Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I Was Traumatized At A McDonald's In 1974

Like many tail-end baby boomers, McDonald's was a part of my childhood.  Starting in the late 1960's, my mother would take me to the McDonald's at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue U in Brooklyn once or twice a month.  That was frequent enough to satisfy my Johnson/Nixon-era fast-food cravings but infrequent enough so that it was something fun and exciting to look forward to.  I would always order a Big Mac, fries and a Coke or a shake (alas, the Quarter Pounder wouldn't be introduced nationwide for another few years). And after I finished, I'd go back to the counter and order a Filet-O-Fish as a digestif.  I doubt that I could eat that much today (not that I would even want to).
By the time I was 12 or 13, I was going to McDonald's on my own. The McDonald's on Kings Highway and East 16th Street (near the B/Q subway stop) was a regular lunch destination for me and my friends in junior high school.  In 1974, when I was in 8th grade, McDonald's began a promotion: Every time you bought a Big Mac, you were given a game card.  When you pulled off the perforated strip (this was before scratch-off technology was invented), it revealed one of the seven ingredients that made up the Big Mac: Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun.



(For some reason, McDonald's did not make a game card for the eighth Big Mac ingredient, ammonium hydroxide, which was added to their beef to create the concoction known as "pink slime".)
This is great, I thought.  By trading the cards with my friends, I'll get so many free Big Macs that I won't have to pay for one until 1980. But of course, there was a catch.  Like all games of this nature, one of the ingredient cards was severely short printed.  In this case, the culprit was special sauce.  After a few weeks, my friends and I had amassed a cache of two all-beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame seed buns.  But there was nary a special sauce to be found.  We heard occasional rumors of special sauce cards popping up in Canarsie or Bay Ridge, but those were never confirmed.

(There was a similar promotion around this time by Good Humor. When you finished eating an ice cream, the newly-uncovered upper portion of the stick would reveal one of the letters of GOOD HUMOR. When you had all the sticks to spell out the full name, you could redeem them for a free ice cream.  Since you needed three O's, that letter was triple-printed, but one of the letters–I think it was the U–was short-printed.  After weeks–perhaps even months–of U-less frustration, I appealed to Benny, the long-time Good Humor vendor for my neighborhood.  He must have taken pity on me because the next time I saw him, he clandestinely slipped me a U stick which he had in his pocket.  Benny was great.  He had a Good Humor cart, rather than a truck, which he pushed up and down the streets of Brooklyn for 8 or 10 hours a day.  I like to imagine that he joined Good Humor right out of the army in 1945 and had kept the same route for decades, but of course I didn't really know anything about him.  I do know that he must have had the strongest legs in Brooklyn, as sometimes a street's incline made his task seem almost Sisyphean.  [The photo below isn't actually Benny, but that's the exact style of push-cart he used.])
But my frustration with my inability to procure a special sauce card couldn't be solved with an appeal to a McDonald's employee.  For one thing, I didn't know any of the McDonald's workers.  And even if I did–and even if they had access to a secret supply of special sauce cards–I doubt any of them would have cared enough to give me one. I resigned myself to growing old without ever getting any free Big Macs.  And all my dreams of the great things I was planning to buy with the money I'd be saving on Big Macs–like a G.I. Joe with Kung Fu grip–were fading fast.



But then one day...it just happened.  I pulled off the perforated strip, and there it was.  Special sauce.  I was elated.  Ecstatic. Euphoric.  It may not have been on par with Charlie Bucket getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, but at the time it sure felt that way.


I was so excited that while still at the counter, I yelled to my friends who were seated about 15 feet away, "HEY GUYS!! I GOT A SPECIAL SAUCE CARD!!"  But even before they could react, an older high school kid who had been loitering nearby walked over, grabbed my wrist with what felt like a Kung Fu grip, snatched the special sauce card out of my hand, and casually strolled out of the building.  I was devastated.  Heartbroken.  Inconsolable.  I don't remember if my friends laughed, but they probably did.  I would have laughed if I had seen it happen to one of them.

