Tag Archives: National Anthem

Basketball Jones

This is one of those moments in life where a joint would be most nice. But of course I am lacking in that department. What started as a fine day almost degenerated into crap and it wasn’t my fault. I do have to thank the makers of Xanax for taking a major edge off the trouble I found myself in this afternoon.

I suppose it’s true, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In that case, to quote AC/DC I’m on the Highway to Hell.

Last night was quite pleasant enough. Bill came home and we watched The Baroness of Jazz, about a woman, an heiress to the Rothschild fortune who left England and wound up being a major supporter of Thelonious Monk and a few others in that Jazz scene.

I recorded it since Bill has a connection to Thelonious Monk in some regard. Right now, my patience is sorely being tested by the sound card I guess on my computer.

Right now I’m trying to listen to some Kate Bush on iTunes, while also trying to upload the videos I shot of Bill tonight. Unfortunately with every keystroke on the computer the sound goes to shit.

Apparently I cannot do more than one thing on the computer without something going wrong. You get what you paid for I guess. Be ru-un-nni-i-i-nn-ggg u-u-u-p-p t-hhhhaaa-tttt hi-ll-ll is not how Kate Bush is supposed to sound. A 5:01 song gets stretched to 6 and change.

And the one clip I had shot of Bill was somehow turned into 2 clips, so I decided to add the sound check making it a 2:36 clip. I know I would be feeling a lot worse if it weren’t for the Xanax which is merely making me frustrated rather than angry.

Anyhow, The Baroness of Jazz was good and Bill really enjoyed it. After that, Bill and I watched Saturday Night Live. I generally enjoy the holiday episodes of Saturday Night Live. I often wondered if it was Lorne Michaels generosity that lets some truly strange sketches go on air.

I loved the digital short, it was hilarious and definitely weird. No more pajamas for me. Bill went to bed during Weekend Update, I stayed up to watch the rest. Muse were the musical guests and I thought they were alright.

Soon I went to bed as the snow continued falling. I woke up around 8:30, Bill was off to church for the first time in weeks, delivering the liturgy. I soon had my boots on, walked up to Washington Street where the bagel shop was empty. Yesterday the line was out onto the sidewalk.

In and out in under a minute, I made my way through sloppy streets to the supermarket. Cute cashier, reminded me of Karen Kuhl from Gutbank, 20 years ago.

The rest of the day was OK, until I responded to matters regarding Christmas presents. Where I planned and saved to get these presents I was left feeling foolish for getting these meager presents. Whatever good feeling I had was soon gone.

Bill was home by then and taking a nap, I had an early supper. That’s when I had the Xanax which couldn’t activate fast enough for my nerves. Eventually it did and talking to Bill about it certainly helped.

Things will have to be done differently and certain plans will be changed within the next five days. C’est la vie, that’s just the way that it goes.

Bill and I ran into Rand and Lisa as we walked to the Path train, good to see them. They wished Bill good luck with his singing. We also ran into Kathe Charas who is leaving New York and heading to Florida to help out some relatives. Glad to be able to see her on the day she was leaving though it was quite inadvertent.

We were set up nicely at the Garden, had dinner in the Press Room and Bill had a small dressing room. We had passes that allowed me to walk through the bowels of the Garden and shoot Bill’s sound check and the pass came in handy during the actual performance.

Unfortunately, someone bumped into me during the actual performance which left the video slightly disjointed. I posted it on YouTube as johnotoole99 as well on Facebook and also here.

Our singer

Our singer

'Just the facts, ma'am'

'Just the facts, ma'am'

I’ll See You In My Dreams

OK, here’s an early post. Bill is singing the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden tonight before the WNBA NY Liberty game. I’m heading out shortly and might post later, but if I don’t….

Inspired by Popdose as well as a few other articles and blogs I’ve decided to follow their lead and do a posting on my favorite (not so famous) Beatles songs. So either read on or roll your eyes, it’s entirely up to you.

The ball is in your court and my words are on the page… or rather screen.

One After 909- Let It Be. Great songs from their early days, recorded then and re-recorded in 1969. Almost a sloppy take, but it sounds like a lot of fun. This song has been popping into my head a lot lately, but having written that it probably won’t anymore.

She’s A Woman- Past Masters Vol 1. I actually prefer the reverb version that came out in the US on Beatles 65. A really fun song to play, pretty simple. A great rocker of a song.

Old Brown Shoe- Past Masters Vol 2. The B-side to The Ballad of John & Yoko. I love this song, perfect pop. Great middle eight. George was definitely coming into his own on this one. I just love this song.

