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30 April 1971 /Washington Peace March

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Last -Saturday, there was a rally in Washington, D.C. A lot of people came. We all missed you.

The atmosphere was something like a cross between a political campaign when it's just getting started and a circus when it is just wrapping up. Yet somehow, they managed to draw a crowd which some say may be the largest ever to attend a peace rally in Washington.

The police estimated the crowd at 200,000; my personal estimate was 400,000. But how do you estimate a crowd that, according to one of the many D.C. police along the march route, "just never stopped coming. They just kept coming and coming." They filled Pennsylvania Avenue from the Hill back to the House; and if you've never been to Washington, let me tell you that's a loonnnnggg ways. (That -comes from someone who is no real pro: I've only been there once.) The cherry blossoms, which have been the subject of 10,000 trite mood pieces on the Capitol, will be mercifully mentioned, only once in this piece.

Instead, I will talk about something almost as prevalent at peace rallies: the police.

There are enough police departments in the nation’s Capital to boggle your mind, but the nicest ones are the ones who guard the Capitol itself. As one of them explained to me, "we just naturally get along with people better. People who come to the Capitol have a reason for being there. They're usually good solid citizens on vacation. The DC metropolitan police, and the park police. are out making arrests, and seeing the bad side of people all the time. Besides, we're the best disciplined force in town."

I found out all of this as I stood by the fence which was put up to keep a lot of fine American citizens from getting any ideas about ripping up our fine American Capitol.

There were all sorts of incongruous sights; long hair anti-war vets who still managed to fall into step as they walked down the streets; the dearth of short hairs in the crowd, even among people in suits and ties; and the 50-50 split between "kids"' and "adults" at the march gathering grounds.

That's' probably the most important thing about the whole action: the fact that people who clearly and obviously have not been to college in years were in Washington to join the protest against the war.

The carnival atmosphere surrounding the march was really something to behold. Marchers were clothed in all the colors of the rainbow and festooned with a quantity of buttons which seemed to multiply beyond all understanding (especially 'noteworthy in light of the fact that they were not being given away, but rather sold at 10-25 cents each).

In addition, there was the usual vast quantity of panhandlers with buckets for money - all for a good cause of course. At 10 cents a throw you could spend a thousand dollars at one of these things.

But we all missed you.

I'm told Dick [Nixon] even noticed you weren't there: "As long as MIT is dormant, it doesn't matter."

Another Restaurant

 Simeone’s is the lucky recipient of the Schindler tongue this week, as we launch into the 3rd in an unendable series of reviews which should make it easier for you to locate a restaurant of your choice.

Simeone’s is easy to-get to. Located just off Central Square at 21 Brookline Street, it is an easy walk from MIT and a quick subway ride from the fraternities on Bay State Road. The restaurant serves American and Italian food both, and clearly caters to the college crowd.

The prices ranged from a low of 50 cents to an isolated high of $4.25. (I say isolated because no other menu item comes close).

The quality of the dishes sampled (baked lasagna and steak, with the steak being the high item on the menu) by my cohort and I ranged from adequate to good.

Clearly the cuisine is not spectacular here; neither is the atmosphere (I for one like jukebox order panels in each booth with individual speakers; maybe you don't. Be forewarned.) This is no place to take a heavy date if you are in white tie and tails. And don't expect to be wiped off your feet by the food.

But the prices are reasonable; and as a matter of fact, they pass the most basic tests for any restaurant: their Cokes were sufficiently supplied with syrup. The mark of excellence, to be sure.

By the way, the service was fast, the wine list vast, the desert came last, and the 13th of every month, any college student can get a 10%o discount by showing his ID card. This is their 25th anniversary year, you see.

A quick closing note; WTBS is re-playing the Sexuality Lectures at 7 pm each night this week, Monday through Friday. And "WTBS Presents Private Nick Danger, Third Eye" tomorrow night at 9:30 pro.

23 April 1971 /End of Winter

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The time has finally come. I hereby declare the entire city of Boston a free-of-winter zone. I realize, what with the snow and all which occurred last week, that this is a risky business.

But even the magnolias have decided that it is finally time to bloom, and since the ice has long since departed from the Charles, it is probably safe to call an official halt to winter.

Just in time too! It would be a real shame to have -summer get here without any spring at all in between.

It being spring of course, a young man's fancy turns, (in order) to his finals, his summer job, his love, and peace rallies.

The first two of course, we all share; most of us even manage to pick up on the third; Now the peace rallies are another matter entirely. The Tech is sending a compliment of their reporting talent. WTBS will also be having pretty extensive coverage of the events in Washington tomorrow, in a more real-time mode.

