Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wrapping Up 2016

Rather look at 2016 as a "sad year" in retrospect, it was an eventful year, with some sad things happening.  I included the top picture of the Fred Hutchinson Award luncheon from January. I am pictured with former baseball great, Carlton Fisk and St .Louis Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright.  
We had a fun trip to Southern California, dining at Sur, where one of Deb's favorite shows is filmed.
On that trip, we were able to visit my dad and his wife and go to a one man play.  It was the last thing we would do together as my Dad passed away in March.
The day after my Dad's service in Walla Walla. I ran the Democratic precinct caucuses in Maple Valley.  I believe the Maple Valley caucus was one of the largest in the state, due to my planning.  I had not anticipated the huge turnout that we had. 
On Friday the 13th in May, I was about to walk Dasher when I called to the Ron And Don show.  I was able to win the Top Five At Five contest by naming what they consider the top news stories that hour.  I won concert tickets and dinner at the Edgewater.
In July, we attended my 40th class reunion in Walla Walla.  It was fun to see old classmates.  I participated in the golf tournament for the first time. 
One August evening, I came back from work and a trip to the gym to find a leak in the upstairs bathroom had gone through the ceiling, flooding the entire house.  The next two months, we stayed at the Silver Cloud and Deb's parents house, along with Howard Johnson's in Kent (a story in itself) and finally Deb's sister and her husband.  When we returned we had a beautiful remodel.  Thanks to Farmer's Insurance, who really stepped up and Rick, our construction engineer, who continues to do repairs on our home.
I was shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Gina Grant.  A Wa-Hi and WSU classmate and friend, whom I gotten to know better on facebook.  She, like me, was active in Democratic politics.
My old favorite team, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1906. 
Then, of course, there was the Trump upset of Hilary Clinton.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Debbbie Reynolds Dies--Mother Of Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynold, a superstar during the 1960s but more famous recently as the mother of Carrie Fisher has died.  Daughter Carrie had died the day before Reynold's passing.  Reynolds was an actress and singer.  She was a star of her own comedy TV show from 1969-1970.  Reynolds was married to Carrie's Father, Eddie Fisher in the 1950s.  Reynolds was 84.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Iconic Passings Of 2016

Did this year have more celebrity passings than any other?  Maybe, maybe not, but the impact of certain celebrities on our lives gives this year more attention.  Perhaps, it was growing up in the TV era compacted with entering the social media era. 
Nancy Reagan.  Loved by the Right, loathed by the Left, the passing of time made her appeal more universal.
David Bowie.  Many would say he didn't start the music trends, he just always appeared to embrace them.  One of the first to combine showmanship with rock concerts.
Justice Anton Scalia.  His position on the Supreme Court is still vacant.

Prince.  Gen Ex Rock Icon

Muhammed Ali  The Boxing great and civil rights advocate
Florence Henderson--Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch.
Arnold Palmer--Golf's gold standard of the 1960s and 70s.
John Glenn--Astronaut and my first hero.
Fidel Castro--Certainly not one of my heroes, but the leader of Cuba for decades was a force to be reckoned.

George Michael and Carrie Fisher died within one day of each other
Also Patty Duke, Gene Wilder, Joe Garagiola, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor and many more.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fisher Dies

CNN reports Carrie Fisher, who was known best for playing Princess Leah in the Star Wars movies has died.

Edgar's Hall Of Fame Chances Trending Upward?

Larry Stone reported in last week's Seattle Times that efforts to land Mariner designated hitter Edgar Martinez into the Hall Of Fame are not dead yet.  Stone said that the votes to get Martinez into Cooperstown are not there yet, but the trend is going upward.  Martinez played his entire career in Seattle and is now the team's hitting coach.
Ken Griffey, Jr, shown with Martinez above, told his Hall Of Fame audience that Edgar should be inducted. The attention that David Ortiz,another designated hitter is getting should  work in favor of Martinez.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Weekend Update: Adam Sandler and the Hanukkah Song - Saturday Night Live

Barely known at the time, Adam Sandler took out his acoustical guitar and basically single handedy launched his career with this segment on Weekend Update on SNL.

Things Go Better With Coke (1960s) - Classic TV Commercial

A little nostalgia.  From the 1960s.

Development Near Belmont Woods

Just past Belmont Woods on 238th Place North East, some fence in property has been bull dozed, presumably to make room for new houses.  This helps to mark the rapid transition of Maple Valley from rural community to rapidly growing suburb.  Previously, there was a house with "keep out" and "no trespassing signs".

Friday, December 23, 2016

Last Minute Christmas Shipping Tips--New Day Northwest

Deb and I made yet another appearance on KING 5's New Day Northwest.  You can see our video by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Chanukah Song (Part 2)

Yes, we have got to keep the tradition!

We Will Be On New Day Again!