After "the incident," I couldn't bring myself to go back to McDonald's for quite a while.  I spent some time eating at Burger King, but it really wasn't the same.  A Whopper was okay, but it was no Big Mac. I mean, who puts mayo on a burger?  I know their jingle said, "Have it your way" and "Special orders don't upset us," but still...mayo? Really?  (Burger King's jingle was pretty catchy, but I made up my own words.  Instead of "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce/Special orders don't upset us," I used to sing "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce/I have a tomato fetish.")  



In retrospect, eating alone at Burger King made me feel like George Costanza (in the Seinfeld episode "The Pool Guy") eating at Reggie's–the bizarro diner–after Susan became friends with Elaine and he couldn't go back to Monk's–the gang's regular diner–because his worlds had collided.


Eventually, I began eating at McDonald's again, but when I entered high school, there wasn't a McDonald's close enough to get to and back from in the 45-minute lunch period.  So instead we went out for pizza or ate in the school cafeteria ("Tuna, turkey or spiced ham?" was the cafeteria lady's mantra.  Scream it loudly and shrilly a couple of dozen times and you'll have some idea what a lunch period in my high school was like.).  By the time I got to college, McDonald's had lost most of its allure.  One of the guys who lived in my dorm freshman year worked in the town's local McDonald's (having worked at a McDonald's in his home town, he fancied himself as something of a burger expert), and sometimes he would bring back food when his shift was over at midnight.  One night, the food he brought back made everyone sick, so that pretty much put the kibosh on any desire I had for a Big Mac or Filet-O-Fish.  I haven't eaten at a McDonald's in years, but whenever I pass one, I always go in and grab a fistful of napkins (rather than take them one-by-one from the bottom of the dispenser, I like to open the dispenser and grab a four-inch stack).  Their napkins are pretty good–they still use large trifold napkins long after places like Starbucks and Whole Foods switched to smaller bifold napkins.  But recently, a few of the McDonald's near me removed their napkin dispensers from the plastics-and-paper area, requiring customers (and non-customers) to go to the counter and request them.  So I guess they showed me. 

These days, when I get a craving for fast food (which is about twice a year), I go to Wendy's.  I first ate at a Wendy's in suburban Ohio in 1982, while driving cross-country with a couple of friends.  I was impressed with the cleanliness, the pleasant service, and especially the taste of the food.  Their burgers were much better than those at McDonald's or Burger King.  I made a mental note to never eat at those places again, and to instead go only to Wendy's.  Well, New York City isn't suburban Ohio, so you can blow a big kiss goodbye to the cleanliness and pleasant service.  But the food is still better than McDonald's or Burger King.  And they still use trifold napkins, which are available in bulk right in the dining area, with no need to go to the counter and beg for napkins like Oliver Twist asking for more food.



Wendy's also had a memorable commercial, but instead of a catchy jingle, they had a clever tag line.



The closest Wendy's to me is on East 14th Street between University Place and Fifth Avenue, and there's always an interesting mix of people there.  Depending on the time of day, you might find after-work business people in suits, skateboard punks and runaways from nearby Union Square, families of foreign tourists looking for a cheap meal, drug addicts nodding off into their Frostys, and, of course, homeless people.  I try not to eat too much red meat, so I skip the burgers and order a spicy chicken sandwich (no sauce), fries (no salt) and a Diet Coke (no ice).  But even Wendy's smallest size soda is way too much liquid for me, so I take it with me when I leave and try to finish it on the way home, although I never can.  They should really have an extra-small size of soda.