(The Tech coverage will be necessary, of course, to provide appropriate analysis of the why as well as the what.) This reporter, although a freshman, must admit a little bit of revulsion towards the apathy in connection with peace activity which seems to be running rampant across the campus. If the prevailing MIT attitude is shared nationally, there might be some trouble in getting a turnout of 200,000 in Washington tomorrow.

In the groups that I know about, many people who willingly went last year have no thought of going. "It's no use," "It won't do any good," they say. Frankly, if enough people say "It won't do any good," then it won't. Get down to D.C. and try.

Two of my friends joined me to view a performance of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in- the-moon Marigolds, also sometimes known simply as Marigolds.

" Since I am not the official Tech reviewer of the play, I will limit myself to a few personal comments: I found it fraught with meaning, well performed, and thoroughly enjoyable. There was much of all of us in it; and it is certain to tug at a few sympathetic heartstrings. That's not to say my mother is like that, or my sister; it's just the play's atmosphere of continual disaster. Read John Kavazanjian's review, coming soon.

That brings us to episode two of the thrilling saga of "Hungry Schindler." This time around, we are going to take a look at a near campus fixture, with which you should be familiar if you are not already. I am referring of course to the Boston Sandwich shop, just across the street and up Mass. Avenue from 77.

The decor is spartan, but it’s not really meant to be an intimate locale for a heavy date. It's obvious function, which it serves very Well, is quick take out or stand-up eating on the premises. The services, on the several occasional I have been there, is so fast it is ridiculous.

The prices range from reasonable to very cheap, and the food quality is fair to good.

There exists a collection of canned pop which may be purchased to go with the "meal on a loaf," available in a dazzling array of varieties. This is not to say that the place is an exclusive supper club, or anything of the sort. It has its drawbacks, but none of them too significant.

I recommend it.

16 April 1971 / Sam Patch

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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 .

9 April 1971/Welcome To The Tech

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appeared briefly in The Tech before editor Robert Fourer pulled the plug.]

As a general rule, one doesn't find a blanket review of a medium in a column of this type. That is usually left to Marshall McLuhan and others of his stature, and I am not going to set myself up as their equal.

I will say that I have been in educational and commercial radio for four years. I know what the medium can do; to put it another way, what it isn't doing. There is something wrong with radio. If I could put my finger on it, I'd be rich. I can't.

Instead, listen to your radio. What do you hear? Music. All music; more music; happy music; the latest music. If it's the right time of day, you can hear all news, or all talk. Radio bills itself as an entertainment medium, however. Is music the only form of entertainment you can think of? That's certainly not the case.

But talk to or write to a commercial radio station manager. He will tell you that his station is in a commercial strait-jacket; that if they dare to experiment even a little, their revenue will disappear along with their audience the fact that their formats must be similar, they say, or else they will have no audience. So no one experiments very much, and radio continues a 20-year trend into blahness.

It doesn't have to be that way, you know. Radio in this country is controlled by a federal agency known as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Right now, you may say, "But I already know that.”

What you may not know, unless you keep up on the news of this quickly changing business, is that the FCC has taken a new stance: radio and TV stations -must actually serve the communities to which they are licensed, and provide them with the broadcast services they want and need.

This is your chance to make yourself heard. There are two ways to do this.

First, when you hear radio programming you like, write not only to the station, but to the "Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C." The same should hold true if you hear a station who’s programming consistently makes you ill. The FCC sits up and pays attention to letters from the listeners.

And, if your complaint is specific enough, the FCC will send a copy of-your letter to the station (with your name masked) and demand that the station explain its action. This kind of inquiry from the licensing agency which controls the stations' ability to broadcast usually brings immediate attention, although not always action. But, if no action is forthcoming and the FCC receives enough complaints on the same topic, on occasion action is taken.

The other method to influence the station is to call it and request that you be included in their survey of community needs. The FCC requires that the station survey its "community of license" and determine the community's needs and desires in terms of programming. The station may tell you that they will not be taking one for a year or so. If that is the case, it is up to you to persist, and call them back at the proper time.

But do not let them fool you: the FCC states that they cannot farm this chore out; that they must perform it themselves. Interpretation of the rules is difficult; some say that only community leaders need be interviewed, others say community members must be included.

To be effective however, you must know what you want out of radio. Have you ever thought about it? If you don't, someone else will think about it for you - and what they come up with may sound a lot like WRKO.

