Friday, December 29, 2017

Lights Out!

The power is out in our Maple Vally neighborhood.

Biggest Highlights Of 2017

A surprise 60th birthday party in July for me with the Jet City Players providing music (above) and a trip to Israel in late October (The Western Wall below) were the highlights of 2017.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Go Cougs!

WSU Cougs face the Michigan State Spartans in tonight's Holiday Bowl.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Maple Valley Teen Persues Dreams Of Music Stardom

Maple Valley, which is home to national recording artist Brandi Carlile, may have another rising music star. The Maple Valley Reporter has profiled Kassidy Lynne as "an up and coming country music artist from the Maple Valley area.' 
The Maple Valley teen became interested in a music career when watching the TV show Hannah Montana, a series about a country music singer starring Miley Cyrus.  She then answered a radio ad asking for auditions for the next Hannah Montana. Lynne and her mom flew down to  audition in Orlando and received callbacks for acting, singing, and modeling, however, she decided she didn't like modeling and acting.
She has released one single called Carolina Water.  A second single is due out soon.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Memories Of Joe

2017 would have been the most wonderful year for Joe Saxon, he traveled to Italy, then Israel, he traveled with his son to LA to watch the Seahawks beat the Rams, he found out that he was about to become a grandfather for the first time, he celebrated his 80th birthday, then one week after his birthday, he died.
Joe and I had been friends for several years. He was a customer at The UPS Store where I work.  We shared an interest in sports and Jewish culture. 
For the past several years, I was his guest annually at the Fred Hutchinson Awards luncheon.  I got to meet such baseball greats as Cal Ripken,Jr, Carlton Fisk, Dave Winfield, and Rod Carew.
We would go to temple together on Shabbat and the High Holidays.
Joe would make friends with practically everyone he met.  I always looked forward to his coming to the store.  Joe was not a drinker, but when we went out for dinner, he would always order a Long Island Ice Tea, which he thought did not have much alcohol (he was wrong), 
Joe had an amazing sports memorabilia collection with stuff that he obtained from auctions.  He would bring various sports artifacts to the store for us to pack and ship.
This fall, we both fulfilled a personal dream with our trip with our temple to Israel.  It was only a few weeks later on December 9th that I got a call from his son.  I thought that maybe they were calling to invite me to watch a Seahawk game with them, but it was dismal news that Joe had died. 
I will dearly miss him.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Old Walla Walla Radio Remembered 20--K-Hit's Jay Smith

There is not much that I remember about Jay Smith, but I do remember him.  He was a  radio personality working for K-HIT in Walla Walla in the mid 1960s. This card was posted on the Walla Walla Facebook page by someone who listened to Jay in her childhood and I was able to get her permission to post it.
 As I remember, my Dad and Mom  were active in the Walla Walla Little Theatre and Smith was cast in the Little Theatre production of "Bells Are Ringing".  I think my Dad was working backstage on the production.  I remember my Dad taking me to the K-Hit Denny Building studios to visit with Jay and tour the studio.  I remember that he was a real nice guy and I really liked him. 
A few years later, I was saddened to find out that he had died.  These are all fuzzy memories because I was so young, but it's obvious that this man was a charmer and perhaps one of the reasons that I'm so interested in radio to this day.
Joe Drazan, who has the Bygone Walla Walla blog, came up with more on Smith.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dick Enberg Dies

Dick Enberg, at one time, the late Dave Niehaus's partner on California Angel Baseball broadcasts and NBC sports announcer has died.  Enberg did play by play on a variety of different sports.  He was found in his San Diego area home. 
It is hard for me to write about Enberg's career as he was such an industry standard, but writer Ken Levine, himself a sports announcer, wrote this commentary on his blog.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

WSU Extends Mike Leach

WSU will extend the contract of Cougar Football Coach Mike Leach by 5 years.   Leach's salary will increase up to 4 million and the salary pool will increase for the Cougar assistant coaches by 400,000 dollars.  After a very successful season, Leach had been rumored to be a prime consideration for other positions including the University Of Tennessee.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Horrific Train Crash Near Tacoma

Kiro 97.3 reports a passenger train has derailed this morning  on a trestle over I-5 south of Tacoma.  Multiple injuries and fatalities have been reported. 

