My Favorite Holiday

April Fools’ Day is right up my alley.  I’m a jokester. I love the kind of comedy that surprises you. Actually, it’s easier when they don’t see you coming.

And because AFD can be annoying to some, I go for the subtle.

Oh, I’ve done my fair share of blatant over the years. I’ve blogged about it before, so dig around the archives and you’ll see of a few of the stunts I’ve done on the radio side of things.  From phony parades in downtown Seattle to looped cell phone rings that we had playing in the background but didn’t acknowledge, it’s just fun to me.

So, this year, I was trying to think of something fresh, something new.  Nothing really jumped out at me. Over time, when I hit a comedy writing wall, I try to tear down the subject to it’s basics.  April 1st is about fooling someone and the reason they believe you is that they trust you. That’s the kind way of putting it. You could also say, they’re “gullible.”  So, why not declare Friday to the unsuspecting as “National Gullible Day.”

I could do a TV ad. OK, that’s a start. Let’s keep going.  I could shoot some stand-up lines, swipe some footage from YouTube, etc.  Then I realized I should tap into the people I know.   I reached out to Matt Riedy, former DJ turned actor down in Hollywood and asked if he wanted to play.  I reached out to former KOMO news anchor Dan Lewis to see if he would be up for it.  I sent out messages near and far, expecting a balance of “Uh, no thank you’s” and “Sure, why not?”

I love that everyone I reached out to agreed to go for it.  They trust I won’t do anything embarrassing to them or something that might tarnish their image.  The result is this plug for National Gullible Day.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who helped–Skip Tucker, my brother from another mother, down in L.A.  Nick & Sam, my step-son and his wife, who sent me a clip from London on the final day of their vacation.  The talented Fred Bugg, who lent his Donald Trump and Ted Cruz voices to the bit.  Bob Boustedt, who lent his lower body to play the part of Donald.  Marty, Jodi, Pedro & Luciana from the Jet Morning Show in Seattle.  Matt Riedy and Dan Lewis–thank you!

This came to me Tuesday, sent out requests Wednesday, and shot my part on Thursday, then put it all together.  Wow.

Here’s hoping you survived the pranks and take comfort in the fact that April Fools Day falls on a Saturday next year.

You know, that only adds to the challenge.

Have a great one.

Tim Hunter

 

Easter Weekend 2016

I was a tall kid. They couldn't fit my entire head in the picture.

I was a tall kid. They couldn’t fit my entire head in the picture.

The past is a wonderful place, I just wouldn’t want to live there.

But it’s fun to go back and visit. To dig out a photo album, watch those home movies you had digitized, or even just watch one of those movies from a key part of your life that brings those memories out of a dusty corner of your brain.

I was debating on which topic to cover this week and the temptation to do something on one of the latest wrongs in the world was there–the elections, terrorism, guns, crazy drivers (Victoria was clipped this week by a hit & run driver).  But I decided upon the occasion of Easter weekend that I should keep it positive and reflective.

So I’d like to talk about the Sweet Sixteen and who I think will win the NCAA tournament.

KIDDING.

I let the mind wander back to my early years.  The earth had recently cooled and I was a member of a church-going family.  Oh, I don’t mean we went every Sunday.  I meant, if there was a service, we were there.  Sundays, Lent, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve–we rarely missed a one. I’ll bet if the church had tested us with something like a “Transgression Tuesday” service, you would have found the Hunters there.

Once you have a family of your own and you want your kids to at least have the exposure of church, you’re pretty good about it.  Most Sundays, got ’em to Sunday school.  Kept ’em involved to a degree until confirmation and then, that’s about all I could really ask. It’s about giving them the foundation and then see what happens.

These days, Victoria & I aren’t regulars, per se. When I host the annual church auction, I like to say, “If you go to the early service, I go to the late service.  If you go to the late service, I go to the early service.”  We belong to a church, like the people there, but we live very crazy-busy lives, by choice.  Sundays are sometimes about vegging out or there could be something planned.

But enough about me–back to Easter, the star of this weekend.

I was giving it some thought and Easter is like one of the last remaining, respected Christian holidays.  At a time when you say the word ‘Christian’ and people think of Ted Cruz or Televangelists or Right Wing Wackos, I proudly admit to being a Christian, just not like those aforementioned.  But think about it: On Good Friday, the stock market is closed.  On Easter, the malls are actually shut down. Seriously.  I remember several times back in the day when I thought I’d run over to the mall on Easter and it was a ghost town.  Remember the outrage over the past couple of years?  First the stores were open on Thanksgiving, then Christmas Day.