And whenever the Wendy's server hands me my food, I instinctively look around to see if there's anyone loitering nearby who looks like they might want to grab something out of my hand.  In fast food restaurants, old habits die hard.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lester Holt Is Just Brian Williams Without The Narcissism

Ever since Brian Williams lied his way out of his job as NBC Nightly News weekday anchor 17 months ago, people have been lavishing praise on his replacement, Lester Holt.  Lester is a professional.  He's a serious news reporter.  He's a real journalist, they say.  Many people, including myself, hoped that Lester was the Moses who would finally lead NBC News out of the Brian Williams desert and return the organization to its former place of prominence and journalistic respectability, as exemplified by the legendary journalist/anchors Tom Brokaw and John Chancellor.  Maybe Lester would take the news seriously.  Maybe he would break with recent tradition and devote the entire broadcast to real news.  Maybe he would stop padding Nightly News with idiotic drivel.  Maybe...maybe...maybe...
Nah.  The truth is that in the 17 months since Lester Holt began anchoring Nightly News, nothing has changed.  The only difference between Nightly News under Brian and Nightly News under Lester is that Lester reports fewer Springsteen stories and doesn't waste our time reporting the death of every Medal of Honor recipient like Brian did (it should be noted that Brian was a board member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, a private organization that solicits donations for the Medal of Honor Society.  So every time Brian reported on a Medal of Honor recipient, he was promoting an organization on whose board he served.  He was essentially fundraising with no disclosure). 

Before taking over for Brian, Lester Holt was an adequate weekend anchor in an undemanding and low-pressure environment.  He flew under the radar.  But unfortunately, under the spotlight of five-day-a-week scrutiny, Lester has shown that he's just Brian Williams without the rampant egotistical narcissism.  It's not breaking news to report that Brian Williams had the biggest ego on TV (bigger, even, than Brian's fellow NBC host Donald Trump).  Whenever possible (and as anchor, it was usually possible), Brian began news stories with phrases such as "If you're like me..." or "For those of us..." (the latter phrase was always followed by a self-congratulatory statement like "...who love dogs...," "...are Supreme Court buffs...," "...who played high school football" or "...who are die-hard New York Giants fans...").  Lester opts for the more humble "So many" (as in "...the credit cards so many use..." or "...the cars so many drive...").  Humility aside, Lester is just the latest snake oil salesman to stand in front of the NBC cameras at 6:30 PM Monday through Friday (holidays excluded) and use his carnival barker's bag of tricks to keep people tuned in to his broadcast.  Unlike Brian, Lester doesn't make Nightly News about himself.  But like Brian, Lester's Nightly News isn't really about news, either.  Lester's primary job isn't to report important events–it's to maximize ratings so the NBC News sales department can charge the highest possible ad rates for Nightly News commercials (and also so that the NBC prime time lineup can have the best possible lead-in).  And like his predecessor, Lester does not allow ethics to stand in the way of ratings.  He will say practically anything to keep viewers watching.  He frequently uses phrases like "late word," "late details" and "late developments" to describe stories that had already been reported by other news organizations 12 or more hours before Nightly News came on the air.  He regularly uses decidedly non-news terms like "shocking," "stunning," "amazing," "incredible," "breathtaking," "chilling," "spectacular," "astounding," "remarkable," "heartwarming," "inspiring" and "jaw-dropping" to titillate viewers and hard-sell the news–or, more specifically, the twaddle that he passes off as news.  By the way, those are the same words regularly used by Mario Lopez, the host of "Extra," the show that follows NBC Nightly News in many markets and the show from which Nightly News has become virtually indistinguishable.  Maybe NBC should just merge the two shows and call the new program "NBC Nightly News Extra With Lester and Mario."  Just think of how much fun that  show would be.
When the Nightly News producers or the NBC corporate weasels need someone to plug NBC's news or entertainment shows (like "The Today Show," "The Tonight Show," "Meet the Press," "Saturday Night Live" or "Little Big Shots"), Lester's their guy.  When they need someone to promote NBC/Universal movies (like "Jurassic World," "Race" or "Unbroken"), Lester's their guy.  When they need someone to shill for NBC Sports (witness the amount of time Nightly News devotes to "news reports" on NBC sporting events like horse racing or NASCAR), Lester's their guy (and just wait until Lester begins devoting half of Nightly News to hyper-aggressively plugging the Olympics).  When they need someone to read a sham news story to promote a product made by a regular NBC sponsor (like McDonald's, Bayer or Nabisco), Lester's their guy (before Lester, of course, Brian was their guy).  Lester will look directly into the camera and make his sales pitch without any visible trace of embarrassment.  And another thing he will do is look directly into the camera and lie to the viewers. 