Maple Valley Christmas Lights

We watched the light display in Maple Valley which is located at 22629 SE 263rd Pl in Maple Valley, not far from the Lake Wilderness golf course.  There is a spot for donations to either the Maple Valley Food Bank or Cops With Cancer.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Stuart Evey Dies

A broadcasting pioneer with somewhat local connections has died.  Stuart Evey, a board member of Getty Oil and a personal assistant to one of J. Paul Getty's son, was 84. 
Evey was instrumental in the founding of ESPN, the first 24 hours cable sports network.  Although he was not well known, he appeared prominently  in "Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of ESPN"
Evey, apparently put up the money to get the idea started, then was forced out just before the network really made it's impact, something from which he may not have recovered.  In the book, Evey was portrayed as a cranky, almost  tyrannical person.
Evey lived in Spokane which was where he died.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Reality Star Omarosa Leaves Trump Staff

Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who gained a  reputation as bombastic and temperamental even before the President was seen that way, has left the White House staff.  It's in dispute as to whether she had quit or was fired.  Reports are that she was fired by Trump Chief Of Staff General Kelly and had to be escorted off the grounds by the Secret Service
Even though Omarosa is reportedly worked for Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House, her behavior on various reality shows such as The Apprentice, which Trump hosted, made it difficult for her to be taken seriously. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alabama Elects A Democrat For Senate

Democrat Doug Jones defeated Judge Roy Moore for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions who became US Attorney General.  Moore had been accused by various women of inappropriate behavior.  Alabama had been one of the nation's most solid Republican state.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Maple Valley Christmas Firetruck

Around Christmastime every year the Fire truck visits our neighborhood.  This was the first time in years that I was around to see it.

Cougar student raises money for $220K donation after viral tweet

Fellow Cougar Danni Messina made headlines when her twitter promise to donate to St. Jude's Chilren's Hospital had gotten well above what she could afford.  She could have dropped the whole matter, but instead, her gofundme page has gotten higher than she ever could have imagined and is still going.   I too, contributed!
At this post, over $95,000 has been raised on her gofundme page.  Messina seems to be dealing with her new found celebrity real well and although this fame will not last long, her gifts will be appreciated forever. 

Friday, December 08, 2017

NHL Said To Be Coming To Seattle

With the approval of a remodel of Key Arena, news sources are reporting that Pro Hockey could be on it's way to Seattle.  Social media has been talking at possible names which have ranged from standard to ridiculous.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Franken Resigns

Minnesota Democratic Al Franken has resigned in a very defiant speech.  Franken has been accused of groping several women. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Seatlte Sportscaster Bruce King

Longtime KOMO-4 TV evening sportscaster Bruce King has died.  He had been with the station for over 30 years when he retired in 1999, except for a year in New York at WABC.  He was named Washington Sportscaster Of The Year 4 times and won 2 local Emmys
He worked at one time for KABC in Los Angeles and covered the first Super Bowl in the LA Coliseum for the station. 
King was 83.

Seattle Goes With OVG For Sports Arena

In what could be the most controversial of the never ending saga of new sports arenas, the Seattle City Council has given approval to Oak View Group to build a 600 million dollar renovation of what is now Key Arena.  The move means the city has abandoned efforts by Chis Hansen to build an ground up arena in the SoDo district.
Many NBA fans believe the SoDo arena would be a better in luring an NBA (pro basketball) team as Hansen indicted his desire to purchase a team.  Hansen had tried to lure the Sacramento Kings a few years back.
The Key project is said to be an attempt to lure the NHL (pro ice hockey) to Seattle, with  the possibility of the NBA returning in later years.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Monday, December 04, 2017

Cougars Will Play In Holiday Bowl

The WSU Cougars will face the Michigan State Spartans in this year's Holiday Bowl.  The game will be played December 28th at 6:00pm in San Diego.  This is the Coug's 4th post season bowl bid in 5 years.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Seahawks Upset Eagles

The Seattle Seahawks, missing 3 key defensive players, upset the high flying Philadelphia Eagles 24-10 NBC's Sunday Night Football.  The Eagles were on a 9 game winning streak and were rolling over opponents, the Seahawks, on the other hand, seemed to be bumbling and stumbling their way to the finish line, all the experts had predicted a huge Philadelphia victory.
The Seahawks were not listening though and seemed invincible on both offense and defense.  Russell Wilson was working his magic eluding tacklers and kicker Blair Walsh was splitting the uprights everytime, his field goal in the first quarter gave Seattle a lead that it wouldn't give up.

