Posted by keithosaunders on November 17, 2011
Last night I watched a very good documentary on Daniel Ellsberg called The Most Dangerous Man in America. Ellsberg is the former Pentagon worker who, in 1971, leaked a top-secret document showing how five U.S. presidents lied to the nation in order to facilitate and continue the war in Vietnam. I was eleven when this happened; old enough to remember it, but not quite old enough to grasp its enormity.
The thing that struck me the most while watching the film was the courage and integrity, not only of Ellsberg, who risked a long jail sentence, but of the newspapers that printed the documents. The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and many others printed this story in the face of threats from the imperial Nixon administration. They did it because they realized that regardless of how bad these documents made the country look, without a free press the U.S. may as well be a banana republic.
Contrast this idealism and integrity with the New York Times (and the rest of the media) of 2002 and 2003, which enabled, even championed a war with Iraq. You had reporters such as Judith Miller who wrote a series of articles as far back as 2001 detailing Saddam Hussein’s capacity to build and deploy nuclear weapons. Her main source was Ahmad Chalabi, a former Iraqi politician who had close business ties to many Bush administration officials. Much of his information, though proven false, seemingly evaded fact checking from Miller or the Times.
My point is that in 1971 you had people within the Nixon administration willing to risk their career in order to stop an illegal war. Fast forward to 2002 where you had reporters and Bush administration officials willing to lie in order to facilitate a war, as well as further their careers.
This is why the occupy Wall Street movement is important. In these bleak times it is important and necessary that there be truth spoken to power. These banks are rotten as the day is long — we all know that. Yet what price did they pay for ruining our economy and costing tens of thousands of people their homes and jobs?
Where is the Daniel Ellsburg of 2011?
Posted in media, Politics | Tagged: Ahmad Chalabi, Daniel Ellsberg, George Bush, Iraq war, Judith Miller, New York Times, Pentagon papers, Richard Nixon, Saddam Hussein, The Most Dangerous Man in America, Vietnam war | 2 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on November 12, 2011
Who would have thought when the season began, that Giants/49ers would end up being a marquee matchup. That’s the great thing about football — you’ve got the week-long buildup to the event, and the deeper into the season you get, the bigger and better the hype.
I’m a sucker for sports hype, and I love listening to the radio guys talk about Sunday’s game. The San Francisco sports talk radio hosts are a surprisingly good listen. They’re not nearly as vitriolic as the New York hosts, and they have a light-hearted way of infusing humor into the broadcast. In New York, between the caustic hosts and the hysterical callers, you feel like you’re listening to Wagnerian opera. Don’t get me wrong, I listened to those New York guys religiously, but sometimes the banter would become too heavy-handed and drone-like.
On the other hand, it’s funny what upsets the west coast guys. Early in the week, by way of stirring the pot up for this Sunday’s game, one of the hosts was recalling the end of the 1989 football season. The Giants needed the 49ers to win in order for them to make the playoffs. The 49ers, who had already clinched, rested most of their star players and ended up losing, thus ending the Giants season. Phil Simms, the Giants quarterback, told the press that “the 49ers laid down like dogs!”
Really? That’s all you got, Frisco media?
Posted in football | Tagged: Mike Francesa, New York Giants, New York sports radio, Phil Simms, San Francisco 49ers, talk radio | 2 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on November 8, 2011
The great one
The sports world has been so great lately that I have neglected the musical side of this blog. Here then is a post dedicated to the gigging portion of my life.
Things have been very busy here in the East Bay — in fact, this past month has been one of the busiest periods of my life. I’ve been working between 4-6 gigs a week and the phone has been ringing off the hook. I am guardedly optimistic about my future here in the Bay Area. The word guardedly must be used as a qualifier for all things musical in this fickle economy, but for now I seem to be in demand.
Of course some gigs are more glamorous than others, and when it comes to deciding whether of not to accept a gig, years of a ‘feast or famine’ lifestyle have practically eradicated the word no from my vocabulary. Still, even I have my limits, so when it came to the nude-tap-dancing-while-on-fire engagement, I politely declined.
