May I Kindly Recommend….

Good boyGood boy

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

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

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

Starting with Ike:

Eisenhower (R) 8 years

Kennedy/Johnson (D) 8 years

Nixon/Ford (R) 8 years

Carter (R) 4 years

Reagan/Bush (R) 12 years

Clinton (D) 8 years

Bush (R) 8 years

Obama (D) 8 years

Keeping this pattern in mind,

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

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

Breathe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace.

Tim Hunter

 

Stan the Scan Man–Part 2

 

boreson-nomo-tallulah-04

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Donna for sharing!

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

Tim Hunter

Stan The Scan Man

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

Stan Boreson had passed away.

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

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

Some of my Stan Boreson stories include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

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

 

I’m Stepping Back This Week

I found a video.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

omalley

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

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

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

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

Tim Hunter

The Year in Preview

busy-calendar

Not that busy. But close

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make it a happy one!

Tim Hunter