A Book Of Memories

It’s a scrapbook.  That’s its job.  The typical scrapbook is full of things like birthday cards that, as a kid, you thought you’d want to keep forever.  Maybe a couple of postcards, a ribbon you won, and so on.

While organizing my office, I came across this familiar-looking book:

Scrapbook

It went back to my early years, while growing up in the 1960s. It was full of all kinds of treasures–from the giant Dodger collectibles you’d get with a fill-up at your nearest Union 76 station, to postcards of the many places we went while growing up. I remember the time as a Cub Scout, we took a field trip to the racetrack, Hollywood Park.  Besides seeing the stands and where the horses resided, we also got to go out to the center area, a special lake where the Goose Lady lived.

goose lady

I was young.  I just assumed she lived there all year ’round.

I also found some old vintage pictures and postcards that our neighbors had given us.  I guess I turned into a packrat at an early age, but how can you blame me?  How could you possibly throw away an autographed picture of actual Siamese twins from 1932?

Siamese Twins

But the real prizes found in this scrapbook were autographs of sports stars from years gone by.  My dad, God bless him, worked out at United Airlines back when it was at its prime and when famous folks flew regular commercial flights, including sports teams.  Back then, there were no sky bridges to take you from the terminal to the plane.  You had to go down on the tarmac and walk up some stairs.  Between the terminal and the plane were mechanics, like my dad, who always carried some 3X5 cards with him, just in case.

That’s how I came into possession of these autographs of sports stars from my past.

Like Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maury Wills

There are other Dodgers he talked into signing his 3X5 cards, including Bill Buckner and Don Sutton.

He also managed to catch the Los Angeles Lakers a few times.  The guys I watched on TV and my dad had talked with them and got their autograph.  Gail Goodrich, Jerry West–several times.  I bet after a while, Jerry probably said, “You again?”

Lakers1

But here’s the amazing part of this particular 3X5 card.  For years, I treasured it and had it attached to a scrapbook page with photo corners.  Decades after assigning it in that book,  I decided to take it out and look on the back. Lo and behold:

Lawrence Welk

Yes, the autograph of none other than the King of Champagne Music, Lawrence Welk.

Oh, and one other autograph I found in this scrapbook.

Baja Marimba

None other than Julius Wechter from the Baja Marimba Band. It was the band of choice for those who couldn’t afford Herb Alpert.  How did we get that one? It turns out Julius’ aunt did my parents’ taxes.

Aw, the memories of a scrapbook….

Tim Hunter

Remembering when “Oh Give Me A Home” was about Cowboys

ratty RV

Let’s say you own a car. A really nice car with leather interior, state-of-the-art sound system, every luxury imaginable.  It cost $145-million, but it doesn’t run.  It’s completely broken down.

What would you do?

Spend $290-million to fix it or get a new one?

Look around Seattle and you’d have a hard time convincing me that the city spends $145-million of your tax dollars in services for the homeless.  Blue tarps, encampments, ratty RV’s, panhandlers, people who you thought only lived in Pioneer Square, are now in grocery store lots and street corners close to your home.

What happened?

I’m having a hard time with this one, because it seems the more services that are offered, the less help it’s providing.  The city is great about documenting all of our information so that if we can’t pay a water bill or garbage bill—oh, yeah, you’ll hear about it.

But $145-million tax dollars are supporting the current non-working scenario.  Tuesday night, the mayor went on the city cable channel and revealed his new plan. He’d like twice that amount–$290-million—and THAT will fix the problem.

KIRO talker Dori Monson pushes the idea of the city selling the land all these tent cities being pushed on neighborhoods and build a structure, a housing facility…where counseling, job-training and addiction therapy can take place. Their afternoon team of Ron & Don are doing a fantastic job of bringing the issue to the front lines.

Besides soft-peddling milk-toast solutions to the homeless, Seattle is also going down a dangerous path of selectively enforcing laws.  Are those encampments legal or not?  Doesn’t the state, or the city or the county own that property?  Why couldn’t I go to some unused land and start up a restaurant or a business?  That would be shut down in seconds. I would be trespassing.  Yeah, the t-word.  Remember when that was illegal?

