up-down….etc.”

The lesson here:  if you inherited your garage door openers from a previous owner or just used them the way they came, any burglar could drive along your street holding a button down and open your garage door.

I should have known better.  I’ve often told the story of my old Bothell neighborhood, where we had an ongoing problem with a garage door that just opened randomly.  I’d come home from work and it was open.  I’d be out washing the car and it would close on it’s own.

Then one day, I happened to be at the right angle.  As our door began to close by itself, I looked up and saw our neighbor pulling into his driveway as his garage door was opening up.  I grabbed my remote, walked down to his house and hit the button.  Sure enough, his door started closing.  It seems we had BOTH left it on the default code.

So, now I’ve given your brain another wrinkle and provided some wisdom when it comes to garage door openers.  I also may have inspired would-be burglars, but that’s the risk you take in a free society.

Don’t do it.

Tim Hunter

Yes, It’s Hot in February

Here we go!

Here we go!

I’ll be honest. When I heard the news stories talking about this being “a seller’s market”, I was thinking when it came to my involvement that would mean a “Peter Sellers market.”

After all, when I bought my Bothell home back in 2006, I was watching house prices escalate at a phenomenal rate. Part of my inspiration to buy was the feeling that if I didn’t buy now, it wouldn’t be long until I wouldn’t be able to afford a house in Seattle.

So, when my real estate dude Bruce Fulton found this little 3-bedroom home backed up against a greenbelt in Bothell, I made a run at it. And, to make sure we got it, I gave them an offer $3,000 over the asking price of $367,000.

It was right after the ink dried on that contract that the signal was given for the economy to crash and the housing industry to bust unlike it had done in the last 100 years.

But, no worries. I was in this for the long haul.  Eventually house values would come back up.  I would just sit on the back deck, listen to the birds chirping, watch the rabbits dash through the yard and just take it easy.

Then I met a girl, fell in love, and we decided that little home wasn’t big enough for my new family configuration, so we bought the closer-to-Seattle home where we now live. I turned the Bothell residence into a rental. I only enjoyed living there for a year.

Luck was on my side, as I managed to get two great renters over the past 8 years. When the latest renter informed me she was no longer interested in buying the home and was moving south, it was time to make a run at selling it.

As poorly timed as the purchase was, the selling apparently was the complete opposite. Bruce said we should have no problem getting $369,000 for it. That was much welcomed news, especially since Zillow had two “values” posted for the home, the highest only $323,000. (just this week, there was an online news story about Zillow and their unreasonably lower values)

To make sure that it sold as soon as possible, I pulled out all the stops. Tweaked the inside to perfection with new carpeting and touched-up the painting. Put in a gravel path on the side yard, re-stained the deck on the two dry days in January. I had already put on a new roof this past year, repaired the garage door, replaced the front porch. Around $4,000 of freshening up later and the house was ready.

Oh wait—the smart money suggested “staging” the house. You’d think that wide-open rooms would look big, but having the right furniture in them makes all the difference and helps buyers with limited imaginations see how the house could look.

Now THAT'S staged!

Now THAT’S staged!


Another $1,700. (estimates were as high as $2500)  OK, now we’re ready.

Day 1:  On Thursday, the home’s first day on the market, one of the first people in the house made an offer–at full price, but they wanted me to cover the $5K in closing costs. With an open house scheduled for Sunday, we decided to wait and see what happened.

Smart move.

Day 4:  30 couples came through Sunday afternoon, between 1-4pm. At the end of the day, there were 3 offers on the table, two above asking price. We looked at each of the buyers and when all was said and done, I was signing documents Sunday night at 8 for a $378,000 real estate deal. Yep–$9,000 over asking price.

It’s been a long road and I still won’t recover what I put in, but the journey is almost over. There’s a couple that is going to get a great house they’ll enjoy for years to come and that part of my life is now about to close.

As much as I enjoyed Peter Sellers, I’m glad it has become a good old-fashioned seller’s market. If you’ve even thought about selling in the near future, current market conditions and the low interest rates pretty much say, “Do it now!”

Tim Hunter

Musings of a Depressed Seahawks Fan

Yeah, it's how I feel

Yeah, it’s how I feel

Ever since that final play of Super Bowl 49, I haven’t stopped thinking about the game, how it could have been SO different, why we decided to “snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory”, etc.

So, throughout the week, as my brain continues to work overtime, I’m just going to assemble a collection of my thoughts so I can press them in my scrapbook of Seahawk memories.

1) For baseball fans who don’t follow the Seahawks, Sunday’s Super Bowl loss was like the Mariners going to the 7th game of the World Series, having a one-run lead in the bottom of the 9th, then, with the bases loaded, walking in the tying and winning runs.
I guess the good news is, in football, you get it over with a lot faster.

2) A survey says that 14% of all Baby Boomers are being treated for depression. Most of those, Seahawk fans.

3) Even Johnny Weir was asking, “Why did they pass instead of giving that Skittles guy the oblong ball thing?”

4) The Scientology commercial that ran in the Super Bowl promised “the Age of Answers.” Can we start with that last play call?

5) That’s it! Seattle’s offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is NOT getting a Valentine from this guy this year.