Lester always begins Nightly News with a 45-to-50 second intro in which he teases the 5 or 6 stories that are most likely to excite viewers and keep them from changing the channel.  It's no different than when a drama series begins with teases of that night's sauciest moments (without actually giving anything away), an age-old TV ploy (previously used for radio dramas and movie serials) designed to keep asses in the seats.  But what Lester doesn't tell us is often as important as what he does tell us.  On the June 23, 2016 Nightly News, this was the third story Lester teased at the top of the broadcast: "Movie theater hostage crisis!  A masked gunman holding dozens!  Chaos and panic!  Fears of another mass attack as police storm the cinema!" 
At minute 15, before the broadcast's first commercial break, Lester teased the story again: "Still ahead tonight–panic inside a movie theater when a gunman storms inside and takes hostages!  Police on the move rushing to the scene!" 
After the commercial break–18 minutes after Lester first teased the story–he finally tells us one important fact that he had heretofore omitted: The movie theater hostage crisis was in Germany
So are we to believe that Lester simply forgot to mention this salient bit of information 18 minutes earlier?  That in the rush to impart all the important news of the day, it had just slipped his mind?  Of course not.  In collaboration with his producers, Lester intentionally withheld the location of the story–as he has done many times before–as a tactic to stimulate the viewers' interest and keep them tuned in under false pretenses.  It's a well-known fact in the U.S. news business that viewers are far more interested in domestic news than in foreign news.  News from foreign countries (especially those with strange-sounding names) is a turn-off.  Even news from our neighboring countries of Mexico and Canada often causes people to zone out and lose interest.  Lest Lester supporters (not to be confused with Leicester supporters)...
...think that this was an isolated incident, here are some other instances when his teases intentionally omitted the foreign location of stories so as to fool the viewers into thinking they were in the U.S.:

On the August 18, 2015 broadcast, Lester teased a story about a bombing: "Manhunt for a bomber!  Authorities say this is the killer caught on camera as a new explosion rocks a major tourist city and a mystery deepens!"  However, Lester waited five minutes before telling us that the bombing was in Bangkok.  (It goes without saying that Lester's use of the word "authorities" was meant to imply "U.S. authorities.")
During the March 16, 2016 Nightly News intro, Lester teased a story about a prison escape this way: "A shocking escape caught on camera!  A helicopter hijacked at gunpoint–flying over a prison as inmates grab hold and hang on for their lives!  Guards helpless to stop them!"  It wasn't for another 12 minutes that correspondent Blake McCoy finally revealed that the prison break had happened outside of Montreal, Canada.
On May 4, 2016, Lester's intro included a tease for a story about a wildfire: "Towering inferno!  Frantic evacuations as a massive wildfire explodes out of control torching entire neighborhoods!  Even the emergency operations center staff forced to flee!"  Seventeen minutes later, Lester finally told us that the fire was in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The following night, Lester also teased the fire story without mentioning Canada: "The monster inferno exploding–now bigger than New York City!  Tonight we go behind the fire lines!  An astonishing scope of devastation!"  I guess Lester should be commended–this time it took him only four minutes to finally reveal that the fire was in Canada.  (Of course, mentioning New York City was clearly meant to imply by association that the fire was in the U.S.)
And again the next night: "Running for their lives!  The monster inferno caught on camera devouring a home minutes after a family escapes and watches everything they have burn!"  This time, Lester regressed a bit–he didn't mention that the fire was in Canada until six minutes into the broadcast.
On the June 30, 2016 broadcast, Lester teased a story at minute 15 about a house tumbling off a rain-eroded cliff and crashing into the houses below: "Over the edge! Shocking destruction triggered by heavy rains all caught on camera!"  It wasn't until eight minutes later that Lester finally admitted that this happened in Nagasaki, Japan.
During the April 2, 2015 Nightly News intro, Lester teased this story: "Campus massacre!  At least 147 killed, scores injured as terrorists unleash a horrifying attack!"  Eventually–five minutes later–Lester got around to telling us that the attack had actually happened in Kenya.  Thanks, Lester.
(It should be noted that the accompanying video clips for these teases are always carefully edited to avoid showing any images that would indicate that the action was happening outside the U.S.)