I’ve heard some suggestions about what to do. I’ll combine those with some of my own touches:

1)      Go through every homeless camp and remove those who want to be helped.  Those who stay remain do so at their own peril and will be subject to every single law on the books.  Last time I checked, illegal drugs were, well, illegal. That’s how they got their name.  Remember charges like “possession”?

2)      Bring in the National Guard and use them to go through the rougher areas.  Combine police with social agencies that can actually get these people help.  Let them all know the free ride and the lack of caring is over.

3)      Not from the area?  Came here because you heard how Seattle and various community groups coddle the homeless?  Here’s your bus ticket back home.  And a police escort to make sure you use it.

Imagine Seattle as your home.  Well, it is…but I mean, your house.  Someone you don’t know moves into that extra bedroom and things start disappearing from around the house.  Needles are found on the ground.  You’re afraid to go to that room.  How in the world do you rationalize it in your head to make that OK?

But we have, on an embarrassingly large scale.

Seattle has already spent over a billion dollars on a campaign over the past decade to solve the homelessness problem. Seriously, it was “The Campaign to End Homelessness.”  And it’s done nothing but make it worse.  Enough that Mayor Murray recently declared a state of emergency in the Emerald City.

People can be down on their luck.  For those who need the support of their community to turn things around, I’m all for it.  But to enable those who have given up and made their bad choices our problem, how does that seem fair?

Homelessness is ugly, unfortunate and affects all of us.  A real solution is needed.  I’m not the expert, I just have a pair of eyes that have witnessed a lot of expensive efforts that seem to be worsening the problem, not fixing it.

Elect leaders that bring a real solution to this problem.  Please.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

WHICH WAY DO I GO, GEORGE, WHICH WAY DO I GO?

which_way_did_he_go1

For those not raised on Warner Brothers cartoons, let’s get you caught up to speed

Which way do I go, George….

You see, when you’re a kid and you hear that phrase a million times while watching cartoons, it becomes your default phrase when you’re not sure which direction you should head.

Each week, I like to crawl into this little corner of the Internet and express my top feeling, the thing that’s most on my mind.  Throw your phone into the washing machine and, yeah, that tends to dominate your brain. But since last week’s adventure, I’ve had the opportunity to be more aware of the rest of the world and there are just so many directions I could go, George.

So, instead of elaborating on one particular subject, I’m going to give you some fast thoughts on the headlines that have grabbed my attention:

DYING ROCK STARS–How do you ignore that?  Especially when the people in question are in the same decade as myself?  OK, I most likely wasn’t into the drug scene and wild parties as David Bowie, Glenn Frey and the drummers of all those other bands.  As I look back on that debauchery I missed out on, it probably gives me a pass to the next decade.

THE DEBATES–I keep trying to watch, make it about 10-minutes and then get depressed.  I’ve long criticized the presidential race as choosing between the lesser of the two evils, but it’s somehow gotten worse. Rather than focusing on who I’d like to vote for, I’m trying to see who I can talk myself into.

THE SEAHAWKS–That hurt. I haven’t been depressed about the loss of a game that much since the 1995 Mariners had their run end. What I take solace in is that the Seahawks will be back. They’ll look at what didn’t work this year (yeah, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have the offensive line jump to the front), figure out who they can keep and who has to go, and they’ll give us another team that just might go all the way.

THE STOCK MARKET–Talk about your doom & gloom. I thought the economy was doing alright?  At least, that’s what we were being told. And how in the hell is gasoline heading to less than $1 a gallon bad news for our economy?  Yes, the greedy bastards that cashed in when it was almost $4 a gallon have to lose some money, but with proper planning, they could have easily stashed some money aside for this “rainy day.”   Besides, do you really think it’s going to stay that low?

By the time I click “publish” there will no doubt be another topic or two I could have tackled.  We’ll see who rises to the top next week.  But for now, you have my two-cents on what’s been going on lately.

