9 April 1971/Welcome To The Tech
23 April 1971 /End of Winter

16 April 1971 / Sam Patch

image from psacot.typepad.com

Regular listeners to the Potluck Coffeehouse broadcast, heard on WTBS (88.1 FM) Friday nights at 9:30, were probably surprised last Friday at 11:30, when, instead of a station break, they heard a rather improbable promotion for Sam Patch.

Speaking as the victim, believe me, the announcer was as surprised as you were.

He wasn't surprised at all the next night however, when the response to Sam Patch, The Greatest Story Ever Told, So Far was overwhelmingly favorable. Well, let's say whelmingly favorable.

At least the people who were in it liked it.

And apparently, judging by his review Tuesday, even the inimitable Gene Paul liked it. I will be sorry to see this nom de plume disappear from the pages of The Tech, but I guess the assignment of reviewing my own work is not too much for me to handle.

(The anonymous The Tech staffer who used the name [which is my first and middle name transposed] wishes to remain so).

Good riddance, say I.

"Hungry Schindler" is now ready to strike, with the first of a series of capsule restaurant reviews which will probably continue on an irregular basis for a much longer time than anyone can really believe.

This time, I have chosen to lavish my literary and culinary talents upon the lucky "Mondo's Cafe." A friend of mine introduced me to this quaint little eatery at 2:00 one morning.

"Want something to eat?" quoth he, and lacking a better answer I said '"Yes, but where?" Thus I discovered the 24 hour nature of the beast.

At the same time, he recommended the one dish that anyone had a good word for, the "Country Special," which is available  1 pm to 6 am for just 90 cents.

As it was described to me, you get "three eggs, any way you want them, a reasonable number of potatoes, and a reasonable amount of meat. (The choice is sausage, ham, or bacon, unless they are out.) The grease on the food and the silverware was minimal, and tended to add to the atmosphere, as did the virtually unlimited coffee, which might also be virtually undrinkable. (I can't say for sure: I'm not a coffee drinker. That information comes secondhand.) In any case, I would recommend that. if you go, you go at 2 am, as the food is not half the attraction the clientele is.

I have never seen a more unlikely collection of people in a more unlikely location.

The place was packed (about 75-100 people) with every variety imaginable; workingmen coming off duty, workingmen going on duty, men in suits and ties, women in all manner of disarray, freaks, college students, a half dozen homosexuals and lesbians scattered through the crowd: Above the sounds of people eating "Country Specials" blared from what I am told is one of the best-stocked jukeboxes in Boston; the eyes of various nude paintings peered out over everyone.

The place seems to reek of cheapness somehow, without quite making it; maybe it's the ornate black roof juxtaposed with the cheap lighting fixtures; I couldn't see very well for the smoke (mainly tobacco, I think).

It's located on Faneuil in North Boston near Haymarket, at about number 30 or so.

Speaking of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and his oldie but goodie masterwork Player Piano …I think I will. Note that this column makes no pretensions about being a book review column or anything else. Therefore, I feel I have a perfect right to recommend and review a book which first appeared in 1952. As a matter of fact, if our friends in AI and at Project MAC keep up the way they have been, we may see more of this book than anyone has recently thought possible.

To say that continuing relevance defines good literature is to speak well of this work of Vonnegut's. All the concerns of his novel are still with us: technology's isolation of men from each other, the threat of total automation, the value of men and women who are not in the intellectual elite.

Although he explores all of these topics with a great deal of sensitivity, and his usual round of semi-black humor, Vonnegut doesn't seem to hold out much hope.

His idea of an ultimate solution is seemingly to fight very- hard, but don't expect to win in the end; human nature is such that we will tend to automate ourselves to death, in spirit if not in fact.

Hmmm .


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