With A Little Help From My Friends- Sgt. Pepper. Yay Ringo makes the list! Of course it’s a Lennon & McCartney song written especially for Richie. Very simple and written for Ringo’s range. Don’t throw tomatoes, just stand up and walk out on him if he sings out of key.

I’ll Be Back- A Hard Day’s Night. A Lennon song, he wasn’t entirely pleased with it, at least in one interview, but he was known for vacillating on his opinions as we all do. Last song on A Hard Day’s Night, nice way to finish the album. Another song I enjoy playing on the guitar.

You Won’t See Me- Rubber Soul. Another great pop song from, let’s face it, the best pop band ever. Even Anne Murray couldn’t damage this song. Great lyrics, great backing vocals.

I Want to Tell You- Revolver One of three George tracks from Revolver and my personal favorite of those three. I think the Fabs were at their most together on this album and they all gave their best on each track, with this one standing out.

Boys- Please Please Me A cover for Ringo to sing. Sounds like a lot of fun going on with the bop shoo bops. Had to change the pronouns though of course.

Rain- Past Masters 2 B-Side to Paperback Writer. I’m pretty sure this is when they first started using backwards tapes in the mix. Pop psychedelia from 1966, also a great video, with the four of them looking so cool.

Things We Said Today- A Hard Day’s Night A song from Paul for Jane Asher? Maybe. Pretty mature for a 22 year old. Great opening guitar hook, downbeat. Always reminded me of gypsies.

For You Blue- Let It Be Another George song, not his best but included here. I sometimes play Kansas City on guitar and a few people asked me if the songs is ‘Because you’re sweet & lovely’ meaning this song. Similar chords perhaps or maybe it’s just the way I play it.

If You’ve Got Trouble- Anthology 2 Give the drummer some! Written I believe for Help, but not used. A throwaway song but another fun track, especially when Ringo says, ‘Oh rock on anybody!’.

Tomorrow Never Knows- Revolver
Last song on my favorite Beatle album. I sometimes wonder how much this track freaked out the teenagers who heard it for the first time. It might have been misunderstood back then, or even hated but it certainly has gained a lot of cool creditability as time went on.

Here There & Everywhere- Revolver
This is the song that Paul definitely wrote about Jane Asher. I first heard it on the Love Songs compilation in the late 1970’s. A truly beautiful song, great harmonies.

Here Comes the Sun- Abbey Road
Like someone wrote on another blog or article, is there a better song that ever started a side two of an album? Legendarily written when George played hooky from an Apple Corps meeting. I don’t think John was in on the session.

What Goes On- Rubber Soul
The only Beatle song credited to Lennon/McCartney/Starkey. Not the best but not the worst either. Good Carl Perkins like guitar from George.

A Day in the Life- Sgt Pepper Still a fantastic track, the ending to Sgt Pepper, simply amazing and thrilling. Even watching the video or short film of the orchestra recording is a gas. 42 years later it still raises goosebumps.

There are other songs as well, It’s All Too Much & Hey Bulldog from Yellow Submarine, You Can’t Do That from A Hard Day’s Night, Lovely Rita from Sgt. Pepper, I Need You from Help, Revolution 1 from the White Album. I could go on you know, but I won’t.

Last night Bill and I watched the last hour of the Concert for George from 2002 after the daily dose of Lawn Hors d’œuvre.

It’s a very good video despite Eric Clapton being around. I enjoyed it even more than previous times I’ve watched it. It ends with George’s buddy, Joe Brown playing a ukelele and singing I’ll See You in My Dreams.

I woke up this morning with that song in my head. A nice yet sad song.

And here’s Bill…

Some of Them Are Old

Yeah it’s later than usual I know. Bill and I just got back from a WNBA game, NY Liberty hosting San Antonio Silver Stars. Bill sang the national anthem once again. We were prepared for it this year, not that we weren’t last year. I walked across town after a crappy day at work, enjoying a Padron.

I was in a suit and tie as per Greg Stevens request since we had a big wig in who may or may not bail out our company. I don’t know whats going on, but I do know that now we are down to 4 employees, not including myself. Another one falls by the wayside. Butted heads with Tom Chin as well. He can be so penny wise and pound foolish. But that’s a bullshit story and I just don’t want to get into it now that it’s after 10:00 PM.

So I walked from 50th Street and Third Avenue to 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue. It was muggy and I was in a suit and tie so by the time I met up with Bill outside Madison Square Garden I was moist and damp. I rallied to put on a good face and not ruin Bill’s time to shine.

Sound check

We were ushered into the arena, Bill did a sound check then shown to a dressing room which was smaller than last years. I guess this is the dressing room that the opening acts get. We were even fed this time, but I had already did my fight against the McDonalds boycott so we had some salads in the press room and this being the WNBA it was a bit skimpy.