6) Seahawk Sam poked his head out of the rubble in his living room, saw it wasn’t just a bad dream & that means 6 more weeks of depression.

7)  (I channeled Marshawn Lynch on Facebook with this one) “I’m only here so I won’t get depressed.”

8) Every time I try to rerun that last play in my head, I pass instead and it gets intercepted.

9) It’s “Groundhog’s Day”, that day when you live life over and over until you get it right. Where was this day when we could have used it yesterday?

10) Congrats to Hank Wackstrom, Pee Wee football coach from Twisp, Washington. Hank was the winner of the Seahawks “You call the play” contest, where Hank got to call the Hawks final offensive play in the Super Bowl. Way to go, Hank!
Only way I can explain it.

11) Now I know what the Green Bay Packers fans felt like. Is this where I say, “The better team lost?”

12) There was the picture of the seagull with the Seahawks logo on the chest and the caption I put above him, where he’s saying, “Hey, even with my brain that was a bad call.  Just sayin’…”

13) The Seahawks last call really soured me on the entire game.  It reminded me of my bar days.  I always hated the last call.

14)  Hey, Atlanta–how about if we keep Dan Quinn and you get Darrell Bevell?

15) We finished 2nd.  If we have a parade, shouldn’t the team parade be on 2nd Avenue?

16) I heard Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell wants the parade to go over the mountains on I-90 because he prefers the pass.

17) Ironically, after that Super Bowl loss, it’s the Seahawks that are feeling deflated.

18) I mean, it was crazy: one minute I’m watching the Seahawks in the Super Bowl and then it turned into a Cougar game! (WSU friends, insert ‘Husky’ here)


 (my brain went here–history will decide if I’m right)

Why did the Seahawks pass instead of giving Marshawn Lynch a couple of tries of running it less than a yard?

Theory 1–The Seahawks wanted quarterback Russell Wilson to be the hero, not the crotch-grabbing, few-on-words Marshawn Lynch.

Theory 2–The Seahawks came up with a difficult play that made it impossible for Wilson to complete, thus making it appear as if he blew the game.  Then, when end-of-the-season contract negotiations are underway, he can be reminded of it and be offered millions less.

How did a rookie defender anticipate an a slant pass in a definite run situation?  The only way a play like that could have worked was to incorporate the element of surprise.

Theory 1–The New England Patriots intercepted the play call as Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell talked to Pete Carroll on their radio connection.  The information was passed to the New England defense, who knew exactly how to defend this unlikely play.

Theory 2–Because of everything the Patriots and the NFL went through for Deflate-gate, the league decided the Patriots needed to win.  Russell Wilson threw it directly into the arms of a New England Patriot player from 15 feet away with the promise that the Seahawks would be allowed to win it next year.

Oliver Stone, eat your heart out.

Tim Hunter




The Home That Got Away

Shooting the Penguin Windows commercial at the house

Shooting the Penguin Windows commercial at the house

On February 4th, I’m putting a little piece of me up for sale.

It’s the home I bought back in 2006, when I was starting life anew.  I found this little rambler in Bothell, backed up against a greenbelt, with a huge deck and fenced yard.  I was watching house prices skyrocket out of control and figured if I didn’t hurry up and buy right then, I’d never be able to afford to buy a home in the Puget Sound area.

That was the thinking.  I had $60K as the result of a divorce that I was going to invest somewhere and this seemed like the perfect little place. 3 bedrooms, large master bedroom.  I even allowed the company I worked for at the time to use it to install Penguin triple-pane windows and film it for a TV commercial.

I remember a great summer backyard open house out on the deck and what fun it was.  A deer once wandered through the neighborhood.  Being in the back of the development, only people who lived there would drive by.  There were the neighbors, Dana & Tammy, Norm & Susie and several others whose names I’ve forgotten.

Then, less than a year after buying it, I met a woman too amazing to let get away.  My little rambler was too far from downtown to make it ‘our’ home, so we ended up buying a different home and I planned to sell off the Bothell residence.

But you may have notice the key phrase, 2006, above.  I bought at the absolute peak of the housing market and the crash that followed prevented me from selling.  So, for the next 8 years, I rented it out.  I had never planned to be a landlord, but I found myself in that position–having to fix garage doors, replace a water heater, re-roof, etc.  Combine that along with the fact that rent was hundreds under the payment and it was basically a financial stone around my neck.

However, I got lucky, with two dream tenants who treated the home as if it was their own.  When the most recent tenant decided to move south to be closer to family and with the market recovering, it just seemed like the right time to make my move.

Ten years from now it would be the perfect place to be.  We’re just not at that stage yet.

What I’d like to share with you–with all the preparations that have gone into getting it ready to sell, it’s a really awesome house.  More awesome than it ever was when I lived there.  That made me realize what a shame it is to live in your home and never enjoy its potential.  I’ve become even more resolved, once this adventure is over, to get our Seattle home to where we imagine it could be.  To get it ready to sell, and then… just live there.

If you know someone looking for a home, you might pass this link along to them. It gives a snapshot of what the house is all about, but I’ve got to tell you: it now looks even better.  Just send a note to and I’ll hook you up with my real estate guy.

