Right Column Redux:  Paul Schindler on TV

The column to the right on this blog contains permanent content, most of which has appeared at one time or another in the main body. I’ve decided to include a reminder.

Porn in Parliament

I was looking up British journalist and columnist Carol Midgley, when I ran across the article that appears first under her name on Google. It is behind a paywall, but I managed to scrape out the first two grafs. It sounds like a hoot.

Carol Midgley: How do men get any work done when they watch this much porn? (Times of London)

Good news — at last — from the Houses of Parliament. Only 24,473 attempts have been made to access porn via computers and devices connected to the parliamentary network since the general election. That is a mere 160 times a day. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice

Wait, you don’t think this is good news, do you? You think that’s quite a lot. On the contrary, this is progress. In 2016 the parliamentary filtering system had to block 113,208 attempts to download pornography, a fall from 213,020 the previous year. And no, the rapid decline last year was not due to Damian Green resigning. Shame on you for even thinking that.

Hunter Thompson on Writing

In Songs of the Doomed, Hunter S. Thompson wrote: “I found out then that writing is a kind of therapy. One of the few ways I can almost be certain I'll understand something is by sitting down and writing about it. Because by forcing yourself to write about it and putting it down in words, you can't avoid having to come to grips with it. You might be wrong, but you have to think about it very intensely to write about it. So I use writing as a learning tool.”

I’d just add: me too. My slightly different formulation: since the age of 12, “I don’t know what I think about something until I write it out.”

Women in Journalism Redux

Daniel Dern apparently followed the link in Right Column Redux last week to Women in Journalism Movies, and had this to add:

On the recent/recent-ish TV side, there's:Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom series, with many women reporters (and management); The Expanse (particularly in the last several seasons) had an intrepid (woman) journalist. Over in comic-book-based land, off-hand, Lois Lane in the current Superman & Lois show; Iris West over on The Flash. (Both on The CW.)

On (PBS) Endeavor (prequel to Inspector Morse), there's a recurring woman journalist who's clearly doing serious investigation etc. (Likely lots more on other mysterial/detective/crime shows, but none come to mind immediately.)

Writerly Advice

This was brought to my attention in my UPI chat group.

“Don’t let the terror of the white page shrink-wrap your mind. The excuse that you have writer’s block is far too easy. You have to show up for work. You have to sit in the chair and fight the blankness. Don’t leave your desk. Don’t abandon the room. Don’t check the sports pages. Don’t open the mail. Don’t distract yourself in any way until you feel you have fought and tried.

“A writer is not someone who thinks obsessively about writing, or talks about it, or plans it, or dissects it, or even reveres it: a writer is the one who puts his arse in the chair when the last thing he wants to do is have his arse in the chair.”

—Colum McCann, novelist, “So you want to be a writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists,” The Guardian, May 13, 2017.

MIT in Popular Culture


(While researching what I’d written about being a diversity admit to MIT, I ran across this item from July 18, 2005, which I thought was worth repeating. And, I might add, Dilbert and Doonesbury’s daughter are both MIT grads as well))

I was watching the Fantastic Four when I realized that Reed Richards, Susan Storm and Victor Von Doom are all depicted as MIT graduates. Earlier in the week, Dan Grobstein had sent me to a page on the Internet about "who's Jewish." I think I shall start such a page with regard to MIT (although Wikipedia has an excellent start on this subject). Here are my first few entries; please feel free to submit yours, and I'll print them in the column and eventually post a separate page.

MIT Faculty and Students in fiction

Crichton, Michael. State of Fear. Richard John Kenner, a scientist who heads the fictional MIT Center for Risk Analysis.

Good Will Hunting (1997 ) Will Hunting (Matt Damon) and Professor Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård)

Heinlein, Robert. Have Space Suit, Will Travel. Kip Russell is admitted to MIT at the end of the novel (I believe this may be why I applied to MIT)

Right Column Redux:  Paul Pans The Mac

The column to the right on this blog contains permanent content, most of which has appeared at one time or another in the main body. I’ve decided to include a reminder.

Yes, I am the Paul Schindler who predicted, in 1985, on the Computer Chronicles television show, when the Macintosh was a year old, that it wouldn't be a success in business. I stand by that opinion. You can see Paul Schindler Pans Mac

Amazing First Paragraph

The first paragraph of a news story, known to journalists as the lede, is supposed to tell you who, what, when, where and how (and sometimes why) in a way that will make you want to read the rest of the story.

Or, it should just knock your socks off.

Here is one from Category Two:

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert got into heated clash: report
By Brian Niemietz
New York Daily News
Apr 29, 2022 at 5:29 pm

There was a heated battle of wits between two of the GOP’s most performative congresswomen. Fortunately, neither combatant was armed.
Upon hearing about Greene’s appearance at the toxic far right-wing rally earlier in the year, moderate Republican senator Mitt Romney of Utah said he was reminded of a scene from the Western classic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” when one character said, “I’ve got morons on my team.”

Column In The Tech

I’ve been contributing old-timer columns to my college paper. Here are some excerpts from one of them:

Work Life Balance: It’s OK, even here.

I never fully signed onto a full-time job at the Massachusetts Tool or Die Company (a nickname we used in the early 70s). Sometimes, I even went entire Sundays without doing any tooling, not even a problem set. And I was fully invested in my student activities: The Tech and the MIT radio station (then WTBS, now WMBR).

You are not going to turn to your relatives on your deathbed and say, “I wish I’d spent more time doing problem sets.” Feel free to take the path of least resistance. You will still learn, as I did, methods of learning and analysis which will stand you in good stead no matter what you end up doing for a living.

In my case the Massachusetts Tool or Die Company came close to turning me into a disc jockey. But as it happens, an optimal work life balance at MIT produced an optimal work life balance in my life as a journalist – one of the most unlikely careers an MIT student can end up in. It could happen to you, if you let it. 

I should note that a 50/50 academics/activities split would have been a literal balance and would probably have been better for me.