Almost a holiday tradition, Barers Of Maple Valley will be on New Day Northwest Thursday December 22 at 11am on King 5 TV in Seattle.  We will be once again offering shipping advice for The UPS Store.  Hopefully, you can all tune in!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Music At The Jay

I spent last night with a few of my Jewish friends at the JCC (the Jay) in Mercer Island to watch the Klezmatics.  The group plays an ancient type of Jewish music known as Klezmer, which originates in Eastern Europe.  It is music that my great grandparents would enjoy.  The group also played some American based Jewish music, including some songs  by Woody Guthrie.  I was amazed with one of the members of the group, who played a wind instrument and keyboard at the same time at one point.  By the end of the concert, the whole hall was on it's feet and people were dancing in front of the stage. The group has won a Grammy and has collaborated with Ithzak Perlman, Allen Ginsberg, and many rock  groups.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor Dies At 99

Just short of the New Year and her 100th birthday, Zsa Zsa Gabor has died of an apparent heart attack. Gabor was a Hungarian immigrant who showed up on talk shows for no apparent reason.The term "famous for being famous" was probably not coined in her day, but most would agree that it would apply to her. She was known for being married several times, divorced several times, her thick accent calling everyone dahling  and having a look a like sister named Eva star on the CBS comedy Green Acres.  In later years, boorish behavior included slapping a Beverly Hill police officer.  In recent years, her health had worsened.  Gabor's sister Eva died  in 1995.  Her 100th birthday would have been on February 6th.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Golden Gophers Lift Boycott

WSU will play Minnesota in the Holiday Bowl after all.  The Golden Gophers have agreed to play after threatening to sit out the game. The players were angered by the suspension of 10 of their teammates for an alleged sexual assault.  Personally, I was hoping that they would not show up for this one as a substitute team was waiting in the wings.  There are many reasons to boycott something but seldom have I seen one take place for a school doing the right thing.
The Holiday Bowl will be played December 27th in San Diego.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Seahawks Go Green

The Seahawks beat the Rams quite handily to avenge an earlier loss to the same team in Los Angeles.  The 'Hawks clinched the NFC West and go back on the winning track after a dreadful loss in Green Bay last Sunday.  However I think most of the town will remember last night for  what is known as a "color rush" uniform. The neon green uniforms were a complete distraction and probably overshadowed Jon Ryan's fake punt and near fumble that landed him in the hospital as the most memorable part of the Thursday Night contest. 

Late Sportscaster Left Personal Memory

NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager died after a battle with leukemia.  A veteran with Turner Broadcasting System, he is probably remembered by most sports fans for his crazy suits.  His death came just 2 days after being inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall Of Fame. 
My memory came from the days when Sager was anchor of a late night sports report on CNN in 1980 or 1981.  I was a senior at WSU.  I would watch the report from my Pullman apartment.  One day, I read in the school newspaper a quote by the "late" Leo Durocher.  I was sure that Durocher was still alive, so I called CNN after getting the number from 411. Remember, there was no Google.  I asked for sports and the phone was answered "sports Sager" I asked if it was Craig Sager and he said he was.  I told him how excited I was to talk to a big time sports announcer.  He said something like "let me know when you do".  He then assured me that Leo The Lip was alive and well. It goes to show just something as simple as picking up a phone can create a lasting memory.
Today, with the rise of ESPN, I don't believe there are any sports on CNN, but Sager was able to stay in the Turner Broadcasting System for 4 decades.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Alan Thicke

Rounding out a year that has seems to have had many surprising sudden celebrity passings, it was reported yesterday that Alan Thicke, who is best known for playing the dad in the 1980s sitcom growing pains, has died of a heart attack.  He was 69,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

No More Tracy Traffic On KING 5

After nearly 7 years reporting Seattle's commute on KING 5 TV, Tracy Taylor and the station have parted ways.  Taylor, whose facebook fan page has nearly 9000 likes and who sends facebook birthday greetings to all her friends, apparently was a victim of media consolidation.  The station, once a Mom and pop, fixture, is now owned by East Coast based TEGNA
In a live broadcast on her fan page, Tracy says that she is doing fine, enjoying having more time to spend with her family.  She also said that she will continue to post pictures of her "12 days of ugly sweaters" on her fan page

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tina Podlodowski Seeking Top State Democratic Post

Tina Podlodowski, a former Seattle City Councilwoman who ran for Secretary Of State this year, has announced she is running for chair of the Washington State Democrats.
  Designated as the Democrat's candidate of the year, she fared poorly in the general election against incumbent Kim Wyman.  She reportedly was angered at what she felt was lack of support from the state party organization.
Podlodowski is a former Microsoft manager. Her platform is to reorganize the party at the grassroots level.  She will be challenging incumbent State Party Chair Jaxon Ravens, who has come under fire for a disappointing Democratic showing in this year's general election. 
The election for chair will be at the state party reorganization meeting in January.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sounders Beat Toronto--Take MLS Cup

Seattle Sounders beat Toronto with 5 pk goals to Toronto's 4  to break up a 0-0 tie.  It's the first MLS Cup for the Sounders.

