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Original Issue


With his shot to the head of tennis partner Joseph H. Blatchford during the recent celebrity tennis tournament in Washington, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew seems bent upon a course of circumferential escalation. Some pundits warn that bowling maybe next. Others fear he will abandon ball games in favor of archery.

St. Bonaventure All-America Bob Lanier was adopted by the Seneca nation on its Allegheny reservation in a ceremony both simple and dignified—until his official sponsor and tribal brother, Tom Printup, tried to set the basketball player's headdress in place. Lanier is 6'11", Printup is 5'8". Chief Richard Johnnyjohn conducted the ceremonies, bestowing the name Ha-You-Non-Da, or He Who Leaves Tracks, upon Lanier. Mrs. Clara Redeye, Lanier's new clan mother, gave him a corn-husk doll and Printup presented a cow-horn rattle. A reception, with three immense cakes and plenty of punch, followed, after which He Who Leaves Tracks (size 22) had to make them, owing to a final exam the next morning.

"As with the White House guard hat, the adoption of this helmet can mean only one more humiliation for Washington-area residents." So said the outraged letter a Washington graphics firm sent off to Edward Bennett Williams, four TV stations, a number of newspapers and the president of the Metropolitan Washington Art Directors Club on the vital question of the Washington Redskins' new helmets. The new design eliminates the "war bonnet" arrow with feather in favor of a large R with feather, and is to be gold rather than burgundy. "Really offensive," fumed Jim White, of the firm Nolan, Duffy & White. "It makes the Redskins look like an expansion team." The rumor swept Washington that Vince Lombardi himself designed the object in question—"If he did," says White, "I think he's got rotten taste." As it happens, Lombardi did not design the thing, but he chose it, and reports that overall criticism has been slight. "If I had to be concerned with what an artist says," he adds, "I'd be—well, let's just say that I should be, and am, concerned about other things."

Dick Gregory makes a point of running five miles on its track every time he visits a college to speak. No wonder he's in good shape—in the last 10 months he's spoken at 310 colleges.

"He's bruised and beat and everything, but for his handicap he's doing fantastic," said acrobatic trainer Bob Yerkes early last week of dauntless George Plimpton, whose handicap was principally being George Plimpton. George spent the week before the cameras for an hour-long TV spectacular, Plimpton at the Circus, filmed at the Clyde Beatty and Cole Brothers Circus, which was playing in Philadelphia. He participated as a clown, a lion tamer and a trapeze—you should excuse the expression—artist. The clown bit was easy, and the lion taming really no sweat, but the trapeze work was something else. At 6'4" George is too tall for that stuff, and his 190 pounds, not much for football, is much too much for flying. Also, George admitted, "I get this creepy feeling about heights." He fell a lot, ripping up his hands and face in the net, and he tore muscle tissue in both of his shoulders. "You need heat and rest, and I'd advise staying off trapezes," observed the doctor who treated him, but George replied, "If football players can play after a shot, then that's what I need," and come the weekend, shoulder muscles hemorrhaging, there was George clambering into the rigging. On his return from the catcher George's shoulders gave, and he fell literally on his face—which he then figuratively saved by putting on his clown suit and going right back up. It may not have been the greatest show on earth, but obviously George felt that it had to go on.

Debbie Shelton, Miss U.S.A. 1970, claims to carry a football with her when she travels because, she explains, "A football is much better than a teddy bear. When I get bored I just take out my football and start a game." Miss Shelton plays both tackle and—ah—touch.

Oiler Offensive Lineman Walt Suggs was pottering around his New Caney, Texas home recently, looking at the pond he had dug last summer. "They left a lot of tree stumps scattered around the bank," he recalls, "and I had picked up this big log when I looked down and saw a black widow spider on my stomach. I slapped it away, but it got me first—it felt like an ant sting." Suggs drove to a nearby hospital where they put ice on the bite and gave him some shots, but he had made it only around the corner when an intense pain hit him. "It was like getting cramps all over my back and stomach," he says. By the time he got to the Houston Diagnostic Clinic, he could no longer walk. "I was all doubled up. Every muscle in my body went into cramps. I told the doctor, 'Having a baby can't be as bad as this.' He told me, 'Having a baby isn't as bad as this is going to be.' " Suggs recovered, came home from the hospital and went out to his pond to look for the body of the dead spider. "I thought I'd killed it," he says, "but I wanted to make sure. I couldn't find it." The spider, of course, may be going around saying exactly the same thing.