AN ELOQUENT PLEA
The article by Wallace Stegner, We Are Destroying Our National Parks (SI, June 13), is greatly appreciated.
This is probably as eloquent a plea for better treatment of the national parks as anyone has ever written. It shows a profound appreciation of the values which have justified the establishment of the parks and a deep concern—which all Americans should share—about the various influences which threaten them.
I am happy that the scope of subject matter for treatment in SI is broad enough to permit publication of such an article; I am sure that many who share Dr. Stegner's concern—and ours—about what is happening to the parks will be grateful to you for having published it.
CONRAD L. WIRTH
National Park Service
WHO'S GLIB? WHAT'S GLIB?
Jack Russell obviously does not read the Daily Racing Form. In the 19th HOLE, June 13, he says, "The only words [in it] of more than two syllables are the names of the horses themselves."
June 26, 1955
I have been fighting a losing battle for years, trying to get a couple of the Form's columnists to write DOWN to me. Over a period of 60 days, columnists Charles Hatton and Evan Shipman used the following:
Insular—Sephardic—fin de si√®cle—jady—aficionado—incursion—doyen—apogee—brio—élan—committal—didactic—métier—contretemps—hiatus—de trop—rubicund.
After I papered the walls of three rooms with losing tickets, learning the difference between fast, good, slow, sloppy, muddy and heavy, Hatton and Shipman now baffle me by describing a racing surface as "glib," "fairly glib," "rather glib," etc.
Glib? What's that?
•One meaning of glib is smooth—that's for race tracks. Another is fluent—that's for writers like Hatton and Shipman. As we remarked at the end of Mr. Russell's letter, the Daily Racing Form is an eminently literate sheet.—ED.
THE BIG OLD U.S.A.
I was interested to read (SI June 13th) that Ted Atkinson "rides half a ton of horseflesh at 30 or 40 miles an hour around a circular track approximately a mile in diameter."
Everything is so BIG in the U.S.A.
H. B. GILBERT
Reference is made to SI June 13th. Please advise where the incredible feat described in paragraph two of the Ted Atkinson article may be witnessed.
JOHN H. STUFFLEBEAN
•Our researcher, caught with his diameter overextended, took a solid blow in the circumference from the Messrs. Gilbert and Stufflebean. A track a mile in diameter would measure over three miles around. It would take a Superman O'War to go that distance at 30 or 40 miles an hour.—ED.
CHECK BACK TO 1928
Your SPECTACLE of the race at Le Mans was very interesting—until I read the caption under the picture of Briggs Cunningham "whose third and fifth place last year was best ever by a U.S. team." Try checking back to 1928 when a factory stock Stutz came in SECOND and only because it had lost an exhaust pipe. In the meantime it was leading by a good margin. I save retractions. Please send same.
WM. R. LINDNER
•Sorry, no retraction. The Stutz which took second in 1928 was driven by two Frenchmen, Robert Bloch and Edouard Brisson. The 1954 Cunningham team record stands as the best the U.S. has done at Le Mans.—ED.
The pictures covering Operation Big Breakfast (SI, June 6) are exceptionally good.
You are doing a lot of very fine ornithology.
R. ALLYN MOSER, M.D.
A friend and I have found a nest of two very young sparrow hawks. We are interested in training them as falcons. We would appreciate it very much if you could tell us where we could receive information about the proper time to take them from the nest, and how to train and feed them. We would also appreciate it if you would tell us how we would go about purchasing the proper equipment for training them.
•Unless you are more interested in the birds themselves than in hunting with them, it might be well to give up your idea. Sparrow hawks are too small to hunt with—you'd get nothing bigger than a sparrow or a field mouse—and it is illegal to hunt with falcons in this country, anyway. The birds must have fresh meat every day, and butcher's meat won't do; they need fur, feathers and bone as well as flesh. Training them takes more patience and time than most people have to give.
The best book on the subject that we know of is Falconry by William F. Russell. It is out of print, but your city and university libraries will probably have it, and others too. Look them over carefully before you leap.—ED.
OLYMPICS: PRO OR AMATEUR?
In Jimmy Jemail's HOTBOX June 13 appeared the question, "Should the U.S. go all out to build an Olympic team that can beat Russia in 1956?" The most obvious answer to the question did not seem to be given.
In the United States how long would a continued on next page professional athlete be permitted to run in A.A.U. meets? Only until the A.A.U. officials caught up to him. Then why not apply this to a bigger meet, the Olympics? Weren't the games established for the amateur athletes of all nations? Why should professionals of any country be allowed to ruin the purpose of the Olympic Games?
DENNIS C. HOWLEY
STANFORD ON THE HUDSON
Re: Stanford University crew—June 13 issue. If you had checked, which you seem to seldom do—you would have found that Stanford rowed on the Hudson and for many years had fine and sometimes nearly great crews. Their 1915 race against Cornell, where they missed by inches, was one of the most exciting Poughkeepsie races.
•We did mention Stanford's earlier crews in the second paragraph of the piece, but in our enthusiasm for the present, we gave the past considerably less than its due. Stanford won the Pacific Coast Regatta six times from 1909 to 1916, and in 1915 finished second at Poughkeepsie, 61.2 seconds—or a good many YARDS—behind Cornell.—ED.