Then we went back to the dressing room and waited for the appointed minute. It came and we were escorted to the basketball court. Last year I was able to walk across the court and take some snap shots of Bill singing.

This year, our escort had me run alongside with her in the back stage area of the arena, in 40 seconds. From one side of the court to the other. She was in sneakers, I was in dress shoes and I held my own. I guess when I HAVE to run I will. My niece Meghan would have been surprised, if nor proud to see her uncle sprinting.

I kept pace with the escort and we made it with a seconds to spare. She told me I could only stand in one spot so I planted myself and started shooting. Then a WNBA official said I could move up onto the court so I did.

Show Time!

Unfortunately with the running and being told where to stand I started shooting Bill’s introduction, then I stopped. A few seconds later I find myself looking at the LCD and notice that there aren’t seconds flying by on the bottom of the screen. No red light either. I wasn’t recording anymore.

So I started recording again, half way through. I got half of the anthem which was pretty good. A dodgy note change to my ears, but Bill said it’s what he was trying for. And the crowd loved the high note so it all worked out for the best my unfortunate video shooting not withstanding

I think I could have gotten the whole 1:30 seconds if I didn’t have to run the 220 in full suit and tie and dress shoes. I would have liked to have seen that on video. Of course it was, since I was at the Garden running alongside an employee but I’ll never see it.

Bill was able to have one of his mother’s neighbors take his mother to the game so she could hear Bill sing. She sat in the seats, or rather probably stood while her son sang the national anthem in front of a couple of thousand people.

She loved it, the neighbor loved it, and a lot of people applauded Bill as we walked back to the seats to join his mother and neighbor and some of Bill’s coworkers. We left at the half, NY Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars tied 31-31. Bill and I walked his mother and neighbor to a taxi outside Penn Station, seeing them off with blowing kisses.

A nice Path train ride home, I had Bill in stitches on the sidewalk describing my bus ride into work in the morning with Casey. Nothing against Casey of course, just what was actually funny was my slow responses to Casey’s animated conversation.

I was doing both parts of course. It was funny because it was true.

I’m still not a morning person but I’m getting better. Ask me about it after lunch.

Honey Don’t

Well I didn’t go to sleep early last night, no surprise there. Watched In the Valley of Elah which was good. Tommy Lee Jones was excellent as were Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron. Surprised to see Josh Brolin and Barry Corbin in the movie, it seemed like after they filmed No Country for Old Men they wrapped and went over to the set for In The Valley of Elah. I recommend it. Writing this at work which even though non one said I couldn’t and I didn’t sign anything that said this would be the property of DNA Inc.

So maybe I’m taking a chance, but then again my tasks are completed and I have to wait here until Vivek’s brother Hanif arrives with a sofa he is giving to Vivek for his office. And that’s at 6:00 and now it’s 4:28. I’m not complaining, not at all. I called Hanif to confirm this was still going down and it is. He offered to move it at 5:00 and it was tempting but I recall various plans being screwed up when one varies from the original plan.

Moe made it into the office, sowing his seeds of discontent. Still the fast talker, and he says he bears no hard feelings. He wonders who will be the whipping boy once he is gone, but he was never really a whipping boy as far as I know. He claimed Tom Chin’s position is tenuous, but I needed to remind myself that Moe is quite a cynic and not a very charming one at that. He just talked and talked while I sat there with my salad, unwilling to eat it in front of him. All is bleak says Moe. I was lucky that Bill called when he did, right in the nick of time.

He had gotten into the office late after being on a line in midtown with hundreds of other hopefuls, trying to get a chance to sing the national anthem at Shea Stadium. According to Bill they were more interested in big breasted girls rather than people who can actually sing. And despite my bias, I don’t see how the Mets organization can refuse a talent like Bill, especially after singing before the WNBA game last summer. Hopefully Bill directed them to the YouTube warm up clip that I posted. It’s also somewhere in this blog, so you can find it if you’re so inclined.

And as luck would have it, Hanif was finished with whatever he had to do and was able to drop off the sofa an hour early, which means I don’t have to wait until 6:00. It’s 5:04 now and I should be out of here I a few minutes. Didn’t get a chance to tip the freight elevator guy as Vivek requested, so I have to give the money back. The elevator operator is getting paid anyway, so it’s really no big deal, though I sure could use the money myself. Well that’s it for me, reporting from my cube. Soon I will be walking across town, smoking a Padron and getting on a crowded bus, since now is the height of the rush hour. C’est la Vie.

I looked Bangin’ again, I think.

Meet me at the FUNPLEX