The World According to Keitho

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Milwaukee: Not for the faint of heart.

Posted by keithosaunders on May 5, 2019

I watched Friday’s Mets/Brewers game, and while it was an ultimately unfulfilling evening – the Mets lost 3-1 – there was some redeeming value to the broadcast.  It is a time honored Mets broadcasting tradition that whenever the team plays in Milwaukee –  the cheese capital of the world – the announcers make a point of talking about the concessions.  The gold standard belongs to longtime radio announcer, Howie Rose, who after a five minute monologue about the preponderance of cheese in Milwaukee, summed things up with, “Milwaukee:  Where arteries go to die!” 

During the mid-innings of this past Friday night’s game the television announcers began their usual tribute to Milwaukee’s Miller Park concessions, showing the concessionaires preparing  something something called a stuffed potato.  The trouble was that you couldn’t see the potato.

To begin with, what looked to be two pounds of pulled pork swimming in a glutinous sauce was slathered onto a baked potato.  Then (of course) came the grated cheese followed by a mass of caramelized onions.  This was followed by more cheese. The piece de resistance was sour cream.

How does anyone eat something like this without looking like an extra from Night of the Living Dead?!

 

Image result for miller park stuffed potato

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Nightmare

Posted by keithosaunders on April 19, 2019

What a dream I just awoke from — one that figures to stay with me from years to come.  I’m still shaking!

I dreamed that I was on a break at a gig and I was going through the buffet line.  I hadn’t eaten all day and I was more than ready to chow down.  I loaded up my plate to the brim with potato salad, rice, beans, and the most delicious short ribs I had ever seen.  The meat was glistening like Annette Funicello’s skin in Beach Blanket Bikini.

As I was walking to my seat, disaster struck.  I tripped, sending the entire contents of my plate onto the floor.  I was practically in tears but the bass player, who had been ahead of me in the line, said, “Get some more, get some more!”

I returned to the buffet only to find the cook putting the covers on the now empty steam tables.  All I was able to glean was a half order of (bottom of the pan) crusty rice and beans.

Needless to say I awoke in mid-scream in a cold sweat.  I hope this is not an omen.

Image result for bottom of the pan rice

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In praise of the 1979 World Series

Posted by keithosaunders on February 25, 2019

You can watch countless old baseball games on youtube.  Last year, during the off-season I watched some of the 1974 World Series between the Dodgers and the As.  This year I’ve been watching one of my all time favorites, the Pittsburgh Pirates versus the Baltimore Orioles.

Played in 1979, This was a rematch of the 1971 Series.  Like its counterpart, the ’79 Series went a full seven games –  both were won by the Pirates.  1979 was particularly dramatic, however, as the Pirates fell behind 3-1 in games and had to win three elimination games. To top it off the final two games were played on the road in Baltimore.

Here are some random observations:

In those days ABC and NBC would alternate years broadcasting the Series.  1979 was an ABC year and I was reminded why they were the inferior broadcasting network.  ABC had a bizarre fixation with showing the ball players wives, which quickly grew tiresome.  Their camerawork also seemed sub par – replays rarely yielded a satisfying shot.  And then there was Howard Cosell.

Cosell was as insufferable as I remembered him being.  He was smart, could be glib, and yes, I would take him any over Joe Buck (I would take a trained seal over Joe Buck) but he couldn’t help but make the game about himself.  Cosell did, however, provide one laugh-out-loud moment.  After catcher, Manny Sanguillen, won game two with a pinch hit ABC went down to the field to interview him.   As  the camera fixed on a closeup of the scraggly, bearded veteran, Cosell waxed,  “LOOK at that time-worn face!”

Keith Jackson was the play by play man for the games in Baltimore.  Although he was a consummate professional and had a good set of pipes, he was more of a college football guy.  That weekend he was absent from the Series as he was sent to work the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game.  Jackson’s sub was a young Al Michaels, whose voice was a half an octave higher than it is today.  Michaels was a marked upgrade from Jackson and it was good to hear him during his formative years.  The booth was rounded out by Don Drysdale, or Twin D, as Cosell referred to him.

