There Is No Cod

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!

Love,

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.

IMG_9022

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

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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