Field Turf Tear Delays Game

In decades of watching football, I have never seen anything like this.  The Big 10 Championship game between Ohio State and Wisconsin was delayed in the 4th quarter with about 12 minutes left due to a tear in the Field Turf.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Leach Considered For Tennessee Vacancy

It looked like a nearly done deal.  WSU Coach Mike Leach would leave Pullman to become the coach at Tennessee.  That may have fallen through as Tennessee's athletic director Bill Currie has reportedly been fired. We Cougs can breath a sigh of relief, at least for now, however, after Bill Moos left as Cougar AD to take the Nebraska job, Leach appears to be getting restless.  Meanwhile, at my wife's alma matter, Tennessee, things are really up in the air as the school needs to hire both a new AD and a coach, early reports have said that Phil Fulmer,  the former football coach, who won a championship at the school, will take the job.   Tennessee had hired a coach until a social media outcry forced them to abandon the choice. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Private Pyle Discharged

CNN has announced that actor-singer Jim Nabors who played the bumbling
but lovable Gomer Pyle in the 1960s TV comedy Gomer Pyle USMC has died at 87.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

WSU Student Overplays Her Hand With Charity Pledge

There is goodness in the world, perhaps too much goodness for WSU student Danni Messina.  Messina was so moved by hearing of the works of St Jude's Children's Research Hospital that she pledged to donate a quarter for every favorite (like) and 50 cents for every retweet of her tweet touting the hospital.  The Cougar do-gooder had planned a budget of $1000 dollars.  She soon wound up owing $200 thousand.
 Anxious to make good with her pledge, Messina set up a gofundme page,  with donations from people touched by Danni giving spirit, at this writing, $57,000 has been raised.  Either way, my fellow Cougar has brought much wanted attention to St. Jude, which should benefit the medical center in many ways.
Thank you to KIRO 97.3's Ron And Don for the tip on this story.

Matt Lauer Fired As Today Show Host

Viewers, and for that matter, colleagues, were shocked to learn that long time Today Show Host Matt Lauer has been fired amid sexual harassment allegations.   No doubt, more will come out on this story.  Lauer had hosted the NBC morning news magazine show since 1997.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chancellor Out For Season--Career In Jeopardy

Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor is out for 2017 according to Coach Pete Carroll.  A neck injury is blamed for sidelining Chancellor for this season and many are questioning whether he will return. 
As the Seahawks plan one of the most difficult parts of the season, the defense will play without Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman, and Chancellor. 
The Seahawks face the Philadelphia Eagles, a team with 10 wins and only 1 loss this Sunday.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Huskies Blow Out Cougs In Apple Cup

WSU and Washington came into the Apple Cup with identical records (9 wins, 2 losses), but before the game, it looked like 2 different seasons,  a season of disappointment for the Washington Huskies with wins against teams like Fresno State and Montana, much smaller schools, while the WSU Cougs could celebrate wins against Stanford, USC, and Utah, putting a Pac 12 championship into their sites. 
No one saw this coming, all Cougar hopes were crushed in a 41-14 Washington victory. The game was not even as close as the score would indicate as both the Cougar offense and defense looked absolutely impotent.  Luke Falk, thought by some as a Heisman Trophy candidate threw 3 interceptions and lost one fumble.  He was sacked 5 times.
Seattle Times columnist Matt Calkins wrote a particularly cruel column saying the Apple Cup is not even a rivalry.  Indeed the numbers bear that out as the Huskies have won 72 times compared to WSU's 32.  It's safe to say that is an insurmountable lead even bigger that so called Civil War were this year Oregon blew out Oregon State 69-10.  However, the Cougs do have some memorable wins, minimizing the overwhelming numbers in our minds.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


The Washington Huskies stand in the way of the Cougs chances of winning a PAC 12 championship.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Mike Leach on weddings

In preparation for this week's Apple Cup, here is WSU Coach Mike Leach, giving bizarre wedding advice during a press conference.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

David Cassidy Dead at 67

CNN reports David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge on the TV show, the Partridge Family, has died at 67.  Cassidy had revealed his fight with dementia earlier this year.
Cassidy became a so called teenage idol in the early 1970s with his picture on the front of teen magazines and on posters.

"That Girl" Makes Me Feel Older

Happy Birthday to Marlo Thomas, the lovely actor who played in the groundbreaking ABC sitcom, That Girl.  The first TV comedy on TV to feature a single career woman.  Thomas turns 80 today.  Thomas is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, which was founded by her father, Danny Thomas.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Charles Manson Dies

Mass Murderer Charles Manson is dead.  Manson, one of the most reviled figures of all time, was found guilty of orchestrating the murders of a pregnant Sharon Tate, an actress with Northwest roots, and 4 others in a home that Tate shared with her husband in Los Angeles. He was also convicted of  killing Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in a separate murder. 
The trial became theatre of the absurd as it was heavily covered on morning and evening news.  This was before the internet, cable news and even cameras in the courtroom.  Manson was convicted along with 3 female followers,  another, Charles Watson, was found guilty in a separate trial.
Manson was known for his demonic stare. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Diana Ross Returns

