The First Time News Was Fit To Print, XXXI


Every Monday, we venture into the archives of The New York Times to find the first time the paper covered various topics. If you have a suggestion for next week, leave us a comment.

Personal Computer

November 3, 1962

Pocket Computer May Replace Shopping List Pocket-size computers may eliminate the housewife's weekly shopping list. Electronic communication would tell the store in advance what she needed. She would simply pick up the bundles. This was envisioned today by Dr. John W. Mauchly, inventor of some of the original room-size computers [pictured], who has developed one the size of a suitcase and is now working on a pocket variety. * * * * * Dr. Mauchly also predicted the day when a headwaiter could accurately forecast the cocktail a person wanted merely by matching the drinker's characteristics against preferences recorded in his own pocket computer...."There is no reason to suppose the average boy or girl cannot be a master of a personal computer," he said. [Thanks to reader Mark for the suggestion.]


December 18, 1997

TV Cartoon's Flashes Send 700 Japanese Into SeizuresIn a bizarre illustration of the medical effects that television can have on viewers, more than 700 people were taken to hospitals after having been affected by flashing lights on an animated television show broadcast Tuesday night. Some children vomited blood and others had seizures or lost consciousness. No one died, though, and no one is expected to. Producers of the cartoon, which is highly popular among kindergarten and primary school children, say that they were stumped over how an animation technique that has been used ''hundreds of times'' could cause such a widespread, violent reaction. * * * * * Television Tokyo announced Wednesday that it will investigate the problem and said it would cancel other broadcasts of this episode of the program, which is nicknamed Pokemon. [Thanks to reader C. Bukowski for the suggestion.]

Keep reading for Tucker Carlson, Vietnam War, Tracy McGrady and True Romance...

Tucker Carlson

September 13, 1998

Is There Room on a Republican Ticket for Another Bush? George Walker Bush was visiting his parents in the White House one day when the talk turned to religion, which is precisely the subject that some powerful factions in the Republican Party want their Presidential standard-bearer to talk about, forcefully, in 2000. But Bush, sitting one day recently on a sofa in the Governor's office at the Texas State Capitol, says he is "cautious about wearing my religion on my sleeve in the political process." * * * * * In a generally laudatory piece about Bush's campaign for values in this summer's edition of City Journal, a publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute, Tucker Carlson suggested that Bush may in fact be the perfect spokesman for "the politics of virtue." "Before his marriage, Bush had a reputation (from all accounts, deserved) as something of a wild man," Carlson wrote. "When he speaks, it is as a grizzled veteran of the sexual revolution. But he is a changed man."

Vietnam War

August 9, 1950

Vietnam War Rages Near Saigon; Rebels Harry Outlying SuburbsHere, only twenty miles from the heart of the city, the suburbs of crowded, cosmopolitan Saigon merge into the embattled countryside of Vietnam. Continuous warfare reigns in this rural land of flat, green rice fields, vegetable gardens, palm groves and bamboo shaded villages. The protagonists are ruthless raiding Vietminh bands, based in the vast near-by marshlands of the Plaine des Joncs, and the pacification forces of Vietnam and France. Operating from an intricate network of block-houses, the heavily barricaded garrison centers of the French-Vietnam units wage an incessant struggle against Vietminh ambushes, road mining, night assaults, sabotage and terrorism. They manage to enforce an effective measure of peace and order. [Thanks to reader Julia for the suggestion.]

Tracy McGrady

June 20, 1997

Payday Before the DraftTracy McGrady has never played a college game, but he is making a multimillion-dollar leap into the big leagues. The money is not coming from the National Basketball Association, but from Adidas. Sonny Vaccaro, a director of sports marketing with Adidas, said McGrady, 18, signed a deal worth up to $2 million a year, depending on variables such as his performance and his team's performance in the National Basketball Association.

True Romance

September 10, 1993

Desperadoes, Young at Heart With Gun in HandTrue Romance, a vibrant, grisly, gleefully amoral road movie directed by Tony Scott and dominated by the machismo of Quentin Tarantino (who wrote this screenplay before he directed Reservoir Dogs), is sure to offend a good-sized segment of the moviegoing population. But those viewers are the ones who would never go to see a film starring Christian Slater in the first place, and who have no taste for the malevolently funny bad-boy posturing that is the very essence of True Romance. * * * * * Also in True Romance, and squaring off for a monumental cool-dude showdown midway through the story, are Dennis Hopper as Clarence's father and Christopher Walken as a debonair mafioso. Mr. Hopper at first seems wasted in the role of a security guard, but he becomes his familiar self after he is tortured briefly and subjected to Mr. Walken's long, sly, deadpan monologue. Rising calmly to the occasion, Mr. Hopper offers a calculated racial remark that is offensive without being entirely gratuitous; his comments do have an obvious dramatic purpose. This film's various outrages are committed unapologetically, and are very much in the service of its bizarre story.

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