THE FOUL, HOT SUMMER
The environmental news isn't good. With each fishing license purchased in New York comes a warning to eat freshwater fish sparingly because of possible PCB contamination. Garbage and medical waste wash ashore on the coasts of New York and New Jersey, closing scores of beaches. Also, in the waters off the Eastern U.S., an explosive growth of algae has killed great numbers of fish and shellfish. A recently released study by New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation indicates that some 25% of the lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks are too acidic—from acid rain—to support fish. And let us not forget the nation's drought, which is playing havoc not only with agriculture but also with wildlife.
"The planet is telling us we can't treat it this way anymore," Dr. Stephen Joseph, the New York City Commissioner of Health, told The New York Times last week.
We have only ourselves to blame for this midsummer's nightmare. Burning fossil fuels has created many of these environmental ills. Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere traps heat that would normally escape from the earth, creating the ominous greenhouse effect. While this year's drought cannot yet be attributed to the rise in global temperatures associated with the greenhouse effect, the scorching conditions may be a preview of summers to come if the volume of carbon dioxide discharged into the air is not significantly and quickly reduced.
The burning of fossil fuels also emits nitrogen oxides, which are converted to nitric acid, a prime component of acid rain. Nitrogen oxides eventually become nitrates, and nitrates are a potent fertilizer. When they descend on coastal waters already polluted and warmed by hot spells, they may trigger algal blooms, which deprive seawater of oxygen and light, killing fish and fouling the water.
In its nearly eight years in power, the Reagan Administration has maintained that not enough is known about various environmental ills to justify action. Perhaps, in this presidential election year, the message being delivered by the planet will be heard more clearly by the two major parties.
MOVE IT, LADDIE
Foreigners playing at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, this summer are encountering something even more forbidding than the famed Swilcan Burn: a four-hour time limit for 18 holes. About once a week a golfer, usually a North American or a Japanese, is plucked off the Old Course because he's taking too long. "In Scotland, 3½ hours is a long time for a four-ball [foursome] to play," says Alec Beveridge, the secretary of the St. Andrews Links Management Committee. "If you left overseas golfers to their own devices, they would like five hours."
Those discomfited by the new restriction include an 82-year-old golfer from Miami, Charles Duke, who complained to his tour operator that he had come 4,000 miles to walk in the footsteps of golf's ancestors, only to be escorted off the course in midround. This could become a sticky business, because nearly 60% of the players on the Old Course are foreigners. "What we notice in many visitors is that they reach the first ball and everyone stops," says Beveridge. "They'll discuss it, and it goes on like this, then the next one, then the next one. By this time, there's a slippage in time."
We hate to pick on them, but....
An ad for the 1988 Cal Ripken Baseball School that ran in a recent issue of the Arlington (Va.) Catholic Herald contained this less-than-enticing offer: LEARN TO PLAY BASEBALL THE ORIOLE WAY!
THE GREAT WEDDING
In what was billed as Canada's Royal Wedding, Wayne Douglas Gretzky took Janet Marie Jones to be his wife on Saturday at St. Joseph's Basilica in Edmonton. As 2,000 well-wishers waited outside. 650 invited guests watched Jones, an actress (The Flamingo Kid), walk down the aisle in a $40,000 wedding dress that featured a 20-foot detachable train and $12,000 worth of pearls. The Great One, dressed in tails, might have been able to win the Stanley Cup with his own wedding party of eight, which included former Oiler goaltender and best man Eddie Mio, center Mark Messier and defenseman Kevin Lowe of the current Oilers, as well as defenseman Paul Coffey of Pittsburgh and the bridegroom's 20-year-old brother, minor league center Keith (the Good One) Gretzky.
Among the guests at the wedding were TV stars Alan Thicke and Fred Dryer, pop musician David Foster, Gretzky's hero Gordie Howe and the retired Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who flew all the way from Moscow with his wife, Tatiana. Even NHL president John Ziegler made a rare appearance. At the reception at the Westin Hotel, M.C. Thicke, comparing the wedding to that of Lady Diana and Prince Charles, told the guests that Gretzky had gotten his hair cut "so his ears would look bigger," like those of the Prince of Wales.
