A Rare Opportunity

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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

D-Day for May Day

I'm pretty sure the constitution guarantees the right to break windows with a skateboard

I’m pretty sure the constitution guarantees the right to break windows with a skateboard

For whatever reason, the first day of May has become a day of rioting in Seattle.  Oh, it’s not a group riot.  It’s a select collection of knuckleheads who are made up of locals and troubled kids from other cities, who use the march to support workers (big in communist countries, mind you) to break windows and vandalize downtown businesses.

Last year, it was if our police force was caught off guard, as mask and hood wearing vandals would do their damage and then duck back into the crowd.  To them, this is just a big game and a way to punish the successful.  The second any of them were arrested, they’d start screaming “police brutality.”

By the way, quick side-note.  Do you really think that the stores paid for all the damage caused by vandals?  Muck like graffiti and shoplifting, it’s the rest of us that pay.   The stores merely increase prices to cover whatever insurance doesn’t cover.  Just sayin’….

So, back to “What to do about the cowards who cause the damage on May Day?”  Again, it’s not a large number, so here’s my plan:

Set up phony video crews, like TV news teams–a reporter, a camera guy-complete with call letters and have them video-taping away so you capture high-quality video of the destruction.

Next, set up a swat team of paint guy snipers, who shoot anyone who throws a brick through a window or smashes a car windshield is marked….so when police arrest them and they deny being the vandal, we have video proof.

Do that a couple of years and watch the event return to just a march instead of a license to loot.

Better ideas welcome.  But just standing by and protecting the right to riot doesn’t work.

Tim Hunter

Drone On

Lately, remote control drones have been in the news a lot.  Not just on a nation and international level, but also right here in Seattle.

President Obama has been in favor of utilizing unmanned drones to attack insurgents and Al Qaeda members who would do us harm.  The big flap this week was that we used one to blow up an Al Qaeda leader who was born in the U.S.  In other words, we used a weapon against an American citizen.  Frankly, he lost any protection of being a citizen when he embraced an organization that considers the destruction of the U.S. as their Superbowl.

Now, closer to home, the federal government had given the city of Seattle some drones to experiment with, to see if we’d like to incorporate them into our law enforcement efforts.  For some reason, Mike “Out there” McGinn and the Seattle police chief decided to scrap the test.  Why?  Because they can.

This after approving cameras along the Seattle waterfront. Oh, and those cameras at certain intersections, to catch the red-light runners.

I just don’t get it.

First off, they’re not armed.  They’re used for surveillance.  How many times have you heard the phrase, “There’s never a cop around when you need one!”  This would allow them to have a bird’s eye view of the city.  Bank robbery breaks out–get away car headed north on I-5?  The drone’s going to get there a lot faster to pursue the bad guys than the police can through traffic, even with their sirens.  If you live down in Los Angeles, a police helicopter flying over your house is a pretty common occurence.  I’ve got to think that the cost of a copter and trained personnel is going to be a lot more than a remote-controlled drone.

The biggest critics of the drones appear to be the privacy pirates.  The ones who are so concerned about police being able to go over our homes in the sky.  Why is that?  They might catch me barbecuing?  See how many weeds have sprung up in the backyard?  Turn me in because I’ve neglected to refill the bird feeder?  As is often the case, the ones most concerned about their privacy are trying to protect getting caught from doing something illegal.  If you’re not doing anything wrong, what are you worried about?

Do what I do on some of these issues and take it to the extreme.  So, you’re not OK with a drone flying overhead.  But you’re OK with a police helicopter?  Or, we don’t allow those?  OK, then we keep it on the ground and only allow police to patrol in their cars.  Very inefficient and costly, but…..Oh, they shouldn’t be in cars, that’s not fair or also an invasion of your rights?  OK, we’ll put them on foot patrol.  Now, get into a situation that requires police help and let’s see how fast they can arrive on the scene.

Maybe it’s because I’ve known quite a few law enforcement folks over the years to realize that it’s not an “us versus them” situation.  They ARE us.  They’re Justin’s dad, or Bob’s wife, or the neighbor down the street.  They’ve gone through training, they risk their lives every time they show up for work and because a few bad apples have lost it under pressure, we’re suppose to tie the hands behind all of them and then say, “OK, now do your job!”