The uniforms were garish, but delightful.  I always did love the banana-yellow Pirates uniforms.  The Bumblebee Bucs!  Even Baltimore got into the act in game 2, donning flaming orange tops.

It is a delight to watch pitchers pitch with tempo.  Jim Palmer versus Burt Blyleven was a sight for sore eyes.  Most of the pitchers I saw pitched with a tidy rhythm, with the exceptions being Jim Bibby and Dennis Martinez.  Kent Tekulve, one of my favorites at the time, did not disappoint.  He also has a good quote in which he said that he takes one look at the scouting reports, throws them away, and then pitches his game.  Take that, metrics freaks.

In game three there was an hour rain delay after three innings.  Both starting pitchers, John Candeleria, and Scott McGregor, remained in the game.  McGregor, who had allowed 3 runs in the first two innings, settled down and pitched a complete game.  Somehow pitchers in those days could get through the lineup 4 times.  Go figure.

Relief pitchers were allowed to stay in the game for more than one inning and closers were sometimes called upon to get outs in non save situations.  In game 4 The Birds had come from 6-3 down to take a 7-6 lead.  Earl Weaver was pulling all the right strings employing a successful string of pinch hitters.  With two on and one out Weaver allowed relief pitcher, Tim Stoddard, to hit.  Stoddard, being an American League pitcher,  had not had one at bat the entire season.  Of course he singled to center, driving in a run.

[John Sterling voice] That’s baseball!

Image result for 1979 pirates

 

 

 

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It’s National Gorilla Suit Day!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 31, 2019

National Gorilla suit day was created by Mad magazine artist, Don Martin. [Per wikipedia] In 1963,  Martin published National Gorilla Suit Day in a collection Don Martin Bounces Back, in which Fester Bestertester mocks the (then fictitious) concept of a National Gorilla Suit Day, and suffers a series of incredible assaults from gorillas and other creatures in gorilla and other suits.  It is always celebrated on January 31st.

John Tendy, who is a friend of mine, and a great tenor saxophonist from New York, along with his friend, recording engineer, Danny DiPaula, create an annual Gorilla Suit Day special which they post to youtube.  These are two of the funniest people I know and I am proud to present to you this year’s offering, which, if I do say so myself, is up to their usual top-notch standards.

Enjoy!

 

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The sound of exposed brick

Posted by keithosaunders on January 18, 2019

Has anyone noticed how awful music sounds in almost every restaurant and club?  Club owners and restaurateurs love their cavernous, barn-like structures with hard surface floors, exposed brick, and floor to ceiling windows.  Well let me tell you something, exposed brick may be hip and charming, but the effect it has on music is horrible beyond belief.

But forget about music, conversation sounds awful in these hell holes.  You get some liquored up tech-bros trying to one up each other with their knowledge of mixed drinks, and their clothespin-voiced girlfriends who speak in a range that would make Maynard Ferguson jealous, and you may as well be in the Super Dome on Super Bowl Sunday.

Would it kill the establishment to throw down a couple of rugs and hang some drapes?  What do they have against musicians and pukeys being able to coexist?

 

Image result for exposed brick

 

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I’ve got nothing

Posted by keithosaunders on December 29, 2018

It’s the end of the year and I’ve got nothing.  I’m running on E, emotionally, artistically, and spiritually.  We’ve got a lying sack of excrement in the White House that 40 per cent of the country approve of.  The Dems are taking control of the Congress which opens the door for impeachment, but with the feckless Republican-controlled Senate there is little or no chance of conviction.

Sports continue to be a microcosm of capitalism with the rich getting richer (Yankees/Dodgers/Warriors) and an almost cult-like subservience to time-sucking instant replay booth reviews.

As much as I practice and strive to improve it is looking like too little too late.  The time is growing short and I’ve got a lot left to accomplish, not the least of which is staying alive.  How much longer will gigs and teaching be a reliable source of income?  Was it ever?

Happy New Year.

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Keitho’s dating theory

Posted by keithosaunders on October 19, 2018

Folks, let’s face it, dating is excruciating, particularly the symphony of awkwardness that is the first date.  The amount of exposition that a middle-aged man who has been married and with kids has to supply is daunting.  Then there is the small talk.  I’m not good at small talk which, for me, tends to emerge as stilted and contrived.  To top everything off there is the sexual tension.  Should I kiss her, and if so, should I be even bolder?  It’s all too much!

