The World According to Keitho

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Archive for September, 2015

Vic Davillio, Manny Mota, and my marching band days.

Posted by keithosaunders on September 29, 2015

In 1978 I was a senior at Van Nuys high school. Somehow my girlfriend, who played the flute, convinced me to join the marching band as a glockenspiel player. It was going to be an easy gig. I was the only glock player in the band so every week I’d line up at the 50, march straight out into the middle of the field where I would march in place as the rest of the band did dipsy doodles around me. Sweet.

So I figured, what’s the harm of it? I’ll go to a few rehearsals after school, see some football games and when the smoke clears I’ll be doing the horizontal mambo.

Well I’ll tell you what the harm of it is: You run the risk of missing one of the great Dodger playoff games of all time!

In 1977 the Dodgers were in the playoffs for the first time in 3 years. (before that they had last been to the post season in 1966) This was the Garvey/Cey/Lopes Dodger team beginning to come into its own and there was a lot of excitement in Los Angeles at that time.

On October 7th the Dodgers played one of the most exciting and improbable playoff games against the Philadelphia Phillies. Was I glued to our black and white Panasonic TV living and dying on every pitch? No. I was standing on the 50 yard line in some road football stadium in South Central LA playing glock. (Why did they schedule that team? Grant High was only 3 miles away, for crying out loud)

So the game: Burt Hooten, who threw a knuckle-curve and was known as a control specialist, started for the Dodgers. Things were going well for him until the 3rd inning when he imploded. He got a couple of bad calls from the home plate ump and the bases were loaded. All of a sudden the Phillies fans, not known for their good cheer, came alive and Hooten was visibly shaken. He proceeded to walk the next three hitters starting with Larry Christenson, the opposing pitcher. Three bases loaded walks in a row! I’d bet my eye teeth that’s a playoff record that still stands.

The game was 5-3 in going to the top of the 9th. The Dodgers had two outs and nobody on and seemed destined to go down 2-1 in the best of 5 playoff when…

“Pinch hitting of the Dodgers, number 33…Vic Davillio.”

Vic Davillio! We’re talking journeyman Vic Davillio. The Vic Davillio who was born in 1936, came up in 1963, played 17 years in the bigs and enjoyed collecting a pay check signed by Mr. O’Malley for services rendered sitting on the bench and enjoying a ballgame. (he had 75 at bats that year)

So what did he do, you ask? He beat out a perfectly executed drag bunt. A bunt! I can picture LaSorda in the dugout: “WAKE UP MOTA. SOMEBODY WAKE UP MOTA!”

Manny Mota, also at the tail end of his career, was a pinch hitter extraordinaire. He hit a booming double of the wall which Greg Luzinski couldn’t handle, scoring Davillio. Now it was the Phillies turn to implode with errant throws, wild pitches, bad calls by the umps. The Dodgers came away with a 6-5 victory.

And until yesterday, I had missed it.

Go to 20:10 to see Hooten walk the ballpark and melt down. Then skip ahead to 1:52 to watch Davillio and Mota win the game.

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Papelbon, Harper, and a sport without a soul

Posted by keithosaunders on September 28, 2015

There’s something wrong with baseball these days but it’s difficult to put one’s finger on the reason.  It’s as if the force is out of alignment. Oh wait a second, it just came to me –  the players are a bunch of jerks!

Let’s see if we can sort this out.  Manny Machado showboats after hitting a homerun.  Two innings later Jonathan Papelbon retaliates the old school way, the biblical way, by plunking Machado with a high and tight fastball.

Harper, jerk that he is, throws Pap under the bus telling the press that it was uncalled for and that the upshot would be that he (Harper) would surely be beaned in the next game.  He described Pap’s bean ball as “pretty tired.”

Flash forward a day or so and Harper does not run out a fly ball during a key at bat. Papelbon, Mr tough love, can then be seen screaming at Harper as he returns to the dugout.  Heated words are exchanged between the two ‘gladiators.’ before a fight breaks out in which Pap chokes Harper.  Stay classy, Jonathan.

Papelbon, in his bungling way has pulled off a coup once thought impossible – he’s made Harper appear sympathetic.  Yes, I agree with the old school credo that bean balls have their place, but you don’t show up your team’s future MVP on national television.  Take that shit to the locker room!  Furthermore not running out a fly ball isn’t the end of the world, particularly when the emotion that led to it came out of frustration, not ennui.

All of this is mere window dressing, however.  A kind of sorbet before the real baseball drama begins:  The playoffs!  This year featuring a certain team from Flushing known as THE NEW YORK METS!