I could have probably run with the DYING ROCK STARS topic, but I can’t even partially imagine that being anything more than a “the end is near” ramble. Glenn Frey had impact because, yes, he was there during the second 2/3’s of my life on this earth. Starting out with Pure Prairie League, his work with The Eagles and his solo efforts.

The second my sister Debbie let me know that he had passed (by the way, she caught the Eagles twice live in concert in recent years) the first place I went was the closest I ever came to Mr. Frey.  I was at Disneyland with Murdock, Hunter & Alice.  Glenn was doing a concert in the next couple of hours and was in the middle of a sound check in the Tomorrowland Plaza.  He was not happy, and was threatening not to do the concert if the sound issues continued.  I got to hear his voice, complaining. That was as close as I got.

I can say that, with the recent passing of notables and some older friends I’ve made in recent years, this little gift we have is something not to be overlooked.  If you’re not doing what you really like to do–change it. If you’re not happy, don’t just wait to be happy–BE happy.

I had a great chat with my long-time friend Bryon Mengle this past week. You can catch it on my podcast here.  That’s what I love.  Connecting with people, enjoying the times we shared and looking forward to more of the same in the future.

Like having you stop by to read this blog.  Thanks!  And see you next week.

Tim Hunter

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished–Part 2

Cell in Rice

It was a pretty lazy Saturday.  Not much planned and late in the morning, I thought I’d scoop up the sheets and pillowcases off the bed and toss ’em in the washing machine.

A while later, the washer played those familiar that notified me the load was done, so I went to toss the laundry in the dryer.  As I lifted up the damp pile from the bottom of the washing machine, I heard a clunk.  A rather loud clunk.  Like something had fallen out of the pile of soggy sheets.

It was my cellphone.

A beautiful Samsung Galaxy S6 that had only enjoyed 6 months of life outside the box. This was a first for me, but I had heard of people who dropped their phones in water, only to revive them by placing them in rice. I gave it a try.  24 hours later, I plugged it in and it appeared to be charging. It actually got up to a 26% charge but when I tried to turn it on, the words “Samsung Galaxy S6” came up on the screen…but that’s as far as it would go.  I then unplugged it and placed it back into the bag of rice.

I tried to ride it out.  Some people online said that it could take up to two weeks.  But here’s the deal: I’m an addict.  My entire life is based around the functionality of my cell phone.  My daily alarm clock was gone.  The brain that reminded me of the appointments I scatter through each week–gone.  Needless to say, I was inaccessible unless I was at home and someone called my home number, if they knew it.  When I left home, I was away from email until I returned.

Now, all of this disconnection isn’t bad unless you’re running a business and you need to stay in touch. So, I started thinking of ways to improvise.  I realized that I had a Samsung tablet that I wasn’t really using and it was like a big cell phone, it just couldn’t make calls.  But it would allow me to check email, set the alarm and wake up to the same sound I normally do, etc.  I could survive for a while.

I checked the phone again.  Same results.

It was now day 2 without a phone and I couldn’t stand it. I went to three difference T-Mobile stores.  Two of them told me to just go through the insurance, pay the $175 deductible and get on with my life.  The third store said, “Oh, it’ll take four days to get it back.  For $250, we’ll give you the phone now.”

That’s when my Scottish heritage kicked in and saving $75 was worth waiting a couple of days for a new phone.  However, I filled out the insurance claim on Monday and got my new phone on Tuesday!  For only $175! OK, now this is working.

So, once again, I’m plugged back into Cell Phone Society.  I will say that because my address book was on the phone and NOT on my Sim card, I lost everything in my address book. It would help greatly if you would text me a note and let me know who you are, give me your email address and other vital information so I can add you back in.

In summary, here’s what I learned or had affirmed:

  • Insure your cell phone.
  • The phone insurance people understand your needs and will get you your new phone pronto.
  • While multi-tasking is productive, sometimes you just need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Your Smartphone probably won’t survive a 50-minute wash in hot water.
  • Stick with your local phone store. Go to someone who recognizes your face, not someone looking to up-sell you.
  • You may have to buy a higher-capacity Sim card, but it will be so worth it if something happens to that phone.

