Monthly Archives: January 2014

Bye bye, American Pie

There are two pizza buffet restaurants in Garden City in close proximity to one another.  One of them, I haven’t visited yet. I think I should, though, because I’m not likely to be visiting the other one again. American Pie on Middlebelt used to be good, but it has gone downhill in recent months.

The pizza at a buffet restaurant will never be the top of the line, but it has the potential to be decent. And American Pie’s pizza is still decent enough. But the atmosphere has really deteriorated over the last few months.  On my most recent visit, there were no bowls for the pasta. Until now, there were always bowls provided for the pasta to be served with a marinara or a meat sauce. But not anymore. Sure, you can use a plate, but it’s not the same.

What really gets me is this: the music they play in the restaurant consists of the same songs repeated in the same order on a 30-minute cycle. I guarantee that when you go there, you will hear these songs and only these songs:

– the second half of “Got To Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn
– “Say You Love Me” by Fleetwood Mac
– “Rockin’ Me” by Steve Miller
– “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates
– “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone
– “Reelin’ in the Years” by Steely Dan
– “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave
– “Dreamer” by Supertramp
– plus others that I have mercifully forgotten, although I know I would remember them if I ever went back.

Now these are not bad songs, not at all. They were hits from when I grew up. But to hear these songs over and over — it’s worse than terrestrial radio!  How can anyone stand to work there, knowing that this is all they’ll be hearing, day in and day out, half-hour in and half-hour out? It would drive me batty. They used to play a more varied mix of songs. I wonder what happened? Whatever it was, it was enough to drive away a customer.

Fifty years of Beatlemania in the US

Here is the latest in what have turned out to be infrequent blog entries. And like the last entry, this one will deal with a 50th anniversary.

50 years ago, in January and February 1964, the Beatles were making their first big splash in the United States. On the date I’ve started this post (January 20), back in ’64, the album Meet the Beatles was released.  The single “I Want To Hold Your Hand” had been issued the day after Christmas.  Beatlemania was arriving on these shores.  And what was I doing? Not a heck of a lot. How could I? I was only seven or eight months old at the time. I was unaware of world and national events. I would only have been aware of what was happening around me.

On February 9, would I have seen (or at least exposed to) the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show? It’s possible; I remember the show being on the air, so I know my mom and dad watched it, at least occasionally.  They might have had it on at home, and I might have been awake for it (7 at night in the Central time zone). Then again, they might not have cared to watch that evening and put something else on. I’ll never know.  But I do know this: a few years later, I can barely remember seeing the credits for the Beatles cartoon show that aired on Saturday mornings on ABC. That was probably the first exposure to them that I can remember.  Did I become a fan right away? No, that took about ten years. And during those ten years, I would hear some of their songs on the radio; I would definitely hear their solo songs starting in ’72 and ’73 (and start buying the singles, too). Then everything clicked in ’76: I got the Red and Blue albums, I picked up the guitar, and I had become a fan.