I look forward to being an ex-landlord, but at the same time, I’m going to miss that little place.

Tim Hunter

A Rare Opportunity

12 logo

Recently, I blogged about Christmas, encouraging everyone to absorb what was around them and enjoy all that the season offers. It can be such a magical time of year if we just allow it. But, as they say, Christmas comes but once a year, always making its annual arrival at Costco, sometime in August.

Right now, Seattle Seahawks fans have one of the rarest of opportunities available to any sports fans. To follow a team that generations will look back on as one of the greatest N.F.L. teams in history.

In my near 60 years on earth, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to cheer for a championship team or two. There were the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers, that swept the New York Yankees in the World Series, four games to none. Two years later, they blew the first two games of the World Series, only to come back and beat the Minnesota Twins in seven games. Two championships in three years!  That was back in the days when World Series games were played during the day and the cool teachers were the ones who brought in a TV so we could watch during school.

Always while growing up, I got to experience an NBA championship.  However, it was after years of the Los Angeles Lakers losing to either the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks (I think the league made them take turns).

When I moved to the championship desert of Seattle in the early 1970s, I began my conversion to the local sports teams. That worked out well with the Sonics, as they won the N.B.A. championship in 1979.

And then, the great dark period began.

The Mariners came close.  OK, our W.N.B.A. team, the Storm won a title. The UW Husky Football team won a co-National Championship in ’91. But our professional baseball, football and even our soccer teams would only flirt with greatness: a playoff game or two, then done.

When the Seahawks actually won the Super Bowl last year, you know what it was like. 12 flags all over town, jerseys everywhere. People not normally sports fanatics were talking about them. Then, upwards of 700,000 people took to downtown Seattle in the frigid cold for a victory parade. Amazingly, not a single arrest.

It was a special time that the pundits said was highly unlikely to repeat. And it’s happening. A win this Sunday and we have a chance at winning our second N.F.L. championship in a row.

I believe we can do it. Yes, you risk a serious heart-break if you allow yourself to get caught up in the madness and we fall short.  But first, don’t think that way.  Secondly, if we win—we get to experience sports nirvana. This team is special. The owner, the architects of the club, the talented, colorful and talented players, are the special concoction that every team in the league is trying to mix up. We’ve got it.

I hope you’re going in deep. That you believe. That you’re ready to experience something very few cities ever see. The beginning of a sports dynasty.

And brace yourself—because we just may have to do this all over again next year.

Let’s just focus on winning Sunday, then the re-Pete.  Then, the 3-Pete next year. Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

Randy & Me

Baseball’s “Big Unit” was voted into the Hall of Fame this week and rightfully so.

6′ 10″ Randy Johnson will go into Cooperstown wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform, but that’s fine by me.  He gave us some impressive years with the Seattle Mariners and they gave him a World Series ring, not us.

But Randy’s new home in the desert resulted in a chance for me to work indirectly with him.

Back in 2005, I was in my rookie year at Destination Marketing, a northwest advertising agency.  I was making the transition from being on the radio to writing copy for radio & television. And just a few months into the job, I was writing commercials that were going to include Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher, Randy Johnson.  Randy and one of our clients, Sleep America, had worked out a trade deal.  We’d set up his home with new mattresses and he’d be a spokesperson.  First, the radio commercials were to be recorded.  It was Sleep America’s spokesperson, Debbie Gaby and Randy in a studio in Arizona and me listening in and coaching them from up here in Seattle.  I gotta say, I was pretty intimidated until we started recording.  Randy can speak his mind when he’s not looking at a script, but he had some serious challenges in the acting department.  Commercials that probably should have taken 10 minutes to record easily took a half an hour and had to be edited together very carefully.  But they came out great.

My next brush with Randy was writing TV commercials for him to do with his family.   I came up with the concepts and wrote the initial spots, but the copy was a little morphed by the time it reached him.  Still, I can lay claim to the fact that I at least had a hand at these.


Wow, that was a lot longer ago than I remember.

Roll the credits:

Those were directed by Doug Cooper, written by me, edited by Rich Reynolds and other voices provided by yours truly, Scott Burns and Debbie Gaby.

Just sharing my close encounter with the Johnson kind. Congrats, Randy and thanks for all you did for baseball in Seattle.

Tim Hunter

Start The New Year A Little Smarter

Perhaps this isn’t news to you.  But not all those phone solicitors are legit.

They call during the day.  They call at night.  One time, as late as 9:20pm.  They call, saying “They’re the fire department” or “Helping Veterans” or even “The Shriner’s Hospital.”

Their script tells them to say “Thanks for your help in the past” and while you flip through the rolodex of your mind, trying to remember if that’s really true, they go into their big ask.

The other night, I got one of those calls.

ME: “Hello?”

HIM: “Is Victoria there?”

ME:  No and can you please remove us from your list?

HIM:  Is this Victoria? (strike one)

ME:  Can you please remove us from your list?

HIM:  I wasn’t calling to ask anything.  I’m calling for the Shriner’s Hospital and I just wanted to thank her for her past support. (strike two)

ME:  Please remove us from your list.

HIM:  I’ll call back later. (click and strike three! He’s out)

Now I’m ticked.  It seems that we have laws and that if you ask a telemarketer to remove you from their list, they have to do that.