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Enough with the kinder

Posted by keithosaunders on September 26, 2015

I suppose it was inevitable that as Facebook and the humblebragging that goes along with it have become ubiquitous so have videos of children precociously doing or saying adult things.  Today I saw a video of a young European girl playing the drums along to Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog. She had all of John Bonham’s fills down and you can tell she was coached thoroughly and that she was probably a quick study.  Except that it doesn’t matter.  All it proves is that she has above average concentration.  She didn’t create anything and to be honest she didn’t even groove.

I saw a video of two pre-teens dancing a sensual mambo.  They were resplendent in Cuban drag and they had all the steps down.  Impressive?  Not to me.  In fact I found it a little creepy having these two youngsters ape a sex-infused dance.

Then there are the pre-teen jazz musicians.  Listen to that kid wail on Giant Steps.  Wow!  But here’s the thing:  An important facet of improvisation is telling your story – it is the musical equivalent of your life’s experience.  What experience does a 10 year old have?  I would hope not much!

Parents, we know what you’re trying to do.  Congratulations, you have a ‘gifted kid.’ Now that your passive aggressive humblebrag is complete, how about tamping down your zeal and letting your kids be kids.

Posted in jazz, life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Behind the scenes at Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-up

Posted by keithosaunders on September 22, 2015

Big news. The archive of Michelangelo Antonioni directing Blow-up, long thought to have been lost, has been unearthed. Let’s go to the set for a live look-in:

[flashback harp music]

MA: CUT PRINT! THAT’S A WRAP FOR THE DAY. THANK YOU GENTLEMEN I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW. CALL IS 10AM. EVERYBODY GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP — WE’LL BE FILMING THE SCENE WHERE HE STARES AT THE PHOTOGRAPH FOR 10 MINUTES AND NOTHING HAPPENS. I WANT EVERYBODY ALERT!

Assistant.Director: But Mikey, babes, it’s only 11AM now, are you sure you want to break for the day? We only shot 30 minutes of film!

MA: YOU DARE QUESTION THE MASTER?! GET YOUR THINGS YOU’RE FIRED. GET ME HERBIE HANCOCK! WHERE’S HERBIE?!

HH: You called, big A?

MA: Yes, do you have the source music I requested for the opening montage?

HH: Yes, I have two measures of a Gsus b9.

MA: PERFECT! WE’ll LOOP IT OVER THE ENTIRE FILM. NOW LET’S DO LUNCH!

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Classic’s corner: A review of Antonioni’s Blow-up

Posted by keithosaunders on September 18, 2015

Image result for blow-up

I watched Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-up the other day. What a bloated, over-rated piece of garbage. This movie is 110 minutes long and it contains roughly five minutes of action, and believe me I use the word ‘action’ loosely.

This is it: Hedonistic, misogynistic, proto-Austin Powers photog goes to the park with his camera takes a few photos of a random May-December couple. He goes home, develops pictures, stares at them a long time, blows up the photos and notices a dead body.

THE END.

I’ll never get that hour and 50 minutes back.

Here’s the same film in Keitho-vision.

Dirty old man in raincoat goes to the park hoping to expose himself but while there notices a nude couple having sex. He videos the couple, goes home but on the way is side tracked by zombies and has to behead all of them with his medieval sword.

He arrives home to find his house being looted by meth heads. He takes out his 44 magnum and shoots them. Then he takes meth.

The END

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The greatest piano solo I’ve ever heard

Posted by keithosaunders on September 12, 2015

I’ve always liked Herbie Hancock but for whatever reason he has never cracked my top 3 favorite pianists. (Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly, McCoy Tyner) I was into most, if not all of his leader dates in the 60s, (Speak Like a Child is a top 5 record for me) and love him with Miles. Yet…there was something preventing me from going all in. I liked him as a friend.

Until…this. On the very first tune of this video, at apx 8:38 he plays a solo on Autumn Leaves that is so monumental that I am surprised that the space-time continuum was able to maintain its structural integrity and that there still exists an earth where there are standards with chord changes in 32 bar forms. That we try to play. And fail.

This is one of the best piano solos I’ve ever heard. It’s a fully realized, harmonically mind blowing, yet seriously grooving, logic defying masterpiece.

For some reason Wayne ends his solo at the bridge. (why did he do that?) Herbie starts out with some clusters suspended over a pedal point. He’s doing the ropadope – like he’s biding his time, patiently waiting for the chorus to come around and then BAM!

 

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New York City to Harvey: Man up!

Posted by keithosaunders on September 6, 2015

The latest news out of Mets-ville is that Matt Harvey, their ace pitcher, has insinuated that he does not expect to pitch over 180 innings this season which would effectively shut him down for the post season.  This came as news to Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson, and the rest of the baseball world and predictably, social media exploded in a torrent of outrage and funny memes.