But they are closed on Easter and no one is complaining.  Go figure.

Comparing Easter to when I was growing up and now, things really haven’t changed a whole lot when it comes to the celebration at a kid level. There are still hollow chocolate bunnies that shatter the hopes of every kid who would have bet their college fund that it was solid chocolate.  There are still malt balls, (my favorite), jelly beans, and Peeps.  Just more flavors of each than I ever could have imagined.

I remember hiding plastic eggs for our kids throughout the house when they were growing up.  They also took part in a few outdoor egg hunts over the years.  Today, a new tradition has started at my daughter’s in-laws, down in Olympia, where a field of colored eggs, around 500 of them, will await a dozen or so kids this Saturday.  It’s awesome to see the look in their eyes and their genuine excitement.

There are smiles. There’s a look of hope. And when you think about it, that’s what Easter is supposed to be all about. A new beginning, a second chance, hope.  We can celebrate it for just one day, or take it with us all year long.

I guess the only thing that disappoints me about Easter is that the holiday was never validated by a Peanuts Cartoon special.  Oh, sure, do Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the easy ones.   But would it have hurt anyone to have Linus spend the night in a rabbit hole, awaiting the arrival of the Great Bunny?  Then again, those aren’t jelly beans on the ground.

Never mind.

Happy Easter.

Tim Hunter

Aw, Election Year

Undecided

So, I’ve done the math and I realize that I’ve been eligible to vote in 10 presidential elections.  I voted in all ten, but not along party lines.  Seriously, I voted for a Bush or two, Obama and even Ross Perot that one fateful year.

At this point, I don’t know who I will vote for in 2016.  But notice the structure of that sentence: “will vote for.”

Sadly, we’ve gotten to the point where Americans are more anti-someone than actually for the candidate they end up supporting.  Because negative works, each candidate and the troll-like party PACs sling the mud and it usually sticks.

Now, this is hardly new in our presidential election system. It’s just that now, information travels so fast, even the most incredible rumor can make the rounds with passion before someone points out it’s not true, or an exaggeration.

Gosh, just in my lifetime, I’ve heard scare stories about multiple candidates. “If Kennedy is elected, he’s going to have the whole country praying to Mary!”  “If Goldwater gets in, he’ll blow us all up!” One worked, one didn’t.

I know a lot of people who vote party, not person.  That’s too bad.  I frankly don’t understand it, especially since the parties have changed so much over the years.  In 1872, there were actually three major parties—the Republicans, the Liberal Republicans and the Democrats.  When Susan B. Anthony asked for each party to include something about women’s rights in their platform, the only ones to respond?  The Republicans.

Yet, the G.O.P. also gave us some pretty slick dirty tricks back in the day.  Like going into a predominantly black area, putting up posters for a free picnic to support the democratic presidential candidate and then, of course, there would be no picnic.  Yeah, ain’t America great?

Basically, I’m just sitting back until November, watching the circus and seeing where this all takes us.  And what a lot of my liberal friends don’t understand—I’m not concerned about Donald Trump.  He’ll either get elected or not.  That’s beyond my control.

If you’re concerned that a rich guy will get in office and make it easier for businesses to thrive, yes, I do believe that is a possibility.  It’s the on-going conflict—let’s hate Wall Street and everything that big business represents until they take a hit and our 401k’s begin to crash.  Then we complain about that.

Until this year, the wealthiest man ever elected president?  John F. Kennedy.  I don’t think he did such a bad job for a rich guy.

Trump is no Kennedy, but he’s also not a Hitler.  He’s a non-politician that is running for our country’s highest office.  He’s saying popularist blah-blah so that he can get enough voters to give him a shot at being the first CEO of our country.

Yes, Tim, as he slipped into third person, but Trump never held public office!  If I asked you if a candidate was qualified to be president after only two years of being elected to public office, what would your answer be?”

I’ll let you answer that with this helpful chart.

Barack Obama Sara Palin

Republicans

No

Yes

Democrats Yes

No

Here’s the deal—let’s say Trump is elected.  The guy who Democrats fear and who the Republican establishment resents for taking over their party.  How exactly is he going to get anything done with a congress that wants to see him fail?  To that end, unless there’s a major shift in congress, President Hillary or President Bernie would face the same thing.  Ted Cruz, I’ve heard, isn’t very well-liked in the Senate.

So we’ve got a real mess on our hands.