"No one could be more happy than I am today," said the bride. The couple had no immediate honeymoon plans. Said Tretiak, "I hope he and his wife produce five more Wayne Gretzkys."
A SAVING TACKLE
As a senior center for the Brigham Young football team, Robert Saunooke doesn't have much of a chance to make tackles. But Saunooke became a hero on July 4 by making a big stop.
It happened during the Freedom Festival parade in Provo, Utah. A carriage driven by 74-year-old Kenneth Cannon and carrying eight of Cannon's grandchildren, ages three to 11, was being pulled along the parade route by two 500-pound Shetland ponies. An idiot in the crowd tossed a lighted firecracker under the legs of the ponies, spooking them, and they took off at a gallop. As the carriage rocked from side to side, Cannon was thrown out. "All I could hear was those kids screaming 'Help me! Help me!' " says Saunooke, who was attending the parade with his family. He ran into the middle of the street and met the ponies head-on, tackling one of them to stop the carriage. None of the children nor Saunooke was hurt. "I really didn't think about what I was doing," says Saunooke. "I play football, and football is all reaction."
And it just so happens that two of the children in the carriage are also the grandchildren of BYU football coach LaVell Edwards, whose daughter Ann is married to Cannon's son Ken.
Tommy Lasorda was sold the other day. Not the Los Angeles Dodgers' manager, but the 4-year-old bay gelding who had been racing at River Downs near Cincinnati. Owner-trainer Gary Davis of Liberty, Ind., sold the horse at auction for $500 to a family that plans to use him as a pleasure horse. In six starts this year Tommy Lasorda, the horse, finished an average of 14 lengths behind the winner and had one second-place finish. For his two-year racing career, Tommy Lasorda won just $799. As River Downs publicist Kevin Goemmer said, "That wouldn't even buy dinner for the other Tommy Lasorda."
HE'S NOT READY FOR TYSON YET
In his heavyweight debut, Evander Holyfield, who is still the undisputed world cruiserweight champ, beat James (Quick) Tillis on a TKO in Lake Tahoe Saturday night, when Tillis failed to answer the bell for the sixth round. In winning, Holyfield, 25, proved he is already as good as any other heavyweight contender. If Holyfield is to meet Mike Tyson soon, though, it should be at a church social or black-tie dinner, not in a boxing ring.
The 202 pounds Holyfield carried against Tillis was an honest weight. He seemed as quick as ever and stronger than he was three months ago when he knocked out Carlos DeLeon in a WBC cruiserweight title fight. But he came up short in the firepower department Saturday night. The journeyman Tillis, after all, had been knocked out in three of his previous six bouts, and Holyfield failed to knock him off his feet. Said Holyfield, "If he hadn't quit when he did, if he had stayed around for just one more round, I would've knocked him out. He did the smart thing."
Holyfield's entourage was pleased with the outcome. "I've said from the beginning that the whole purpose is not just to get a fight with Tyson, but to beat Tyson," said cotrainer Lou Duva. "What I saw tonight showed me that we are on the right track. Hell, we don't want a fight with Tyson tomorrow. We're not that crazy."
Holyfield, too, said he was happy with his performance: "I controlled the fight. I dictated the pace. I think I'm going to like it as a heavyweight." How much more he will like it will be determined in December, when Holyfield will fight Orlin Norris, a top contender, or one of two former heavyweight champions, Pinklon Thomas or Michael Dokes. Until then, Holyfield should work on putting a larger charge into his cannons.
JOHN W. McDONOUGH
Holyfield won but to knock Tillis off his feet.
THEY SAID IT
•Marlon Starling, WBA welterweight champ, reflecting on a proposed match with WBC welterweight titlist Lloyd Honeyghan: "I'll fight him for nothing if the price is right."