Diana Ross made her first TV appearance in as long as I can remember in a tribute to her on the American Music Awards.  The show was carried on KOMO 4 TV ABC.  Ross was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Cedar River

The Cedar River from a bridge on the trail behind the Testy Chef in Maple Valley.
We walked Dasher after a yummy Sunday breakfast at the Chef.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Malcom Young--AC/DC Guitarist

Malcom Young one of the 2 brothers that helped found the Australian hard rock band AC/DC has died.   Young, a rhythm guitarist, had been suffering from dementia and had left the group in the Spring of 2014.  Although his brother Angus was the more famous member of the group, Malcom had been described as the driving force behind the band.
Both brothers Malcom and Angus were born in Scotland.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Maple Valley Fire Levy Passes

A fire levy which previously failed despite warnings of cuts in fire and emergency services in Maple Valley is passing on it's second go round according to the Maple Valley Reporter.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Israel--Wrapping Up A Fabulous Trip

It's been over 10 days since I've returned from my trip to Israel and well over 20 days since the trip began. I've constantly posted pictures since the trip's beginning and continued posting well after my return and yet, I feel that I have so much more to share.
 My friend Joe and I traveled with our temple in Bellevue, because of the small number of us who were able to make the trip, we were joined by the Temple Beth El from St. Petersburg, Florida.  Within the two groups, there were contrasts.  The Florida group was lead by their charismatic and learned rabbi (bottom picture on right), we were lead by our Cantor David Serkin-Poole.  Each made valuable contributions to our visit.  The Florida group was all couples, along with a daughter and seemed to know each other well, while our group mostly left spouses at home and were getting to know each other.  Joe and I flew over and back on Air Canada's 787 (middle picture). 
It was on this trip that we realized how perilous this country's existence can be.  While we visited the Golan, we could see beyond the borders of Syria and Lebanon, both generally hostile countries toward Israel.  The trip gave us context into the media's coverage of the country. 
The two great cities Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are so close, yet so different.  Tel Aviv, is the stylish, cultural center of the country, it is where the State Of Israel was born and is recognized diplomatically as the "capital"    Jerusalem (top picture), little more than 50 miles away is so different.   It is the spiritual city.  It is the hub of three major religions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.  The Arabs and Jews often coexist in harmony. You can often hear the Muslim calls for prayer throughout the day.  Arabs are often working alongside Jews.
Our guide Shari (bottom picture left) did an outstanding job teaching and reporting and helping us get to know the country that we love. 
There is a lot to be proud of in the State Of Israel, the country was developed from a desert to a fertile country and seems in many ways so peaceful, but being a young country, with so many security issues (you see soldiers both men and women throughout the country) there are so many questions.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yad LaKashish

One of the last places we visited was Yad LaKashish, an innovative workshop for senior citizens, based in Jerusalem. 
Instead of resting in retirement homes, this program allow seniors to learn and perform crafts which allows them to feel a sense of purpose.  Their craft are sold at a gift shop and can also be purchased online.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Seahawks Win Game But Lose Sherman For Season

Thursday night football games have not been a popular event for players and this really came to light this week when Seahawk star cornerback Richard Sherman suffered an Achilles Tendon rupture ending his season.  The Seahawks won the game against the Arizona Cardinals, but there was almost no celebration as the team's greatest strength, it's defense, may be ordinary at best. 
Sherman has not missed a game since he entered the league in 2011 so there is little indication on how the team will play going forward.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Entertainment On The Kibbutz

You probably would not picture a luxury hotel on a kibbutz (Israel's social experiment), but between our time in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that's exactly where we were.  We spent a couple of nights at The Pastoral at Kibbutz Kfar Blum in Northern Israel. 
In the lounge, there was nightly entertainment.  This Israeli folk duo, was joined by a food server to sing the Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah".

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Astronaut Richard Gordon

Astronaut Richard Gordon, a Seattle Native who flew the Gemini 11 and Apollo 12 missions has died.  Gordon attended the University Of Washington at the same time my father did and could be seen in the one college annual of his that I could find in our house. 
Gordon walked in space in the Gemini 11 and flew around the moon in Apollo 12.  After retiring from NASA, he briefly became an executive for the New Orleans Saints Football team.

Havdallah Service In Jerusalem

After visiting the Wall, we had dinner at the Old Train Station, now a trendy Jerusalem shopping center.  We were joined by a newly married Anerican couple during the Havdallah (after Shabbat) Service.