So Lester and his producers found a loophole, a crafty way to keep people tuned in and boost ratings: Don't tell the viewers that the story being teased happened outside the U.S.  Which is the same thing as tricking them into thinking it happened inside the U.S.  Which, by any standard, is lying.  But Lester doesn't care.  If bamboozling the viewers will keep them from changing the channel and give him bigger ratings, he's all for it.  Yes, Lester Holt is a professional.  He's a serious news reporter.  He's a real journalist.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Brush With Celebrity–The Day I Met "Grandpa" Al Lewis

In 1988, I was working at a Boston-area department store (FYI–it was more like a Target than a Nordstrom).  One day our store manager informed us that we would be hosting an in-store signing by Al Lewis, who had been appearing on TV shows since the early 1950's but was best known for having played Grandpa on The Munsters in the mid-1960's (and in subsequent sequels and remakes).


Lewis had lent his name to a series of videos called Grampa's Silly Scaries, Grampa's Monster Movies and Grampa's Sci-Fi Hits which were collections of cartoons and live-action sci-fi and monster movie clips from the 1930's to the 1960's that featured introductions and commentary from Lewis.  (I assume that the videos' producers called him "Grampa" rather than "Grandpa" to avoid tempting a lawsuit from the producers of The Munsters.)  Lewis's agreement with Amvest Video, the company that produced the videos, apparently required him to promote the videos with personal appearances in malls and stores like the one I worked in.  We didn't get many "celebrities" (even D-listers like Al Lewis) in my store, and since I had enjoyed The Munsters as a kid I thought it would be kind of cool to get his autograph.  I wasn't interested in buying any of the videos, but his promotional people provided photocopied pictures that Lewis was willing to sign. 

 
On the day of Lewis's appearance I waited for the crowd to thin out (not that there was much of a crowd to begin with) and got on line to get an autograph.  When I was about third or fourth in line, I noticed that there was a kid who seemed to be about 9 or 10 years old at the front of the line.  When one of the promotional people motioned for the kid to step forward to get Lewis's autograph, he bounded up to the signing table and, in the hope of getting a personalized signature, eagerly proclaimed, "Hi Grandpa!  My name is Billy!"  Without looking up, Lewis responded, "What the hell do I care what your goddam name is," and quickly scrawled his autograph on Billy's paper before turning his attention to the next item that was presented for him to sign.  Devastated, poor Billy slunk away from the table, his chin aquiver.  Needless to say, when it was my turn to get Lewis's autograph, I didn't dare say a word until I had the signed paper in my hand, after which I only muttered a sotto voce, "Thanks, Grandpa."

To this day, whenever I stumble upon a rerun of The Munsters, I can't help thinking back to the time when poor little Billy was traumatized by "Grandpa" Al Lewis.


(Above: One of my most prized possessions–my autographed picture of Al Lewis.)




Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why I Didn't Like Fleetwood Mac In The Summer Of '77

   In the summer of 1977, I went on a teen tour across Europe, a follow-up to my successful 1976 teen tour of the U.S.  For those not familiar with teen tours in the '70's, it was a group of several dozen teenagers guided across Europe (or some other continent) by a woefully inadequate number of adult chaperones (three, in our case), while the tour operators huddled in their New York offices and prayed that no one died.  My memory of all the specific cities we visited is a bit hazy, although I recall being in London, Paris, Rome, Munich, Vienna, Bern, Amsterdam and Madrid.  (I would consult my photos for verification except that I don't have any.  During a reunion with some of my tour-mates the following year, I asked a friend of mine to hold my photos in her bag during dinner and I forgot to get them back before we said goodbye.  I haven't seen her since.)
   While we did a good part of our traveling by plane that summer, we also spent a lot of time on a chartered bus driven by a German guy named Hans (although most of the girls on the tour called him "Hands" because he was always trying to grope their titten und arschen).  Our bus was equipped with a cassette deck and a decent sound system, but because we weren't told about this amenity in advance, we only had 4 tapes among the 3 dozen-or-so teens on the tour.  These were the pre-Walkman days when people didn't routinely travel with cassettes because a high-tech portable cassette player looked like this:

 
   Our music choices that summer were limited to the Beatles' 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 (affectionately known as the "Red" and "Blue" albums) and Fleetwood Mac's 1975 eponymous album and its follow-up, Rumours.  (I can't recall whose tapes they were, but I'm guessing that one person brought the Beatles tapes and another person brought the Fleetwood Mac tapes, because if four people had randomly brought those four tapes it would have been a really weird coincidence.  Or maybe one person brought all four tapes.  It was 39 years ago.  I really don't remember.)  On the bus there were two distinct camps: Those (including myself) who always wanted to hear the Beatles, and those who always wanted to hear Fleetwood Mac.  (There was a smaller contingent of 4 or 5 girls from Florida who were obsessed with Bad Company, but unfortunately for them we didn't have any Bad Company tapes.)  As soon as we took our seats for the start of a bus trip, the shouts would begin: "Beatles Red!" "Beatles Blue!" "Fleetwood Mac Rumours!" "Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac!"  (No one ever shouted out "Fleetwood Mac eponymous!")  Over the course of the summer, I would guess that we probably heard each album about the same number of times, but at the time, it seemed like Fleetwood Mac was always playing and that the Beatles were hardly ever playing.
   Prior to the summer of '77, I sort of liked Fleetwood Mac.  I wasn't a huge fan, but I certainly didn't dislike them, like some of my friends who dismissed them as "that California easy-listening faux-rock shit."  It would, of course, have been impossible to listen to pop/rock radio in the mid-to-late '70's without hearing a healthy dose of their songs (at the time, my radio station of choice was New York's WPLJ-FM) and I was certainly not immune to the catchy charms of "Monday Morning," "Second Hand News," "Over My Head," "Don't Stop" or any of Stevie Nicks's shawl-encrusted songs about lost love, witches or past lives.  I have a vague recollection of seeing them do a filmed concert performance (later called a "music video") of "Rhiannon" on "The Midnight Special" in 1976.  That may have been the first time I saw Fleetwood Mac perform, as opposed to just hearing the radio versions of their songs.  I don't exactly remember what I thought of that 1976 performance at the time, but now it's nothing short of amazing.  I only wish that the editor had included more shots of Stevie dancing during the instrumental break, because the close-up of Christine's hands playing piano isn't particularly stimulating.  (I'd also like to go back in time 40+ years and tell Stevie that "Love can be unkind" would be a good rhyme for "Dreams unwind," but I think the song turned out pretty good without my help.)