This was my first and hopefully last such experience of “losing” a cell phone. We’ve allowed these devices into our lives and now, they’re a part of them.  If nothing else, I must look at the positive things that came out of all this. Like, for example, I was unable to take a selfie for almost 72 hours.

It’s the little things.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

The Reason He’s A Rock Legend

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It’s come to my attention that there are people living on this planet who heard about the death of Pop Star David Bowie and said, “Who?”

To save you the time Googling his name, David Bowie was this introvert who evolved into a Pop Music Icon.  He was out there, but just inside the line to capture mass appeal.  During the many post-passing salutes, I heard the story of how he got his name. He was trying to crack into the music biz, when all of a sudden, another guy with the name of Davey Jones was making it big with a manufactured-for-TV group called “The Monkees.”  So, David changed his name….but before that could stick, another guy named Tom Jones had his first hit.  What was next?  David Bowie.  I think because people struggled with whether to say “Boowie” or Bowie”, that no one else stole that one and he finally had a name of his own.

While most probably just dust off Bowie’s passing as “time marches on” or “yeah, well, he was a partying kind of guy”, it’s more importantly a reminder–especially for 60-year-old me–that we need to appreciate the time we’ve got here.  Bowie passed away from liver cancer just two days after his 69th birthday and the day he released his 26th album, “Dark Star.”

For me, you don’t have to be Einstein to see the Dark Star connection, or where he was going with one of the songs on his final album, “Lazarus.”  David was given an 18-months heads up to make every day count and he did. He recorded one more album and posed for a professional photographer.  Even some of his last photos on earth were of him smiling, enjoying life.

Bowie’s music was always there.  It was a soundtrack.  In the 1960s, the 70s, the 80 and so on, five of the six decades of my life contained music from David Bowie. I remember driving up from California to Washington State for college and hearing “Young Americans” on the “Best of Bowie” cassette in my car. While I enjoyed the pop tunes in his early days, I locked into him when he was deep into doing albums that he created for music’s sake, not mass consumption. That’s where I found Heroes.

We’re all born, we all live, we all die.  Hopefully, we focus on the middle part, as David Bowie did so well.  I heard an interview the day after he passed with Carlos Alomar, who played guitar on most of his albums.  Carlos was talking about how Bowie would arrange to go in and record an album…but with the idea they’d make it up once they got there.  No plans, just a few thoughts going in–and the magic would happen in the studio.

And magic occurred.  26 times.

We just left the Christmas season, but I’m already looking forward to the first time I can watch that video of David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing “Little Drummer Boy” to get me in the holiday spirit.  My guess is that’s a number one request item up there these days.

I just want to say ‘thanks’ for everything you gave while you could, Mr. Bowie.  Music is such a wonderful invention. How many other things can you create–and they never go away?

I’m glad for that.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

And There He Goes….

The Kid back when he was a kid

The Kid back when he was a kid

As many expected, Ken Griffey, Jr. joined baseball’s Hall of Fame this week with the most amount of votes any player has ever seen.  437 out of 440 votes. That’s a high-water mark of all time–99.3% of the votes. For all of his accomplishments, you’ve gotta admire how much he achieved while under the pressure of such high expectations.

As with so many great stories, this one starts in the beginning.

Heading into their 10th season of existence, the Seattle Mariners found themselves naturally in the position of having baseball’s number one draft pick in the 1987 draft.  They grabbed Ken Griffey, Jr.–the son of Big Red Machine legend Ken Griffey, Sr.–two days before he was to graduate from high school.  A week later, he was taking batting practice with the Mariners and the following week, it was off to Bellingham to play for their single-A farm club.  On June 16th, he played his first minor league game for the Baby M’s and batted 0-4.