So, I look up Shriner’s Hospitals.  The nearest one is in Spokane.  I write to them via their Facebook page and much to my surprise, they responded fairly quickly:

I checked with our corporate PR director and there are no telemarketing efforts on a corporate level.  I have a call into our Spokane hospital to check locally.

The ID appeared on the phone as a private number.  Now, we’ve all been trained to be polite, not hang up on people, etc. but I’ve hit the wall.  From now on, if it’s an out-of-area call or private number, I answer, give it a beat, and then hang up.  That practically guarantees Publisher’s Clearinghouse will try to give me a million dollars this year, but it will be well worth it.

That might have been them tonight.  Or at least one of the three calls I hung up on.

Tim Hunter

Christmas Is Up To You

Santa in Hammock

I’m guessing that, with Christmas falling on a Thursday this year, this blog is probably my last in 2014. I’m pretty convinced the world won’t spin off its axis, that it’ll still rain in Seattle and you’ll have watched at least one of the versions of “A Christmas Carol”. (the 1952 Alistair Sim version is really the only version)

So, with that buried deep in my sub-conscious, I’m being more observant of all the things going on around me. I’ve thought about going several directions with this piece and I’ve decided to go in all of them.

Today, I was at the Post Office, trying to get out my parents and sister’s Christmas package in the mail so that it would arrive before the big day. I walked in, saw a HUGE line at the in-person desk (with only two clerks), but there was a six-person wait at the automated machine. No-brainer. I get in the line, waited….and waited for my turn. I was almost there, when the person ahead of me informed me that the machine was full and could no longer do packages.

So, I headed over to the in-person line, which was even longer than when I first arrived. About ten minutes into that, the person who had been in front of me in the other line came over to give me the good news: the machine was working again AND there was no one in line! By the time I had taken care of the postage, I was in and out of there in less than 25 minutes. These days, that’s pretty good.

To my next story.

Without going into the “who”, I saw an acquaintance yesterday that I knew had been having health issues. Here it is, the “happiest time of the year” and she was one of many people having to deal with real life. This particular friend had spent last week getting medical treatments. This week, she was home, but you could just look at her and know things weren’t right.

The other day, I got a call from a friend, going through her first Christmas without her husband of 38 years.

Then there’s the tradition that was rekindled this morning, when I record “A visit with Santa Claus” with my radio buddy Bryon Mengle for his radio station back in Iowa. Something that I wrote and that is most likely heading to next year’s Christmas CD.

That’s another cool tradition. For the 14th year, I’ve put together a compilation of Christmas songs and comedy bits for a CD I call, “Ho Ho Brother.” This year’s edition is “Ho Ho Brother 14.” In all those years, I’ve only used the same version of a song once. Otherwise, every collection is different. I thought, for a while, about just offering it as an audio file, as CD’s are this close to extinction, but I know too many people on my list that still use that technology.

I’m rambling. But where I’m heading with all this is that Christmas happens during life. There will be ups and downs. I’ve got a dad who is failing in health and may not see another Christmas. This is the year to make it count. To enjoy every carol. To watch the amazement of kids when they meet Santa or rip open that present on Christmas Day. To realize that being happy and hopeful and full of dreams is a much-preferred way to live.

As I wrap this up, terrorists from North Korea forced Sony Pictures to stop the release of a movie. A fictional tale of an attempt on the leader of North Korea, but an idea that was crushed by international bullies.

So, what’s next?

I’ll tell you what’s next. Next Wednesday night, millions of kids around the world will find it hard to sleep because they don’t know what Santa will leave for them and what he’ll put in the stockings they left out.  Will he take a bite of that cookie they left on the hearth? And drink the glass of milk?

It’s Christmas. Let it be a magical time for you and yours.

And then, come December 26th, we’ll get back to dealing with all that real world stuff.

Merry Christmas.  See you all next year.


Tim Hunter

God Rest Ye This Old Guy


I came to a stop. The light was red. I had slipped into my spot in the left turn lane when, over the Christmas music playing in my car, I heard yelling. I turned off the music and since the light was still red, searched for the source. Maybe it was someone in trouble?  Maybe this was my big chance to help someone, just in time for the holiday season?  How special would that be?

I looked out the rear passenger window and there was an old man yelling out of his car window while looking at me. He looked more mad than troubled, but maybe his face just contorted that way over the years. I’m sure he was at least in the 80-year-old club.

So, using those new-fangled power windows of mine, I rolled down the rear passenger side window to listen: Doesn’t anybody go the speed limit anymore? Why do you people just speed around? Was I going too slow for you?”

I asked for clarification. “What are you talking about?”

“You know goddamn well what I’m talking about. You and the others just whipped right passed me. Don’t you know what a speed limit is?”

At this point, I’m getting a little ticked. Here I was, out of respect for a senior, opening up my window to hear what he had to say and all he could do is be a bitter old man.

I could have said so many things. “If you had a front lawn, I’d be walking on it right now!” or “Prunes! That’s the answer!”

But instead, when his outrage at the world paused for a moment, I just stared at him for a second, then yelled out, “Merry Christmas!”

