PRESERVATION OF A TREASURE
The idea originated with the late J. N. (Ding) Darling, the famous newspaper cartoonist and ardent conservationist. Darling envisioned a "scenic avenue across America"—a trail paralleling the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition—from St. Louis up the wide Missouri through badlands and breaks, then westward through the lush alpine country of the Rockies and down the Columbia River through tall timber until it reached the Pacific Ocean at Fort Clatsop, Ore. This week it began to appear that Darling's dream may yet be realized.
After a two-year study the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (Department of the Interior) has recommended a modern Lewis and Clark Trail which would "enhance the historic, wildlife and recreation resources" along the original route. Existing roads and highways would be utilized, and new ones would be built. Boating facilities would be created on the Missouri and Columbia rivers and a hiking and horseback trail would follow as closely as possible Lewis and Clark's water and overland route.
It is a worthy proposal, one that would help to preserve and provide access to much of the country that Lewis and Clark explored 160 years ago. It might even result in wild-river status for the spectacular Missouri River Breaks, the last untouched stretch (180 miles) of the Missouri between the town of Fort Benton and the head of Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana.
We assume, however, that by "enhancing historic and natural resources," the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation does not mean the usual clutter of needless signs, concrete parking lots, barbecue pits, cafeterias and curio shops. Let all of them be conspicuously absent.
The successor to the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee and the skateboard is at hand. Is it a bird? Is it a——? No, it's Super Ball, the bounciest ever. Dropped from a height of five feet, a Super Ball will bounce for 60 seconds. (Tennis balls last 10 seconds.) Each bounce of a Super Ball, says Richard Knerr, executive vice-president of the Wham-O Manufacturing Company that makes them, is 92% as high as the previous bounce. Even a Dodger hitter could knock one from Chavez Ravine to Bloomington, Minn. with the greatest of ease. Given a bit of spin when dropped, they bound about erratically. They are selling like Hula Hoops, which Wham-O originated, too—and not just to kids but to executives with time on their hands. A favorite executive game is How Many Bounces into the Wastebasket at 30 Feet and 10¢ a Bounce.
DR. KILDARE MUFFS ONE
It was one of those tense, dramatic moments in the dressing room of the Carter Riverside (Fort Worth) High School football team just before it took the field against Texarkana High.
"We were pretty tight and keyed up," recalled Lou Goldstein, the Carter Riverside coach. "Some of the players cried. And I guess maybe I dropped a tear.
"Then, just before the kickoff, I asked the players if anyone had anything to say. One of them had a bad knee, and he raised his hand. 'Yes, coach,' he said. 'You taped the wrong knee.' "
THE WORST OF TIMES
During the Baltimore Colts-San Francisco 49ers game, with less than two minutes to go, the Colts were nursing a 27-24 lead and desperately trying to run out the clock. Whereupon Referee George Rennix called a time-out. Quarterback Johnny Unitas had a fit. Don Shula, Colt coach, almost had apoplexy. And, as it turned out, the Colts had to earn another first down to retain the ball until the game ended.
It seems that when the game was stopped for the two-minute warning, a commercial started on TV. The official did not, however, allow the full 60-second time-out, so that the commercial was interrupted. Someone had rightly figured that viewers would rather see the game and switched back to the field.
A TV satrap on the field howled that a sacred commercial had been mangled. The referee then called the time-out that gave San Francisco a breather and cost the Colts precious seconds.
There is, in fact, a National Football League rule that forbids TV time-outs during the last two minutes of a game. Referee Rennix just wanted to know what the howling was about. The Colts were relatively unharmed but, pro football being what it is, they might conceivably have lost the game or had it tied. The incident serves to emphasize the importance of football controlling TV and not vice versa.
IGLOO CAPTURES OOKPIK
Umingmaktuug is a settlement in the Canadian Arctic currently enjoying a measure of fame for an unlikely reason: the world's first Eskimo chess sets are being produced there. They are beautiful and expensive ($250), and you may have to wait months until an Eskimo craftsman gets in the mood to carve a set from soapstone. So far, he has completed no more than six since last winter.
Umingmaktuug contains a Hudson's Bay Company store and 25 permanent inhabitants. If you drew a line due north for 1,000 miles above Edmonton, Alberta and stopped when you came to the first coastline, you would be somewhere near Umingmaktuug; map makers call it Bathurst Inlet. There Francis Iksik, a 45-year-old Eskimo with some fame among collectors for his soapstone carvings of igloos, watched the trader at the Hudson's Bay store play chess, and presently devised his own frigid-zone equivalents for the classic medieval symbols of the chessboard.
Eskimos seem unable to comprehend ideas of kings, queens, knights and bishops. Iksik had no trouble with a castle; he carved delicate egg-shaped igloos for these. His pawns are seals. Knights are polar bears, and bishops are owls—ookpiks in Eskimo. The king is an Eskimo man in furs, and the queen is an Eskimo woman in furs.
It took Iksik about a month to carve his first set, which the Hudson's Bay Company bought from the original purchaser for $125. A cheerful, untroubled, loquacious individual, Iksik feels like a millionaire when he has that much money. He buys a lot of tea and coffee and sets out on his favorite recreation: hunting. As for chess, he never plays it. His favorite game is poker.