   During that teen tour summer, however, I grew to resent the Fleetwood Mac supporters and, by extension, the band itself.  I saw my pro-Mac tour-mates as obstacles whose main goal was to rock-block me from hearing those 54 exquisite Beatles songs over and over and over.  And then over again.  (Ironically, though, one of the rituals among my friends and I that summer was to form a circle with our arms around each other and sway back and forth while shout-singing "The Chain."  At the time, I thought that we could have just as easily picked "A Day in the Life" or "Let It Be" as our group song, but in retrospect there was something about the droning melody and lyrical simplicity of "The Chain" that readily lent itself to teen rituals like dancing around in a circle or slaughtering farm animals.)
 
 
   While I didn't exactly hate the band or their songs, I opposed them in the way one might root against a college sports rival.  You always want your team to win, and that summer, my team only had a .500 record.  I carried my Fleetwood Macrimony through my college years and into the mid-'80's, but sometime around 1987–the year Lindsey left the band–my distaste for them faded and I once again found myself able to appreciate and enjoy their songs (the two events were completely unrelated–I'm certain that Lindsey didn't leave Fleetwood Mac because the band was back in my good graces).
   In fact, when Fleetwood Mac reunited for the The Dance in 1997, I became mildly obsessed with them.  I used to study that concert video like the Zapruder film, looking to discern subtle meaning from the body language and looks exchanged between Lindsey and Stevie, especially on "Landslide."  (I also found Mick fascinating, with his glaring eyes and intense facial expressions, but Christine and John not so much.  They seemed remote and disinterested–not only in each other, but in the songs, as well.)  A woman who lived in my building at the time was similarly obsessed with The Dance, and we used to watch the video together in her living room while mimicking Lindsey and Stevie's mannerisms and stage moves  (I usually got to be Lindsey).  At the end of "Landslide," we would even exchange the "Thank you Lindsey"/"Thank you Stevie" closing salutations–just like the real Lindsey and Stevie!  (Watching that video today makes me nostalgic not just for that time in my life, but for that time–and earlier times–in Lindsey and Stevie's lives.)  My friend and I thought our Lindsey/Stevie moves were pretty slick, but in hindsight, we were probably like a couple of out-of-shape exercisers who thought they were doing a good job keeping up with "The 20 Minute Workout." 
 
 
(Although I must admit that I still think I did a pretty good job of swinging my imaginary guitar neck from one side of the mic stand to the other, like Lindsey did [at 5:04] during "Silver Springs."  I owned that move.)
 
 
   Decades removed from my anti-Mac bias of the late '70's and '80's, I have now come to realize that Lindsey (with his strummy-picky-plucky playing style) is one of the great guitarists of his era and "Go Your Own Way" is one of the great songs of the 1970's, although for 25 years I was mis-hearing the song's lyrics.  Whereas Lindsey was singing "Loving you/Isn't the right thing to do" and "You can go your own way/Go your own way," I had thought he was singing "Loving you/Is the right thing to do" and "You can go your own way/Don't go away" which would have made it one of those passive-aggressive "go/don't go" songs, instead of the straightforward end-of-a-relationship song that it is.  I'm grateful for the lyrics sites on the internet that finally allowed me to learn the actual words to that song and others.  (For example, it was nice to find out what Mick was singing on "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Gimme Shelter."  And for years I thought that the "Honky Tonk Women" line "I laid a divorcee in New York City" was "I later did four straight in New York City.")  But keep in mind that not all lyrics sites get the lyrics–or titles–right:


The version of "Go Your Own Way" from The Dance is my favorite live version of the song, not only because of Lindsey's exuberant guitar playing and enthusiastic stage-roaming, but also because of Mick's incredible drumming (with a percussive assist from Lindsey at the end).
 

   I don't own any Fleetwood Mac studio albums, I've never seen them in concert, and the radio station I currently listen to rarely plays them, but  it seems that they're destined to enter my life–for better or worse–every 20 years.  So now I'm curious what they have planned for 2017.  Maybe a Rumours fortieth anniversary tour.  If that happens, perhaps I'll get in touch with some of my old tour-mates and arrange a reunion with them at one of those concerts.  And maybe then I'll finally get my photos back.