14 May 1971 /Unwittingly, the Final MIT PSACOT

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Conformity There is something of a cult at the Institute, although the word cult might be too esoteric for any organized thought that can continue to exist within the four grey walls of MIT.

It is most prevalent among humanities instructors and humanistic students and its influence spreads far beyond its numbers of true believers not only here, but in this country in general.

I mean the cult of nonconformity. It is the belief that any tendency (as it is often expressed, without qualification) to conform to the norms of society as a whole, is a bad idea.

Clearly, this is extreme: most people hedge their nonconformity by drawing a line. That, in my opinion, is the crux of the entire matter: drawing the line.

Very few people believe in non-conformity to the extent that they either begin to rape and pillage. There are certain norms with which they are content to Conform; yet they develop a rather intolerant attitude for people whose line is drawn at a different location from their own.

The line to me is drawn much too close to the conformist side of the scale; people who are close to the line tend to be intolerant of others with a different viewpoint.

It would certainly be a healthier condition than the status quo if people were to develop a little more tolerance of external trappings which bear little relation to sociological interaction: to whit, long hair and odd clothes. Just to say that, and claim to believe it, of course is not quite enough.

Charity begins at home, and unless your attitude is tolerant towards the other side, you have pitiful little excuse to ask for tolerance from him. So, my advice for today (bringing us-thankfully to the end of our sermon) is to remember always that we all conform a little, and that how much is a very personal decision that none of us should really scorn.

Jacob Wirth's

I have found the first superlative restaurant of my brief career. The manager, Mr. O'Grady, assured me that, "There isn't a real restaurant in the Boston area that isn't a good place to eat." On his lips, this smacks of modesty above and beyond the call of duty; he manages the best restaurant I have been to in Boston so far, and probably one of the two or three best period.

My roommate and I found much to be delighted about, which we were assured has been the case since the very beginning: good food, low, low prices, (in comparison both to quality and in absolute terms), and quick, very personalized service. The waiter actually talks to you, although not for very long, as he is moving so fast. He will recommend the best dish and steer you away from the expensive one if that's not really what he concludes you want.

My roommate, who headed back for Germany the next day, assured me that the food was authentic, and that the atmosphere (complete with sawdust on the floor) reminded him of an Irish pub.

A good place to eat. Located on Stuart Street (37-39) in downtown Boston.

7 May 1971 / Loyalty

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This column, which has figuratively and literally defied classification during its brief but all too lengthy existence, has been placed at last in a cubbyhole. Sources with unusual perception and brilliance have informed this writer that the column, outside of the reviews of movies, plays, or events, is a weekly essay.

Some others, among them some of my fellow The Tech staffers, suggest that it be spelled "weakly." You can't please 'all the people all the time.

Which reminds me of loyalty, a word which was bandied about very much in the early 50's by a junior senator from Wisconsin. And it is coming back into vogue, on the lips of some of our most celebrated national figures: i.e., Spiro Agnew, and sometimes even the President himself.

The Schindler unabridged definition of "loyalty" is: that feeling which enables one to overlook the minor (or not so minor) faults of an institution or person towards which the loyalty is directed. These are often faults which would not be tolerated in an institution or person towards whom loyalty is not felt.

Why bother -to bring the whole thing up? Because it is just too seldom that people ever consider the topic in any sort of serious way. Many probably assume that once a loyalty has been developed, it is something which should be permanent (as much as anything is permanent).

My experience in the area is not vast, but I have developed some concepts which might be useful. A feeling of loyalty can be discarded for several reasons. Foremost among them is a fact so overwhelming that it shakes the basis of the faith upon which I loyalty is built.

Another is enlightened self-interest: you are convinced that by switching loyalties some benefit will accrue to you.

A third might be rejection of your loyalty.

Any of these are perfectly good rationales.

Or at least, they would be if you happened to live in a vacuum. Unfortunately, it is the case for most of us that our actions affect not only ourselves, but those around us.

In particular, the group you are leaving might very well say to you, "How can you do this to us?" At the same time, your friends may very well say, "How can you change loyalties so easily?" I have found just one answer to both of these queries - "It's what's best for me." If you stop and think about it, that's probably the case with you too. And that's the best reason in the world, to my way of thinking.

If my definition is correct, then national criticism of journalism for reporting facts which undermine people's loyalty is valid. And it is.

Top of the Hub

You can get a very nice view of a number of the sights of downtown Boston from near the top of the Prudential Center. That has got to be the major advantage of the Top of the Hub.

There are several other nice things to be said of the Top of the Hub, on a technical basis. The chairs have rollers on their legs, an interesting innovation which makes it uncommonly easy to sit down or get up from the nicely appointed tables.

In addition, the service is friendly and quick.

Perhaps most important of all, if you, like me, have a tendency to drink a lot of water with your meal, is the fact that this is one of the few restaurants I have been in that service your water glass.

It seems that Stouffer's (the same company that runs the MIT food service, but a different division) has realized the minimal cost of a glass of water compared to the desire to have something to drink. That certainly covers the nice things I would have to say about The Top of the Hub.

It is, I admit, a nice place to eat, and in spite of what, you hear, the food is better than at Walker Memorial; or at least different, and, of course, more expensive. Dinner for two, with the addition of wine, can easily cost you $25.00, although you can keep the total bill under $15.00 and still get a decent meal. It's not the place for blue jeans and bare feet, and I assure you that white tie and tails would not seem out of place.

I found my Beef en Brochette with Rice Pilaf to be adequate, though I was assured that the Rice Pilaf was not spectacular. The Lobsters Newberg were tasty, although the spinach (burnt on the bottom) left something to be desired. The French Onion soup I found particularly good, and it is one of the less expensive appetizers.

Tonight's WTBS highlight is the 5th Human Sexuality Lecture, by Dr. Alan Barnes, on the topic "Sexual Intercourse," considered by many to be the best of the series. That's at 7 pm. At about 9:30 is the Potluck Coffeehouse broadcast, live until 12 midnight. Saturday is the Great Sail remote, in front of the Green Building, starting at 8 pm.

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.