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Original Issue


Architect-engineer-philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome, has been a sailor and an oarsman all his life. Now 73, he finally has got around to redesigning his favorite craft, the single scull, which in its present form has the disadvantages of being expensive and impossible to re-board once the oarsman has been dumped. The Fuller version of the single scull, which he describes as "rowing needles," consists of a pair of delicate aluminum tubes five inches in diameter and 24 feet long connected by a truss arrangement supporting the sliding seat. The tubes submerge to a depth of about 2½ inches, and the structure—sort of a cross between a catamaran and a water spider—is absolutely stable. It is as fast or faster than the conventional single scull and can be dismantled and transported as easily as a pair of skis. Fuller does not feel that it is quite perfected; once it is, we can look for more asterisks in the record books.

"We should have realized that they do things differently in New Zealand when the customs officials made us scrub the tires of our race cars...before they let us take them off the dock," reflected California Race Driver Ron Grable, down under for the Monaco International Trophy Race near Tauranga. He and partner Ken Holden won the race, and it was Grable who nipped over the finish line first. "After a while this lovely girl shows up and gives me a big trophy and a laurel wreath, so naturally I grab her and give her a big kiss. With this the crowd goes wild and the officials all turn white." The lovely young girl, it turned out, was not New Zealand's equivalent of Miss Hurst Golden Shifter or Miss Pure Oil Firebird. She was Joanna Porritt, the daughter of the Governor General, the emissary of the Queen, and Grable was informed, too late, "Yank, you just don't get off kissing the Governor General's daughter, even if you did win the bloody motor race."

While supporting the 41% annual raise for Congressmen, Senator Everett Dirksen observed that he had nothing against professional football players, but he just couldn't see why they deserved bigger incomes than legislators "when all the football player needs is a good pair of legs and the capacity to catch a football." Well, it's this way, Senator. A pro football player's legs do not last much past the age of 35. The brain of a legislator functions—in some instances—until he is many years older than that.

A far-flung survey has turned up a 46-year-old businessman who is not jogging to keep fit. Malcolm Baldridge, president of Scovill Manufacturing Co. (among other things, the nation's No. 1 manufacturer of safety pins), last month took his latest steer-roping prize when he and his partner handled their steer in 13.3 seconds at the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver. Baldridge lives in Woodbury, Conn., but he is a card-carrying member of the Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Matty Guokas of the Philadelphia 76ers was lying in bed in an Atlanta hotel room, watching The American Sportsman on TV. The show involved a tuna chase at sea. The bounding main bounded, the rolling waves rolled—up, down, up, down. The next thing up was Matty's dinner. He was so seasick that it took two motion-sickness pills from the team trainer to compose him.

A Cadillac limousine with Florida license plates is an unfamiliar sight in the Plains States during a blizzard, and it made out about as one would expect. "We were trying to follow the yellow line," said occupant Muhammad Ali disconsolately, "but you just couldn't tell the snow from the road. Some friends did try to tell me you couldn't drive from New York to Seattle in the winter, but I didn't believe them." He believed them, all right, by the time he found himself snowbound in a Fargo, N.Dak. motel, and a newsman who called him there for the story got it in one line when Ali answered the phone and said, "Hello, the stranded ex-heavyweight champion of the world speaking."

Naturally, 20th Century-Fox gave the matter some thought when they cast the lead for The Games, a film about a milkman who wants to run in the Olympics, but in their maddest moments they could scarcely have hoped to choose as well as they did when they settled upon Michael Crawford. The 26-year-old British actor trained for only three weeks with Gordon Pirie and everyone swears that he was clocked in a 4:26 mile. "I've never been involved in running before, but I haven't found it difficult," Crawford said subsequently. "I suppose I have discovered a small amount of latent talent." Perhaps 20th Century ought to change The Games to a film about an actor who wants to run in the Olympics and then just shelve it until 1972. They could unleash Crawford, start the cameras and save a bundle in production costs.