I rolled up my window, turned up my Christmas music and re-entered the world that he had apparently left a long time ago.  The spirits have another job to do this Christmas.

Tim Hunter

Here Comes Dennis Brown! Here Comes Dennis Brown!


Tucked away in a little booth-like store in Bothell’s Country Village is a sculptor named Dennis Brown.

Dennis has been doing what he loves and making a living out of it for 45 years. He’s mastered the art of taking some clay and turning it into his own, unique figurines of Santa Claus, elves and other mythical creatures.  And somewhere along the line, he decided to embrace the fact that he looks like Father Christmas.


To walk into his shop, you could easily feel like you accidentally wandered into Santa’s hobby shop, where he goes to get away from the clanging of the toys being made or Mrs. Claus asking him to eat more & maintain his bowl full of jelly appearance.  Except, he genuinely appreciates you coming into his craft room, where he works on more pieces while displaying his various works all the way up until the second they’re sold. And he does sell out every year.

We stopped by and chatted with Dennis on Saturday and heard the thumbnail version of his story.  While he maintains his store year ’round, starting November 1st he’s at his little shop selling his crafts 7 days a week until the last one is sold. It’s then that he’ll relax and enjoy the holiday season or at least what’s left of it. Because on January 1, the process starts all over again as he begins to restock his shelves with more of his unique-looking clay sculptures.

People actually come from all over to buy his works.  Dennis told us the story of the family from Connecticut who  has a 16-year tradition of flying out here just to see him, buy some Santa’s, and then head back to Holiday Inn country. His works are hard to resist and we left with a family heirloom for the kids to fight over some day.  I asked if he would pose with the one we bought.


Dennis is the one on the left.  We now have our first Dennis Brown Santa on display at the Hunter household and I have this feeling that it won’t be the last.

So, if you’d like a little kick-start to your holiday season, want to just hang with Santa and maybe even start collecting a few pieces of hand-crafted art, aim your sleigh towards Bothell’s Country Village Shopping Center and say hi to Dennis Brown.  Or, you can always just order things from him online here.  Good guy.  A right jolly old elf.

Tim Hunter





Random Thankfulness


It’s the day before we’re supposed to officially be grateful for all we’ve got, but I thought I’d get a head start.

I tend to over think things and so, the first place I go is that “if you talk about all the good things in your life, you’ll make someone having a tough time right now feel worse.”  That is not my intent.  Intention has to count for something, right?  This collection of words is about gratitude.  As we approach a season dripping with “What can I get?”, I’ve already got plenty and I just want to acknowledge it.

I have to start with the fact that my wife and I are in good health and our kids are all doing just fine. Life will never be perfect, but each challenge is an opportunity to grow and help better equip you for the next bump that comes along. They happen.

As recently as yesterday, I found out that we’ll have all the kids with us at Thanksgiving brunch.  We might actually be able to get in a group picture and as you get up in there in years, you know how challenging that can be to have everyone in the same spot at the same time.  This year, Photoshop gets the year off.

I’m waking up every day and doing exactly what I want to do and that’s among the greatest blessings anyone can ask for.  In the almost two months of Tim Hunter Creative Services, I’ve had a steady stream of meetings and projects that pay the bills. You just can’t ask for much more than that.

I find it ironic that a day originally designed to be free of gifts, commercialism and want has been invaded by stores being open and sales that intend to make you want more than what you’ve got.  You can shop any time. In this day and age, wake up at 2am, think “I need that”, go to the computer and order it and it’s there two days later.  Do everything you can to keep Thanksgiving a day of reflection, football, roasting turkey or tofurkey in the oven and just talking with family who won’t always be there.  These are the times we’ll remember in the years ahead.

I’ve been around long enough to realize that “the good old days” are actually right now.  Over time, our selective memories filter out the blemishes and we’ll recall that year back in 2014 when we started making sure that every Thanksgiving Day counted.  When we  remembered all that we have instead of all that we need or want.

The happiest of Thanksgiving to you and your kin.

Tim Hunter

Soda A Nice Thing To Do

One of my most often-read pieces on this blog had nothing to do with the writer and everything to do with the topic: the late photo-journalist Bill Strothman.

I met Bill in college at the University of Washington and I loosely stayed in touch over the years. Bill, his wife Nora and I were members of Bothell First Lutheran Church together. He worked at KOMO TV when I worked at KOMO radio.

You may not have known Bill personally, but all I have to say is “that KOMO photo-journalist who was killed earlier this year in that helicopter crash” and you know who I mean. But, for all the good deeds and amazing body of work Bill compiled during his days on earth, it would seem a shame to identify him by how it all ended.

And so it is, with a huge pile of gratitude that I’d like to thank the folks at Jones Soda for the tremendous salute they gave Bill. I love subtlety, and it was during the summer that Bill’s son, Dan, first pointed out that the folks at Jones Soda used an old photo of his dad on one of their sodas. Dan posted the picture they used on Facebook and it’s a free-spirited, hippie version of Bill, just as he began conquering the world. It turns out that one of Bill’s neighbors worked at Jones Soda and spear-headed the efforts to get him on the package. There, at the bottom of the packaging, a handwritten, “Bill Strothman…Bothell, Washington.”