DEAFNESS FOR ALL
I think SI is the best sports magazine on the market. Of all its virtues, I think perhaps the finest is the quality of its coverage of sporting events while they're still hot. It was therefore with keen anticipation that I received the May 30 issue after the momentous weekend in which not one, or two, but three world records were smashed in track and field at Modesto, California. What a letdown then to have to settle for a five-page spread about Arnie Sowell and the many glorious things he's going to accomplish. I think somebody has forsaken all perspective and sense of values when such accomplishments as Bud Held's astounding javelin toss, Texas U's wondrous sprint relay record, and Wes Santee's remarkable half-mile victory (Sowell's specialty, incidentally) are lumped together in one small paragraph under the inadequate heading of "Record Breakers" while the entire track and field section, pictorial and editorial, was devoted to a runner who has yet to do anything to compare with any of the above performances.
Heaven help us if Sowell ever does set a world's record—the amplified chorus of immortalizing voices will surely result in deafness for all, and already has me wincing.
E. M. SIMONS
•Oh, come, come, now—if "Record Breakers" isn't an adequate heading for news of people who break records, what is? Santee's great Modesto race was also mentioned in the Sowell story, and the following week Herman Hickman devoted his entire column to Bud Held and the javelin.—ED.
NO DREAM AT SYRACUSE
Let "Waterfront" Schulberg know forthwith that DeMarco-Basilio was no dream. If the Norris touch continues to furnish that kind of TV entertainment, little Buddy will find himself draped across the lower strand. For every Carbo and Palermo he uncovers, Norris will retaliate with a resounding haymaker in the form of 10 De-Marcos, Basilios and Marcianos.
•Let no one forget that Basilio was for two years "grounded" out of big-time boxing. The logical contender for Kid Gavilan's welterweight title, he was forced to fight in way stations while "Champion" Johnny Saxton enjoyed the benefits of sponsorship by the Palermo-Carbo-Norris axis. Saxton's incompetence was too transparent, however, and pressure of public opinion forced an end to the arrangement. Only then did first-rate fighters like Basilio and DeMarco have their chance.—ED.
FOUR GENERALS AT BRIDGE
I am very happy to see that you have accepted bridge as a sport. Your recent article (SI, June 13) about President Eisenhower's favorite bridge hand is extremely interesting.
We bridge fans would greatly appreciate a regular column on bridge.
NATHANIEL H. ROBIN, M.D.
BREAD AND CIRCUSES
Congratulations on the June 6th issue and the excellence of Alfred Wright's reporting of the "500" at Indianapolis.
Why has that track been continued? Surely the greatest nation of automobile users and builders on earth can do better than that ramshackle collection of bricks. Was it really necessary for Bill Vukovich to die?
Billy Arnold won in 1930 at 100.44 mph. Bob Sweikert won in 1955 at 129.209—in 25 years the apparent improvement is 28.7 mph—an annual growth in speed of 1.11 mph.
Any of the cars entered in 1955, if driven on a properly surfaced and banked track, would have lapped at 150 mph or better.
Is the day of "bread and circuses" not over? Perhaps the mob wants to see good men die.
In any event: the crawling about that oval at speeds attainable by a reasonably good European family car is not only pitiful—it is also silly.
OLD FAMILIAR CRY
Every time there is a bad accident at the Indianapolis Speedway, the old familiar cry is heard, "It's the speed. They're going too fast." They said that back in 1933 (5 dead—speed 104 mph), in 1930 (7-car pileup—speed 100 mph), and they probably said it in 1919 (4 dead—speed 88 mph). Undoubtedly it will be heard again sometime around 1963 when the average race speed will be about 138 mph and the first one-minute lap (150 mph) will probably be run.
It is interesting to note that no one said anything about excessive speed in 1954 when a well-balanced field (qualifying speeds 137 to 141 mph) produced the fastest "500" in history. The reason—there were no serious injury accidents in practice, qualification trials or the race.
Please consider how absurd is Mr. Bentley's cry (SI, June 13) for "safer" cars. What is a "safer" car? Obviously, it is a car which can be driven at today's high speeds without approaching the point where traction on the curves is lost. Give each driver such a car, and you haven't gained a thing, since each one will, to obtain a competitive advantage, increase his speed until they are all once again driving on the ragged edge. In every speed event involving turns, the drivers of the old model stock cars as well as the drivers of the Indianapolis cars are driving "on ice." That is to say that each driver takes each turn as fast as traction will permit.
This is in direct contradiction to Mr. Bentley's quotation of Mr. Sparks to the effect that "speeds on the straight haven't increased much since 1930." Vukovich was killed, not because of excessive speed, but because three other spinning cars blocked his path. Ayulo was killed, not because of excessive speed, but because of a steering failure that could just as easily have happened at 60 mph.
ROBERT H. HELLMANN
P.S. Ike could still make his grand slam even if he did lead trumps once.
A CHANGE OF FORMULA
John Bentley's article on Bill Vukovich's death (SI, June 13) is most thought-provoking in several respects.
