The World According to Keitho

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by keithosaunders on November 23, 2017

Well, folks, Thanksgiving is upon us.  It is little secret the traditional Thanksgiving foods are among the most overrated of all all time.  There’s a reason we don’t eat stuffing and cranberry sauce year round.  Stuffing tastes like cardboard and cranberry sauce is an assault to the taste buds.  Sweet potatoes?  Meh. The turkey, a dry, unwieldy bird, tastes good for three bites or so before the tryptophan kicks in and then it’s goodnight the lights.  The white meat tastes like paper so you’d better get a good place in line to snag one of the two drumsticks.

Enjoy!

 

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Can I get a vestibule over here?

Posted by keithosaunders on November 20, 2017

I don’t know if I have any restaurant or bar owners follow this blog but now that the colder November weather is upon us this is as good a time as any to leave this public service announcement:

Close your fuckin’ doors, OK?  I don’t care if this is California, Hawaii, or Ethiopia, it is in the low 50s outside. It is not balmy.  It is no longer t-shirt weather. In fact, in San Francisco, where most of my gigs are, it is rarely warm enough to walk around without a jacket in the summer, let alone the cold months.

Back east they have vestibules which keep the heat contained inside of the establishment.  How ironic that one is warmer indoors in New York City winters than in those of California.

Your establishment is not cozy and what little charm you gain by having an ‘open air’ ambiance is negated by your customer’s discomfort.  Look around you, for crying out loud:  Your customers have not taken off their down jackets!  They are not happy.  Neither am I.

No Vestibule

vestibule

 

Vestibule

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Busy weekend

Posted by keithosaunders on November 12, 2017

This was one of those impossible weekends where I found myself with seven gigs on my calendar:  Two on Friday, a triple-header on Saturday, and two more on Sunday.  With six of the seven out of the way I can see the finish line ahead, but will still will have to power through a three hour solo piano gig in San Francisco.  (the fewer musicians around me, the harder I have to work)

Saturday morning’s gig – a one hour lecture/demonstration for toddlers and grade school kids proved to the hardest and most frustrating gig.  We were teaching kids about the fundamentals of music and jazz improvisation.  The leader was a trumpet player who gives me lots of work, but who happens to be an extremely unpleasant individual.  He’s one of those people who lectures you didactically nonstop (the lecture/dem gig was right in his wheelhouse) and enjoys arguing.  Everything goes one way, however — outward bound.  I’m pretty sure he’s on the spectrum somewhere.

He was particularity unpleasant during the rehearsal, stopping me every few seconds over minutia until it was all I could do not to pack up my keyboard and leave.  I toughed it out, however, and finished the gig without incident.

The thing is, you can’t blame people for being themselves.  This trumpet player can’t help being an asshole.  He was born this way.  He’s a miserable individual and its unfair and unrealistic to expect him to act out of his comfort zone.  No, I blame myself.  I’m the one who accepted the gig knowing full well what I was getting into.  If I accept future gigs with him I should expect more of the same.  Hopefully, in the words of Nancy Reagan, I’ll just say no.

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Let’s clutch our pearls over Louis C.K.

Posted by keithosaunders on November 10, 2017

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Roy Moore stories the Louis C.K. scandal, which broke a couple of days ago, seems like small potatoes.  For those who haven’t heard, C.K., over a several year period, repeatedly asked woman if he could masturbate in front of them.

Truth be told I am not outraged over it.  Is it bizarre and uncalled for behavior?  Yes.  It appears, however, that in most cases he actually asked permission.  He wasn’t forcing the women to stay or threatening physical violence.

That said, I agree that it is freakishly abnormal behavior.  It’s outside the bounds of our social contract.  But what are you going to do?  Some of us are freaks, and truth be told, we all probably have something that we do that is freakish — it’s just that it may not be sexual in nature.

The through-line that I’ve noticed with all of the recent sexual scandals is how easy it is for wealthy and powerful people to get away with abuse.  The Weinstein style casting couch has been going on for decades and we’ve all been aware of it.  The same goes for politicians and athletes, who seemingly can do whatever they want and cover it up with money.

I’ve said it all along:  The real divide is not black and white, men and women, or gay and straight, it’s rich and poor.  Like Cartman in South Park, the rich do what they want.

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The exposition

Posted by keithosaunders on November 5, 2017

The hardest part of dating as a middle aged man, and the main reason I am not enthusiastic about dating, is the amount of exposition that goes into the first date.  It’s exhausting having to recount my life’s story with all of its layers and complexities. First of all, the breakup with my ex-wife doesn’t have a good narrative.  It would be one thing if one of us cheated or embezzled – now that’s a juicy breakup.  But no, we just grew slowly apart, split up, and remained good friends.

Then there is the career.  Yes, playing piano is my job, no I do not make tons of money, yes I’m talented, (you have to say you’re talented so she doesn’t think you’re a schlub, but you run the risk of coming off as arrogant) no, it’s not glamorous, yes I sometimes play gigs I don’t want to play.  Oh, and by the way, I work nights, often 6 or 7 a week, and I always work on New Years Eve.

What a catch!