I’m here to tell you that sex, if practiced safely,  should not be that big of a deal.  It’s  great fun, good for the ego, and it burns carbs!  Why should one have to, for all intents and purposes, sign a pre-nup in order to partake in this most pleasurable of activities?

In fact, sex is a hell of a lot more enjoyable than the actual date.  Why not skip the date and begin the relationship with sex?   You’ll know right away if the relationship has a shot.  If you are incompatible in the bedroom the chances are you will not make a good couple.  If the sex isn’t that good you can say goodbye knowing that you’ve saved yourself the time, expense and tension of a date.

On the other hand, if you have a great roll in the hay, think how mush easier the small talk will flow.  Conversation always comes easier after sex.   You can make small talk until the cows come home.  Then you go on a date.

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Welcome back NFL

Posted by keithosaunders on September 10, 2018

You know what?  Concussions and all, the NFL is still the best sport.

While it’s true that on any given Sunday one may have to endure penalty-marred games and the insipid booth reviews, for the most part these games are over and done with within three hours.  Unlike baseball which forces you to sit through the delicate-genius managers changing pitchers every other batter, football is succinct and to the point.

The NBA and NHL regular seasons are jokes, containing little, or no meaningful games.  While baseball’s regular season retains some integrity,  with the addition of wildcard teams, truly meaningful pennant races are rendered mute.  You would think, with all the extra teams potentially in post season contention, there would be more intrigue in September.   More often than not, however, the divisions are decided long before October.

This leaves football, with its tight, 16 game schedule.  I enjoy the rhythm of the autumn sports week where you can enjoy taking in the sports radio and newspaper hype, gradually working yourself into a frenzy.  You spend the week looking forward to Sunday or Monday night.  You’re like a caged animal waiting to be set free.

This is what life is about.

 

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Sippin’ at Bell’s

Posted by keithosaunders on September 4, 2018

Here is an unconventional blues from Miles Davis called Sippin’ at Bells.  It comes from his very first session as a leader in 1947 and the band featured Charlie Parker (on tenor!) John Lewis – piano, Nelson Boyd – bass, and Max Roach on drums.

The other tracks are the original Milestones, (Miles would write a second Milestones ten years later – a modal tune based on two chords) Little Willie Leaps (based on the chords of Bronislaw Kaper’s All Gods Children Got Rhythm), and Half Nelson.  All four of the tunes on this date ended up becoming jazz standards.  Jazz musicians throughout the world know them and continue to play them.

Sippin’ at Bells, a 12 bar blues,  is notable for it’s unique, substitute chord laden progression.  Miles begins the song with an F major 7 (instead of a dominant 7) and if that is not radical enough, he immediately diverts to the key of Eb in measure two, using Fm7-Bb7.  In the fifth measure, instead of using the usual IV dominant 7, Davis employs a IV major 7, a striking diversion from the norm.

In 1949 the pianist Bud Powell would record his original, Dance of the Infidels.  Its chord progression is almost identical to that of ‘Bells,’ although its melody is completely different.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

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Happy birthday

Posted by keithosaunders on August 24, 2018

When I was young I fell in love with jazz music.  I studied, practiced, jammed, and gigged.  I was precocious and thought I was much better than I was.  Harmonically, rhythmically, and technically I was callow – less than the player I am today.  I didn’t care.  There was joy and abandon in my playing and the optimism that is the domain of the young.

When I was young I went on dates.  I had infatuations, rejections, romances, and breakups.  There were no dating aps — I  was judged on my poise and insouciance in the moment.  Sometimes I fell flat on my face and other times the stars aligned for great successes.  It didn’t matter – there was time.

When I was young if I wanted to go to a ballgame my greatest worry (living in New York) was whether or not there would be a rain out.  The cost was not prohibitive, the game, though slow, was not marred by interminable booth delays or a revolving door of relief pitchers.  I was not made to feel like a criminal upon entering the stadium.  There was joy in the experience.

So begins my 58th year.  Bring it on.

 

Image result for Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez – my favorite Met.

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