Have we learned nothing from the Stephen Strasburg shutdown debacle of 2013? The Nationals had made the playoffs for the first time in that franchise’s history (they were previously the Montreal Expos and came into the league in 1969) and looked poised to make a deep playoff run.  Instead it was one round and out.  For all the babying and coddling Strasburg still managed to suffer injuries the past two years while his team has underachieved and appear on the verge of having to rebuild.

Harvey, who for all of his talent comes off as an arrogant prick, must have underestimated the passion of the New York fans when he made his cryptic statement.  Either you want to pitch or you don’t. Are you a gamer or are you a bum?  Do you think that in the ’88 Series Oral Hershiser said to Tommy LaSorda, “Hey skip, maybe I’d better not pitch in relief on short rest. I’ve maxed out on my innings.”  Hell no!  Like Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling (that idiot) and Madison Bumgarner he said, “Give me the damn ball!”

Does Harvey thinks that the Mets will accrue post season berths with the regularity of the St Louis Cardinals or the Yankees of the 90s and 2000s?  If so, perhaps he should riffle through a stack of the past decade’s yearbooks.  It’s been a putrid string of seasons since 2009.  This on the heals of epic collapses in 2007 and 2008, not to mention a heartbreaking loss in the 2006 NLCS.

If Harvey really does not want to pitch in the post season I say ship him and his purse to Seattle or Tampa for prospects.  If that’s his mind set then he probably doesn’t have the heart to pitch in big-time games.

———————————————————————————————————

10h10 hours ago

I hope Matt Harvey understands he just became the first player to publicly abandon his team before the playoffs. Good luck with that, kid.

I bet $20 that Matt Harvey would start Game 1 for the Mets. I never thought i’d lose because Harvey didn’t want the ball.

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The smarm offensive

Posted by keithosaunders on September 5, 2015

Thanks to the proliferation of social media as well as blogs such as this one, we live in a smarm society, one where mean-spirited sarcasm is used for political gain.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the web magazine, Salon. Nary a headline is posted that fails to tell me which opinion is right and which is wrong.

Here are some examples:

Donald Trump humiliates himself on conservative radio. 

No, Christians you’re not being persecuted, and Kim Davis is not a martyr.

The media’s breathless email scandal reaches new nadir.

At this point I’ll disclose that I am as liberal as they come, yet this kind of didactic, mean spirited, snarky reporting is as offensive to me as Fox news.  How are liberal publications any different then reactionary rags such as the New York Post? I would expect more from them, but what it boils down to is they attempt to be as sensationalistic as possible in order to garner readers.

Here is a particularly smug photo caption that someone posted on my Facebook feed.

I agree with most everything the caption says yet I had a viscerally negative reaction to this smug propaganda. What does Occupy Democrats hope to gain by this?  If I was a left leaning Republican this cloying, self-aggrandizing ad would almost certainly not sway me to vote Democrat. On the contrary it might inspire to urinate on Occupy Democrat headquarters.

To sum up:  Dems we’ve had a good run and things are marginally better than they were in the first eight years of the 21st century.  Now shut the fuck up!

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dodgers v Giants: A feel good taping story

Posted by keithosaunders on September 1, 2015

For years my buddy in the Bronx and I have traded taping foible stories.  What is a taping foible?  That’s when you set your DVR, or in the old days, VCR to record the game and something goes horribly wrong.  The most common thing is to learn of the score either by accident or having it told to you by a random person.  In the old days it was actually difficult to program VCRs.  The taping landscape was fraught with danger.

Today I have a taping story with a happy ending. I had the night off (I’m a musician and gig most every night)  so I decided to watch the Dodgers/Giants game. Since I also wanted to watch this horror show I’m into called The Strain I decided to tape the game and watch it on delay.  I set it up to tape 2 hours extra. I use the word ‘taping’ in the generic sense.  I recorded on a DVR.

By the time I got to the game it was about 90 minutes old.  It was a slow moving game with deliberate pitchers and lots of pitching changes. In other words, it was a normal paced ballgame. The game went extra innings but since 9 innings took 3 hours and 40 minutes there was only 80 minutes left on the timer.  By the 12th inning there was only 20 minutes of taping time left and was 40 minutes behind real time!  I was rooting for a broo-ha-ha so I could get in some serious fast forward action but it was not to be.  I began forwarding between every pitch all the while sweating bullets.
Finally it was zero hour but I still had 1 minute of tape to get through.  The tape ran out with Justin Turner up representing the winning run.  I was sure that the one minute gap was going to do me in and that I would miss a Turner walkoff homer but the taping Gods were with me. I only missed a single.  Or a walk. Or a hit by pitch. I don’t know because I missed it.
I watched the final 2 innings in real time, every once in a while hitting the fast forward button on the remote by mistake.    A great pennant race game and a happy taping ending!
VCR

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