The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

The right of the dial

Posted by keithosaunders on February 10, 2012

I spent the last weekend in Las Vegas visiting my father.  Having grown up in Brooklyn and Queens, my Dad is a lifelong Giants fan, and since my regular Sunday gig was cancelled due to the game, I decided to make the trek down to watch it with him.

This is the third time I’ve made the drive from the Bay Area to Vegas.  It is a deceptively long drive.  If you could drive on a direct angle from Berkeley to Vegas it would probably be a six or seven hour trip.  Thanks to the Sierra Nevada range, however, this is impossible.  You have to drive south to Bakersfield on I 5, cut over east on a 150 mile mountain pass road — rt 58 — and finally, at Barstow, turn North onto I 15.  It is a nine-hour drive, that is if you don’t stop.

Fortunately I love driving.  I’m an animal behind the wheel and can drive great distances without tiring.  All I need are some good sounds to spur me on and I’m happy.  I’ve driven cross-country on two consecutive years, with a third trip looming this summer as my oldest boy is going to be going to school back east.

After the game (and what a game!) I decided to drive home rather than have to wake up at 5AM the next morning.  I had to be back by Monday night for a gig and I knew I could make great time at night.

I know enough to pull over when I’m tired.  It’s amazing how effective a ten minute cat nap can be.  I ended up needing to take two of them — one at 2Am, and the other at 4AM.  I arrived home safe and sound at 5:30.

About halfway through the drive I decided to take a break from my ipod and tune in to some right-wing radio.  I expected to become upset while listening to their vitriol, but in the end I only felt a sense of bemusement and pity.

I mean, they’ve got nothing.  Literally nothing.   All they have to talk about is their hatred of Obama, and their love of the lord.  Obama is a socialist, and the lord is their savior.

I feel sorry for them.  They don’t want to talk about Romney — they hate him.  They’re embarrassed by Gingrich, because

a) he’s too smart for them


b) his checkered history disturbs them.

Ron Paul is too liberal for them, and even these nutcases realize that Santorum has no shot.

One host claimed to know exactly when Armageddon was coming, but you had to buy his book to find out when and how.  I’m sure it would be a great read but I’m going to save my thirty bucks.

I ended up staying with right-wing radio for a good hundred miles.  I couldn’t turn away.  It was extremely entertaining.

Posted in football, life, media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Armegeddon on interstate five

Posted by keithosaunders on May 24, 2011

I just returned from a long weekend with my kids visiting my father in Las Vegas.  We had a good time, even though it was a lot of driving.  To get to Vegas from the Bay Area, you must travel over 100 miles out of your way south on interstate five, then turn east through a mountain pass on route 58, before turning north on interstate 15.  Around the horn.  There is no direct route — the Sierras get in the way.  Consequently, it takes nine hours — really ten, because you have to stop to eat.

It was shocking to see just how much the gas stations on the California interstates price gouge.  Stations were charging $4.5o a gallon and up.  At one station, just south of Baker, CA, I paid $4.99!  It was like living in Europe minus the health care.  Once you arrive in Vegas, gas goes down to a manageable $3.78.

On Saturday, everybody was talking about the rapture guy.   Even my 10-year-old daughter was talking rapture.  It was in the air. 

In the meantime I was spending the afternoon talking to my Dad while the kids were at the pool.  Like many senior citizens, my Dad has vivid memories of his childhood and young adulthood.  I love to listen to his stories of family history, as well as his life story.  I feel that I get a whiff of what New York was like in the old days, as well as a feeling of connection to those in my family that I never knew. 

I mention this because in the back of my mind, while my Dad was talking about family history, I couldn’t help but make a connection with the end of the world. After all, at 84 he is nearing the end of his life.  It got me thinking about the end of things — about having everything behind you, as opposed to in front.  I wasn’t sad, but perhaps a little melancholy.

Of course I didn’t take the rapture threat seriously, as you can tell from the tone of my previous post, but I felt anger towards this person who started the rumor.  Once a story such as this it is out there, and especially once  it is media-driven, it is impossible not to at least consider the possibility, albeit infinitesimal, of it being true.

And for that, I would like to slap this guy.  How dare he put these thoughts into my daughter’s head, let alone my own?  Life is stressful enough, as evidenced by the gas prices I had to pay on the way to Vegas.  (and we only drove because plane tickets were $300)  Why should we have to dwell on Armageddon when we have enough agida already in our lives.

Like the f&^%ng idiot New York Mets owner!

Posted in life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Let’s talk turkey

Posted by keithosaunders on November 26, 2010

I spent Thanksgiving with my father in Las Vegas.   We had our “dinner” at 1 in the afternoon, which I initially thought to be way too early of a starting time.  In effect, however, it dovetailed perfectly with the NFL schedule allowing us to see most, if not all of the three games. 

The Lions were blown out in the early game but they did us the favour of jumping out to a big lead.  True, they gave us false hope of an improbable upset over Bill Belichick and the hated Patriots, but hey, they kept it close until the 4th quarter thereby giving us more joy than we had a right to expect from this ill begotten team.