Now that almost everyone except Meyer and Drake and the Indianapolis Speedway admit we're at the end of the line with the present race equipment, wouldn't it be sensible to change it?
All the cars are stamped practically from the same mold, so how about a switch of the formula: no engine of fewer than six cylinders and no engine larger than three liters unblown or one-and-a-half liters blown. That will not only give us some new domestic race engines, but will permit foreign engines to compete.
Furthermore, it will cut down speed on the turns (and this must be done before there is another multiple-car pile-up, with all drivers killed instead of one) because the three-liter six won't have the torque coming out of the turns that the four-and-a-half-liter four does.
ALBERT D. TRAGER
Congratulations on the excellent article by John Huston (SI, June 6). He certainly excels in writing as well as directing. But why did the harpoon fired by Senhor Gouveia ricochet off the whale? A 40-mm cannon certainly has more power than the right arm of a harpooner. The cannon or the harpoon must have been defective. Up to this point SI has been very accurate as well as enjoyable.
Though the subscription was given to me, I still have to beat my brother to the mailbox.
DAVID M. HILYARD
•To penetrate the whale's tough blubber, the harpoon must strike at just the right angle; a good shot is hard to achieve with a harpoon gun mounted in a small open boat. In such boats the hand harpoon works best, as the Portuguese whalemen proved.—ED.
THE PROBLEM OF "TIPS"
As an amateur (above 100) golfer, I find the weekly TIP PROM THE TOP very helpful. It is, however, difficult to remember them all and it is equally difficult to keep all the copies of the magazine in file.
Do you plan to have these "tips" published in book form? I think such a book would prove very popular.
W. S. ALTMAN, M.D.
•If public demand is an indication, it will be popular. Prentice-Hall will publish a collection of TIPS FROM THE TOP in late October.—ED.
I was disappointed not to find in the June 13 issue the page which you customarily have for golfers, TIP FROM THE TOP, with suggestions from outstanding pros. I found this to be a very interesting and always very helpful page. I think your coverage of golf generally has been tops, but we do hope you plan to continue this page as well.
L. J. EVANS
•The "tip" was skipped that week to allow Herbert Warren Wind to give a full account of the British Amateur (see page 43, SI, June 13). But there are plenty more to come.—ED.
Orchids to the photographer for snapping and the editor for printing the outstanding picture of Mr. Seabrook's vivacious four-horse hitch (SI, June 13).
Onions to the guy who neglected to identify the horses as registered Morgans.
DARK SHADOW 11296
TOWNSHEND VLGANITA 08431
•Orchids to Dark Shadow and Town-shend Viganita, the first horses ever to send us a letter. They are owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth A. Wolcott Jr. of Bloomfield.
Seabrook's four perfectly matched bays are indeed registered Morgans. They are Captain Ken (near leader), Flying Indian (off leader), Fort Knox (near wheeler) and Illawana Delia (off wheeler).—ED.
LARGE ECONOMY SIZE
Since you always include the Eel River in your coverage of Western fishing streams I thought you would be interested in the enclosed photo (see cut).
Pictured is my brother, Don Dunn, and his steelhead—-a 20-pound 11-ounce beauty that captured first prize in the Garberville Steelhead Derby this year.
Don is 21 years old and has fished the Eel since 1946 when he moved to Humboldt County. Needless to say we are proud and happy that he won.
MRS. FRED LITTLEFIELD JR.
I was quite pleased to see your article on synchro-swimming (SI, June 6). As coach of the Athens Club group you pictured, I have found the sport to be of great interest to both the participant and the spectator.
I would like to indicate, if I may, some areas in which I felt the article went amiss. The statement that synchro-swimming is like "dancing in water" is one that serious advocates have been trying desperately to hide. Many efforts are now being made to lead away from the kinship to dance and make it more nearly like gymnastics in water.
Another point that should be emphasized is that although the rudiments of synchro-swimming are simple, as stated, the mastering of even the simple stunts to perfection takes a great deal of work. The competitors at the top must put in long and arduous sessions in order to maintain condition for performing the difficult routines. I know that as a middle-distance swimmer, I never worked as hard as the girls I now coach.
Finally, and most important, I wish that more credit could have been given to some of the pioneers in the sport, rather than making it sound as if California had conceived, nurtured and raised it from the beginning. Actually, the Californians may have dominated it in the last couple of years but we are comparative newcomers to synchro-swimming. Swimmers and officials in the Chicago, Detroit and Des Moines areas contributed their all to the development of synchro-swimming from its first crude forms to its present style. The young sport of synchro-swimming is still in its developmental stage. We have every confidence that it will grow.
ROSS C. BEAN
Would you be so kind as to advise me the best book or manual to buy, so as to enable me to learn and understand this wonderful game of baseball?
MARY C. SMITH
•You can't go wrong with Paul Richards' Modern Baseball Strategy (Prentice-Hall), from which SI published a series of articles that began May 16. Doubleday and A. S. Barnes and Co. both publish annual baseball almanacs which have similar titles but quite different contents, and both are good. And welcome to the wonderful world of baseball!—ED.