I was in the Holman Road QFC the other day, when Dan posted on Facebook that he was lucky enough to nab the last “Bill” soda’s in his nearby Thriftway. That was a perfectly timed reminder for me to check QFC to see if they had any.

I headed straight to the soda aisle and, at first glance, it appeared I was out of luck. I began removing 4-packs and going deeper into the shelf until I found one. I felt like I had won the lottery!

Now I am a proud owner of a Bill Strothman pack of Jones Soda. I have placed it in a spot of honor in my office, surrounded by Husky memorabilia. It seems like a perfect fit.Bill Strothman

Most mornings, when I stumble downstairs to begin another day of writing, I look up and there’s hippie Bill, reminding me to make the most of this day and every day I’m lucky to still be around.

Good reminder, Bill. Very cool, Jones Soda.

Tim Hunter

I’m In Love

OK, I’ve had this relationship for several months now and it’s official–I’m in love with my Surface Pro 3.

One of my biggest faults is being a Microsoft early adapter.  A new operating system comes out, I install it, disaster ensues.  I’ve made a career out of it. Yes, the next time something comes along, I’m in stalling the beta version and hoping that this time, it’ll be the greatest ever.

That’s been true of all the various forms of Windows that have crawled out of Redmond over the years—’95, Me, Vista–I embraced them all.  I even struggled through the first version of Windows 8 and for a while, regretted ever giving up my 7.

Truth be told, I did not rush out and buy a Surface when they first arrived. I waited until this spring, when finally, the hype became unbearable.  So, on that opening weekend, I went to the Microsoft store, took a Surface Pro 3 for a test drive and the honeymoon still continues.

There are plenty of reviews by experts, pro and con, on every electronic device ever made.  If you’re an Apple-head, there’s nothing I can do for you.  Most of them are pretty elitist when it comes to computer and a PC will always be below them.  That’s OK.

But if you are in the market for a laptop or tablet, here’s your chance to get both at a bit less than you’d pay for an Apple anything.

The details–I got the $999 version.  Add in the keyboard and the unconditional warrantee so even if I drive over it, they’ll replace it….oh, and the tax….and it clocked in around $1,350.

From my view, the pro’s–

  • The touch screen–OMG, once you’ve had one, you’re hooked.  Now, when I want to get a closer look, no matter what computer I’m using (I have 5) I try to adjust the screen by touching it.  Much like your phone.
  • The keyboard magnetically attaches, as does the charging cable.
  • The kickstand lets you use the tablet or laptop version with ease. (not available with a Mac)
  • It has a USB connection. (also, Mac’s are above that sort of thing)
  • There’s the electric pen that lets you write on the screen and take notes.  Awesome.
  • The size–it’s in-between a full and a mini, but a comfortable size.  So, the next time you’re on a plane and the guy in front leans back, you can still set it up and work.

The drawbacks

  • Windows 8.  Bill, you still got a few things to make easier on the user.

Seriously, the best thing you can do is go in and take one for a test drive. Or not.  Just trying to make your life a little easier for you.

I consider it one of the best investments I ever made.  And, I remain, in love.

Tim Hunter

Maybe After All This Time, It’s You

What a difference a couple of years can make.

What a difference a couple of years can make.

Politics is such a touchy subject.

I’ve blogged about this before, at the risk of alienating some friend or relatives.  But that would be OK.  If you are that far off the chart, then we probably should communicate less. For the greater good.

Because, you see, I’m pretty loosey-goosey when it comes to politics and religion.  I have my ideas, my beliefs and they’re all mine.  I continue to search for input and growth, but how I think is entirely up to me.  The same is true for you.

Witness the election results from the past week.  Once again, there was a political swing in this country.  The ones on the losing side discount it or belittle those who voted that way.  The winners gloat, as if they’ve been given permission to revolutionize the planet.

As always, the truth is right there, smack dab in the middle.

When you don’t have an agenda, or a checklist that you measure everything with, you can actually have an open mind.  That gets back to that “thinking for yourself” outlook on life.  It’s a great place to be.

As you saw with the TV political maps, there are red areas of the country and blue areas.  However, they didn’t just print those maps up a couple of hundred years ago.  The reds and blues, much like the website passwords I can never remember, keep changing.  Yes, there are areas that will always be blue or tend to go red.  So let’s remove those from the discussion and focus on the rest of the country.  I’m proud to say, it swings based on how people feel the job is getting done.  There were states that voted Reagan in who elected Barack Obama to be our president.  This last election, there were states that elected Barack Obama who voted out senators and congressmen in his party.

I’ve watched the posts on Facebook.  I live in a fairly liberal, very blue part of the country.  You would have thought Martians had landed and taken over.  Nope, those are Republicans who went back to the basics of the party, rather than the fringe wackjobs that have forced themselves up on the stage in recent years.

Being an “in the middle” guy has its drawbacks.  Because there are a lot of things I don’t like about both of the major parties.  I want our government to help people, but not to create a land of dependency.  I’m glad to give you money to improve our lives, but not to recklessly spend it.

Maybe you’re one of those who fills out your ballot by looking for the D or the R.  You’ll always be red or blue.  But as we go back to the map, you’ll see that the majority of the country went red this time.  A lot of those people were blue just two years ago.  That gives me hope, as people are realizing they have the power to tell our politicians to do their job, or we’ll find someone who can.

