HARDLY A MEMORY EXPERT
More than nine million striped bass are caught annually by almost 400,000 Atlantic Coast anglers, who spend some $45 million a year on their sport.
Most stripers caught from Cape Cod to southern New Jersey are spawned in the Hudson River. Now that huge fishery may be doomed by a hydroelectric plant New York's Consolidated Edison Company wants to build at Storm King mountain on the Hudson (SI, Nov. 16). Fighting the power of the power companies has always been tough, and last spring sportsmen and conservationists were confounded by "expert testimony" given the Federal Power Commission by a key witness for the power company, Dr. Alfred Perlmutter, a biologist who formerly worked for the New York Conservation Department's Bureau of Marine Fisheries. He testified that he could "almost guarantee" that the proposed plant would have "little effect" on fish eggs. The "best" spawning grounds for striped bass, he said, were "much farther upriver" than Storm King. And, he said, "The last study on the Hudson River was made in 1938, and it hasn't been done since."
It has been done since. The January 1957 issue of the New York Fish and Game Journal contained a paper by Warren F. Rathjen and Lewis C. Miller, two biologists then employed by the state. They found that 88.8% of striper eggs were concentrated between Highland Falls and Denning Point. Storm King mountain is just about equidistant from these two places.
Did Dr. Perlmutter know of the report?
"He knew of our work," says Miller. "He was in charge of the unit. In fact, he hired us."
"That's right," says Rathjen.
AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL
Since 1829 crews representing Oxford and Cambridge universities have been rowing against each other on the Thames. That, however, is not long enough for the race to have become an unassailable tradition in England. The Oxford Magazine, a faculty publication, came out last week against it. Practice for it took up too much time, the editors declared, and it cost too much money. Besides, they added without explanation, it is a "dying affair."
It does not seem to be dying for lack of public interest, certainly. Last year's race was watched by 13 million viewers, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, and that is 3 million more than watch Dr. Kildare in Britain. Thousands more take the trouble to line the Thames each year.
As for time expended in practice (2½ hours daily from Christmas to April), it is time spent healthfully and would appear to be the concern only of those hardy fellows who volunteer for it. The expense involved also would seem to be the business of students and alumni, who pay some of it, and of the BBC.
Somehow, that editorial has the smell of a spoof, calculated to stir up wrath.
NOTE FOR THE GHOST OF VEBLEN
While the British pound is in peril, the Texas dollar is doing just fine. The Houston Colt .45s had for sale 53 deluxe boxes, complete with closed-circuit television, in their new domed stadium. Price of a 24-seat box for the season: $15,000 to $18,000. Better hurry. So far, 35 have been sold.
Like blue-chip stocks in the financial markets, hockey's Montreal Canadiens have shown remarkable consistency in their winning ways over the years. In the 22 years during which the National Hockey League has been a six-team operation the Canadiens have won 746 of 1,430 games, lost only 424 and tied the other 260. They have scored 4,563 goals, and have had 3,416 scored against them. Detroit is runner-up with 686 wins, 483 losses and 261 ties, with a scoring edge of 4,296 to 3,701. Trailing in order are Toronto, Boston, Chicago and New York.
In terms of the Stanley Cup, the Canadiens have been slipping over the past four years, but otherwise they still retain top position. In five years they have had 187 wins, 91 losses and 72 ties. Toronto has moved up to second position, with Chicago, Detroit, New York and Boston following in that order.
Is anyone shouting "Break up the Canadiens"? Not in Montreal. Just in Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Boston.
The Indians used them, sometimes with good cause and sometimes for fell purposes, and Robin Hood used no other weapon save his quarterstaff, his broadsword and his wits. But all that was in bygone days, and it is a long time since anyone has been held up at bow-and-arrow point. Now the Houston police are checking the rosters of archery clubs—looking for an atavistic bandit.