My main point is that I encourage you to the best of your ability to vote FOR someone. You can wait until the dust settles and the candidates have been chosen, or get on board now.  But don’t let negative TV ads or ridiculous comparisons or rumors help decide who we’ll have running the country for the next four years. That just reinforces that negative works.

As we’ve done many times before, America will survive regardless of who gets in and we’ll either advance or learn something that makes us a better nation.

But only if you vote.

Ushers, you may pass the plate now.

Tim Hunter

True Confession #1582

gas-mask-bc-27155

Oh, I’m sure I have more than that, but I just picked a random number.

It’s one of those stories that popped into my mind when a picture of the person involved passed through my social media feeds. Because I’d like her to not disown me as a friend, no names will be used to protect the innocent.

It was a recording session at Destination Marketing.  The mighty Scott Burns was manning the audio equipment and I was there to direct the talent who stood in the recording booth on the other side of the glass. She read the lines, they didn’t seem to flow, so I rewrote them on my copy of the script.  Another read, more changes.  Pretty soon, both of our copies of the scripts were pretty messed up and hard to read, so we put things on hold and I dashed down to my office to write up a clean script.

I printed the easier-to-read versions and dashed back down the hall to our awaiting talent. As I rushed down the hall and then pushed open the recording booth door, she yelled out, “No!  Don’t come in!”  I thought she was being silly….until I took a breath.  Apparently, while I was gone, she had released one of the meanest, nastiest farts ever cast upon mankind.  I handed her the scripts, acted as if I had been gassed by the Kaiser’s troops and slipped back out of the booth.  The next five minutes or so, we all spent laughing hysterically.

What’s better yet, somewhere there is an audio recording of that incident.

Aw, what goes on behind closed studio doors……

Tim Hunter

 

The Day I Was Lucky Enough To Meet Heidi

sunset 2

This was a pickup mission. With the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle having their annual Fishcake & Meatball Dinner on March 6th, one of the chorus members had a friend who had offered items for the live and silent auction parts of the event.  All I knew going in was that we were heading to a house, somewhere in North Ballard, I would lug some boxes out to the car and off we’d go.

If it weren’t for this rendezvous, I probably would have never set foot inside that cute little brick home or met its resident. My wife Victoria & I approached the door and a friendly voice welcomed us into her home.  Her name was Heidi and after three hours of wrapping donation items,  she was finishing up the last box of things she had so carefully packed.  In all, there were four boxes full of collectibles I was surprised she was donating–clocks, collectible Hummels, gold-plated plates and such.  She explained the disorderly appearance of her home by saying that she was moving to a local retirement center. Heidi estimated that she had given away around 95% of her stuff in preparation for the move.

As she carefully wrapped another item for placement in the box, she began to tell the story of why she was moving.

It began several months ago, when she and her husband went down to the beach to celebrate his 75th birthday.  Shortly after they came, he drove to the store and was making a turn on to 15th Avenue NW when he had a massive heart attack.  As in, by the time he was part way around the corner, he was gone! His car crashed into a Metro bus, medics were called but, when they arrived, they found no pulse or heartbeat.  After working to revive him for over an hour, they realized he was gone for good.

As she told this story, Heidi realized that this accident had happened six weeks ago today.

In that short amount of time, her entire world had been turned upside down.  Life had already become quite challenging. She was slightly hunched over and needed a cane to maneuver around safely. Because of a liver condition, Heidi explained that even though she was in pain all the time, she couldn’t take any pain medication.

Yet, she was smiling, pleasant, excited to see us and discuss what was happening in her life.  She realized that, had she been with her husband that fateful day, she probably wouldn’t have survived.  Now, she found herself with a house full of stuff and no family to share it with–no kids, no relatives nearby and their only niece died a few years ago.  She literally was completely alone in this world.

As she pushed herself through to the next phase, giving things away and packing what was left, Heidi was dealing with the recent tragedy as best she could.  She wrapped up the final item, we taped the boxes shut and I began carrying them out to the car.  In between my trips, I could hear Heidi talk about her church and her faith that has kept her going.  I can’t help but think that it would be extremely easy to become cynical and bitter after hearing what took place in Heidi’s life, but she would have nothing to do with that kind of lifestyle.

She was happy to be alive, to live a life that would be pleasing to God and to carry on with whatever he had planned for her.

I was lucky enough to meet this remarkable woman, to spend an hour or so with her, chatting and getting to know her.

Thanks for the life reminder, Heidi. We tend to forget that everything can change in an instant and that really need to cherish every single day for the gift it is. Good luck in your new adventure.

Tim Hunter