While the negative campaign ads drive me nuts, election night results are the payoff.  Vote how you feel the world should be run and then let’s see what the majority thinks.  I’m not always in it, but I’ve been around enough to see the country swing right, then left, then right again and back to left.  It’s healthy.  It’s what a democracy is supposed to do.  Those people who voted differently than you this time are just voting with their hearts and minds.  It’s how they feel.

If you can’t understand how they could possibly go away from the promises and rhetoric of a party, consider just for a moment–instead of them being less qualified to vote on the important issues of the day, maybe it’s you?

Tim Hunter

Put a Little Howl in Halloween

Tim the Hobo

I was actually much happier than the mask would indicate

There are lots of ways to divide people: religion, politics and the holiday some are celebrating this Friday, Halloween.

Most holidays that roll around, people take ‘em or leave ‘me. “It’s St. Patrick’s Day? Wasn’t even on my radar.” “Veterans Day? Better put out the flag.”

But Halloween either makes you smile or cringe. There are some people who just won’t dress up. Something happened in their childhood. Not sure if it was a moldy Snickers bar or they once got lost as a kid at Display & Costume, the idea of putting on a costume just isn’t them.

Then there are those of us who have always dressed up and actually put some thought into what we’ll be this year. The 2014 edition of the Hunters in Disguise will be inspired by the TV show and book series, ‘Outlander.”   I actually bought a kilt, puffy shirt, sword and ordered shoes for the outfit, while Victoria bought a medieval-style dress, so we can look like we just walked off the show. Here’s hoping for everyone’s sake it’s not a drafty night.

Going back to the days when I was growing up, Halloween costumes were a thin material one-piece outfit with a plastic mask that prevented you from breathing easily and could barely see out of. Then, you hit that age where you’re old enough to go out on your own, but you hear the clock ticking and know that you have one, maybe two years left to do this massive candy round-up.

During my kids’ Trick or Treat days, we lived in a pretty cool neighborhood, with nice houses and people who answered the door with treats and something for the parents to drink. After a while, it became quite well-known and groups would actually bus in their kids to give them a safe place to trick or treat. It would mean going through a half-dozen Costco bags of candy, but you got to see a lot of very cute kids enjoying a magical night in the neighborhood.

I do remember one Halloween in particular, when my daughter Christina was around 3 and it was probably 25-degrees outside. With Halloween costumes being more about cuteness than warmth, I remember wrapping her up in a blanket, walking her up to a door and ringing the bell, letting her get her candy and then re-wrapping her until we got to the next porch.

So many Halloweens ago....

So many Halloweens ago….

As adults, I’ve seen ‘em all, including the time KLSY sponsored a Halloween party with round trip airfare for two to Transylvania as the first prize. OMG, were there some great costumes, including a 9-foot alien and a Cleopatra being carried around (but it was really just one person). It was just a year ago that a group of former KLSY-kateers gathered at the Brooks residence for a party, and most dressed up. The Brooks family decorated their “mansion” to the nines.

Maybe it’s the idea that when do something that a child would do—dress up—you’re pausing the whole adult thing for even just a few hours. You get to be silly and have swapped a little bit of dignity for that feeling of being a kid again.

To those who refuse to join in, I understand…but I don’t. It’s your call, but if it’s been quite a few years since you put on a costume, maybe, just one more time—give it a try. I don’t expect you to head out to the most sincere pumpkin patch and hope to catch a glimpse of the Great Pumpkin, but you just might experience a type of fun you haven’t known in years.

Tim & Kristin

Happy Halloween!

Tim Hunter


My Two Cents

two cents

Sure, why not?  That’s what this little corner of cyberspace is all about. A soapbox for whatever I want to think about.

I’m pretty sure you have an opinion on this one.  Actually, if you’ve had kids in sports, I know you’ve got one.

Before I offer my view, I’ll give you my background.  I helped raise two very active kids.  We let them play whatever sports they wanted to be involved with.  For Christina, that was softball, soccer and basketball.  Tyson did the boy version, Little League, soccer and basketball.

I was the coach for most of their teams.  Not because of any great expertise, but usually because no one else had volunteered.  But the more I coached, the more I really loved it.  The biggest reason—I could give these mini-adults some very valuable life lessons at a pretty influential time of their life.  My coaching years went from the kids’ 3rd grade, all the way up until the rec leagues of high school.

Over the years, I was more than happy to hand off the responsibility and just be an active parent or an assistant coach.  So, as many times as I sat on a bench with the players, I was also up in the stands to cheer them on.

It’s from that experience that I got to know the various types of parents who attend these games:

  • “The ‘There for the kids”—This breed is rare, but does exist.  In fact, I’m pretty sure a lot of the categories started here or at least, intended to be that way.
  • “The Cheerleaders”—God bless ‘em.  They’re the ones that do everything they can to be positive, even when it means yelling “You can do it” when a child is about to strike out for the 7th time in a game.
  • “The Back Seat Coaches”—You know, if THEY were calling the shots, this team would be winning. Or, at least, they want everyone in the stands to believe that.  The sad truth—no one does.
  • “The Get It Rights”—These are the people who either got picked last, were cut by their coach and by God, their kid is going to be the superstar they should have been.  If they just yell louder, things will go their way.  They just know it.
  • “The Bad Sports”—These folks have the qualities of both of the previous groups, PLUS, they love to taunt the parents and even sometimes the players of the other teams.