However, the next night, I joined thousands of people up at Everett’s Memorial Stadium to get a first look at “the Kid” when Bellingham traveled to Everett to play the San Francisco farm club, the Giants.  In his first at-bat, he knocked it out of the park.

That’s one of the two stories that pop up into my mind when I think of Ken Griffey, Jr.. The other is the fact that I used him often in talking with my kids about trying your best. They may have blocked it out after all these years, but I remember telling them, “How do you think Ken Griffey, Jr. makes those amazing catches?  Great things will never happen unless you try your best.”

And Junior gave us his absolute best.  The prime of his career was right here in little old Seattle.  He’ll be the first player to go into baseball’s Hall of Fame wearing a Mariners cap. We got to see him play in the outfield with his dad.  That was cool.  Griffey was also the center of Seattle’s greatest season of baseball ever.  It didn’t end up with a World Series ring, but anyone who was in town in 1995 will never forget that incredible playoff run.

Baseball seasons come and go. Spring rolls around and everybody’s team plans to make this “THE season.”  That’s part of the heritage and history of the game.  As a kid in Los Angeles, where it seemed like the Dodgers were in the World Series ever other year, I grew up at a time when teachers brought TV’s into the classroom so that we could watch the World Series and when an entire city found itself buzzing about baseball. While it seems like a million years ago, the magical 1995 season was among the best rides in sports I ever experienced.  Thanks, Mr. Griffey, Jr., for making that happen.

And welcome to Cooperstown!

Tim Hunter

P.S.  For those who’d like to relive that 1995 run

 

 

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Maybe I should have gone with the ham?

Maybe I should have gone with the ham?

“No good deed goes unpunished.” My old broadcast partner used to slip in that phrase every now and then.  The other day, I lived it.

To begin, I love the holiday season and, as they go, this was one of the better ones.  Very little drama or conflict, lots of fun and merry-making, the kind of holiday season you’d imagine should be standard equipment.

So, when we were out running errands the day after Christmas, I found myself moved. Appreciative. We walked into a grocery store and a scruffy-looking kid (somewhere in his 20s, I suppose) blurted out, “Got any change?”   We kept walking and I replied, “No thank you.”   I like doing that. It confuses them.

But while in the store, I got to thinking how great this Christmas had been.  Not so much about the things that go with it, but the experiences.  Seeing the kids, the grand-kids, spending time with friends.  So, it just seemed like it would be a perfect gesture to buy that guy standing outside the store a sandwich.  One I would love to get, but it possibly could be the most decent food he would see all day.  I went with a turkey and Havarti on a whole grain roll, purchased it at the check stand and headed out the door.

The guy was still there.  I handed him the sandwich, said, “Here you go. Enjoy!”  He slipped the sandwich inside his shirt and without missing a beat said, “Got a buck?”  As I walked away, I told him, “I just gave you a sandwich.”  As I continued to walk away, he let me have it: “F-bomb this, something, something, something, asshole.”

I wanted to turn around and remind him of what a loser he was, how ungrateful he was, that he was nothing but a big leach on society and….

Well, no matter. Victoria and I theorize that he was probably on drugs, just looking for that next fix.  Confronting him could have been dangerous and probably wouldn’t have done any good anyway.  Sigh.

Now, my Christmas buzz had been extremely harshed. For the next hour, no matter what topic we discussed, I would cap it off with “Or I could give them a sandwich.”

I’ve long said that the people outside the stores, by the freeway on-ramps, in the homeless encampments need real help. Serious help. When I hear of all the effort being put into providing meals or sandwiches for them, I admire the compassion, but it’s not helping them get out of their situation.

I don’t have the golden solution, but I do know that help comes to those who help themselves. Because of that little encounter outside of a grocery store, I’ve been cured for a while.  The next time I even think about buying a sandwich for a homeless person, I’ll remember that moment.  I’ll then fight off the tendency to do something nice and do what we all normally do–just look the other way.

Too bad.

“No good deed goes unpunished.”  Truer words were never spoken. If Bruce was closer, I’d take him a sandwich.

Happy New Year!

Tim Hunter