An attendant at a Houston gasoline station was sitting with his back to the pumps when an arrow zipped past him and pierced an oil can. Turning, he was confronted by a bandit who was clad, not in Sherwood green or war bonnet, but in khaki pants and Ivy League shirt. There was a bow in his hand and as he strung another arrow he inquired: "Is the next one going to be for you?"
The bowman produced a paper bag, into which $50 was poured. He disappeared, not astride a cayuse or into the forest (there is no forest in Houston), but in a late-model automobile.
THE RANCHER'S FRIEND
In the cattle country of Osceola County, Fla., the overanxious deer hunter is much as he is anywhere. Steer and deer are all the same to him. He shoots either.
Until this year it seemed that little could be done about it. Sheriff Bob Buckles found that arresting careless hunters had little or no effect, since fines were apt to be light by the time the cases came to trial. So he went on a hunt of his own—through the law books—and found a statute that would permit him or his deputies to take punitive action on the spot. The law: persons engaged in a criminal offense involving the use of weapons are liable to have the weapons confiscated on the spot.
That is what Sheriff Buckles has been doing, and this year the toll of cattle casualties is very, very low.
WASSAIL FOR SAILORS
This year's novelty gift item for the sportsman who has everything is a custom-made, handcrafted, full-scale, 12-meter boat. With three years to go before another America's Cup challenge, half of the mere 17 boats in existence are for sale at up to 50% off. Prices range from $260,000 (like new) to $50,000 (vintage model). The supply is limited, so hurry.
BUT SAVE THE BRANDY, PLEASE
If Christian Gonin, a dog-mad Parisian automobile mechanic, has his way, the traditional Alpine St. Bernard bearing brandy will be replaced by a Samoyed of Siberian ancestry bearing, perhaps, vodka.
About a year ago Gonin went to London and spent his every centime for two pairs of English-bred Samoyeds. Since 1917, he learned, no Samoyed had been exported from Siberia. Gonin determined to get some for mountain work, but he realized he first had to prove that the Samoyed is a mountain dog par excellence. So he persuaded two Chamonix guides and two gendarmes of an elite mountain rescue brigade to test the dogs by climbing Mont Blanc with three of them.
The Samoyeds leaped joyously from rock to rock. They jumped crevices fearlessly. "On the ice they walked as if they had crampons under their paws," marveled one of the guides. They pulled a sled faster than the mountaineers could run. When a snowstorm blew up the dogs dug shelters. A gendarme concealed himself deep under a snowdrift, and Samoyed Patapoof proved he was as gifted as any St. Bernard in uncovering and succoring him.
On the strength of it all Gonin took Patapoof to the Soviet embassy, where he was assured that if he could get to Moscow on his own, his journey to Siberia would be expedited.
Looks bad for St. Bernards.
SORRY, COACH, I SCORED
In southeast Texas, where 12-year-old Robert Williams was ousted from a baseball league last summer because he was too good, winning would appear to be a sin. Thus, Gary Staley, who coaches Lamarque (Texas) Junior High School's seventh-grade Colts in football, is under fire because the Colts had a most successful season.
"We should not be putting such emphasis on winning at this early stage," protested Burton Barber, school board trustee. "We should be thinking of playing all the boys we can. At this stage we should be discovering talent, and we'll never know what those boys who did not play could have done."
Hard-driving Coach Staley explained that he divided his squad equally between A and B teams, with the A team playing a six-game schedule (without a defeat or being scored on) and the Bs playing five (with one defeat). That took care of as many kids as a man should be expected to handle, he implied.
The solution, suggested Dave Williamson, school board superintendent, would be to have only an intramural athletic program in junior high—a suggestion that the school board turned down several years ago.
"When games are played with other schools," he said, "it is only natural that a competitive spirit will develop between coaches and players."
It would be difficult for us to agree with either side in the controversy. The purpose of junior high school football is most certainly not to develop talent. And seventh-graders by no means should play the hard-nose game that the competitive spirit, and competitive coaches, develop.