I also remember hearing stories over the years of drunk parents, angry parents challenging the ump to a fight, individual adults being banned from games…the list goes on and on.

The reason I’m wandering down the path of this topic:  A group of Bothell parents made the news when they tangled up with some Renton parents at a recent junior football game.  I’m talking 9 and 10 year olds.  Seriously.

Several of the Bothell parents are actually being charged with assault.

The end result—both teams have been banned from the playoffs.

And I commend those in charge for decision.

As I said in the beginning, everyone has an opinion on this one.  But here’s why I believe banning everyone from the playoffs was a smart and courageous thing to do.

First off, the behavior is beyond inexcusable. No, you just can’t do that.  I can’t tell you how many times I attended games where ugly parents probably could have gotten to that stage, but didn’t, and those are just the games I attended. Millions of baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and football games are played every year.  It’s going to take a penalty of this magnitude to stop these kind of incidents once and for all.

Yes, the kids won’t get to play in the playoffs.  Their ‘careers’ are ruined?  Oh, for God’s sake!  Kids recover.  When they talk about “a long time ago”, they’re referring to last week.  The players on these two teams have the opportunity to experience a very powerful lesson that’ll stick with them for the rest of their years.  And, if one of their parents gets ugly next year, who do you think will be the ones to say, “Knock it off!”?  It will probably be the other parents AND the kids racing to silence them because being banned from the playoffs is a real possibility.

What other scenarios are there?

Let the kids play their game, but don’t allow parents.  Yes, it lets them play a game, but it doesn’t address the problem.  And who is going to patrol that game, so that the banned parents don’t sneak in?  Do you have all their names?  What do they look like?  Well, that looks like someone banned, but they claim they’re someone else?  Oh, and who’s paying for all this security?  I’m afraid that would also teach, “If you don’t like the penalty, complain enough and they’ll cave in.”   Don’t do it.

There are so many  traumatic things that can happen to a child while growing up.  I think you’d have to agree, that it’s harder than ever to have a childhood compared to when we grew up.  This is about responsibility and drawing a line.  Being an arrogant, screaming, profane, looking-for-a-fight parent has no place in this arena.  It may not stop all of them, but if it makes a few think twice, we all win.

We can all just shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh, well, some parents are just that way.”  Or we can try to deal with it.

My vote–season’s over, see ya next year!

Tim Hunter



My Favorite Season

I have to say, since giving up the steady 9-5 grind and going out on my own October 1st, it has really been a dream come true.

There’s less stress in my life, I can greet each day as something to look forward to and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of potential out there (by the way, if I actually do scratch my Surface, I bought the extended warranty, so I’ll be fine)

It’s with this unlimited menu of opportunity that I’ve found myself reflecting on some of the more basics things about day-to-day life.  The other day, I just randomly passed along this thought to my wife, Victoria:  Just in case anyone ever asks or it comes up on a game show, my favorite season is fall.

While giving my reflection muscle a work out, it seems the reason is because it’s a season of change.  Winter is when things lie in wait….spring is when promises of a better future are made….summer is when we savor the present….and fall signals change.  I’ve always been big on change.  While it makes a lot of people uncomfortable, change is so refreshingly good for you and presents you with possibilities you didn’t even know existed.

So, it’s not surprising that I chose fall to launch this latest phase of my career.  Aside from the hair falling like leaves from my head, this was the perfect launching time for something new.  So far, it’s been a cornucopia of projects and, over the upcoming weeks, I hope to launch a weekly newsletter–just a brief one–to pass along that week’s golden moment.

Since that newsletter doesn’t exist yet, let me offer up this little tidbit.

Part of my wanting to focus more on the things I do is to give me more time for writing comedy.  It’s a passion and I was finding myself wedging it in when I had “spare time”, which by definition is the hours most people set aside for sleep.

Years ago, a comic friend of mine, Frank King, connected me with another funny fellow named Steve Kelley.  The guy is not only a political cartoon genius, but also manages to create a daily cartoon strip called “Dustin.”  Steve is kind enough to accept my jokes on a daily basis and when he sees one he believes would be a good cartoon, he lets me know, purchases it and creates a visual version of the joke.

Just this week, he grabbed this one from my collection of daily one-liners and turned it into this.

Kelly Cartoon BrokerI will always remember October as the month of my biggest  personal growth ever.   So, when you combine Husky and Seahawks football, baseball playoffs and the World Series, all the leaves turning and the beautiful fall colors, those great wind storms and thunderstorms, a cozy fire in the fireplace and all-new episodes of my favorite TV shows, toss in Halloween and Thanksgiving–the holiday where no gifts are involved and it’s all about food–and what’s not to love about fall!

Oh, did I mention that night we get to turn the clocks back and get an extra hour of sleep?

It’s the season that just keeps on giving.  Happy fall, everyone!

Tim Hunter