With the enthusiasm of a flushing spaniel, Earle Angstadt Jr. quarters the countryside, bringing home doves from Delaware, quail from Louisiana, deer from Pennsylvania, ducks from Illinois and even a trapshooting trophy from the Grand American at Vandalia last month. This is all quite appropriate, since Angstadt is president and board chairman of that venerable sporting goods institution, Abercrombie & Fitch.
Angstadt and rifle were all set last week to jet off to Wyoming for the opening of the elk season. Five similarly armed friends were to accompany him. Then, to his dismay, and what was surely to be that of the Secret Service, he discovered that the President of the United States was scheduled into New York's Kennedy International Airport at exactly the same time that Angstadt and artillery were scheduled out.
After some frenzied telephone calls Angstadt managed to place rifles and ammunition in the hands of the New York Port Authority police, who took over the task of escorting them into the baggage compartment of his plane. Moments later, feeling much like James Bond in the 14th chapter, Angstadt slipped quietly into the terminal building, boarded his plane and fastened his seat belt. Wordlessly, a stewardess pressed a claim check into his hand. Only then did Angstadt lean back, take a bottle of Bonded 007 from his briefcase, and wipe his perspiring brow.
UNTO ONE OF THE LEAST
A New York girl with a slightly bleeding heart picked up a wounded pigeon in the street last week. It evidently had been hit by a car and had a broken wing. Now it must be conceded that this pigeon would not have been missed (five million of its brothers and sisters infest the city), but the girl in question felt herself in a moral crisis that cried out for existential commitment. Accordingly, she called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If accompanied by television cameras and press agents, the ASPCA would climb the Rockies to release a tethered elk; it maintains a public relations department to nurture its public "do good" image; and it is prepared to exhaust its treasury, if necessary, to contain the corrida at the Mexican border.
To relieve her of the pigeon, the girl was told, the ASPCA would charge her only $5.
ADDRESS TO THE JURY
The new president of the Washington Redskins, Edward Bennett Williams, famed and very persuasive trial lawyer and himself an ardent sports fan, has some thoughts on the National Football League's television policy.
Such as these:
"Just because the networks wave a check at us is no reason we should stage a game for them. I think the TV double-header, two NFL games back to back on Sunday afternoon, is a mistake. You already have the husband watching the college game all Saturday afternoon. Add six hours on Sunday afternoon and, if we are not careful, we'll have the strongest union in the world against us: the housewives."
THE GENTLE KILLER
When Namu, the killer whale, was being ferried south from the fishing town where he was captured, a lot of naysayers predicted disaster (SI, July 12 et seq.). Namu, it was confidently claimed, would die of shallow water, of polluted water, of starvation or of loneliness. Well, he didn't, and now things are looking up. After two months in which he has entertained more than 125,000 visitors to Seattle's waterfront, Namu has been moved to winter quarters on the southern tip of Bainbridge Island 12 miles across Puget Sound. There he is protected from winter storms and has cleaner water. His new home is a small (about four acres) cove in which he has plenty of room to exercise and 35 feet of water for sounding. Since Namu is 22 feet long and weighs an estimated four tons, that is far better than the 60-foot-by-40-foot pen in which he has been confined.
During the summer Namu refused food, but with the coming of cooler weather his appetite picked up to the extent that he is now 400 pounds overweight. He consumes 370 to 400 pounds of fresh-caught salmon daily and will eat no cheaper fish.
For a killer, Namu has turned out to be extremely docile. Owner Ted Griffin, Seattle Marine Aquarium director, has taught him to roll over and respond to what Griffin terms a "whale call"—a high-pitched, whirring sound. He also has a trick of his own—pushing Griffin's small rowboat, occasionally coming up on it from underneath and partly carrying it on his back. Griffin has been a frequent cohabitant of Namu's old pen, climbing in to exchange "whale calls" and chirpings and to pat the whale affectionately on the nose. To date Namu has not opened his jaws in anger but, says Griffin, "he sometimes likes to butt me around with his snout.
"He's pretty powerful," Griffin noted, "and there's always the danger of getting a broken rib."
This winter Griffin hopes to build a larger pen with a better view, but estimates on its cost range from $150,000 to $300,000, figures which leave the owner a bit shaken. Still, the answer may be at hand. Television producers, impressed by the success of the Flipper series, have been dropping by. Namu may yet have his own show.
THEY SAID IT
•Paul Wiggins, 6-foot-3-inch defensive end of the Cleveland Browns: "When I came up nine seasons ago I was one of the tall ones who stood in the back row when they made the team picture. Now I'm in the third row."
•Charles O. Finley, owner of the 10th-place Kansas City Athletics: "We finished closer to the Yankees than any time since I've had the club. I think we're making headway."
•George Saimes, Buffalo defensive back, on his literary tastes: "I can't stand fiction, except for Dostoevsky and Melville, so I stick mainly to books about 'sociology, philosophy and political thought. I read a lot of Kafka, along with Camus, some Proust, Hegel, Rousseau and Mill."