The drones over our city would seriously help the efficiency and effectiveness of those charged with protecting us.  I’m sorry to see grand-standing politicians get in the way of making their job safer and a little bit easier.

Tim Hunter

It Was The Dumbest of Times

I had to do a double-take when I read the headline: “Snow wimps: Seattle is shut down by first real snow of the season.”

OK, maybe they’ve got something there.  After all, it’s fair to self-evaluate one’s self for the sake of improvement.  Snow does cause people to do funny things.  A few years ago, a well-meaning nutjob Seattle mayor decided not to put salt on the roads because he said  it could go into our drain system and find its way into the Puget Sound.  A body of salt water, I might add.

But this headline was yanked right out of the Los Angeles Times!  The place where it never snows was criticizing how we reacted to the largest snowstorm we’ve seen here in 30 years. Yep, someone sitting around in their bathrobe in a town where 60-degrees triggers a frost warning was calling us a town full of “snow wimps”.

Maybe Anchorage has the right to do that.  Or a Siberian writer.  But what’s with Los Angeles judging us on how we deal with snow.  Now, I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in Torrance and outside of a couple of hard frosts, we never had anything close to snow.  I remember as a young kid, we would drive up to Santa’s Village near Big Bear Lake to see some real snow.  For a time in the 60s, we had that classic Mr. & Mrs. Snowman scene in the family front yard at Christmas, complete with white fiberglass snow. After a couple of years, it became dirty and looked more like an aquarium filter than it did snow.

Now, a writer entrenched in the warm ocean-side region of  Southern California has deemed us wimps.  Because we get into accidents?  Wimps don’t get into accidents, they stay at home.  And, while you may call them wimps, it could be out of wisdom that they stay at home.  The accident statistics you stated were examples of those who didn’t know better or thought they were better at snow driving than they really were.  But they weren’t wimps.

I’ve done my fair share of proving myself over the years.  My guess is the only chains this writer has ever installed were 14-karat and went around his neck.  I’ve driven with and without chains, gone through years of changing tires over to put on the studded ones.  Even though I grew up in California, I’ve easily been through a couple of dozen snow episodes up here.  Being on the radio a bunch of years, I HAD to get in…wimping out simply was not an option.  I don’t see how going out into the snow, having an inexperienced driver plow into me and spending the next several weeks working with a body shop to repair my car makes me less wimpy.

I can’t decide if it’s arrogance or ignorance or a combination of both (ignoarrogance) that inspired this writer to pick on Seattle.  One fact that may have eluded him/her is that our weather forecasts are about as accurate as our country’s economic forecasts.  The local weather folks have a sketchy record at best and even with all the latest technology, they still didn’t nail this one.  As I write this piece, it’s snowing.  Something that wasn’t supposed to be happening today. We went from “maybe some snow” to “up to 14 inches” to “well, maybe 6-inches” to a Winter Storm warning and back to snow.  Today was supposed to be Thawsday, the day we returned to a steady Seattle diet of rain, with occasional showers and drizzle thrown in for variety.  Just turned around again. It’s still snowing.

I’ve heard people from the midwest start to criticize Seattle drivers and how we handle the snow. But after reminding them that they live on a mostly level playing surface and we have hills, mountains and other sharp inclines, they’ll say, “Oh, yeah.”  We’ve got speedbumps that have a higher elevation than Beverly Hills.

Wimps.  Someone in LA criticizing how we deal with our snow is like someone in Seattle criticizing how you run your pro football team.  Oh, wait….

So thank you for the wonderful observations from the land of Kardashians, drive-by shootings and where kites can actually get stuck in the sky on the really bad smog days.  Since we’re helping each other out, why don’t you tan less, stop outsourcing solutions to your problems, use a lower dosage of Botox and stick to offering sage advice to people closer to home.  From what we hear in the news on a daily basis, there are a lot of people who need your help.  For instance, do what you can to stop the animated Napoleon Dynamite show from airing another episode.

We appreciate your thoughts and find it comforting that you’d take the time to point out our inadequacies.  After all, Los Angeles driving is the envy of the nation, if not the free world.

Also, thanks for the reminder of why I got out of there almost 40 years ago.

Tim Hunter