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Original Issue


The Gamekeepers' Dinner at Newport, Shropshire, on April 8 should be a real prize. "Lord Stafford will preside at the dinner," reports the Country Landowner, a normally high-toned British publication, "after which there will be a talk by 'Blaster' Bates on the subject of Lady Chatterley's Lover and other related matters concerning the keepering profession." Definitely. A blast from the past.

A successful basketball coach needs a certain singlemindedness when he is out on the recruiting trail. Digger Phelps has it. Three years ago, when Phelps was worried that prospect Pete Crotty might choose Fordham (which Digger was then just about to leave) rather than Notre Dame (where he was headed), he happened to meet Crotty at a banquet. The banquet hall was a little too public to discuss such delicate matters, so Phelps sought privacy. "He pulled me into the cloakroom," Crotty recalls. "While we were talking, some lady came up and handed him a coat. Phelps hung it up and she gave him a quarter." Phelps matter-of-factly pocketed the coin. And later on he pocketed Crotty, too.

The most coveted high school football player in Oklahoma is Howard Humphrey of Morris, who plays practically every position—well. Oklahoma University wanted him badly, and in the course of recruiting they wheeled up one of their big guns, TV Sportscaster Bud Wilkinson. Young Humphrey was baffled when Bud was introduced as Coach Wilkinson. "Where did he coach?" he asked. Wilkinson only won three national championships, 14 Big Eight championships and, during one stretch, 47 consecutive games at Oklahoma. But Humphrey was seven years old when Wilkinson quit.

Olof Palme, Sweden's socialist Premier, is not playing some solid Scandinavian sport like whale-spearing, he's playing Ping-Pong, that favorite game of people's republics everywhere. Suspicious. Worse yet in the eyes of Palme's nonadmirers, he is winning. Just as in the Riksdag, where the score is 175-all (175 members of parliament for Palme's ruling leftish coalition and 175 for the center and right), Palme found himself in a deadlock with his Minister of Agriculture. Each had won one game, and the score was 19-all in the third. Palme said prayers to Odin, then buried the minister with two straight shots 21-19.

The San Diego Conquistadors were off on a road trip, and Wilt Chamberlain was not with them. That raised a ton of speculation last week. How does anyone lose a 7'1" coach? An early explanation was that Wilt was sick. That made a certain amount of sense; the Qs are enough to make any coach a bit ill. Next explanation was that Chamberlain was away on business involving the Qs' owner, Dr. Leonard Bloom. The nature of the business was not elaborated. When Wilt did reappear—for Friday's game in New York against the Nets—he was asked whether he thought his absence had had any effect on the team's morale. "Yes," he said. "While I was gone, they won two games. When I came back, they lost."

For two years John Walker, of Boney Hay, Staffordshire, England, had played a transatlantic game of chess by mail. His opponent was convicted murderer Claude Bloodgood in the Virginia State Penitentiary at Richmond. Their game is currently in enforced adjournment. Walker, who happens to be British director of the International Postal Chess Association, received a letter informing him that Blood-good was no longer available. While pondering Walker's latest thrust, the prisoner had decided that jail was worse than zugzwang and escaped without leaving behind a sealed move. Virginia authorities declined the gambit and soon had Bloodgood in check again. His main problem now is a tougher-than-ever time bind.

Although 20-year-old Marty Howe and 18-year-old Mark Howe, the young stars of the division-leading Houston Aeros, have contracts that will pay them more than $400,000 apiece over the next four years, they are fiscally conservative. "In fact," says father Gordie Howe (page 14), who will receive $1 million for playing for the same team over the same period, "they are downright tight." Colleen Howe, who manages family finances, decided something should be done. The younger Howes live with their parents, and Colleen decreed that henceforth they should pay rent at $30 per week. Mark was dumbfounded. He said they'd never had to pay rent before. "You never earned money before," Colleen replied. But she gave her sons an alternative. Instead of paying the $30. they could buy the groceries each week. "They were too smart for that," Gordie says. "They decided to pay rent."

Mr. and Mrs. Rodger W. Thompson got into an argument in a Fairfield, Calif. tavern and settled it, more or less, by staging an impromptu all-in-the-family demolition derby. She angrily roared off from the bar in one car, and he pursued in the other. They ended up in a muddy field, repeatedly ramming each other's car. Both vehicles, a 1968 Dodge and a 1968 Chevrolet, were totaled. Two children riding with Mr. Thompson were unhurt but complained of a bumpy ride.