(By the way, (see paid ad elsewhere in this issue) Sam Patch, The Greatest Story Ever Told, So Far is going to be 'on WTBS this Saturday evening at 9:30 pm. Just because I directed it is no reason to listen; listen because it just happens to be good. As a matter of fact, it's the funniest musical-tragedy I've directed in a long time.

7 April 1971 / Broadway Plays, Resignation

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Once more, PSACOT turns its grime coated physiognomy away from the bright lights of Broadway. Although deafened by the roar of the greasepaint and repelled by the smell of the crowd (and a good part of the city), I managed to take in Fiddler on the Roof and Neil Simon's newest number, a boffo little item entitled Last of the Red Hot Lovers. (I use the term latest advisedly. After my Heinlein fiasco, I am not going to try and guess chronology anymore) The play will really tug at your heartstrings if you have ever opened a few oysters before a heavy date.

But in all seriousness, the play is not (in all seriousness); it is indeed typical Simon, with the same old kind of set, but the usual refreshing spates of one-liners which fairly crackle off the actors’ lips. I liked it.

The reports of The City's death seem to be premature: most of Manhattan is still there, the subways keep going somehow, the taxi's are still taxing, and David Frost and Dick Cavett draw tourists like flies.

All of which should, I would hope be re-assuring to you many NYC natives who passed up a chance to go home for Spring Vacation so you could spend more time at MIT, visiting with your books.

My second favorite topics next to NYC have always been WTBS and singers and performers from the Potluck Coffeehouse. This week, there was no PLCH, so we had the rare combination of folk (make that blues) singer and WTBS performer at the same time. Leo Jarvis (see picture) performed in the WTBS studio for 2 ½ hours, playing all sorts of blues himself, and bringing in several seldom known facets of the blues.

I am sure he will be back, hopefully soon.

WTBS, as you know, broadcasts the music of the PL Coffeehouse live every Friday night starting at 9:30, right after the news, at 88.1 MHz.

By the way, Leo is a grad student in Linguistics, and he casually mentioned the word ostensive in defining the Blues. For those few of you not already using the world daily, it means (roughly) a concept which needs to be pointed at, for it can be described (basically) in no other way. Like colors. Or the Blues...


Or so they say. WTBS is presenting its spectacular of the year (possibly of the decade), a 90-minute original "Musical-tragedy" entitled Sam Patch, The Greatest Story ever told, so far...

I am producer of this star-struck spectacular, which is being presented this Saturday on the occasion of WTBS' tenth anniversary (pure coincidence. It just happens to be the first Saturday after spring vacation.); believe me, it will be worth your time to listen to it. It will be great, in all modesty.

It seems there’s something I left out. Oh yes.... the restaurants. More about that next time.

It is with deep personal regret that I announce my resignation from ERGO, effective with this issue.

HUMOR ISSUE 1 April 1971

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Some people around this fine institution of higher learning, the groaners, malingerers, complainers, and faculty, have, from time to time, and in various. places (including of course, the numbered buildings which given a pen, a piece of paper, and transfigure fair MIT from end to end  and corner to corner, in a manner to which I would not like to become accustomed) have or will or plan to or are in the process of making noises (which sound very much like complaints, but are for the present, perhaps more like the bleating of sheep) of opposition, both written and verbal (some or the written noises are positively stunning, and will serve as the basis for a future photo essay in ERGO); and in some cases amazingly so, with regard to both the syntax and the grammar (and of course, all the appendages thereto, including punctuation, parenthetical phrases, and vocabulary) used in this column by this columnist; but not being satisfied with simply attacking that, they go on to attack my very ability to construct a simple English sentence of less than ten words (as one correspondent plaintively scrawled in black crayon on tablet paper, "y [sic] cant [sic] you write simpl [sic] English in your colum (sick, sick,sick)), a charge which you regular PSACOT readers would of course reject out of hand as ridiculous, since I am sure you all remember a sentence of mine less than ten words long which appeared in the ERGO of September 25, 1970, as part of my regular column, but before the name changed: in reply to which (that is, in reply to the contention that there exists some minor fault in my grammar, syntax, word choice or ability to construct a simple English sentence without resorting to all sorts of verbal pyrotechnics) I can only say, with a heavy heart, and all sincerity that I would like to make one thing perfectly clear; I do not now, nor have I ever or for that matter intend to, admit that this column can be faulted for the reasons already stated (stated twice as I recall); that in point of fact, I am actually using perfectly clear, normally understandable English in a way that anyone could understand, after about three hours.

Next week: PSACOT presents two sentences in one column.