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Original Issue

MEMO from the publisher


Your article Up Squash! Down Baseball! by Stephen Birmingham shows a completely idiotic point of view. The man obviously shows no understanding of the situation.

This is the way we were addressed about this time last year in a letter from Wayne Givens of Hanover, N.H. after he had read (and apparently slammed to the floor) a story by Stephen Birmingham entitled Up Squash! Down Baseball! (SI, Nov. 9, 1959). Mr. Birmingham, who has a solid reputation for being knowing about such things, was writing on that occasion about what's up and what's down, sportswise, that is, on the U.S. college campus.

Well, the publisher of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED loveth a cheerful Givens almost as much as a bad pun, so he rejoices that next week Reader Givens is going to have another chance to understand Writer Birmingham.

This time Birmingham surveys the world of party games, where he finds much the same set of Up and Down values as apply to college sports. Do you know, for instance, when called upon to play Botticelli or Psychiatrist, Hate or Like, whether it's the thing to do or not? Do you even know how to play it? Birmingham, who does indeed understand the situation, explains the rules, warns of pitfalls and gives the latest quotations on the Up and Down market. All confirmed party-givers, I suggest, will be wise to enter the party-laden holidays with his advice well in head.

And confirmed party-givers our readers surely are. Here's another look in that statistical mirror of our subscribers we were looking at a while back (SI, Aug. 15 and 22). The entertainers among you throw a party well over once a month, and when it's a buffet, dinner or cocktail party it's likely to be for not only a good but a goodly crowd, averaging well over a dozen guests for each gathering. Of those who serve liquor (75%), more than one-fifth buy it by the case (850,000 cases a year, in fact, or more than the total annual sales of many well-known brands); of those who serve beer (75%), more than one-half buy by the case; and of those who serve soft drinks (95%), more than two-fifths buy by the case. When you entertain at home, as you most frequently do, the setting is a pleasant one; more than three-fourths of you own the home and it is valued at $25,840, more than twice the national average.

Finally almost three-fourths of you have been to college—which would seem to augur that when your next party comes you won't fail, with Mr. Birmingham's assistance, to be Up on what is Down.