Old Walla Walla Radio Remembered Part 16--Bill Vollendorff Tribute

At a time when local radio people were celebrities in their own communities, Bill Vollendorff was news reporter at KUJ in the late '60s.  Vollendorff had a beautiful radio voice and perfect cadence.  He had previously worked at KTEL.  Vollendorff would eventually work as voice talent at KHIT.
Vollendorff had just finished his work at KUJ when I worked with him as a volunteer for Democratic Congressional candidate Mike McCormick in his successful bid to unseat Catherine May in the fall of  1970.  He told me about how his job entailed going to the Walla Walla Police Station, County Sherriff's office, and other visits and phone calls in the very early morning hours.
Probably figuring that radio talent did not pay the bills in a small town, Vollendorff  got into real estate and tax assessment, but he was no stranger in town.  He was seen in productions at The Little Theatre.  He did voice work for commercials and was tied in with local service groups. He did announcer work for Walla Walla Community College basketball when they played in the gym on Park Street.  When I briefly returned to Walla Walla and considered joining Kiwanis, it was Bill who came to talk to me about the organization. 
Bill was married to Maureen Stewart who worked for my parents as a baby sitter and house cleaner while she was in high school.  Maureen made a real impression on me after she left town to would attend school at the U-W, she would write to me.  I was 7 or 8 years old and those were probably the first letters  I would ever receive.
Bill would eventually run for Walla Walla County Assessor and win as a Republican.  Bill was one of the last of his era in Walla Walla radio and I was able to converse with him on Facebook about local history.  Bill Vollendorff passed away on December 5th. He apparently had been in bad health for a while.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Drew Bledsoe Son John Committs To WSU

My, time does fly.  I remember clearly the excitement when Drew Bledsoe, who quarterbacked at my alma matter Walla Walla High School, was considered the state's number one high school recruit.  Now Drew's son, John is making news by passing up a scholarship from Northern Arizona U to attempt to walk on to  the Washington State Cougar football program.
 Drew, of course, had a stellar career with the Cougs, going on to become the number one pick in the 1993 NFL draft.   Bledsoe began to help guide the beginning of the Patriots rise to become one of the NFL's storied franchises.
John Bledsoe, Drew's second son, was quarterback at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Mission Accomplished!

American Hero John Glenn.

John Glenn

CNN reports John Glenn, former Marine Colonel, astronaut, and US Senator from Ohio has died.  In 1962, Glenn piloted the first American manned spacecraft to orbit the earth. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Seattle Super Bowl Chances Take A Hit With Loss Of Thomas

The return of free safety Earl Thomas from an injury was the positive note to start the Sunday Night Football game. It wound up with a bummer as Earl Thomas is now out for the season.  Thomas was hurt after a collision with Kam Chancellor in the second quarter of the game.  The Seahawks would win the game 40-7 avenging their loss in last season's play-offs.  It was hard to feel elated knowing our star safety was sidelined.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Van Williams--TV's Green Hornet

Van Williams, who played The Green Hornet on TV in the mid 1960s has died.  The actor was 82.  The Green Hornet, which like Batman, ran on ABC, was about a newspaper editor who fought crime in his secret identity.  While Batman had Robin, the Hornet had his butler Kato as partner.  Kato was played by Bruce Lee, who had Seattle connections.  Lee died in 1973. 
The Green Hornet, unlike Batman, was played in a more serious vain, villains were less memorable.  What was amazing was Lee's martial arts ability, unprecedented on network television.  Although as a 9 year old, I loved the show, it only lasted one season, perhaps too serious for children and maybe still too silly for adults.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Winter Is Here!

Puget Sounders are waking up to a snowfall, this picture was just taken from our house in Maple Valley.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Around The Blogosphere--The Saga Of A Charlie Brown Christmas

Everyday, I check the Ken Levine blog.  It has been a real inspiration to me.  In this post, Ken writes on how A Charlie Brown Christmas almost didn't get aired.  Click here

Friday, December 02, 2016

Nancy For Frank--A Barers Of Maple Valley Favorite

On Thursday evenings, I love listening to "Nancy For Frank" on the Siriusly Sinatra channel on Sirius XM.  Frank Sinatra brought magic to everything that he sang. Frank's daughter  Nancy was the Sinatra connection to teen music and pop culture of the 1960s, is continuing the Sinatra legacy through  broadcasting and social networking. 
I listen Thursday at 6:00pm on Sirius/XM channel 71.

Trivia Night At Zeek's

A great time was had by all at Zeek's Pizza in the Issaquah Highlands.  Wednesday is Trivia night.  Our four man team won that certificate as well as won a free ice cream for a closest to the pin contest.