I do enjoy the variety of work I get, however, and thanks to my ability to see the humor in life, I have a pretty high threshold of zanyness. Last week I played a gig at a furniture store, of all places. It was in a tony section of San Francisco, not far from the Presidio. I was in a trio that played jazz while the swells walked around deciding which high-priced furniture to buy for their townhouses.
The women were all Betty Drapered out, which is to say they were extremely overdressed for walking around a furniture store. Many of them wore backless gowns, or eye-catching red dresses.
As for the men, at one point I looked around and spotted a Charles Nelson Reilly lookalike. He was a dapper middle-aged man with horn rimmed glasses wearing a tweed coat. At one point I was going to pick him to block but I thought better of it.
‘The store supplied me with an antique, faux-sheepskin chair, which was very uncomfortable. It was one of those chairs in which you sank deep into the cushion — in other words, a bad chair. With my bad back it made for a somewhat painful evening. At one point I leaned back in the chair and the back of it splintered. You could hear that cracking noise, which next to glass breaking, is the sound I dread hearing the most.
I was envisioning having to work off this priceless Ming chair, to the point where it bankrupted me. Years later one of you would happen to spot me on skid row with an unkempt beard and a bottle of ripple in my hand.
Keith! What happened to you?!
I would respond in my drunk voice: “I had a gig in a furniture store. It ruined me!”
Me in 15 years
Posted in jazz, music | Tagged: Betty Draper, Charles Nelson Reilly, furniture store, gigs, jazz, Mad Men, music, nude tap dancing, ripple, San Francisco, tap dancing, Tenderloin | 3 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on November 3, 2011
You’d better believe I’m in baseball withdrawal. What a compelling, riveting Series we just experienced; it was one of the best I”ve ever seen. Now comes the boring time of the year which is dominated by free agent signings and arbitration settlements. Gee, will you look at that, Willie Bloomquist got a 2.5 million dollar extension…
Last week’s game seven Cardinals win got me thinking about how they had won more Series — 11– than any National League team. The runners-up are the Dodgers and Giants, each of whom have won 6 out of 18 Series appearances. (the Cards have also played in 18 Series)
But I was more interested in the Series that went to a seventh game. Off the top of my head it seemed the Cardinals had played in an inordinate amount of them. Here is what I found:
The Cardinals have won eight World Series game sevens.
1926 v Yankees
1931 v Athletics
1934 v Tigers
1946 v Redsox
1964 v Yankees
1967 v Redsox
1982 v Brewers
2011 v Rangers
They lost game sevens to the Tigers in ’68, the Royals in 85, and the Twins in ’87.
61% of the World Series that the Cardinals have appeared in have gone to a seventh game and their winning percentage in these games is 72%.
Now lets look at the Yankees who have won a staggering 27 Series.
Of those 27 Series ony ten have gone to a seventh game and they have won four of them, or 40%. Three of those four wins were versus the Dodgers in ’47, ’52, and ’56, and they beat the Giants in ’62. Admittedly the Yankees probably did not play that many game sevens because of their dominance, but still, for a team that has one 67% of the Series that they appeared in, (27/40) you would think they would have won more game sevens.
The Dodgers are 2-3 in game sevens, (but I think 1955 should count for more than one win!) and the Giants are 1-2.
The Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics have fourteen pennants to their name, but have only played in three game sevens, going 2-1. The Tigers, on the other hand have played in ten Series, five of which have gone to a game seven. Their record in those games is 2-3.
What can we learn from this? The Yankees are indisputably the most dominant team in baseball, but the Cardinals are the most clutch. After coming from ten and a half games behind in the division, 3-2 down in the Series, and down to their last strike (twice!) who can deny it?
Ol' bucket-head, Tim McCarver
Posted in baseball | Tagged: Brooklyn Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, downblouse, Game 7, game seven, MLB, New York Yankees, pennant, Pennants, Philadelphia Athletics, St Louis Cardinals, Tony Larussa, Willie Bloomquist, World Series | 8 Comments »