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March 6, 2008:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this week has flown by, like a gazelle playing Yahtzee. Have you ever seen a gazelle playing Yahtzee? It is not pretty. In any case, it’s already Thursday want to say SLOW DOWN, baby – stop and smell the roses or the coffee or the bay rum. Right now, I am writing these here notes whilst having a sugar rush from three pieces of See’s candy (dark chocolate, natch). Have you ever seen a BK having a sugar rush? It is not pretty. Have you ever seen BK playing Yahtzee? As a matter of factual information, no, because BK has never played Yahtzee. In fact, I know very little of Yahtzee other than it involves dice. Frankly, the name Yahtzee gave me the willies when I was but a wee sprig of a twig of a tad of a lad of a youth. I liked the names Scrabble and Monopoly and various other games, but Yahtzee made me think of things that go bump in the night. You know, I have no clew as to what the HELL I’m going on about. Why am I writing about Yahtzee, a game I know nothing about and whose name gives me the willies? It’s this damnable sugar high. I wonder if there’s a high school named Sugar? Wouldn’t it be fun to go to Sugar High? But enough about me. Speaking of me, yesterday was another one of those biding my time days. I got up early, did some work on the computer, did some work at the piano, did a bunch of errands. There was no news, and I’m just praying that no news is good news. I had a spot of lunch, did more errands, picked up a package that finally arrived, and did more work at the piano and environs. And then day was done. And then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled The Hot Rock. The Hot Rock is a very interesting motion picture; I first saw it the week it opened back in 1972 and went in expecting to love it, since it was written by William Goldman (based on a Donald Westlake novel), had Robert Redford, Zero Mostel, Paul Sand, and other actors I was fond of, and was directed by Peter Yates (Bullitt). I mean, how could it fail? But fail it did – with critics, with people, and with me. But time has a way of being kind to certain films, so I was interested to see it again after all these years. But, it’s the same film with the same problems. This film was such a box-office failure that the studio, in an effort to build some sort of word of mouth, actually let people in free during its second week – but they couldn’t even give it away for free. Of course, on the imdb, the usual suspects give it ten stars and think it’s brilliant, but what else is new. Watching it again, the film’s problems are there for all to see. Redford is very wrong for the role he plays, and he looks surprisingly uncomfortable and I’d say it’s one of his few misfires. Goldman’s script is occasionally funny, but too often it’s just stupid – things that might have worked in the book certainly don’t work on film, IF he was being true to the book. The cast works hard, and Paul Sand is very funny. Zero is Zero, and the other actors are all fine. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Mr. Yates’ direction, other than the pacing of the film is non-existent. The ending is perfunctory and rushed and ultimately abrupt. But, watching it this time around, I realized just how much Quincy Jones’s non-score hurts the picture. There’s only about fifteen minutes of music and it doesn’t tell us anything – it’s just sort of there, whereas a good lightweight Grusin score would have probably helped move the thing along and, more importantly, clued the audience in to what kind of film the filmmakers were making. The transfer is very nice, with only a couple of odd blemishes.

I also listened to about thirty-five song demos written for the film of Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the 1969 MGM film musical. Several composers wrote almost full scores to audition for the film. As we all know, Leslie Bricusse won the assignment, and his score is fine. Unfortunately, I don’t have track information or composer information. I do know that some of it is by Andre Previn and Tony Hatch and Rod McKuen, and I’m sure the information is out there about who else’s songs are amongst those represented. There seems to be at least on Bricusse song that didn’t make the film, Happiness, which he immediately recycled for Scrooge a couple of years later. The Tony Hatch title song is delicious, sung by Petula Clark, as are a couple of other Hatch songs. His music is a little anachronistic for the time period the film is set in, but I do like his tunes. The Previn stuff isn’t very interesting. The McKuen is all New Age-y and simple, some of the tunes having a pleasing melody here and there. He sings all his demos. Some of the demos are accompanied by full orchestra, some just piano. It’s very interesting listening, I must say.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I’m having a sugar rush whilst attending Sugar High, and I’m also seeing the word Yahtzee wherever I look.

Today shall be another day of work at the piano, organizing Brain matters (I also did a lot of that yesterday), setting rehearsal schedules (we’re actually now starting some early music rehearsals on Sunday and Monday prior to our read-through on Tuesday), and doing more of Ye Olde Errands.

Tomorrow is more of the same, and then I think Saturday is mine all mine, and Sunday there will be a nine to noon music rehearsal, and then the rest of that day will be mine all mine.

I have lots of CDs to listen to and will be reporting on them – some very interesting titles, some homegrown, some rare, and some newly-released. I’m always happy whilst listening to music and nibbling on See’s dark chocolate nuts and chews.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, work at the piano, organize, do errands, maybe pick up a package or three, and make some telephonic calls, and hope for GOOD NEWS. Today’s topic of discussion: We’ve done it before, but I never tire of hearing about favorite board games – so, what was the first board game you ever played, which was the most difficult, which did you grow to love over the years, which do you still play, and which never captured your fancy? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we all say in unison – YAHTZEE!

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