We were finished with “dinner” by 2:30 which allowed us to repair to the living room for the  Dallas-New Orleans contest.  By the time we got to it the score was 17-0 Saints leading us to believe we were in for a long afternoon.  Not that either of us are Dallas fans — far from it — we just craved a competitive matchup while we digested our food.

Lo and behold the game turned around and Dallas actually went in front 27-23 late in the 4th and had the ball to boot.   When Roy Williams caught a breakaway pass late in the period it looked as if they would ice the game, but all of a sudden a defender, Malcolm Jenkins, snatched the ball away from for the turnover.  The Saints then drove 89 yards for the go-ahead score.  The game was not over, though, and Dallas actually got into position for a tieing 59 yard field goal.  The kick had the distance but went wide left.  Ballgame. 

The announcers couldn’t get over the brilliance of Jenkin’s takeaway.  To these amateur eyes, however, it looked like Williams could have covered the ball up more than he did. He has to know that even if he doesn’t score, as long as he keeps possetion, the game is probably over.   At worst it would have ended up tied going into overtime, allowing for more Thanksgiving day football!

Full disclosure:  We didn’t watch most of the Jets game.  The Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster film, Seven Days in May came on TCM and once we flipped to it during a break in the Jets game we couldn’t turn away.  It’s a tense, political thriller that seems just as relevant to today as it did in the cold war ’60s.

So there you have it.  I heartedly recommend the early Thanksgiving dinner.  It is the sports fan’s best friend.

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

You can’t go home again

Posted by keithosaunders on November 25, 2010

I’m writing from Las Vegas where I am visiting my Dad.  I was happy to able to avoid humiliation at the hands of the TSA by driving down instead of flying.  The road is where I thrive and if I never had to fly again it would be OK with me.  

Funny thing about driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas;  there is no direct route.  You have to drive miles out of your way because there isn’t a road that cuts through southeast through the San Gabriel Mountains.  You end up driving around the horn and it is a 10 hour trip.  On my way, in order to break up the driving, I stopped off in my hometown of Los Angeles and had dinner with some old friends at a restaurant in Sherman Oaks.  (I couldn’t believe that Hamburger Hamlet is still there right around the corner on Van Nuys blvd!) 

I could not resist stopping off at the house on Runnymede street where I grew up in Van Nuys.  It was my first time seeing it since my folks sold it in 1993.  Driving down Sherman Way was jarring and sad.  Almost every store is different.  I don’t know why I would have expected otherwise.  In New York I lived on Broadway and 108th street from 1987-90.  Ten years later almost every store had turned over.  
The first thing that struck me about my old block was how wide it seemed.  Isn’t that odd?  Things are supposed to appear smaller to you once you’ve grown up.  This was probably due to having lived in the east for so long where streets are narrow.  The street itself was still pretty with lots of large, leafy trees and plenty of flower gardens.  The upkeep of the houses were hit and miss.  Some were surprisingly nice looking.  Mine wasn’t.  In the front yard, where once had been a rose-bush, were overgrown weeds.  The house had been painted an ugly shade of dark brown.  Brown!   Once, during a storm, a tree fell on the side of the house.  We had replaced it with a baby tree which had thrived and tripled in size by the time we moved out.  That tree had been cut down. 

The ivy at the neighbor’s house across the street, where we lost dozens, if not hundreds of baseballs, was gone as was the ivy next door.  I guess the California ivy craze is officially over.   I went to the back where our basketball court had been, where once I had listened to Vin Scully announce June Dodger games while shooting free throws.  I still remember the radio sponsors —  the Olympia beer jingle and the Farmer John slogan are forever embedded in my psyche.  There was a cement wall which still exists but it looked pretty run down back there.  No one was home so I didn’t get to see the inside.
Then I went two houses down to see if our neighbor still lived there.  It looked like nobody was home but all of a sudden a car pulled up and there she was!  She didn’t recognize me at first but she was surprised and happy to see me.  She invited me in and made me breakfast.  Her house looked much as I remembered it — the back yard almost exactly.  The best part was that even though she must be 80 she appears to be vibrant and in good health.  

 Here at my Dad’s we have been looking at tons of old photos.  I have seen several of old school friends, as well as family photos taken years before I was born.  Some even go back to the turn of the century.  How amazing to see old New York addresses on the photo paper — addresses I knew well from my years in that city.

There was a photo of my 6th grade class at Hazeltine Elementary School with Mrs Willet.  I couldn’t remember the names of most of the people but I recognized, Nancy Weiss, Peter Martin, Jim Ararian, and Richard Docherty.  My Dad, though he is 83 and cannot remember what he ate for dinner last night,  puts me to shame in the memory department.  When we looked at the photos of his boyhood Camp Mohaph he remembered almost every name.  
So it’s been somewhat of a melancholy trip for me.  It’s great to see old friends, as well as my father, but sad to think of the time that has elapsed and all the people who aren’t in our lives any more. 

No matter, it’s time for turkey.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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