WHALE OF A TRIP
The only whale ever to have flown the Atlantic Ocean is a baby beluga named Titch who is young enough to like The Beatles. Somehow separated from her mother, she was found stranded on the rocks of the St. Lawrence River and, after a stay at the Quebec city aquarium, was flown by Air France to the Flamingo Park Zoo in Yorkshire, England.
It was quite a journey. Titch, 7 feet long and weighing 360 pounds, was placed in a thick plastic bag, which was lined with foam rubber soaked in sea water. The sloshy foam was maintained at 50° by the addition of ice, after which the contraption was placed in a box. To help keep Titch happy during the 14-hour flight, including a stopover at Gander, Nfld., Beatles' music was played to her. That she reacted favorably is indicated by the fact that her respiratory rate (one breath every 45 seconds) remains normal whenever music is being played.
"What probably made more difference, though," said Reg Bloom, the zoo's curator, "was caressing her with our hands. She loved that and being talked to. She talked back with the most delicious collection of squeals and rattles and noises." Titch did not come through the journey without some ill effects, but she is now odds-on to survive. If she does, it will not be altogether without precedent. There are two belugas in the New York Aquarium, one of which was flown in from Alaska.
Most colleges are closemouthed about the financing of their intercollegiate athletic programs. The amounts paid coaches and kicked in by alumni and friends to help assure a continuing supply of proficient athletes are generally secret. But the University of Nebraska and the University of Kansas, the two top teams in Big Eight football, have opened the books. Their reports reveal that what keeps intercollegiate athletics in the black is contributions. It would seem reasonable to assume that the same would apply to the vast majority of comparable universities.
Nebraska disclosed that for the year ended last June 30 it received $126,234.61 in contributions to be used for athletic scholarships, or grants-in-aid, as the NCAA prefers that they be called. Total grants-in-aid distributed for all sports came to $211,981.50, with the difference made up from football profits. Coach Bob Devaney's salary was $21,500. The entire athletic program showed a profit of only $3,929.08, even though the Huskers played in the Orange Bowl.
In a comparable period alumni and friends of Kansas contributed $63,200 of the $219,000 Kansas spent for grants-in-aid. Coach Jack Mitchell received $18,200. The overall athletic program showed a profit of $16,023.35. The higher profit at Kansas was attributable largely to the fact that basketball wound up $29,049.72 in the black at Kansas, ran up a loss of $73,182.96 at Nebraska.
All of which explains why heavily contributing alumni rate those good seats.
CREE OP THE WILD GOOSE
If goose hunters on Maryland's Eastern Shore had their way, they would be guided only by Cree Indians imported for the season from the goose country where James Bay meets Hudson's Bay 550 miles above Montreal. Indeed, some who travel to the Shore from far points insist beforehand that they will not leave home unless they are assured a Cree guide. The Cree are the world's best goose and duck callers.
But Cree willing to leave home are hard to find. Men who live by hunting, fishing and trapping, they detest working for a salary. Only a very few are willing to spend the goose season in Maryland. Two who did this year are Jimmy Trapper, 28, and Jimmy Visitor, 21. It took Francis C. Cole of Clearview, Md., a guide outfitter for the past 17 years, a long time to persuade them to join him.
What can a Cree do that modern goose calls and expert hunters cannot do?
"It's simple," says Cole. "They crouch in the grass and talk to the geese overhead. They sound exactly like geese. Artificial goose calls sometimes don't."
The only complaints about their services come from experts like Bill Burton, Baltimore Sun outdoors editor, who went out with two other Cree a few years ago.
"Their calls spoiled us," Burton said. "Faraway from another goose blind, we heard what normally would be considered a good goose call from a regular caller, but it didn't compare with the sounds coming from our guides. The Cree made our shooting too easy as they lured the birds right to our blind."
THEY SAID IT
•Hix Green, Texas halfback, asked who called the play for his first touchdown of the year in the team's final game: "My mother. She wanted to see me score."
•Jerry Welch, Arkansas offensive guard, on the inequities of the platoon system: "When the defense does its job, it's in there just three plays, but when we do our job right, we're out there all day."