 

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We turn the page

Posted by keithosaunders on November 2, 2017

Another baseball season has come and gone and even an old curmudgeon like me has to admit that this was a good one.  The Astros won their first ever championship and they did it in dramatic fashion, beating the high-profile Dodgers in a riveting seven game series.  The Dodgers dominated the regular season, as well as the first two thirds of the post season.  When it came time for the World Series, however, the middle of their lineup went into a collective slump, and their metrics-loving manager, Dave Roberts, spit the bit.

The Series was probably lost in game 2 when Roberts pulled his effective starter, Rich Hill after 4 plus innings and began using his bullpen (many of whom will almost certainly face rotator cuff surgery in their near future) with impunity.  Then in game 7, when Roberts should have taken a piss-poor Yu Darvish out of the game before facing George Springer, the hottest hitter in the universe, he left him in to deliver a cantaloupe.  The resulting three run bomb effectively put a fork in the Dodger’s season.

A word about the announcers:  Joe Buck and John Smoltz are a terrible listen.  It’s not that they don’t know baseball, but that they are dull as dishwater and humorless to boot.  Throw in the timber of Buck’s voice, which is akin to an amplified washing machine, and you can go crazy.  It’s as if someone was using a jackhammer outside of your apartment — for 5 straight hours!  I’m convinced that the best way to watch these games is at a bar with a TV and a jukebox.

Onwards.

 

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The dating blues

Posted by keithosaunders on October 31, 2017

I began to gig in jazz clubs in my late teens back when I lived in Los Angeles.  I had decided to eschew college in pursuit of a career as a jazz musician – a decision that has netted me upwards of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.  I was having a great time practicing 5-6 hours during the day and gigging at night.

One unfortunate byproduct of this situation was that I was invariably the youngest person in the club by over ten years.  Not being in the cocoon of college made it difficult to find a girl close to my age to date.  Where was Tinder when I needed it?!

Fast forward 40 years and all of the practice paid off.  I’m gigging most nights, and I play at an extremely high level.  However I’m now often the oldest person in the club by over 15 years.  Somewhere up in heaven Rod Serling is having a good laugh.

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Pitching Madness in the World Series

Posted by keithosaunders on October 28, 2017

The way managers have been handling pitchers in the post season is beyond insane. It’s a mixture of by the book, automaton managing, and desperate gambles of 6 out saves from pitchers who have never done it before.

So far A.J. Hinch is thoroughly out managing Dave Roberts. Yesterday he played it old school allowing pitcher, Brad Peacock, to gut out a 3 & 2/3 inning save. Why not stay with the hot pitcher? The rest of his bullpen has been shaky at best. Go for the jugular while you can.

How much does Dave Roberts wish he had stayed with Rich Hill for a couple of extra innings on Wednesday night? True, his bullpen had been great, but even the best have bad outings as witnessed by Kenley Jansen’s last performance. You’re doing the other team a favor when you take out a pitcher that the opposing team is not hitting. The Astros should send Roberts a Christmas present.

Image result for brad Peacock

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World Series Memories: 1986

Posted by keithosaunders on October 26, 2017

Haley’s comet reached its closest point to earth, the U.S. traded arms for hostages with Iran, and a 20 year old Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

1986!

Alcoa presents: Keitho’s World Series Memories!

If one team personified the cocaine-infused, go-go 80s it was the New York Mets! Led by Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Daryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden, they went through the regular season like Pablo Sandoval at an all you can eat buffet, polished off the Houston Mike Scott’s in 6 games, and advanced to a date with destiny with the Boston Redsox.

Game 6 found the Mets down 3 games to 2 in the Series and me ensconced at my best friend, Jeff’s house in the Bronx.

Most people think it was Ray Knight’s clutch hit and Mookie Wilson’s grounder through the legs of Bill Buckner that completed the most improbable comeback of all time, but I know what really happened.

At last it can be told.

You see, it came down to Jeff’s Yankee souvenir watch and Pez dispenser from hell. Little did poor, hapless Calvin Schiraldi realize that his implosion on the Shea mound was the result of Jeff having dangled the Yankee watch in front of the TV (alternating with the Pez dispenser) while shouting, “Callllvinnnn!”

It was the jinx, you see. The jinx.

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We get requests

Posted by keithosaunders on October 17, 2017

Part of the craft being a solo pianist at a restaurant is taking and fielding requests.  I take a certain amount of pride in knowing a lot of tunes – hundreds, if not over a thousand – and as long as I know the song reasonably well I will play it, regardless of how corny it is or how much I don’t like it.  I’m grateful for requests; one of the hardest parts of doing a three hour solo gig is thinking of songs to play.  When I don’t know a song I’m always a little embarrassed, even though I realize that it’s impossible to know every song ever written.

A few weeks ago, however, I received a request that was as original as it was inane.  Someone asked me to play video game music.  I must have looked puzzled because the person quickly added, “You know, like Super Mario Brothers.”

This time, instead of stammering out an apology, I decided to try a new approach. I reached into my backpack, pulled out my new Smith & Wesson M & P9 Shield, fired a few rounds into the kitchen (taking care to avoid hitting the chef) and calmly set the gun down on the piano.

“Now,” I replied, “what was it you wanted to hear, some Bud Powell?  That’s what I thought you said.”

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